Saturday, October 30, 2010

Liberals at War With Liberty

David Limbaugh

Why were liberals were so insanely paranoid about the alleged nefarious activities of President George W. Bush? Projection, anyone? They were mortified at Bush's alleged encroachment on our individual liberties, but now that they're in control, we see where liberty ranks on their list of priorities.

We've always known that the term "liberal," in modern parlance, is an oxymoron. Today's liberals are the exact opposite of the classical liberals of yesteryear, who actually believed in limited government and free markets.

Liberals have been seducing Americans out of their liberties for decades with false promises of security. Prior to Obama, we were on a slow march toward statism, but now we are on a rapid gallop.

That's mostly what next week's congressional elections will be about. Ordinary Americans are horrified and outraged that Obama and his enablers in Congress are fundamentally transforming America from a beacon of liberty to a bankrupt socialist state. They are outraged that this elite bunch of officious intermeddlers are waging all-out war against our social compact. Americans want America back.

This nation was founded as a constitutional republic, with the people electing representatives to serve on their behalf and tend to the proper functions of government but ultimately retaining sovereignty.

Most Americans are sophisticated enough to understand that we don't have a pure democracy and that we can't conduct government by daily polls or plebiscites. But they also don't expect that their wishes will be ridiculed, summarily rejected and spat upon by a sneering, disdainful autocracy.

President Obama and his henchmen are in the process of undermining the social compact in a number of ways. They are acting outside their constitutional authority, in defiance of the rule of law, to achieve political ends they -- not the public -- desire. They are ignoring the express will of the people and treating them like ill-informed rubes whose opinions aren't worthy of serious consideration, only phony placation. They are implementing a policy agenda that is substantively depriving us of our liberties across the board.

It's not for shock value that conservatives accuse Obama's band of being socialists. It's because there appears to be no limit to their appetite for gobbling up power and swallowing our individual liberties.

It's not just about power, either. They are imbued with a disturbing degree of moral superiority. They believe they have the right -- even the duty -- to tell us how we ought to live our lives because they know better than we do what is good for us. And they talk to us about Christian scolds!

This attitude underlies their views, from the seemingly least significant to the most pressing issues. Their czars and administrative dictators tell us that they are going to coerce us out of our cars and onto biking trails and walkways. They are giving people's hard-earned money away to other people to keep those other people in houses they can't afford, only to result in those others being unable to pay their mortgages and still losing their homes.

They are re-expanding the welfare state, increasing people's dependency on government, even though welfare reform was producing dramatically positive results while weaning people off the government teat. It's not results that matter; it's only the intermeddlers' professed good intentions. But how can good intentions any longer be fairly attributed to them, when the results of their policies are so uniformly disastrous, from the war on poverty to welfare to Social Security to, now, health care? And yes, I meant to include Social Security, because in its existing form, it is a complete hoax -- entirely unfunded because its revenues have been hijacked from the beginning by immoral, irresponsible politicians unwilling to make government live within its means. These same politicians still refuse to reform it toward solvency, preferring fear and demagoguery to the hard truth.

People are very anxious about the depressed economy, to be sure, but they are outraged at Obama and Congress' deliberately bankrupt spending in the fraudulent name of repairing the economy; they are incensed at this immoral larceny against them and future generations of Americans to satisfy professor Obama's quixotic experiment in socialist economic theories. And they are mortified that these reckless knuckleheads are wrecking the best health care system in the world under false pretenses -- from promising more choice and coverage, when there will be less of both, to reduced costs, when costs are already beginning to explode.

America, its founding principles, its Constitution, its robust liberty tradition and its strength are being stolen out from under us by a man who has no appreciation for America's greatness and who has contempt for ordinary Americans (we're "enemies"), whom he considers beneath him and unworthy of their sovereign prerogative to preserve this nation.

The people have had enough. Consequently, absent unimaginable, comprehensive voter fraud next week, we're going to see an unprecedented housecleaning.



Standing Tall: The Rise and Resilience of Conservative Women

Michelle Malkin

My military friends have a favorite saying: "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." This campaign season, conservative women in politics have caught more flak than WWII Lancaster bombers over Berlin. Despite daily assaults from the Democratic machine, liberal media and Hollyweird -- not to mention the stray fraggings from Beltway GOP elites -- the ladies of the right have maintained their dignity, grace and wit. Voters will remember in November.

When "comedian" and "The View" co-host Joy Behar lambasted GOP Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle this week as a "b*tch" who would be "going to h*ll" for using images of illegal alien gang members in a campaign ad, Angle responded by sending a lovely bouquet of flowers and a good-humored note: "Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle."

Outgunned in the comedy department, Behar sputtered nonsensically and with bitter, clingy vulgarity: "I would like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants and they're not voting for you, b*tch." Illegal aliens are not supposed to vote at all, Miss B. But why let such pesky details get in the way of a foul-mouthed daytime TV diatribe?

Just a week earlier, Behar delivered a hysterical rant against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, accusing the mother of five and foster mother of 23 of being "against children" for opposing the expansion of federal health care entitlements for middle-class families and children (the SCHIP program) and for opposing the costly Obama takeover of health care. Behar merely parrots the demagoguery of Democratic leaders in Washington, who have ducked behind kiddie human shields to avoid substantive debate about the dire consequences of their policies.

As a result of the Obamacare mandates, of course, insurers have canceled child-only plans across the country. And there are plenty of compassionate reasons for opposing SCHIP expansion beyond its original mandate to serve the truly working poor. Behar called me a "selfish b*tch" three years ago over the same issue. Why is it "against children" and "selfish" to challenge the wisdom of redistributing money away from taxpayers of lesser means who are responsible enough to buy insurance before a catastrophic event -- and then using their tax dollars to subsidize more well-off families who didn't have the foresight or priorities to purchase insurance with their own money?

But never mind those pesky details. Behar persisted in smearing Bachmann as "anti-children, anti-children." Facts be damned.

Distortions on "The Spew" are bad enough. But the "mainstream" media's complicity in spreading false narratives about GOP women is an affront to the First Amendment. When Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell challenged Democratic opponent Chris Coons in a constitutional debate last week to name the five freedoms in that First Amendment, he blanked out after freedom of religion. Instead of reporting on the flub, the Washington Post and Associated Press misleadingly reported that O'Donnell had questioned whether the establishment and free exercise clauses were in the First Amendment. What she actually said to Coons during the debate was: "So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?" It is not, of course. But never mind those pesky details.

In one of the most despicable last-minute campaign hits, gossip website Gawker -- run by Internet smear machine operator Nick Denton -- paid for and published on Thursday an anonymous tell-all from a man purporting to have had a "one-night stand" with O'Donnell. This misogynistic trash can't be verified, and the author admits that the sensationally titled "one-night stand" did not actually include sex. The sole purpose and intent of such checkbook journalism: Humiliation.

Pundits and late-night TV pranksters have ridiculed O'Donnell for exposing liberal bias against conservative female candidates. But these same smug mockers have spent the past two years deriding Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her children, her body, her accent and her brain. They snickered at reports of Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown's campaign calling GOP challenger Meg Whitman a "wh*re." And they shrugged off "The View's" "b*tch" sessions as shtick.

The conservative women-bashers can laugh all they want. On November 2, success will be our best revenge.



The Scott Brown Precedent and Israel

Caroline Glick

On Tuesday, US voters are set to repudiate US President Barack Obama's agenda for their country. Unfortunately, based on his behavior in the face of a similar repudiation last January, it is safe to assume that Obama will not abandon his course.

Last year, in an attempt to block Obama's plan to nationalize healthcare, Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the Senate. Brown was elected because he pledged to block Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.

Rather than heed the voters' message and abandon his plans, Obama abandoned the voters. Instead of accepting his defeat, Obama changed the rules of the game and bypassed the Senate.

So it is safe to assume that for the next two years, Obama will do everything he can to bypass the Congress and govern by executive orders and regulations. Although much can be done in this fashion, Congress's control of the purse strings will check his domestic agenda.

In matters of foreign policy however, Obama will be less burdened by - but not immune - to Congressional oversight. We can therefore expect him to devote far more energy to foreign affairs in the next two years than he devoted in the last two years.

This bodes ill for Israel. Since entering office, Obama has shown that his primary foreign policy goal is to remake the US's relationship with the Muslim world. Obama has also repeatedly demonstrated that compelling Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians and empowering international institutions that seek to delegitimize Israel are his preferred means of advancing this goal....

The one good thing about the challenge Obama presents to Israel is that it is a clear cut challenge. The Scott Brown precedent coupled with Obama's track record on Israel demonstrate that Obama will not modify his anti-Israel agenda to align with political realities at home, and there is nothing that Israel can do that will neutralize Obama's hostility.

