Saturday, July 24, 2010



Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege

Jim Webb, a Democrat senator from Virginia, points out something that seems unknown to most of his party: That not all whites are the same

The NAACP believes the tea party is racist. The tea party believes the NAACP is racist. And Pat Buchanan got into trouble recently by pointing out that if Elena Kagan is confirmed to the Supreme Court, there will not be a single Protestant Justice, although Protestants make up half the U.S. population and dominated the court for generations.

Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.

I have dedicated my political career to bringing fairness to America's economic system and to our work force, regardless of what people look like or where they may worship. Unfortunately, present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.

In an odd historical twist that all Americans see but few can understand, many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations. These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived.

Lyndon Johnson's initial program for affirmative action was based on the 13th Amendment and on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which authorized the federal government to take actions in order to eliminate "the badges of slavery." Affirmative action was designed to recognize the uniquely difficult journey of African-Americans. This policy was justifiable and understandable, even to those who came from white cultural groups that had also suffered in socio-economic terms from the Civil War and its aftermath.

The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed. But the extrapolation of this logic to all "people of color"—especially since 1965, when new immigration laws dramatically altered the demographic makeup of the U.S.—moved affirmative action away from remediation and toward discrimination, this time against whites. It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup.

Those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America and Africa did not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have frequently been the beneficiaries of special government programs. The same cannot be said of many hard-working white Americans, including those whose roots in America go back more than 200 years.

Contrary to assumptions in the law, white America is hardly a monolith. And the journey of white American cultures is so diverse (yes) that one strains to find the logic that could lump them together for the purpose of public policy.

The clearest example of today's misguided policies comes from examining the history of the American South.

The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power. At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that "fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery."

The Civil War devastated the South, in human and economic terms. And from post-Civil War Reconstruction to the beginning of World War II, the region was a ravaged place, affecting black and white alike.

In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt created a national commission to study what he termed "the long and ironic history of the despoiling of this truly American section." At that time, most industries in the South were owned by companies outside the region. Of the South's 1.8 million sharecroppers, 1.2 million were white (a mirror of the population, which was 71% white). The illiteracy rate was five times that of the North-Central states and more than twice that of New England and the Middle Atlantic (despite the waves of European immigrants then flowing to those regions). The total endowments of all the colleges and universities in the South were less than the endowments of Harvard and Yale alone. The average schoolchild in the South had $25 a year spent on his or her education, compared to $141 for children in New York.

Generations of such deficiencies do not disappear overnight, and they affect the momentum of a culture. In 1974, a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study of white ethnic groups showed that white Baptists nationwide averaged only 10.7 years of education, a level almost identical to blacks' average of 10.6 years, and well below that of most other white groups. A recent NORC Social Survey of white adults born after World War II showed that in the years 1980-2000, only 18.4% of white Baptists and 21.8% of Irish Protestants—the principal ethnic group that settled the South—had obtained college degrees, compared to a national average of 30.1%, a Jewish average of 73.3%, and an average among those of Chinese and Indian descent of 61.9%.

Policy makers ignored such disparities within America's white cultures when, in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts.

Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.

Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.

SOURCE

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Obama and his minions have been doing their best to lose white America. They may succeed

First was the startling accusation by Attorney General Eric Holder, days after Barack Obama was inaugurated in a gusher of good feeling, that we are all "a nation of cowards" when it comes to facing issues of race. A real icebreaker for a national conversation.

Second was the instantaneous verdict of the president, when asked about the arrest of Harvard's Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge cop Sgt. James Crowley. With no knowledge of what happened, Obama blurted out that the cops had "acted stupidly." It took a White House beer summit to detoxify that one.

A third was the revelation that Obama's first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the "wise Latina" herself, had gone to extremes to see that the case of Frank Ricci and the New Haven, Conn., firefighters never got to the Supreme Court. Ricci and co-defendants had been denied promotions they had won in competitive exams solely because they were white and no black firemen had done as well.

The fourth was the Justice Department's dropping of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, whose intimidation of voters in Philadelphia had been captured on tape. When a department official resigned in protest and went to the Civil Rights Commission to accuse officials at Justice of ordering staff attorneys not to pursue such cases, that explosive charge, too, was ignored by Justice.

Came then the NAACP smear that the tea party was harboring racists, which Joe Biden explicitly rejected on national television on Sunday, before the Monday firestorm over Sherrod.

Now, whatever one's views on each of these episodes in which race played a role, white Americans are being forced to address them. And, surely, the White House understands this is bad news for Obama and the Democratic Party.

For though the black community remains solidly behind Obama and the white majority is shrinking toward minority status by 2042 or 2050, depending on which Census survey one uses, whites in America still outnumber blacks five to one. And if forced constantly to come down on one side or the other of a racial divide, most folks will wind up with their own.

In past elections, Democrats have raised race -- allegations that black churches were being torched in the South, that George W. Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill meant he was coldly indifferent to the dragging death of a handicapped black man -- to solidify and energize the minority vote. And, today, that vote remains solid behind Obama,

Where the erosion is taking place is in white America, among working- and middle-class folks who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries but took a chance with Obama in the fall. Now, every time some new incident erupts, these folks are being tarred.

Opposition to affirmative action is racist. Supporting the tea party gives aid and comfort to racists. Opposing health care puts you in league with folks who used racial slurs on Rep. John Lewis. To raise the issue of the New Black Panther Party is to play the race card.

One understand the bitterness of tea party folks who carry signs that read: "What difference does it make what this placard says. You'll call it racist anyway."

SOURCE

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The Washington Post Finds Waste -- in Government!

Congratulations are due to the Washington Post. "Top Secret America," its in-depth, multi-part, two-year investigation into the vast network of government security agencies and private contractors is an eye-opener -- obvious Pulitzer bait.

Reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin have revealed a "hidden world, growing beyond control." Within this "alternate geography" of the United States, they found some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies at work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. Over 850,000 Americans have top-secret security clearances. They spend "a gusher of money" that has flowed since 9/11.

And -- this will blow your socks off -- the Post found that there is tremendous waste, duplication, and lack of accountability. Really? In a government program? "Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks."

Not only that, but they aren't careful about the way they spend taxpayer dollars. "With so much money to spend, managers do not always worry about whether they are spending it effectively. ' Someone says, let's do another study, and because no one shares information, everyone does their own study,' said Elena Mastors ... 'Everybody's just on a spending spree. We don't need all these people doing all this stuff.'"

The growth of counterterrorism spending since 9/11 has been sharp and dramatic. "With the quick infusion of money," write Priest and Arkin, "military and intelligence agencies multiplied. Twenty-four organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips and coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36 new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009." These analysts and agents produce an estimated 50,000 reports per year -- most of which are never read.

So yes, bravo to the Post. Truly. But why do they tend to notice government waste only when it applies to national security? The Post and other liberal organs have been quick to record how much the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (particularly Iraq) have cost taxpayers. But they seem much less curious about waste, duplication, and even fraud in other areas of government spending.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Ben Stein answers his critics: "I am guessing that the point that Mr. Crowe and his pals on the left were trying to make is that because I pointed out a truth about the unemployed I know is that I am hard hearted. This is painfully the opposite of the truth. I am 65 now, as Mr. Crowe thoughtfully pointed out (in the context of suggesting that I am either insane or demented, a very sophisticated way to begin an essay). The main reason I am not as well situated for retirement as I should be is that I support so many unemployed people — some of them writers. It is the bane of my wife’s existence that money she thinks should go to our savings goes out to help unemployed friends. My critics on the left are pretty free with words of sympathy. How many of them pay for the mortgage payments of their unemployed friends, as I do, would be an interesting thing to know.”

