Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why Obama Doesn’t Seem to Relate emotionally

Unlike most people, he exhibits little or no moral sense

Tibor R. Machan

Most of the time when I hear about how President Obama lacks the emotional disposition that most Americans would like to see him demonstrate, I am disinclined to make much of the point. What I want from someone in the role of the presidency is good thinking and not sensitivity.

Nonetheless I have been paying a bit more attention to this criticism of the President because as I have been following his efforts to bolster the chances of Democrats to remain in power in Washington, DC, I have noticed that there is something amiss with how he comes over emotionally.

As a start, Mr. Obama is always glib, as if nothing on earth could phase him, as if it is all old hat to him, he is way ahead of everyone. This comes through, for instance, in his repeated dismissal of anything that members of the Tea Party complain about.

And that’s just the beginning. One related steady emotional theme in the president’s talks is the effort to be accommodating toward critics and enemies of America. Indeed, the very idea that Mr. Obama would identify anyone as an enemy of the United States of America seems off base. This is because it looks like he is mostly interested in building bridges between us and them, however barbaric they may be.

Mr. Obama is one of those American intellectuals who appears to be stopped from criticizing anyone abroad because, well, this country has had slavery and segregation and poverty so how could it justify being critical of anyone? It shows a spirit of perpetual self-criticism and mea culpa, attitudes that appear to dominate the president’s conscience (and we are here talking about appearances).

There is no black and white for the man –no one, not even a vicious terrorist and a leader of a country in which women are systematically and barbarically oppressed, justifies for him any sort of firm moral condemnation. Like those ever-permissive parents who always have an excuse for what their offspring are doing, no matter how mischievous or outright evil it manages to be, for Mr. Obama those who attack America, actually attack innocents everywhere, just could not be all bad, unworthy of understanding.

This mentality of turning the other cheek, no matter what, appears to underlie the widespread distrust people have of Mr. Obama’s emotional makeup. Emotions, although they are ultimately unreliable guidelines to action, are pretty good clues to what system of values someone has internalized. If one has to force oneself disapprove of or condemn vicious conduct and people and it doesn’t arise naturally, people who do have a sense of just how bad some others can be will become suspicious.

President Obama and his cheerleaders must realize that eloquence is no substitute for emotional balance, for being in tune emotionally with what those deserve who comport themselves villainously. Being well spoken is not enough. One must also have a sense of what needs to be said, have substance to communicate, a sense of justice, if you will.

Or perhaps Mr. Obama just despises being disliked by people, even by vicious rulers abroad. But that, too, reveals his emotional priorities. Mr. Obama needs to open himself up to the possibility that some people should really be hated, that they are evil and not merely misguided, sick, or deranged.

Human life is distinctive in the world precisely because human beings have a moral nature and they can act irresponsibly, morally deplorably, contemptibly, as well as admirably, demonstrating moral excellence.

And while that idea has always had its detractors, the moral skeptics, they simply cannot sustain their denial that people are moral agents and capable of doing vile things for which they ought to be condemned. They do not deserve sympathy but contempt.

And this is evident from the fact that the one exception to the skeptics’ ambivalence about morality is their own utter contempt for those who do take morality seriously. They tend to be dismissed, even derided, as fundamentalists or moralizers, which is clearly and paradoxically something (morally?) contemptible to the skeptics!

Moral skeptics usually are hoisted on their own petard. Their amoral stance isn’t philosophically sustainable because human beings are indeed moral beings, unlike the rest the members of the living world. And one result of having a moral nature and admitting to it is that one will openly cope with moral evil as well as moral excellence. If one denies this, as it seems President Obama does when it comes to America’s enemies, it will eventually stand in the way of reaching out to ordinary people.

SOURCE

NOTE: In extreme forms, lack of a moral sense is psychopathy. Obama's glacial calm is also normal in psychopaths. See here and here -- JR

************************

Assault on Palin, DeMint and Other Conservatives Often Rooted In Lies or Distortions

The long knives have been out for Sarah Palin since her emergence on the national stage just over two years ago. Katie Couric infamously mocked Sarah Palin and her family on tape even while the Republican Convention was still going on… long before her “objective” interview with her. But that was just the beginning.

Recently there was this silly effort by leftists to make fun of Palin for admonishing activists not to “party like it’s 1773″ yet. Not just random bloggers, mind you, but that paragon of fairness and balance from PBS, Gwen Ifill, lept at the opportunity to make fun of Palin for getting a date wrong. The problem, of course, was that Palin was correctly referring to the year of the Boston Tea Party. Ooops.

But then today, we see that Jonathan Martin with Politico has put out a piece trying to make the case that Palin is a “Diva.” In the article, he writes “[a]ccording to a source familiar with the situation, she backed out of planned interviews with conservative talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin the morning she was scheduled to talk to them.” Again, there’s at least one problem… that is, Mark Levin says that this is an outright lie. On Facebook, Mark says, “Sarah Palin never backed out of any interview with me. Period. And John Martin, the reporter, never contacted me to ask me directly. I insist on a retraction. ” Sarah Palin has her faults, but it sure makes one wonder how accurate this piece is when at least part of it is a flat out lie.

But that’s not the only example today. Jim DeMint was on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News last night. During the interview, the Senator made some comments about the state of the Republican Party - pointing out, essentially, that he “doesn’t want to watch the Republican Party betray the trust of the American people again.” Amen. But, what does RealClearPolitics put up as the headline?

They wrote, “DeMint threatens to leave GOP if agenda is not limited government.” Jim DeMint did not “threaten” to leave the GOP. He said he doesn’t want to be a part of a Republican Party that is like that - and that this is not what Republicans are about across America.

This is only the beginning, of course. Senator DeMint will find himself as the ever-increasing focal point of criticism, by the press and, perhaps more, by Washington establishment insiders who feel threatened by anyone willing to stand up to their big-spending, back-scratching, Senate “club” ways. Senator DeMint dares to suggest that the old guard needs to change or go home. He dares to criticize pork-barrel spending and the corrupt appropriators who continue to do it. And most of all, he dares to fight against an establishment built around perpetuating itself rather than liberty, by backing candidates who are willing to challenge that establishment.

SOURCE

********************

While the media continues to attack Christine O’Donnell, liberal buffoons are given a pass

Let's look at a quality Democrat candidate: Alvin Greene

Jim DeMint started the recession. Perhaps I should repeat. Jim DeMint started the recession. Didn't hear me? Jim DeMint started the recession. Are you ready for me to say something else... ANYTHING else? I'm sure that's how MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell felt as he was interviewing Democrat Senate candidate Al Green. While the media continue to attack Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, Green is coasting under the radar. Let's take a look at the man who is running against South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Oh, and remember... Jim DeMint started the recession...

The media are having a field day with Christine O'Donnell. They somehow feel it's relevant to focus on comments O'Donnell made when she was in high school. But take a look at Al Green. This man won 59& of the vote in South Carolina without running any campaign ads. One has to wonder what South Carolina Democrats were thinking...



Ok... let's think about this. This man is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Does that give anyone pause? Wait there's more. In Connecticut, Democrat Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has been hammered, because he couldn't answer the question, "How do you create a job?" Guess what? Al Green knows how to create jobs... the Al Green action figure:



Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here, but I just don't even know where to begin. The media are pulling no punches regarding O'Donnell, but they ignore Green. Typical, but their outright support for Democrat candidates is getting more blatant by the day. Another point... the electorate gets what it deserves. More people voted for Green, and he won. Ok, one final note... Jim DeMint started the recession.

SOURCE

**********************

ObamaCare looks like being a bonanza for employers but a huge slug on the taxpayer

By way of example, the Tennessee State government could reduce costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer coverage to the federal government -- So says Phil Bredesen, Democrat governor of Tennessee, below

One of the principles of game theory is that you should view the game through your opponent's eyes, not just your own.

This past spring, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (President Obama's health reform) created a system of extensive federal subsidies for the purchase of health insurance through new organizations called "exchanges." The details of these subsidies were painstakingly worked out by members of my own political party to reflect their values: They decided who was to benefit from the subsidies and what was to be purchased with them. They paid a lot of attention to their own strategies, but what I believe they failed to consider properly were the possible strategies of others.

Our federal deficit is already at unsustainable levels, and most Americans understand that we can ill afford another entitlement program that adds substantially to it. But our recent health reform has created a situation where there are strong economic incentives for employers to drop health coverage altogether. The consequence will be to drive many more people than projected—and with them, much greater cost—into the reform's federally subsidized system. This will happen because the subsidies that become available to people purchasing insurance through exchanges are extraordinarily attractive.

In 2014, when these exchanges come into operation, a typical family of four with an annual income of $90,000 and a 45-year-old policy holder qualifies for a federal subsidy of 40% of their health-insurance cost. For that same family with an income of $50,000 (close to the median family income in America), the subsidy is 76% of the cost.

