Friday, August 20, 2010

An incompetent President

Pollsters and pundits across the political spectrum are having a field day analyzing the Obama administration's plummeting popularity -- and the likely consequences for the midterm elections less than 80 days away. These "experts" suggest all manner of reasons that the O-Team in particular and Democrats in general are in such serious trouble. The kindest explanations offered by Freedom Concert fans run the gamut from "Obama has the attention span of a fruit fly" to "they are wearing blinders and earplugs."

This shouldn't come as a surprise to members of the president's party. His radical agenda may have been carefully disguised during the 2008 campaign season, but it became amply evident once he was in office. His anti-Israel foreign policy, the never-ending "grand apology tour" of world capitals and commitments to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan alarmed pro-defense Democrats right from the start. Then, aided and abetted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he whipped members of his party into supporting costly bailouts, government seizure of businesses, so-called "stimulus" spending bills and a dramatic restructuring of American health care that threatens to bankrupt our children.

None of this has helped create new private-sector jobs, and the American people know it. And in case anyone needed a reminder, this week we were treated to a staggering 500,000 new claims for unemployment -- the highest number in nine months. So much for jobs being the Democrats' "No. 1 focus in 2010."

What is astonishing is how inept Obama and his supposedly "self-disciplined" and "thoughtful" administration have proved to be at capitalizing on opportunities. Their incompetent handling of everything, from their plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to their trying radical Islamic terrorists in Manhattan to their response to the Gulf oil spill, has become part of the opposition mantra. The president's decision to bring a federal lawsuit against the state of Arizona for attempting to secure its border with Mexico and his support for building a mosque in New York City just a few hundred yards from ground zero are but the latest gaffes that will redound to the disadvantage of his party's candidates.



Dismantling America: Part IV

Thomas Sowell says do-gooders and Leftist educators are destroying America

How did we get to the point where many people feel that the America they have known is being replaced by a very different kind of country, with not only different kinds of policies but very different values and ways of governing?

It is not just evil people who would dismantle America. Many people who have no desire to destroy our freedoms simply have their own agendas that are singly or collectively incompatible with the survival of freedom.

Someone once said that a democratic society cannot survive for long after 51 percent of the people decide that they want to live off the other 49 percent. Yet that is the direction in which we are being pushed by those who are promoting envy under its more high-toned alias of "social justice."

Those who construct moral melodramas-- starring themselves on the side of the angels against the forces of evil-- are ready to disregard the Constitution rights of those they demonize, and to overstep the limits put on the powers of the federal government set by the Constitution.

The outcries of protest in the media, in academia and in politics, when the Supreme Court ruled this year that people in corporations have the same free speech rights as other Americans, are a painful reminder of how vulnerable even the most basic rights are to the attacks of ideological zealots. President Barack Obama said that the Court's decision "will open the floodgates for special interests"-- as if all you have to do to take away people's free speech rights is call them a special interest.

It is not just particular segments of the population who are under attack. What is more fundamentally under attack are the very principles and values of American society as a whole. The history of this country is taught in many schools and colleges as the history of grievances and victimhood, often with the mantra of "race, class and gender." Television and the movies often do the same.

When there are not enough current grievances for them, they mine the past for grievances and call it history. Sins and shortcomings common to the human race around the world are spoken of as failures of "our society." But American achievements get far less attention-- and sometimes none at all.

Our "educators," who cannot educate our children to the level of math or science achieved in most other comparable countries, have time to poison their minds against America.

Why? Partly, if not mostly, it is because that is the vogue. It shows you are "with it" when you reject your own country and exalt other countries.

Abraham Lincoln warned of people whose ambitions can only be fulfilled by dismantling the institutions of this country, because no comparable renown is available to them by supporting those institutions. He said this 25 years before the Gettysburg Address, and he was speaking of political leaders with hubris, whom he regarded as a greater danger than enemy nations. But such hubris is far more widespread today than just among political leaders.

Those with such hubris-- in the media and in education, as well as in politics-- have for years eroded both respect for the country and the social cohesion of its people. This erosion is what has set the stage for today's dismantling of America that is now approaching the point of no return.



Both Islam and the Left wish destruction upon us

As demonstrated by the actions of President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress over the last one and a half years, socialism (with fascist trappings) adheres to its purpose of destroying all existing political, social and economic orders as a prerequisite for any further improvement. This is and continues to be the goal of Obama’s “hope and change.”

As demonstrated by the alleged “extremists” of Islam, and by their “non-violent” brethren, Islam likewise seeks to destroy all existing political, social, economic, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any future improvement, which is a global caliphate in which all men submit to Islam, one way or another, or die..

These two ideologies have, for the moment, set aside their differences to work together until the common enemy, the West, is disabled, conquered, emasculated, and beaten. In the United States, it means to vitiate the Constitution, abandon the republican form of government, and institute some form of “pure” democracy. Under the secular brand, this would mean the manipulated (and bogus) rule of the “poor” and “needy” of all stripes and categories. Under Islam, it would mean ruling a subservient and obedient class of Muslims and a sub-class of conquered non-believers.

Islam is no stranger to socialism. In fact, as Daniel Pipes and other observers have noted, Islam has made common cause with communism and socialism in the past. Islamic scholars and intellectuals have endorsed socialist trends in countries they wished to see Islam triumph. The phenomenon of America’s liberal/left making cause with Islam is just another episode of that on-again and off-again alliance.

If socialism wins, Islam is no worse off. It can exist in a socialist political/economic environment and bide its time, unless totalitarian measures are taken by the state to eradicate Islam as a rival ideology. The Soviet Union for decades suppressed both Christianity and Islam and all manner of other religions. Under socialism, everyone, including Muslims, would need to acknowledge the state or some personification of it (e.g., “Big Brother”) or some other prominent person and advocate of collectivism as the “true” God or “savior, and Karl Marx or Mao or Lenin as the “prophet.” Opposition to or digression from such deference and worship in any form would be deemed heresy, or blasphemy, and be punished with repression, imprisonment, or death.

If the West is sundered and vanquished, the two species of totalitarianism will fight savagely over the carcass, just as Hitler and Stalin fought over the carcass of Eastern Europe. That, of course, would be the beginning of a new Dark Age. Let us not forget the hundreds of thousands of “illegal” Catholic Mexicans pouring into this country. Will they convert to Islam or put up a fight? The totality of Islamic totalitarianism means just that: everyone and everything. Let us not forget America’s “native Americans,“ or the Indians, and Catholic South America, and Australia and New Zealand, and the whole of the African continent. Islam is committed to a global caliphate. That means everyone and everything coming under its rule. If the West collapses, it will be a bloody and horrendous Dark Age.

What are the commonalities of secular statism (or socialism) and Islam? What premises do they share? What are their shared ends? Are those ends similar or dissimilar or radically divergent?

The chief commonality between socialism and Islam is the deep-seated hatred -- and I would say is the fundamental motive of both socialism and Islam, its desiderative essence -- of the West, specifically of capitalism, of individual rights, and of freedom of speech. And particularly of America.

What is it about those three hallmarks of Western culture that arouses the shared animosity? They are the requirements of an independent, unobstructed, free-to-act, selfish, value-driven, and life-affirming man. They are the descriptive attributes that cannot be permitted in a totalitarian society. They are diametrically opposite of what secular statism and Islam require to function. They are the unified, integrated nemesis of collectivism. They do not describe the “ideal” man in either ideology. Such a man must be eradicated, destroyed. And once destroyed, such a man in either system cannot be permitted to come into existence.



Saving Jobs Means Saving Us from Prosperity

A most pernicious fallacy

One of the most pernicious fallacies in popular economic discussions is that we should adopt policies designed to save jobs. What was once just language used by those with a special interest in particular jobs (such as unions calling for import quotas as foreign cars became more popular) is now part of the Obama administration’s defense of its counterproductive “stimulus” program. “Jobs created or saved” has become the standard of an economic program’s success. There is so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start.

