Saturday, August 28, 2010



Krugman blows the whistle on Obanomics

Even Krugman can see that there is no recovery in sight. See below. Obama has lost one of his biggest cheerleaders. Mind you, Krugman's own ideas about what to do are just more and more big government. He still hasn't figured out that it is business that creates jobs and that it is pro-business policies that are therefore needed

What will Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, say in his big speech Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo.? Will he hint at new steps to boost the economy? Stay tuned.

But we can safely predict what he and other officials will say about where we are right now: that the economy is continuing to recover, albeit more slowly than they would like. Unfortunately, that’s not true: this isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.

The small sliver of truth in claims of continuing recovery is the fact that G.D.P. is still rising: we’re not in a classic recession, in which everything goes down. But so what?

The important question is whether growth is fast enough to bring down sky-high unemployment. We need about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment from rising, and much faster growth to bring it significantly down. Yet growth is currently running somewhere between 1 and 2 percent, with a good chance that it will slow even further in the months ahead. Will the economy actually enter a double dip, with G.D.P. shrinking? Who cares? If unemployment rises for the rest of this year, which seems likely, it won’t matter whether the G.D.P. numbers are slightly positive or slightly negative.

All of this is obvious. Yet policy makers are in denial.

After its last monetary policy meeting, the Fed released a statement declaring that it “anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization” — Fedspeak for falling unemployment. Nothing in the data supports that kind of optimism. Meanwhile, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, says that “we’re on the road to recovery.” No, we aren’t.

Why are people who know better sugar-coating economic reality? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is that it’s all about evading responsibility.

In the case of the Fed, admitting that the economy isn’t recovering would put the institution under pressure to do more. And so far, at least, the Fed seems more afraid of the possible loss of face if it tries to help the economy and fails than it is of the costs to the American people if it does nothing, and settles for a recovery that isn’t.

More HERE

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Snapshot of economy about to get a lot bleaker

The government is about to confirm what many people have felt for some time: The economy barely has a pulse. The Commerce Department on Friday will revise its estimate for economic growth in the April-to-June period and Wall Street economists forecast it will be cut almost in half, to a 1.4 percent annual rate from 2.4 percent.

That's a sharp slowdown from the first quarter, when the economy grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate, and economists say it's a taste of the weakness to come. The current quarter isn't expected to be much better, with many economists forecasting growth of only 1.7 percent.

Such slow growth won't feel much like an economic recovery and won't lead to much hiring. The unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, could even rise by the end of the year. "The economy is going to limp along for the next few months," said Gus Faucher, an economist at Moody's Analytics. There's even a one in three chance it could slip back into recession, he said.

Many temporary factors that boosted the economy earlier this year are fading. Companies built up their inventories after cutting them sharply in the recession to match slower sales. The increase provided a boost to manufacturers, but now many companies' stockpiles are in line with sales and don't need to grow as much.

In addition, the impact of the government's $862 billion fiscal stimulus program is lessening. That leaves the private sector to pick up the slack. But businesses are cutting back on their spending on machines, computers and software, according to a government report earlier this week. And the housing sector is slumping again after a popular home buyer's tax credit expired in April.

More HERE

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How creative destruction works (and is working in Las Vegas)

Creative destruction is an essential part of the free market. Economist Joseph A. Schumpeter coined the term in "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy."
Capitalism, then, is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. ...

As we have seen in the preceding chapter, the contents of the laborer's budget, say from 1760 to 1940, did not simply grow on unchanging lines but they underwent a process of qualitative change. Similarly, the history of the productive apparatus of a typical farm, from the beginnings of the rationalization of crop rotation, plowing and fattening to the mechanized thing of today–linking up with elevators and railroads–is a history of revolutions. So is the history of the productive apparatus of the iron and steel industry from the charcoal furnace to our own type of furnace, or the history of the apparatus of power production from the overshot water wheel to the modern power plant, or the history of transportation from the mailcoach to the airplane. The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation–if I may use that biological term–that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.

In my own words, "creative destruction" means this: Because there are limited resources in the world (scarcity), in order for there to be innovations and improvements there must also be a destruction and redistribution (through private decisions) of the scarce resources (raw materials and employees, etc.) that were being consumed by less productive means.

This is why it's so important that bad businesses are allowed to fail and lose money (as happens naturally in the marketplace outside of government interference). If bad businesses aren't allowed to fail, the limited resources that they are using will be stuck in inefficient and unwanted businesses instead of becoming available for better uses (as determined by the individuals in the marketplace). And if the government doesn't allow bad businesses to fail, successful businesses and taxpayers will be forced to subsidize them — literally rewarding failure.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that there's a great story today in the Las Vegas Sun about how the recession is creating new opportunities for businesses — creative destruction in action.
Even as many retailers and food establishments are struggling to outlast the recession, franchises and chains are entering the market or expanding their footholds.

Some are taking advantage of the sharp decline in rent, the availability of storefronts at high-traffic shopping centers and declining competition. ...

“We are doing this for the long term,” said Loren Kreiss, spokesman for San Diego-based Kreiss furnishings, which in July at Town Square opened its 14th U.S. store. “We see the benefits when others are shying away. It is an opportunity for us to get in the market. Our strategy is to double down where we see the growth.” ...

The recession does have its benefits: [Business owner Todd] Miller says his rent is about a third of what was charged several years ago.

Recessions are a normal part of the business cycle (especially, as F.A. Hayek and my colleague Geoffrey Lawrence have argued, since the Fed inflates the money supply) and must be allowed to run their course.

If recessions are a normal part of the business cycle, why has this one lasted so long? Because it hasn't been allowed to run its course. From bailouts, to the stimulus, to Government Motors, to propping up Fannie and Freddie, to imposing huge new health care mandates, to the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the federal government has been trying to save failing businesses for the last two years — hindering the creative destruction of the market.

And it's failed miserably.

The government's been trying to prop up failing businesses, and this has led to a failing economy. Government needs to get out of the way. Bad businesses need to fail so that new businesses can attempt to use the scarce resources, which were previously tied up in the bad businesses, in more productive ways.

As Las Vegas shows, creative destruction works — if it's given a full chance.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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GOP leader's Pro-Growth Message

It’s a bit too early for House Republican leader John Boehner to measure the drapes and pick out new wallpaper. But the Intrade pay-to-play prediction markets are now showing a 76 percent chance of a GOP House takeover in November, along with a 60 percent probability that Republicans will capture at least seven new Senate seats...

Well, Mr. Boehner’s speech was a very promising beginning to all this. Near the top he said, “Right now, America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by ‘stimulus’ spending and hamstrung by uncertainty. The prospect of higher taxes, stricter rules, and more regulations has employers sitting on their hands.”

His first proposal to break that uncertainty? Boehner said, “President Obama should announce he will not carry out his plan to impose job-killing tax hikes on families and small businesses.” In other words, extend all the Bush tax cuts. To this end, Boehner quoted former President John F. Kennedy: “An economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs.”

And Boehner was just getting started. He called for an Obama pledge to veto any lame-duck congressional actions that would damage the economy, including the union card-check bill and a national cap-and-trade energy tax.

He called for the repeal of Obamacare’s job-killing 1099 mandate that would require small-business paperwork to show any purchases of more than $600.

He slammed Obamacare in general, noting the creation of more than 160 boards, bureaucracies, programs, and commissions, and the 3,833 pages of new regulations already in place.

He called for an aggressive spending-reduction package that would rollback non-defense discretionary expenditures to 2008 levels, before the stimulus plan was put in place. He said he wants to end TARP and all TARP bailouts.

He bemoaned the fact that no one in the White House has any business experience, chiding Obama by saying, “We’ve tried 19 months of government-as-community-organizer. It hasn’t worked. Our fresh start needs to begin now.”

He called for a freeze on federal pay and hiring. He noted that, on average, federal employees now make more than double what private-sector workers take in.

He cited Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan’s plan for $1.3 trillion in specific spending cuts. He called for strict budget caps. And he argued for pro-growth tax reform that would get rid of “the undergrowth of deductions, credits, and special carve-outs in order to bring simplicity and certainty, instead of transfer payments to the favored few.”