Suppose there were food insurance: "Suppose there were food insurance. Rather than everyone paying for food with their own money, people would pay a certain fee to their insurance company every month, and in return the insurance company would pay for all of its clients’ groceries. Sound like a good idea? Perhaps, but what do you suppose would happen if we had this kind of food insurance?”

AIDS experts: End war on drugs: "Some of the world’s top AIDS experts issued a radical manifesto this week at the 18th International AIDS Conference: They declared the war on drugs a 50-year-old failure and called for it to be abandoned.”

Memo portrays UN chief wanting control, secrecy: "A portrait of Ban Ki-moon as a secrecy-obsessed U.N. chief seeking to wrest control of internal investigations emerges from a blistering 50-page confidential memo by his former oversight chief. The unusual memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, describes Ban as more concerned with preventing news leaks than with releasing possible criminal evidence to prosecutors.”

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, 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, July 23, 2010



Are antisemites mad?

Shrinkwrapped is a very thoughtful blog by a conservative-oriented psychoanalyst in New York. From recollection, the author is Jewish. It is a generally very good blog well worth reading for those of us who are particularly interested in the psychology of politics -- which is my field of academic research.

Recently, Glenn Reynolds linked to an article by Roddy Boyd ("Killing Jews For Fun and For Profit: The Continuing American Adventures of Arab Bank") documenting a court case against an Arab Bank which illustrates how even supposedly rational and reasonable institutions, once in thrall to antisemitism, end up behaving irrationally and self destructively. Shrinkwrapped has responded with an article titled "Anti-Semitism as Thought Disorder".

To be a little crass about it, Shrinkwrapped argues that antisemitism sends you mad. That argument is of course not a new one. There are several versions of it and "The authoritarian personality" version of 1950 is perhaps the best known.

It is however basically an "armchair" theory. As far as I can tell, the people putting it forward have little if any personal knowledge of actual antisemites. For some reason, however, I have always had the compulsion to test theory against reality -- which usually does nothing for my popularity. And much of my research career was devoted to testing inferences derived from "The authoritarian personality" theory.

Readers who know my skeptical stance on global warming and health science will not be surprised to hear that I regularly found inferences from the theory not to be supported by the data.

And one of the things I did was to apply the characteristic methodology of anthropology to an examination of antisemitism. Anthropologists have the view that you can never understand a group "from the outside" -- You have to join the group and become accepted into it before you will ever have any chance of understanding it. I did that with the neo-Nazi group in my city. In other words I got out of my armchair and had a close-up look at what I was talking about. My resultant observations were published in The Jewish Journal of Sociology.

And what I found was actually something extremely common -- perfectly normal sane people who had just got hold of a wrong theory -- not unlike most Global Warmists today and not unlike the hordes of grade school teachers who think that just looking at words without any mention of phonics is a good way for kids to learn to read.

All three theories -- Jewish evil, global warming and "look and learn" have been catastrophic in different ways and illustrate the importance of getting your theories right. They also, sadly, illustrate the reluctance of people to let go of a theory they have accepted when confronted with evidence that the theory concerned is wrong.

Scientists are in fact some of the worst people at that. They cling to the theories of their youth through thick and thin and it is only the arising of a younger generation of scientists with more open minds that allows scientific thinking to advance.

So I disagree with Shrinkwrapped in seeing antisemites as being in some way psychologically abnormal. I think they are all too normal in fact. And it is precisely their normality which makes me despair of changing their views.

So in the end I am more pessimistic about antisemites than Shrinkwrapped is. He seems to think that psychological "help" could change their views whereas I doubt that anything will change their views. Israel can kill the antisemites that surround it but it will not change their minds.

Update

Shrinkwrapped has offered some polite comments on my post above. I am a bit amused by his heading. He uses the rare word "emended" -- which refers to minor textual corrections. But his post is much more extensive than that. In a nutshell, he says that antisemitism can drive a whole society mad even if all the individuals in it are sane.

That seems a stretch to me but I will think about it. I tend to agree with Margaret Thatcher's thoroughly conservative observation that there is no such thing as society, only individual people.

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The Democrats' War on America's West

Michelle Malkin

"Why do they hate us?" It's a burning question on the minds of border-dwelling taxpayers, small-business owners, farmers, and Rocky Mountain oil and gas industry workers suffering under punitive Democrat policies. Eighteen months into the Barack Obama administration, the war on the American West is in full swing.

The first battlefront: immigration. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats rejected a GOP amendment banning the use of federal funds to participate in any litigation against the new Arizona immigration enforcement law.

"Our federal government should be doing its job to secure our borders rather than trying to bully and intimidate the people of Arizona," argued Republican amendment sponsor Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. "We should not be suing and really hassling the people of Arizona for doing what we should be doing here, and that's protecting the citizenry."

All but five Senate Democrats (Indiana's Evan Bayh took a pass and didn't vote) sided with the anti-Arizona Obama administration -- and against not only a majority of Arizonans, but a majority of Americans who support the state's effort to restore order on the chaotic southern border and protect American workers facing double-digit unemployment.

Several House Democrats have actively lobbied to boycott Arizona and crush its economy -- most notably, southern Arizona's own Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, who urged civic, religious and political groups to take their convention dollars elsewhere.

"Do not do business with this state," Grijalva told open-borders zealots bent on punishing law-abiding citizens to "send a message."

For its part, the Obama Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has targeted Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio for more than a year over his strict enforcement policies against illegal alien criminals. The hell-bent Civil Rights Division is helmed by veteran illegal immigration advocate Thomas Perez, who has lobbied for driver's licenses, in-state tuition discounts and blanket amnesty for millions of border-jumpers, visa overstayers and deportation fugitives.

Arizona's neighbor to the north, Utah, is under fire by a different set of left-wing bureaucrats. When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar isn't busy destroying jobs through his radical offshore drilling moratorium, he's been blocking onshore development and wreaking havoc on the Beehive State's energy industry.

Last week, Salazar defended pulling 77 oil lease contracts granted in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. Salazar's inspector general concluded that there was no evidence of any rush to auction off the parcels -- as baselessly claimed by environmental groups and Salazar himself. In fact, the leases were granted only after seven full years of rigorous study and debate.

That makes two Salazar job-destroying bans based off bogus eco-claims. (Remember: Loathsome cowboy Salazar was behind the shameless doctoring of a scientific report to bolster the Obama administration's devastating offshore drilling ban.)

Uintah County, Utah, officials have sued the Interior Department over the rescinded leases, which have cost the state untold millions of dollars and countless jobs in a tough economy. Not to mention the court expenses, legal morass and regulatory uncertainty.

Other Western states are reeling as a result of the Democrats' eco-radicalism -- and the rest of America is paying a high price, too. Salazar was a leading opponent of oil shale development when he served in the U.S. Senate for Colorado.