Let’s make the obvious point first: Creating jobs is easy, but it’s nothing to be proud of. In fact, destroying jobs is the real path to wealth.

To use an example I’ve used before: One way to create jobs on a big construction project is to take away the machines that dig out the foundation, and limit the workers to shovels. Or better yet, spoons. That will create lots of jobs. But that is not progress. Using more labor than needed to get the job done costs wealth. Better to use the machinery and free up all the shovel- and spoon-toting workers to produce output in addition to the foundation. By the same logic, we could create lots of jobs by destroying all the farm machinery. Surely, though, we would not be richer for doing so.

The rhetoric of saving jobs is as misguided as the rhetoric of creating jobs. We want jobs to disappear – that’s how we define progress! Think of all the jobs that weren’t saved over during the twentieth century. Agriculture employed about 40 percent of Americans in 1900. Today it’s less than 2 percent. Are we really worse off for not having saved those jobs?

Saving jobs means slaving away in manure-laden fields under the hot sun and brutal cold for 12 or 14 hours per day to feed your own family, with a little left over to buy a few necessities — rather than jobs with far better working conditions and far better pay and hours, jobs that afford most Americans the ability to pay other people to cook and serve their meals several times a week.

Saving jobs means putting the engine of human creativity in neutral if not reverse. The healthiest economies are those that consistently destroy jobs by inventing new and better ways to satisfy existing human wants with less and less labor, while freeing other labor to satisfy new and not-yet-dreamed-of wants.

Whenever you hear politicians talk about the jobs they’ve saved, just think of your ancestors scraping out a living on the land, and then think about how much better off we are because no one bothered to save those jobs.




Mosquerade: "Perhaps for the first time since Grover Cleveland, a Democratic president is championing private property rights, states’ rights and a limited federal government. Barack Obama endorsed the right of Muslims ‘to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and regulation.’ Has Obama, of all people, flipped through the Constitution and achieved a clearer understanding of the first, ninth and tenth amendments? No, it is merely a mask.”

Happy public union news from New Jersey: "Here’s a change of pace from the usual doom-and-gloom news on municipal-worker relations: a number of towns in New Jersey have been reaching agreements with their local police unions that cut costs while avoiding layoffs. Last week, the Newark Star-Ledger reported on at least six towns where unions agreed to give-backs in exchange for a no-layoff promise. This is a good trend, but state lawmakers — and those elsewhere in the country — can do more to expand it.”

Government subsidies for bloggers?: "I almost choked when I read Lee Bollinger’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal advocating public financial support of the mainstream media. This is the Lee Bollinger who is the president of Columbia University and was recently named deputy chair of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The article says more about the writer and the mainstream media than it does its subject matter. It is unbelievable and irresponsible that anyone in his position should seriously advocate subsidies for the press.”


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


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


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Obama's hostility to business is keeping joblessness high

Just as FDR's hostility did during the Great Depression

Businessmen just don't know what is coming down the pike from Obama and his minions ("Green" taxes and levies, exploding healthcare costs, new regulations on anything that moves) so they are playing safe and not expanding their activities until they feel some certainty about what environment they are going to be working in.

Obama's extremist EEOC, for a start, would make anybody nervous about new hires. The only safe hire right now would be a black and if you can't find a black with the right skills and attitudes, you'd be wisest not to hire at all -- JR

Obamanomics has done more than just keep unemployment high during a modest recovery. It may also be keeping high joblessness permanent by raising the costs to businesses of hiring new workers.

July's 9.5% unemployment level was bad enough. But the real problem is that the private-sector jobs machine, which is usually going full tilt at this point in a recovery, now seems to be broken.

To many, it's becoming clear that if President Obama's radical job-killing agenda stays in place, job growth will be nonexistent.

One of America's great advantages has always been its flexible, private-sector labor markets. From 1985 to 2008, U.S. unemployment averaged 5.6%. For the six largest economies in the European Union, the average rate was 34% higher, at about 7.5%.

Yet many of those countries now have jobless rates lower than ours. Why? They've been dropping Keynesian stimulus as a strategy and moving more toward cutting spending and, in some cases, cutting taxes.

Not Obama. He and Congress remain wedded to an outdated economic model that replaces the private sector's animal spirit and dynamism with the dead hand of government bureaucrats and their unions as the main economic forces in our country.

That's what last week's $26.1 billion state "bailout" was all about. We were told it was to keep teachers from being laid off and "for the children." In reality, it was a cynical taxpayer-funded payback to teachers' unions, which gave Obama and his party enthusiastic support and millions in donations in the last election.

This is Obama's New America — a government-run economy, with special benefits for unions and plenty of government jobs, but few private ones.

Businesses today face rising burdens — from ObamaCare, the financial overhaul, the expiration of tax cuts for entrepreneurs, the threat of new energy taxes or the surge in growth-strangling regulations on business — that discourage hiring.

"The real threat to a robust recovery on the labor side," Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, warned recently, "has come from employer and entrepreneurial fears that once the economic environment improves, a Democratic Congress and administration will pass pro-union and other pro-worker legislation that will raise the cost of doing business and cut profits."

It's never been costlier to hire and keep a worker employed. And as ObamaCare kicks in and Bush's tax cuts expire — not to mention the huge tax hikes that will be needed to make Social Security and Medicare solvent — businesses will simply quit hiring.

In this new system, the government will continue to raid the private sector for money to hire more federal workers and to support its union base. And businesses, rather than invest their $1.8 trillion in idle cash to hire workers, will continue to cut jobs.

Already, government is where the action is. Since the recession began, federal employment has jumped 10%. Private sector employment has fallen 6.8%. As USA Today recently reported, government workers in 2009 earned $123,049 in pay and benefits, twice the $61,051 earned in the private sector.

This Keynes-on-steroids model has been tried before, in Europe. It didn't work. It led to permanently high levels of joblessness — what economists call structural unemployment.

A recent peer-reviewed study in Sweden found that for every 100 new jobs government creates, 114 are destroyed in the private sector. Similarly, a French study of data from OECD countries from 1960 to 2000 discovered, on average, "creation of 100 public jobs may have eliminated about 150 private sector jobs."

In short, it was a disaster that the U.S. is now duplicating. The next Congress should have no greater priority than reversing it all.



There are very few Christian churches where you will encounter the real power of the New Testament

Bob Burney

I have through the years developed a deep distaste for “religion.” A couple of fresh examples are rolling around in my head.

I just returned from a wonderful trip to the country of Moldova in Eastern Europe. It was my privilege to be the speaker for an incredible youth camp ministry. The camp is located deep in a remote area of the Moldovan countryside outside a village founded in the mid 1400s. For several years now, hundreds of young people come to this camp and have their lives transformed by the power of Christ. Kids hooked on drugs and sex are wonderfully delivered. Young people lost in a poverty-stricken culture find meaning and hope.

Over the course of 17 years, over 22,000 young people have come to Christ! Now, who could oppose such a life-changing ministry? Answer—religion. Just up the road from this phenomenal youth camp is a regional center for a particular “Christian religion” and every year these “Christians” do all they can to hassle, harass and destroy the work going on at the camp.

One afternoon while I was at the camp a zealous group of young people decided to go into some of the nearby villages and tell people (in a non-threatening manner) about Jesus. They were so excited about what they had discovered that they simply wanted to tell others. As they began to share their faith—a local priest tried to run them over with his car and told them they should “all be killed.” Yes, Anne, I quit that kind of religion too!

On the return trip to America, I had an overnight layover in Vienna. It has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world with some of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe. Although I had seen it before, I had to make a visit to St. Stephens Cathedral in the heart of the city. Standing for over 800 years, its architecture is truly breathtaking. When you enter you experience sensory overload: Stained glass, rich wood, gold. There are priceless works of art everywhere. You cannot help but stand in awe realizing that this structure was built without any modern technology or machinery. There are so many adjectives and superlatives that I could use to describe the visual spectacle that confronts you. It is beautiful, magnificent and opulent—but it is also dead. It is more museum than church—a relic of ritual and tradition, filled with tourists, empty of worshippers.

