Saturday, December 04, 2010

Behind that unemployment rise to 9.8%

An all-out attack on employers from the Obamabots

There is some very scary stuff happening inside of Obama’s Department of Labor that should cause you to shudder. As John Fund at the WSJ points, out the Department of Labor is up to no good, as usual.

Labor’s Office of the Solicitor released a plan that has been adopted as the standard operating procedure which highlights just how much DOL and the Obama administration dislike business. DOL is looking at doing the following things to intimidate businesses, as Fund reports:

Patricia Smith, who heads the solicitor’s office, told me in an interview yesterday that the plan is a “living document” that will “never be finalized.” Whatever its status, it includes the following:

• “Identify a public affairs liaison in each Regional Office” to “send stronger, clearer messages to the regulated community about DOL’s emphasis on litigation.”

One tactic to be employed by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) division will be to “deter [employers] through shaming.” Ms. Smith told me she didn’t know what that means. But whatever it might involve, it doesn’t sound appropriate for an agency charged with carrying out the law in an even-handed fashion.

• “Engage in enterprise-wide enforcement.” Ms. Smith said that means targeting multiple work sites of the same company. A department source says it also is likely to involve enforcement agents from the Wage and Hour Division and from OSHA showing up at the same time. The plan also calls for “Imposing shorter deadlines for implementing remedial measures in conciliation agreements and consent decrees.”

• “Engage in greater use of injunctive relief,” which means using court injunctions rather than fines to enforce compliance. The department plan also wants to “identify and pursue test cases” that could stretch the meaning of the law.

DOL is drawing a line in the sand on where they stand with business. DOL is the regulator, and whatever they say goes and if you refuse to go along, you will wish you did.

But it gets worse. While DOL tightens the screws on business and the folks responsible for providing jobs to Americans, they are turning their gaze away from Big Labor, the money sucking, job killing group of thieves:

But while the Department of Labor prepares for a hyper-aggressive enforcement strategy against business, it has rolled back Bush-era reforms mandating greater union transparency. Just this week the department rescinded its Form T-1, which required unions to report on strike funds and other accounts under union control.

The Labor Department is also planning to transfer responsibility for whistleblower investigations from OSHA (which currently has 80 investigators on this beat) to the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), which oversees union financial integrity. But the Obama administration has severely cut funding and staff for OLMS. There are 187 OLMS investigators, down from 223 last year. With additional responsibilities, the office’s ability to investigate embezzlements and union corruption will be further hindered.

This work is important. Since 2001, OLMS investigations have resulted in 972 indictments for various financial misdeeds, with 905 of them resulting in convictions. As a result, $88 million in restitution was made to rank-and-file union members.

There you have it folks. If you aren’t part of the chosen class, which would be swearing allegiance to a labor union where you can have your paycheck shanghaied each week, then you are at the mercy of the Labor Department.

SOURCE

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How Obama & Co. are Creating Another Housing Bubble

Leftists never learn. They don't want to learn

It is hard to believe, but it looks like the government will soon use the taxpayers' checkbook again to create a vast market for mortgages with low or no down payments and for overstretched borrowers with blemished credit. As in the period leading to the 2008 financial crisis, these loans will again contribute to a housing bubble, which will feed on government funding and grow to enormous size. When it collapses, housing prices will drop and a financial crisis will ensue. And, once again, the taxpayers will have to bear the costs.

In doing this, Congress is repeating the same policy mistake it made in 1992. Back then, it mandated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac compete with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for high-risk loans. Unhappily for both their shareholders and the taxpayers, Fannie and Freddie won that battle.

Now the Dodd-Frank Act, which imposed far-reaching new regulation on the financial system after the meltdown, allows the administration to substitute the FHA for Fannie and Freddie as the principal and essentially unlimited buyer of low-quality home mortgages. There is little doubt what will happen then.

As in the period leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, these loans will again contribute to a housing bubble, which will feed on government funding and grow to enormous size.

Since the federal takeover of Fannie and Freddie in 2008, the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs’) regulator has limited their purchases to higher-quality mortgages. Affordable housing requirements Congress adopted in 1992 and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administered until 2008 have been relaxed. These had required Fannie and Freddie to buy the low-quality mortgages that ultimately drove them into insolvency and will cause enormous losses for the taxpayers.

The latest regulatory change does not reduce the total losses that taxpayers will suffer from HUD's policies; those losses, estimated at about $400 billion, are baked in the cake. But the higher lending standards now required of Fannie and Freddie should reduce future losses.

Not so for the FHA. While everyone has been watching Fannie and Freddie, the administration has quietly shifted most federal high-risk mortgage initiatives to FHA, the government's original subprime lender. Along with two other federal agencies, FHA now accounts for about 60 percent of all U.S. home purchase mortgage originations. This amounts to more than $1 trillion and is rising rapidly. The administration justifies this policy by saying it is necessary to support the mortgage market, yet borrowers are once again receiving high-risk loans.

The goal of Congress and regulators should be to foster the residential mortgage market’s return to the standards that used to prevail in 1990, before the affordable housing requirements were imposed on Fannie and Freddie. At that time, mortgages required 10 to 20 percent down payments, and were only made to borrowers with good credit and relatively low debt-to-income ratios. When loans of this kind were the standard in the residential mortgage market, we did not have financial crises brought on by the collapse of a housing bubble.

The Dodd-Frank Act, however, exempts FHA and other government agencies from appropriate standards on mortgage quality. This will give low-quality mortgages a direct route into the market once again; it will be like putting Fannie and Freddie back in the same business, but with an explicit government guarantee.

For example, thanks to expanded government lending, 60 percent of home purchase loans now have down payments of less than 5 percent, compared to 40 percent at the height of the bubble, and the FHA projects that it will increase its insured loans total to $1.34 trillion by 2013. Indeed, the FHA just announced its intention to push almost half of its home purchase volume into subprime territory by 2014-2017, essentially a guarantee to put taxpayers at risk again.

What is the answer? The Dodd-Frank Act needs significant amendment, so that it applies quality standards to FHA and other government agencies. This should not seriously impair credit availability for low-income borrowers with good credit. For many years, until it had to compete with Fannie and Freddie for affordable loans, FHA had reasonably good standards for the mortgages it would insure. As late as 1990, only 4 percent of the loans it insured had down payments of 3 percent or less, though by 2008 this number was 44 percent.

Establishing reasonable lending standards for the FHA, while still allowing it to make loans to low-income borrowers, would assure that the agency does not become the unworthy successor to Fannie and Freddie.

Dodd-Frank was badly designed in numerous ways. Many observers have noted that it did not address the government housing policies that caused the financial crisis. A first order of business for the new Congress should be to correct this error by requiring that the FHA and other government mortgage lenders abide by reasonable mortgage lending standards.

SOURCE

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Cure or Care?

Which do you think is less expensive, not to mention preferable: a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, or caring for people with these diseases? Wouldn't it be better medical and public policy to direct more resources toward finding a cure for diseases that cost a lot to treat than to rely on a government insurance program, such as Obamacare, which seeks mainly to help pay the bills for people after they become ill?