There are an estimated 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming alone -- enough to potentially free us from Saudi oil dependence. Yet as Obama's interior secretary, Salazar has wielded his power to halt plans to lease oil shale rights in the West. In addition, Obama's Bureau of Land Management is dragging its feet on more than $100 million in unissued oil and gas leases in Wyoming. These resources remain untapped thanks to militant greenies who pay lip service to energy independence while blocking all practical means of achieving it.

At a partisan rally on Monday to crusade for endless unemployment insurance benefits extensions, President Obama lectured Republicans to "stop holding workers hostage to politics." Speak for yourself, pal.

SOURCE

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BrookesNews Update

Obama's policies are a recipe for economic stagnation : Given present conditions there is no way that Obama's policies could restore full employment without cutting real wages. And surging inflation is the only means by which he can do that, assuming Americans would stand for it. Even if full employment was restored Obama's policies would suck the life out of the economy leaving the vast majority of Americans with little hope of bettering their lives
The Australian economy is slowing, not accelerating : The Australian economy is not as healthy as it looks. Last October UBS economists predicted that the Australian economy would start accelerating in the second half of 2010. I was highly dubious then and more so now. Before long I expect certain economists to be eating crow, even if it will be in private
Why capital gains taxes retard economic growth : Capital gains taxes erect a significant barrier to the movement of savings from old established companies to newer and more innovative enterprises. In fact, they become a tax on social mobility, as does a highly progressive income tax structure
Don't believe the MSM when it says Cuba's prisons are emptying : The corrupt media are at it again. This time major outlets are covering up for Castro's Gulag. Instead of reporting on his victims these lying leftwing hacks are praising this sadistic thug for releasing a handful of political prisoners
It's the savings that fuels economic growth - not government spending : Since early 2001 the US pool of funding has been subjected to the most vicious attack in the form of the aggressive lowering of interest rates. Yet despite all the monetary pumping and the aggressive lowering of interest rates the economy has continued to struggle
Hating Jews :Jews worldwide are again under attack. The Holocaust and 6 million slaughtered Jews have been forgotten. It now appears that history is on the way to repeating itself, aided and abetted by the world press
Where does oil really come from? It remains, however, only an article of faith that oil and natural gas are biological in origin; scientific proof is absent. Recently, information from the Gulf of Mexico has caused geologists to rethink the origins of these so-called fossil fuels

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ELSEWHERE

NYT not broke yet: "The New York Times Co. reported a slight increase in quarterly revenue overnight as double-digit growth in digital advertising helped offset a continued slide in print advertising. The Times Co., which owns The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and other newspapers in addition to the flagship New York Times, said revenue rose 1.2 per cent in the second quarter to $US589.6 million ($660 million) over a year ago. Net profit declined to $US32 million from $US39 million a year earlier when the media giant posted a large tax benefit. "These positive results continued to build on the momentum of the past few quarters as the company was able to increase revenues and decrease operating costs," Times Co. president and chief executive Janet Robinson said. [Looks like it paid off to fire all those journalists]

A real Leftist conspiracy -- among journalists: "Journolist e-mails obtained by The Daily Caller reveal what anybody with two neurons to rub together already knew: Professional liberals don't like Republicans and do like Democrats. They can be awfully smug and condescending in their sense of intellectual and moral superiority. In 2008, participants shared talking points about how to shape coverage to help Obama. They tried to paint any negative coverage of Obama's racist and hateful pastor, Jeremiah Wright, as out of bounds. Journalists at such "objective" news organizations as Newsweek, Bloomberg, Time and The Economist joined conversations with open partisans about the best way to criticize Sarah Palin."

Deliberate lies by mainstream journalists: " What is surprising is the attempt by at least one high profile lefty to smear the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes and former Bush aide Karl Rove as "racist" Former New Republic scribbler Spencer Ackerman, who is now with Wired, proposed the manufacture of just to such an attack on Barnes and Bush to the JournoList's annointed when the Jeremiah Wright story exploded in 2008. Ackerman admitted on JournoList that he wasn't interested in whether Barnes or Rove were in fact rascist, just that the charge was useful at that moment in time."

US House panel charges Rangel with ethics misdeeds: "It looks like Rep. Charlie Rangel will finally get his day in court. A House panel said Thursday that its investigative subcommittee charged the Harlem Democrat with multiple ethics violations, and it will form an ‘adjudicatory subcommittee’ to weigh the matter. ‘I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media,’” Rangel said in a statement."

US cities at long last begin grasping the benefits of privatization: "Facing a budgetary shortfall of between $56 billion to $86 billion over the next two years, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Tamara Audi (’Cities Rent Police, Janitors to Save Cash’) documents efforts by municipalities across the nation to stanch red ink by outsourcing the ‘public’ services they no longer can afford to supply. It’s about time.”

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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

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

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The inimitable Pat Condell on the proposed NYC mosque



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Obama Omits Jobs Killed or Thwarted from his Tally

Can you believe they’re still touting that silly metric? When I heard last week that the White House would be announcing the number of “jobs created or saved” as a result of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, my first reaction was embarrassment.

Imagine how Christina Romer must feel. The chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors was dressed in a cheery, salmon-colored jacket, a complement to the upbeat news she had to deliver on July 14. The $787 billion stimulus enacted in February 2009, which subsequently grew to $862 billion, increased gross domestic product by 2.7 percent to 3.4 percent relative to where it would have been, and added anywhere from 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs compared with an ex-stimulus baseline.

“By this estimate, the Recovery Act has met the president’s goal of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs -- two quarters earlier than anticipated,” Romer said with a straight face. (More than 2.5 million non-farm jobs have been lost since ARRA was enacted in February 2009, all of them in the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

How does the CEA arrive at these numbers? It uses two methods, Romer said. The first is a standard macroeconomic forecasting model that estimates the multiplier effect of fiscal policy. (The government’s spending is someone else’s income.) The second method is statistical, using previous relationships between GDP and employment to project future behavior.

Model Imperfection

These numbers might just as well have been pulled out of a hat. Recall that it was the same model and method the administration used in January 2009 to predict an unemployment rate of 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 with the enactment of the fiscal stimulus and 8.8 percent without. The unemployment rate now stands at 9.5 percent.

This same model convinced policy makers that the subprime crisis was contained, encouraged the rating companies to slap AAA ratings on collateralized garbage, and led banks to believe they had adequately managed their risks and reserved for potential losses.

Econometric models rely on the assumption that $1 of government spending generates more than $1 of GDP, the so-called multiplier effect. There is no allowance for the negative multiplier on the other side.

Sure the government can spend money and generate GDP growth in the short run: Government spending is a component of GDP!

What it giveth it taketh away from the private sector via taxation or borrowing. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar the private sector doesn’t spend, an investment it doesn’t make, a job it doesn’t create. This is what is unseen, as Frederic Bastiat explained in an 1850 essay.

Hiring Disincentives

“If the administration wants to take credit for ‘jobs created or saved,’ it should also accept responsibility for ’jobs destroyed or prevented,’” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business.

