Saturday, September 18, 2010

Leftist scientists want to have their cake and eat it too

Researchers raise concerns over the "commercialization" of medical innovation but ignore its huge costs. Without patent protection NO new drugs could be brought to market -- as it costs around half a billion dollars to get FDA approval for a new drug.

The article below does not concern drugs but the same principle applies. Most medical innovations are expensive and without cost recovery they would not happen

The original article is from the BMJ, which is a Leftist rag

The increasing commercialisation of science is restricting access to vital scientific knowledge and delaying the progress of science, claim researchers in the British Medical Journal today.

Varuni de Silva and Raveen Hanwella from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka argue that copyrighting or patenting medical scales, tests, techniques and genetic material, limits the level of public benefit from scientific discovery.

For example, they found that many commonly used rating scales are under copyright and researchers have to pay for their use.

Some genetic tests also carry patents, which prevent other laboratories from doing the test for a lesser cost. Earlier this year, a New York court ruled that patents held by Myriad Genetics for the diagnosis of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (linked to breast and ovarian cancer) were unconstitutional and invalid.

Extreme commercialisation of science can also lead to patents on medical procedures and techniques, say the authors. However, the American Medical Association recently concluded that it is unethical for physicians to seek, secure or enforce patents on medical procedures.

The scientific community is reacting to the increasing commercialisation of science, they add. For example, all genome sequences generated by the human genome project have been deposited into a public database freely accessible by anyone, while organisations such as the National Institute of Health and Wellcome Trust insist on open access to publication resulting from research funded by them.

The fundamental philosophy of Western science is sharing knowledge and, while patenting is a useful tool for protecting investments in industry, "we need to rethink its role in science," they write.

They conclude: "Although those who consider science as a commodity are willing to invest in research and development, much medical research is still carried out by non-profit organisations using public money. It is only right that such knowledge is freely shared. This is possible because academic scientists still consider the prestige of discovery more important than monetary reward."



Religious Freedom a bellwether for other freedoms

All constitutional protections are eroded if the plain intent of the 1st amendment can be so widely ignored

In America, the sunrise on tomorrow is only as sure as the state of our Constitution… and today, that state is shakier than it’s been in a long, long time.

Perhaps no element of that Constitution is more endangered than the First Amendment protections of religious liberty. That cornerstone of our nation’s freedom—the dream that brought the Pilgrims and so many of the other early settlers to our Atlantic shores—is now under direct, daily assault coast to coast.

From California courtrooms to the legislative halls of Massachusetts, our First Freedom is denounced as an impediment to those who would reinvent marriage into something it’s never been, and never can be. On university campuses, it’s all but outlawed as administrative officials segregate Christian students and their activities.

In public schools, religious freedom is ignored as educators work diligently to immerse our children in an aggressively secular world view. In hospitals and clinics and pharmacies across the country, it’s a freedom often denied to those whose religious faith prohibits their participation in abortion.

For far too many Americans, their awareness of the danger is as flimsy as their knowledge of the Constitution. For most, that understanding is limited to muddled memories from high school civics classes and a carefully orchestrated falsehood fabricated years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union and pummeled relentlessly into the public consciousness ever since: “separation of church and state.”

That so-called separation, and the growing legal assault it foments against people of faith, are both so far, far removed from any intention of those who hammered out our extraordinary, unprecedented Constitution that hot Philadelphia summer of so long ago.

Religious freedom is the thread by which hangs not only the document we commemorate today, Constitution Day, but the future of the nation to which that document gave birth. In our willingness to defend that freedom—through our decisions, through our votes, through our prayers—lies the answer to the ever-new mystery of that image carved on Washington’s chair.

Is it morning in America? Or is a great darkness descending?



The Money of Fools

By Thomas Sowell

Seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that words are wise men's counters, but they are the money of fools. That is as painfully true today as it was four centuries ago. Using words as vehicles to try to convey your meaning is very different from taking words so literally that the words use you and confuse you.

Take the simple phrase "rent control." If you take these words literally-- as if they were money in the bank-- you get a complete distortion of reality.

New York is the city with the oldest and strongest rent control laws in the nation. San Francisco is second. But if you look at cities with the highest average rents, New York is first and San Francisco is second. Obviously, "rent control" laws do not control rent.

If you check out the facts, instead of relying on words, you will discover that "gun control" laws do not control guns, the government's "stimulus" spending does not stimulate the economy and that many "compassionate" policies inflict cruel results, such as the destruction of the black family.

Do you know how many millions of people died in the war "to make the world safe for democracy"-- a war that led to autocratic dynasties being replaced by totalitarian dictatorships that slaughtered far more of their own people than the dynasties had?

Warm, fuzzy words and phrases have an enormous advantage in politics. None has had such a long run of political success as "social justice." The idea cannot be refuted because it has no specific meaning. Fighting it would be like trying to punch the fog. No wonder "social justice" has been such a political success for more than a century-- and counting.

While the term has no defined meaning, it has emotionally powerful connotations. There is a strong sense that it is simply not right-- that it is unjust-- that some people are so much better off than others.

Justification, even as the term is used in printing and carpentry, means aligning one thing with another. But what is the standard to which we think incomes or other benefits should be aligned?

Is the person who has spent years in school goofing off, acting up or fighting-- squandering the tens of thousands of dollars that the taxpayers have spent on his education-- supposed to end up with his income aligned with that of the person who spent those same years studying to acquire knowledge and skills that would later be valuable to himself and to society at large?

Some advocates of "social justice" would argue that what is fundamentally unjust is that one person is born into circumstances that make that person's chances in life radically different from the chances that others have-- through no fault of one and through no merit of the others. Maybe the person who wasted educational opportunities and developed self-destructive behavior would have turned out differently if born into a different home or a different community.

That would of course be more just. But now we are no longer talking about "social" justice, unless we believe that it is all society's fault that different families and communities have different values and priorities-- and that society can "solve" that "problem."

Nor can poverty or poor education explain such differences. There are individuals who were raised by parents who were both poor and poorly educated, but who pushed their children to get the education that the parents themselves never had. Many individuals and groups would not be where they are today without that.

All kinds of chance encounters-- with particular people, information or circumstances-- have marked turning points in many individual's lives, whether toward fulfillment or ruin. None of these things is equal or can be made equal. If this is an injustice, it is not a "social" injustice because it is beyond the power of society.

You can talk or act as if society is both omniscient and omnipotent. But, to do so would be to let words become what Thomas Hobbes called them, "the money of fools."



Public Sector Workers Are the New Privileged Elite Class

Outrageous public pay, pensions, and inherent corruption are enraging private sector America

We really are two Americas, but not those captured in the stereotypical populist class warfare speeches that dramatize the gulf between the rich and the poor. Instead there is a new division in America that affronts a sense of fairness. That division is between the workers in the private sector and the workers in the public sectors. No guesses which is the more protected. A new study by the Mayo Research Institute, based in Louisiana, demonstrates that there is a striking differential in the impact of the recession. In 2009, the study found, "private-sector workers were nearly three times more likely to be jobless than public-sector workers."

Political tension is bound to grow when private sector jobs disappear faster but at the same time private sector compensation is being squeezed much more than that of the public sector. The rate of compensation for a generation of public service employees has gone up much faster than the personal income of the people who pay for these workers. The gap has widened dramatically between private sector workers at all levels of remuneration as compared to employees in federal, state, and local governments.

Once there was a time when government work offered lower salaries than comparable jobs in the private sector, a difference for which the public sector compensated by providing more security and somewhat better benefits. No longer. These days, government employees are better off in almost every area: pay, benefits, time off, and security, on top of working fewer hours. They can thrive even in a down economy. It is tantamount to a wealth transfer from the citizens to the people who serve in government. Millions of public workers have become a kind of privileged new class—a new elite, who live better than their private sector counterparts. Public servants have become the public's masters. No wonder the public is upset.