And he spotlighted the fiscal restraint of governors Bob McConnell of Virginia and Chris Christie of New Jersey, elected Republican officials who balanced their budgets by throttling spending instead of raising taxes.

Instead of playing it safe, it looks like Republicans intend to be aggressive in changing the statist, government-planning, socialist-lite agenda of President Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It sounds like the new Republican party intends to end the ongoing war against private-capital investment, entrepreneurial rewards, free-market incentives, and private business that is plaguing the economy and sapping the strength of the recovery.

In a little over two months, the election will take place. In a little over four months, the 2003 tax cuts will expire. And in just a few weeks, congressional Republicans will presumably put more meat on the bones of their new platform. John Boehner’s Cleveland speech was a very encouraging beginning. Now let’s see if the Republican’s next step will truly provide some much needed optimism to the economy and body politic.

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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, August 27, 2010



The NYT stands truth on its head

See below. Dr Goebbels call home. The NYT has a propaganda job for you.

Republican insurgents from the far right did well in Tuesday’s primaries. What their campaigns lack in logic, compassion and sensible policy seems to be counterbalanced by a fiercely committed voter base that is nowhere to be seen on the Democratic side. …….

Much of the G.O.P’s fervid populist energy has been churned up by playing on some people’s fears of Hispanics and Muslims, by painting the president as a dangerous radical, by distorting the truth about the causes of the recession. Far too many Republican leaders have eagerly fed that destructive anger.

And where are the Democrats in all of this? Last time we checked, they were fleeing solid accomplishments on health care, financial reform and the economy. President Obama and his party have little time left to gin up enthusiasm and a lot more committed voters.

More HERE

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Reclaiming Rights: The never-ending struggle to go about your business without fear of government sanction

From "Reason" magazine:

Our cover story this month describes the historic and stunningly rapid restoration of the Second Amendment as a guarantee of an individual right that must be respected throughout the United States. As you luxuriate in that momentous victory of individuals over their governments, allow me to direct your attention to a tale that is microscopic by comparison: On page 43, in the midst of a long and remarkable exchange between reason’s finest and the Cleveland City Council, two different city councilors attempt to explain to TV funnyman and Reason Foundation trustee Drew Carey why the owner of a local car wash faced a four-month approval process to install a commercial sign on his own property.

Council President Martin J. Sweeney’s explanation was, alas, good enough for government work: “If you apply for a sign that’s within our regulation, it would take somewhere between three and five days. If it’s outside the regulations, it needs to be [no bigger than] four foot by eight foot, no more than two or three colors. If you want to go 10 by 10, and put it up a little bit higher, and have 10 colors on it, you have to get approval to go outside the variance,” Sweeney said. “The three to five days is if you stay within the regulations, if you agree with them. If you want to go outside, it’s six weeks to put it on the calendar and have it heard. And then all the other steps…because there has to be some type of structure.”

There has to be some type of structure. From this one default setting springs all manner of tyrannies, from the trivial to the profound.

Carey had the best comeback to this Office Space-meets-Kafka gibberish: “You should be able to put up whatever sign you want, man.” But it’s elected officials like Sweeney, from Bakersfield to Bangor, from the statehouses to Capitol Hill, who too often have the last laugh. Every day brings fresh reminders that we are not technically free to go about our business.

In August, Multnomah County health inspectors in Portland, Oregon, shut down a lemonade stand at an art fair because its 7-year-old proprietor failed to obtain the necessary food distribution license. Days earlier, a Quincy, Illinois, man was arrested via a sting operation (for a second time) for the crime of offering free rides home to inebriated bar patrons; the service conflicted with some new taxi cartel–influenced language in the relevant city ordinance. And all summer long, councilmen in recession-ravaged Los Angeles, who earn higher salaries than any municipal lawmakers in the country, threatened to crack down on one of the few interesting and growing business models left in L.A.—food trucks—despite the fact that the only people complaining about them are nonmobile restaurant owners who don’t like the competition.

On the federal level things get even worse. In July the Department of Labor unveiled new child labor regulations that make it a crime for 17-year-olds to clear brush (a classic summer job in timber-heavy states such as Oregon) or for 15-year-olds to wave signs on the roadside, which the last time I looked was about the only job teenagers could still get in Southern California. ObamaCare requires every single vending machine and restaurant chain with 20 or more outlets in the country to list calorie counts for its products, under threat of federal sanction.

The financial regulation bill enacted in July, like the health care law that preceded it, asserted vast new governmental powers over an industry’s operations while delegating to future rule makers the task of telling the industry exactly what is and is not now legal. As Associate Editor Peter Suderman wrote when the law was being passed, “For regulators in Washington, this is a He-Man moment: They get to lift thousands of pages of legislation above their heads and declare, ‘I have the power!’ The trouble seems to be figuring out what to do with that power once they have it.”

There are any number of unhappy consequences from this relentless public push into private activity, not least of which is, as Senior Editor Jacob Sullum explains on page 11 (“Bono vs. Buttman”), the inevitably arbitrary enforcement of vaguely written laws. People who don’t know if their day-to-day behavior will trigger criminal prosecution are not truly free. As the great civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate observed in a 2009 book of the same name, Americans on average now commit “three felonies a day.” That means our basic liberty exists at the discretion of law enforcement. If cops or motivated government attorneys decide they don’t like you, life can soon become hell.

What’s perhaps more frightening than the existence of such an all-powerful enforcement apparatus is the argumentation supporting it even in the face of public outrage and ridicule. Car wash signs need four months of approval because there has to be some type of structure. Lemonade stands need to be forcibly shut down because, in the words of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, “The county has the responsibility to fairly enforce the rules on permits.” U.S. News & World Report columnist Mary Kate Cary, while pointing out that ObamaCare is “not fiscally responsible” and “creates a nearly trillion-dollar new entitlement program that doesn’t pay for itself,” nonetheless gushes that the new calorie count requirement “may change American diets.” Once you take it as a given that the government has an important say in what you do with your property or put in your body, a whole universe of appalling actions and apologia becomes possible.

It’s time to change the default setting. Every victory of a citizen over the government in the never-ending struggle to do as we please is worthy of a 21-gun salute, whether on the individual level, as in pornographer John Stagliano’s successful fight against federal obscenity charges, or on a group level, in the case of those who want to own handguns. The battles are usually uphill, as with the 21 states suing the federal government over ObamaCare’s abuse of the Commerce Clause (see “Rogue States,” page 44), but the liberation is exhilarating. We can all learn from the examples of those who fought back and won, such as the 7-year-old lemonade entrepreneur Julie Murphy, who was helped and encouraged at the art fair by a group of Portland anarchists and eventually won an official apology from Multnomah County.

But sometimes it feels like we’re losing a game of whack-a-mole. For every outrage reversed through bad publicity or expensive lawyering, there are untold dozens of quiet capitulations to a rampaging state. Think of all the government restrictions on what you can and can’t do with your own house, to say nothing of the taxes the government collects on it. At some point the burden of proof should shift to the government, which should have to persuasively explain why an industry needs to be managed from Washington or why an individual needs a license to act like a human being.

The U.S. is in an economic, fiscal, and public policy crisis with no end in sight. Indeed, it looks almost certain to get far worse. We can and will talk about what rights need to be reasserted, what programs need to be cut, what sectors of this American life need to be left the hell alone. But until we make a dent in the widespread notion that there always has to be some type of government structure or some taxpayer-financed watchdog to police every imaginable peaceable transaction, any contemplated fix to the mess we’re in will be temporary at best.

SOURCE

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"Moral Hazard" in Politics

Thomas Sowell

One of the things that makes it tough to figure out how much has to be charged for insurance is that people behave differently when they are insured from the way they behave when they are not insured.

In other words, if one person out of 10,000 has his car set on fire, and it costs an average of $10,000 to restore the car to its previous condition, then it might seem as if charging one dollar to all 10,000 people would be enough to cover the cost of paying $10,000 to the one person whose car that will need to be repaired. But the joker in this deal is that people whose cars are insured may not be as cautious as other people are about what kinds of neighborhoods they park their car in.