Isn't the answer obvious? Apparently not to many politicians trapped in an old paradigm that focuses too much on hospitals, doctors and medicines and too little on medical research and preventive care so that people will not need hospitals, doctors or medicines.

The pursuit of cures as a priority is a subject that has been taken up by my colleague James Pinkerton in his forthcoming book entitled "Serious Medicine Strategy" and on his blog at www.seriousmedicinestrategy.org.

It's not that we are failing to fund research to cure diseases that end lives too early. Rather, it is a failure of political leadership to make research a priority in their speeches and policies. Think back more than 50 years ago to when the political and medical communities united and led the public toward a cure for polio and the elimination of the need for "iron lungs." This Herculean effort was the medical equivalent of going to the moon.

Why can't we create a united front to find cures for diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and other ailments? Pinkerton believes it's because of "the baneful influence of the Food and Drug Administration and the trial lawyers. If the government would protect the ability of entrepreneurs and scientists to create products without getting sued into oblivion, capital would come pouring into the pharma sector, not only from American investors, but from investors around the world." That's because, he notes, people in Europe and Asia now suffer from the same diseases as Americans.

Republicans, especially, should pick up on this strategy of cures before care. Instead, most Republicans are singularly focused on repealing the president's health care "reform" law. It should be repealed, or at least experience an extreme makeover, but repealing that law doesn't cure anyone of anything. And here's the double benefit that Obamacare claims for itself, which can never materialize. Finding cures for diseases helps people live healthier lives, and it's cost efficient. Look at the money saved from no longer having to treat victims of polio, smallpox and tuberculosis. Imagine the savings when a cure is eventually found for cancer. Plus, the retirement age could be easily raised as older people work longer and live more vigorous, productive (and tax-generating) lives.

What's not to like about any of this? Republican presidential candidates in 2012 -- and a Republican president should the GOP win that election -- could change the direction and content of the entire health care debate, if they fashioned a strategy for going to the "medical moon" by a certain and attainable date. We are close to a cure for some diseases, but far from a cure for others. Let's begin with those closest to a cure.

Ask yourself: would you rather be healthy and fit and live a long life, or be taken care of in your illness by a government health system that sees you as a burden and is constantly trying to reduce care and lower costs? Ask the English, who are currently experiencing the downside to poor care.

The problem is that once a nation has made a wrong turn, it is difficult if not impossible to reverse course. America still has time to make the right choice and move in the direction of cures. Now all we need is the political leadership to point the way.

SOURCE

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Pres. Emptyhead actually believes that the government puts people back to work

When it's actually the biggest obstacle to job creation

This Monday, during his remarks regarding the federal workforce pay freezes, President Barack Obama said, "And I'm going to be interested in hearing ideas from my Republican colleagues, as well as Democrats, about how we continue to grow the economy and how we put people back to work."

He actually believes that the government puts people back to work. Government can transfer wealth from one group to another -- but people and businesses put people back to work. More often than not, the government gets in the way of putting people back to work.

For example, my part-time assistant on Tuesday called a government agency to apply for a government number. She was put on hold for an hour. When she finally reached someone and asked a question, she was transferred to another department, which again put her on hold. She finally had to hang up to go attend to her preschool children.

I'm not sure how more government is going to create more jobs, but I know how government can make it too hard and too costly for people to run businesses.

Obama continued Monday, "Today I'm proposing a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal workers." He's about two years too late. Most of my friends have had their pay frozen, cut or eliminated during the past two years. Glad Obama thinks it's time for the government to join the rest of us.

If Obama administration officials understood the fundamentals of our country's structure, they would understand that taxes are not the government's revenue -- but the people's expense. President Calvin Coolidge understood this when he said, " I want taxes to be less, so that the people may have more."

More HERE

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

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

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

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Europe is printing huge amounts of new money too

Savings worldwide are being robbed of their value. Instead of cutting spending, they are raiding everybody's savings

As the full scope of Greece's budget problems came into full view — it had lied about the actual size of its national debt by over €40 billion — it could no longer sell its debt. The result was a €110 billion EU bailout for Greece earlier this year to help paper over its debt.

Unfortunately, the crisis was not merely limited to a gargantuan Greek accounting scandal. Other European nations were also taking a pounding in the bond markets, like Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and others.

As a result, months later the EU has announced that it is guaranteeing all of its member states' debts. This effectively turned the continent's €750 billion "temporary" sovereign debt bailout fund by the European Central Bank (ECB) into a permanent debt monetization fund, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Now, the EU has agreed to an €85 billion bailout for Ireland. As other states fail to sell their debts, they'll get bailouts, too.

The way the bailout essentially works is that when member states like Ireland, Greece, and others cannot sell their debt, the ECB agrees to print more euros to fill in the gaps. So shaky are the finances of these European states that the only way they can pay their bills is by printing the money needed.

The ostensible purpose of the money-printing has been to ease the borrowing costs of member states. The logic is that if the ECB agrees to prevent the nations from defaulting on their debts, the risk of failure is removed from the equation, therefore market demand for the bonds would be restored, and interest rates on sovereign debt should come down.

Except, the exact opposite has happened. Since the Irish bailout was announced on November 28th, yields on Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Belgian debt have risen. What does this mean? That far from calming the bond markets, the central bank interventionism has sent a decidedly different message to creditors, warning that the value of their investments are being diluted with printed money.

Therefore, the more money a central bank prints to pay its nation's debts, the higher the interest rates the markets will demand for that debt to stave off inflation and the depreciation of their assets. If it gets really bad, nobody will even accept the currency as a means of payment. That's essentially what happened to the Weimar Republic in the 1920's, and we all saw how that turned out.

For the U.S., it will be even worse. As the caretaker of the world's reserve currency, a run on the dollar would likely level the entire global economy, leaving a new economic order in its place. The dollar run may have already begun, as China and Russia recently announced that bilateral trade relations would no longer be conducted with dollars. That could be a preemptive move by the Chinese and Russians to prepare for dumping their dollar holdings, which are considerable.

More HERE

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'Constitutional conservatism' is freaking the NYT

NYT editorial below

John Boehner, the next House speaker, expresses the message of constitutional conservatism in calling for every bill to identify the part of the Constitution it rests on. Sarah Palin used the phrase to campaign for limited government. Tea Party members call themselves constitutional conservatives. It is the new mantle in which Republican politicians are wrapping themselves.

The challenge lies in understanding what, if anything, it actually means.

The phrase is used mainly in opposition: against health care reform; against the General Motors bailout; against President Obama’s policies. A year ago, conservatives focused on the gravity of economic problems. This election, their concern shifted to the danger represented by solutions.

Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, says the message that 4 out of 5 Republicans wanted to send in the House elections was that American governance must “return to the Constitution.” Constitutional conservatives have an ill-defined faith in the redeeming power of the founders’ vision.

A polemic called the Mount Vernon Statement used the phrase last winter to rally an expanded Republican Party. The statement noted five principles: limited government; individual liberty; free enterprise; advancing freedom, opposing tyranny; and defending family, neighborhood, community and faith.