As I stood in the midst of the medieval grandeur I thought back a few days before to the rustic camp in a remote region of Eastern Europe’s poorest country … teenagers singing so loudly about their love for Christ that it could be heard for miles … singing, not in a cathedral, but an outdoor tabernacle. No stained glass, no walls, primitive benches made out of discarded chairs and lumber. A magnificent cathedral, a simple camp “tabernacle.” In St. Stephens we see a symbol of religion; in the Moldova camp a living testimony of the power of a personal relationship with Christ.

My decision didn’t make international headlines, but I resigned myself from religion a long time ago. But it’s not about religion. It really is about relationship. There is nothing wrong with Biblical Christianity. The real problem is religion masquerading as Christianity.


In support of Bob Burney's words above, note that in my Scripture blog I have pointed out at length how greatly mainstream Christianity departs from the New Testament. Maintaining the day of the Sun as a holy day rather than the Jewish sabbath is for a start pure paganism, to say nothing of Christmas and Easter and the doctrine of the Trinity. I could go on....


Liberal Claims to Altruism are a fraud

Ben Shapiro

Democrats, as we can see in virtually every bill, are more concerned with sending taxpayer cash to their political allies than they are in sending cash to those who need it. That's because for every dollar they send to their political allies, they receive a substantial portion back in the form of campaign donations. It's an easy trade: pretend to care about the poor, grab money from the taxpayers to pay off your buddies, let your buddies pay you back, rinse, wash and repeat.

It's no wonder that this week alone, we found out that a new housing program designed to help the unemployed will in fact go to the benefit of the banking system from which Obama received millions, and that heavy-spending unions were poised to receive billions of dollars more from government -- dollars that come from cutting food stamps. If Democrats were advocates for the poor, it would be nice if they would act like it rather than simply using the poor as a convenient political bloody flag.

Until the liberal politicians put their money where their mouth is and actually start promoting programs that help the poor rather than raiding the rich for their own personal benefit, their class warfare should be dismissed out of hand. It's posturing, pure and simple, and it's ugly posturing at that.



BrookesNews Update

President Obama's nightmare economy : It doesn't matter how low interest rates are, if there is too much political uncertainty about making profits then investment and spending will be severely curbed. Unfortunately the dismal expectations of business regarding Obama's policies are founded entirely on reality. There is no escaping the fact that the Democrats are about to strike the US economy with a blizzard of costly regulations and a barrage of high taxes causing business to batten down the hatches
Is deflation really bad for the economy? : A fall in the money stock on account of the disappearance of money out 'of thin air' is great news for all wealth generating activities since the disappearance of this type of money arrests their bleeding. Since a fall in the money stock undermines various non-productive activities it slows down the decline of the pool of real savings and thereby lays the foundation for an economic revival
Exports cannot save the Obama economy : Expanding exports are neither a panacea nor a palliative. The real cure for the US economy is an economic policy based on a respect for free markets. And this just ain't going to happen under the leftwing Obama
The Greens' policies would destroy the Australian economy : Australian Senator Bob Brown has emerged as a destructive parasite. A green fanatic living at the public trough whose economic wish list would destroy the Australian standard of living, which is exactly what they are intended to do. Not only has the media overlooked just how elitist and loony Brown's green economics really are so have our rightwing
On Cuban television, Castro predicts nuclear war and the MSM yawns : The Cuban missile crisis is another event that should live in infamy. This was when Jack Kennedy and his Ivey League advisors sold out the Cuban resistance to the Soviets. Until today the U.S. has complied with her promise not to interfere with Castro and not to allow anyone else to interfere with Castro. After Kennedy's death, his successor Lyndon Johnson assured us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba
The US is facing an Argentina-like economic crisis : Most Americans still do not realise how dangerous economic conditions really are. The situation has even imperiled the survival of the political class. Eventually, anything that extends their rule will be tried. It is not concern for you or the economy that is driving policy, but the preservation of power of an increasingly wounded power elite. Their survival is now driving policy. Unfortunately, what benefits them is generally harmful for the economy
The two Great Classes in contemporary America : "There really are two America's: the ruling class and the country class (aka the patriotic class). The ruling class views the patriotic class as ignoramuses who are vicious, violent, racist, religious, irrational, unscientific, backward, generally ill-behaved, and incapable of living well without constant, detailed direction by their betters who — as Abraham Lincoln would have put it — need to be "ridden" for their own good



The Obamacare disaster: "The bottom line is that you will lose your health care under this legislation, if not your job, your country as they bankrupt America, and maybe ultimately your life or the life of a loved one. All that to make dreamy, emotionalized, liberals happy, even though many of them are not happy because the socialism in the bill is not overt enough. Moreover, the promises made to the American people to pass the bill are shown in the study to be thoroughly false.”

The surprising Mr. Cameron: "It has been decades since any attempt was made to reverse the growth of government in developed countries. To the extent that leaders have shown reformist zeal, it has usually emerged at the local level — for instance, the commendable crusade by Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system, against the education bureaucracy. Given the long-standing reformist drought in rich countries, Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts in Britain deserve attention.”


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


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


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dismantling America: Part II

Thomas Sowell

"We the people" are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But "we the people" are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration in Washington.

One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health care reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins?

You might debate whether that tax is a good or a bad idea. But the whole point of burying it in legislation about medical insurance is to make sure "we the people" don't even know about it, much less have a chance to debate it, before it becomes law.

Did you know that the huge financial reform bill that has been similarly rushed through Congress, too fast for anyone to read it, has a provision about "inclusion" of women and minorities? Pretty words like "inclusion" mean ugly realities like quotas. But that too is not something that "we the people" are to be allowed to debate, because it too was sneaked through.

Not since the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French, for an English-speaking nation, centuries ago, has there been such contempt for the people's right to know what laws were being imposed on them.

Yet another ploy is to pass laws worded in vague generalities, leaving it up to the federal bureaucracies to issue specific regulations based on those laws. "We the people" can't vote on bureaucrats. And, since it takes time for all the bureaucratic rules to be formulated and then put into practice, we won't know what either the rules or their effects are prior to this fall's elections when we vote for (or against) those who passed these clever laws.

The biggest circumvention of "we the people" was of course the so-called "health care reform" bill. This bill was passed with the proviso that it would not really take effect until after the 2012 presidential elections. Between now and then, the Obama administration can tell us in glowing words how wonderful this bill is, what good things it will do for us, and how it has rescued us from the evil insurance companies, among its many other glories.

But we won't really know what the actual effects of this bill are until after the next presidential elections-- which is to say, after it is too late. Quite simply, we are being played for fools.

Much has been made of the fact that families making less than $250,000 a year will not see their taxes raised. Of course they won't see it, because what they see could affect how they vote.

But when huge tax increases are put on electric utility companies, the public will see their electricity bills go up. When huge taxes are put on other businesses as well, they will see the prices of the things those businesses sell go up.

If you are not in that "rich" category, you will not see your own taxes go up. But you will be paying someone else's higher taxes, unless of course you can do without electricity and other products of heavily taxed businesses. If you don't see this, so much the better for the Obama administration politically.

This country has been changed in a more profound way by corrupting its fundamental values. The Obama administration has begun bribing people with the promise of getting their medical care and other benefits paid for by other people, so long as those other people can be called "the rich." Incidentally, most of those who are called "the rich" are nowhere close to being rich.

A couple making $125,000 a year each are not rich, even though together they reach that magic $250,000 income level. In most cases, they haven't been making $125,000 a year all their working lives. Far more often, they have reached this level after decades of working their way up from lower incomes-- and now the government steps in to grab the reward they have earned over the years.