By the same token, the massive support Israel enjoys among the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives is a significant resource. True, the Republicans will not enjoy the same power to check presidential power in foreign affairs as they will have in domestic policy. But their control over the House of Representatives will enable them to shape public perceptions of international affairs and mitigate some administration pressure on Israel by opening up new outlets for discourse and defunding administration initiatives.

Against this backdrop, Israel must craft policies that maximize its advantage on Capitol Hill and minimize its vulnerability to the White House. Specifically, Israel should adopt three basic policy lines.

First, Israel should request that US military assistance to the IDF be appropriated as part of the Defense Department's budget instead of the State Department's foreign aid budget where it is now allocated.

This change is important for two reasons. First, US military assistance to Israel is not welfare. Like US military assistance to South Korea, which is part of the Pentagon's budget, US military assistance to Israel is a normal aspect of routine relations between the US and its strategic allies. Israel is one of the US's most important strategic allies and it should be treated like the US's other allies are treated and not placed in the same basket as impoverished states in Africa.

Second, this move is supported by the Republicans. Rep. Eric Cantor, who will likely be elected Republican Majority Leader has already stated his interest in moving military assistance to Israel to the Pentagon budget. The Republicans wish to move aid to Israel to the Pentagon's budget because that assistance is the most popular item on the US foreign aid budget. Not wishing to harm Israel, Republicans have been forced to approve the foreign aid budget despite the fact that it includes aid to countries like Sudan and Yemen which they do not wish to support.

When the government announces its request, it should make clear that in light of Israel's economic prosperity, Israel intends to end its receipt of military assistance from the US within five years. Given the Republicans' commitment to fiscal responsibility, this is a politically sensible move. More importantly, it is a strategically critical move. Obama's hostility demonstrates clearly that Israel must not be dependent on US resupply of military platforms in time of war.

The second policy direction Israel must adopt involves stepping up its efforts to discredit and check the Palestinian political war against it. Today the Palestinians are escalating their bid to delegitimize Israel by expanding their offensive against Israel in international organizations like the UN and the International Criminal Court and by expanding their operations in states like Britain that are hostile to Israel.

Israel must move aggressively to discredit all groups and individuals that participate in these actions and cooperate with its allies who share its aim of weakening them. For instance, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who is expected to be elected Chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee has been seeking to curtail US funding to UN organizations like UNRWA whose leaders support Hamas and whose organizational goal is Israel's destruction.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his ministers must lead the charge discrediting groups like UNRWRA, the ICC, and the UN Human Rights Council. Since the Obama administration seeks to empower all of these organizations, at a minimum, such an Israeli policy will embolden Obama's political opponents to block his policies by curtailing US funding of these bodies.

The Palestinians' threats to declare independence and define Israeli communities as illegal are clear attempts on their part to shape the post-peace process international landscape. Given their diplomatic strength and Israel's diplomatic weakness, it is reasonable for the Palestinians to act as they are.

But two can play this game. Israel is not without options. These options are rooted in its military control on the ground, Netanyahu's political strength at home and from popular support for Israel in the US.

Israel should prepare its own unilateral actions aimed at shaping the post-Oslo international agenda. It should implement these actions the moment the Palestinians carry through on their threats. For instance, the day the UN Security Council votes on a resolution to declare Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and Israeli neighborhoods in Jerusalem illegal, Israel should announce it is applying Israeli law to either all of Judea and Samaria, or to the large Israeli population centers and to the Jordan Valley.

If properly timed and orchestrated, such a move by Israel could fundamentally reshape the currently international discourse on the Middle East in Israel's favor. Certainly it will empower Israel's allies in the US and throughout the world to rally to its side....



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 29, 2010

Leftists are not nice people

Comment from Australia by Mirko Bagaric -- sparked by an episode in which a Leftist threw his shoes at John Howard (Former conservative Prime Minister of Australia) while Howard was appearing on a TV show hosted by Australia's public broadcaster (the ABC).

Police charges could of course have been levelled at the thrower but Howard just laughed it off, with his customary good nature. I understand that the thrower even got his shoes back. The shoes did not hit Howard as the thrower was said to "throw like a girl". There is a comment on the episode by an Australian cartoonist here -- JR

Look left, look right, then watch for the shoe from the left. John Howard was entitled to throw his shoes with gusto at the leftist fanatic Q & A shoe-thrower. The fact Howard laughed off the bitter, violent stunt underlies the moral gulf between most conservatives and the hypocritical Left, who self-select when it comes to occupying seats at the hopelessly biased ABC studios.

Without knowing it, I've been doing a wide-ranging social experiment on this exact issue during the past few years. It turns out that the supposedly warm and fuzzy Left is anything but that. Intoxicated by self-righteous irrelevance it has developed an addiction to anger pills and suffers from a hyperventilation disorder.

Before I disclose my data nailing the Left, first a little bit about how I acquired it. I regularly make wide-ranging comments that conflict with policies of the Left and Right. I'm apolitical; the policies of Labor and Liberal are so similar to make the debate almost irrelevant. Most of my writing is informed by one underlying principle. It's called utilitarianism. It is the theory that when you are faced with a moral or political choice you should make the decision that will maximise human flourishing, where each person's interest counts equally.

The Left doesn't like me because I'm a fan of tough counter-terrorism laws and harsher sentences for sex and violent offenders. I also oppose euthanasia, abortion and dispute the desperate need for a reduction in greenhouse gases. I often upset the Right because I push for gay marriages, animal rights, no tax for the poor and mega taxes for the rich, multiculturalism and tolerance towards Muslim values.

So what is the conclusive evidence I have that shows the Left has mutated into a hysterical, hypocritical - albeit well-intentioned - bunch? It comes in the form of thousands of abusive emails, an endless array of insulting (albeit sometimes witty and amusing) grossly misinformed blog comments, demands to my employers to sack me for saying what I think and even the occasional demonstration by some time-rich, agenda-poor anti-moralisers who are defeated by the practical ramifications of the concept of free speech.

This is nearly the sum total of responses to my comments in the past couple of years. The striking aspect of this is that nearly all of the besmirching and attempts to stereotype and censure me have come from the supposedly tolerant, libertarian Left, even though the Right has just as much reason to be jacked off at me.

What about the Right? I was raised to think that it was raised to be mean. But even this building block of social discourse has disintegrated. The Right doesn't have any more smarts than its opponents but certainly is nicer. It rarely throws hissy fits and seems to have a deficient vocabulary when it comes to name calling. Some members even show embryonic signs of a sense of humour. That's not to say that they always fail to live up to expectations. The anger meter on my email occasionally goes into overdrive when I write a piece suggesting that Muslims are being vilified in Australia. Still, on numbers alone this is negligible compared with the extremist torrent from the Left.

So why is it that the Left has become much of what it despises? Well, that's easy. History teaches us that rebellions without causes can be nothing other than character-destroying. The Left has fought a good fight. The right to life, liberty, property, equal access to high-quality health care, education and the professions; they're all now an entrenched part of the Australian landscape. Its job is pretty much done - at home. There's no scope for acquiring a sense of genuine purpose pursuing the current leftist agenda in the form of promoting anti-Americanism and salvaging the reputation of convicted terrorists.

Life can be nothing other than miserable for people with a warped sense of moral priorities and who spend their spare time pursuing meaningless causes. That's why the Left has mutated into such an embittered and angry tribe. Its only redemption is to reconnect with its historical roots and start fighting worthwhile causes that have some prospect of enhancing human flourishing.



Genetic defect identified in Leftists

My heading above is tendentious but so are the interpretations offered in the article following these introductory comments.

I have been pointing out for years that genetics largely determines politics -- on the basis of twin study evidence. And James Fowler, co-author of the academic article summarized below, has previously confirmed in 2007 how powerful is the genetic effect on politics revealed in twin studies.

But the mechanism behind the relationship has remained conjectural. The evidence below, however, suggests that there is a gullibility or suggestibility gene -- so people with that gene who also mix a lot with young people tend to adopt the politics of the young. Because they have yet to learn how complex the world really is, young people do tend Left -- the Left being the home of simplistic ideas

The full academic article can be read here or here. The title of the article is "Friendships Moderate an Association between a Dopamine Gene Variant and Political Ideology". Note that this is a study of young adults only so whether the effect lasts into later life remains, again, conjectural. Given the normal movement from Left to Right that most people undergo as they age, the effect of whom you associate with in your youth could well be a transient one

The article also identifies the gene concerned as leading to novelty seeking and my research has shown that Leftists tend to be sensation-seekers. So change for change's sake would seem to be part of what drives Leftism -- JR

Researchers have for the first time identified a gene that they say can influence political outlook.

Past studies had found that political views have a genetic component, but hadn't pointed out actual genes involved. The new research from the University of California and Harvard University indicates that a variant of a gene called DRD4 makes people more likely to be liberal, if they also had many friends as tenenagers.