Of course public service workers should receive a fair level of pay and decent retirement and other benefits. What is galling, though, is when they routinely find ways to beef up their superior pay so as to turbocharge their pensions (typically based on a percentage of salary), while many of those in the private sector lack viable pension programs at all. This will stick future generations of Americans with higher taxes to meet these public service pension obligations and bring about reduced public services. Nice work if you can get it!

More troubling still is the inherent political corruption. Elected officials tend to be accommodating when confronted by powerful constituencies like the public service unions that agitate for plush benefits and often provide (or deny) a steady flow of cash to election campaign funds. You have a dynamic conflict of interest when the self-interest of the legislators is to appease the public service unions with pledges that won't come due until the lawmakers have left office.

Their successors will have to cope with the inherited debt burden—and ultimately the nation's taxpayers are stuck with the bill at the federal, state, and local levels.

Behold the consequences: less money for social services, libraries, road improvements, education, and other public service programs, i.e., the whole basis of the initial arguments for more public sector pay! States and localities don't have the federal government's ability to print money, and they have a much more limited capacity to borrow. The result, according to the Pew Center on the States, is that they face underfunded benefit and pension obligations that exceed $1 trillion.

That estimate was before the stock market drop in the last couple of years. Liabilities for debts for these entities have increased from an estimated 12 percent of GDP in 1980 to an estimated 22 percent this year, approaching $2.5 trillion.




The rise of lil’ Kim in N. Korea: "The best way to understand North Korea is to think of it not as a traditional nation-state, but as a nuclear-armed organized crime family, albeit one that will soon find itself in need of a new boss.”

Two L.A. agencies get $111 million in stimulus funds but have created only 55 jobs: "Two Los Angeles departments have received $111 million in federal stimulus funds yet have created only 55 jobs so far, according to a pair of reports issued Thursday by City Controller Wendy Greuel. The reports conclude that the agencies, Public Works and Transportation, moved too slowly in spending the federal money, in part because of the time it takes to secure approval of government contracts. The two agencies plan to create or retain a combined 264 jobs once all the money is spent, according to the reports. With unemployment above 12%, city officials should move more urgently to cut red tape and spend the money, Greuel said."

A spectre is haunting Britain: "The corpse of Brownism still haunts the political debate. The 50p tax rate will stay, not because of any tangible benefit it brings, but because of ‘fairness’. Taxes will have to rise to plug the deficit, not cut to ensure growth and greater tax takes in time. Free school milk is to remain despite having no discernable health benefits because of the long shadow that Thatcher has cast over the Conservative party.”


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


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


Friday, September 17, 2010

Islam is what you make it?

There is a recent article in the NYT by Robert Wright, who seems knowledgeable about religion and philosophy. In it he points out that there are "good" and "bad" bits in both the Bible and the Koran. And it is undoubtedly true that the early Hebrews were stoning homosexuals to death long before Mohammed recommended it.

But the article is a typical bit of oversimplified Leftist theorizing that ignores the facts. It is true that what your holy book says is not a terribly good guide to how you will behave and it is true that you could construct a Koranic religion that was peaceful and benevolent to all.

But the real-life Islam tends to follow the "bad" bits of the Koran rather than the "good" bits and that is the essence of the problem. Actually existing Islam is aggressive, intolerant and hostile to Western civilization. And all Mr Wright's theorizing won't make that go away.

But I guess that Mr Wright thinks George Bush blew up the twin towers -- JR.


America is in deep trouble

A bloated and overpaid public sector and a government that proliferates taxes and regulations on business rather than reducing them brings its inevitable consequences.

India slashed its regulations on business in the mid 90s and has never looked back -- and the effect of China's liberation of its businessmen is legendary -- so it can be done. Sad that America has to look to India and China for a way out of stagnation, though

At the State government level, however, there are models that could be emulated by the Feds. New Jersey and South Australia come to mind as examples

In February, the board of commissioners of Ohio's Ashtabula County faced a scene familiar to local governments across America: a budget shortfall. They began to cut spending and reduced the sheriff's budget by 20 per cent. A law enforcement agency staff that only a few years ago numbered 112, and had subsequently been pared down to 70, was cut again to 49 people and just one squad car for a county of 1,900 sq. km along the shore of Lake Erie. The sheriff's department adapted. "We have no patrol units. There is no one on the streets. We respond to only crimes in progress. We don't respond to property crimes," deputy sheriff Ron Fenton told Maclean's. The county once had a "very proactive" detective division in narcotics. Now, there is no detective division. "We are down to one evidence officer and he just runs the evidence room in case someone wants to claim property," said Fenton. "People are getting property stolen, their houses broken into, and there is no one investigating. We are basically just writing up a report for the insurance company."

If a county without police seems like a weird throwback to an earlier, frontier-like moment in American history, it is not the only one. "Back to the Stone Age" is the name of a seminar organized in March by civil engineers at Indiana's Purdue University for local county supervisors interested in saving money by breaking up paved roads and turning them back to gravel. While only some paved roads in the state have been broken up, "There are a substantial number of conversations going on," John Habermann, who manages a program at Purdue that helps local governments take care of infrastructure, told Maclean's. "We presented a lot of talking points so that the county supervisors can talk logically back to elected officials when the question is posed," he said. The state of Michigan had similar conversations. It has converted at least 50 miles of paved road to gravel in the last few years.

Welcome to the ground level of America's economic crisis. The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.5 per cent. One in 10 homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments. Home sales are at record lows. While the economy has been growing for several quarters, the growth is anemic-only 1.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year-and producing few new jobs.

Cincinnati, Ohio, is cutting back on trash collection and snow removal and filling fewer potholes.

The city of Dallas is not picking up litter in public parks. Flint, Mich., laid off 23 of 88 firefighters and closed two fire stations. In some places it's almost literally the dark ages: the city of Shelton in Washington state decided to follow the example of numerous other localities and last week turned off 114 of its 860 street lights. Others have axed bus service and cut back on library hours. Class sizes are being increased and teachers are being laid off. School districts around the country are cutting the school day or the school week or the school year-effectively furloughing students. The National Association of Counties estimates that local governments will eliminate roughly half a million employees in the next fiscal year, with public safety, public works, public health, social services, and parks and recreation hardest hit by the cutbacks. A July survey by the association of counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors of 270 local governments found that 63 per cent of localities are cutting back on public safety and 60 per cent are cutting public works.

Jacqueline Byers, director of research for the counties association, said many local governments have yet to confront the full impact of the real estate crisis on government revenues because they do tax assessments only every third year. A fundamental transformation is under way. "When we come out of this recession we're going to see government functioning very differently," says Byers. "We are seeing more public-private partnership than we ever had for things like recreation and parks. We are seeing some of them privatize libraries. They lease the library to a private corporation that employs the workers who don't carry retirement or health benefits." Or they could wind up like Hood River County, Ore., which in August closed its three libraries altogether.

Some governments are looking for creative ways to replace plummeting property and sales tax revenues. Facing a US$1-billion budget shortfall, Montgomery County in Maryland appealed for corporate sponsors to step up and adopt porta-potties in its public parks. In the end, the privies were saved by a combination of park employees taking early retirement, a few private sponsorships, and a negotiated discount from the supplier, Don's Johns. Meanwhile, Montgomery County's school system, banking on its reputation for high standards and test scores, took the unusual step of selling its curriculum to a private textbook publisher, Pearson, for US$2.3 million and royalties of up to three per cent on sales. As part of the deal, county classrooms can be used as "showrooms"-which critics said effectively turns students and teachers into salesmen for a corporation. But the superintendent, Jerry Weast, told the Washington Post, "I tend to look at this from the perspective that we are broke."