The same principle applies to government policies. When taxpayer-subsidized government insurance policies protect people against flood damage, more people are willing to live in places where there are greater dangers of flooding. Often these are luxury beach front homes with great views of the ocean. So what if they suffer flood damage once every decade or so, if Uncle Sam is picking up the tab for restoring everything?

Television reporter John Stossel has told how he got government insurance "dirt cheap" to insure a home only a hundred feet from the ocean. Eventually, the ocean moved in and did a lot of damage, but the taxpayer-subsidized insurance covered the costs of fixing it. Four years later, the ocean came in again, and this time it took out the whole house. But the taxpayer-subsidized government insurance paid to replace the whole house.

This was not a unique experience. More than 25,000 properties have received government flood insurance payments more than four times. Over a period of 28 years, more than 4,000 properties received government insurance payments exceeding the total value of the property. If you are located in a dangerous place, repeated damage can easily add up to more than the property is worth, especially if the property is damaged and then later wiped out completely, as John Stossel's ocean-front home was.

Although "moral hazard" is an insurance term, it applies to other government policies besides insurance. International studies show that people in countries with more generous and long-lasting unemployment compensation spend less time looking for jobs. In the United States, where unemployment compensation is less generous than in Western Europe, unemployed Americans spend more hours looking for work than do unemployed Europeans in countries with more generous unemployment compensation.

People change their behavior in other ways when the government pays with the taxpayers' money. After welfare became more readily available in the 1960s, unwed motherhood skyrocketed. The country is still paying the price for that-- of which the money is the least of it. Children raised by single mothers on welfare have far higher rates of crime, welfare and other social pathology.

San Francisco has been one of the most generous cities in the country when it comes to subsidizing the homeless. Should we be surprised that homelessness is a big problem in San Francisco?

Most people are not born homeless. They usually become homeless because of their own behavior, and the friends and family they alienate to the point that those who know them will not help them. People with mental problems may not be able to help their behavior, but the rest of them can.

We hear a lot of talk about "safety nets" from big-government liberals, who act as if there is a certain pre-destined amount of harm that people will suffer, so that it is just a question of the government helping those who are harmed. But we hear very little about "moral hazard" from big-government liberals. We all need safety nets. That is why we "save for a rainy day," instead of living it up to the limit of our income and beyond.

We also hear a lot of talk about "the uninsured," for whose benefit we are to drastically change the whole medical-care system. But income data show that many of those uninsured people have incomes from which they could easily afford insurance. But they can live it up instead, because the government has mandated that hospital emergency rooms treat everyone.

All of this is a large hazard to taxpayers. And it is not very moral.

SOURCE

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Obama lost and at sea

At the beginning of the year, retiring seven-term Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., recounted a conversation he had with the president. Obama's unrelenting push for health-care reform in the face of public opposition reminded Berry of the Clinton-era missteps that led to the Republican rout of the Democrats in 1994. "I began to preach last January that we had already seen this movie and we didn't want to see it again because we know how it comes out," Berry told a newspaper.

Convinced that his popularity was eternal, Obama responded by saying, yes, but there's a "big difference" between 1994 and 2010, and that big difference is "you've got me."

The funny thing is, Obama might have been right. Because things might be much worse for Democrats in 2010 than they were in 1994 -- and the big difference might well be Barack Obama.

In fairness, the biggest difference is probably the economy, which in political terms should be fitted for a pine box. Of course, Mr. Credibility, Joe Biden, says it's doing great, sounding a bit like the shopkeeper in the Monty Python "Dead Parrot sketch" who insists the bird's "just resting."

In 1994, when the Contract with America Congress took control, the jobless rate was 5.6 percent. Today it's 9.5 and may well climb higher. More than 18 percent of people who want full-time work can only find part-time jobs. Consumer confidence is falling again, housing sales recently hit a 15-year low, the stock market is off 11 percent since its April highs for the year.

The congressional generic ballot -- asking which party voters prefer -- is as bad for Democrats today as it was in 1994. Stu Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Report -- not exactly an RNC direct-mail operation -- says Obama's approval rating (already below 50 percent) will likely rival Clinton's in November of 1994. Already, Democrats in tight races, including the Senate majority leader, are distancing themselves from the White House, and pretty much everyone has stopped trying to make lemonade out of the ObamaCare lemon.

Moreover, Obama has lost his connection with the American people. He's aloof without inspiring confidence. On issue after issue -- terrorism, immigration, the oil spill, the environment and the ground zero mosque -- he seems determined to craft his responses in a way that will annoy the most people possible.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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, August 26, 2010



Tony Blair condemns the delegitimization of Israel

Excerpt from a recent speech:

There are two forms of de-legitimisation. One is traditional, obvious and from the quarters it emanates, expected. It is easier to deal with. This is attack from those who openly question Israel’s right to exist. It is easier to deal with, because it is so clear. When the President of Iran says he wants Israel wiped off the face of the map, we all know where we are. This is not to minimise the threat of course. It remains and is profound. It is just to say that were this the only form of de-legitimisation, it wouldn’t warrant a conference of analysis; simply a course of action.

The other form is more insidious, harder to spot, harder to anticipate and harder to deal with, because many of those engaging in it, will fiercely deny they are doing so. It is this form that is in danger of growing, and whose impact is potentially highly threatening, in part because it isn’t obvious.

I would define in it this way: it is a conscious or often unconscious resistance, sometimes bordering on refusal, to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view. Note that I say refusal to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view. I’m not saying refusal to agree with it. People are perfectly entitled to agree or not; but rather an unwillingness to listen to the other side, to acknowledge that Israel has a point, to embrace the notion that this is a complex matter that requires understanding of the other way of looking at it.

The challenge is that this often does not come from ill-intentioned people; but well-intentioned. They would dispute vigorously such a characterisation of their mindset. They would point to the injustice of Palestinian suffering, acts of the Israeli Government or army which are unjustifiable and they would say, rightly, that you cannot say that to criticise Israel is to de-legitimise it. Such minds are often to be found in the west. They will say they advocate a two state solution and they will point to that as proof positive that they accept Israel’s existence fully.

The problem is that though this is true in theory, in practice they wear Nelson’s eye patch when they lift the telescope of scrutiny to the Israeli case. In a very real sense, they don’t see it.

So, for example, on Gaza they won’t accept that Israel might have a right to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza, given that even this year over 100 rockets have been fired from that territory into Israel Leave aside the multiple investigations relating to the flotilla, upon which there will naturally be heated debate. I mean a refusal to accept that, however handled, no Israeli government could be indifferent to the possibility of weapons and missiles being brought into Gaza.

I often have a conversation about the West Bank which goes like this. Someone says: Israel must lift the occupation. I reply: I agree but it has to be sure that when it does so, there will be security and a Palestinian force capable of preventing terrorism. They say: so you’re supporting occupation. I say: I’m not: I’m simply pointing out that if Hamas, with an unchanged position on Israel, were running the West Bank, Israel would have a perfectly legitimate right to be concerned about it’s security.

A constant conversation I have with some, by no means all, of my European colleagues is to argue to them: don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country. In any of our nations, if there were people firing rockets, committing acts of terrorism and living next door to us, our public opinion would go crazy. And any political leader who took the line that we shouldn’t get too excited about it, wouldn’t last long as a political leader. This is a democracy. Israel lost 1000 citizens to terrorism in the intifada. That equates in UK population terms to 10,000. I remember the bomb attacks from Republican terrorism in the 1970’s. There weren’t many arguing for a policy of phlegmatic calm.

So the issue of de-legitimisation is not simply about an overt denial of the State of Israel. It is the application of prejudice in not allowing that Israel has a point of view that should be listened to.

One thing I state repeatedly in interviews about Gaza – despite disagreeing with the previous policy on it – is to say to western media outlets: just at least comprehend why Israel feels as it does. In 2005 it got out of Gaza i.e. ceased occupying it, took over 7000 settlers with it and in return got rockets and terror attacks. Now I know all the counter-arguments about the unilateral nature of the withdrawal, the 2005 Access and Movement agreement and the closure of the crossings. But the fact remains: there is another point of view and you can’t describe it as illegitimate.