DRD4 codes for the production of molecular structures in the brain that facilitates transmission of the chemical dopamine among brain cells. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or a brain signaling chemical.

Appearing in the current edition of The Journal of Politics, the research focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a federally funded U.S. project that surveyed health in relation to a range of behaviors. By matching genetic information with maps of the subjects' social networks, the researchers found that people with a specific variant of DRD4 were more likely to be liberal as adults, but only if they had an active social life in adolescence.

Dopamine is a messenger chemical affecting processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain. DRD4 codes for the production of a receptor, or molecular gateway, that regulates dopamine transmission.

Previous research has identified a connection between a variant of DRD4 and novelty-seeking behavior. This behavior has previously been associated with personality traits related to political liberalism, the investigators noted.

Lead researcher James H. Fowler of University of California, San Diego and colleagues hypothesized that people with the noveltyseeking gene variant would be more interested in learning about their friends' points of view. Thus, they might be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which could foster a liberal viewpoint.

It's "the crucial interaction of two factors the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence that is associated with being more liberal," the investigators wrote, adding that this held true regardless of ethnicity, culture, sex or age.

Fowler said he hopes "more scholars will begin to explore the potential interaction of biology and environment." He added that he would like to see scientists try to replicate the findings "in different populations and age groups."



Brass Oldies

Thomas Sowell

Classic songs from years past are sometimes referred to as "golden oldies." There are political fallacies that have been around for a long time as well. These might be called brass oldies. It certainly takes a lot of brass to keep repeating fallacies that were refuted long ago.

One of these brass oldies is a phrase that has been a perennial favorite of the left, "tax cuts for the rich." How long ago was this refuted? More than 80 years ago, the "tax cuts for the rich" argument was refuted, both in theory and in practice, by Andrew Mellon, who was Secretary of the Treasury in the 1920s.

When Mellon took office, there was a large national debt, the economy was stagnating, and tax rates were high, though the tax revenues were still not enough to cover government expenditures. What was Mellon's prescription for getting out of this mess? A series of major cuts in the tax rates!

Then as now, there were people who failed to make the distinction between tax rates and tax revenues. Mellon said, "It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue for the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower rates."

How can that be? Because taxpayers change their behavior according to what the tax rates are. When one of the Rockefellers died, Mellon discovered that his estate included $44 million in tax-exempt bonds, compared to $7 million in Standard Oil securities, even though Standard Oil was the source of the Rockefeller fortune.

For the country as a whole, the amount of money tied up in tax-exempt securities was estimated to be three times as large as the federal government's expenditures and more than half as large as the national debt.

In short, huge amounts of money were not being invested in productive capacity, such as factories or power plants, but was instead being made available for local political boondoggles, because this money was put into tax-exempt state and local bonds.

When tax rates are reduced, investors have incentives to take their money out of tax shelters and put it into the private economy, creating higher returns for themselves and more production in the economy. Andrew Mellon understood this then, even though many in politics and the media seem not to understand it now.

Mellon was able to persuade Congress to lower the tax rates by large amounts. The percentage by which tax rates were lowered was greater at the lower income levels, but the total amount of money saved by taxpayers was of course greater on the part of people with higher incomes, who were paying much higher tax rates on those incomes.

Between 1921 and 1929, tax rates in the top brackets were cut from 73 percent to 24 percent. In other words, these were what the left likes to call "tax cuts for the rich."

What happened to federal revenues from income taxes over this same span of time? Income tax revenues rose by more than 30 percent. What happened to the economy? Jobs increased, output rose, the unemployment rate fell and incomes rose. Because economic activity increased, the government received more income tax revenues. In short, these were tax cuts for the economy, even if the left likes to call them "tax cuts for the rich."

This was not the only time that things like this happened, nor was Andrew Mellon the only one who advocated tax rate cuts in order to increase tax revenues. John Maynard Keynes pointed out in 1933 that lowering the tax rates can increase tax revenues, if the tax rates are so high as to discourage economic activity.

President John F. Kennedy made the same argument in the 1960s -- and tax revenues increased after the tax rates were cut during his administration. The same thing happened under Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. And it happened again under George W. Bush, whose tax rate cuts are scheduled to expire next January.

The rich actually paid more total taxes, and a higher percentage of all taxes, after the Bush tax rate cuts, because their incomes were rising with the rising economy. Do the people who keep repeating the catch phrase, "tax cuts for the rich" not know this? Or are they depending on your not knowing it?



Voter Fraud Threatens Election Integrity

Nevada is a state ripe with the possibility of voter fraud for many reasons. First, the state allows early voting, which in itself is not a problem, as described on current Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller’s website.

Nevada’s design of early voting can become a problem because its state law does not require proof of citizenship when at the polling place. Because no form of ID is required at the polls, it could be plausible for a voter to stop at many different polling places throughout the days of early voting, use a fake name and address, and vote as many times as he or she would like. Under this design an illegal immigrant could also cast a single or multiple votes.

As ironic as it sounds, when Nevada Republican Secretary of State candidate Robert Lauer pushed for state legislation that would have required voters to show a government-issued picture ID at the polls to keep voter fraud at bay, it was never adopted by the state.

Why? Maybe Miller and Sen. Reid saw some advantages to the way the current system is designed as it could possibly tip elections in their favor.

Miller is now the one in control of the voting machines throughout Nevada, which considering what happened in Clark County, obviously have problems. Not only is the machine software 7 years old, according to Lauer, but Miller will not let anybody other than a Voting Machine Technician, a government employee who is a member of the notorious Service Employees International Union, get close to the machines.

Therefore, all the voting machines in Clark County are under the control of Miller and SEIU. This alone should shake the confidence voters in Nevada have in their own system.

As Bill Wilson says, “if there is nothing wrong with the system, it would seem logical that the Nevada Secretary of State would not mind law enforcement ensuring ballot integrity. However, given his historic opposition to making certain that only legally registered voters vote, this simple proposal may be too logical for him to accept.”



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 28, 2010

ACORN’s October Surprise

Like a zombie in a horror movie, ACORN is alive! Even worse, it’s still in the business of registering Mickey Mouse and dead people to vote—and the person running its get-out-the-vote operation is under indictment for felony voter registration fraud.

But first, some background. The radical group staged an elaborate prank on April Fool’s Day by pretending to die. That’s when chief organizer Bertha Lewis said ACORN would dissolve its national structure. But the group still exists and continues to send out direct mail solicitations for funds.

Disturbingly, Project Vote, ACORN’s scandal-plagued voter registration and mobilization division, remains open for business. Project Vote has been part of the ACORN family since at least 1992 when Barack Obama ran a successful voter drive in Illinois.

Although legally separate entities, in practice the two are the same, as the congressional testimony of former ACORN/Project Vote employee Anita MonCrief can attest. They share office space, employees, and budgets. Project Vote continues to operate out of ACORN’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Even worse, its voter drive is being run by Amy Busefink, an ACORN employee under indictment in Nevada for violating election laws. It might be understandable for an employer not to fire an employee until she is actually convicted of a crime, but this is ridiculous. Busefink should not be running a voter drive.

ACORN and Project Vote did collect more than one million voter registration applications in 2008, but 400,000 applications “were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions,” the New York Times reported.

In May 2009, Nevada Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto, and Secretary of State Ross Miller, both Democrats, made public charges against two senior ACORN employees—Busefink, ACORN’s deputy regional director at the time, and Christopher Edwards, then ACORN’s Las Vegas field director. Both were implicated in a conspiracy in which they and ACORN as a corporate entity were charged. Edwards pleaded guilty and has turned state’s evidence. The trial of ACORN and Busefink is scheduled to begin on November 26.

The state’s charges list 26 felony counts of voter fraud and 13 of providing unlawful extra compensation to those registering voters, a practice forbidden under Nevada law because it incentivizes fraud. Canvassers were allegedly paid between $8 and $9 an hour and based on a quota of 20 voters per shift.

Project Vote is working with eight groups on voter drives. One is Pennsylvania Neighborhoods for Social Justice (PNSJ), a “new” group operating out of ACORN’s offices in Philadelphia. Longtime ACORN national board member Carol Hemingway is on the board of PNSJ and its sister nonprofit, Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change (PCOC).

Although ACORN closed many of its offices, Lewis has been working with a skeleton staff. Congressional investigators say she is consolidating power and hoarding assets. They estimate ACORN has $20 million in cash and that its affiliates hold another $10 million.

ACORN plans to resurface under a new name soon, according to John Atlas, author of Seeds of Change, a book sympathetic to ACORN. ACORN chapters in at least 13 states and the District of Columbia changed their names and obtained separate nonprofit status.



How ACORN Survives -- and Thrives

The Obama administration is stonewalling efforts on two fronts to investigate the still-operating ACORN and uncover what aid administration officials offered the radical advocacy group infamous for its thug tactics and election fraud.