There was a time when most Americans would have resented the suggestion that they wanted someone else to pay their bills. But now, envy and resentment have been cultivated to the point where even people who contribute nothing to society feel that they have a right to a "fair share" of what others have produced.

The most dangerous corruption is a corruption of a nation's soul. That is what this administration is doing.



Obama Demagogues Private Enterprise

Long-term private investments beat social security, despite downturns. I know. I am of retirement age but get nothing from the Australian government because I have been investing for many years and get a good income from those investments -- and I continued to do so throughout the financial crisis

Mind you, people who go for speculative "get rich quick" investments usually get what they deserve. I buy blue chips -- JR

John Stossel

Last weekend, President Obama pandered for votes by trashing Social Security privatization.

"I'd have thought that debate would've been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we've just experienced," Obama said. "(N)o one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street."

Such demagoguery sells. It's probably been poll-tested. Many Americans fear privatizing anything they've come to view as government work. They object to privately managed roads, independent charter schools, private prisons, etc., despite private companies' repeated success at providing better service while lowering costs.

Private retirement accounts seem particularly threatening. Rep. Paul Ryan includes a version in his budget-reform package. But as The Washington Post said, "(F)ew GOP lawmakers today support the idea...." What a shame.

Social Security is popular but unsustainable. Its commitments over the next 75 years exceed its expected revenue by $5.3 trillion. Politicians know this, but pander anyway.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Sharron Angle, who's challenging Reid's re-election bid in Nevada, of "raiding" the Social Security trust fund because Angle has talked about phasing out Social Security. There are two problems with that statement -- as Reid must know: First, there never has been a trust fund! Your FICA tax payments were not saved or invested. Social Security transferred them to current retirees. Second, in return for IOUs, Congress raided Social Security's budget surplus every year and spent like any other tax revenue.

Now the days of surplus are over. Unless benefits are cut and the retirement age is raised, the deficits will only grow. When Social Security passed in 1935, most Americans died before age 65. There were many workers and few retirees. Ten years later, there were still almost 42 workers for each retiree. Five years afterward, the ratio slipped to about 17 to 1. Now it's 3.4 to 1. Thirty years from now, the ratio is projected to be 2 to 1.

That won't work. Workers cannot afford to give up half their earnings to pay others' retirement benefits. It would be far better to begin partial privatization now.

But what about Obama's point that President George W. Bush's privatization plan would have been a disaster because the market crashed?

Obama is just wrong. For one thing, under the privatization plans backed by the Cato Institute and others, retirees and near-retirees wouldn't have been affected by the 2008 stock-market decline. Only younger workers would have diverted some of their money from government to capital markets. They would have had time to recover (unless government continued to screw up and cripple the private sector).

Second, even with the 2008 decline, the picture is not nearly as bad as Obama implies. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute ran the numbers for a hypothetical worker who retired in 2008, right after the market crash, after a career under a partially privatized Social Security program.

"A typical retiree in 2008 would be entitled to a traditional Social Security benefit of around $15,700 per year," Biggs writes. "For workers who chose personal accounts, this traditional benefit would be reduced by around $7,800. However, the worker's personal account balance of $161,500 would pay an annual annuity benefit of around $10,100. This $2,300 net benefit increase would raise total Social Security benefits by around 15 percent."

Biggs adds: "While today's retiree would have faced the subprime crisis and the tech bubble earlier in the decade, he also would have benefited from the bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s. The average return on his account -- 4.9 percent above inflation -- would more than compensate for a reduced traditional benefit."

No can say the future will be like the past, but we know what the future of the government's scheme holds: postponed retirement and/or reduced benefits and/or crushing taxes and (most likely, I think) a near-worthless dollar because politicians will print money to "keep" their deceitful pension promises.

Privatization is better. Everything that works well -- everything that brings innovation and prosperity -- comes from the private sector. Obama is irresponsible to campaign against that.

There's no ideal fix. But our best hope is separation of economy and government.



Would a GOP Congress fix anything?

During the last two years, Democrats have amassed unprecedented growth of federal government power in the forms of bailouts, corporate takeovers, favors to their political allies and nationalization of our health care system. My question is how likely is it for Republicans to behave differently if they gain control? Their past behavior doesn't make one confident that they will behave much differently, but I could be wrong.

If Republicans win the House of Representatives, there are measures they should take in their first month of office, and that is to undo most of what the Democratically controlled Congress has done. If they don't win a veto-proof Senate, they can't undo Obamacare but the House alone can refuse to fund any part of it. There are numerous blocking tactics that a Republican-controlled House can take against those hell-bent on trampling on our Constitution. The question is whether they will have guts and principle to do it. After all, many Americans, including those who are Republicans, have a stake in big government control, special privileges and handouts.

Ultimately, we Americans must act to ensure that our liberty does not depend on personalities in Washington. Our founders tried to do that with our Constitution. Thomas Jefferson offered us a solution when he said, "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then."




Barney gets something right: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be abolished rather than reformed as part of the Obama administration’s planned overhaul of the government’s role in housing finance, Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services committee, said on Tuesday. ‘They should be abolished,’ Frank said in an interview on Fox Business, when asked whether the mortgage giants should be elements in housing market reform. ‘The only question is what do you put in their place,’ Frank said.”

Feisty Russian Christian: "A Russian tycoon has told 6,000 workers at his private dairy company that they’ll be fired if they’ve ever had an abortion, or if those who are ‘living in sin’ don’t get married within two months. Vasily Boiko, who officially changed his name to Boiko-Veliky, which means ‘Boiko the Great,’ has set a deadline of October 14 — a Russian Orthodox Church holiday — for any of his unmarried employees who live with a partner to get married, or get fired. ‘We have about 6,000 employees, most of whom are Orthodox, and I expect them to be faithful and to repent,’ Boiko told Reuters last week. His order came in an internal memo to workers at Russkoye Moloko, which means ‘Russian milk’ and whose products are sold in many Russian supermarkets. Boiko told Ekho Moskvy radio that a woman who’s had an abortion ‘can no longer be an employee of our company … We don’t want to work with killers.’”

Our one-term president: "It’s a good bet right now that Barack Obama will be a one-term president. The enthusiasm that once shielded this hyphenated American has dissipated. His supporters, although still numerous, have discovered that he lacks Bill Clinton’s centrist instincts, and even his charm. The anti-Bush mania that swept the country from 2006-09 finally burned itself out. It’s always possible that the Republicans will nominate a dud. That has happened so often that it should even be considered likely. Not since 1980 has there been an outstanding GOP candidate. But at this stage it’s too difficult to predict the 2012 nominee, so I’ll drop that subject.”

Florida: New Senate poll shows Crist in trouble as Rubio surges: "Republican Marco Rubio has nudged ahead of independent Charlie Crist in Florida's nationally watched U.S. Senate race in a hypothetical three-way matchup with Democrat Kendrick Meek, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Saturday. Rubio led Crist in the poll 38 percent to 33 percent, with 18 percent for Meek and 11 percent undecided. The statewide poll of 625 registered voters indicates that Rubio, a conservative Cuban-American from Miami, has gained strength over the past three months."


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


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


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dismantling America

Thomas Sowell

"We the people" are the familiar opening words of the Constitution of the United States-- the framework for a self-governing people, free from the arbitrary edicts of rulers. It was the blueprint for America, and the success of America made that blueprint something that other nations sought to follow.

At the time when it was written, however, the Constitution was a radical departure from the autocratic governments of the 18th century. Since it was something so new and different, the reasons for the Constitution's provisions were spelled out in "The Federalist," a book written by three of the writers of the Constitution, as a sort of instruction guide to a new product.

The Constitution was not only a challenge to the despotic governments of its time, it has been a continuing challenge-- to this day-- to all those who think that ordinary people should be ruled by their betters, whether an elite of blood, or of books or of whatever else gives people a puffed-up sense of importance.