The phrase is connected to a radical vision. (The Web site of Mike Lee, the Republican senator-elect from Utah, touted him as a constitutional conservative and, as The Times reported, he “views much of what the federal government currently does as unconstitutional.”) But the statement is a vague, highly selective catchall.

It makes no mention of “We the people,” of forming “a more perfect union” or pursuing “the general welfare” — of equality arm in arm with liberty. It seems based on nostalgia for an inadequate version of the country’s past. Like many slogans, it doesn’t bear close examination. Which Americans don’t want liberty, or support tyranny?

That doesn’t mean the effort can be ignored. The prime mover behind the statement, and its first signer, was Edwin Meese III, the former attorney general who helped shape the Reagan revolution. A quarter of a century ago, Mr. Meese led a similar effort to turn a slogan into a movement. That campaign aimed to stem the tide of liberalism in law and bring about a “restoration of fundamental Constitutional values.”

Mr. Meese stirred an impassioned controversy. He drew then-Justices William Brennan and John Paul Stevens into a debate — the first sitting justices to respond to a challenge by an executive branch official since F.D.R.’s court-packing scheme.

Justice Brennan summed up, “It is arrogant to pretend that from our vantage we can gauge accurately the intent of the framers on application of principle to specific, contemporary questions.”

The news media judged that the justices got the better of the attorney general, but Mr. Meese’s rhetoric had political appeal even when it lacked legal persuasiveness. It helped energize a change in government that made conservatism dominant in the law. It helped ensure the strong influence of conservatism generally.

The anger felt by those who favor constitutional conservatism is potent. Call the slogan vague. Call it arrogant. It would be shortsighted to dismiss this increasingly used rallying cry.

SOURCE

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A volunteer military can vote with their feet

Oliver North

Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo tried and failed. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and Ho Chi Minh couldn't do it. But commander in chief Barack Obama may well succeed where others could not. If he has his way, he will demolish the finest force for good in the history of mankind -- the U.S. armed forces. And he wants to make it all happen before the end of the year.

On Nov. 30, Defense Secretary Robert Gates released the much-leaked "Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" Only the Pentagon could come up with a title like that.

The "report" -- 266 pages long -- purports to provide military and civilian leaders in Washington with "a comprehensive assessment" and "recommendations" on changes in Defense Department regulations if Section 654 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code is repealed. The 17-year-old law states: "The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Importantly, the phrase "don't ask, don't tell" appears nowhere in the law.

Supposedly, the "conclusions" and "recommendations" proffered in the "report" are based on a "survey" of currently serving soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines. Though nearly 400,000 questionnaires on changing the law were circulated, only 115,052 responded. Of those who did reply, 27 percent indicated that allowing open homosexuals into the ranks would adversely affect unit cohesion. Thirty-five percent of service members in deployed combat units said such a change would have a negative impact on combat effectiveness. Sixty-seven percent of Marines and more than 57 percent of soldiers in U.S. Army combat units believe changing the law would hurt combat efficiency, unit cohesion, readiness and retention. Notably, military chaplains -- from all denominations -- overwhelmingly oppose changing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Apparently unmoved by the concern expressed by well over half of our soldiers, sailors and Marines deployed in war zones, Gates and Mullen now argue that Congress must repeal the law immediately or the courts will intervene. That, too, is a phony argument. Section 654 has withstood more than a dozen legal challenges since it has been on the books. The case now pending in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is but the most recent test. The Obama administration's "legal eagles" need only dust off old files going back to the Clinton administration to see how the law has been upheld in the past.

Obama's push to have the law repealed by this lame-duck session of Congress has been seconded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But the full-court press may yet produce the political equivalent of an elbow in the face for the O-Team.

Concerns about repeal -- on readiness, retention and recruitment in the brightest, best-educated and most combat-experienced military force in history -- are not assuaged by the report. Nearly 25 percent of those now serving -- and as many as 32 percent of Marines -- said they are likely to leave the service rather than be assigned to live with and serve beside active homosexuals.

More HERE

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Why Palin Should Run

‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough’s scathing piece on Sarah Palin in Politico, rather than discouraging a run by Palin for President in 2012, may have convinced more conservatives she should run.

Joe Scarborough’s stated concerns include how Palin drew a comparison between the disparagement of her and Ronald Reagan, which is a fair assessment by Palin, and her polite but firm retort to former First Lady Barbara Bush’s comment that Palin should stay in Alaska.

Sarah Palin is the Republican “it” girl right now because she yields no ground to establishment types, bluebloods, political consultants, media elites and all those who contributed to the political and moral deterioration of the Republican Party.

Palin was ahead of the curve in taking on the GOP establishment, which is why she is a Tea Party favorite. She is now what Ronald Reagan said in 1976 we needed in our leaders: those who are unfettered by old ties and old relationships.

If Palin were to run, even if she didn’t win she would unquestionably transform the GOP primary for the better. Her mere force of presence would require Republican contestants to address issues they otherwise wouldn’t -- in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.

In a time when the GOP teeters between returning to its constitutional small-government roots and remaining the party of Democrat-lite, Palin has a confluence of several appeals that most other prospective GOP candidates lack. Add to that her Tea Party credentials, and she’s hands-down a bigger big-tent prospective candidate than Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and others frequently named.

Most importantly, Palin is a boat rocker who isn’t afraid to say the Republican Party needs to move in a direction it hasn’t even debated in over a decade, and actually shrink the size of the federal government.

The best thing for the GOP may be a presidential primary field that includes not only Palin, but Jim DeMint, Mike Pence and one or two other conservatives who don’t toe the establishment GOP line.

Ronald Reagan’s biggest initial obstacles came from within the Republican Party itself. He didn’t become the transformational figure in the GOP we now know him to be based his first run for the presidency.

Reagan’s ability to lead by identifying issues of importance to people was remarkably similar to Sarah Palin’s. Those attempting to tear her down may be kicking up more than they bargain for.

SOURCE

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A Memo to New Republican Lawmakers

A thoughtful conservative activist in Illinois -- with strong ties to both the state's Republican Party and grassroots movement -- issued the following memo to a State Senator-elect. His sound advice on how to boldly navigate Springfield's treacherous political waters can easily be tweaked and applied to new members of Congress:

Random Thoughts for a New Legislator

1. First priority – ORGANIZE.

2. Springfield is a fetid dung heap of corruption.

3. Everything they do there is wrong.

4. Most of them are idiots, just look at the Brady [gubernatorial] campaign.

5. It and they will try constantly to suck you in. It is the natural pull of gravity.

6. And that equals death.

7. The status quo is your enemy, the taxpayer’s enemy and the public’s enemy.

8. Your choices are binary (Ask: Am I growing government, or growing liberty?), not multiple. Read Radical-in-Chief.

9. Always choose the anti-Springfield, anti-status quo, anti-business-as-usual option.

10. At least as significant as “conservative/moderate” is “reformer/establishmentarian.”

11. Conservative reformers will inherit public support.

12. Never speak in Springfield’s terms, always speak in taxpayer’s terms.

13. Only speak of successful examples of conservative reforms.

14. Friendly, quiet, knowledgeable and supportive.

15. “I want justice now.” – Albert Camus. Let others grant grace to the dung heap and ask the people to shoulder its burden. Advocate reform now, not next year or next session or next decade. Now.