Ignoring the flaws in the stimulus for the moment, Congress raised the hurdle for hiring entry-level workers when it refused to delay the third step in a three-stage minimum wage increase last year. And the Department of Labor cracked down on unpaid internships, outlining six criteria that businesses had to satisfy in order to hire someone willing and able to work for nothing to get the experience.

For example, the employer must derive “no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Recession’s Advantage

At the White House briefing last week, Romer touted the leveraging of public investment with private funds, with $1 of Recovery Act funds partnering with $3 of outside spending. Romer said this public spending “saved or created 800,000 jobs” in the second quarter alone.

Once again, what would have happened in the absence of the government’s targeted intervention?

According to a June 2009 study by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, well over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 list, and almost half of the fastest growing companies in America, were started during a recession or bear market. Dunkelberg calls this phenomenon “negative push starts.” People might not be willing to quit their jobs, but if they get laid off during a recession and were thinking about starting a business, they might seize the day, he said.

“When people ask me when the best time to start a company is, I tell them the day before the recession ends,” Dunkelberg said. “They can do it on the cheap, and the next day you get cash flow." Model That!

What’s more, firms less than five years old are responsible for all of the net new jobs created in the U.S., the Kauffman study found. Job creation by start-ups is more stable, less sensitive to the business cycle.

So, if the goal is to create more jobs, and start-ups are the ones that create them, why is the Obama administration partnering up with existing firms?

“Job-creation policies aimed at luring larger, established employers will inevitably fail,” said Tim Kane, Kauffman Foundation senior fellow in research and policy and author of a follow-up study released this month.

Not to worry. The White House has a model that turns failure into success.

SOURCE

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The scariest unemployment graph I’ve seen yet



The median duration of unemployment is higher today than any time in the last 50 years. That's an understatement. It is more than twice as high today than any time in the last 50 years.

SOURCE

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Obama's Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina

His gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach

The growing divide and tension between the Obama administration and the business world is a cause for national concern. As Clive Crook wrote in the Financial Times, Obama is "a president under business attack." He is certainly under sharp criticism and for good reason: He has lost the confidence of much of the business community, whose worries over taxes, the dramatically increased costs of new regulation, and a general perception that the administration is hostile toward them and may take yet harsher steps, are holding back investment and growth. In the midst of a weak economy accompanied by levels of unemployment unprecedented since the Great Depression, it is critical that the government in Washington appreciate that confidence is an imperative if the business community is to invest, take risks with start-ups, and altogether get the economy going again to put the millions of unemployed back to productive work.
Click here to find out more!

This is what businessmen do when they are free to conduct business. For example, in the two decades of the 1980s and 1990s, the United States created 73 million new private sector jobs—while simultaneously losing some 44 million jobs in the process of adjusting its economy to international competition. That was a net gain of some 29 million jobs. A stunning 55 percent of the total workforce at the end of these two decades was in a new job, some two-thirds of them in industries that paid more than the average wage. By contrast, continental Europe, with a larger economy and workforce, created an estimated 4 million jobs in the same period, most of which were in the public sector (and the cost of which they are beginning to regret).

How could America achieve this? It is because of the get-up-and-go culture that reflects individualism, courageous entrepreneurialism, pragmatism, adaptability, and innovation. This adventurous spirit outlived the passing of the frontier and still inspires and nourishes millions, including our young and our newcomers. No other country has a population so habituated to self-help, self-improvement, and even self-renovation in a manner that carries over into business life.

The unique historical conditions of America encouraged a remarkable management culture. The anthropologist, Lionel Tiger, showed that the style of American corporate management was a response to the opportunities of a huge internal market, but also the obstacles presented by vast distances and diverse populations. We created a monetized market economy inspired by a belief in technology and scientific management, governed not by kinship and custom but by contracts freely agreed upon and law passed by assent.

Over the years, the transformation of American industry has been nothing short of phenomenal. U.S. companies replaced large, mass-produced consumer products with sophisticated goods derived from intellectual output and knowledge-based interests, the fastest-growing segment of the world's economy. Management was assisted by a level of labor flexibility that is the envy of both Europe and Asia. Europe struggles with the legacy of the steam age in the form of craft, union, and management demarcations that limit management's role. In Asia, management is often stifled by large, oligopolistic networks and government mandates.

American managers consistently led the world in investing in new technologies and providing high-tech training to exploit them. We were the first to realize the importance of computers and information technologies and invested massively in them, spending twice as much per capita on info-tech as Western European firms and more than six times the global average. In fact, U.S. companies are the major suppliers of the information age's silicon, brains, and sinews.

No other country has met the requirements of an emerging economic system that needed people to be mobile both physically and psychologically. No other country shares America's belief in numbers and statistics as a basis for rational decision-making. No other country invests so much in business training and the retraining of its people—on top of having the world's best graduate and undergraduate business schools. No other country forms as many small companies year after year that compete with flexibility, rapid response, openness, innovation, and the ability to attract the best people. And as new products and services are developed, American businesses' unique marketing and advertising skills establish their success at home and abroad. Our system, in which ideas freely percolate at all levels, is tantamount to a giant information-processing machine. It enhances our capacity to absorb, adapt, and manage ongoing revolutions in technology, information, and logistics, which are too dynamic and complex to be handled by a top-down system.

The energy in business is matched by a unique and remarkable world of finance capital that over decades has identified the multiple sources of entrepreneurial funding. For example, our IPO process provides capital to service a merit-based, diversified financial environment and to fund young talent, new ideas, and the risks associated with high-tech, high-growth, high-concept companies.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Poll: Faith in Social Security is tanking: "Middle Tennessee residents, struggling to put the recession behind them, worry they won’t have much of a future if they rely on Social Security benefits to finance their senior years. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that a majority of retirees expect their current benefits to be cut, a dramatic increase in the number holding that view. And a record six of 10 non-retirees predict Social Security won’t be able to pay them benefits when they stop working. ‘I’ll be working until I’m 70,’ said East Nashville resident Kenya Stevens. ‘I’m not counting on getting anything. I was raised to be self-sufficient, so even before there were problems with Social Security, I never looked forward to getting any benefits.’”

In support of speculation: "A recent World Development Movement report blames financial speculation and banks for increases in certain food prices and subsequently worsening world hunger. The report adamantly supports banking reform towards heavy regulation similar to the recent US Wall Street legislation. Prices of basic crops and food processing have indeed increased over the passed decade. The culprits however, are not speculators.”

Obamacare’s broken promises: "Does President Obama have any idea what’s in his own health-care reform law? Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a bit more than 100 days ago, the president has given a number of speeches and interviews in which he continues to say things that, well, just aren’t so.”

The boundless beneficence of Big Brother: "Officially, the Republicans do not oppose extending unemployment benefits yet again. Rather, they merely want to observe the rules Obama championed last fall. In other words, Democrats should pay for the spending by finding cuts elsewhere in the budget. What is ‘fiscally responsible’ when Obama is for it, is rank partisanship when he’s against it. But enough with the point scoring. I want to get back to Mr. Chukalas, a father of two and a diligent, decent man for all I know. Again, he says, ‘If your brother or your sister needed something, you wouldn’t say, ‘When are you going to pay me back?’’ I don’t know about the Chukalas clan, but in my family and my wife’s family, and in most families I know, asking, ‘When are you going to pay me back?’ isn’t so unimaginable."