While the kings of old have faded into the mists of history, the principle of the divine rights of kings to impose whatever they wish on the masses lives on today in the rampaging presumptions of those who consider themselves anointed to impose their notions on others.

The Constitution of the United States is the biggest single obstacle to the carrying out of such rampaging presumptions, so it is not surprising that those with such presumptions have led the way in denigrating, undermining and evading the Constitution.

While various political leaders have, over the centuries, done things that violated either the spirit or the letter of the Constitution, few dared to openly say that the Constitution was wrong and that what they wanted was right.

It was the Progressives of a hundred years ago who began saying that the Constitution needed to be subordinated to whatever they chose to call "the needs of the times." Nor were they content to say that the Constitution needed more Amendments, for that would have meant that the much disdained masses would have something to say about whether, or what kind, of Amendments were needed.

The agenda then, as now, has been for our betters to decide among themselves which Constitutional safeguards against arbitrary government power should be disregarded, in the name of meeting "the needs of the times"-- as they choose to define those needs.

The first open attack on the Constitution by a President of the United States was made by our only president with a Ph.D., Woodrow Wilson. Virtually all the arguments as to why judges should not take the Constitution as meaning what its words plainly say, but "interpret" it to mean whatever it ought to mean, in order to meet "the needs of the times," were made by Woodrow Wilson.

It is no coincidence that those who imagine themselves so much wiser and nobler than the rest of us should be in the forefront of those who seek to erode Constitutional restrictions on the arbitrary powers of government. How can our betters impose their superior wisdom and virtue on us, when the Constitution gets in the way at every turn, with all its provisions to safeguard a system based on a self-governing people?

To get their way, the elites must erode or dismantle the Constitution, bit by bit, in one way or another. What that means is that they must dismantle America. This has been going on piecemeal over the years but now we have an administration in Washington that circumvents the Constitution wholesale, with its laws passed so fast that the public cannot know what is in them, its appointment of "czars" wielding greater power than Cabinet members, without having to be exposed to pubic scrutiny by going through the confirmation process prescribed by the Constitution for Cabinet members.

Now there is leaked news of plans to change the immigration laws by administrative fiat, rather than Congressional legislation, presumably because Congress might be unduly influenced by those pesky voters-- with their Constitutional rights-- who have shown clearly that they do not want amnesty and open borders, despite however much our betters do. If the Obama administration gets away with this, and can add a few million illegals to the voting rolls in time for the 2012 elections, that can mean reelection, and with it a continuing and accelerating dismantling of America.



Labor Department Health Care Regulation will force employees to switch health care providers

Government estimates up to 69% of all employer health plans will cease to exist

Calling a proposed Labor Department Obamacare rule, "the smoking gun showing that the Obama Administration lied when they claimed that people would be able to keep their health insurance and doctor's choice," Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson urged Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to rescind the rule in comments submitted to the Department of Labor today.

The interim rule sets the requirements for current health insurance plans to be grandfathered in under the law. Within the interim rule, Secretary Solis affirmatively declares that, "These interim final regulations will likely influence plan sponsors' decisions to relinquish grandfather status."

ALG President Bill Wilson's comments reminded Labor Secretary Hilda Solis of President Obama's rhetoric during the debate over passage of the law where he said, "if you like your health plan you can keep it," promising that nothing in the health reform law would force businesses or consumers to change health plans of change their doctor.

In his submitted comments, ALG's Wilson asks the Secretary, "how are people supposed to 'keep it' if 'it', i.e., their pre-existing plan, no longer exists?"

Solis admits in the Interim Rule that by the end of 2013 up to 69% of all employer health plans will lose their grandfathered status under the law.

Arguing that the decision on whether a health plan should be grandfathered under the law should be viewed expansively by the government to ensure that most Americans are allowed to keep the health insurance and see the doctor of their choice, Wilson urged Solis to rescind the Interim Final Rule, and to only include the statutory requirements found in the health care law as criteria for determining whether a health plan should be grandfathered.

Wilson concluded stating, "This Interim Rule is the smoking gun showing that the Obama Administration lied when they claimed that people would be able to keep their health insurance and doctor's choice under the law."



Obama's EEOC a runaway train

Warns Employers: If You Don't Want to Hire Felons, You Need a Good Reason

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is warning employers that it is illegal to use a prospective employee's past conviction records, even for serious felonies, as an "absolute measure" as to whether they should be hired because this "could limit the employment opportunities of some protected groups."

This is, the EEOC says, because blacks and Hispanics are over-represented among felons.

"Blacks and Hispanics also have an unfortunate higher high school and college dropout rates than whites and Asians -- surely this could be determined to be a disparate impact. Does that mean the EEOC could mandate that employers cannot consider an applicant's education? Where will it stop?" asks Justin Danhof, general counsel of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It is unfortunate that the EEOC is placing outdated racial politics ahead of the American workforce at a time when employers should be encouraged to hire, but this mentality will likely make businesses think twice about plans for expansion. Employers should be free to consider the full content of an applicant's character when making hiring decisions."

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin," said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It does not ban discrimination based on character. Furthermore, it's odd that an agency charged with stopping racism and sexism in hiring has adopted a policy that will help more white males than members of any other group."

"The EEOC should not be trying to micromanage private hiring decisions beyond the authority given to it by Congress," added Ridenour, "which this wrongheaded policy surely does. And pity the poor employer, fearful on the one hand of being charged with racism if he does not hire a felon -- white though that felon might be -- but fearful on the other of being sued by his other employees, should that felon commit a crime at the workplace that harms them. Certainly employers should be permitted to hire felons; even applauded when appropriate, but they should not be made to feel they could be asked to defend themselves in court if they do not."




You can’t make this up: "$150,045 of stimulus money is being spent to restore a bridge that doesn’t connect to any roads and ends in an 8-foot drop. Stimulus backers claim that the project created 1.9 jobs. That’s $78,971.05 per job created. That’s not a very good deal. Especially considering that no jobs were created on net, because that $150,000 was taken away from somewhere else in the economy.”

The trillion dollar Question: Should the national debt be repudiated?: "I have been predicting that the U.S. government would default on its debt since 1993. At the time, no one else was making such an outlandish forecast. Now those who are discussing the prospect as at least a realistic possibility are far too numerous to cite. But worth mentioning are the recent Congressional Budget Office issue brief, which substitutes the word ‘restructure’ for ‘default,’ and two articles by economist Laurence Kotlikoff, one in the Financial Times and the other for Bloomberg. What is more interesting is that a few have begun advocating a U.S. debt repudiation.”

Florida: Much worse problems than the oil spill: "Media coverage of the oil spill’s effect on the Gulf focusing on tourist income lost by the waterfront towns — with footage of empty beaches, restaurants and T-shirt shops — dominates the news. Interviews with devastated business owners are heart rending. But they always end with references to somehow hanging on until ‘things get back to normal.’ Trouble is, things are not going to ‘normalize.’ Not for the Panhandle of Florida, and probably not for the rest of the state, either.”

CA: Fiorina widens lead over Boxer: "Sen. Barbara Boxer is losing ground to challenger Carly Fiorina in the race for California’s Senate seat, which is considered key to both political parties. Fiorina showed a five-point lead (47 percent to 42 percent) in a SurveyUSA poll released Aug. 12. The poll surveyed 602 likely California voters between Aug. 9 and Aug. 11 and had a margin of error of 4.1 percent. ‘The 2010 California Senate race is very important nationally,’ says Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier. ‘If the GOP is to gain control of the Senate, they must win the California Senate race.’ Because economic concerns lead the list of voter issues, Senator Boxer and Ms. Fiorina have been parrying over their plans to create jobs in the struggling state.”

To boost the economy, burst the regulatory bubble: "When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act last month, the rationale for yet another monolithic regulatory bill was that the economic and housing bubble crisis was caused by too little regulation. In fact, the evidence is becoming increasingly clear that over-regulation and Washington interference were the major culprits. All bubbles burst, so the key question is not ‘Why did housing collapse beginning in 2007?’ but ‘Why did the bubble appear in the first place?’ The answer has many facets, but a common element is government support for home ownership.”