16. Have a great time.

This simple missive contains a heavy jolt of distilled wisdom. If you hail from a district or state that just elected a freshman Republican to the House or Senate, I'd encourage you to forward this memo to his or her office. Simply substitute "Washington" for "Springfield," and send away.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

ANY Republican nominee in 2012 will be "too dumb to be President" -- according to the media and the commentariat

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting is not very bright. In fact, dumb as a post is a more accurate if blunt assessment..

Does this describe Sarah Palin? Yes -- if you choose to listen to the Inside-the-Beltway elites. But just in case she doesn't run for or win the nomination, don't worry. Whoever the GOP nominates will quickly assume this "too dumb to be president" role -- bestowed by many of the same people.

Why? Because this "too dumb to be president" argument is precisely the same-old, same-old argument from liberal elites about Republican presidents or prospective presidents for decades. The argument is particularly relished when it comes to describing conservatives like the former Alaska governor. But even GOP moderates can never escape this tag once they morph from unannounced candidate (and therefore not a political threat to liberalism) to actual frontrunner, nominee or, God forbid, the actual president.

Barry Goldwater, the first modern conservative to win a GOP presidential nomination in 1964, would have been lucky to be tagged as being merely too dumb to be president. He was also said to be, according to Time magazine, "psychologically unfit to be president," "emotionally unstable," "immature," "cowardly," "grossly psychotic," "paranoid," a "mass murderer," "amoral and immoral," a "chronic schizophrenic" and "dangerous lunatic." One psychiatrist breezily announced Goldwater had a "strong identification with the authoritarianism of Hitler, if not identification with Hitler himself."

Reagan, also pegged as a war-monger, was called an "extremist" at the beginning of his political career and an "amiable dunce" just after his election to the presidency. They were a mere blip in the cascade of insults about his intelligence hurled in Reagan's direction over almost a quarter century as a serious American politician. This particular man who was "too dumb to be president" won the Cold War without, as Margaret Thatcher said, firing a shot. Not to mention launching the American economy on a path to creating some 50 million jobs over the next three decades.

But I digress. Perhaps the most instructive case of "too dumb to be president" is that of Gerald Ford. Elected to Congress in 1948, a man with a ready smile and outgoing personality, Ford had won rave reviews from the liberal press when he challenged the House Republican Old Guard following Goldwater's defeat, becoming Minority Leader. All the way through his House career, and on into his surprise accession-by-appointment to the vice presidency following the resignation of liberal bĂȘte noire Spiro Agnew, the moderate Republican Ford was pictured as good-ole smiling Jerry, the steady, smart House leader who had not an enemy in the world. He played golf with his old pal House Democratic leader Tip O'Neill. Just a nice, smart, swell guy, said the press.

Then a funny thing happened to good old Jerry Ford. In the wake of Watergate he became president with Nixon's resignation. Within a month he pardoned his predecessor, believing (correctly) that until the nation had rid itself of the Watergate/Nixon obsession he, Ford, would have an impossible time getting things done as president. Nothing dumb there.

Ford had no sooner announced the pardon and disappeared from the television air waves than the re-positioning of Ford by the liberal media had begun. The man who had graduated from Yale Law School and been the epitome of openness and hard work was, in the blink of an eye, dumb as a post and a conniving liar to boot. Up from the mists came a Lyndon Johnson quote saying that Ford the college grid star had played too much football without a helmet.

An on-camera tumble on the slippery steps leading down from the door of Air Force One led to the depiction of the most athletic president since Teddy Roosevelt as a bumbling fool. On a new program called Saturday Night Live, an unknown writer/actor named Chevy Chase rocketed to fame portraying Ford as dumbly prone to hilarious stumbles and dramatic falls over all manner of furniture. Chase anticipated the Tina Fey as empty-headed Sarah Palin routine by decades.

Then there's the Romney saga. That would be George Romney, not Mitt, George's son. George Romney was a liberal Republican, a spectacularly successful business executive as the chairman of American Motors. On the strength of his dazzling business career he was elected Governor of Michigan, where he became a popular political figure with both voters and the national press.

Then a funny thing happened to George Romney. In 1967 he began running for the 1968 GOP presidential nomination. The polls showed he was the man-to-beat for the nomination, the one man in the Republican Party who could take on and beat LBJ, the same LBJ who beat Goldwater in 1964 by a landslide. Then, returning from a fact-finding trip to Vietnam, Romney incautiously allowed as to how he had been "brain-washed" by the Johnson administration on Vietnam. And…. bam.

Within a media cycle the brilliant business executive and innovative Governor of Michigan had become -- you guessed it -- an idiot too dumb to be president. The dumb-as-a-post tag hung around his neck by a media concerned that old George was making just a little bit too much progress and that Tricky Dick, as they called Richard Nixon, would be easier to beat. Romney was finished. His last stint in government was not the White House but the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in Nixon days the equivalent of political Siberia.

What does any of this have to do with Sarah Palin? As the New York Times Magazine recently noted, there is a caricature now abroad in the land of the former Alaska governor "as a vapid, winking, press-averse clotheshorse." In other words, Sarah Palin is an idiot. Dumb as a post. Too dumb, but of course, to be president.

This mother of five with a successful marriage, the woman who, without benefit of a famous name or marriage, has been elected successively to positions as city council member, mayor, president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, served as the appointed (by the then-governor) chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission before being elected governor herself -- this before becoming only the second woman to be tapped for a major party vice-presidential nomination, a successful author and bona fide TV star like Reagan -- this is the woman who is now presented by everybody from GOP Establishment types to liberal enemies as just a vacant Barbie-style version of other men who were too dumb to be president. Goldwater? Romney? Ford? Reagan? Kemp? Bush 43? Bush 41? Like them all, Sarah Palin is just too dumb to be president.

More HERE

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Todd Palin – “First Man”

Dick McDonald

I woke up this morning wondering how Todd Palin as the prospective first “First Man” would stack up against Michelle Obama the incumbent “First Lady” if his wife commits to running. I learned a bit about Todd when his wife was campaigning for the Vice-Presidency but caught a glimpse of the kind of First Man he would make on the TV show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

The first impression was the response he got when the family was introduced to the halibut boat captain they chartered to do some fishing. The captain, unaffected by the cameras and the hoopla, when introduced to the family blurted out “Let me shake the hand of the “Iron Dog Champion” as he brushed past Sarah to grab Todd’s hand. It reminded me that Todd was a man among men who had several times won the most difficult, competitive and challenging race in the entire world.

That will stand Sarah in good stead when push comes to shove at the ballot box.

The second impression was the character and focus he exhibited in the simple task of teaching his son the salmon fishing business. There was a flash of the command he has over his environment and his family - a flash that at the helm of a fishing boat in the treacherous waters of Alaska there is no room for error. Trip got the message – hell I was ready to salute.