This is then hugely heightened by the way things are reported. Here the televisual images – whether in Lebanon, Gaza or indeed any field of conflict – in Afghanistan for example, are so shocking that they tend to overwhelm debate about how or why conflict began. Because Israel – like the US or the UK – has superior force and because in such situations the horrible tragedy is that the innocent die – these images arouse anger, sympathy and a disgust that at one level is completely understandable but at another obscures the difficult choices nations like ours face, when they come under attack.

The combination of all of this is curious disjunction of perception. I spend large amounts of time in Israel, and outside of it in different parts of the world. To those outside, Israel is regularly perceived as arrogant, overbearing and aggressive. To Israelis, there is a sense that the world is isolating it unfairly and perversely refusing to see they too have a right to have their voice heard. Hence this conference.

More HERE

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Gridlock Is Our Greatest Hope: The case for divided government



Get ready for the most productive and decent political condition known to man: sweet gridlock. You get nothing. And after what you've been through these past few years, you deserve it.

Hey, things are tough. A new Rasmussen poll says 48 percent of voters regard President Barack Obama's political views as "extreme." Not surprising, seeing as —how can I put this without being hyperbolic?— Washington has been doing to the economy what Piranha 3D has done to cinematic excellence.

So with Democrats in deep trouble, it's time to start pondering this creepy and amorphous "anti-incumbent" wave.

Whatever the why, Republicans will have enough votes to prevent any more great leaps forward. Nothing of consequence will happen. And nothing could be better.

This week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)—emboldened by the prospect of an unearned return to power—asked the president for the resignations of his economic team of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. (As if it makes a difference which technocrat is meddling with your life.) Republicans would, unlike the last time out, make significant cuts in spending and taxes, ease the overbearing regulatory system, and repeal nationalized health care.

Maybe. But in the near term, the president certainly would veto any ideologically unpalatable legislation. Just as certainly, he never would allow Republicans to undo his major legislative "accomplishments." If Republicans do take over the Senate, Democrats can filibuster legislation just as easily. There is no greater check on power in Washington than two strong political parties.

Safe to say there will be enough secure Democrats and secure Republicans that legislative activity will be winnowed down to the bare necessities—namely, politics without policy results. And that's fine by me. What we need now is to stop the implementation of any more bright ideas and give everyone a break.

I recently read a Newsweek piece ("On Our Own") examining the nation's economic troubles. Government, the story explained with a straight face, "seems to have run out of ideas for rebuilding the economy, but businesses and consumers are figuring it out for themselves."

Out of ideas? Hardly. And that's the problem. But what I particularly liked about the piece was that it neatly summed up the prevailing "idea" of the Washington establishment: Without government's help, you're on your own (a condition, incidentally, that is supposed to be scary). Washington is stocked with folks who possess the extraordinary gift of believing that they have the ability to manage and organize complex economic systems —and our behavior in them.

More HERE

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Media blackout on NYC mosque protests finally breached

Mr. Kelly, who is a political satirist, wrote in his column: “Sometimes a subject is so serious that even we need to take a step back and let the story tell itself. This is one of those times. … Despite public opinion, the mainstream media has virtually ignored the protests against the WTC mosque. According to internet reports, not one major TV network or camera crew covered this recent protest. … Uncredited photos of the New York protests have surfaced, bypassing the mainstream media’s unbalanced reporting, and have since caused a stir on the internet. Few words are necessary. The photos of the mystery photographer speak louder than any words ever could.”

Kelly wrote those words on August 12, more than two months after the “feminist AynRandian” blogger and human-rights activist Pamela Geller led a massive rally at Ground Zero in New York. The purpose of that rally was to draw attention to grassroots opposition aimed at the proposed mega-mosque headed by the controversial Imam Feisal Rauf. This past week, the story that the dominant liberal establishment media tried to keep from you has gone international and become one of the defining issues of recent times.

With a recent Rasmussen poll showing 62% of Americans are against the 13 story mosque, Geller’s efforts to inform public opinion have been more than vindicated as mainstream. The 38% who support Rauf’s plans include the Democrat leadership, the elite mainstream media and the radical 1960s left, who together have formed an arrogant, chauvinistic machine, pushing the mosque project and vilifying those who oppose it.

Imam Feisal Rauf is the man who heads the Cordoba Initiative. He plans to build a Sharia-promoting Islamic complex and mosque 560 feet from where 9/11 terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers.

New Yorkers and the American public are becoming aware that there are many Islamic groups like Rauf’s who claim to be moderate, but are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood. Imam Rauf is a radical extremist cleric who plays to the sensitivities and ignorance of those who live in the liberal/left media and academic bubble. They fall over each other praising him and attacking anyone who questions his motives. Time magazine online, in the space of two weeks, ran four articles characterizing anyone opposed to the mosque as being racist bigots.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Tighter Medical Privacy Rules Sought: "The Obama administration is rewriting new rules on medical privacy after an outpouring of criticism from consumer groups and members of Congress who say the rules do not adequately protect the rights of patients. Democratic lawmakers and a few Republicans have denounced the rules, saying they fall short of offering patients the fullest protections possible. The rules specify when doctors, hospitals and insurers must tell patients about the improper use or disclosure of information in their medical records. Such breaches appear to have become more frequent, with the growing use of health information technology, social media and the Internet."

A Hillary comeback? "A sure sign that an administration is in trouble is Beltway buzz about making dramatic changes at or near the top. Lately, there has been increasing chatter about moving Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to a new job. The goal of the musical chairs would be to keep her from challenging the politically flailing President Obama in a Democratic primary in 2012. Most speculation centers on elevating Mrs. Clinton to the second spot on the ticket. It seems early in the game for a "Dump Biden" movement, but some schemes would move him over to the State Department as a major consolation prize."

Homebuyer tax credit: the scam of the century?: "Many of the homes purchased with the credit have already declined in value in excess of the credit’s maximum $8000 benefit (i.e. a mere 2.5% decline on a $350,000 home) leaving many unwitting home “buyers” in the cruel predicament of sinking in a quicksand of asset price deflation for simply having jumped for a slight nibble of the government’s meager tax carrot"

Wal-Mart asks SCOTUS to block giant gender bias lawsuit: "Retail giant Wal-Mart on Wednesday asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling allowing more than 1.5 million women employees of the company to join together in what would become the largest class-action employment lawsuit in history. The lawsuit filed by six women in 2001 charges that Wal-Mart engaged in gender discrimination by paying female employees less than men, and in passing women over for promotions that went to men. It seeks billions of dollars in damages. Gender discrimination lawsuits are usually litigated one employee at a time.”

Where are the new jobs?: "‘Corporate profits are soaring. Companies are sitting on billions of dollars of cash. And still, they’ve yet to amp up hiring or make major investments.’ So writes The Washington Post about the recession’s stubborn refusal to go away. The statisticians at the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the Great Recession over — but tell that to people who can’t find jobs. Today, businesses replace equipment and inventory, but they are reluctant to hire new workers.”

Will they ever learn? “Santiago, Chile, is a city of more than 5 million people, with one of the highest standards of living in Latin America. … In the middle part of the last decade, Santiago featured a flourishing system of private buses, with more than 3,000 companies offering quick and inexpensive transportation all over the city and mostly managing to turn a profit. The system was not without its flaws, however. The buses emitted a great deal of pollution, and overzealous bus drivers often caused accidents or hit pedestrians in efforts to pick up passengers before their competition. Such problems led the government to scrap the private system in favor of a public one in 2007, and [Michael] Munger explains how this led to far worse outcomes on pretty much every measure.”

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, August 25, 2010



"The white man's burden"

Leftists are extemely good at derision and contempt but the above phrase is probably the one that gives them their biggest erections. That it was originally a tribute to a "Progressive" makes the whole thing particularly hilarious -- or should I say "deflating"?

I therefore make no apology for repeating below something that I wrote about it a couple of years ago. I would like the origin of the phrase to become very widely known. Maybe I should reprint my comments on it annually!