Why the rich and powerful prefer tyranny: A simple view: "The business tycoon has lots of spare time to socialize in powerful circles, because this is the business of the tycoon — who already has money and is struggling not to make himself rich, but to stay rich. Such a person will naturally support big government, because big government is a wellspring of resources — a teat, in other words, from which the tycoon potentially derives nourishment.”

A stern yet fair criticism of today’s conservatives: "Among conservatives in general, I am in the minority in actually opposing Big Government, and think that moral laws are absolute and that no one is above the law — not even agents of the State. Alas, today’s conservatives in general have been supporting a huge growth in centralized, bureaucratic federal government, at home and overseas, and are not actual conservatives.”

Free the monks, free entrepreneurs nationwide: "In Louisiana, monks are under attack. Quite literally. In an outrageous example of economic protectionism at its worst, a group of monks is facing crippling fines and even jail for the ’sin’ of selling simple monastic caskets. Thankfully, they’re fighting back.”

The delightful Voltaire: "Voltaire, that ultimate freethinker and lifelong iconoclast, has never quite lost his audience. His epigrams are among the favorites of speechwriters and his political writings seem almost contemporary. Indeed he would make a suitable patron of today’s U.S. Libertarian Party if its elders cared to look back far enough. (They tend to stop at Thomas Jefferson.) Although Voltaire is absent from the party’s materials, his spirit lives on in the libertarian movement, co-founder David Nolan told me recently.”


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


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


Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama will not protect Israel from Iranian nukes

But what if the Ayatollahs put their first nuclear device on a ship and sailed it into New York harbour? They have plenty of "martyrs" who would be willing to crew it and they would kill just as many Jews that way. And guess who the "Great Satan" is? It wasn't Israel that Osama bin Laden attacked

To all intents and purposes, there are no circumstances in which Obama would order an attack on Iran's nuclear installations to prevent Iran from developing and fielding nuclear weapons. Evidence for this conclusion is found in every aspect of Obama's foreign policy. But to prove it, it is sufficient to point out point three aspects of his policies.

First of all, Obama's refuses to recognize that an Iranian nuclear arsenal constitutes a clear and present danger to US national security. Obama's discussions of the perils of a nuclear Iran are limited to his acknowledgement that such an arsenal will provoke a regional nuclear arms race.

And yet, while a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is bad, it is far from the worst aspect of Iran's nuclear program for America. America has two paramount strategic interests in the Middle East. First, the US requires the smooth flow of inexpensive petroleum products from the Persian Gulf to global oil markets. Second, the US requires the capacity to project its force in the region to defend its own territory from global jihadists.

Both of these interests are imperiled by the Iranian nuclear program. If the US is not willing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it will lose all credibility as a strategic ally to the Sunni Arab states in the area. For instance, from a Saudi perspective, a US that is unwilling to prevent the ayatollahs from fielding nuclear weapons is of no more use to the kingdom than Britain or China or France. It is just another oil consuming country. The same goes for the rest of the states in the Gulf and in the region.

The Arab loss of faith in US security guarantees will cause them to deny basing rights to US forces in their territories. It will also likely lead them to bow to Iranian will on oil price setting through supply cutbacks. In light of this, the Iranian nuclear program constitutes the greatest threat ever to US superpower status in the region and to the wellbeing of the US economy.

Then there is the direct threat that Iran's nuclear program constitutes for US national security. This threat grows larger by the day as Iran's web of strategic alliances in Latin America expands unchallenged by the US. Today Iran enjoys military alliances with Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia.

As former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has argued, at least the Soviets were atheists. Atheists of course, are in no hurry to die, since death can bring no rewards in a world to come. Iran's leaders are apocalyptic jihadists. Given Iran's Latin American alliances and Iran's own progress towards intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran makes the Cuban missile crisis look like a walk in the park.

In the case of Iran's nuclear weapons programs, because the Iranians have openly placed Israel first on their nuclear targeting list, US debate about Iran's nuclear program has been anchored around the issue of Israel's national security. Should the US attack Iran's nuclear installations in order to defend Israel?

Given the distorted manner in which the debate has been framed, the answer to that question hinges on Obama's view of Israel. Recent moves by Obama and his advisors make clear that Obama takes a dim view of Israel. He views Israel neither as a credible ally nor a credible democracy.

First there is the character of current US military assistance to Israel and to its neighbors. In recent months, the Obama administration has loudly announced its intentions to continue its joint work with Israel towards the development and deployment of defensive anti-missile shields. Two things about these programs are notable. First, they are joint initiatives. Just as Israel gains US financing, the US gains Israeli technology that it would otherwise lack.

Second, as Globes reported last week, the Obama has actually scaled back US funding for these programs. For instance, funding for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile program - intended to serve as Israel's primary defensive system against Iranian ballistic missiles -- was cut by $50 million.

The defensive character of all of these programs signals an absence of US support for maintaining Israel's capacity to preemptively strike its enemies. When the Pentagon's refusal to permit Israel to install its own avionics systems on the next generation F-35 warplanes is added to the mix, it is difficult to make the argument that the US supports Israel's qualitative edge over its enemies in any tangible way.

As to the UN, as former Obama and Clinton administration officials Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon explained in an article in the Washington Post last week, Obama's national security strategy effectively revolves around subordinating US national security policy to the UN Security Council. In the remote scenario that Obama decided to use force against Iran, his subservience to the UN would rule out any possibility of a surprise attack.

Although in theory the US military's capacity to strike Iran's nuclear facilities is much greater than Israel's, given its practical inability to launch a surprise attack, in practice it may be much smaller.

ALL OF these factors constitute overwhelming evidence that there are no conceivable circumstances under which Obama would order a US strike on Iran's nuclear installations to forestall Iran's development of nuclear weapons.



Confusion on the Left

The acerbic Maureen Dowd sometimes gets a few things right, as we see in the excerpt below:

After Bush, Democrats thought the way to paper over the distinction between liberals and radical lefties was to call everyone progressives. But calling yourself a progressive is just a stupid disguise where you pretend the contradiction isn’t there.

Some liberals, like the president, felt he could live without the public option, whereas lefties thought the public option was essential. Some liberals, like the president, think you can escalate our wars to end them, whereas lefties just want the wars ended.

There are deep schisms within the Democratic Party that were masked for a time, first by Bush and then by Obama’s election. Now that the Democrats have the presidency and the power and can enact legislation, it’s apparent that the word progressive is kind of meaningless.

President Obama is testing how elastic he can be, how much realism he can have before he betrays his idealism. For better and worse, he is an elitist and a situationist. But the professional left — like the professional right — often considers pragmatism a moral compromise.

The lefties came to the defense of the centrist Clinton during impeachment. Now that Obama is under attack, however, they are not coming to his defense, even though he has given more to the liberal cause than the scandal-stunted Clinton ultimately achieved.

He has shepherded the biggest expansion of social programs since the Great Society and spearheaded the biggest spending program with the stimulus. But for the left (and for some economists), it was not as big as it ought to have been.

Obama got elected because of the clarity of his campaign and his speeches. But, surprisingly, he’s in some ways an incoherent president. He’s with the banks, he’s against the banks. He’s leaving Afghanistan, he’s staying in Afghanistan. He strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds.



The Leftist attitude to money

The article below is from Australia and refers to the Australian Federal election next weekend. I think it will be clear, however, that in essence it applies to Leftists everywhere.

The Labor party is Australia's major party of the Left and its Federal leader is Julia Gillard

I once had the misfortune of working with some ‘Labor types’ in a commercial setting. Didn’t they turn out to be a bunch of rapacious little capitalists! They had a cartoon image of what business is: shamelessly and greedily gouging customers.