Voters Overwhelming Oppose New Taxes on Oil and Natural Gas Industry: "Voters in 10 key states oppose higher taxes on America’s oil and natural gas industry by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll released today. Both the administration and some members of Congress have recently proposed billions of dollars in new taxes on the industry. “Voters know raising taxes on an industry that provides most of their energy and supports more than 9.2 million jobs would hurt them and damage the economy,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard."

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, 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, July 21, 2010



Who is Barack Obama?

The comparison to Reagan may give Obama cheer, but it is not really apt. For even in Reagan's darkest days when, according to Gallup, six out of 10 Americans reported that they did not like the job he was doing, an astounding six in 10 nevertheless said they liked the man himself. He was, of course, phenomenally charming, authentic and schooled at countless soundstages in appearing that way. Just as important, the public had faith in the consistency of his principles, agree or not. This was the Reagan Paradox and it helped lift his presidency.

No one is accusing Obama of being likable. He is not unlikable, but he lacks Reagan's (or Bill Clinton's) warmth. What's more, his career has been brief. He led no movement, was spokesman for no ideology and campaigned like a Nike sneaker -- change instead of swoosh. He seems distant. No Irish jokes from him. For the average voter, he casts no shadow.

Reagan, by contrast, had been around forever. He was not defined solely by gauzy campaign ads but by countless speeches, two contentious and highly controversial terms as California governor and a previous race for the presidency. There was never a question about who Reagan was and what he stood for. Not so Obama. About all he shares with Reagan at this point are low ratings.

What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith in him making the right economic decisions because, as far as they're concerned, he hasn't. He went for health care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn't. He's been cold to Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama's smart. But we still don't know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he's done they have to know who he is. We're waiting.

More HERE

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Dealergate: Destroying Jobs on the basis of unproven government theories

Michelle Malkin

Everything you need to know about the nightmare of government-controlled businesses can be found in a damning new inspector general's report on Dealergate. The independent review of how and why the Obama administration forced Chrysler and General Motors to oversee mass closures of car dealerships across the country reveals grisly incompetence, fatal bureaucratic hubris and Big Labor cronyism. No wonder you won't hear much about the report's in-depth details in the so-called mainstream media.

But Neil Barofsky, the federal watchdog overseeing the bank-auto-insurance-all-purpose bailout fund, found that the White House auto industry task force and the Treasury Department "Auto Team" had no basis for ordering the expedited car dealership closure schedules. They relied on a single consulting firm's internal report recommending that the U.S. companies adopt foreign auto industry models to increase profits -- a recommendation hotly disputed by auto experts who questioned whether foreign practices could be applied to domestic American dealership networks.

Team Obama's government auto mechanics also ignored the economic impact of rushing those closures. According to Barofsky, they discounted counter-testimony from industry officials that "closing dealerships in an environment already disrupted by the recession could result in an even greater crisis in sales."

The inspector general also noted that "it is clear that tens of thousands of dealership jobs were immediately put in jeopardy as a result of the terminations by GM and Chrysler." After extensive investigation, the watchdog concluded that "the acceleration of dealership closings was not done with any explicit cost savings to the manufacturers in mind." Only after Capitol Hill critics -- both Republican and Democrat -- started questioning the Dealergate decisions did Obama's auto "experts" come up with market studies and estimated job loss data to assess the impact of their reckless, arbitrary orders.

In sum, the inspector general found: "(A)t a time when the country was experiencing the worst economic downturn in generations and the government was asking its taxpayers to support a $787 billion stimulus package designed primarily to preserve jobs, Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls -- all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions' broader economic impact."

This is no surprise, of course, considering the amount of actual business expertise among Obama's auto czars and key staff. That is: zero.

More HERE

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Stimulating Unemployment

If you can't create any jobs, pay people not to work

Presidents typically invite Americans to appear at Rose Garden press conferences to trumpet their policy successes, but yesterday we saw what may have been a first. President Obama introduced three Americans—an auto worker, a fitness center employee and a woman in real estate—who've been out of work so long they underscore the failure of his economic program. Where are his spinmeisters when he really needs them?

Sure, Mr. Obama's ostensible purpose was to lobby Congress for the eighth extension of jobless benefits since the recession began, to a record 99 weeks, or nearly two years. And he whacked Senate Republicans for blocking the extension, though Republicans are merely asking that the extension be offset by cuts in other federal spending.

But Mr. Obama was nonetheless obliged to concede that, 18 months after his $862 billion stimulus, there are still five job seekers for every job opening and that 2.5 million Americans will soon run out of unemployment benefits. What happens when the 99 weeks of benefits run out? Will the President demand that they be extended to three years, or four?

Only last week Vice President Joe Biden was hailing the stimulus for "saving or creating" three million jobs. This week the White House says we need even more stimulus, in the form of jobless checks, to make up for the jobs his original spending stimulus didn't create.

The one possibility the President and Congressional Democrats won't entertain is that their own spending and taxing and regulating and labor union favoritism have become the main hindrance to job creation. Since February 2009, the jobless rate has climbed to 9.5% from 8.1%, and private industry has shed two million jobs. The overall economy has been expanding for at least a year, but employers still don't seem confident enough to add new workers. The economists who sold us the stimulus say it's a mystery. But maybe employers are afraid to hire because they don't know what costs government will impose on them next....

Mr. Obama also claimed yesterday that he wants to cut taxes on small businesses. That's a good idea, but Mr. Obama's proposal to provide one-year temporary tax cuts, such as expensing of certain capital purchases, will be dwarfed by one of the largest tax increases on small- and medium-sized firms in history that is scheduled to hit on January 1. The increase in the capital gains tax will fall hardest on start ups and expanding businesses that need capital for growth. More than half of the "rich" who will pay higher income tax rates next year are small business owners and investors.

The President is right that "we've got a lot of work to do" to get Americans back to work and that the toll on families from high unemployment is considerable. There are few things in life more demoralizing than being unemployed for a lengthy period of time. But paying people not to work and adding $30 billion more to nearly $1.4 trillion of deficit spending is a dismal substitute for real economic growth and private job creation.

More HERE

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The destructive party

I just finished editing a book. It's called "Duped America," (dupedamerican.com is the website where it can be purchased) and it explains--in great detail--how Democrats and their media sycophants have deliberately misled the American public regarding some of the most important issues of our time.

What makes the book genuinely compelling is that its author, Richard Bernstein, is a former life-long, liberal Jewish Democrat who got his head snapped back by the atrocity of 9/11. As he watched the Twin Towers fall, he couldn't understand why Americans had never even heard of al Qaeda before that fateful day.

So he decided to do some research. Not with the original intent of writing a book, but simply to find out what's been going on in this country--without that information being filtered by Democrats and their usual mainstream media suspects. After eight years of exploration he discovered many things that both shocked and amazed him, but the most shocking was this: he realized the political party to whom he had given a lifetime of unquestioning allegiance no longer represented his interests. In fact, he discovered what a lot of Americans are discovering: not only do Democrats no longer represent the interests of the majority of Americans, they are working actively against them.

Mr. Bernstein has the facts, researched and footnoted.