Of all I know about the man I feel he has his ego under control and unlike Michelle “I was never proud to be an American” Obama he will be a plus in that equation. He clearly seamlessly floats between being a tough and tumble roustabout on the North Slope to changing diapers and washing dishes in Wasilla. Should she decide to run I believe his “First Man” persona will be a bigger factor in the election than any previous First Lady.

Comment received by email

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Minimum Wages: Some more of that nasty reality

Walter E. Williams

How about this: The law of gravity is applicable to the behavior of falling objects on the U.S. mainland but not applicable on our Pacific Ocean territories Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands. You say, "Williams, that's lunacy! Laws are applicable everywhere; that's why they call it a law."

You're right, but does the same reasoning apply to the law of demand that holds: The higher the price of something, the less people will take of it; and the lower its price, the more people will take of it? The law of demand applies to wages, interest and rent because, after all, they are the prices of something.

In 2007, the Democrat-led Congress and White House enacted legislation raising the minimum wage law, in steps, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. With some modification, the increases applied to our Pacific Ocean territories. Republicans and others opposed to the increases were labeled as hostile toward workers. According to most opinion polls taken in 2006, more than 80 percent of Americans favored Congress' intention to raise the minimum wage. Most Americans see the minimum wage as a good thing, and without it, rapacious employers wouldn't pay workers much of anything.

On the eve of the 2007 minimum wage increase, someone got 650 of my fellow economists, including a couple awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, to sign a petition that read "We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed." At the time, I wrote that I felt embarrassment for them, but at least the petition was not signed by any George Mason University economists.

According to a Sept. 30, 2010 American Samoa government press release, "Governor Togiola Tulafono today expressed his sincere gratitude to President Barack Obama for signing legislation that will delay the minimum wage increase scheduled to take effect in American Samoa for 2010 and 2011." My question to you is why would a Democrat-controlled Congress pass a measure (HR 3940), and a Democrat president sign it, that would postpone the enactment of something as "wonderful" as an increase in the minimum wage law.

The fact of the matter is that increases in minimum wages have had a devastating impact on American Samoan workers. In my "Minimum Wage Cruelty: Update" column of May 26, 2010, I wrote: "Chicken of the Sea International moved its operation from Samoa to a highly automated cannery plant in Lyons, Ga. That resulted in roughly 2,000 jobs lost in Samoa and a gain of 200 jobs in Georgia. StarKist, the island's remaining cannery, announced that between 600 and 800 people will be laid off over the next six months, reducing the company's Samoan workforce from a high of more than 3,000 in 2008 to less than 1,200 workers." According to SamoanNews.Com, in August, 300 workers received layoff letters in phase one of Starkist's downsizing plans.

Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times staff writer who wrote "Territories snared in wage debate," (10/18/10) said, "A number of those involved with the minimum-wage issue appeared not to want to talk about it. The White House didn't return a call seeking comment, nor did the AFL-CIO, the chief umbrella group for labor unions."

Does the law of demand that we've seen applying to American Samoa also apply to the U.S. mainland? It does and particularly for teenagers and especially black teenagers. In 2007, the unemployment rate for all teens was 15 percent; today it's 25 percent. For black teenagers, in 2007, unemployment was 26 percent; today it's over 50 percent. Overall unemployment is a little over 9 percent. Those who argue that the minimum wage has no effect on labor markets in the U.S. but has an effect in American Samoa are either liars, lunatics or idiots, and that includes those 650 economists who signed that petition suggesting that a "modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers."

SOURCE

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The Conquering Bureaucracy

A new history of the FDA shows how regulators entrenched and extended their own power. BOOK REVIEW of "Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA", by Daniel Carpenter

After spending months in the Amazon sometime in the early 1960s, a young pharmaceutical salesman just wanted to cross an airstrip and board a plane to begin his long journey home. But a Brazilian soldier had a different idea: “You can’t come in.”

The salesman pleaded, “I gotta come in!” The soldier pointed his rifle at the young American, unlocked the safety, and repeated, “You can’t come in.” The drug rep relented: “Oh, now I got it. I can’t go in there.”

In 1985 that salesman, G. Kirk Raab, was named the president of Genentech, which has since become one of the leaders of the modern biotech industry. But early in Raab’s tenure Genentech was dealt an almost crippling blow at a critical stage of its development by the formidable Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the spring of 1987, a mere suggestion that an advisory panel to the FDA was entertaining doubts about approving Genentech’s first blockbuster drug was enough to send the company’s stock plummeting, wiping out a quarter of its value overnight. When talking about the incident and its implications, Raab liked to recall his jungle encounter with state power. “The FDA is standing there with a machine gun against the pharmaceutical industry, so you better be their friend rather than their enemy. They are the boss.…They own you body and soul.”

The FDA is one of the oldest and most powerful regulatory agencies in the United States. In his massive, magisterial Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA, the Harvard political scientist Daniel Carpenter provides both a history of the agency and an analysis of how it gained and flexed its most important regulatory power, the ability to keep new drugs off the market. Carpenter carefully documents the ways FDA bureaucrats have worked to exploit opportunities to expand their influence and reshape how the drug industry and the medical profession operate.

Much more HERE

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

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

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

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Hannukah to my Jewish readers!

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Embarrassment: Germany doing much better than America

While America stagnates economically, the German economy is going ahead like a train. Why? Martin Hutchinson has some answers

Germany's success in 2010 has surprised most U.S. analysts, who tend to start every sentence about Europe with "sclerotic." However it is by no means the only country that is recovering from the Great Recession in a remarkably healthy fashion. China, Chile and Singapore are also stand-outs in this respect, while the United States, Ireland and southern Europe have done poorly. This year's economic events can teach us again about which models of capitalism can be successful.

Germany's success should not have been surprising. The country had a remarkably successful economy in Wilhelmine times before 1914 and again from 1949 to 1990. The absorption of East Germany was an immense problem for the German economy, largely because it was done in the most expensive way possible, with a 1 to 1 conversion between the Ostmark and the Deutschemark, horribly overvaluing East German labor. However it was very obviously a problem of finite duration, given the language and cultural commonality between the two former countries. By about 2005, symbolized by the accession of the East German Angela Merkel to the Chancellorship, East Germany was ready to play a full part in the united whole. At that point, with the massive subsidies to the former East Germany declining, the traditional German model of capitalism was able to reassert itself and propel the economy forward.

The German economic model works very well for a country with perpetually high labor costs. Education and training are of great importance, as are engineering skill–engineers have a much higher social position in German societies than in Anglo-American ones–while housing finance is given a low priority, since it is correctly regarded as unproductive. Finance plays little role in the system–it was notable during the 2008 debacle to what extent the German banks were helpless victims of Anglo-American shenanigans, with little creative role of their own. The typical successful German company is both smaller and longer established than its U.S. counterpart, with powerful shareholders that prevent management from engaging in self-dealing and mindless empire building.

In very fast-moving innovative markets, the German model works less well than the Anglo-American Silicon Valley model of innovation. Thus the German enterprise software company SAP appears to have stolen technology from Oracle, not the other way around—to the tune of $1.3 billion in damages (a figure that may be reduced on appeal.) However the vast majority of economic activity is not particularly fast moving, and once a technology has become established the Germans have shown time and again that they are more than capable of playing a major role in the market with their skills of engineering and very high-quality manufacturing. They are much more of a threat in the Internet-related technology market than they were 15 years ago, for example.