My ‘comrades’ – few of whom remain in the commercial world – thought business was a big game and a bit of a hoot. One of them asked me to refer to him as a ‘businessman’. (I’ve never known a proper businessman who wants to be referred to as one.)

This election campaign is a reminder that Labor and left-wing types have – and always will have – a problem with money. They have complete contempt for it; a total lack of respect for it.

This contempt manifests itself in waste; and in this election campaign, Julia Gillard’s bizarre defense of ‘wasteful’ spending of other people’s money.

Most Labor people either loathe money, and especially people who have it, or think that it’s something you just ‘get’. The former is an old relic of tedious class warfare, grounded in an element of truth that greedy people aren’t always noble.

But it’s this ‘getting’ attitude that is, perhaps, most damaging. Watch Labor and left-wing types around money and they’re always getting: the unions ‘get’ money from their members, the politicians and their staffers ‘get’ money from taxpayers, their allies in the universities and in the arts ‘get’ grants, Labor-aligned lobbyists ‘get’ concessions for their clients.

What they’re not doing – particularly now they’ve abandoned their working class roots – is ‘earning’ or ‘creating’ money. I’m not talking about earning in the sense of getting a pay cheque, which of course union and party hacks all get; I’m talking about earning or creating by providing value to an employer or customer.

Earning or creating money is hard. You work long days for your boss, or create a great product that meets a customers need. When the money comes in you respect it, because it was so difficult to get the darn thing.

So when you see a government that takes the money, and shows lack of respect for it by wasting it and pissing it up against a wall, it’s infuriating.

Because Labor types don’t earn or create money, financial waste doesn’t matter as much to them. When Labor sees money they only see numbers to be manipulated. Earners and creators see time, sweat, risk, hard work, commitment.

Labor’s warped attitude to money is why we can have the schools building program waste, the bungled home insulation scheme, and the oversized stimulus package.

It’s why Julia Gillard in defending the school halls program has effectively said financial waste is fine so long as it stimulates the economy and saves jobs.

This strange financial moral equivalence was given intellectual credence by left-wing economist Joseph Stiglitz who said there “will always be some” waste with stimulus packages. Well, there always will be, Joseph, if Labor governments are implementing them.

But the left’s attitude to money is also why the 7.30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien seemed to think the $20 billion difference between what the Coalition would have spent stimulating the economy during the GFC, and what the government spent, was neither here nor there.

Where would $20 billion come from? From hundreds of millions of hours of Australian’s working and earning time: of electricians fixing, bakers baking, writers writing, salesmen selling. As Tony Abbott said: “$25 billion – that’s quite a lot of money.”

It’s clear during this election Australians are keen to give Labor the benefit of the doubt. But when it comes to Labor and money, Labour and financial discipline and respect for taxpayer money, the doubts are considerable.




President Dithers again: "President Barack Obama has backtracked over his enthusiastic support for the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, saying he was "not commenting on the wisdom of making the decision". The decision to build an 15-storey Islamic centre in Manhattan, including a mosque, two blocks from the Ground Zero site of the September 11th terrorist attacks has incensed many Americans, with polls indicating that more than two-thirds oppose it."

Japan's socialist government bows to political correctness: "Not one member of Japan’s Cabinet visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, a first since the 1980s. The move by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Democratic Party of Japan is meant to show respect to China and South Korea, which consider the shrine a tribute to Japan’s military past, Kyodo News reported. Instead, Kan paid tribute to unknown soldiers who died in the war with a visit to a national cemetery in Tokyo.”

Say goodbye to Fannie and Freddie: "On Tuesday, the Obama administration plans to hold a conference to address the question of what to do with the two companies. Clearly, it would be an inexcusable mistake to reconstitute them as private companies in anything close to their prior form. Some people have suggested recasting them as a single new ‘Fan-Fred agency’ that would continue to securitize and guarantee home mortgages. It’s true that Fannie and Freddie played an important role in developing the market for mortgage-backed securities. But they have completed that work, and they should not be preserved in any form. They should be thanked for their successes and gracefully retired.”

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


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)


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Unhealthy Motivations of Liberals

Curtis Frantz says below that, in general, low self-esteem and a lack of self-love are the basis for the ideology of liberals. I think that he is looking in the right place but I would argue that it is EXCESSIVE self-love (have you ever met a humble liberal?) and a FRAGILE rather than a low self-esteem that characterizes liberals. Like an overblown balloon, their high self-esteem is large but at risk of a great implosion if pricked by information contrary to the beliefs that they need to keep their balloon inflated. So liberals do all they can to avoid such pricks, principally by censorship of various kinds and refusing to listen to facts and logic

The idea that most Leftists are unhappy people is however certainly true. All the surverys confirm it. And that one of their motives for seeking equality is to hide exposure of their own mediocrity, limits and failures rings true too. Evasions of reality are central to Leftism

Liberals are those who would use government to reduce the freedoms of some people to provide benefits for others. Liberals argue for fairness and equality for all people, but neither is possible. Other than identical twins, all people are genetically different, and without exception, each has unique life experiences that are interpreted differently. We are necessarily and naturally unequal in a worldly sense. (If "all men are created equal" in a Godly sense, nothing more needs to be done to ensure it.)

Liberals, progressives, socialists, fascists, communists, and statists seek similar means to the same end. They want control of an expansive, intrusive government using taxation, regulation, and takeover of private property and businesses to achieve an earthly equality -- an equality that is unnatural, unhealthy, and unattainable. This irrational political ideology is rooted in psychological shortcomings.

The U.S. Constitution correctly identifies the purpose of government as protecting the freedoms of its people. Being free is the natural state of all lifeforms. Soldiers risk their lives and die fighting for freedom...not equality. The Statue of Liberty welcomes those "yearning to breathe free."

Having an internalized sense of being less than others drives a desire for equality. The liberal's internal motivation is: "If we are all the same, I can't be less." From a practical perspective, making people or situations equal involves punishing the successful; which can be a welcome expression of jealous anger for those with low self-esteem.

Having low self-esteem makes freedom something to fear. Freedom means being free to succeed or fail. For those with a low sense of self, the expectation is that one's failure is inevitable. Freedom is not desirable under those conditions.

Liberals' personal problems become a societal problem when liberals try to address them by requiring changes to the lives of others. They seek a government with extensive power and reach that can limit freedoms and penalize success so that we seem to be more equal. It's as if I were to address a problem of poor posture by requiring everyone else to slouch. The adequacy of self-love or self-esteem one has is not determined by comparison to others. It is not measured by net worth, which government can adjust. Whether one has healthy levels of self-love and self-esteem is determined by personal physiology and psychology. No matter how much government can disrupt the lives of its citizens, it cannot make anyone love or esteem themselves more or make anyone happy.

What liberals really need -- greater self-esteem and self-love -- government is completely powerless to provide.

Given their motivations, statements, and actions, liberal politicians and their supporters can be understood through awareness of the common characteristics of those with a low sense of self....

Our sense of self-value is rooted in our childhood, nurtured by the love and affirmation we received from our parental figures. Consider the nation's leading liberal, President Barack Obama, and how he embodies nearly all the characteristics of a person with a low sense of self. Barack Obama's teenage mom became pregnant out of wedlock, had two failed marriages, and apparently was a socialist. His dad was -- or became -- an alcoholic, physically abusive polygamist and communist. The likelihood of such needy and damaged people being healthy, nurturing parents is nil.

Obama's childhood included an early abandonment by his father; abandonment by his stepfather; abandonment by his mother; frequent moves so he could not develop long-term childhood friendships; being teased by peers for being neither black nor white, for having big ears, and for being skinny; and he had an elderly childhood mentor (Frank Marshall Davis) who was a communist and pedophile. (A poem written by 19-year-old Barack Obama suggests he may have been violated by Davis.) Obama predictably turned to illegal drugs (marijuana and cocaine) in his youth and remains addicted to nicotine. With this background, he could not escape being seriously psychologically damaged. From his behaviors and relationships, it is clear that he has not successfully addressed his inner deprivations.