One implication of the magnitude of these subsidies seems clear: For a person starting a business in 2014, it will be logical and responsible simply to plan from the outset never to offer health benefits. Employees, thanks to the exchanges, can easily purchase excellent, fairly priced insurance, without pre-existing condition limitations, through the exchanges. As it grows, the business can avoid a great deal of cost because the federal government will now pay much of what the business would have incurred for its share of health insurance. The small business tax credits included in health reform are limited and short-term, and the eventual penalty for not providing coverage, of $2,000 per employee, is still far less than the cost of insurance it replaces.

For an entrepreneur wanting a lean, employee-oriented company, it's a natural position to take: "We don't provide company housing, we don't provide company cars, we don't provide company insurance. Our approach is to put your compensation in your paycheck and let you decide how to spend it."

But while health reform may alter the landscape for small business in unexpected ways, it also opens the door to what is a potentially far larger effect on the Treasury.

The authors of health reform primarily targeted the uninsured and those now buying expensive individual policies. But there's a very large third group that can also enter and that may have been grossly underestimated: the 170 million Americans who currently have employer-sponsored group insurance. Because of the magnitude of the new subsidies created by Congress, the economics become compelling for many employers to simply drop coverage and help their employees obtain replacement coverage through an exchange.

Let's do a thought experiment. We'll use my own state of Tennessee and our state employees for our data. The year is 2014 and the Affordable Care Act is now in full operation. We're a large employer, with about 40,000 direct employees who participate in our health plan. In our thought experiment, let's exit the health-benefits business this year and help our employees use an exchange to purchase their own.

First of all, we need to keep our employees financially whole. With our current plan, they contribute 20% of the total cost of their health insurance, and that contribution in 2014 will total about $86 million. If all these employees now buy their insurance through an exchange, that personal share will increase by another $38 million. We'll adjust our employees' compensation in some rough fashion so that no employee is paying more for insurance as a result of our action. Taking into account the new taxes that would be incurred, the change in employee eligibility for subsidies, and allowing for inefficiency in how we distribute this new compensation, we'll triple our budget for this to $114 million.

Now that we've protected our employees, we'll also have to pay a federal penalty of $2,000 for each employee because we no longer offer health insurance; that's another $86 million. The total state cost is now about $200 million.

But if we keep our existing insurance plan, our cost will be $346 million. We can reduce our annual costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer them to the federal government.

That's just for our core employees. We also have 30,000 retirees under the age of 65, 128,000 employees in our local school systems, and 110,000 employees in local government, all of which presents strategies even more economically attractive than the thought experiment we just performed. Local governments will find eliminating all coverage particularly attractive, as many of them are small and will thus incur minor or no penalties; many have health plans that will not meet the minimum benefit threshold, and so they'll see a substantial and unavoidable increase in cost if they continue providing benefits under the new federal rules.

Our thought experiment shows how the economics of dropping existing coverage is about to become very attractive to many employers, both public and private. By 2014, there will be a mini-industry of consultants knocking on employers' doors to explain the new opportunity. And in the years after 2014, the economics just keep getting better.

The consequence of these generous subsidies will be that America's health reform may well drive many more people than projected out of employer-sponsored insurance and into the heavily subsidized federal system. Perhaps this is a miscalculation by the Congress, perhaps not. One principle of game theory is to think like your opponent; another is that there's always a larger game.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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, October 22, 2010

Fools Rush in Where Europe Rushes Out

Jonah Goldberg

As of this writing, France is paralyzed. By the time you read this, it might be in flames. In Britain, where politics is more polite but the problems are perhaps just as dire, the government is proposing budget cuts on a scale not seen for nearly a century. In Greece, well, the less said about Greece the better.

All of these countries -- and many more -- are going through painful retrenchments because they spent too much money, made too many promises and expected too little from their own citizens. The era of European austerity is upon us, because the Europeans -- or at least those in charge -- understand the mess they've made of their economies.

This should present a real problem for Barack Obama and the vast (though shrinking) chorus of experts, editorialists and activists who support his agenda. In broad terms, all of the policies Obama and the Democrats have pushed are the sorts of policies the British, the French and other Europeans had for years, even decades.

As far as I am aware, no one has asked President Obama a simple question: If your philosophy is so great, how come the countries that have embraced it for generations are so much poorer than us?

Nor have they asked: If guaranteed health care for everyone will make us so much more "competitive," how come we've been doing so much better than our "competitors" who already have socialized medicine, high tax rates and lavish pensions?

Nor has the president been queried about the incongruity of saying his policies have laid a "new foundation" for economic growth and job creation when the countries he's trying to emulate are trying to dismantle the very same foundations in order to survive.

If you want evidence for all this, you don't need to look to Europe. You need only look to America. We've had the weakest recovery from a recession in memory. In Gerald Ford's first year as president, the country rebounded at a rate of 6.2 percent. Under Reagan it was 7.7 percent. Even Clinton's recovery rate was over 4 percent from 1993 to 1994 (and grew from there). Obama's recovery has not only been anemic and sputtering at around 3 percent, it hasn't made a dent in the unemployment rate because employers have no confidence that we'll have reliable growth or that Obama isn't waiting to bring the hammer down with more Euro-style policies and taxes.

Obama supporters will respond that he has, in fact, "created" jobs, but just not enough to climb out of the massive hole created by the financial crisis and former President Bush's evil policies. The White House insists that it's not remotely responsible for the 3.2 millions jobs (2.9 million in the private sector) that have disappeared on Obama's watch, but is completely responsible for every single new job that has been created or "saved" since then.

But consider this about the relatively few new net jobs the economy has created under Obama. As my National Review colleague Rich Lowry recently noted, half of all the new net jobs created in the United States (from August 2009 to August 2010) were created in Texas. According to White House logic, Obama must simply love Texas, since he's the one creating all of those jobs. You have to wonder what he has against New York or California -- you know, the states that actually share Obama's economic vision and are descending into an economic abyss as we speak. Why reward low-tax, pro-growth Texas with all of these jobs?

SOURCE

**************************

Democrats call Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell and others stupid

As usual, it shows that abuse and arrogance is all that they've got

The 2010 election has devolved in its closing days into a battle – familiar in American history and high school alike – over who’s stupid, and who’s a snob.

Palin “has made ignorance fashionable,” the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd wrote Wednesday, comparing the Alaska Governor’s intellect – unfavorably – to Marilyn Monroe’s.

Rachel Maddow occupied her MSNBC show Tuesday night mocking a series of Republican figures, laughing through a clip of O’Donnell’s attempt to explain that the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the Constitution, a point that drew nothing but ridicule on the left and in the British press. “The crowd is laughing at you,” she said as O’Donnell appeared on-screen.

Republicans say this strategy will work about as well this year as it did when used against Ronald Reagan.

But the Democrats are just getting started. Their laughter will be noisiest in a rally on the Mall on the eve of the midterm election, led by two comedians who have reveled in mocking the resurgent conservative grassroots. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have tapped into the Democratic Party’s ironic, scornful mood.

In doing so, they’ve also brought to light some of the party’s most self-destructive tendencies, the elitism and condescension that Bill Clinton sought to purge in the 1990s, when he matched a progressive agenda with the persona of a likeable “Bubba” to win two terms. Not many Democrats could pull it off. Charges of elitism dogged John Kerry in 2004 and resurfaced against Barack Obama at his lowest points in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2008, when he was recorded saying that small town people “cling” to their faith and their guns.

And President Obama himself has given his blessing to the election-eve irony-fest on the Mall, planning to appear on Stewart’s show in advance of the rally and plugging it in a recent appearance in Ohio, suggesting that Stewart’s point was to rally a silent, “sane” majority.

“There is a tendency now in the Democratic Party not only to disagree with, but to belittle political opponents,” said former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen, who accused Obama of “blaming the voters.” He called the posture “counterproductive,” and indeed, the Democrats have provoked the almost automatic backlash.

“These are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president,” former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote of a recent Obama comment about how voters were responding to Republicans out of fear. Gerson interpreted it as saying that Republicans had lapsed into reliance on their “lizard brains” while Democrats used their higher faculties.

More HERE

*************************

The New Republican Right

By Dick Morris

A fundamental change is gripping the Republican grass roots as they animate the GOP surge to a major victory in the 2010 elections. No longer do evangelical or social issues dominate the Republican ground troops. Now economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians.

There is still a litmus test for admission to the Republican Party. But no longer is it dominated by abortion, guns and gays. Now, keeping the economy free of government regulation, reducing taxation and curbing spending are the chemicals that turn the paper pink.