The Obama administration is sitting on Capital Research Center's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that seeks correspondence between Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and ACORN. HUD rules state that FOIA requests must be answered within 45 days, but at this writing our request has been pending for just over seven months.

The request was filed because Donovan is a longtime ACORN collaborator. He worked closely with ACORN for five years when he was New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's housing development commissioner.

"Perhaps no administration official has had more interaction with Acorn than" Donovan, the New York Times reported. ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis admitted as much. "We grew to respect him, and he grew to respect us."

Ever since hidden-camera videos surfaced last year showing ACORN employees helping undercover conservative activists with financial and tax planning for a brothel for pedophiles, Donovan has remained silent about his relationship with ACORN. It's unclear what Donovan is hiding.

And if you thought conservatives were the only ones urging the Obama administration to conduct a proper federal racketeering investigation of ACORN, you'd be wrong.

The whistleblowers of the left-leaning "ACORN 8" group are learning the hard way that the Obama Department of Justice is just as adept at stonewalling as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Longtime ACORN benefactor Nadler is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights, and civil liberties who refused to initiate a probe even when confronted with powerful evidence of ACORN's wrongdoing. (To make matters worse, in a breathtaking conflict-of-interest Nadler devised a novel legal strategy ACORN used to defend itself.)

ACORN 8 is a group that broke away from ACORN in 2008. It is headed by Marcel Reid, a former member of ACORN's national board. She was expelled from ACORN after demanding to see financial documentation related to a million-dollar embezzlement perpetrated by the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. The brother, Dale Rathke, blew his ill-gotten gains on spending sprees at Neiman Marcus, limousine rentals, and other accoutrements of the Mercedes Marxist set. Big brother Wade and other high-ranking ACORN officials covered up the theft for eight years until it was discovered two years ago.

"I was attracted to the mission of ACORN to help people, to alleviate poverty," Reid said previously. "We asked to see the books because the promissory note indicated a theft had occurred. They played games with us."



Leftist cartoonist can see no faults in Obama

"There are none so blind as those who will not see"

From an interview with Gary Trudeau in Slate:

Slate: Who's the hardest politician to satirize, and why?

Trudeau: Believe it or not, Obama's very tough for business. The contradictory characterizations of him as fascist or socialist only serve to confirm the truth—he's a raging moderate. And satirists don't do well with moderates, especially thoughtful ones. In addition, Obama rarely makes gaffes and has no salient physical or temperamental features. And sinking popularity isn't a critique.


Rats deserting the ship

"Nancy Pelosi said Monday that 'we haven't really gotten the credit for what we have done,' and the Speaker is right. However, it appears that her party will get that credit on November 2, which is why so many Democrats are now jumping the liberal ship, at least symbolically, to save their seats. ...

Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor ... [said] that he won't support Mrs. Pelosi for Speaker, another revelation considering his vote for her in 2009. 'I'm very disappointed in how she's veered to the left,' Mr. Taylor said, as if Mrs. Pelosi's ideological predispositions were ever hidden.

Mr. Taylor joins a growing list of Democrats who voted for Mrs. Pelosi in 2009 but now profess to be shocked by her left turn. They include Idaho's Walt Minnick, Pennsylvania's Jason Altmire, Alabama's Bobby Bright and Texas's Chet Edwards, endangered incumbents all.

Brett Carter, who is hoping to replace Tennessee Democrat Barton Gordon, has gone even further and requested that Mrs. Pelosi not even run again for the Speakership. 'Voters in my district believe that you do not represent their values, and my opposition has little to offer apart from critiquing your leadership,' Mr. Carter wrote in a September letter. ...

Over in the Senate, the prize for distancing himself from his party goes to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who ran the famous TV ad featuring him literally putting a bullet through the 'cap and trade bill.' Apparently that wasn't politically far enough away from the Washington Democrats he hopes to join, so Mr. Manchin declared on Fox News Sunday that he would have voted against ObamaCare too. ...

Remind us again why these folks are running as Democrats?"



Voting fraud continues

Suspicious voting-machine malfunctions and cheating candidates are the stuff of banana republics, not America. With Democrats about to suffer historic losses, is our election's integrity in question?

'It can't happen here," most Americans would say about the chances of voting one way and seeing your votes recorded the opposite. But that's what happened in early voting in North Carolina's unfortunately named Craven County last week.

Voter Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern found that "an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended," the New Bern Sun Journal reported.

Laughinghouse "pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked," the local paper reported. "He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result."

Election personnel eventually straightened it out, but clearly a less observant Republican voter would have inadvertently voted for every Democrat on his ballot. Chuck Tyson, chairman of the Craven County Republican Party, told the Sun Journal he "got two or three calls" from voters experiencing the same problem and is not satisfied with state election officials' efforts to fix it.

In Boulder City, Nev., meanwhile, where voters use computer screens, another disturbing episode was reported by Fox News. When voter Joyce Ferrara and her husband went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, they — and several others, according to Ferrara — found that Democratic incumbent Harry Reid's name was already checked. The county registrar's explanation: The high-tech voting screens are sensitive.

The Nevada case is especially disturbing because the seat of the most powerful Democrat in the Senate is at stake.




My Tea Party: "The Tea Parties are just one of a number of historically pivotal developments (including the Internet, conservative talk radio, and perhaps even on-demand publishing) that became necessary to get over, under, around, and through the Great Wall of the Northeastern Liberal Establishment and its numberless, faceless hordes of duly appointed gatekeepers. In that sense, the Tea Parties are exactly what the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left always aspired to be and never really were.”

Charity and generosity that aren’t: "In a recent stump speech urging people to keep Democrats in power, President Obama told his audience that America is a country based in large measure on the principle that ‘we are all our brothers’ keepers.’ This is not true, but even if it were and even if that idea were itself a good one, President Obama’s political philosophy has nothing to do with it. What the president and those who share his politics believe in is the coercive welfare state, not in charity or generosity.”

Obamacare feeds insurance oligarchs: "Like all regulations declaredly subduing Big Business predominance over consumer’s lives, the new laws synthesize ‘public’ and ‘private’ — both of which are ultimately meaningless in our system — boosting an already corporatist economy for health services. As we might have foreseen, the politicians’ solution nurtures a condition whereby smaller ‘carriers will collapse under the new mandates and higher overhead.’ So in the face of everything the President said about ‘not accept[ing] the status quo as a solution’ in health care, ‘Obamacare’ delivered for Big Insurance, a cartel that loathes competition and welcomes impenetrable regulation.”

The madness of King Jon: "The history of the present chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute tyranny over the people of the United States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Government kills businesses: "The Institute for Justice released a fun video today revealing the trevails of ‘Chuck’ — a poor sucker who wants to start a small business. The video makes a compelling case for how hard it is to start a business in America today. My favorite part is when ‘Chuck’ goes thru the maze of trying to get a street vendor’s permit in the city of Miami. … This video should be required watching for every government official who is getting ready to pass more regulations. ESPECIALLY those who are getting ready to pass more regulations and say that they also want to ‘create jobs.’ When will they learn that the best way to ‘create jobs’ is to LEAVE US ALONE?”

A revolution in sovereignty: "At the end of the 19th century, Nietzsche famously announced that God is dead, which was never a pronouncement of his atheism (though he was one), but more of a statement about the dissapearing authority of the ’spiritual.’ Because of a moral vacuum left by this waning authority, he prophesized that in the next century men would project onto the state a spiritual life they fooled themselves into thinking science had explained away. The terms would be different, but the emotional resonators would remain the same, only at terrifying scale. And that disgruntled German was right. All too right. Nowadays it is by no means an exaggeration to say we live under the Church of Unlimited Government.”

France Returns to Normal after Senate Pension Change: "Strike season in France appears to have ended with a whimper. The French Senate today finalized a vote on pension reform, a college students’ strike barely materialized, and workers at five of France’s 12 oil refineries voted to start work again. After a month of protests, which created excitement and temporarily immobilized parts of the country, union leaders appeared largely unified on a deal to call off the walkouts in exchange for further debate on unemployment aspects of pension reform.”


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 27, 2010

"Openness", Obama-style

Don't ever expect Leftist talk to be matched by their actions

Officials at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public” (emphasis mine, and if that link goes down, The Examiner has kept a copy for its records).

UPDATE: Phacil has changed their job description on their website (without making a note), however here is a link to another job description for the same job that still uses the above as a qualification. They also have not yet returned calls to The Examiner. The side by side comparison of the old and modified versions are at the bottom of this post.

This means that the entire OFS, which is tasked with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is trying to hire people who will withhold information from release to the public.