A PROPHETIC POEM

One does occasionally hear the term "The white man's burden" as a mocking reference to the claim that the British and other empires were good for the native peoples whom they dominated. I wonder how many people are aware that the term was originally the name of a poem and that the poet was Indian-born British poet Rudyard Kipling? Some, no doubt. But I would not at all be surprised to hear that NOBODY reading this was aware that the poem concerned was inspired by the deeds of a famous American "Progressive". Let me explain:

Right into the 1960's, the American Left (e.g. JFK) was patriotic and nationalistic. Nowadays they mostly make only a shallow pretense of patriotism. Getting the votes of minorities is their desperate aim these days and glorifying America does not serve that aim very well. And with Obama, even the pretense seems to be fading.

And the most nationalistic icon of the American Left in history was undoubtedly TR (Theodore Roosevelt), founder of the "Progressive" party. TR was the first Fascist leader of the 20th century -- where Fascism is conceived of as Leftism plus nationalism. He glorified war as a purifying force for the nation, built lots of battleships and invaded and took over three countries. And on the home front he attacked big business. Fascist enough? His conquests were in fact in the last few years of the 19th century but his Presidency of the USA continued into the early 20th century.

The British empire had however never been Fascist. It was run by conservatives most of the time and when the Left came to power they were much more inclined to wind it down than expand it. And, as the saying goes, the empire was mostly acquired "in a fit of absence of mind". It was not acquired as the result of any deliberate expansionist policy but rather as the byproduct of pursuing other objectives -- such as containment of the French. And if anyone doubts the humane impulse that formed British policy of the time, just reflect that it was in 1807 that Britain became the first major country to abolish slavery. And, unlike Abraham Lincoln many years later, the British both attacked it outside their own domain and abolished it at home. Lincoln's war "against slavery" was fought while permitting slavery in the North! Lincoln's war was really a power-motivated war with slavery as a thin pretext.

And India is an excellent example of the non-imperialistic origin of the British empire. The British first came to India as the representatives of a private company, the British East India company, and the aim was trade, not conquest. The company encountered various attacks on its operations, however, so gradually built up a private army to defend itself (perhaps a bit like the security guards employed by Halliburton in Iraq today). And when Indian princelings took on the company in battle, the company tended to win -- meaning that it eventually had large parts of India under its private control. At that stage, the British government got a bit concerned that the company was not treating the natives well and took over the company's military and rulership operations. So the British government in a sense "inherited" India rather than invading and conquering it. The history I have just given does of course simplify much for the sake of brevity but that is the essence of it.

And the humane thinking (mostly of Christian origin) behind British policy is spelled out in Kipling's poem. Kipling saw the British as having a civilizing mission and saw that mission as one of replacing savage values with humane and Christian ones. And he persuaded himself that TR had such values too. He wrote his poem as a commentary on the American takeover of the Philippines. He saw America as joining Britain in the mission of civilizing savages.

And what he wrote was very prophetic. And it was good prophecy because it was based on experience -- British imperial experience. He prophesied that the gift of liberty and humaneness that America would give to other nations would not be appreciated and would instead lead to resentment of America. And that was long before the liberation of France from the Nazis and the liberation of Iraq from Saddam! Here are some excerpts from a wonderful and idealistic poem that is now almost always misrepresented:

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--

That's amazingly good prophecy by my lights. Very wicked of him to mention skin color judged by today's hysterical political standards but Britain and America WERE largely white countries at the time, and still are.


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Boss of world's biggest maker of core computer chips (Intel) says that the Democrats Are Destroying America's Economy

This is a stunning indictment from the leader of one of America’s most successful technology companies:
Unless government policies are altered, he predicted, “the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here.”

The U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business, Otellini said, that there is likely to be “an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we’re seeing today in Europe–this is the bitter truth.”

Not long ago, Otellini said, “our research centers were without peer. No country was more attractive for start-up capital… We seemed a generation ahead of the rest of the world in information technology. That simply is no longer the case…”

Otellini singled out the political state of affairs in Democrat-dominated Washington, saying: “I think this group does not understand what it takes to create jobs. And I think they’re flummoxed by their experiment in Keynesian economics not working…”

As a result, he said, “every business in America has a list of more variables than I’ve ever seen in my career.” If variables like capital gains taxes and the R&D tax credit are resolved correctly, jobs will stay here, but if politicians make decisions “the wrong way, people will not invest in the United States. They’ll invest elsewhere.”

Take factories. “I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States,” Otellini said…

“If our tax rate approached that of the rest of the world, corporations would have an incentive to invest here,” Otellini said. But instead, it’s the second highest in the industrialized world, making the United States a less attractive place to invest–and create jobs–than places in Europe and Asia that are “clamoring” for Intel’s business.

The most disturbing part of Otellini’s comments is that he says nothing groundbreaking, nothing unexpected, and nothing that we have not heard many times before. Otellini talks about regulation, taxation, litigation and transparency - all issues that have been cited by business leaders for years. But our ‘leaders’ in Washington ignore these concerns, and instead pile on more taxes, more regulation, more litigation costs, greater uncertainty about the climate going forward. And they do all this while claiming to be ‘pro-jobs.’

Will Congress and the White House ever realize that business leaders are telling the truth? As our government continues to make it more difficult to do business in the US, companies must increasingly look to more favorable climates abroad. If Washington really wants to spur job creation here in the US, they should repeal the health care overhaul, reduce spending, cut the corporate tax rate, give up on cap and trade, and reform litigation. Instead we have been treated to an extended experiment in government control - one that is obviously not producing new wealth, new jobs, or any real hope for the emergence of the industries of the future.

SOURCE

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Medical Care Facts and Fables

By Thomas Sowell

There is so much political spin, and so many numbers games being played, when it comes to medical care, that we have to go back to square one and the simplest common sense, in order to get some rational idea of what government-run medical care means. In particular, we need to examine the claim that the government can "bring down the cost of medical care."

The most basic fact is that it is cheaper to remain sick than to get medical treatment. What is cheapest of all is to die instead of getting life-saving medications and treatment, which can be very expensive.

Despite these facts, most of us tend to take a somewhat more parochial view of the situation when it is we ourselves who are sick or who face a potentially fatal illness. But what if that decision is taken out of your hands under ObamaCare and is being made for you by a bureaucrat in Washington?

We won't know what that leads to until the time comes. As Nancy Pelosi said, we will find out what is in the bill after it has passed. But even now, after ObamaCare has been passed, not many people want to read its 2,400 pages. Even if you did, you would still not know what it would be like in practice, after more than 150 boards and commissions issue their specific regulations.

Fortunately-- in fact, very fortunately-- you don't have to slog through 2,400 pages of legalistic jargon or turn to a fortune teller to divine the future. A new book, "The Truth About ObamaCare" by Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute lays out the facts in the plainest English.

While she can't tell you the future, she can tell you enough about government-run medical systems in other countries that it will not take a rocket scientist to figure out what is in store for us if ObamaCare doesn't get repealed before it takes full effect in 2014. It is not a pretty picture.

We hear a lot about how wonderful it is that the Canadians or the British or the Swedes get free medical treatment because the government runs the system. But we don't hear much about the quality of that medical care.

We don't hear about more than 4,000 expectant mothers who gave birth inside a hospital, but not in the maternity ward, in Britain in just one year. They had their babies in hallways, bathrooms and even elevators.

British newspapers have for years carried stories about the neglect of patients under the National Health Service, of which this is just one. When nurses don't get around to taking a pregnant woman to the maternity ward in time, the baby doesn't wait.

But the American media don't tell you about such things when they are gushing over the wonders of "universal health care" that will "bring down the cost of medical care."

Instead, the media spin is that various countries with government-run medical systems have life expectancies that are as long as ours, or longer. That is very clever as media spin, if you don't bother to stop and think about it.

Author Sally Pipes did bother to stop and think about it in her book, "The Truth About ObamaCare." She points out that medical care is just one of the factors in life expectancy.

She cites a study by Professors Ohsfeldt and Schneider at the University of Iowa, which shows that, if you leave out people who are victims of homicide or who die in automobile accidents, Americans live longer than people in any other Western country.