It is one of the fundamental planks in the Tea Party platform that the movement does not concern itself with social issues. At the Tea Parties, evangelical pro-lifers rub shoulders happily with gay libertarians. They are united by their anger at Obama's economic policies, fear of his deficits and horror at his looming tax increases. Obama's agenda has effectively removed the blocks that stopped tens of millions of social moderates from joining the GOP.

As a byproduct of this sea change in the Republican Party, GOP grassroots activists are no longer just concentrated in the South. They are spread all throughout the nation, as prominent in Ohio as in Alabama, in New York as in Georgia, in California as in Nevada.

The Tea Party's focus on fiscal and economic issues finds deep resonance among voters of all stripes, united as they are in economic hardship and disappointed as they all are by Obama's economic program. This antipathy to federal policies is paving the way for vast Republican inroads in normally solid Democratic turf like New York state, Massachusetts, California and Washington state.

This preference for economic and fiscal questions over social issues is not a top-down decision of the Tea Party leadership. There really is no Tea Party leadership. Those who conduct its affairs are mere coordinators of local groups where the real power lies. The entire affair is a grass roots-dominated movement.

The determination to focus on fiscal and economic issues, to the exclusion of social questions, wells up from below as individual members vent their concerns over ObamaCare, stimulus spending and cap-and-trade legislation. It is around opposition to Obama's agenda, not Roe v. Wade, that the movement is organized. It is a new day on the Republican right.

SOURCE

***********************

Congress has destroyed free check accounts

“Free checking as we know it is ending,” says the lead paragraph of a widely-read and tweeted story this week from the Associated Press. Noting Bank of America’s announced monthly charge of $8.50 for most checking accounts, the article reports that “almost all of the largest U.S. banks are either already making free checking much more difficult to get or expected to do so soon, with fees on even basic banking services.”

And other reports have noted the possible demise of free checking at many regional banks as well. Daniel Indiviglio blogs for The Atlantic that “free checking will soon be something only economic historians talk about.”

But the tide of economic history doesn’t necessarily have to turn this way. As noted in both The Atlantic and AP, the primary reason for free checking going by the wayside is not market forces, but new regulations from Washington.

The main culprits in free checking’s demise are the Federal Reserve’s rules that severely restrict banks from charging overdraft fees when customers make debit card purchases that exceed the balance of their checking accounts and the amendment from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) putting price controls on the interchange fees merchants pay to banks and credit unions to process debit cards. On Tuesday, as noted in the AP story, Bank of America took a $10.4 billion charge against earnings from projected loss of revenue due to the Durbin amendment.

The rules were sold as “protecting” the majority of consumers, but in reality they shifted costs to responsible middle-class consumers from irresponsible consumers who didn’t keep track of their checking accounts. Some of the nation’s biggest retailers also used bank-bashing rhetoric to get their share of corporate welfare at consumers’ expense. As The Atlantic’s Indiviglio writes, “At this point, banks are forbidden from squeezing as many fees out of bad customers and have less freedom to charge merchants. So their only alternative is to demand more money from their good customers.”

I propose that, as one of its first orders of business when it convenes next January, Congress enact “The Free Checking Restoration Act of 2011″ that would remove these cumbersome rules and will almost certainly result in competitive banks and credit unions offering traditional free checking to once again attract customers. The bill would get rid of the Fed’s overdraft rule and the Durbin amendment that puts price controls on merchant interchange fees....

At CEI, our mission is to make good policy good politics, and under current circumstances, promising voters the return of free checking accounts suddenly fits this bill. Since the promise some 80 years ago of ”a chicken in every pot,” political “freebies” have been a mainstay of modern campaigns.

Fiscal conservatives and libertarians usually look askance at these promises since most of the time they involve either spending a sum of money to bring the ”free” good to certain member of the population or mandating that businesses spend to provide this good, and the cost will have to be made up somewhere. But in this instance, Congress would not have to spend or mandate to provide this free good.

Rather, all it would have to do is remove misguided rules that were pushed through thoughtlessly in the Obama administration’s rush to regulate.

More HERE

***********************

ELSEWHERE

The US economy needs to rob people of their savings? (That's what inflation is): "John Maynard Keynes claimed that people will develop an irrational ‘liquidity preference,’ hoarding money while waiting for interest rates to rise. The modern apostle of the liquidity trap is Paul Krugman, who says the only way out is for the government to spend and inflate, which then will dislodge the hoarded cash, as people spend in anticipation of rising prices. One would hope that the supposed ‘great minds’ at the Fed and in academic economics would better understand inflation and its destructiveness, but that is not to be.”

Fannie, Freddie could hook US taxpayers with $363 billion tab: "U.S. taxpayers could be stuck with a tab more than double its current size for subsidized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a government regulator said Thursday. If housing prices drop through 2013, the bailed-out lenders will need another $215 billion to stay afloat, for a total bill of $363 billion. Some $148 billion has been spent so far to keep them in the black during the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

France: Riot police sent in to break oil blockade: "Teams of riot police carried out dawn raids to free France’s oil depots Wednesday as industry said the strikes against pension reforms were costing businesses up to $160 million per day. Under orders from President Nicolas Sarkozy, riot police in black body armour broke blockades around three depots in western France overnight, as fuel shortages left a third of France’s filling stations without gasoline. … All 12 of France’s oil refineries are still blocked but police have cleared access to 21 oil depots since Friday, and the government has insisted that fuel shortages will end within five days.”

Two US air marshals flee Brazil after being charged with assault: "Two U.S. air marshals who arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio de Janeiro — and were themselves arrested and had their passports confiscated by Brazilian authorities — fled the country using alternate travel documents rather than face what they believed to be trumped-up charges, sources said. The incident has impacted air marshal operations on flights to Brazil, officials said, and air marshals contacted by CNN said the case raises questions about Brazil’s willingness to support future law enforcement actions by U.S. officials on international flights.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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

****************************

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Covetous Democrats

"Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods."

The Democrats' philosophy can be summed up in this single precept -- covet what thy richer neighbors have. Democrats believe in a zero-sum game. For their entire philosophy of scarcity to function and breed class warfare, they must promote the idea that the world has a finite amount of wealth and that if John has more, it's not because he worked for it. It's because he somehow stole it from someone else. We'll call him Sam.

Government doesn't produce anything of value in the marketplace. It contracts with private concerns to build, grow, manufacture, or otherwise provide them. This includes important matters like defense. Therefore, in order to implement their plan, government's agents must first take from others.

The Democrats need many people on their side to support this, so class warfare ensues. It is easy enough to blame the "rich" for everything. They have it all. Fostering envy and coveting something that belongs to someone else is the oldest trick in the book, and it never works out well. Ask Eve.

The "rich" are a great target because they can bear greater burdens and seldom fire back until it's too late. But it's not a perfect socialist world, and even taxing the rich won't pay for everything the less fortunate want. With fewer than 2.3 million "rich" in the U.S. who qualify as millionaires, those who do not qualify can't afford to be so picky, so they must expand what being "wealthy" means.

In a Human Events article, "Obama's Biggest Lies," Donald Lambro illustrates this clearly: "According to Forbes magazine, there were only 469 billionaires in the U.S. and 2.2 million whose net worth was at least $1 million (this includes home values). But the higher taxes will fall on millions more small business employers who earn over $200,000 and who provide most of the jobs in our country."

European socialist models depend upon wealth redistribution, which follows this idea of scarcity. There is only so much wealth or property to go around, so it must be "managed" if we're to be "fair" to everyone, and of course, only the elite left is wise enough to know how to fairly manage these assets for everyone's benefit.

This certainly seems to be how it worked out in the (former) Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. It seems to be equally true in Greece and France. Great Britain and Germany have been so impressed with socialism's results that they are turning en masse from its principles.

Liberals love to ignore the obvious. If this absurd idea of wealth scarcity were true, the world would have run out of money thousands of years ago. There would be no point to creating a new product or innovation because there would be no market for it, no reward, and no profit to be made.

A fair opportunity is not the same thing as a fair outcome.

It is counterintuitive for a people whose business is business to subscribe to a philosophy that declares private salaries and profits "excessive," since it is the private investor and shareholder who took the risk in the first place and who hire the very workers who now demand a piece of the pie. Few share in the risk, yet all should share in the reward. Certainly sounds "fair" to me.

When the top 50% pay over 95% of all taxes and the bottom 50% pays less than 5%, something is very wrong. Liberals put forward a zero-sum philosophy but are burning up the money presses 24/7. What's wrong with this picture?

Jesus said the poor will be with us always.

A nirvana "Star Trek" world without money, without sickness, and without envy ignores reality. Yet not only do the Left pretend this is possible, but they sell the idea by using envy and government checks like candy from their pocket. They sell this idea to those in need, taking power in exchange for promises they cannot possibly keep. They have merely shifted the burden, first to "the rich," and then always expanding according to ever-increasing needs to the entire producing half of the country. This is not fairness. This is lust for power. This is the face of tyranny in disguise.