SOURCE

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How did Australia dodge the GFC?

Martin Hutchinson goes on above to look at how several other countries have done after the GFC but omits the real standout economy -- Australia -- possibly because Bondi beach is all he knows about Australia. So maybe I should fill in a little gap there.

The first point to note is that Australia had NO crisis at all. A Leftist government had come to power just a couple of months before the global financial meltdown and paraded around spending money and offering government guarantees but that was just typical Leftist approval-seeking. They wanted there to be a crisis that they could seem to solve so they went around pretending that there was one.

The major Australian banks were never in trouble and in fact continued to make profits and pay dividends at around their normal levels. And unemployment is about half the U.S. level -- again at around its historically normal levels: A dream by world standards. And, as I have got about half my share portfolio in Australian banks, I am acutely aware of all that. By way of example, I have a parcel of shares in Westpac bank and in the year of the crisis, Westpac announced a profit decline from the previous year -- of only 1.5%

So Australian banks would be the obsessive subject of study by all the economists of the world if there were any mystery about why they did so unusually well. But there is no mystery. The answer can be given in one word: DEREGULATION. Australian banks were extensively deregulated a couple of decades ago and promptly went wild. With the government not telling them what to do they embarked on all sorts of "innovative" lending policies and got badly burnt in the process. The various banks owned by State governments all went bust in fact.

So they learnt their lesson. The surviving banks worked out how to do prudent lending and stuck firmly to those policies from that point on. And there were no government laws dictating that they make unwise loans, unlike the USA. Hence they didn't have any significant overhang of bad debt when the crisis struck. They had all bought small amounts of American paper because of its attractive yields but their now ingrained caution meant that they largely stuck to their own knitting. So losses on the American paper could be absorbed from domestic profits.

All that I have just said any economic historian should be able to dig up but it is not the full story. In my usual wicked way, I will now tell you the rest.

The American practice of making poorly secured loans and apparently thriving by doing so was deeply impressive worldwide and was therefore copied in many other countries -- and they suffered for it along with America in due course.

And in Australia also there sprang up a slew of financial intermediaries who offered what they called "low doc" loans. And they DID suffer from the GFC. But not too badly. They were mostly just taken over by the banks and everything continued on as normal.

So how come they did not cause a huge crash? Easy. As in the USA, the people who were given the poorly secured loans were mostly minorities. But Australia's big minority is very different from America's two large minorities. Australia's big minority is East Asian, mostly Han Chinese racially. And if you know anything about the Han you know that they would rather DIE than default on a home loan. The loss of face would be unendurable. If in trouble they would just get a third job. So loan defaults were relatively rare in Australia because Australia has a better class of minorities. Do you see why no-one else would ever tell you that? -- JR

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Why tax cuts for the rich pay off

Thomas Sowell

Guess who said the following: "It is incredible that a system of taxation which permits a man with an income of $1,000,000 a year to pay not one cent to his Government should remain unaltered."

Franklin D. Roosevelt? Ted Kennedy? Nancy Pelosi?

Not even close. It was Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury under conservative Republican President Calvin Coolidge.

What was Mellon's point? That high tax rates do not necessarily result in high tax revenues to the government. "It is time to face the facts," he said. Merely having high tax rates on large incomes will not bring in more tax revenues to the treasury, because of "the flight of capital away from taxable investments."

This was all said in 1924, in Mellon's book, "Taxation: The People's Business." Yet here we are, more than 80 years later, still not facing those facts.

It is not just a question of what Andrew Mellon said. It is a question of hard facts, easily checked in official documents available to all-- and ignored all these years.

Internal Revenue Service data show that there were 206 people who reported annual incomes of one million dollars or more in 1916. But, as the tax rate on high incomes skyrocketed under the Woodrow Wilson administration, that number plummeted to just 21 people reporting a million dollars a year in income five years later.

What happened to all those millionaires? Did they flee the country? Were they stricken with fatal diseases? Did they meet with foul play?

Not to worry. Right after Congress enacted the cuts in tax rates that Mellon had been urging, there were suddenly 207 people reporting taxable incomes of a million dollars or more in 1925. As Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up." It is on page 21 of an Internal Revenue publication titled "Statistics of Income from Returns of Net Income for 1925."

Where had all the income of those millionaires been hiding? In tax-exempt securities like state and local bonds, among other places. Mellon had urged Congress to end tax exemptions for such securities, even before he got them to cut tax rates. But he succeeded only with the latter, and only after a political struggle with those who made the same kinds of arguments that are still being made today by those who cry out against "tax cuts for the rich."

Still, one out of two is not bad, when it comes to getting Congress to do something that makes sense economically, rather than something that looks good politically.

The government, which collected less than $50 million in taxes on capital gains in 1924, suddenly collected well over $100 million in capital gains taxes in 1925. At lower tax rates, it no longer made sense to keep so much invested in tax-exempt securities, when more money could be made by investing in the economy.

As for "the rich"-- who really were rich in those days, when $100,000 was worth more than a million dollars is worth today-- those in the highest income brackets paid 30 percent of all taxes in 1920 and 65 percent of all taxes by 1929, after "tax cuts for the rich."

How can that be? Because high tax rates on paper, that many people avoid, often does not bring in as much tax revenue as lower tax rates that more people actually pay, after it is safe to come out of tax shelters and earn higher rates of taxable income.

The investors do this because it makes them better off, on net balance, even after they pay more money in taxes on incomes that have gone up. More important, the economy benefits when there is more investment in things that create more jobs and rising output.

None of this was unique to the 1920s. The same scenario played out again in later years, during the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush 43 administrations.

But economic success is not the same as political success. As former House Majority Leader Dick Armey put it, "Demagoguery beats data."

As long as the voters keep buying the "tax cuts for the rich" demagoguery, politicians will keep selling it. And it will keep selling as long as it goes unanswered. The question is whether today's Republicans understand that as well as Andrew Mellon did back in the 1920s.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Google now in the EU crosshairs: "The European Union's competition watchdog will investigate whether Google has abused its dominant position in the online search market - the first major probe into the online giant's business practices. The investigation announced overnight follows complaints from rival search engines that Google put them at a disadvantage in both its regular and sponsored search results, by listing links to their sites below references to its own services in an attempt to shut them out of the market. [Harassing American technology companies is what they do. Ask IBM and Microsoft]

US Senate passes bureaucrat empowerment legislation: "The U.S. Senate has approved the first major food-safety [sic] legislation in more than 70 years, by a 73-to-25 vote. The Food Safety Modernization Act will give the Food and Drug Administration more power …”

US Senate blocks repeal of $600 “transaction reporting” requirement: "The Senate on Monday rejected an effort to reduce tax-related paperwork for businesses when lawmakers couldn’t agree on whether they would make up the revenue the new requirement was expected to produce. … Under the new law, nearly 40 million U.S. businesses would start filing tax forms in 2012 for every vendor that sells them more than $600 in goods. … Senators tried twice on Monday to amend an unrelated food safety bill to repeal the filing requirement. Both proposals, one by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and another by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority.”