Why did he write the book? For the same reason I write columns: American exceptionalism is far too valuable to be destroyed by a political party and a president who consider all countries "equally exceptional." And that's when Democrats aren't busy apologizing for our racism, imperialism, xenophobia and free enterprise. Or telling Americans wars are "lost" before they've even been fought, or "fixing" things for their cronies on Wall Street and in public sector unions. We write because we're sick of seeing our public schools turned into liberal indoctrination centers, or scientific thought being corrupted by political ideology. We write because we know appeasing terrorists and foes while we snub our allies is a fool's errand. We write to prevent an economic tsunami from engulfing us, not because one is inevitable, but because bankrupt ideologues are greasing the skids, instead of saving the country.

We write because America is a terrible thing to waste.

And yet here come Republicans, tooling along in third gear when it's clear as day it's pedal-to-the-metal time. When the country is "this" close to being turned into a socialist nightmare of big-government hacks doling out "social justice" to whomever they deem suitable. When Americans, up to their necks in fear for the future, need genuine inspiration--not tired election slogans they've heard a thousand times before.

Republicans, trust me when I tell you that your party's hour is at hand. A "strategy" of "vote for us because we suck less than Democrats" is an utter insult to the electorate. Refusing to make detailed policy statements because it might cut into your generic lead in the polls is too clever by half. If you can't defend freedom and limited government clearly and concisely, resign. If you can't forcefully attack the worst combination of a Congress and a White House in history, get the hell out of the way and make room for those of us who can.

More HERE

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Obama admin: Mandate is a tax after all: "Obama, in the Democratic primary, argued against the individual mandate. It was one of the key distinctions between himself and Clinton(It should be recalled that Obama, in the primary, ran ‘Harry and Louise’ ads against the Clinton Health Care plan). After he was elected, he immediately delegated the crafting of Health Care legislation to the congress, which immediately began fashioning something that resembled the Clinton plan, with mandates and all. When Obama was propagandizing the merits of the Health Care Reform Bill to the press, he bristled at suggestions that the mandate was a ‘tax.’ … Now that the individual mandate is being challenged in federal court by the attorney generals of various States, the Obama Admin has dispensed with the propaganda.”

Washington elites face reality gap on economy: "While private sector workers across the country are struggling with abnormally high unemployment rates, federal government employees in Washington are likely to be bewildered by the current economic downturn. In fact, a Politico article released today confirmed that about half of ‘Washington elites’ who live in the D.C. metro area and work in politics or policy fields claim that the country and the economy are headed in the right direction — compared to less than 25 percent of the general population.”

It’s time to shift spending to states: "Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, which currently equal about 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, will expand to more than 30 percent by 2085, according to recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. The national debt is estimated to jump from the current 60 percent of GDP to several times the GDP. The exact numbers depend on a range of assumptions. But under every plausible scenario, both debt and debt service explode under current policy. At some point, therefore, the economy is due to crash unless Washington reins in spending. One way to avoid this outcome would be to transfer entitlement programs to the states.”

Black racism embarrasses the White House -- for once: "The Obama administration quickly asked an African American official in the Agriculture Department to resign Monday after a conservative website showed an excerpt of a speech she had given in which she appeared to describe her unwillingness to help a white farmer. … the incident took place in 1986, when Ms. Sherrod was working for the farmer-aid organization’s Georgia field office. The organization was founded to help black farmers but ‘helped anyone who walked in the door,’ Mr. Paige said. Ms. Sherrod told CNN that ‘I know I didn’t do anything wrong’ and that the video excerpt did not represent the context of her remarks.”

Projection? Black racists accusing others of being racist: "The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution at its national convention Tuesday condemning the tea party movement for tolerating racism. Is that not the pot calling the kettle black? The NAACP has to be one of the most racist organizations on the planet and its attacks on the populist tea party movement make it a hypocritical one as well.”

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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

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

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010



Rescuing America from its present great danger: The danger from within

The mistake made by those who voted for Obama, thinking it would be different with him, is their belief that it would be different with him. A politician is a politician. You could change the color, the gender, even the party, and you are still left with a politician. That is not necessarily an evil thing. We must have politicians, I suppose, but like the metaphorical crazy aunt who is kept in the attic, a politician should be kept in his or her place, lest the house become chaotic.

The taxing and regulating has only just begun. The Obama people are not intrinsically evil. Like someone caught up in a cult, they sincerely believe in the fiction they are peddling: more taxes will produce a healthier economy; the record debt is not a problem; more regulation will result in banks and big businesses operating ethically and for the greater good of their customers and the country; nationalized health care will mean better care for the sick; unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage are fine; unenforced immigration laws are good because Democrats need to import votes and Republicans want cheap labor.

If America's wrong course is to be righted, Republicans and conservatives must offer something different from the last time they held power. That should begin with a history lesson. What did the founders and their constitutionalist descendants believe would produce the best results for a people united around certain commonly held principles? What was the result when those principles were applied (or not applied) in our national life and in individual lives?

The problem today is that fewer of those principles are commonly held, because they are not taught in public schools and universities, or reinforced by the media from which we get too much of our information and too little truth.

America is about opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes. If someone lacks opportunity, the goal should be to clear obstacles that block opportunity. Motivation is something else. No one can be taught motivation. That's up to each individual.

On taxes, there is plenty of evidence concerning how our economy responds when taxes are high and when they are low. Why are we allowing the politicians to seize ever-larger amounts of the money we make and misspend it as they do?

Republicans and conservatives are going to have to do more than argue their familiar ideological positions this November and again in two years. They must show their ideas work. To do this, they can adopt some of the Democrats' theatrics. Democrats love to parade legions of the aggrieved and deprived. Republicans should start their own parade, headed in the opposite direction. People who encountered difficult circumstances, but overcame them by practicing Republican and conservative principles, would populate a GOP parade.

Again, it is no shame to make a mistake. It is shameful to repeat it. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is dismantling the America we have known and loved and transforming it into something it has never been: a socialist state. If we let them do it, there will be no forgiveness, no excuse and no going back. And our shame will be an indelible stain for which future generations will judge us.

SOURCE

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That charming TSA again

Like me, you’ve probably wondered where the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rustles up the gutless baboons it sics on passengers at its security theaters. Or perhaps you’ve speculated about just how low the IQ and morals must sink for a wannabe baboon to grunt, "Hmmm, think I’ll git me a job where I can stand around on the taxpayers’ dime, except for when I’m busy feeling ‘em up and rummagin’ their bags for money and drugs to ‘confiscate,’ heh-heh."

Here’s our answer: pizza boxes. The TSA is advertising for screeners on the boxes in which Washington DC’s pizzerias deliver their product. Though some might praise the agency for its sense of propriety – how fitting that it recruits for its cheesy make-work with a cheese-y pie! – I call it an offense against a beloved treat. Bread, garlicky sauce, melted mozzarella: does dinner come any more delicious than this? The fact that busybodies obsessed with our diet hyperventilate over this innocent pleasure only adds to its allure.