SOURCE

**********************

In Obamacare Wonderland: Courts reject key defense for the individual mandate

Legal arguments for Obamacare's individual mandate fail the "Alice in Wonder- land" test and the duck test. In two court challenges to the law in the past 11 days and a court hearing today on a third, the Obama administration's legal position is fading faster than the Cheshire Cat.

Democrats took some solace from the first case, a challenge in Michigan, because Judge George C. Steeh ultimately ruled in favor of Obamacare. Yet even though that Clinton-appointed judge refused to declare the mandate unconstitutional, he undercut the administration's key argument that the penalty for failing to buy insurance is a "tax," and that the mandate it enforces is allowable within the broad taxing power provided by the Constitution. "The provisions of the Health Care Reform Act at issue here, for the most part, have nothing to do with the assessment or collection of taxes," Judge Steeh ruled.

This is so important that the federal district judge in Florida, in Thursday's preliminary ruling in the second case, spent 22 pages analyzing it. If the fine is a penalty rather than a tax, Congress' power is far less extensive. Judge Roger Vinson noted Congress repeatedly called the fine a "penalty," explicitly changing its description from a "tax" that earlier versions of the bill assessed by name. Citing Alice's admonition to Humpty Dumpty that words can't "mean so many different things" as Humpty intended, Judge Vinson concluded, "Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing ... [only to] argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely."

Judge Vinson explained that no matter what Congress called it, the assessment was designed to act as a punishment, not a revenue measure. Hence, it's not a tax. His 22-page analysis is an exposition of the logic that if something is called a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck - and the same goes for a penalty.

The tax issue is vital because it's the Obama administration's fallback position if it loses on the first and biggest dispute, which is whether Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause not only to regulate commerce, but to force individuals to engage in specific commerce. "At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call," Judge Vinson stated. "The power [claimed by the administration] is simply without prior precedent."

Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia reached the same conclusion in a preliminary ruling in the third case against Obamacare. He wrote that the mandate doesn't regulate commerce, as the Constitution allows, but instead regulates "a virtual state of repose - or idleness - the converse of activity." Judge Hudson hears oral arguments in that case today. He ought to deliver another strong blow against Obamacare so that not even the king's horses can put the law together again.

SOURCE

*************************

Top 10 ways government kills jobs in America

Our politicians all seem to agree on at least one thing: There will be no recovery unless America gets back to work.

But that’s often where the agreement ends. Once you move on to discuss how to get America back to work, opinions begin to diverge.

In general, the worst thing for job creation is a poor entrepreneurial climate. Such a climate is brought on by the large fiscal debt, unpredictable health care costs, and a generally anti-business and pro-regulation approach by government.

In the run-up to the midterm elections, all of us should be thinking about “climate change”—about the best ways to create jobs in our nation. We’ll hear lots of talk about recovery and stimulus, about fairness and equity, the future and change.

As we listen to the rhetoric, remember the reality. These are the Top job killers in America.

1. Uncertainty and business: What you don’t know can (and does) hurt you. Businesses plan around rules. And they are unlikely to invest if they can’t be reasonably sure about what the rules will be. When things are uncertain, businesses hold back cash to protect themselves—and this kills jobs. My colleague Allan Meltzer has made this point in two recent WSJ op-eds: “High uncertainty is the enemy of investment and growth,” he declares in one. “The most important restriction on investment today is not tight monetary policy, but uncertainty about administration policy,” he argues in the other.

2. Uncertainty and the consumer: Uncertainty isn’t just bad for companies—it’s bad for consumers, too. If I think government policy may provoke a double dip in the economy and my job is on the line, there’s no way I’m going out to buy a new car. For that matter, even the possibility of a huge gas tax would make me less likely to make a car purchase decision. All this kills jobs.

3. High corporate taxes: Americans are shocked to learn that we have some of the highest corporate taxes in the world. In fact, Japan is the only developed country with a higher corporate tax rate than the United States. Whether we like it or not, the corporate tax is a tax on jobs. It makes it more expensive for firms to function, which costs jobs. But even worse, it drives companies to find more tax-friendly environments in other countries.

4. Unhealthy health insurance costs: The high health insurance costs associated with hiring new workers hits small businesses particularly hard, according to AEI economist Aparna Mathur. Government health mandates specify exactly what kinds of coverage have to be included in insurance policies. This makes increasing headcount a costly exercise, and so kills jobs. One major CEO told me recently that his hiring was stunted by the new mandate to cover workers’ kids up to age 26.

5. The threat of unionization: In a global economy, it’s fairly simple for a lot of firms to avoid unionization: They can move overseas and take their jobs with them. Policies that favor unions make this decision more attractive.

6. Inability to hire and fire: In Europe, government regulations and employment protection laws reduce the flexibility of firms to downsize their operations when they need to. They also discourage those same firms from upsizing their operations when they would otherwise do so, and are thus a job killer. This is why Spain has a 20% unemployment rate (and about 40% among workers under 25). Restrictions on firing are a job killer.

7. Trade restrictions: Free trade favors consumers everywhere, and benefits workers in industries where America has a comparative advantage. Tariffs and other barriers benefit industries that are already in decline. This is why economists always tell us that over the long run, trade barriers and slow modernization are a net job killer.

8. Credit: Poor credit access especially hurts new and young firms that are eager to expand their operations. The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency could make matters worse by expanding burdensome regulation of these financial markets, killing jobs in the process.

9. Increasing unemployment insurance: Everyone wants to ease the burden on the unemployed, so it is tempting to extend unemployment insurance, as our government has recently—today, to as much as 73 additional weeks. Unfortunately, this kills jobs and economic recovery. Harvard economist Robert Barro estimates that if unemployment insurance had not been expanded, the unemployment rate would now be 6.8% rather than 9.5%.

10. Encouraging frivolous lawsuits: This increases the costs of doing business in America, with one study estimating that we waste as much as $900 billion a year on excessive tort litigation—that’s 6.5 percent of GNP or $12,000 annually for a family of four. As a result, company capital that could be used for expansion and job creation goes to the trial lawyers instead. And like so many anti-business measures, such litigation drives up costs for consumers, which reduces demand and kills jobs even more.

SOURCE

***************************

Some miscellaneous notes:

Horror stories about Britain's socialized medicine system are more or less routine on my EYE ON BRITAIN blog but the story leading yesterday's posts I found particularly disturbing. It will certainly horrify anyone with libertarian views. You have no right to go to hell in your own way in Britain. On AUSTRALIAN POLITICS today there are also two stories about failures of socialized medicine in Australia.

I have recently added a few things to my sidebar here. My comments on monarchy might evoke a few responses from some American readers.

As regular readers here will be aware, in addition to my political blogs which I update daily, I have two irregularly updated blogs which I put up mainly for my own amusement -- my Personal blog and Paralipomena . I gather that some readers here do occasionally look at them so I thought I might note that I have added a bit to both in recent times.

*******************

ELSEWHERE

A brain-dead Obama appointee at work: "An HIV-positive prisoner (Anthony Pitre) is transferred to a prison where all inmates are required to do hard labor. He doesn’t like hard labor and so, in protest, he refuses to take his HIV meds. As a result, he’s less fit for hard labor. But prison officials say: “Too bad, you still have to do hard labor like everyone else.” Pitre then sues the prison for “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Constitution. The magistrate judge dismisses the claim as “patently frivolous.” The federal district court agrees. The Fifth Circuit agrees. Eight Supreme Court justices refuse to hear the case — with Justice Sotomayor dissenting. In a four-page dissent (highly unusual for a routine denial of certiorari), Sotomayor argues that Pitre had demonstrated that prison officials acted with “deliberate indifference” in violation of the Eighth Amendment" [Cruel and unusual punishment]

Federal appeals court reinstates “don’t ask, don’t tell”: "A federal appeals court Wednesday reinstated ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the military’s policy forbidding openly gay troops from serving. A three-judge panel granted the Justice Department’s emergency request to allow the policy to remain on the books so that the appeals court could have more time to fully consider the issues presented.”

Pilot refuses full-body scan, patdown: "A pilot who refused to submit to a full-body scan or the alternative pat down going through airport security said the procedures violate his rights. … [Michael] Roberts said TSA security measures are ineffective, and cited concerns for his rights and privacy in refusing the procedures. ‘I was trying to avoid this assault on my person, and I’m not willing to have images of my nude body produced for some stranger in another room to look at either,’ Roberts told CNN. The TSA said in a statement that ’security [sic] is not optional’ and any person who refuses security screening is not allowed to fly.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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

****************************

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Obama's nativist tactics may backfire, given his record of sending jobs overseas

Obama has made the baseless claim that the Chamber of Commerce is spending foreign money on political campaigns. This claim was widely disseminated to the general public through a hysterical ad campaign by the Democratic National Committee accusing the Chamber of Commerce of "stealing our democracy" and featuring an "ominous shot of Chinese currency," suggesting that Chinese people are trying to take over America. Not only was this claim false, but stoking nativism may backfire on Obama politically, since liberal interest groups that back Obama, like unions, receive large amounts of foreign money, and Obama himself has used regulations and subsidies to ship American jobs overseas.