In fact, according to the website of the staffing company, Phacil (pronounced Fa-SEAL), co-founders Rafael Collado and Sascha Mornell were “thanked by President Obama,” and “commended at the White House during National Small Business Week for being selected the SBA New Jersey State Small Business Persons of the Year.” The contract is listed under service contracts of the Office of Financial Stability in a recent report from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Collado and Mornell are among the top donors at the firm. Mornell has given $12,600 over the years, while Collado has given $6,700. Another donor, Robert Cottingham, listed Phacil as his employer, stating his position as vice president of government affairs.

That Treasury outsourced its mechanism for transparency to a firm with such partisan ties casts new light on a report from Bloomberg News in which Treasury officials have repeatedly obstructed reporters’ requests for information.



Liberal "ideas" boil down to coercion and more coercion

Here’s a letter to the New York Times Book Review from economist Don Boudreaux

A theme that runs with approval throughout Jonathan Alter’s review of recent books on modern “liberalism” is that “liberals,” in contrast to their mindless Cro-Magnon opposites, overflow with ideas (“The State of Liberalism,” Oct. 24).

Indeed they do. But these ideas are almost exclusively about how other people should live their lives. These are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, habits, and even moral sentiments.

Put differently, modern “liberalism’s” ideas are about replacing an unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of ‘Big Ideas’ that are politically selected, centrally imposed, and enforced not by the natural give, take, and compromise of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by guns wielded by those whose overriding ‘idea’ is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history, namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.




Herbert London

You have undoubtedly heard of existentialism, a philosophical position based on personal choice without the benefit of normative judgment. Well I reject it since driving through a red light is hazardous to your health.

However, I am a resistentialist, an eponymous condition in which adherents categorically reject the fatuities of modern life. Let me cite several examples.

Automobile manufacturers produce a car with 300 horse power that can easily achieve speeds of 120 miles per hour so that the car can remain stalled on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour.

Art is often described as post-modern, a school that has flash but no pan. However, if modern is new, how can you be post new? In fact, at what point does new go post?

Texting is the communications channel of the young. But from what I can discern it is an addiction to banality since the text hasn’t any substance and the language is puerile shorthand, e.g. RUOK?

The IPod is one of those devices that permits cultural toxins such as rap music to enter the brain without filter. It inflicts a form of Parkinson’s disease on its adherents who find it very difficult to stand still.

These examples are the symptoms of modernity that resistentialism oppose. Fortunately personal liberty suggests you don’t have to drive a car with a turbo engine or admire Michael Graves’ architecture or use a handheld device to communicate or put any electronic wiring in your ears. But it is hard to avoid the conditions of modernity since they are osmotic, in the cultural air surrounding us.

There aren’t many triumphal moments for the resistentialist, but the few he does experience are memorable. I recall with satisfaction my resistance to the plasma screen TV. After all, I noted, is it really so different from the conventional color TV? “Well,” said the salesman “yes it is different and it will change the nature of viewing.” I wasn’t about to change my viewing patterns and would certainly not do so for $2500. So I resisted. A year later this same television set sold for $2000 and despite entreaties from my family, I remained firmly opposed. By the third year the price was $1200 and I conceded, but at least I had the satisfaction of knowing my resistance saved $1300.



The Meltdown: A brief history lesson

1977: Jimmy Carter (D) signs the Community Reinvestment Act, guaranteeing homes loans to low-income families.

1999: Bill Clinton (D) puts the CRA on steroids by pushing Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (F&F) to increase the number of sub-prime loans (owning a home is now a 'right'.)

1999 (September): New York Times publishes an article, 'Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending', which warned of the coming crisis due to lax lending policies of the Clinton (D) administration.

2003: White House calls Fannie and Freddie a "systemic risk". The Bush (R) administration pushes Congress to enact new regulations.

2003: Barney Frank (D-CN) says F&F are "not in a crisis" and bashes Republicans for crying wolf and calls F&F "Financially Sound" Democrats block Republican sponsored regulation legislation.

2005: Fed Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan voices warning over F&F accounting "We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk"

2005: Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) says "I think F & F over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world."

2006: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) again calls for reform of the regulatory structure that governs F&F.

2006: Democrats again block reform legislation.

2008: Housing market collapses: Democrats blame the Republicans.

Obviously the Republicans aren't free of guilt concerning the cause of this crisis because they didn't try hard enough to prevent it and in some cases allowed it to happen. But as can plainly be seen the Democrats hold the lion's share of blame for the economic meltdown we're currently enjoying.

I received the above by email but it seems pretty right -- JR


Some news summaries from Richard Viguerie

Why NPR must go: Pat Buchanan writes that the issue of terminating federal funding for PBS, NPR and the CPB will be an early test to determine whether the GOP is serious about having learned its lesson from the days of Big Government “conservatism,” arguing that these taxpayer supported entities are ripe for elimination. Buchanan says the firing of Juan Williams helped highlight the need to cut funding, but the main reason for eliminating the money is the simple fact that the government shouldn’t be in the news and entertainment business in the first place.

The voter fraud perpetrators are at it again! Michelle Malkin highlights a pervasive problem throughout the United States, namely rampant voter fraud perpetrated by various leftwing groups that are determined to fix the elections using any means possible – including through largely unaccountable absentee and early voter schemes. Malkin provides the evidence from different parts of the country and underscores the need for Americans to elect state secretaries of state who will enforce the law in determining legal voter registrations.

Good news for the GOP and great news for conservatives from the Battleground poll: Bruce Walker examines the results of the most recent Battleground poll and argues that it bodes very well for Republican candidates in the upcoming elections, and for conservatives in general. Walker says the Battleground poll has been the most consistent over the course of the years, and there’s no reason to doubt that America is truly a conservative-leaning country and that people will vote that way next Tuesday when they go to the polls.

Fed-up Americans: Don’t stop with kicking out incumbents, fire the judges too! Connservatives all across the country are working hard to toss out liberal incumbent congressman, state legislators and governors that don’t listen to the People, and in Iowa, they’re getting the opportunity to “fire” Justices on the state Supreme Court who have proven to be equally contemptuous of tradition and the will of the majority. The Iowa Supreme Court recently overturned the state’s Defense of Marriage Act in order to allow homosexuals to “marry,” and three of those jurists are now on the ballot. Fire the judges too!

President Obama pushes the myth that fat cats favor the GOP: Timothy Carney examines myth (as espoused by President Obama) versus reality (actual figures from the Center for Responsive Politics) in who donates money to candidates, arguing the real numbers would surprise people who only rely on the mainstream media to feed them the “news.” Carney debunks the notion that Republicans are the main beneficiaries of Wall Street contributions (as well as lobbyists and other various special interests), a fantasy that is perpetuated by lazy and biased “journalists” who should be reporting the facts.

Latinos are rejecting Obama’s socialist policies and are going conservative: Hispanic conservative Chris Salcedo states it plainly: President Obama’s greatest accomplishment may be the awakening of the conservative movement in the Latino community. Salcedo cites polls that show Latino support for President Obama’s policies has dropped significantly in this year alone as the traditionally conservative Hispanic culture realizes that liberal socialistic policies are not in line with what they believe. As a result, Salcedo argues, a major shift could be taking place in the country’s fastest growing demographic group.




WikiLeaks leaks all over the anti-war cause: "Is WikiLeaks just a curnning front for the American military-industrial complex? First its latest document dump showed that Lancet exaggerated by 600 per cent when it published its notorious paper claiming the liberation of iraq cost the lives of 655,000 Iraqis. Now it’s confirmed that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction - and the experts to resume production once the US backed down: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction".

Protect deployed parents’ rights: "Divorced or separated military parents often lose custody of their children — and sometimes permanently forfeit any meaningful role in their lives — simply because they have served their country. Many married parents deploy overseas, never suspecting that their parenthood essentially ended the day they left home. The divorce rate in the Armed Forces has skyrocketed during the long deployments necessitated by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Obama’s imaginary tax cuts: "How many times have you heard the president and the congressional Democrats say Americans who make less than $200,000 a year have not had, and will not have, any of their taxes increased? Unfortunately, it is not true, and it is likely to become a whole lot worse. The 111th Congress has already enacted $352 billion in net tax increases and may, in the upcoming lame-duck session, enact the largest tax increases in history, which will hit every man, woman and child — as well as every business in America.”

To fix the economy, let bad banks die: "Two years ago, many of the nation’s largest banks should have failed — because their business model failed. That business model was willful incompetence. Back then, banks, including Countrywide Financial, now part of Bank of America, showcased this incompetence in helping homeowners borrow money they could never repay. Today, thanks to Washington’s bailouts, the bad banks are still alive. So is their disastrous business model.”

Ethiopia shows the damage that aid can do: "HRW have shown in chilling detail how aid money given to the Ethiopian government has been used to coerce people into supporting the regime. Aid-funded education programmes are turned into government ideology reeducation camps; projects aimed at feeding the country’s poor are used to deprive the regime’s opponents of food; and other aid money is channelled to fund ‘retraining’ of judges and teachers. In short, Western aid money is being used by the Ethiopian government to create a totalitarian regime.”