These cuts in infrastructure and education are more than just a temporary belt-tightening in response to a recession. They threaten long-term damage to American's economic foundation-a foundation that has long been eroding. When the eight-lane Interstate 35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in 2009, killing 13 people and injuring 145, the American Society of Civil Engineers warned that the infrastructure deficit of aging postwar highways and bridges amounted to US$1.6 trillion. More than a quarter of America's bridges were rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Steam pipes have exploded in New York City and the levees failed in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, prolonged rates of high unemployment are taking a toll on families today, and will for years to come. Studies have shown that the longer a person is unemployed, the more difficult it is to find a job-partly because skills deteriorate, and partly because employers become suspicious of why someone hasn't worked for a year. "The United States is expanding its underclass of a whole group of individuals who will become less employable, less integrated, more subject to criminal and other deviant behaviour-and probably become part of the larger problem of structural poverty in America as well," says Sherle Shenninger, director of the economic growth program at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank.

But the problem isn't simply a product of the current recession or the 2008 financial crisis. It is now well understood that for years Americans lived beyond their means on borrowed money.

The real estate bubble enabled many homeowners to borrow against inflated house prices, giving families the feeling that their wealth was increasing. It was all a mirage. Low interest rates and easy credit allowed consumers to spend enthusiastically, masking the fact that the standard of living and incomes were stagnating, and public and private investment was lagging.

Over the past decade, private sector job growth was sluggish. Combined with recession job losses, there are now only as many private sector jobs as there were in early 1999, a decade ago, while the population continues to grow. And incomes stagnated for a full decade-the longest such period since the U.S. Census Bureau has been keeping track of household income.

Clyde Prestowitz, a former Reagan administration trade official and president of the Economic Strategy Institute, says the scope of the problem came into focus for him one day last year when he read, in the same newspaper, that China was launching a new 240-mile-an-hour high-speed train, and then an article about city leaders in Pittsburgh considering a tax on university tuitions in order to fund the municipal employees' retirement pension plan. "I thought, the Chinese are building world-record trains and we're taxing kids who go to school!" says Prestowitz. "We've been in decline for quite some time-we haven't recognized it and have been fooling ourselves. But we've gotten to the point it's hard to not see."



Americans today starting to wise up to the liberal agenda

Walter E. Williams

Charles Krauthammer, in his Washington Post column (Aug. 27), said, "Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed," pointing out that overwhelming majorities of Americans have repudiated liberal agenda items such as Obamacare, Obama's stimulus, building an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage, lax immigration law enforcement and vast expansion of federal power that includes unprecedented debt and deficits.

While America's liberal elite have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision and, as such, differ only in degree but not kind. Both denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are for control and coercion by the state. They believe they have superior wisdom to the masses and they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. They, like any other tyrant, have what they see as good reasons for restricting the freedom of others.

Their agenda calls for the elimination or attenuation of the market. Why? Free markets imply voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people behaving voluntarily will do what the tyrants think they should do. Therefore, they seek to replace the market with economic planning control and regulation.

Why liberalism has become an ugly sight, as Krauthammer claims, is because more and more Americans have wised up to their agenda.




Trouble in welfare state paradise: "The age of the modern entitlement state appears to be in a transition period — and maybe, let’s hope, its final stage. It looks like most of the welfare states around the world are changing, either giving way to rightwing politics, for better and worse, liberalizing voluntarily, or otherwise demonstrating the unsustainability of their current forms. Sweden is no longer a social democratic model. France is turning toward conservatism. Cuba is slashing government.”

Housing regulator cites doubts over federal role: "The federal regulator of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised concerns on Tuesday about the Obama administration's approach toward housing, questioning whether the government should continue to play a significant role in helping borrowers get home loans.... "Recently there has been a growing call for some form of explicit federal insurance to be a part of the housing finance system of the future," DeMarco says in prepared testimony, scheduled to be delivered before the House Financial Services Committee. "The potential costs and risks associated with such a framework have not yet been fully explored."

Those who live in glass houses ...: "If you read this weekend's New York Times' hit job on would-be Speaker John Boehner and his 'lobbyist friends,' you might think, as the reporter clearly thinks, that John Boehner is cozier with lobbyists than most powerful politicians are. But did you know: · Nancy Pelosi has raised almost twice as much money from lobbyists this election as Boehner has? · At least 18 House Democrats have raised more lobbyist cash this election than Boehner has. · Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid have pocketed more lobbyist cash in the past 18 months than Boehner has raised in the past 6 elections, combined?"

Stimulus roundup: "Most people doubt Congress’ ability to spend money wisely. The stimulus has given them some proof: $800,000 for an African genital-washing program. $700,000 to create computer software that can tell jokes. $40,000 for ten trash bins.”

“A nation of dodos”: "On the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, pompous anchorman Ted Baxter once ran for the Minneapolis City Council. After his not-unexpected drubbing, he gave a concession speech in which he proclaimed, ‘The voters have spoken, and if that’s what they want — the hell with them.’ With a Democratic electoral debacle looking more and more likely this fall, Democrats and their apologists in the mainstream media appear ready to steal a page from the Baxter playbook.”

How the establishment wins: "The Tea Parties did not want to pick a fight with the Republican establishment to begin with — Tea Party Express, for example, has spent its contributors’ dollars targeting outright liberals like Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. It has not taken aim at John Boehner or called for Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn to step aside from their leadership positions. The Tea Parties have tried to play nice, but they now find themselves earning the ire of Karl Rove and other Republican bigwigs. The establishment doesn’t care whether a liberal Republican or a Tea Party Republican gets the nomination in a deep red state like Alaska, but nominating an almost certainly unelectable candidate like O’Donnell in a blue state threatens what Rove and company really care about: returning themselves to power.”


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


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


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Obstacle to Deficit Cutting: A Nation on Entitlements

Efforts to tame America's ballooning budget deficit could soon confront a daunting reality: Nearly half of all Americans live in a household in which someone receives government benefits, more than at any time in history.

At the same time, the fraction of American households not paying federal income taxes has also grown—to an estimated 45% in 2010, from 39% five years ago, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization.

A little more than half don't earn enough to be taxed; the rest take so many credits and deductions they don't owe anything. Most still get hit with Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes, but 13% of all U.S. households pay neither federal income nor payroll taxes.

"We have a very large share of the American population that is getting checks from the government," says Keith Hennessey, an economic adviser to President George W. Bush and now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, "and an increasingly smaller portion of the population that's paying for it."

The dimensions of the budget hole were underscored Monday, when the Treasury reported that the government ran a $1.26 trillion deficit for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, on pace to be the second-biggest on record.

Yet even as Americans express concern over the deficit in opinion polls, many oppose benefit cuts, particularly with the economy on an uneven footing. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted late last month found 61% of voters were "enthusiastic" or "comfortable" with congressional candidates who support cutting federal spending in general. But 56% expressed the same enthusiasm for candidates who voted to extend unemployment benefits.

As recently as the early 1980s, about 30% of Americans lived in households in which an individual was receiving Social Security, subsidized housing, jobless benefits or other government-provided benefits. By the third quarter of 2008, 44% were, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.

That number has undoubtedly gone up, as the recession has hammered incomes. Some 41.3 million people were on food stamps as of June 2010, for instance, up 45% from June 2008. With unemployment high and federal jobless benefits now available for up to 99 weeks, 9.7 million unemployed workers were receiving checks in late August 2010, more than twice as many as the 4.2 million in August 2008.

Still more Americans—19 million by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office—will get federal aid to buy health insurance when legislation passed this year is implemented.

Cutting spending on these "entitlements" is widely seen as an inevitable ingredient in any credible deficit-reduction program. Yet despite occasional bouts of belt-tightening in Washington and bursts of discussion about restraining big government, the trend toward more Americans receiving government benefits of one sort or another has continued for more than 70 years—and shows no sign of abating.

An aging population is adding to the ranks of Americans receiving government benefits, and will continue to do so as more of the large baby-boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, become eligible. Today, an estimated 47.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare, up 38% from 1990. By 2030, the number is projected to be 80.4 million.

Still, Europe does offer examples that change is possible. Germany slashed benefits for the long-term unemployed in 2004, a step that analysts credit with prompting more Germans to get jobs as well as improving the country's budget balance. Cuts to entitlements are politically possible, says Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies, a nonpartisan think tank in Brussels, "but societies need some time to get used to the idea."