As one writer notes in the Washington Post, "Labor unions are spending millions to tar Republican candidates -- and they take in far more foreign cash than the Chamber." "The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is spending lavishly to elect Democrats. . . takes in nearly $9.2 million per year from foreign nationals, compared to the mere "$100,000," none of it used for political campaigns, that the Chamber "receives from its affiliates abroad" -- less than 1/20th of 1 percent of the Chamber's budget. Moreover, most foreign PAC money is going to Democrats, not Republicans.

And Obama's policies have shipped American jobs overseas. 79 percent of the green-jobs funding contained in the $800 billion stimulus package went to foreign firms, aggravating the nation's trade deficit. Meanwhile, the Administration has paid $150 million a year to Brazilian cotton farmers, and supported a cap-and-trade global warming bill that would drive hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas. (Although Obama and other backers of this “cap-and-trade” concept claim it will cut greenhouse gas emissions, it may perversely increase them by driving industry abroad to countries with fewer environmental regulations, resulting in dirtier air, and damage to forests and water supplies). Stoking anti-foreign sentiment may further increase public outrage over administration policies that help foreigners at the expense of Americans -- like its backdoor bailouts of foreign banks, and the $6 billion Obama spent on bailing out socialist Greece.

Obama's attacks on foreign money may also remind Americans of Obama's own 2008 receipt of foreign campaign contributions, which resulted from his campaign's deliberate disabling of computer software that would have thwarted such contributions, as the Wall Street Journal's John Fund and others have pointed out: "As the Washington Post reported, the Obama campaign had turned off its Address Verification System, or AVS, at its Web site. That program should have stopped contributions coming in from citizens of foreign countries -- a violation of federal law. Clearly, the Obama campaign's decision to abandon filters had consequences -- the campaign was forced to refund $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

************************

The Statist, Ruling Class's New Hero -- Bill Buckley?

It's always amusing when the Left try to tell conservatives how to be conservative

By Richard A. Viguerie

It's easy to use the deceased to claim support for one's positions. The dead aren't around to deny, rebut, and refute false or misleading statements.

William F. Buckley, Jr., intellectual giant and "maker" of the conservative movement, has of late become a crutch for statists and ruling-class elites to denigrate the Tea Parties and the surge of the constitutional, small-government conservative movement.

Liberals trying to smear the Tea Party cause and constitutional, small-government conservative candidates by referring to Buckley are, however, attempting to rewrite history to suit their own agendas and ideology.

For example, E.J. Dionne writes in Monday's Washington Post, "[W]hereas responsible conservatives such as William F. Buckley Jr. denounced the [John] Birchers and the rest of the lunatic fringe back then, Republicans this time are riding the radical wave."

Steve Benen of the liberal Washington Monthly recently shed crocodile tears in a post entitled, "Where have you gone, William F. Buckley, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you," claiming that "the conservative movement appears to have gone berserk." Benen laid charges of "an unprecedented mainstreaming of once fringe far-right ideas."

In my appearance on CNN's Parker Spitzer show last week, co-host Kathleen Parker tried that gambit with me. Here's a part from the exchange reported by Newsbusters of the Media Research Center:

PARKER: First of all, you started in 1961, here in New York City, with William F. Buckley, and I'm wondering if you think that today's Republican Party is William F. Buckley's party?

VIGUERIE: The Republican Party is not the party that Bill Buckley would want today, but it's moving in that direction.

What was left on CNN's editing room floor was my longer explanation of how Bill Buckley spent the better part of sixty years working against the Kathleen Parkers in the Republican Party.

From his book, God and Man at Yale, through opposing Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller, reluctantly supporting Richard Nixon, and helping co-found the Conservative Party of New York because the NY GOP had been captured by liberal Republicans to running for New York City mayor against big-government Republican John Lindsay, Buckley was tirelessly consistent in his opposition to big-government Republicans.

Buckley was for freedom over statism, and he often found members of the Republican Party offering no real alternative to statism. Buckley even was a sometime critic of Ronald Reagan.

Buckley was many things, but two of his most underappreciated qualities were that he was a populist and a constitutionalist. He once famously said, "I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."

Any large movement has its share of miscreants, and Buckley did spend about one or two percent of his time ostracizing certain people on the right whose outrageous comments distracted from the mission of the conservative movement.

If the liberal intelligentsia were honest brokers, they could spend most of their time berating the extremists, kooks, and flakes on the left, beginning within the Democratic Congressional Caucus or the Obama White House and working outward to many of the left-wing coalitions, organizations, and even media members who are their support network.

Why, for example, are E.J. Dionne and other liberals silent about House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers' October 2010 appearance before a meeting of the Democratic Socialists of America, a Marxist organization, or the Communist Party's participation in and support for the October 2 One Nation rally, including this post at Barack Obama's Organizing for America website by the National Chairman of the Communist Party USA?

And where were the so-called "reasonable" liberals when other liberals protested Bill Buckley's speeches on college campuses, when liberal Gore Vidal called him a "crypto-Nazi," or when, more contemporarily, another liberal wrote, "Bill Buckley, sniveling racist, dies."

The maturing but still nascent, populist-driven Tea Party and the resurgence of the constitutional small-government conservative movement are very much consistent with Buckley's views. Marxists, Dionne, Benen, Parker, and other statist, ruling-class elites would prefer Republicans who offer little resistance to them. However, they cannot, try as they may, credibly paint the free-market, deficit-reduction, constitutional principles of the Tea Party or the everyday Americans rising in protest as radically fringe.

In my last conversation with Buckley twenty months before he died, he told me that George W. Bush was conservative, but not a conservative. Buckley would have assuredly been driven to his chastising and majestically acerbic pen by the revelation after his death that Bush himself denigrated the conservative movement while in the White House.

I wish he were around to see this movement, especially emerging out of the disastrous past decade of big-government Republicanism, and to refute the statists and ruling class members who have misused his name for their own ideological purposes.

And since they are engaging in speculative talk, allow me to do the same: If Bill Buckley were alive today, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Gadsden flag flying on his yacht.

For those who want to learn more about what Bill Buckley really thought and did, read Buckley himself, such as God and Man at Yale and Up from Liberalism. Also, I highly recommend Lee Edwards' new magnificent biography of Buckley, The Maker of the Movement.

SOURCE

*************************

Troops Will Vote With Their Feet

The last word regarding the proposed repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military homosexual exclusion law won’t come from the President, Congress, or the courts. The all-volunteer military will have the last word if the homosexual law is repealed; that is, many will vote with their feet to the nation’s peril.

The confluence of efforts by the three branches of government to lift the homosexual ban is unprecedented but so is their failure to consider unfettered service member voices. Ignoring their views potentially places the nation at risk if our volunteers who are already overstretched by nine years of war decide that lifting the homosexual ban is the last straw and then leave. And lifting the ban could also keep qualified candidates with a proclivity to serve from enlisting but no one knows just how many are in either category.

What we do know is the pool of potential volunteers is shrinking with only 25% of the nation’s 17- to 24-year-olds eligible for military service and a fraction of that group demonstrate a proclivity to volunteer. That shrinking pool is drawn from a small segment of the population mostly opposed to open homosexuality in the military such as conservative and religious families with histories of military service.

This pool of eligible volunteers won’t be easily replaced by “eligible” homosexuals who as a category make up only a few percentage points of the total population and, in general, steer clear of military service. Yet gay activists and liberal apologists with no military service would have the American public believe homosexuals are anxious to fill the military’s ranks.

The President, Congress, and the courts disregard the unfettered opinions of our all-volunteer military at great risk, and if Obama and his allies succeed in lifting the ban they have no back-up pool of eligible recruits. That is why Congress had better listen to our troops and their chiefs or get ready to justify conscription for everyone’s sons and daughters.

More HERE

*************************

Public-Sector Unions Choke Taxpayers

John Stossel

"I thought unions were great -- until at Chrysler, the union steward started screaming at me. Working at an unhurried pace, I'd exceeded 'production' for that job."

That comment, left on my blog by a viewer who watched my Fox Business Network show about unions, matches my experience. No one ordered me to slow down, but union rules and union culture at ABC and CBS slowed the work. Sometimes a camera crew took five minutes just to get out of the car.

Now unions conspire with politicians to rip off taxpayers.