Doctors do not prevent homicides or car crashes. In the things that doctors can affect, such as the survival rates of cancer patients, the United States leads the world.

Americans get the latest pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes years before those drugs are available to people in Britain or in other countries where the government runs the medical system. Why? Because the latest drugs cost more and it is cheaper to let people die.

The media have often said that we have higher infant mortality rates than other countries with government medical care systems. But we count every baby that dies and other countries do not. If the media don't tell you that, so much the better for ObamaCare. But is life and death something to play spin games about?

SOURCE

Note: EVERY DAY there are stories on my EYE ON BRITAIN blog about the horrors of the British socialized medicine system. And there are also pretty frequent stories on my AUSTRALIAN POLITICS blog about the horrors of its Australian equivalent.

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, August 24, 2010



Religion and theology

Theology is an attempt by religious people to construct a version of their faith that they can intellectually assent to. There are many oddities in Christianity (such as the paradox of evil) and not everybody can simply ignore them.

I notice that with Rudolf Bultmann (1884 – 1976), a noted Lutheran theologian. He is something of a villain to traditional Christians because of his dismissal of Bible stories as essentially fairy stories. Yet if you read of his life and works you can see that he was a deeply religious man. He was not aiming so much to attack Christianity as to make it something that he could believe in.

I think that I am an instinctively religious person too. I was certainly religious in my now-distant teens. But in the end I cannot do as Bultmann did. I cannot construct a version of Christianity in which I can have faith. So I remain a sympathizer with Christianity but not a Christian myself. I sometimes wish it were otherwise but rationality intervenes and I remain an atheist.

I am reminded in that connection of a relative of mine who in his youth was an Assembly of God minister. But you don't have to have much in the way of qualifications to be an AOG minister. You just have to have the spirit. For those who don't know it, the AOG is a very fundamentalist group.

After a while however he decided that he needed to study theology. So I said to him: "Don't or you will lose the faith". But he did and he did. He is a very knowledgeable academic now.

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Israel as an example to a decadent West

In his thought-provoking book The Lucifer Principle [1], Harold Bloom, relying on years of zoological research, points out how “a strange thing happens when humans and other animals are cornered by the uncontrollable. Their perceptions shut down, their thoughts grow more clouded, and they have a harder time generating new solutions to their problems.” This kind of syncope can manifest itself in a number of different ways: a feigned lack of interest when presented with a threat, as when a once-dominant ape pretends to focus on a banana peel rather than respond to the challenge mounted by a formidable claimant to his throne, or when a rat frustrated by its powerlessness before an intimidating rival will attack a lesser member of the pack.

This description, then, of animal and primate behavior has profound implications for the trajectories of entire societies, cultures and civilizations, that is, “superorganisms.” As they rise to the top of the international or global “pecking order,” they experience a “testosterone surge” of power, confidence and exploratory vitality, which impacts the very psychology of its constituent “cells” or members—individual human beings. They do not feel the need to apologize for their triumphs, expanding economies and higher standards of living. They move into the future with flexed assurance and a proud conviction of their civilizing mission and justified ascendance.

However, when these larger groupings intuit that they are slipping from their privileged position above the common ruck and are beginning to slide inexorably down the scale of power and preference, they proceed to espouse various delusionary measures to evade the shock of recognition. Rather than struggle to preserve or regain their pre-eminence, they concentrate on the banana peel, as it were, pretending that no challenge is being posed to their fading hegemony.

Or they turn upon their own, whether individuals, groups or nations, whom they blame for their evident discomfiture and, indeed, for their unadmitted but darkly sensed weakness. They may even begin shilling for the enemy, whom they profess to see as an equal, a potential benefactor, a friend in the making or a collaborator in some noble cultural initiative. As Bloom reminds us, “In a world where some cultures elevate violence to a virtue, the dream of peace can be fatal.” Moreover, so ignominious a surrender tends, ironically, to strut under the banner of “peace, freedom and justice.”

And this, I fear, is precisely what is happening in the contemporary West. “Peace” means that we are no longer willing to fight for the principles and traditions that have raised us to the top of the dominance hierarchy and that we are ready or eager to submit to a clear ideological foe. “Freedom” means that we have accepted the growing likelihood of defeat and comparative servitude. And “justice” means the acknowledgment of the “rights” of our adversaries to game the social, political and legal systems of their host countries to their advantage, in other words, to insinuate their norms of conduct and cultural presuppositions into a way of life we have long taken for granted and are now prepared to surrender piecemeal to the claims of the “other.”

The symptoms of capitulation are unmistakable... As Bat Ye’or has shown [2], the dhimmification of Europe is well under way and is probably irreversible. And now the pathology of appeasement and submission has begun to infect the collective psyche of America itself, especially its current leadership, the left-liberal media, the majority of public intellectuals who have come to act like cheerleaders for the other team, and far too many of our academics who inhabit the dank mausoleum of the modern university.

The moribund walk to their second extinction. As James Lewis remarks [3], “American liberals and European socialists…happily collude in their own subjection and degradation.” A recent book by Wells Earl Draughon, While America Sleeps [4], meticulously corroborates the peril we face and reads like a death sentence we have little time to repeal. Its message might awaken us from our dogmatic slumber, alerting us to the avoidance syndrome that guarantees our eventual eclipse.

This is where a wide-awake Israel comes into the geopolitical equation. It is no secret that Israel is the only legitimate democracy in the Middle East, that it is a loyal compatriot of the United States, that its structural roots are planted in European soil, that it is a vigorous, advanced and technological and scientific leader among the nations, and that it is surrounded by bellicose and regressive Islamic states that wish to erase it from “the page of time [5],” to cite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are the same Islamic states that have embarked on a virulent offensive against the democratic West through the exercise of terror or the prosecution of “stealth jihad,” or both.

And yet, unable or unwilling to grasp that Israel is perched on the frontier of a world-historical conflict, exemplifying the values and usages of the West and coming under almost daily attack from a common enemy, so-called “freedom loving” nations have turned against the Jewish state, defamed it in the corridors of power, vilified it in the media, acquiesced to the corrupt and slanderous assaults on its moral and physical integrity via the offices of the United Nations, pursued boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns, winked at Israel Apartheid Weeks suppurating on our campuses, imposed coercive measures to restrict building projects and the establishment of secure borders, and both subsidized and glorified the terror-sponsoring cartels that go by the name of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-ruled Gaza. It is as if Western-oriented Israel and not extremist, Western-hating Islam has come aberrantly to be perceived as the West’s nemesis and scourge.

There is no sensible way to explain such counter-intuitive and destructive behavior unless a potent, subliminal motive is at work, which is not particularly hard to detect. Israel stands as a perpetual rebuke to the craven and obsequious West that strives to accommodate and even to ingratiate itself with the forces marshaled against it. (Of course, there is a fiscal component as well; Western nations have succumbed to what we might call a condition of petrofaction.)

Israel, on the contrary, has stood its ground, defending itself with martial courage and refusing to concede to an alien imperium. As such, it represents a searing condemnation of Western compliance and servility before a determined assailant, a J’accuse which Europe in general and influential elements in the United States cannot honorably answer or evade.

The treatment meted out to Israel is the most obvious specimen of standard biohistorical practice. The “superorganismic” West, sensing that it is canyoneering down the global “pecking order” and incapable of summoning the resources to reassert its erstwhile paramountcy, has fallen back on the classic maneuver of all faltering collectives, namely, abusing a smaller member of the parietal community as the ostensible cause of its embarrassment.

In the case of Israel, however, the smaller constituent is not only a convenient target for social and political shame and frustration but, even more intolerably, it is at the same time the most resolute, meritorious and valiant part of the greater collective. The stigma of disgrace is thus compounded and results in even harsher treatment of the presumed but innocent malefactor.

In sum, the West, like the ape and the rat, has adopted its own “endorphin strategy” to meet the predicament that confronts it. It engages in “perceptual shutdown,” denying that it is under attack and directing its attention elsewhere, say, the banana peel of multicultural “outreach” and ethnic harmony with its more ominous immigrant communities.