The liberals' emotional neediness leads them to identify and experience a bonding with others who also have low self-esteem and low self-love. Collectively, they long for a greater sense of self and strive to attain it by achieving equality among people using the power of an ever-growing government and irrational arguments (for equality and against freedom) that they find emotionally compelling.



Liberals Ignore the Facts

by Jim Goad, a recovered liberal, now converted to skepticism

When I encounter facts that run contrary to my beliefs, I embrace the facts and abandon my beliefs. I wish the rest of the world was like me.

I was around eight years old when the evidence against Santa Claus became too overwhelming for me to continue believing in him. My arrogant and dickheadedly precocious mind had figured out that it would be physically impossible for Santa to fit enough toys for all the world’s children on a single sleigh and then deliver them over the course of one night. After hammering at this line of questioning with my mother, she finally relented and admitted she’d been lying to me for eight years about Santa Claus.

I didn’t enjoy learning she’d lied to me. And I stopped believing in Santa Claus.

I was around sixteen when I stopped believing in Jesus Christ as my savior. I reached the point where I’d read enough of the Bible to realize it contained several items that couldn’t possibly be true simultaneously. For instance, no infallible God would establish an “eternal” covenant, only to change His mind, revoke it later, and then suddenly pull a New Covenant out of his ass. A perfect God simply wouldn’t roll like that.

I was angry learning I’d been lied to about Jesus. And so I ceased being a Christian.

I was in my late twenties when I stopped identifying myself as a liberal. When evidence started mounting that shot machine-gun holes through the block of liberal cheese I’d purchased at the local liberal co-op, I concluded that liberalism was not a logically consistent belief system.

But it wasn’t only liberal illogic that caused me to dump the whole program —much of it had to do with gradual changes in liberal attitudes and behavior. I’m old enough to remember when liberals were free-speech absolutists and conservatives tended to be the book-burners. But historical forces can blur, erase, and often invert party lines.

Over the years, I watched as liberals slowly became the group most likely to flat-out refuse discussing certain topics and answering certain questions, their purportedly “open” minds snapping shut like a giant clam. They became the group most likely to try and silence their opponents by shouting them down, defaming them, assaulting them, and even urging legislation to ban the use and expression of certain terms and sentiments. They became the group most disposed toward emotional appeals, double standards, wishful thinking, and wretchedly malodorous sanctimony.

Up through my teens and twenties, I had considered liberals to be the most open-minded and free-thinking group in America, only to watch them morph into the most ideologically rigid pack of true believers I’d ever seen. With modern American liberalism, it’s as if their cute, multicolored, and sincerely curious little 1960s caterpillar had blossomed into a hardened grey butterfly fossil. Liberalism had become an emotion-driven folk religion that somehow had convinced itself science and logic were on its side.

These days, I suppose I’d rather hang out with conservatives than liberals, if only for the fact that I offend conservatives less, and it’s a drag to hang out with people who are always getting offended.

And unless I suffer from blind, chronic denial, I like to believe that my political journey has been free of the cognitive dissonance that afflicts ideologues of every stripe.

A study recently published in Political Behavior addresses the topic of cognitive dissonance as it regards political beliefs. Titled “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions,” it is an amended version of a paper originally presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.

The study, written by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, focused on four separate experiments in which college students were presented with mock news articles containing items of misinformation that were subsequently “corrected” by the researchers, who presented the students with hard evidence that contradicted the initially bungled facts. The researchers found that being fed corrective information failed to budge their subjects’ opinions and that, disturbingly, it often caused them to strengthen their erroneous beliefs. The researchers refer to this defensive tendency to double-up on disproved beliefs as the “backfire effect.”

This troubling phenomenon —of people stubbornly believing what has been certified as unbelievable—is as old as humanity. A farmer named William Miller gained religious followers by predicting the world’s end in 1843. When it didn’t end and he didn’t lose any followers, he predicted it would end in 1844. When that didn’t happen, his cult only gained believers instead of withering away. It still exists today and is known as Seventh Day Adventism.

In his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, author Leon Festinger infiltrated another cult that claimed to have nailed down Doomsday’s exact date. When Doomsday came and went without doom, the cultists were duped into believing space aliens had granted a reprieve in order to allow the cult to spread their mission. Naturally, the cult only gained strength. Twenty years later, a book called The Psychic Mafia detailed the imbecility of a group who refused to believe that a psychic named Raoul was a fraud even though Raoul himself admitted as much to them. The book’s author, M. Lamar Keene, wrote, “I knew how easy it was to make people believe a lie, but I didn’t expect the same people, confronted with the lie, would choose it over the truth….No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.”

Although Nyhan and Reifler’s recent study takes a few token stabs at objectivity, it stinks a bit of what is known as Expectation Bias, seeing as the authors repeatedly make a distinction between “conservatives” and “more knowledgable subjects” and suggest that their study “may provide support for the hypothesis that conservatives are especially dogmatic.”

However, I like to cut slack where slack deserves to be cut, so I should mention that the authors tossed in the following: “It would also be helpful to test additional corrections of liberal misperceptions.”

I agree that it would be helpful. I propose an additional study where subjects are read the following factual statements, most of which directly contradict prominent liberal misinformation:

• Communist governments killed perhaps a hundred million more people than the Nazis did.

• Women commit acts of domestic violence at a higher rate than men do.

• Blacks commit interracial violence at a rate far in excess of their representation in the general population.

• Sex has a lot to do with rape.

• Race is a biologically quantifiable reality in addition to something that can be manipulated as a social construct.

• Black-on-black murders in the USA every year are roughly double the total number of blacks lynched in America throughout history.

• Islam is far more misogynistic and anti-Semitic than most white male Christians are.

• There is not a shred of evidence to support the idea of innate cognitive and physical equality between human ethnic groups.

• Many of the nations that wound up being colonized were not innately peaceful and were only subjugated due to their inferior defensive technology.

• Collective, intergenerational guilt is a fantasy that doesn’t exist.

• The ends do not justify the means.

How would most self-identified leftists react to such “corrective information”? Would they immediately alter their beliefs? If my suspicions are correct, they’d be displaying the “backfire effect” like it was fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Conservative or liberal, the documented reality of human cognitive dissonance does not bode well for the idea of democracy, because a well-informed public doesn’t stick to the facts when it doesn’t quite care for them or doesn’t have the brain power to process them rationally.

That’s why I don’t look right or left —only up and down. When I look down, I see hard-line ideologues and weak-willed compromisers. When I look up, I see skeptics, who are our only hope. Skepticism and curiosity, not Jesus and Mary, are what made the West great. We need to elevate our skeptics and demote our ideologues. Our national motto should be “Don’t stop disbelievin’.”

I feel this way because refusing to allow emotion to rule over logic is of tremendous emotional importance to me. One should never have the courage of their convictions—they should have the courage to abandon their convictions to find some newer, better convictions once their convictions have been proved wrong.

And that’s why I’m no longer a liberal.




The end of the aircraft carrier?: "News sources reporting that a new Chinese ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-21D (DF-21), has the capability of hitting a moving aircraft carrier (up to a range of 900 miles away) heralds the demise of the aircraft carrier as the dominant force at sea, undermining the ability of the U.S. Navy to operate close to the Chinese coast …. I am happy to say, though, that reports of the aircraft carrier’s demise are once again exaggerated.”

Britain should scrap inheritance tax: "What good is inheritance tax? Well, it’s certainly very useful for a profligate government that has run out of money. As house and asset prices rise (thanks to all that money which the Bank of England has printed in its efforts to take the edge off the financial prices), more and more people are drawn into it. What used to be a tax on the rich is now a nice earner for the government, paid by the many. (Not by the rich, who can either leave the country or hire expensive accountants to get round it.)”


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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)