Steve Melanga of the Manhattan Institute complains that politicians get union political support by granting government workers generous pensions and health benefits. After those politicians leave office, taxpayers are liable for trillions in unfunded promises.

"It's squeezing out all other spending," Melanga says. "Where are we going to get this $3 trillion dollars? ... When they're (government workers) allowed to retire at 58 and the rest of us are retiring at 60 and 67 -- and by the way we're living to 80 -- it's crazy. The public sector is the version of the European welfare state which, by the way, in Europe, they're actually rolling back."

Jakob wrote: "Are you really this stupid? Do you really want to lower American workers' standards to that of Honduras and China, where democratic unions do not exist? Would you like for us to go back to a time in America before we had unions? When children worked in factories for 14-hour days and health and safety standards simply did not exist?"

These are popular views. But they are wrong. Factories are safer because of free markets. Companies want better workers and must compete to get them. Free markets create wealth that permits parents to send their kids to schools instead of factories. Unions once helped to advance working conditions, but now union work rules mostly retard growth and progress.

Many workers understand that, and that's why only 8 percent of private-sector workers still belong to unions. In the private sector, wage and pension demands are tempered by competition. If one company pays too much, a competitor takes his business.

But governments are monopolies. They face no competition and get their money by force. So they can conspire with public-sector unions to milk taxpayers. That explains the fix we're in today. Something's got to give.

More HERE

***********************

ELSEWHERE

US military starting to accept homosexuals: "Openly gay recruits can now join the military as a result of a federal court ruling striking down the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law, but they are being warned that they can still be discharged if the ruling is overturned. Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is in response to the Sept. 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.”

The crime of living: "The new term ‘overcriminalization’ describes the last few decades’ legislative orgy of criminalizing trivial or harmless behavior. Under ‘zero tolerance’ the legal system has shifted ever closer to a vast police state. From 2000 to 2007 Congress added 452 new federal crimes to the 4,450 already in effect and the roughly 300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. ‘Get tough’ punishments and innovative new crimes have brought career-making headlines to politicians, who encountered little resistance.”

Would you like a union with that, comrade?: "Workers at some of America’s fast food restaurants could be in for some interesting times soon. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is attempting to unionize several Jimmy John’s sandwich stores in the Minneapolis area. The IWW’s campaign against Jimmy John’s could be the start of organizing efforts at several other restaurant chains. (Today, only 1.3 percent of workers in the food service industry are union members.) This should concern not only restaurateurs, but also consumers and young workers.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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

****************************

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Liberals’ Disdain for Everyday Americans

Lloyd Marcus

I am continually amazed by the arrogance of liberals and how “little” they think of us. Fifteen years working at a TV station, a liberal propaganda factory, I am familiar with their snooty mindset. “The general public are unsophisticated yahoos.”

Interviewed on the O'Reilly Factor, ABC News' chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos was asked why Obama's approval rating was plummeting. Incredibly, Stephanopoulos gave every excuse under the sun for Obama's decline, completely ignoring the elephant in the living room which is: Obama has governed totally against the will of the people.

Apparently, the opinions and feelings of everyday Americans are irrelevant to Stephanopoulos. After all, what the heck does mainstream America know? As I said, I've worked in Stephanopolus' media world and know the mindset.

A little interesting side bar to prove my point that liberal media holds the general public in contempt. My career in television ended in 1993. The big “inside” joke of the liberal dominated broadcasting industry was the “Regis and Kathie Lee Show”. Libs thought their show was too wholesome and all American. Kathie Lee was particularly despised by them for being a Christian and too Miss Goody Two Shoes.

And yet, Regis and Kathie Lee were king and queen of morning programming; loved by the masses and hated by the liberal industry elites. Many producers attempted to dethrone Regis and Kathie Lee with so-called, “hipper” shows, only to have their “we think the general public are unsophisticated yahoos” butts kicked, big time, in the ratings.

Liberals in government treat us like idiots as well. In panic mode sensing their devastating defeat in November, the Obama administration, without evidence, accused republicans of accepting illegal foreign campaign funds. When asked to prove their serious accusation, the official Obama administration response was that the burden was on the republicans to prove they are not guilty. Folks, what kind of absurd nonsensical reasoning is that? Obama and company think we are idiots.

Liberals have a history of assuming the general public is gullible inferior idiots. Liberals run political ads filled with lies and throw false outrageous accusations expecting their stupid base to fall for it. In the battle to pass Obamacare, liberal democrat Alan Grayson actually said, “Republicans want you to die.”

I still remember the incident of a little black girl crying her eyes out in fear during the Bush presidential campaign. The self proclaimed paragons of truth and compassion, liberal democrats, told her if Bush won the election, she would be put back into slavery.

Hidden in Obamacare is a plethora of government controls epitomizing liberal's superior knowledge on how we should be forced to live our lives.

Liberal actress Jeannine Garofalo said black RNC Chairman Michael Steele “suffers with Stockholm Syndrome.” So, according to Ms Garofalo, blacks who do not hate or resent their country are ill. How unbelievably arrogant, racist and superior minded.



Speaking of Michael Steele, liberals are quick to call people racist. But, for some reason, they feel free to use racial epithets, racist cartoons and racist doctored photos to punish conservative blacks. Here (above) is a photo of Michael Steele doctored by a liberal blogger when Steele ran for Lt Governor of Maryland. The caption under the photo read, “Simple Sambo wants to move to the big house”.

Libs particularly “dis” minorities by always suggesting standards be lowered to “let us po inferior people of color” in. It would be absurd to think minorities could succeed based on merit; like white folks.

Bottom line, liberal attitudes are insulting, racist, arrogant and superior. I can not comprehend how any thinking person, especially a minority, could embrace the liberal's agenda as beneficial.

SOURCE

*************************

How new GOP Congress can repeal, replace Obamacare

If voters return Republicans to majorities in one or both Houses of Congress, their Job One will be to start the process of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with realistic health care reforms that make universal access possible at a reasonable cost without putting federal bureaucrats in charge of U.S. medicine. President Obama will surely veto even a simple repeal measure, but Republicans still should put an end to Obamacare's most damaging and least popular provisions by defunding them. The process will also force Obamacrats in Congress to cast multiple votes they would probably prefer to avoid, thus setting the stage for a titanic 2012 presidential election contest.

To that end, here are The Examiner's recommendations to GOP congressional leaders for how to approach this most vital issue. This page will feature our recommendations to the new Congress on other major issues throughout this week:

* Bureaucracy: Every year, Congress passes appropriations provisions that forbid the use of funds for certain purposes. Next year's spending bills should bar the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies from establishing the 159 boards, panels and programs in Obamacare. The Treasury appropriations bill should likewise remove all authority from the Internal Revenue Service for enforcing Obamacare's tax provisions.

* Stop medical lawsuit abuse: Trial lawyers kept medical tort reform out of Obamacare despite the fact such provisions could save at least $200 billion in unnecessary annual health care costs. Trial lawyers made sure Obamacare did include provisions encouraging state attorneys general to outsource litigation against health care providers to ambulance-chasing trial lawyers. The new Congress should put tort reform into health care reform and take the trial lawyers out of it.

* Abortion funding: Congress can and should also permanently bar Obamacare from ever using federal tax dollars to pay for abortions. Not using tax dollars to pay for abortions is one of the few measures on which opponents and defenders of the procedure agree, but more is required to make the ban effective than a meaningless presidential executive order.

* Burdens on small business: Congress should quickly challenge Obama to veto legislation repealing the Obamacare requirement that small businesses fill out and file 1099 Forms for every vendor with whom they have significant dealings.

* Wheelchair tax: Do Obamacrats really want to face a 2012 re-election campaign after voting to tax someone's wheelchair? We don't think so.

* Employer mandate: However it is ultimately replaced, the new health care reform to come should end the tax breaks that make employers the main source of health care insurance coverage. All Americans should have access to good health care insurance without worry they will be denied because of prior conditions. And they should be able to get their coverage from the provider they choose, wherever it is located.

* Individual mandate: Obamacare may be the first federal law in American history that requires every American to purchase a commercial product under penalty of law. If the Supreme Court has not already declared Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional, Congress should repeal it.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare must be done carefully and without undue haste. These recommendations are only the first steps, but they are the essential elements for all that follows.

SOURCE

********************

How to get the economy right

The answer to our current economic malaise is so simple. It boils down to getting only two things kind of right. Not millions of things perfectly right. Two things kind of right! Is that too much to ask for? It's not, as we are led to believe, a very complex formula. It doesn't involve having the best and brightest economic minds surrounding the President carefully crafting complicated plans to be painstakingly executed and monitored day and night by the government's financial czars. It involves getting two things kind of right.