Animal rights fanatics in New Zealand ban kosher meat: "New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to outlaw kosher slaughter since the Nazis enacted similar legislation in Europe over 70 years ago. New Zealand Jews may soon be the only Jews in the world who can no longer eat chicken. Your children or grandchildren may never experience a Passover with chicken soup and matzah balls, or ask the meaning of the lamb shank on your family’s Seder plate. "Some kosher meat (but not chicken) may be able to be imported, for a limited period. It is likely however that if we lose the right to practise shechita, then the ability to import kosher meat will soon follow."


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 26, 2010

Always get it in writing -- on paper

The foreclosure crisis has highlighted again a major flaw of our modern economy: the fragility of ownership and property rights in the Internet age. Quite apart from the possibility of an EMP field blanking out everybody’s servers, the sheer complexity of computer-managed structures such as securitization can make them very difficult if not impossible to unravel. At some point, we will all pay a major price for this flaw.

Securitization was always going to involve these kinds of problems. The idea that you can take a simple instrument like a home mortgage and dice up payments from it in hundreds of different directions, with mortgages being securitized and re-securitized, worked all right in the investment banks’ computers, but would never have worked on paper! Naturally, with sloppiness all round and a fair admixture of fraud, together with a lot of expensive lawyers available, the result has been an unholy mess. Even without fraud in the computer systems themselves, the passage of time, as not only the original deals but the original deal management systems become forgotten, will ensure that ownership rights become untraceable. For a substantial percentage – perhaps 5%, perhaps 10% -- of the mortgages written between 2002 and 2007, this process will result in the property rights, in both the mortgage and the underlying house, becoming unenforceable because the evidence for them does not exist in unambiguous form.

While securitization has given rise to the most immediate problems, there are other areas in which property rights have been rendered more uncertain by computerization. Dematerialized bonds and stocks, the great back-office fad of the 1980s and 1990s, mean that investors are now completely dependent on the record-keeping capabilities of New Jersey computer servers. Banks, investment companies and credit card companies increasingly badger their customers to go “paperless” thus leaving themselves with no tangible record of their assets and liabilities.

The dangers of this are obvious. The science fiction threat of an “EMP” nuclear attack is far greater now than it was in the early days of the Internet around 1995-96, although electronic equipment was already as vulnerable then as it is now. Back then, banks still sent paper statements and transactions in general generated a blizzard of paper, even though the Internet was rapidly becoming a popular means of communication. Hence an EMP destruction of the 1995-6 Internet would have left us with written records of almost all significant transactions. That is far from being the case today. Far from having improved our defenses against EMP we have made ourselves infinitely more vulnerable. Like holders of California subprime mortgages with inadequate documentation, our property rights have been sharply diminished.

Ownership rights were not particularly solid in the ancient world; there was always the risk that someone with more clout or simply a bigger band of thugs would dispossess you. Outside Song Dynasty China, the first attempt at a society with solid ownership rights occurred in the reign of England’s Henry VII. He established the rule of law, even applying it to the baronage and setting up a system of Justices of the Peace to enforce prohibitions against random thuggery. His Tudor and early Stuart successors violated property rights frequently, but after the Restoration the protection of property rights increased rapidly – an increase that coincided with Britain’s economic take-off and to some extent caused it.

The high point of property rights in Britain came under the great Tory governments of 1783-1830. By that time, the legal system worked well, under the benign guidance for most of the period of Lord Chancellor Eldon. With a sound monetary system, property rights could thereby be preserved over astonishingly long periods. In Anthony Trollope’s first Barchester novel “The Warden,” published in 1855 the plot revolves around a bequest for Hiram’s Hospital that had been made in 1434. By the time of the novel, roughly the late 1840s, the bequest has increased in value, providing an excellent income for the hospital’s warden, Septimus Harding.

The gradual erosion of property rights after 1830 is however illustrated by the novel’s central struggle to update the terms of the bequest more in line with the money values and moral principles of the Whig 19th Century, depriving Harding of most of his income. Harding and his supporters the Bishop of Barchester and Archdeacon Grantly base their case on the values of their pre-1830 youth; in the Whig world of two decades later they are eventually defeated. However the protection and expansion of the Hiram’s Hospital property rights for 400 years is a notable example of the stability of both money values and society as a whole that emerged in the centuries following John Hiram’s death.

Thus in Trollope’s world, 400-year old documents kept in strong boxes by family solicitors (or, in that case, those of the Diocese of Barchester) were still rock-solid evidence for the disposition of substantial sums of money. Those property rights had already begun breaking down in 1855 and were sadly further eroded by the 20th century tendencies of governments toward expropriation, ruinous taxation and currency debasement. The virtualization of records has now taken that unhappy process a massive stage further.

One has only to think of the chances of making a successful claim in the year 2410 based on today’s computerized records to realize how far property rights have sunk. Computer databases are updated every 2-3 years and after a few “generations” of such updates become unusable. Even ten years ago, the massive panic over the Y2K problem, based on inadequate programs that were at that stage only 20-30 years old, shows how quickly data stored in virtual form can be rendered inaccessible. In addition, there’s the destructibility of the computers themselves, which has become a far worse problem with the new migration of data to cell-phones and tablets. (Desktops were equally likely to be smashed when you dropped them, but they were much less likely to be dropped, since they were not considered “portable.”)

If John Hiram’s will were made today therefore, and kept in virtual form, it would become a major data recovery problem by 2030 and entirely unavailable by 2050 or so. (Bizarrely destructive monetary policies might well also make his legacy valueless in that time!) Within a tenth of the period for which the original Hiram’s will was preserved by the Diocese of Barchester’s solicitors, and the value of his property preserved by good management aided by mostly sound monetary policies, the property of a new John Hiram would have been decimated, and the evidence for its existence destroyed.

This problem will get worse not better. Its ramifications will become exponentially more obvious as the virtualization revolution ages, and only concerted action, nowhere currently in view, can remove it.



A Mass Nervous Breakdown of the Left

The left can be mean, vicious, and deceitful. I've recently concluded, however, that the left is having, before our eyes, a mass nervous breakdown at the prospects of its collapse, exacerbated by the lost prospect of being on the verge of something really big. They thought they had won. Now, they're seeing it all crumble in a mountain of unsustainable debt, a loss of freedom, and an awakening of voter awareness of who's and what's at fault.

I first came to the conclusion that the left had crossed a sanity threshold to the point that its arguments were hurting its cause when President Obama and the patsy chorus on the left began attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other very American entities, without proof, of using foreign money on political ads.

The president himself had taken contributions of questionable origin. The left raises money from multinational sources the same way as those they accuse, but the left probably has a problem twice as incriminating. That angle of attack was a tactical error that sane, strategically thinking people would not make. It's irrational.

There have been many other instances -- too many to mention in this piece -- but I don't recall ever seeing the like of the disproportionate, unhinged attacks on Christine O'Donnell for her statements addressing the Establishment Clause in her Widener Law School debate with Chris Coons.

The left couldn't possibly want that one Delaware Senate seat enough to match their vitriol.

It's important to understand the context in which the Establishment Clause issue was addressed at the debate. Chris Coons said that only evolution must be taught in schools, and that intelligent design is prohibited from being discussed, even as a dissenting footnote to the conclusion that man was not created by God (who, then, consistent with Marxist doctrine, cannot be the source of our rights).

As I and others have pointed out, Ms. O'Donnell was right about the Establishment Clause. The mere debate, though, unravels many on the left.

Our president, for example, has stubbornly and repeatedly removed reference to "the Creator" from his quotations of the Declaration of Independence. That omission does little to motivate his base, enough of whom still believe God is the source of our rights, but it is a frontal attack on our most fundamental American principle -- that we are endowed with rights by God -- and is therefore an affront to most Americans' sense of being and security.

The omission is an irrational act, like the false, vitriolic representations of Christine O'Donnell's Establishment Clause comments. Those attacks on our fundamental, existential notions of who we are have already begun to unleash a torrent of thoughtful articles, blogs, and discussions about the bastardization of the Establishment Clause and, concomitantly, why control by the federal Department of Education should be replaced by state and local controls.

If nothing else, eliminating the Department of Education, which has been with us only since 1980 and is neither essential nor necessarily constitutional, would result in many billions of dollars saved for the states and localities. There is no constitutional question about fifty state departments of education, and once people understand how much money is spent and wasted by the U.S. Department of Education, and by states complying with its mandates, wiser heads will prevail.

Also, the national debate that will evolve will expose how the separation of church and state doctrine has become an excuse by which the left actually under-educates our children and is used to impede real First Amendment freedoms.