Payments to individuals—a budget category that includes all federal benefit programs plus retirement benefits for federal workers—will cost $2.4 trillion this year, up 79%, adjusted for inflation, from a decade earlier when the economy was stronger. That represents 64.3% of all federal outlays, the highest percentage in the 70 years the government has been measuring it. The figure was 46.7% in 1990 and 26.2% in 1960.



GOP establishment rejects tea party candidate who won DE Senate primary

Which could make her a winner!

It was an amazing bit of television. Almost instant followed by an amazing bit of scoop. Mere minutes after Fox News had reported the victory of conservative activist Christine O'Donnell over Establishment Congressman Mike Castle in the Delaware GOP U.S. Senate primary, former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff and Fox News consultant Karl Rove was in place on Sean Hannity's TV show to analyze. Or…well…something.

What on earth was Rove thinking? He was bitter, angry, cutting, demeaning, mean-spirited…and those were the nice things he had to say about O'Donnell.

I have no idea what Karl Rove was thinking when he sat down in front of the Fox cameras to speak with Hannity. But I know this.

All by himself Karl Rove has just given Christine O'Donnell a huge leg up on this election. In seconds he has made her look like what Americans absolutely love -- the underdog who has been unmercifully unfairly treated by the powerful and well-to-do.

And now, Carl Cameron of Fox News is reporting the National Republican Senatorial Committee will not be helping the official nominee of the Delaware Republican Party for the United States Senate in her Senate campaign.

So, in other words, having helped the losing incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, the losing incumbent Robert Bennett in Utah, swallowed hard at the victories of Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky, the NRSC will not be helping O'Donnell because she beat the pants off a liberal Establishment Republican Congressman?

If this is true, there is but one question: Is the Republican Establishment suicidal?



More on GOP stupidity when tea-party candidate won DE primary

“Let’s go balls to the wall for Christine O’Donnell,” Rush Limbaugh implored listeners on his show today, but Rush knows that his listeners are the choir to which he is preaching. It’s the party establishment and the center-right commentariat that needs to hear the message, and in that vein, Rush took on Karl Rove on today’s show.

Rush demanded to know why Rove and other establishment figures want to make Christine O’Donnell’s character the issue, when it’s the character of the current administration and Democratic leadership in Congress that should get the focus. Instead of issuing self-fulfilling prophecies of doom, shouldn’t the Republican establishment start fighting for wins in Delaware? The Right Scoop got the video:

Matt Lewis joins the fray in warning Republicans about the impact of snubbing O’Donnell:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Castle — who withheld his endorsement of the winner — were wrong to behave as they did. Though an NRSC spokesman issued a terse congratulations to O’Donnell, word quickly leaked that the NRSC would not fund her general election race. This was a silly thing to do. Fortunately — and wisely — NRSC Chairman John Cornyn on Wednesday morning agreed to donate $42,000 toward O’Donnell’s campaign and to evaluate future funding at a later date. This was smart damage control, but to many conservatives, the damage had already been done.

Moreover, the GOP has not just offended O’Donnell but has gone out of its way to offend her Tea Party supporters across the nation — folks who were already highly skeptical of the party establishment.

Similarly, Castle’s decision to withhold his endorsement was unchivalrous, and the fact that his staff continues to throw stones, referring to O’Donnell as a “con artist,” is inexcusable.

It’s not just inexcusable, it’s inexplicable. It’s as if everyone forgot why we have primaries in the first place. This has been a gut-check moment for Republican leadership, and with a few exceptions, they have failed it.



Retirement Fund Trillions Lure Government Grabbers

Is the government making plans to confiscate your retirement money? The Obama administration is certainly exploring the idea.

This question no longer seems far-fetched when the group-thinkers in Washington unabashedly promote a doctrine of wealth redistribution and central planning. These Keynesian socialists know they will need vast new sources of revenues to fund their relentless spending binges to "transform" this nation. A logical next step would be to legitimize the confiscation of private retirement assets -- an idea that was contemplated in the recent past by the Clinton administration.

According to the Investment Company Institute, there was $7.835 trillion in IRA, 401K, 457, and 403b accounts in 2009. That is certainly too large a sum to be ignored by the big spending social engineers in Washington. Bureaucrats and politicians have been hard at work formulating a social justice excuse to legislate an historic seizure of private assets. This would not be the first time the statists extorted wealth from U.S. citizens on a massive scale.

The public shakedown always employs a two-step tactic to repeatedly dupe the malleable electorate. First, the statists fabricate and incessantly excoriate a contrived crisis of social injustice that is victimizing helpless and unknowing Americans. Next, they "craft" -- a term Pelosi uses again and again -- insidious legislation disguised as a necessary and compassionate solution that makes participation and universal funding compulsory by force of the law.

It is a simple and effective strategy that continues to trip up even the staunchest conservatives, who ultimately succumb to the throng of propagandized constituents demanding protection from the newly revealed threat. Patrick Heller warns:
Expect to see terms such as "retirement income protection" thrown around. It is highly likely that such a program would be implemented in steps to help overcome public opposition. The US government plan is to eventually take ownership of all assets in IRAs and 401K accounts and replace them with US government "Treasury Retirement Bonds." In the October 2008 hearings, it was proposed that these bonds pay a 3% interest rate. Another major change is that, upon retirement, the individual's retirement account would be converted into an annuity. Once the individual is deceased, the individual's heirs would not inherit anything.

Has personal responsibility and self-reliance been transformed into a perceived disadvantage? Our benevolent government seems to think so.

In February, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), in collaboration with the Department of Treasury, announced a "request for information" to study the Lifetime Income Options for Retirement Plans and asked "for ideas on how to help reduce the chances that workers will run out of funds during their retirement years."

This request signals the "starting point" for launching yet another spurious social justice crusade by these two agencies. The fictional victims and the offending policy have been manufactured and publicized, and now it is time to fire up the propaganda machine and work on a new, expansive social engineering plot.




Fidel Castro and American statism: "Cuba’s president Fidel Castro is surely making American liberals extremely nervous. Mugged by reality, Castro is moving his country in a direction away from socialism, at the very same time that American liberals are trying their best to move the United States further in the direction of socialism. Castro has a much firmer grip on reality than American liberals.”

Tricks against trade: "Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch is up to its tricks against trade again. Noted for its past expertise in destroying the Seattle WTO negotiations, the group is now taking a new stance against free trade agreements (FTAs), though not by their usual rhetoric that they cost jobs and a ‘race to the bottom.’ Their new approach is that FTAs actually lower exports. The group just published a ’study’ purportedly showing that exports to countries that have free trade agreements with the U.S. showed less export growth than did exports to countries that don’t have FTAs.”

What if this were Bush?: "It goes without saying that if Bush had presided over a phony end to the Iraq war, expanded the Afghanistan war, extended its reach into Pakistan, solidified the state secrets doctrine and claimed in no uncertain terms the right to assassinate American citizens without due process, the left would be up in arms. The partisan hypocrisy concerning war-related issues is clear.”

Tools for liberty-loving radicals too? "Conservatives today often denounce Alinsky as the demonic wellhead of the modern Left, a claim that’s easier to make when you don’t know much about Alinsky’s actual ideas and activities. (I have even seen efforts to link the man to Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist who plays a mysteriously large role in several contemporary conspiracy theories.) It doesn’t help that Barack Obama started his political career as a community organizer in Chicago, where he supposedly drew deeply from Alinsky’s social vision. Alinsky’s 1971 book Rules for Radicals has been studied closely by conservatives convinced that they’ve found the White House’s secret playbook. Smarter folks on the right, such as the Tea Party champions at FreedomWorks, have been reading Rules for Radicals as well, not to decode Obama’s occult intentions but in hopes of adapting Alinsky’s tactics to the fight for freer markets.”