My friend, Nathan Lewis, who understands better than most how tax and monetary policy effect economic output puts it this way: The two and only two things you need for a vibrant, no, booming economy, are low tax rates and stable money. Get those two things right and you are off to the economic races. Get them wrong and you are, well, you are right where we are today, scraping along the bottom, not quite falling behind, but certainly not moving ahead.

Many will argue that a third component, rolling back unnecessary regulations, is required and while that may be true, in reality regulations are just a subset of the low tax proposition. After all, regulations are just additional costs imposed on business by various governments. In other words, they are taxes. Low tax rates will once again realign the incentive structure that has been undermined by the current policies of redistribution, and once again reward hard work.

If a low tax rate is the Burpees Big Boy seed of economic growth, stable money is the spring rain that makes the combination bear fruit. Economies that debase their currency find that attracting capital becomes increasingly difficult. The plummeting dollar tells investors the game is rigged.

Even if you can achieve the nominal returns you seek, at the end of the day you'll end up a loser, as the falling value of the dollar turns your real returns negative. Without capital, you are just a man leaning on a shovel in the field wishing you could persuade the folks at the bank that the tractor that would make your business boom really is a capital idea.

More HERE

************************

Democrats target GOP donors with hate campaigns

The White House attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn’t about “disclosure.” It’s about disarmament. While posing as campaign finance champions, the ultimate goal of the Democratic offensive is to intimidate conservative donors, chill political free speech and drain Republican coffers.

Chamber of Commerce official Bruce Josten tried to educate the public. “(W)e know what the purpose here is,” he told ABC News. “It’s to harass and intimidate.” Josten cited protests and threats against chamber members as retribution for ads the organization ran opposing the federal health care takeover.

But this isn’t the first time liberal bullyboys have targeted right-leaning contributors. Far from it.

In August 2008, a former Washington director of MoveOn.org — the smear merchant group that branded Gen. David Petraeus a traitor for overseeing the successful troop surge in Iraq — announced a brazen witch hunt against Republican donors. Left-wing political operative Tom Matzzie told The New York Times he would send “warning” letters to 10,000 top GOP givers “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” Matzzie bragged of “going for the jugular” and said the warning letter would be just the first step, “alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.”

Much more HERE

********************

ELSEWHERE

Rasmussen Predicts GOP Gain of 55 in House: "Nationally-recognized pollster Scott Rasmussen last night predicted that Republicans would gain 55 seats in races for the U.S. House of Representatives November 2—much more than the 39 needed for a Republican majority in the House for the first time since 2006. But the man whose Rasmussen Reports polling is watched carefully by politicians and frequently quoted by the punditocracy said that whether Republicans gain the ten seats they need to take control of the Senate is in question. “Republicans should have 48 seats [after the elections next month], Democrats 47, and five seats could slide either way,” said Rasmussen. He was referring to seats in five states in which the Senate race this year he considers too close to call: California, Illinois, Washington, West Virginia, and Nevada"

Health care plans, waivers, choice?: "President Obama promised in 2009, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was being debated, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it.’ Maybe not. You can’t keep your plan if your employer or your insurance company drops it. That’s where the waivers come in. Because the terms of the new law drive up insurers’ costs, premiums are becoming more expensive, and companies are considering whether to drop plans. The Obama administration decided to grant 30 waivers in September, presumably in part to avoid the embarrassing spectacle of the widespread disappearance of private plans less than a year after the new law was enacted and just before the midterm elections.”

SCOTUS rejects felons’ voting rights challenge: "Massachusetts prison inmates have lost a bid to regain their voting rights after claiming that a state referendum diluted black and Hispanic political clout because of the higher proportion of minorities in the commonwealth’s prison system. The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of three inmates who sued the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after a 2000 referendum stripped incarcerated felons of the right to vote. The inmates filed suit in federal court claiming the action violated the federal Voting Rights Act because it had a disparate impact on the political power of minority voters across Massachusetts.”

Taxpayers await annual AMT “patch”: "Of all the tax issues facing Congress when it returns for a lame duck session after the Nov. 2 midterm elections, the annual rite of patching the Alternative Minimum Tax will be the most urgent. Unlike the debate over the Bush tax cuts, which will affect taxpayers’ income in 2011, the AMT applies to 2010. And the delay in patching it is already causing problems and raising alarms for large numbers of middle-income taxpayers — as many as 25 million Americans, according to one expert — who could face a huge increase in their tax payments if Congress doesn’t act.”

From self-reliance to servitude: "We use a variety of yardsticks to judge whether our country is on the right track. Is inflation up? Has unemployment dropped? What’s the stock market doing today? Here’s another one: Are Americans, who have long prided themselves on their freedom and self-reliance, becoming more dependent on government, or less? It’s a yardstick we seldom check. But we should. Consider health care. Before the 1960s, Americans who didn’t get their insurance through work typically got it through civic organizations such as churches and social clubs. Now they’re more likely to get it through government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The result? Greater dependence on government.”

Reaganomics led to an economic turnaround: "When judging the results of successive U.S. governments, it is common to focus on the simple matter of who the president was. But this neglects the importance of Congress in all legislative matters. We can­not understand the actions or the results of an administration without examining both its intentions and the context in which it served. … It is common, for example, to note the increases in the federal budget deficit during the years of the Reagan administration. Shallow analysts look at this one statistic and dismiss ‘Reaganomics’ as a failure. They fail to note that the national debt had been trend­ing upward at an increasing rate dur­ing the ’70s, but peaked out during President Ronald Reagan’s first term. That began a 20-year downtrend in the rate of growth of the national debt.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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

****************************

Monday, October 18, 2010

A small housekeeping note

ALL of my blogs are blocked from being viewed in China. I also have the distinction, however, that some of my blogs are blocked in some places in the USA and elsewhere -- on "hate speech" grounds (Translation: I sometimes write critically about Muslims and Islam). I tend to think that if my blogs are blocked both in China and in some of the more socialistic parts of America then I must be doing something right!

So to circumvent such bans, I have long done something quite easy: I put up "mirror" sites -- backup copies of my blogs hosted on various less-known webhosts (both free and paid) that tend to escape censorship. So if you cannot read my primary blogs, you can at least read copies.

All webhosts are rather erratic, however, and sometimes freeze up or blink out of existence with or without warning. To cope with THAT problem, I always put up my "mirrors" on TWO hosts. So if one host goes haywire, you can always access the copy of the blog on the second host.

A host that I have been using for a couple of years has however been giving a lot of trouble lately. It seems to be "frozen" (non-updatable) most of the time. I have been unable to do my usual daily updates there. I have therefore given up on that host and am posting the second of my "mirrors" on another host. An updated set of links to all my mirror sites can be found here or here (China readable).

*******************

ObamaCare: 47% Premium Hikes in Connecticut

Via Hot Air, comes this story in the Hartford Courant about how insurers in the nutmeg state are raising rates as much as 47 percent:
The states largest insurer has been approved to raise health premium rates by 41 percent to 47 percent for some of its policies sold to individual buyers, in the largest price hikes yet seen in Connecticut since the adoption of national health care reform.

For all of its individual market plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has received approval to raise rates by at least 19 percent including a range of 30 percent to 44 percent for the brand of plans in the individual market that was most popular in 2009, Century Preferred.

The reason for the increases is the new federal health reform mandates, according to Anthem and the state Department of Insurance, which is defending its approval against charges by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Those reforms took effect Sept. 23.

Wasn’t Obamacare specifically supposed to halt the steep cost increases in insurance plans? That was exactly what the president claimed the month before the health care bill passed:
People need to understand why we can’t back off on [health care reform], the president said. One of the major insurers in California just announced that in the individual market, they’re increasing their premiums by 39 percent. That’s a portrait of the future if we don’t do something now.

Well, the future is now and not only is the bill not slowing the rise in insurance costs, Obamacare is actually exacerbating the problem. But hey, its a good thing the president spent all that time getting the policy right.

SOURCE

*********************

Obama’s Job-Killing Regulations

With the prospect of a Republican majority in the House, and, possibly, the Senate, President Obama may continue his anti-business, job killing agenda by issuing intrusive, regulatory, executive orders. Americans should be concerned that federal agencies are drafting new regulatory edicts that will continue the Obama economic policy of stifling innovation and job creation, while rewarding union loyalists.

Taxpayers are growing increasingly worried by a government that is expanding too fast, becoming increasingly intrusive, and throttling the American job creation machine. But, Team Obama seems determined to ignore the stinging rebukes emanating from the nation’s voters.

Many Americans thought Henry Waxman’s Cap and Trade nightmare was dead. While Team Obama may no longer be able to push through another 2000+ page piece of job-destroying legislation, the Administration can use Executive Orders to implement many of the specifics of the legislation via changes in the regulatory policies.

Just last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued partial guidance to increase ethanol content in gasoline to 15% , even though ethanol’s supposed benefits have been solidly debunked. Studies by the EPA have shown that ethanol increases carbon emissions, drives up costs of corn and food products, hinders engine efficiency, and does little to make our nation more energy independent.