The triumphant return of Hayek: "Keynesianism and monetarism are now suffering a similar distortion. Keynes would probably never have supported big government deficits during boom times, such as those that led to our current debt crisis. Likewise, Friedman would probably not have backed the new Fed use of monetary policy as a tool to engineer expansion rather than merely cushion the pain in a downturn. The systematic perversion of Keynes’s and Friedman’s thought is now resulting in a fall in their fortunes, leaving Hayek triumphant, once again.”

North Korea runs unchecked: "Fail to forcefully confront a thug and you generally guarantee that his thuggish behavior will continue. … Yet when it comes to the pathological regime in North Korea, the conventional wisdom throws up its hands and laments that there are no good options for confronting Kim Jong-il over his aggressive provocations. North Korea’s attack on a South Korean island last week — a 50-minute barrage that left four people dead and reduced dozens of homes to smoking ruins — was an act of war.”

The set-aside boondoggle: "Government set-aside programs actually require ineffiency in infrastructure projects by demanding that the least competitive contractors be hired to work on them. Success in a contracting business disqualifies a contractor from being designated as a ‘minority business enterprise.’ Only contractors with a net worth below $750,000 and a relatively low annual income may participate. But the bureaucracy required to oversee these programs is reason enough to cut them out, even if they did not guarantee waste in the actual operation of a project.”

The road to fascism: "Fascism is the system in which no specific economic theory is used to guide the rulers. Only one common factor characterizes the system, namely, arbitrary rule by a charismatic head of state. Such a head of state has nearly carte blanche so far as its policies are concerned. Examples of fascist regimes are quite abundant, mainly because at heart nearly all the so called communist countries are ruled by fascist dictators — Cuba, North Korea, the Soviet Union, etc. Yes, under Stalin and other soviet rulers the USSR really come to nothing more than fascism — ‘Stalinism is the most successful variant of fascism’ said the late Susan Sontag and with that declaration (made at the American Workers and Artists for Solidarity rally), she created an uproar among Leftists around the world.”

Wishful regulation in Britain: "Regulators were originally created to bring quasi-competition to newly-privatized markets. But, more than this, the last government used them as wish fulfilment agencies and that still continues. We were all shocked when companies collapsed taking their pension funds with them, so the Pensions Regulator was created to ensure that employee pensions were protected. We want energy sustainability, so Ofgem was tasked with ensuring it. The idea seemed to be that you could appoint a regulator and, hey presto, the government’s wishes would be fulfilled.”

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jihadis all over the place in Europe

Amid mounting terrorism fears in Europe, investigators on Tuesday arrested 10 suspects after busting an Islamic extremist network, which plotted to attack a Belgian port-city. The Belgian prosecutor's office said that an international terrorist group used an extremist Internet site, Ansar Al Mujahideen, for this to plot the attack. The Belgian investigators had been suspecting the network, which is based in Antwerp, home to both Muslim and Jewish communities, since last year.

Most of the suspects were arrested in Belgium, while the Dutch and German investigators also arrested some of the suspects in their countries. The prosecutor's office said that the attack’s target was not yet specifically determined, adding that they had "sufficient facts" to justify the raids.

The government's crisis center’s spokesman said that no additional security measures have been decided to date in Belgium.

Dutch prosecutors confirmed the arrest of three men in their late 20s in Amsterdam, adding that all three Dutch nationals have been arrested on Belgium’s request and would soon be extradited to Belgium. German police also arrested a man aged 31 in Aachen.

The Belgian prosecutor’s spokesman said that out of those 10 arrested were nationals from Belgium, the Netherlands, Morocco and Russia. The men are also believed to have recruited "jihadist candidates" and financed the Chechen terrorist group - the Caucasian Emirate.

The fresh arrests came after several people have already been detained in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia under the same probe. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with the European Union's judicial cooperation unit Eurojust and a host of other nations.

SOURCE

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Israel as a rogue state

My latest hero is a 19-year-old Canadian called Gabriel Latner, and for three reasons. The first is that he presented the most brilliantly audacious defence of Israel since Moses parted the Red Sea. The second is that he told his "ally" in a Cambridge Union debate, Lauren Booth (the dingbat half-sister of Cherie Blair) -- "I am going to nail you to the f***ing wall up there." He duly did. The third is that he is banned from life from the Cambridge Union for swearing in front of a lady. Yes, I know, that's where feminism has got us -- equality whenever it suits; otherwise a reversion to the swooning damsel of yesteryear.

Gabriel, who is also Jewish, was proposing the motion in the CU that Israel is a rogue state. He asked the fundamental question: well, what does rogue actually mean? He referred to the dictionary. 'Aberrant, anomalous, misplaced, occurring (especially in isolation) at an unexpected place or time'. In other words, just like Israel.

His first argument was statistical. There are 195 countries in the world; Christian, Muslim, secular. But Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish -- therefore, a rogue. That he is a better rhetorician than mathematician came in his next assertion, that the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051pc. Not true, Gabriel. Two decimal places out; it is 0.51pc.

His next argument came from its treatment of Darfurian refugees, the survivors of the Sudanese Janjaweed war of genocide, who are scorned throughout the Middle East, and even shot on sight in Egypt (Dear old Egypt). But they are welcomed in Israel, with the Israeli government even sending out its soldiers into the Sinai to rescue what are, in essence, illegal immigrants. Clearly, a rogue again.

Thirdly, the Israeli government engages in an activity that the rest of the world shuns -- it negotiates with terrorists. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators in talks with Israel. He was formerly a leader of the PFLP -- "an organisation that engaged in such freedom-promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high-school students".

Gabriel argued that (amongst other governments) the British government would never negotiate with terrorists -- but he was on weaker ground here. Lauren Booth's semi-brother-in-law, yes Phony Tony, even had terrorists staying with him at his personal residence at Chequers. But his point is that to negotiate with murderers -- as Israel does -- is surely the mark of a rogue.

Fourth, Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. Quite so. As Gabriel himself said, there has never been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East -- except for Israel.

And of all the countries in the region, Israel is the only one where lesbians, gays and bisexuals enjoy equality. In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging or imprisonment, or both. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, homosexuals are put to death. Yet again, Israel is the rogue, for not killing queers, lezzies and trannies.

And fifthly, Israel is the only democracy in the entire Middle East. Again, clearly a rogue! Gabriel then added a sixth argument -- that Israel wilfully and forcefully disregards international law. Look how in 1981 the Zionists destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb plant. The rogues!

Gabriel's co-sponsor of the motion, Lauren Booth, was clearly caught unawares by his brilliant definition of rogue. This convert to Islam divides her loyalties ecumenically between Shia and Sunni mosques in London, which makes her the Islamic equivalent of a Free Presbyterian-Roman Catholic.

She later complained about Gabriel's private use of the F-word to her (and I don't mean Fatima, the shrine at which she was converted to Islam). Well we know that if a man had complained about someone using the F-word to him, he would have been told to grow up, but poor Lauren is a WOOO -- Whingeing Owner Of Ovaries -- and the President of the Union, a silly boy named James Counsell, ordered Gabriel to apologise. The latter refused, (good man, Gabriel) and has accordingly been banned from the Cambridge Union for life.