Religion, education, and even science, properly and thoughtfully addressed, are not only compatible, but often are inextricably linked. That's rational. Those who say religion may not be addressed in schools have an agenda, but that agenda is collapsing. And there are enough people on the left who understand correctly that the separation of church and state doctrine was not intended to remove discussion of religion, for religion's good or for its misuse, from the public square or within schools.

Would, for example, it be permissible for the federal government to ban the teaching of how religion has played a role in America's history, that religion played a role in the art of Michaelangelo, or that religion played a central role in the motivations and science of Galileo ("I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use")?

Would such teachings violate the separation of church and state? Or would the absence of such teachings deprive students of real knowledge?

The media, by showing a consuming, irrational rage over one relatively inconsequential race, has opened Pandora's box. They have made a larger debate front and center. The Tea Parties and new, fresh candidates will challenge notions and assumptions that have not been challenged enough in decades by go-along Republicans.

The left will laugh and mock those attempts. That's good. That's what got them into trouble in the first place. They're too crazed to understand that.

In fact, many people never experienced personally the savage, disingenuous, doctrinaire political media attacks until they became active in the Tea Parties. A sane person on the left would understand that what the left is doing is actually fulfilling Christine O'Donnell's "I'm you" ad. Sane-thinking people don't do things intentionally that hurt their own cause.



Comparing Jews to Nazis Meets NPR's 'Editorial Standards and Practices'

"[Juan Williams'] remarks were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." - Statement issued by NPR

Remember what National Public Radio did to its foreign editor Loren Jenkins last year after he said, "Israel has used Gaza as a bombing target practice"?

They did nothing to him, for he was simply espousing the reckless anti-Israel hyperbole that is business-as-usual for NPR. Addressing an audience at an Aspen public radio event, Jenkins also said that Israel "created the biggest ghetto we've ever known" and is therefore responsible for the likelihood that Gazans "are all going to be turned into Palestinian terrorists because they have nothing else to do."

Andrea Levin of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), who reported on Jenkins' inflammatory falsehoods, also recounted his history of equating Jews with Nazis and softening the image of Palestinian terrorists:

That Jenkins, who clearly harbors prejudicial views about Israel, remains ensconced at NPR with influence over what is broadcast about the Middle East should be a worry to those who care about decent and factual coverage of the region.

An earlier CAMERA study of NPR bias found its editors and reporters working on behalf of organizations that vilify the Jewish state:

... Significantly, Jenkins has regularly appeared at events sponsored by the stridently anti-Israel American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC), and [reporter] Kate Seelye was for a number of years beginning in the late 1980's the ADC's Manager of Media Relations.

Not surprisingly, the report found, "[e]ntirely one-sided programs were commonplace, whether devoted to assailing Ariel Sharon as a 'war criminal,' to characterizing Israel as a 'Jim Crow' nation which should be done away with in its 'apartheid' form, or to blaming Israel for excessive violence, anti-American riots in Arab capitals and erosion of a supposed Arab commitment to peace."

Perhaps nothing reveals NPR's true colors more dramatically than their hiring of Hamas enthusiast Ali Abunimah (perhaps best-known as an early ally of President Obama on Mideast issues) as a commentator -- and their promise in 1998 to blacklist terrorism expert Steven Emerson when Abunimah demanded it.

Jeff Jacoby noted that Steven Emerson had achieved the status of "the nation's foremost expert on Islamic terrorism" when Abunimah set out to have him silenced.




The fallacy of TARP profits: "In the end, we were right. The entire Wall Street bailout has cost taxpayers billions while not improving the economy in the slightest. It surely has not improved the housing market or the job market — the unemployment rate stands at a high 9.6 percent. In fact, a Congressional Oversight Panel report says that ‘there is very little evidence to suggest that (TARP) led small banks to increase lending.’”

Insurance lessons from Alabama: "While Alabama certainly has some ambiguous laws and archaic regulations, the federal government ought to take a lesson from Alabama when it comes to property insurance. In an effort to keep the state’s insurer of last resort solvent (meaning it will have enough money to pay the claims people are likely to file), Bob Groves, manager of the state-run insurer, announced that they will no longer issue policies for homes built over or standing in water.”

One more reason why Britain really does not need the European Union: "Idly browsing, as I do, I came across this fascinating little post about the cost of transport. As a decent approximation, getting 30 tonnes of anything from anywhere to anywere now costs around $5,000. If, and only if, you’re on the container routes (either sea or rail). Which means that, again to a reasonable level of approximation, distance is no longer really a concern in trade matters. … It simply isn’t true any more that geography determines the costs of trade: thus geography shouldn’t be an influence upon trade policies.”


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 25, 2010

Barack Obama echoes anti-Americanism of Europe in calling voters stupid

Obama and his fellow Democrats are mocking Republicans and the Tea Party as stupid. But they could be the ones who look foolish on election day

So what is the closing argument of Barack Obama's Democrats before next Tuesday's midterm elections? The President is no longer the self-proclaimed "hope-monger" of 2008, who vaingloriously declared that his vanquishing Hillary Clinton marked "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal".

He has stopped patting voters on the back for choosing, by voting for him, to listen not to their doubts or fears but to their "greatest hopes and highest aspirations". Instead, he is berating Americans (most of whom now do not believe he deserves a second term) for not being able to "think clearly" because they're "scared".

Having failed to change Washington or, as he promised that night in St Paul, Minnesota in June 2008, to provide "good jobs to the jobless" (unemployment was 7.7 per cent when he took office and is 9.6 per cent now), Obama is changing tack. Boiled down, the new Obama message to Americans is: you're too stupid to overcome your fears.

To be fair, it's not entirely new. During the 2008 campaign, Obama was caught on tape at a San Francisco fund-raiser saying it was not surprising that voters facing economic hardship "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them".

At a fund-raiser in Massachusetts this month, Obama spoke of Democrats having "facts and science and argument" on their side. As opposed, presumably, to the lies, superstition and prejudice that Republicans rely on.

This year, Democrats have embraced with gusto the notion that Republicans, and by extension anyone thinking of voting for them, are dimwits. Their mirth over the likes of Tea Party figures like Christine O'Donnell, the former anti-masturbation activist who once she had "dabbled" in witchcraft and is now a no-hoper Senate candidate in Delaware, seems to know no bounds.

The most chortling of all about the populist Tea Party and its anti-tax, anti-government uprising against the Republican establishment can be found on the shows of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the edgy liberal satirists on Comedy Central. Mocking Republican candidates last week, Stewart declared the midterm elections as "the best chance ever for a bowl of fresh fruit" to be elected.

Three days before the elections, Stewart will hold a "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington on the same day as Colbert, who adopts the character of a Right-wing talk show host, leads a "March to Keep Fear Alive". The thinly-disguised message: Republicans are crazies who trade on fear.

In choosing California and Massachusetts, two of the most liberal states in the union, to demean ordinary Americans during election campaigns, Obama did not display a whole lot of his much-vaunted intelligence. But Obama's decision to plug Stewart's rally approvingly and appear on his show three days beforehand is even more foolish.

In the 1990s, Democrats managed to get away from their image as "eggheads" in the 1950s or "pointy-headed liberals" in the 1970s. Bill Clinton spoke like a Good Ol' Boy from the Deep South, ate junk food and enjoyed trashy women. He was clever, but he did not look down on people.

Obama, by contrast, has become a parody of the Ivy League liberal smugly content with his own intellectual superiority and pitying the poor idiots who disagree with him. It is an approach that shares much with the default anti-Americanism of British and European elites, who love to mock the United States as a country full of gun-toting, bible-clutching morons.

David Cameron [Centrist British PM] has made nods to this sniffy condescension, speaking of the Sarah Palin phenomenon as being "hard for us to understand" (how about giving it a go, Dave?) and describing American conservatism, inaccurately, as moving in a "very culture war direction". This might be part of the reason why he seems to have hit it off with Obama.

The problem for Obama and the Democrats is that belittling the Tea Party movement, which is taking hold of much of Middle America, merely fuels the popular sense that the party in power is out of touch. It also highlights the reluctance of Obama and the Democrats to discuss the Wall Street bail-out, economic stimulus and health care bills because they know they are not vote winners.

Joining the Europeans in mocking ordinary Americans for their supposed idiocy may play well at big-dollar fund-raisers. In adopting this as a political strategy, however, the Democrats could be the ones who end up looking stupid.



A problem with socialism

by Roderick T. Beaman

Like many others, I flirted for a while with socialism when I was in high school. I think many have. It seemed sensible on paper but then I saw how the world really worked.

William Buckley once responded to a high school student who had written that he thought Buckley was horribly wrong and that John Kenneth Galbraith was correct about economics. Buckley responded that the high school student was at the perfect age to appreciate John Kenneth Galbraith; another perfect putdown by the Enfant Terrible.