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


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


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Hate Crime Hypocrisy

It's almost always blacks and Hispanics doing the crimes but twisted logic and biased reporting are used to protect blacks and accuse whites

Two recent strings of racial attacks—one black on white in Des Moines Iowa, the other black on Hispanic in Staten Island, New York—elicited very different reactions from both law enforcement and the mainstream media.

Since April, Staten Island law enforcement filed 11 “bias related” crimes committed against Mexicans, 10 of which were perpetrated by blacks. The Los Angeles Times gave an example on August 18 where, “a Mexican teen-ager was robbed by a young black man armed with a knife who used racial slurs.”

The real culprit to the liberals in New York are not the thugs who committed the crime, but conservative opponents of illegal immigration. The Times continues, Jacob Massaquoi, a leader in Staten Island's African immigrant community, said tensions had grown along with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, something they blame on Arizona's crackdown on undocumented residents and conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. "Their rhetoric is very personal, very inflammatory," Massaquoi said.

Massaquoi is just echoing Barack Obama who said in 2008 that "A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen." Obama’s numbers, by the way are fabricated. In fact, the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics went down between 2007 and 2008.

Numbers aside, Obama and the LA Times cannot honestly believe that African Americans who are told by many of their leaders that Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck hate blacks are influenced by these shows.

When most people think of hate crimes, they think of a Klansman or a skinhead beating up a minority. Yet in Los Angeles County, 78% of Hispanic on black and 52% of black on Hispanic hate crimes are considered “gang related.”

I doubt that the Crips are tuned in to Rush Limbagh on their car radio while they commit a drive-by shooting against MS-13. What about the Hispanic on white and Hispanic on black hate crimes? The federal government does not report them! While the FBI’s hate crime reporting sheet includes Hispancs as a victim group, they do not include Hispanics as offenders, and categorize virtually all of them as white. In Los Angeles, where local police count Latinos as perpetrators, they make up 69% of all anti-black hate crimes. These are counted as white on black hate crimes by the FBI.

Thus, if the MS-13 retaliated against the Crips and yelled a racial slur in the process, this would be reported as a white on black hate crime. Sure enough, the same people who blame attacks by blacks against Hispanics on opposition to illegal immigration are blaming the supposed rash of “hate crimes” against blacks on criticism of Obama.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a “watchdog” group that paints mainstream conservatives and the Ku Klux Klan with the same “hate group” brush, anti-black hate crimes are “the result of a racist backlash to the election of America’s first African-American president.” The FBI’s website states they forged a partnership with the SPLC to “establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems.” When Whites are the victim of race based crimes, the media and police often try to downplay any racial aspect, and silence those who notice.

In August at the Iowa State Fair, groups of blacks attacked white fairgoers and police. According to the police report, "On-duty officers at the fairgrounds advise there was a group of 30 to 40 individuals roaming the fairgrounds openly calling it 'beat whitey night.' "

These were not just minor scuffles. One white fairgoer had two broken eye sockets. Yet many of these thugs were only given citations and released on the spot.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that these attacks were based on anti-white bigotry, Lt. Joe Gonzalez told reporters, “We don't want to jump to conclusions. It is not the standpoint of the police department right now to say that it's racially motivated."

Black on white mob attacks like this are becoming more common. “Flash mobs” where groups of teenagers text each other’s cell phones to coordinate attacks are occurring across the country.

On March 24, The New York Times reported that, “Most of the teenagers who have taken part in [flash mobs] are black and from poor neighborhoods. Most of the areas hit have been predominantly white business districts. In the flash mob on Saturday, groups of teenagers were chanting ‘black boys’ and ‘burn the city,’ bystanders said.”

Neither the flash mobs nor the attacks on whites in Iowa are being prosecuted as hate crimes. Instead of punishing the criminals, Iowa police are punishing their own for suggesting the obvious. After the attacks in Iowa, then Des Moines police spokeswoman Sgt. Laurie Lavato said “it’s very possible it has racial overtones.” Last week, Sgt. Lavorato was reassigned to the Traffic Division. Why? According to Des Moines Police Chief Susan Bradshaw, "I had some real concerns with us making that leap and making a remark like that publicly. That's a huge statement that, quite frankly, can provoke emotions on both sides of the issue.”

In Orwellian America, it is a “leap” to say it is possible that blacks yelling “beat whitey” might have racial overtones.

This twisted logic comes straight from the Obama administration. Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that hate crimes were only meant for “protected groups” meaning “people who are African-American, Hispanic, people who are Jewish, people who are gay people.” Whatever happened to equal protection under the law?

It’s being thrown out for the purpose of silencing and demonizing white conservatives in the name of tolerance and diversity.



Radical Islamism challenges notions of freedom

By Michael Nazir-Ali (A Pakistan-born former bishop of the Church of England)

IT is often thought the main threat of radical Islamism to the West and, indeed, the world, is terrorism. It is also said to be the isolation of Muslim communities, which allows extremists to recruit people to their cause.

Such views are not mistaken but they confuse effects with causes. What the world has to recognise is that we are not simply dealing with faith, but with a political, social and economic ideology. Radical Islamism is a worldview. Its nearest parallel, despite many differences, is Marxism.

Radical Islamists claim their all-encompassing program for society is rooted in fundamental Islamic sources. They reject the interpretations of Koran and sharia law offered by reformist or moderate Muslims. We must, of course, respect the faith of ordinary Muslims, but the ideology has to be met in a different way.

It is basic to Western societies that there should be one law for all. This idea emerged from the Judaeo-Christian tradition that all humans are made in God's image. It has been mediated by the Enlightenment, which emphasised not only dignity but also liberty.

The radical Islamist vision is absolutist. It applies to every area of human life, including politics, business and, above all, law itself. Recent demands by British and some Australian Muslim leaders for the recognition of aspects of sharia law should be seen in this light. Western clergy and jurists who advocate such demands fail to recognise that acknowledging aspects of sharia in public law will lead to a greater involvement with Islamic law.

A few years ago some Canadian Muslim women campaigned against the proposal to introduce Islamic law to settle family issues in Ontario. Their instincts were right. Islamic law is not just an intellectual legal tradition; it exists in highly prescriptive codes of law called fiqh. These codes differ from one another but would all be incompatible with the assumption of equality in Western law.

Muslim scholars recognise the three great inequalities of their legal tradition: between men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, slave and free. In the case of family law, for example, there is inequality between men and women in marriage, and in provisions for divorce, custody of children, laws of admissible evidence and inheritance.

In Britain two years ago, when the then lord chief justice was arguing for recognition of some aspects of Islamic family law, the British Law Lords were ruling that a woman should not be deported to her own country because under sharia law there she would be deprived of the custody of her child. The Law Lords saw this as a violation of her basic rights.

While many predominantly Muslim countries have signed international covenants on fundamental rights, some have entered codicils declaring their adherence to these covenants must be in conformity with sharia law. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, representing the world's Muslim countries, has issued the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This differs from the international declarations in a number of respects, not least in the absence of a provision corresponding to Article 18 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, providing for freedom of expression, belief and change of belief.

In a number of Muslim countries apostasy from Islam is punishable. In some, the punishment is death. In Pakistan, the so-called blasphemy law prescribes a death sentence for insulting the prophet of Islam. Muslim commentators admit that internationally recognised commitments to personal freedoms are difficult to reconcile with sharia law.

Although punishments for apostasy and blasphemy cannot be implemented in non-Muslim countries, they do contribute to attitudes that have consequences in these contexts as well. Such attitudes have resulted in harassment and persecution of those who have given up their belief or changed their faith, even in the West. They have led to demands for laws against defamation of religion, which would effectively restrict freedom of expression.

While we should all be committed to civility in public discussion, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already provides protection from incitement to religious hatred, which leads to discrimination, hostility or violence. To go beyond this has implications for free speech.

Muslims, like anyone else, should be free to practise and propagate their faith. They are free also to contribute to public debate. The principle of one law for all, however, cannot be compromised. Freedom of expression and the right to change one's belief must be maintained. So must easy access to the courts and police.