Meanwhile, grab a bucket: you’ll need it to catch your lunch after reading the ad. "A career where X-ray vision and federal benefits come standard," the headline shamelessly proclaims. The TSA’s strip-search machines traumatize victims (including its own employees), are carcinogenic, and do not detect explosives, yet Our Masters exploit the misery for their idea of a witticism. The copy below this insult gushes, "See yourself in a vital role for Homeland Security. Be part of a dynamic security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly secure your future." And hey, you also get to abuse crippled kids, amputees, the elderly, hard-working patriots carrying cash, folks feeling ill, and even those passengers who’ve followed your silly rules to the letter. Yo, Pistole: if the pizza boxes don’t pay off, maybe you can spring for the back cover of Sadists International.

Alas, the TSA’s public servants compensate with cowardliness what they lack in decency. No passenger is too innocuous or unlikely a threat to spook these goofballs. When one of them forced Danielle Shanese Smith, 25, into their smutty scanner at Charlotte-Douglas [NC] International Airport earlier this month, her involuntary strip-tease "indicated anomalies." So her assailant "asked if she had anything in her pockets." She responded, "’I have a bomb.’ … asked to repeat her statement in front of second officer, Smith did so … The officers requested a supervisor, who asked her again if she had anything in her pockets. Smith replied: ‘a bomb, cuz I am a (expletive) terrorist’…"

How many times have we all longed to similarly sass the TSA’s tormenters?

Of course, "officers found no explosive"; when do they ever? So they punished the lady by insisting she "had ‘an intense stare’ and ‘a non-joking demeanor’ that made theme [sic] believe her threat was credible..." Way to go, ma’am! Put the invertebrates in their place with a look!

Naturally, Ms. Smith’s hostility to the TSA’s wickedness has barred her from American aviation: she "is not allowed to fly commercially or enter an airport until her case is concluded." Would that we could say the same for the goons who searched her without a warrant. The Feds may even bankrupt and imprison her for her words: "The U.S. Attorney's Office said Smith, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine, five years in prison or both." Seems that while chucking the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, the TSA threw out the Eighth as well. For good measure, "airport police charged Smith with disorderly conduct."

Older men also inspire the TSA’s bullies to retaliate. Richard Bellows, a taxpayer from Carmel, IN, not only neglected to overlook the TSA’s sloth in Indianapolis International Airport, he dared complain about it. "Bellows was in line at about 6 a.m. Tuesday when he asked a Transportation Security Administration official why it was taking so long – especially when he could see five TSA scanners who appeared to be loafing." Uh-oh. Haven’t Our Masters made it crystal clear that uppity serfs annoy them? Our job is to cringe and obey, not imply that our time is valuable, our lives are our own, and the police-state had better stop hassling us.

Ergo, the TSA re-educated Mr. Bellows: its miffed minions barred him from his flight and almost convinced cops to arrest him. "…TSA behavioral detection officer Jamie Wilmot, at first said Bellows brushed him when he walked by [after he had complained] … But Wilmot later told behavioral detection supervisor Aaron Anderson and security manager Lisa Scott it felt more like a push than a shove." So Anderson, Scott, and "Airport Officer Michael Brite" – apparently summoned when Barney Fife-sorry, Jamie Wilmot barely survived the 63-year-old Mr. Bellows’ brush, push, or whatever – resorted to the TSA’s numerous, notorious surveillance cameras.

Our Rulers have squandered millions of our taxes on these gadgets. The unwary assume this demonstrates the TSA’s concern for our safety. Au contraire. The cameras are there to catch us, not protect us. For example, victims of the TSA’s robbery plead with it to review its videotape and confirm their tales of theft when the agency denies its lackeys’ criminality. Imagine their shock when told that the cameras didn’t film the felony because they are pointed at passengers – though no passenger anywhere has yet swiped a screener’s jewelry, drugs, or money, let alone his dignity and peace of mind.

Fortunately, the usual scenario reversed itself in Mr. Bellows’ case. "After watching replays of the brush/push from four different camera angles and doing a warrant check on Bellows, the officials decided that it [sic] was not threatening enough for an arrest." Ya think? "But they told Bellows he couldn't fly out Tuesday and would have to leave Wednesday. And when he came back he would be interviewed again, with further action still possible." That’ll teach him to speak his mind like a free man.

"We are committed to making each traveler's screening experience as pleasant and smooth as possible," the TSA prattles. "We are also committed to treating each traveler with dignity and respect…"

You better believe it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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Tony Abbott staunch on Israel support

Australia is having a Federal election very soon. Tony Abbott is the conservative contender for Prime Minister. He is a practicing Catholic. When will the great majority of Jews snap out of their medieval stupor and recognize that Christians are now their friends, not their enemies

Tony Abbott yesterday accused Labor [Australia's major Leftist party] of weakening the bipartisanship on Israel. The Opposition Leader vowed a government led by him would never "overreact" to international incidents and said the Coalition's support for Israel was "unshakeable".

"Of course, the Israeli government from time to time makes mistakes -- what government doesn't from time to time make mistakes? -- but Australians should appreciate that a diminished Israel diminishes the West; it diminishes us," Mr Abbott said.

"I have to say it's a little disappointing, given the deep affinity between the Australian people and the Israeli people, that the current Australian government has somewhat weakened our long-standing bipartisanship on Israel."

Mr Abbott appeared to be referring to Labor's expulsion of the Mossad station chief in retaliation for the Israeli intelligence agency's use of counterfeit Australian passports in the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January.

He said a Coalition government would never support a one-sided UN resolution against Israel.

SOURCE

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Econophysics?

'Econophysics' said to point the way to fair salaries in a free market

"A Purdue University researcher has used "econophysics" to show that under ideal circumstances free markets promote fair salaries for workers and do not support CEO compensation practices common today. The research presents a new perspective on 18th century economist Adam Smith's concept that an "invisible hand" drives a free market economy to a collective good.

"It is generally believed that the free market cares only about efficiency and not fairness. However, my theory shows that even though companies focus primarily on making profits and individuals are only looking out for themselves, the collective self-organizing free market dynamics, under ideal conditions, leads to fairness as an emergent property," said Venkat Venkatasubramanian, a professor of chemical engineering. "In reality, the self-correcting free market mechanisms have broken down for CEOs and other top executives in the market, but they seem to be working fine for the remaining 95 percent of employees."

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

I am pleased to say that I have just today acquired a large Gadsden flag which is now flying from the flagpole at the front of my house -- where I intend it to remain for the foreseeable future. I think the Gadsden flag is a good flag for libertarians as well as for tea-partiers, though those two groups probably do overlap to an extent anyway.

As far as I can see, the conservative blogosphere is just about 100% skeptical about global warming. So it was rather a surprise to read a rather dimwitted Canadian conservative arguing that global-warming skepticism is bad for the conservative cause. You can read his effusions and my reply to them on Greenie Watch.

Another stimulus boondoggle: "Dr. Christina Romer of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers claims that three dollar’s worth of personal income was generated by every federal dollar disbursed under 2009’s ‘American Recovery and Investment Act.’ Mr. Obama has been using that ‘result’ to convince naysayers that a second stimulus package is needed to lower an unemployment rate that has been hovering around nine percent since he moved into the White House. A government-spending ‘multiplier’ of three is beyond comprehension. As a matter of fact, recent work by Robert Barro suggests that during the Second World War, a $1 increase in government expenditures added less than $1 to U.S. GDP.”