The choice facing the Jewish state is, for all its palpable difficulty, paradoxically a very simple one. It is, in fact, an inescapable binary. Israel can accede to near-universal opprobrium and to its own left-wing fifth column and go down with the West before a triumphant Islam. In so doing, it raises the white flag of “peace, freedom and justice,” which in Orwellian fashion translates for its bearers as persecution, bondage and iniquity.

Or it can remain stalwart and impenitent, rejecting the condition of dhimmitude that the liberal West is “progressively” and feverishly embracing. In so doing, it raises not the rag of surrender but the torch of both dignity and survival.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Top Muslims Condemn Ground Zero Mosque as a ‘Zionist Conspiracy’!: "In a recent PJM article, I argued that the Ground Zero mosque is counterproductive to Islam. The following day, on August 5, the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that none other than Al Azhar — one of Sunni Islam’s most authoritative institutions — agrees, as shown by the following translated excerpt: "A number of Al Azhar ulema expressed their opposition to building a mosque near [where] the events of September 11 [occurred], convinced that it is “a conspiracy to confirm a clear connection between the strikes of September [11] and Islam.”

Nicaragua: Return of the contras?: "Hidden somewhere in the rugged mountains of Esteli, in northern Nicaragua, a former contra commando with CIA training says he’s organizing an armed rebellion against President Daniel Ortega. Jose Gabriel Garmendia, a former counterrevolutionary special forces commander known by the codename ‘Comandante Jahob,’ is reportedly leading a group of rearmed contras that promise to ‘remove Ortega from office with bullets’ if the president tries to sidestep the constitution to get himself reelected next year. US-backed counterrevolutionary forces, or ‘contras,’ battled the left-wing Sandinista government in decade-long civil war in the 1980s, which claimed more than 36,000 lives. When Mr. Ortega and the Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990, tens of thousands of contras — including Jahob — handed in their weapons and tried to return to civilian life.”

Support builds for boycotts against Israel: "In May, rock legend Elvis Costello canceled his gig in Israel. Then, in June, a group of unionized dock workers in San Francisco refused to unload an Israeli ship. In August, a food co-op in Washington state removed Israeli products from its shelves. The so-called ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement aimed at pressuring Israel to withdraw from land claimed by Palestinians has long been considered a fringe effort inside the United States, with no hope of garnering mainstream support enjoyed by the anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa of the 1980s. But in recent months, particularly after an Israeli raid on a flotilla delivering supplies to Palestinians, organizers are pointing to evidence that the movement has picked up momentum, even as Israelis and Palestinians are moving toward a new round of peace talks.”

God not needed for natural rights: "Let me start with the first point Mr. Silver raises, namely, that human rights used to be dubbed natural rights and were as such thought to be God-given. Yet, as the term ‘natural’ clearly suggests, these rights were believed — for example by John Locke — to be based on an understanding of human nature. Human beings may have been regarded by some natural rights theorists as God-created but their basic rights were alleged to be derivable from their nature as free and independent moral agents. That is how John Locke saw it, rightly or wrongly. So what matters here is whether there are human beings as a class of living entities in the world and whether they have attributes that imply that they have certain rights once they find themselves in human communities.”

DEA seeks Ebonics experts to help with cases: "Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations. The Drug Enforcement Administration recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Monday.”

Philadelphia wants to tax bloggers: "If you’re a blogger in the city of Philadelphia, get out your checkbook. Just like everyone else, Philadelphia is struggling to get through the tough economy, and city officials want bloggers to do their fair share and pay up. There’s no specific blogger tax, as some media outlets reported today. But the cit[y] does have a business tax that covers any Philadelphia-based bloggers who are now making any money from their online efforts. Maura Kennedy, a spokesperson for the city, told Computerworld that officials want money-making bloggers to register their business and start paying the tax.”

Occupational licensing: "There really isn’t a more accurate example of democratic failure than occupational licensing. It is public choice economics at its most concise. A small group of people stand to gain financially from a very narrow policy action, and passionately advocate for it. A large group of people stand to be harmed very marginally from that same issue and so don’t care about it enough to spend time and effort becoming informed and fighting back. Politicians measure the gains for them to be made from satisfying the small group (campaign contributions, union support, etc.) versus the fallout from harming the larger group (there’s generally no fallout), and — voila! — an entire industry becomes regulated with a few votes and the stroke of a pen, while the only person who shows up to complain about it is some jerk like me.”

Scrap the minimum wage: "It’s time to abolish the minimum wage. Yes, I want to see pay and conditions improve for the lowest-paid workers just as much as anyone else. But it is now obvious that the minimum wage is keeping out of work those — like younger people, unskilled workers, women and ethnic minorities — who need job opportunities the most. Of course, there is an economic downturn going on, so jobs are harder to get and unemployment is higher. But where is it highest? Yes, precisely among these groups.”

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, August 23, 2010



Socialized medicine in wonderful Sweden (1)

Something for Americans to look forward to, thanks to the Democratic Party and President Emptyhead

A 32-year-old took the needle into his hands when he tired of the wait at Sundsvall hospital in northern Sweden and sewed up the cut in his leg himself. The man was later reported to the police for his impromptu handiwork. "It took such a long time," the man told the local Sundsvall Tidning daily.

The man incurred the deep cut when he sliced his leg on the sharp edge of a kitchen stove while he was renovating at home.

"I first went to the health clinic, but it was closed. So I rang the medical help line and they told me that it shouldn't be closed, so I went to emergency and sat there," the man named only as Jonas told the newspaper.

After an hour-long wait in a treatment room, he lost patience and proceeded to sew up his own wound. "They had set out a needle and thread and so I decided to take the matter into my hands," he said.

But hospital staff were not as impressed by his initiative and have reported the man on suspicion of criminal dispossession (egenmäktigt förfarande) for having used hospital equipment without authorization.

While Jonas admitted to the newspaper that he has no prior experience of sewing up himself he sought to play down the fuss that his handiwork has caused, arguing that "through the ages people have always sewn themselves up".

SOURCE

NOTE: Sundsvall is a major government hospital serving the entire region in which it is located

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Socialized medicine in wonderful Sweden (2)

More for Americans to look forward to, thanks to the Democratic Party and President Emptyhead

NURSES asked a mother to clean her own room two days after she gave birth by C-section because they were short staffed, Swedish media reported.

Over-worked nurses asked mother-of-two Elin Andersson to strip the sheets from her own hospital bed and tidy up before she was discharged from a hospital in Sundsvall, northern Sweden, local newspaper Sundsvalls Tidning said.

The request was among a list of problems Ms Andersson had at the hospital. She said had to call nurses every time she needed her medicine because nurses forgot to give it to her. And her partner was also asked to help care for her while she was in hospital because nurses had other patients to deal with.

Ms Andersson said the final insult came when she decided to go home: ”That was when the midwife said I had one final task to perform. Then she went and got a big white laundry bag and asked me to clean out the room and the bed where I had lain.”

Two midwives at the Sundsvall hospital ward admitted that Ms Andersson's claims were true. Midwife Gunnel Westerlund said: ”She describes precisely those bits that we don't have time for. Medical safety always comes first and you can't leave (another) mother while she's giving birth.”

SOURCE

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The Professional Left vs. the Amateur Right

Excerpt only

Of all the slips of the tongue and unintentional admissions by this administration, Robert Gibbs' "Professional Left" comment may well be the one they wish they could squeeze back into their collective windpipe the most:
I hear these people saying (Obama) is like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. ... I mean, it's crazy. ... The Professional Left ... will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality. ... They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.

The term "Professional Left" denotes a growing industry that specializes in converting other people's money into an ideological product, while making a good living out of it in the process.

The term "Professional Left" hasn't been in open circulation before, but it deserves to stick. The casual way in which Gibbs dropped the phrase suggests that it is part of the inner circle's jargon, and that the White House residents are fully aware of its meaning, function, and implication: there is a class of people with radical leftist views who have made it their job - with the help of abundant grants, foundations, and trusts - to carry out propaganda campaigns, indoctrinate, subvert, and plant the seeds of the leftist worldview in people's minds through the arts, media, education, blogging, and street protests. For many it's the only income they've had in years. As with most professional enthusiasts, after a while the pre-paid idealism gives way to cynicism, and the quest for truth turns into a mechanical repetition of talking points.