The "mystery" of falling crime rates: "For the third straight year, violent crime has declined in all categories while gun sales climbed, gun ownership expanded and more citizens are carrying firearms for personal protection; proof positive that gun prohibitionists have been consistently and undeniably wrong, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today. "What the data tells us is exactly the opposite of what the gun ban lobby has predicted for several years," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. "Their dire predictions that America's streets would run red have been shown up as a fraudulent sales pitch for public disarmament... even property crimes are down, according to this year's report."

GAO: Iraq government wants billions, sits on billions in surplus: "Back in 2003 as the invasion of Iraq was getting underway, Paul Wolfowitz famously told Congress that ‘We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.’ Last month … a House subcommittee stamped its approval on President Barack Obama’s controversial request for $2 billion in 2011 to arm and train Iraq’s military. … On top of [that], the proposed State Department budget allocates an additional $2.5 billion to step up its operations in Iraq. … But now comes word from independent US Government auditors that the presumption may be false: Iraq’s government is not broke at all.”

Privatizing the British postal service: "Two years ago Ofcom deputy head Richard Hooper reported on the Royal Mail. It was an inefficient, outdated fish in a declining pool of letters business, he concluded, and it needed an injection of private cash and partnership with a private carrier to give it the cash and expertise to survive before EU rules open the whole market up to competition. Now, another report and a change of government later, it looks as if this might actually happen.”

New Medicare chief speaks out against rationing: "The nation’s health system can’t be transformed by rationing medical care, President Barack Obama’s new Medicare chief said Monday in his first major speech. Dr. Donald Berwick’s appointment earlier this summer without Senate confirmation was contentious because some Republicans accused him of being willing to deny care to save on costs.”

California’s union war: "Voting began Monday in one of the most disputed union elections in recent years. The contest pits the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) against the upstart National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which was created last year by former officials of a SEIU affiliate in Oakland, California. Tens of thousands of workers will vote between now and October 4 on which union, if any, will represent them. At stake are 44,000 members and an estimated $40 million in annual dues.”

The Great Food Truck Lobbying Race: "The City of Emeryville, California, is looking for individuals to serve on its new `Food Truck Taskforce' - a bureaucratic reaction to the increased competition local `brick and mortar' restaurants face from mobile kitchens. Local worker Catherine Hicks tweeted, `restaurants are whining that trucks are more popular at lunch!' But the city sees this shift in lunching habits as a political problem requiring a political solution."

Lawsuits could be stake in heart of Obamacare: "A showdown looms in Florida when 20 states and a national small-business organization will argue before a federal judge that President Barack Obama's sweeping health care reform should be overturned as unconstitutional. In a hearing set for Tuesday, 20 state attorneys general were seeking to have Obamacare struck down before it goes into effect. They will be joined by lawyers for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a nonprofit small-business organization. The legal challenges to Obamacare's unprecedented intrusion are well-founded. Ultimately, they may be more likely to prevail than even the mounting political dissatisfaction."


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


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


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Size of Government and the Choice This Fall

In polls, Americans overwhelmingly prefer small government and low taxes to the alternative. Yet they've been given big government, one program at a time


As we move into this election season, Americans are being asked to choose between candidates and political parties. But the true decision we will be making—now and in the years to come—is this: Do we still want our traditional American free enterprise system, or do we prefer a European-style social democracy? This is a choice between free markets and managed capitalism; between limited government and an ever-expanding state; between rewarding entrepreneurs and equalizing economic rewards.

We must decide. Or must we? In response to what each of us has written in the preceding months, we have heard again and again that the choice we pose is too stark. New York Times columnist David Brooks (no relation) finds our approach too Manichaean, and the Schumpeter columnist in The Economist objected that, "You can have a big state with a well-functioning free market."

Data support the proposition that Americans like generous government programs and don't want to lose them. So while 70% of Americans told pollsters at the Pew Research Center in 2009 they agreed that "people are better off in a free market economy, even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time," large majorities favor keeping our social insurance programs intact. This leads conventional thinkers to claim that a welfare state is what we truly want, regardless of whether or not we mouth platitudes about "freedom" and "entrepreneurship."

But these claims miss the point. What we must choose is our aspiration, not whether we want to zero out the state. Nobody wants to privatize the Army or take away Grandma's Social Security check. Even Friedrich Hayek in his famous book, "The Road to Serfdom," reminded us that the state has legitimate—and critical—functions, from rectifying market failures to securing some minimum standard of living.

However, finding the right level of government for Americans is simply impossible unless we decide which ideal we prefer: a free enterprise society with a solid but limited safety net, or a cradle-to-grave, redistributive welfare state. Most Americans believe in assisting those temporarily down on their luck and those who cannot help themselves, as well as a public-private system of pensions for a secure retirement. But a clear majority believes that income redistribution and government care should be the exception and not the rule.

This is made abundantly clear in surveys such as the one conducted by the Ayers-McHenry polling firm in 2009, which asked a large group of Americans, "Overall, would you prefer larger government with more services and higher taxes, or smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes?" To this question, 21% favored the former, while 69% preferred the latter.

Unfortunately, many political leaders from both parties in recent years have purposively obscured the fundamental choice we must make by focusing on individual spending issues and programs while ignoring the big picture of America's free enterprise culture. In this way, redistribution and statism always win out over limited government and private markets.

Why not lift the safety net a few rungs higher up the income ladder? Go ahead, slap a little tariff on some Chinese goods in the name of protecting a favored industry. More generous pensions for teachers? Hey, it's only a few million tax dollars—and think of the kids, after all.

Individually, these things might sound fine. Multiply them and add them all up, though, and you have a system that most Americans manifestly oppose—one that creates a crushing burden of debt and teaches our children and grandchildren that government is the solution to all our problems. Seventy percent of us want stronger free enterprise, but the other 30% keep moving us closer toward an unacceptably statist America—one acceptable government program at a time.

This process has led to a visceral type of dissatisfaction with the current direction of our country. The president's job approval has fallen almost linearly since he took office (standing today at 45%, according to Gallup; 41%, according to Rasmussen) despite the fact that his policies are precisely what he promised when he handily won the 2008 election. Rasmussen finds that only 29% believe we are headed in the right direction as a nation and two-thirds say they are angry about current policies of the federal government. Majorities believe that "big government" poses the greatest threat to our country, according to Gallup.

Millions of Americans instinctively look to our leaders for a defense of our culture of free enterprise. Instead, we get more and more publicly funded gewgaws and shiny government novelties to distract us. For example, the administration stills touts the success of programs such as "Cash for Clunkers" in handing out borrowed money to citizens while propping up a favored industry. Yet Rasmussen found 54% of Americans opposed the program (only 35% favored it). Plenty of people may have availed themselves of that notorious boondoggle, but a large majority understand we were basically just asking our children (who will have to pay the $3 billion back) to buy us new cars—and that's not right.

More and more Americans are catching on to the scam. Every day, more see that the road to serfdom in America does not involve a knock in the night or a jack-booted thug. It starts with smooth-talking politicians offering seemingly innocuous compromises, and an opportunistic leadership that chooses not to stand up for America's enduring principles of freedom and entrepreneurship.

As this reality dawns, and the implications become clear to millions of Americans, we believe we can see the brightest future in decades. But we must choose it.



Lincoln's war

How come every other civilized country abolished slavery WITHOUT a civil war?

The truth of the matter is that the Civil War was absolutely not fought over slavery. To understand how this is so, there are two pieces of evidence to consider. The first is the situation of high protective tariffs. In this pre-16th Amendment America, the federal government was funded solely through user fees, land sales, and tariffs. The southern economy, being largely agricultural, was highly dependent upon importing manufactured goods. This situation was something that all 13 original colonies shared, but as the new Republic developed, and the Industrial Revolution took off, the North, being less suited to agriculture, became a manufacturing powerhouse. The South then had a choice to make in importing its needed goods: continue to purchase goods from the British and French predominantly (as they had done since the colonial days) or purchase from the new northern manufacturers.