Assessing over-assessment: "This should be obvious, but the reason governments can’t stop themselves from inflating real estate bubbles is that taxes based on the ‘assessed’ value of real estate are the lifeblood of most local governments. It’s always in the government’s interest to value real property as high as possible, even if the market thinks differently.”

Palin: Mosque an “unnecessary provocation”: "Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin opposes the construction of a Muslim-led facility that includes a ‘prayer space’ two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, calling it an ‘unnecessary provocation.’ Palin asked ‘peace-seeking Muslims’ and ‘Peaceful New Yorkers’ to reject the plan, saying the ‘catastrophic pain’ caused at the Twin Towers site ‘is too raw, too real,’ according to a post to her Twitter blog on Sunday. While the project received a nearly unanimous advisory vote in support from local community board representatives, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission must rule on the status of the building before demolition or construction can take place.”

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, 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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Monday, July 19, 2010



Intellectuals and Human Nature

Mike Adams

Recently, several “intellectuals” convened to deal with a problem so serious it could not be tackled by just one college professor. The question was this: How can professors stop an epidemic of students missing their examinations without jeopardizing student grades by resorting to point deductions?

The problem was so serious that the handful of intellectuals who first noticed the problem – and noticed others noticing the problem – sent out a mass email inviting others to attend a “brown bag” luncheon to brainstorm. They were searching for “solutions”, which would stop short of actually punishing students for missing their examinations.

I certainly have no problem with professors getting together to find “solutions” to difficult “problems.” But I do have a “problem” with the way these professors were characterizing their “problem.”

A better description of their “problem” – one that better reflects its magnitude – would sound something like this: How can we retain the secular/progressive view of human nature, which is needed to justify secular/progressive policies, in light of a wealth of evidence to the contrary?

The thoughts of the professors responding to the mass email were enlightening. One complained that she wanted to give her students the benefit of the doubt, but they constantly pushed and tested her. The more she withheld punishment, the more prevalent the undesirable behavior.

Another observed that the more often she does nice things for students, the more often they take advantage of her. She seemed perplexed by the fact that rewarding a missed exam with another administration, thus giving the student more time to prepare, led to more missed exams.

The dilemma of the perplexed professors highlights the fundamental difference between the conservative and the progressive views of human motivation. The former suggests that you can sometimes threaten to do bad things to people and expect good things in return. The latter suggests that you can promise to do good things for people and expect good things in return.

In the 1960s, our government began to put the progressive view of human nature to the test. We launched a War on Poverty in an effort to build a Great Society. Soon, we began to see mountains of data refuting the secular/progressive view of human nature.

By the end of the first decade of our efforts to build a Great Society, crime in America had skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. The 1960s saw record increases in crime rates, which have yet to be broken.

Progressives thought that giving people welfare, food stamps, and huge increases in the minimum wage would all be nice favors, which would be returned in the form of greater citizen conformity. The fact that it didn’t work has done little to shake the foundations of progressive faith in human decency.

Since the failed effort to build a Great Society there have been repeated calls to build more prisons in order to clean up the mess progressives have created. But, for years, progressives have fought tooth and nail to prevent or slow the expansion of prisons.

The result, of course, has been an increase in homicides and gang-rapes in prison due to prison overcrowding. In short, the progressive view of human nature has produced more violence among both free and captive populations. More people are dying everywhere but the progressive vision of human decency is immortal. It cannot be slain by any wealth of empirical evidence.

More recently, we have seen the effects of progressive gun control policies. Like prisons, guns are reminders of human depravity, which the progressive cannot accept. And so the progressive seeks to ban guns. Nonetheless, in 2008, the Supreme Court lifted a ban on handguns in Washington D.C., which resulted in a 25% decrease in homicides the next year.

The D.C. homicide data speak volumes about human nature. The presence of guns is a threat, which helps many depraved individuals conform to the dictates of the law. Nonetheless, progressives still fight the very reforms that have helped preserve innocent lives. They do so because it is more important that they preserve their vision of human decency.

It isn’t surprising that progressives who cannot manage a classroom cannot also manage “society.” It would be better if the progressive would confine her decision to accommodate, rather than punish, irresponsibility to the classroom. But intellectuals rarely keep their ideas to themselves. They are obliged to impose them on “society.”

Replacing the Judeo-Christian view of human nature with the progressive view of human nature has proven to be a bad idea. And bad ideas have bad consequences for fallen human beings. But progressive hope for the secular transformation of human nature springs eternal.

SOURCE

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America’s ruling class — and the perils of revolution

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term "political class" came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several "stimulus" bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind.

Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government's agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about "global warming" for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class's continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.

Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America's upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter.

The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and "bureaucrat" was a dirty word for all. So was "social engineering." Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday's upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters -- speaking the "in" language -- serves as a badge of identity.

Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners -- nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, "prayed to the same God." By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God "who created and doth sustain us," our ruling class prays to itself as "saviors of the planet" and improvers of humanity. Our classes' clash is over "whose country" America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark's Gospel: "if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."

The Political Divide

Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg's tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences "undecided," "none of the above," or "tea party," these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate -- most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans.

This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class's prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans -- a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents -- lack a vehicle in electoral politics.

Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority's demand for representation will be filled. Whereas in 1968 Governor George Wallace's taunt "there ain't a dime's worth of difference" between the Republican and Democratic parties resonated with only 13.5 percent of the American people, in 1992 Ross Perot became a serious contender for the presidency (at one point he was favored by 39 percent of Americans vs. 31 percent for G.H.W. Bush and 25 percent for Clinton) simply by speaking ill of the ruling class.

Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans' conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so.

While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people's realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers -- easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious.

Far from speculating how the political confrontation might develop between America's regime class -- relatively few people supported by no more than one-third of Americans -- and a country class comprising two-thirds of the country, our task here is to understand the divisions that underlie that confrontation's unpredictable future.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

MA: Firms cancel health coverage: "The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget. Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly funded insurance for their employees.”

Stop me before I regulate again!: "I’m told that this morning the Senate will pass the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. 2,300 pages long. Nothing so complex ever makes life better for consumers. Mostly, it guarantees that you will not start a business without hiring specialists. … Yet politicians constantly create more rules. They think they know how to manage our lives better than we do. They are ignorant and arrogant. Much of this regulation drives entrepreneurs to say: ‘I won’t try. I won’t open a business. I won’t hire someone because I probably can’t fire him without getting into trouble. I better play it safe. I better not try anything new.’ This kills opportunity. But the regulation never stops. Last year the federal government added another 70,000 pages to the Federal Register. Our 535 Congressmen think they’re not doing their job if they’re not passing laws. And those are just federal lawmakers. There are even more state legislators.”

"Docfix" and the coming Obamacare deficits: "On a quiet Friday afternoon this summer, the central justification for President Obama’s health-care overhaul died a quiet death. On that day, a bipartisan coalition in Congress reversed the scheduled Medicare cuts to physician payments, ensuring that, over the next decade, the White House’s reforms will cost many billions more than advertised. After over a year of debate and lofty rhetoric, the reality is this: the president’s goal of ‘bending’ the health-care cost curve has unraveled in just a few months.”

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, 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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