Observe how many Professional Left organizations spawned in the years of Bush's presidency, when tax cuts ushered in economic prosperity. Immediately, they started working on bringing the economy down. The most prolific hatching, of course, occurred in the wake of the hate-Bush political flotilla.

These creatures always give themselves benevolent, kind names. Common Dreams, for example, hatched in the good year of 1997, when the Republican majority in Congress was steering the country into prosperity. Among other things, the name "Common Dreams" adequately describes the Professional Left's collective ambition to attach themselves to a "progressive" think tank, with the feeding tube connected directly to the deep pocket of George Soros or his equivalent.

In contrast, there's no such class of people on the right. Those employed in the several right-leaning think tanks are too few to make up a class, or even a guild. The same applies to a handful of magazines and newspapers, one Fox News channel, and a few dozen local and national radio talk show hosts.

They are not living off public subsidies, leeching off charities, or smuggling in a fringe ideology wrapped in a mainstream format, which is what the Professional Left does. Unlike their ideological opponents, these people openly state their beliefs, make a living through legitimate advertising, and run honest, sustainable businesses. They may be a force, but there aren't enough of them to fill a large auditorium.

What we have is the Amateur Right: a loose amalgamation of free-roaming conservatives and libertarians who engage in political activism in their spare time - and on their own dime.

The Amateur Right's favorite pastime is listening to talk radio and fighting a battle of wits on political blogs and discussion forums. They are frequently accused of being corporate sellouts by their leftist opponents. A typical presumption is that no one would defend capitalist free markets unless they were paid to do so by a shady deep-pocketed entity. (That happened to me more than once and I've heard similar stories from others.) When the Amateur Right finally protested in the streets as tea partiers, the Professional Left and the Democrat leaders similarly accused them of being Astroturf laid down by insurance companies.

The accusations are telling. The astroturfing itself is a patented invention of the Professional Left - complete with union-sponsored buses full of uniformed "activists" with identical pre-printed signs. Many leftist bloggers are getting paid for building up the visibility of their causes on the Internet. Assigning these traits to the Amateur Right appears to be a projection, shaped by a narrative that measures success in dollars received from grants, charities, government funding, and salaries within the ranks of the Professional Left.

Even the wildly popular Tea Party Express must run its own independent fundraising to maintain the buses and the small staff of operatives. No money for them will be coming anytime soon from charitable foundations, whose fortunes were made through capitalist enterprise but whose programs invariably benefit opponents of capitalism.

Remember John Lennon's Imagine? As a mental exercise, try playing it in your head while imagining the Ford, Gates, Kellogg, or Rockefeller Foundations, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the rest of the usual NPR contributors giving money to cultivate the ideals of capitalism, individualism, and republicanism - or to promote the virtues of free enterprise and private property in poor urban areas. All you'll get is a headache and a bad case of cognitive dissonance. Tea parties need not apply. The charitable cup of tea tilts leftward by design. And so do the money bags.

Obama's entire career has been about organizing, sustaining, and advancing the Professional Left and their operations. One such undertaking involved the processing of $50 million given by the conservative Annenberg Foundation to reform Chicago public schools from 1995 to 2001.

In this Obama was assisted by Bill Ayers, the former Marxist terrorist turned professor, who develops and teaches the methodology of advancing leftist dogmas in the classroom. If you think Obama and Ayers designed a reform to improve test scores, think again: the academic performance remained as poor as it ever was. But guess what? The ideological indoctrination of students skyrocketed, along with the numbers of public school teachers turned into Professional Left operatives. Mission accomplished - conservative money was successfully converted into leftist ideology.

The abuse of the Annenberg Challenge wasn't the only example of conservative funding being hijacked by the Professional Left and used to destroy conservatism. It's how the Professional Left make a living. Converting other people's money into hot air is their raison d'ˆtre; everything else is a side effect.

It would be half as bad if they only processed the money given to them voluntarily. But the Professional Left has learned how to extract money designated for non-political purposes, and developed a variety of techniques that allow them to leech off society through government grants and endowments, union dues, and even church donations.

From 1994 to 2009, ACORN received at least $53 million in federal funding, of which they stole five million for themselves, and converted the rest into radical left-wing action to subvert America's political institutions.

Obama once worked with ACORN as a community organizer, processing other people's money into ideology, and later as a lawyer, defending their right to such activities. In the first year of Obama's presidency, ACORN was poised to receive up to $8.5 billion more tax dollars through the stimulus bill, despite being under investigation for voter registration fraud in a dozen states. That same year, their "common dreams" were shattered when Congress finally withheld their funding. However, what tipped the scale was not the fact that ACORN was a home of professional subversives, but an unrelated scandal that was hardly ideological in nature and involved underage prostitution.

The Professional Left's appetites go far beyond government coffers. Even after you've paid your taxes and saved some cash for personal spending, part of it will still be sucked into the Professional Left's omnipresent and hyperactive proboscis through movie tickets, cable and newspaper subscriptions, college, and other tuition fees. You can roughly measure how much by the amount of ideological hot air coming from the screens, news columns, and your school curricula.

Every time you buy a corporate product or service - a computer from Hewlett Packard, a cell phone from Verizon, cereal from Kellogg, jeans from Levi Strauss, cosmetics from Liz Claiborne, or medicines from Merck - you also feed the Professional Left. All of these, and most other big companies have donated to leftist groups and causes, as well as conducted "progressive" seminars with employees - paying Professional Left instructors. This money is included in the price of their products and services.

The same goes for your investments and saving deposits. JP Morgan, Chase, Wachovia, Bank of America, US Bank, Citibank, PNC Bank, Provident Bank, and others have been giving money - voluntarily or otherwise - to ACORN and other branches of the Professional Left's ideological-industrial complex.

Guess who is best positioned today to appropriate billions of tax dollars in stimulus slush funds, and to process them into organic, locally made hot air? Even without ACORN there remains a well-trained, hungry army of looters and moochers collectively known as the Professional Left. No doubt each and every one of them has already been counted and added to the list of "three million jobs saved or created" by this administration. Their job description? To spend as much of your money as possible to strike at America's foundations, demonize your values, indoctrinate your children, and destroy your way of life.

President Obama is proactively doing just that on a national scale, converting the American economy into a gigantic ball of ideologically sound hot air, while making a nice living for himself and for all those who assist him in that activity. If that does not describe him as the ultimate mover and shaker of the Professional Left, I don't know what else does.

Slowly but surely, the Professional Left's complex has diversified and expanded its frontiers to include professional educators, filmmakers, entertainers, lawyers, writers, clergy, journalists, politicians, government workers, and now also members of the president's cabinet and even the president himself. And given the proverbial revolving door in their membership, they can all move freely from one field to another without ever stepping outside the common hot air bubble, staying in touch with the others trough a common, members-only mailing list. One of such mailing lists, recently discovered and analyzed by the Daily Caller, was used by specialists in various sectors of the Professional Left to share thoughts on the many ways they can spend your money, shove their ideology down your throat, and bamboozle you into voting Obama into the White House.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Analyst: US turning into USSR: "There’s a lot of talk these days about America being an empire in decline. Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute, goes a step further, arguing America is following a similar path as the former Soviet Union. ‘While the many glaring differences between the two political systems have been exhaustively publicized — especially in the U.S. — the glaring similarities [go] unnoticed,’ Celente writes in The Trends Journal, which he publishes.”

Britain trying to tax its most successful industry out of existence: "France and Germany are trying to break the dominance of the City of London by offering tax breaks lasting for up to 20 years to the world's biggest investment banks, The (London) Sunday Times reported. The latest threat to the City [financial sector] comes amid mounting fears that Britain's coalition Government will impose another tax on banker bonuses this year. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has also raised the prospect of further taxes being imposed on the wealthiest in society - a move that would be viewed as a direct attack on the City. Almost 4000 senior financiers left the City in the first six months of 2010, according to data published over the weekend by IMAS, the corporate finance advisory firm."

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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