In order to strongly coerce the South into doing business with the North exclusively, the federal government erected very high protective tariffs and limitations against imports. What this did was make it too expensive for the South to import goods from England or France, even if those goods were preferable, and created a monopoly in which the northern manufacturers received the majority of the South’s business. This situation is evidenced by the Nullification Crisis of 1832, in which South Carolina nullified the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832, with their near 50% average duty. The stalemate forced the hand of the federal government to lower the average rate to between 15 and 20% with the Tariff of 1833. This dispute was temporarily quieted, but not for long.

The Morill Tariff passed into law March 1861 was the final straw on the back of the South. Economist Thomas J. DiLorezo writes in a article that the Morill Tariff increased the average tax rate from around 15% to 37.5%, while also greatly expanding the imports subject to it. The South rightly perceived that the forced tariff at the hands of the federal government, dominated by northern interests, was a tyranny upon their right to free trade.

When SC seceded from the Union, followed by ten other states, the federal government had a very grave problem on its hands. Without the forced market of the South, the federal government’s tax revenues would plummet. The federal government was entirely dependent upon the tariff that was paid exclusively by southern imports. The federal government had two options: force the South to stay in the Union, and thereby keep the tax revenue, or watch the South freely trade with other nations, and eventually run out of money. The choice was clear for Abraham Lincoln. The Union was to be preserved above all costs.

Lincoln’s own words prove that for him, this was never about human rights, but about preservation of the Union. In his infamous August 1862 letter to NY Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln betrayed his true intentions for waging war:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.

Further evidence of this is seen in the Joint Resolution on the War issued by Congress in 1861. “Resolved: . . . That this war is not being prosecuted upon our part in any spirit of oppression[...], nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those states, but to[...] preserve the Union”.

The federal government was not interested in freeing the slaves. They were only interested in keeping the South attached to the North and the tariff revenue that union provided. Let the true historical record show that the Civil War was not fought over slavery.

Secondly, as mentioned above, Lincoln was not motivated out of the concern for human rights in deciding what course to take. Even with his famed Emancipation Proclamation, the notion of him being a “Second Moses” is greatly exaggerated. If one looks at the Emancipation closely, you’ll discover a problem: “[...]all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free [...]”.

The document is clear that the states “in rebellion” would have their slaves freed. However, if you were a slave in Delaware, Kentucky, Marlyand, or Missouri, slave-holding states that did not secede from the Union, you were not emancipated at all. In fact, for the first time in US history, slavery was actually officially recognized on the federal level. The Emancipation Proclamation drew the lines of slavery inclusively around the slaves in the border states, through an executive order. Great Emancipator? Hardly.

The last point to be addressed will show how Lincoln wrote the blueprint for the excess in government and tyranny that has become hallmarks of the American political system, and of the presidency in general. So much of the angst in our country today is over the intrusion of the federal government into our personal lives. We are touched by government everyday in more ways than we can imagine. In no particular order, I will just list off some of the actions of President Lincoln that put us on the slippery slope to where we are today.

1. Violation of Article 4 Section 4 that compelled the federal government to protect the states from invasion. Here the federal government was the invasion force.

2. Arrest and detainment without trial of the Maryland Legislature to prevent a vote on secession.

3. Conversely, supporting the secession of WV from VA, and recognizing the reorganized government of Virginia as legitimate despite the fact that it was not popularly elected.

4. Suspension of habeus corpus. Imprisonment and detainment of thousands of dissidents, including newspaper editors and even Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio.

5. Established the first direct income tax in 1862.

Much of what Lincoln did during the course of the Civil War was repeated and expanded in later years. As historian James G. Randall notes in his book Constitutional Problems under Lincoln, “it would not be easy to state what Lincoln conceived to be the limit of his powers.” Perhaps a more appropriate moniker for Lincoln would be the “Great Tyrant”.

The federal government greatly increased its powers over the states and the citizens as a direct result of the war. Where the South was devastated by its effects, the federal government emerged stronger and more haughty than ever. As a condition of allowing the states back into the Union (that they created in the first place) the state constitutions of the former Confederacy were forced to be rewritten, in order to specifically outlaw secession (proof that secession was not illegal in 1861). The federal government had waged a war to gain power, control, and revenue, and it made sure that this power gained would be permanent.

The veneration of corrupt men as demigods in the secular, civil religion of American history is not only inaccurate, but it is nefarious and shameful. The point of this article isn’t to be provocative, or to just flame-throw. I am not anti-American, or pro-slavery, or anything else one might try to read into my words. I am, however, very deeply interested in truth. Truth will only be achieved by erasing mythos out of American history. Literature has plenty of fictional heroes, the stuff of legend. An American history textbook should have no such characters.




Cuba: Regime to eliminate 500,000 state jobs, spur private sector: "Cuba will let more than 500,000 state employees go by next March and try to move most to non-state jobs in the biggest shift to the private sector since the 1960s, the official Cuban labor federation said Monday. … The statement said eventually more than a million jobs would be cut … More than 85 percent of the Cuban labor force, or over 5 million people, worked for the state at the close of 2009, according to the government.”

Obama will sell advanced arms to fundamentalist Muslims: "The Obama administration is preparing to notify Congress of plans to sell $60 billion of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, according to a U.S. defense official. … The proposed package includes 84 newly manufactured F-15/SA fighter aircraft; 70 upgraded aircraft, 70 Apache helicopters, 72 Black Hawk helicopters, and 36 AH-6 Little Bird helicopters. A number of bombs and missiles also are in the deal, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition, a satellite-guided bomb, as well as a laser-guided Hellfire missile variant and some advanced targeting technology.”

US Senate Republicans say they’ll block tax increase: "President Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on wealthier people while preserving cuts for everyone else appears increasingly likely to founder before Election Day. Senate GOP leaders declared on Monday that Republicans are, to a person, opposed to legislation that would extend only middle-class tax relief — which Obama has repeatedly promised to deliver — if Democrats follow through on plans to let tax rates rise for the wealthiest Americans.”

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


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


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


Monday, September 13, 2010

What makes Obama tick?

Like all modern-day Leftists, he hates America -- but for somewhat different reasons

By Dinesh D'Souza

A good way to discern what motivates Obama is to ask a simple question: What is his dream? Is it the American dream? Is it Martin Luther King's dream? Or something else?

We don't have to speculate because the President tells us himself in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. According to Obama, his dream is his father's dream. Notice that his title is not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. Obama isn't writing about his father's dreams; he is writing about the dreams he received from his father.

So who was Barack Obama Sr.? He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife-beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself.

An odd choice, certainly, as an inspirational hero. But to his son, the elder Obama represented a great and noble cause, the cause of anticolonialism. Obama Sr. grew up during Africa's struggle to be free of European rule, and he was one of the early generation of Africans chosen to study in America and then to shape his country's future.

I know a great deal about anticolonialism, because I am a native of Mumbai, India. I am part of the first Indian generation to be born after my country's independence from the British. Anticolonialism was the rallying cry of Third World politics for much of the second half of the 20th century. To most Americans, however, anticolonialism is an unfamiliar idea, so let me explain it.

Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America. As one of Obama's acknowledged intellectual influences, Frantz Fanon, wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, "The well-being and progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians and the yellow races."

Anticolonialists hold that even when countries secure political independence they remain economically dependent on their former captors. This dependence is called neocolonialism, a term defined by the African statesman Kwame Nkrumah (1909--72) in his book Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, writes that poor countries may be nominally free, but they continue to be manipulated from abroad by powerful corporate and plutocratic elites. These forces of neocolonialism oppress not only Third World people but also citizens in their own countries. Obviously the solution is to resist and overthrow the oppressors. This was the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. and many in his generation, including many of my own relatives in India.

Obama Sr. was an economist, and in 1965 he published an important article in the East Africa Journal called "Problems Facing Our Socialism." Obama Sr. wasn't a doctrinaire socialist; rather, he saw state appropriation of wealth as a necessary means to achieve the anticolonial objective of taking resources away from the foreign looters and restoring them to the people of Africa. For Obama Sr. this was an issue of national autonomy. "Is it the African who owns this country? If he does, then why should he not control the economic means of growth in this country?"