In short, the EPA’s ethanol policy is a ploy, designed to prop up a failed industry, with yet another multi-billion dollar bailout from taxpayers.

EPA quietly announced this decision that will result in huge increases in subsidies to the ethanol industry while forcing Americans to buy a product that they don’t want. Nor was there any acknowledgement within the Obama Administration that the unintended consequence of a 15% mandate on ethanol will almost certainly drive up food costs on everything from beef to cereal, to tortillas.

Higher food prices represent a new tax on all Americans as we are forced to pay more for corn-based food products, so that Obama can continue to subsidize the ethanol industry.

In another move that compounds the regulatory burdens, the EPA recently issued a strategic plan for the next five years (Fiscal Year 2011-2015 EPA Strategic Plan) that will cost over a trillion dollars to implement. The plan advances retaliatory mandates that allow President Obama to punish organizations that oppose his flawed policies and donate heavily to Republicans.

For example, on page 44, the EPA unveils its new plan to criminalize violations of the agency’s mandates and has targeted 4 industries --cement plants, coal-fired utilities, glass plants and animal feeding operations, all industries that have, traditionally, donated heavily to Republicans.

It is hard not to consider that the Obama Administration’s actions may be politically motivated, since Americans have seen the Democrat party using this same kind of demagoguery with Koch Industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, both which have chosen to support GOP candidates and Republican job-creation policies.

Nor is the EPA the only Federal Agency working hard to crank up a slew of new regulations which will soon sprout like crabgrass in the spring. Take for example the new rulings that will give the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) broad new powers to require all financial institutions, hedge funds, investment firms, banks to set up hiring quotas for minorities.

More troubling still is that, in the interests of “diversity” and “inclusion” Section 342 (p.166) of the new financial reform bill will give the federal government vast new powers to dictate a firms “management, employment, and business activities”.

Let’s be clear: a diverse workforce is a great asset to any company and many Wall Street firms would benefit from hiring more women and minorities. But should we give some young, inexperienced government bureaucrat, only recently out of his/her Oshkosh b’Gosh, the power to dictate “business activities” of our major financial firms and banks? That seems to be the path that Obama is now endorsing.

The GOP may win back the House and possibly even the Senate, but Republicans need to be savvy and vigilant. Rolling back Obama’s job-killing, costly legislation will not be the only challenge facing the 112th Congress. Ferreting out the many government agency executive orders that place punitive, costly requirements on businesses and carry criminal penalties if businesses don’t comply, will be a far harder task. Identifying these many, destructive requirements will be hard to do; rescinding them will be even harder.

SOURCE

**************************

By the Numbers: The Democrats' Deplorable Record

Here are a few of the eye-poppers:

9.6%: That’s the latest unemployment figure from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the African-American community, the number is 16.1% -- and for teens, it’s 26%. Given these figures, perhaps it’s understandable that many in President Obama’s base aren’t terribly enthusiastic about turning out to vote this year. Note that in 2004, when state senator Barack Obama mocked George W. Bush’s “jobless recovery,” unemployment was 5.8%.

$13 trillion: Our enormous national debt totals a whopping $44,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

$1.3 trillion / 9.9%: The deficit for the fiscal year ending last month was $1.3 trillion dollars, representing around 9.9% of GDP. Although the deficit ran $122 billion less than the record-breaking shortfall of the year before, don’t break out the champagne – the Obama administration projects that the deficit will climb to $1.4 trillion during FY 2011. What’s more, the FY 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion was the first time the deficit ever exceeded $1 trillion – and the first time since World War II that it exceeded 10% of GDP.

$3.52 billion: This represents the net tax hikes on Americans enacted over the last two years. Americans for Tax Reform offset the tax cuts in the S-Chip program, the “stimulus,” ObamaCare, and small business legislation from the tax hikes contained in the same programs. The net outcome – the $3.52 billion increase – is why Democrats’ claims to have voted for tax cuts are disingenuous in the extreme.

75: The number of days until recession-weary Americans – all of us – are whacked by the largest tax increase in history. Those now in the 10% bracket will pay 15%, while the 25% bracket rises to 28%, the 28% bracket rises to 31%, the 33% bracket rises to 36%, and the 35% bracket goes up to 39.6%. Rates will also rise on savers and investors; capital gains will rise from 15% this year to 20% in 2011, while the dividend tax will rise from 15% this year to 39.6% in 2011. Also, Americans with children can bid a fond farewell to the dependent care tax credit – it’s being cut – and the child tax credit is being halved.

The numbers are frightening. And they are infuriating. After spending money faster than taxpayers can send it to them, Democrats have nothing to show for their efforts but higher unemployment, higher taxes and more debt. And still they’re raising taxes to take yet more of our money.

More HERE

*********************

The land of the free again: Two wars but no conscription

In war as in life, what doesn't happen is often as significant as what does. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their setbacks, victories and casualties, have many things in common with past American wars. But there is one big thing missing this time: the draft.

Hendrik Hertzberg noted recently in The New Yorker magazine that "for the first time in a century, America is fighting a long war -- indeed, two long wars, each longer than our participation in both World Wars put together -- without conscription."

That change represents a sort of throwback to the early days of the republic. When President James Madison proposed conscription for the War of 1812, New Hampshire's Daniel Webster rose on the House floor in eloquent opposition.

"Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly or wickedness of government may engage it?" he demanded. That was the end of that idea, until the Civil War.

It's not just that no one wants to bring back the bitter divisions and organized resistance the draft produced in the 1960s. It's also that we have established the clear superiority of a military composed of men and women who choose to serve.

No one would imagine you could run a private business with employees who are forced to take jobs there against their will. Imagine the difficulty of motivating them. Yet we used to run the Army that way.

There is no doubt that the current wars have put exceptional burdens on the active duty force as well as reservists -- burdens far greater than they expected when they signed up. But future soldiers will have no illusions about what to expect, and they will adjust their choices to fit the new reality.

Thanks to the abolition of the draft, if Americans want to keep making such heavy demands on the military, they will have to pay generously enough to get people to enlist and re-enlist.

It was once a novel experiment: fielding a force to protect freedom without grossly violating freedom by dragooning young men to serve. But it's worked so well we've almost forgotten there's an alternative.

SOURCE

**********************

ELSEWHERE

Good one!: "Eighteen Revolutionary Guards have been killed in a fire at an ammunitions store at one of the elite force's bases in western Iran, the state IRNA news agency has reported. "Eighteen members of the forces at the base were killed and 14 wounded" in Tuesday's explosion, IRNA quoted Guards commander Yadollah Bouali as saying. Mr Bouali said on Tuesday that the explosion hit when a fire spread to the munitions store at the base. The Revolutionary Guards have emerged as a powerful military and economic force in Iran in recent years, especially under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Guards were heavily involved in the government's crackdown on opposition protests"

Obama as FDR: The real deal about the New Deal: "The 67 million of us who voted for Obama two years ago did so for a variety of different reasons. Some cast their vote because he is a black man, some because of his eloquence, some because he opposed the Iraq War, some because of his policies benefitted the poor and middle classes, and some simply because he seemed the antithesis of George W. Bush. … The FDR that Time alluded to is the one that most of us know — the charming man who repaired the US economy, conquered the fascists, defended the rights of minorities, and had the support of just about everyone in the United States. The problem is, that FDR is the product of nostalgia. In reality (as is often the case with reality), things were a whole lot more complicated. In fact, FDR’s actual record raises criticisms very much akin to the posthype gripes about Obama.”

ObamaCare’s unseen costs: "On Tuesday, the White House decided to fight back against a tax-related rumor about the new health care law. Beginning in 2012, wrote Stephanie Cutter, the administration’s head of health care messaging, employers will have to provide information about the value of your health insurance benefits on your W-2. But, she said, despite rumors to the contrary, ‘you will absolutely not pay taxes on these benefits.’ … the Affordable Care Act will lead to the taxation of health care benefits. Starting in 2018, high-end health care plans will be subject to a 40 percent excise tax for any benefits that exceed $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family. Indeed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is chock full of tax hikes. And those taxes will cost more than you might think.”

Grabbing the third rail: "Those who accept the idea that entitlement reform is the third rail of American politics should have to grapple with the rise of Rep. Paul Ryan. In the past year, Ryan has drawn a lot of heat for his ambitious plan to confront our nation’s looming entitlement crisis. Democrats from President Obama on down have eviscerated his ‘Roadmap for America’s Future,’ arguing it would destroy Social Security and gut Medicare. Yet Ryan is expected to coast to victory, just as he has in every election since he first ran in favor of Social Security personal accounts twelve years ago. And his constituents aren’t reflexively Republican.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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

****************************

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

****************************