During the 1960s, there were many variants of this saying; if you’re not part of the solution, at least don’t be part of the problem. As I grew up, I saw more and more that government was the problem.

The 1964 election had promised to be one of the most interesting in history until the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Barry Goldwater was considered the favorite of rank and file Republicans to be nominated to face Kennedy in his reelection bid.

Kennedy’s assassination elevated the loathsome Lyndon B. Johnson to the presidency and he immediately embarked upon the imposition of his Great Society that was so broad and so deep that we are still absorbing its effects, 41 years after he left office. The election instead became a referendum on the sentiments for a dead man’s agenda. Johnson swamped Goldwater, taking 44 states with Goldwater winning six.

Enter the Monday morning quarterbacking. The New York Times, which had been endorsing Democrats for years, began telling Republicans what they did wrong. It anointed Cong. John V. Lindsay for Mayor the following year. He was the Moses who would lead the GOP out of the Goldwater wilderness.

Lindsay was Yale educated, handsome and from New York City’s fabled Silk Stocking District of Manhattan’s East Side. He was also as reliably liberal as any liberal Democrat, voting for just about every New Frontier and Great Society program. Lindsay had never seen a taxpayer’s dollar that he didn’t want to spend.

Lindsay was elected beating Buckley, the Conservative Party nominee, the only time he ever ran for office, and Democrat Abraham Beame. The spending began.

Lindsay was greeted in 1966 with a 12-day subway strike under the Transit Worker’s Union leader Mike Quill, who’d had a deep and long association with the Communist Party of the USA. (In an interesting sidelight, Quill’s communist roots were never mentioned by the various media during the strike. I never knew about it until years after. Why am I not surprised by that?) He’d broken with them in 1948 but there could be no doubt that his orientation was socialist. He extracted a generous contract from the Lindsay Administration and died three days later. The contract, and concessions to others, left the city teetering.

Lindsay responded with (drum roll, please), you guessed it, a tax increase in the form of the City’s first income tax. It went into effect in September 1966.

At that time, I was working as an electrician’s helper in Local Union #3 in the city. We were contracted to a 6-hour workday but almost everyone was working seven hours a day. For paid holidays, we received the contract pay for just six hours, not the usual seven we worked.

One day we were asked to work overtime one hour and most of us jumped at the opportunity for some extra pay. That pay week though, encompassed the Labor Day weekend and the one hour of overtime just balanced the 6-hour holiday pay and brought us up to our usual 35 hours pay week. That week, the city’s income tax also went into effect so we netted less than what we had been.

One fellow worker said that if he had known that, he wouldn’t have grabbed the extra hour of overtime and just accepted the smaller paycheck. The take home lesson is that this is an example of how people react within a system. It is all so very predictable and our governmentalist politicians, (fascist, progressive, liberal and socialist) rarely take into account how people will react within a system.

Rhode Island has, as many states have had, a long tradition of vanity license plates. The car owner pays some extra fees and has some special combination of letters to spell something or his initials, etc. It raises some extra revenue for the state treasury and is a harmless venture for the driver.

When Bruce Sundlun, a Democrat, became governor in 1991, the state was facing a revenue shortfall. Together with the solidly Democratic legislature (in Rhode Island, that’s redundant), they decided to double the fees for vanity plates. They assumed that the revenue would increase markedly, possibly double. Instead, people who had held particular plates for years, even decades, simply decided they weren’t worth it and turned them in for regular plates. My wife and I did it for each of our plates and four or five other people and couples we knew did the same. While I don’t know the exact figures, I am sure that the actual revenue realized was far less than what had been predicted just from the experience and I am sure the many people at the State House never even considered the possibility that a lot of people would simply turn in their plates.

I am also befuddled by politicians, of all stripes, who rail against ‘price gouging’ during emergencies. Of course, any serious student of economics knows that there is no such thing as price gouging. Either the marketplace sustains a price or it doesn’t. As many far wiser minds than mine have noted, the price mechanism represents an opportunity for signals of needs or excesses to be passed through the market to others for problems to be corrected.

During the recent spate of hurricanes to hit Florida, Attorney General Bill McCollum has been out there in front of the cameras (for any politician that’s almost redundant) was out there, thundering, about various businesses price gouging. It certainly appeals to voters (is anything a politician does, not geared to voters?) but it doesn’t stand up to examination.

In storms, floods and other natural disasters, one of the first things to be needed is water. Oh yes, it may impress as unseemly for a merchant to jack up his price for water after a storm but it does provide an important signal for the need for more. If someone has a truck with few other resources to otherwise drive to, say Tennessee, to bring back a truckload, would not the possibility of earning some money to do it, afford him the wherewithal? I think this is an intelligent question but few politicians can answer intelligent questions.

The merchant or businessman has several choices in such a matter. He can simply close his shop or refuse to sell the item in question or he can sell them at the regular price and soon be exhausted of them. In any case, he is left with no resources to correct it and in the first two cases, no need whatsoever is met.

The ultimate example of governmental stupidity (I apologize here for any redundancy) is the rent control situation in New York City. It was first enacted nationally in 1943 by (are you really surprised by this?) Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was considered an emergency at the time (what government action isn’t?) and has been in effect ever since.

The force of logic shows that price controls on anything leads to shortages or distortions in the market. Rent control has been shown to lead to a two-tiered system of rents. The simplest thing would be to terminate the program but political pressures from people who have stayed in their sub-market priced residences for decades will lead a march on City Hall to protest any such attempts. The controls are part of many systemic reasons why there is a huge dearth of medium priced apartments The Big Apple. There is a great need but socialism or governmentalism gets in the way of a solution.

So there we see government getting in the way or its ventures not living up to expectations. It’s the limit of politics and government as Buckley said in his campaign. People will react in ways that are simply not anticipated but nevertheless are very predictable. They will always move in the direction of their own perceived self-interest. The problem is they may not move in what the state’s perceived self-interest. They may decide not to work or to turn in their license plates rather than pay the extra price, they may simply withdraw from participation.

And what is the state’s ultimate weapon against the people when they act in their own self-interest rather than the state’s? Why penalties. Imprisonment. And ultimately, execution.




The mystery of FDR unraveled: "For seventy-plus years, the case of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has vexed people of a libertarian bent. His policies, extending war socialism based on Mussolini’s economic structure, expanded the American State to an unthinkable extent, and prolonged the Great Depression through the horrific World War II. Normalcy did not return until after his wartime controls were repealed and the budget was cut. Lasting economic recovery began in 1948. And the guy that made all that happen is a hero? His picture is on the (depreciated) dime.”

The real reason for FDR’s popularity: "All presidents worry about their popularity. They try to bolster it through impassioned rhetoric, free stuff for influential voting blocs, new programs that cost billions, dramatic photo ops, and of course wars to unite the country behind their valiant leadership. In most all cases, they choose means of gaining popularity that come at the expense of liberty.”

ME: City considers letting non-citizens vote: "Like his neighbors, Claude Rwaganje pays taxes on his income and taxes on his cars. His children have gone to Portland’s public schools. He’s interested in the workings of Maine’s largest city, which he has called home for 13 years. There’s one vital difference, though: Rwaganje isn’t a U.S. citizen and isn’t allowed to vote on those taxes or on school issues. That may soon change. Portland, Maine, residents will vote Nov. 2 on a proposal to give legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections, joining places like San Francisco and Chicago that have already loosened the rules or are considering it. Non-citizens hold down jobs, pay taxes, own businesses, volunteer in the community and serve in the military, and it’s only fair they be allowed to vote, Rwaganje said.”

Mountain roads, take me home: "A natural camaraderie exists among people who work for a living and don’t have much. I didn’t exactly work, but I had grown up around people who did, and knew how to fit in. It wasn’t surprising that they offered to share their vodka with a stranger. Talk to anyone who has hitchhiked extensively. He will tell you that the likelihood that a car will stop is inversely proportional to the price of the car. People who have needed help are inclined to provide help.”

A better way than the VA?: "If you listen to Democratic campaign ads in Colorado, Nevada, or Delaware, among other places, you will discover yet another perfidious plot by evil Republicans — they want to ‘privatize the VA.’ Which makes one respond, ‘This is a horrible thing because … why?’”

How much air superiority does a man need?: "The chatter is skittering on the sheen of the Obama and Israel-approved Saudi purchase of 84 old and technically degraded F-15s. As this sale promotes the MIC and is agreeable to AIPAC, Congressional approval of this proposed sale is moot. In terms of military capability shifts, as Jeff Huber at explains, is it much ado about not much. The sale simply enhances Saudi Arabia’s capability to do what we ourselves do with our F-15s, primarily argue amongst ourselves about which old man is going to take a joy ride. Expensive fun counts for plenty, if you are a servant of the state.”

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


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


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