As he put it, "We need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals shall control a vast magnitude of resources as is the case now." The senior Obama proposed that the state confiscate private land and raise taxes with no upper limit. In fact, he insisted that "theoretically there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed."

Remarkably, President Obama, who knows his father's history very well, has never mentioned his father's article. Even more remarkably, there has been virtually no reporting on a document that seems directly relevant to what the junior Obama is doing in the White House.

While the senior Obama called for Africa to free itself from the neocolonial influence of Europe and specifically Britain, he knew when he came to America in 1959 that the global balance of power was shifting. Even then, he recognized what has become a new tenet of anticolonialist ideology: Today's neocolonial leader is not Europe but America. As the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said--who was one of Obama's teachers at Columbia University--wrote in Culture and Imperialism, "The United States has replaced the earlier great empires and is the dominant outside force."

From the anticolonial perspective, American imperialism is on a rampage. For a while, U.S. power was checked by the Soviet Union, but since the end of the Cold War, America has been the sole superpower. Moreover, 9/11 provided the occasion for America to invade and occupy two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and also to seek political and economic domination in the same way the French and the British empires once did. So in the anticolonial view, America is now the rogue elephant that subjugates and tramples the people of the world.

It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.

Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America? Obama believes that the West uses a disproportionate share of the world's energy resources, so he wants neocolonial America to have less and the former colonized countries to have more. More broadly, his proposal for carbon taxes has little to do with whether the planet is getting warmer or colder; it is simply a way to penalize, and therefore reduce, America's carbon consumption. Both as a U.S. Senator and in his speech, as President, to the United Nations, Obama has proposed that the West massively subsidize energy production in the developing world.

Rejecting the socialist formula, Obama has shown no intention to nationalize the investment banks or the health sector. Rather, he seeks to decolonize these institutions, and this means bringing them under the government's leash. That's why Obama retains the right to refuse bailout paybacks--so that he can maintain his control.

For Obama, health insurance companies on their own are oppressive racketeers, but once they submitted to federal oversight he was happy to do business with them. He even promised them expanded business as a result of his law forcing every American to buy health insurance.

If Obama shares his father's anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more. The anticolonialist believes that since the rich have prospered at the expense of others, their wealth doesn't really belong to them; therefore whatever can be extracted from them is automatically just. Recall what Obama Sr. said in his 1965 paper: There is no tax rate too high, and even a 100% rate is justified under certain circumstances.

Obama supports the Ground Zero mosque because to him 9/11 is the event that unleashed the American bogey and pushed us into Iraq and Afghanistan. He views some of the Muslims who are fighting against America abroad as resisters of U.S. imperialism. Certainly that is the way the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi portrayed himself at his trial. Obama's perception of him as an anticolonial resister would explain why he gave tacit approval for this murderer of hundreds of Americans to be released from captivity.

In his own writings Obama stresses the centrality of his father not only to his beliefs and values but to his very identity. He calls his memoir "the record of a personal, interior journey--a boy's search for his father and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American." And again, "It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself."

Much more HERE


The background to 9/11: Left-inspired American spinelessness

In contrast to Pearl Harbor, the assault on the World Trade Center was hardly a “sneak attack” that American intelligence agencies had little idea was coming. Its Twin Towers had already been bombed eight years earlier, and by the same enemy. The terrorists themselves were already familiar to government operatives, their aggressions frequent enough that several commissions had been appointed to investigate. Each had reached the same conclusion. It was not a matter of whether the United States was going to be the target of a major terrorist assault; it was a matter of when.

In fact, the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks had first engaged U.S. troops as early as 1993 when the Clinton Administration deployed U.S. military forces to Somalia. Their purpose was humanitarian: to feed the starving citizens of this Muslim land. But, America’s goodwill ambassadors were ambushed by al-Qaeda forces. In a 15-hour battle in Mogadishu, 18 Americans were killed and 80 wounded. One dead U.S. soldier was dragged through the streets in an act calculated to humiliate his comrades and his country. The Americans’ offense was not that they had brought food to the hungry. Their crime was who they were—”unbelievers,” emissaries of “the Great Satan,” in the political religion of the enemy they now faced.

The defeat in Mogadishu was a blow not only to American charity, but to American power and American prestige. Nonetheless, under the leadership of America’s then commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton, there was no military response to the humiliation. The greatest superpower the world had ever seen did nothing. It accepted defeat.

On February 26, 1993, eight months prior to the Mogadishu attack, al-Qaeda terrorists had struck the World Trade Center for the first time. Their truck bomb made a crater six stories deep, killed six people and injured more than a thousand. The planners’ intention had been to cause one tower to topple the other and kill tens of thousands of innocent people. It was not only the first major terrorist act ever to take place on U.S. soil, but—in the judgment of a definitive account of the event—”the most ambitious terrorist attack ever attempted, anywhere, ever.”

Six Palestinian and Egyptian conspirators responsible for the attack were tried in civil courts and got life sentences like common criminals, but its mastermind escaped. He was identified as Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, an Iraqi Intelligence agent. This was a clear indication to authorities that the atrocity was no mere criminal event, and that it involved more than individual terrorists; it involved hostile terrorist states.

Yet, once again, the Clinton Administration’s response was to absorb the injury and accept defeat. The president did not even visit the bomb crater or tend to the victims. Instead, America’s commander-in-chief warned against “over-reaction.” In doing so, he telegraphed a clear message to his nation’s enemies: We are unsure of purpose and unsteady of hand; we are self-indulgent and soft; we will not take risks to defend ourselves; we are vulnerable.

The al-Qaeda terrorists were listening. In a 1998 interview, Osama bin Laden told ABC News reporter John Miller: “We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier who is ready to wage Cold Wars and unprepared to fight long wars. This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions. It also proves they can run in less than 24 hours, and this was also repeated in Somalia. We are ready for all occasions. We rely on Allah.”




Netanyahu toughens up: "Israel's Prime minister touched a raw nerve with the Palestinians last night by demanding they recognise Israel as a Jewish state - something they have long rejected. Benjamin Netanyahu insists such recognition must be the foundation for peace and that he regrets that the Palestinians have not yet agreed. "The foundation of the state of Israel is that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people," Mr Netanyahu said at the start of the Israeli Cabinet's weekly meeting. "That is the real basis of the end of demands from the state of Israel and the end of the conflict between the two peoples." Mr Netanyahu has made recognition of Israel's Jewish character a central demand, suggesting the Palestinians' failure to do so means they have not come to terms with Israel's existence."

Creative destruction: "Who is Greg Ip? I hadn’t heard of him, and began reading his WSJ Op Ed expecting another tedious diatribe, but the economics editor of the Economist surprises me with new insights. First he reminds us how the silly American media worried about a rising Japan in the 80’s. … He argues that Japan grew faster in the 80’s because it was catching up. … Now both countries fear stagnation. Ip’s wise solution? More creative destruction.”

Obama aides cheat on taxes: “Forty-one aides to President Obama owe $831,000 in back taxes. Meanwhile, as noted earlier, unpaid taxes have risen 37 percent among Capitol Hill staff, to $9.3 million. Taxes, it seems, are only for the little people, not their liberal overlords. Even the Treasury secretary, who oversees the IRS, has cheated on his taxes.”

Shielding “professionals” from competition: "What Sturm wants, of course, is the federal government to intervene in the dying newspaper market and save it from Internet-based competition. This is why the Federal Trade Commission has been holding b.s. ‘workshops’ on this subject. A shield law is an important step towards cartelizing journalism under federal control. Once you have a shield law, you have to define what a journalist is and is not. This becomes a judicial (and regulatory) question that requires input from all sorts of lawyers, academics, and other ‘experts.’ The process alone will exclude the blogger (*cough*) who simply wants to bring greater transparency to the state and its harmful interventions.”


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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)