SOURCE

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Obamacare kills health insurance for children -- again

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.

The union fund faced a “dramatic shortfall” between what employers contributed to the fund and the premiums charged by its insurance provider, Fidelis Care, according to Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU. The union fund pools contributions from several home-care agencies and then buys insurance from Fidelis.

“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

More here

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Empty Promises on Healthcare Will Hurt Obama

Barack Obama is only halfway through his term, but it's not too early to ask: What is the biggest whopper he has told as president? So far, the hands-down winner is, "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."

Obama made that particular pledge in a speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, but he said the same thing, with slight variations, dozens of times during the healthcare debate. And now, exactly eight months after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, we're seeing just how empty the president's promise was.

The New York Times reports there is a "growing frenzy of mergers" in the healthcare field in which hospitals and other care providers, pressured by the new law's provisions, are joining forces to save money. "Consumer advocates fear that the healthcare law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve," the paper reports, "by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses."

The Obama administration's answer to the problem will undoubtedly be more regulation. But the wave of mergers is just one of many signs of trouble with the new law.

For example, we know that the government's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has found that the new law will increase healthcare costs, rather than reduce them, in the coming decade. We know that cuts in Medicare, with the money saved going to pay for expanding coverage to the poor, will jeopardize seniors' access to care. We know the law will make it impossibly expensive for companies that currently offer bare-bones health coverage to low-income employees to keep doing so. We know several corporations are taking giant write-downs because the bill will increase the cost of providing prescription-drug coverage to retired employees. And perhaps most important, we know the law offers an enormous incentive for employers who currently provide coverage to workers to stop doing so, sending those workers to buy coverage in government-subsidized healthcare exchanges.

In sum, what the law means for millions of Americans is: No matter what the president said, if you like the coverage you have now, you can't keep it.

More HERE

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Liberal lid won't fit on boiling Tea pot

Whew. Liberals are breathing a sigh of relief after the Associated Press released a poll this past week showing that Tea Partiers are out of step with the rest of America. Doctrinaire liberal: "We just knew those people were wacko. Now we have proof."

Another doctrinaire liberal: "Thank goodness for polls like this and a reliable outlet like AP, or Sarah Palin and her backwoods family might yet dance their way right into the White House."

Here's how AP spun it:

" 'Tea party' backers fashion themselves as 'we the people,' but polls show the Republican Party's most conservative and energized voters are hardly your average crowd.

"According to an Associated Press-GfK Poll this month, 84 percent who call themselves tea party supporters don't like how President Barack Obama is handling his job - a view shared by just 35 percent of all other adults. Tea partiers are about four times likelier than others to back repealing Obama's health care overhaul and twice as likely to favor renewing tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans."

Doctrinaire liberal: "See? They're out of the mainstream. Now we can get back to pretending we care about the national debt. Hey, have we told you how debt talk can translate into higher taxes?"

Here's their problem: The only poll that counts was taken Nov. 2, when liberals were routed all over the nation in the Great Shellacking. So, either those Tea Partiers found a way to resurrect the dead like miracle-performing precinct captains in Chicago and Baltimore or the nation is closer to the Tea Party vision than liberals want to admit.

There is other evidence that Americans are not quite ready to jump back aboard the Hope and Change Express. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll on Wednesday showed that just 28 percent of voters "strongly approve" of how Mr. Obama is performing as president. Forty-two percent strongly disapprove, "giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of minus 14."

I'm not a statistician, but combined with rude comments from Democratic consultant James Carville about Mr. Obama's anatomy, these developments indicate that Mr. Obama's troubles are deepening and the Tea Party's moment in the sun may be just beginning.

Even if the AP poll is accurate and the Tea Party crowd is more adamant than other Americans about rejecting Obama Nation, that should not bring liberals any solace. People who are politically active are naturally more energized and motivated than other citizens. And it takes only a highly motivated minority to shift political tectonic plates.

Largely out of step with America, liberals have enjoyed decades of success because the liberal media have kept the spotlight off their prevarications and policy failures. But the new media have changed that.

Now, when you hear the New York Times or CBS touting "research" showing that global warming causes hair loss, herpes and acid rain in the Sahara, you can check out other sources.

More HERE

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Medical malpractice reform a good chance for a GOP win

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that medical malpractice reform would save $54 billion over the course of the next ten years.

Savings in the cost of insurance premiums doctors are forced to pay, coupled with savings from ending the defensive medical practices that result from fear of frivolous lawsuits which result in doctors ordering multiple expensive tests just to cover themselves.

Medical malpractice reform will not only save money for everyone involved in the delivery of health care, it will increase the availability of health care overall....

House Republicans have the opportunity to force Harry Reid’s Senate Democrats to confront the harsh reality of the deal they have made with the nation’s trial lawyers, and with some aggressive work by Senate Republicans, they would have to make a choice.

In the past two years, the Democrats chose their big money funders in the professional lawsuit industry over the needs of patients to gain access to quality, affordable health care. Republicans, if they hold every vote in their conference, have the opportunity to force them to choose again. While getting 13 votes to invoke cloture may be a bridge too far, it will only require the votes of four vulnerable or already partially supportive Democrats like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jon Tester of Montana, Tom Carper of Delaware and Virginia’s Jim Webb to force Reid into the uncomfortable position of opposing legislation that a majority of the Senate supports.

The imagery of Harry Reid and the Democrats turning their backs on African American expectant mothers who cannot find an obstetrician due to their acquiescence to the wealthy trial bar doesn’t fit nicely into the ObamaCare narrative for the 2012 election, and so the Republicans should have some political leverage.

Who knows? Maybe 2011 will finally be the year when our nation’s lawmakers deal with one of the key factors denying access to medical care and stand up to the powerful trial bar. At least one can hope.

More HERE

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

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

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

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Liberalism’s Very Bleak Future

They impoverish the country -- and people are going to notice that they are going backwards

Perhaps, the best article on the recent election and the political trends that it represents was written by Chapman University professor, Joel Klotkin, in a Nov. 19 article for the Politico.

While the media trumpets trends that they believe signal the long-run demise of conservatism (e.g., demographics of immigration), Klotkin criticizes analysts for overlooking “the albatross of contemporary liberalism” and its devastating impact on the Democrats one month ago. He notes that liberalism is no longer interested in producing upward economic mobility for the middle class:
Modern-day liberalism, however, is often ambivalent about expanding the economy — preferring a mix of redistribution with redirection along green lines. Its base of political shock troops, public-employee unions, appears only tangentially interested in the health of the overall economy.

In fact, it is probably worse than Klotkin describes it because the environmentalists are completely opposed to any realistic use of carbon-based energy to power our economy. Thus, the Obama Administration’s EPA is instituting amazingly destructive regulations in tandem with its Dep’t of the Interior that does everything it can to prevent fossil fuel extraction in the United States.

Klotkin, who lives in California, also appears to believe that Texas is the new California – as he wrote in a recent Forbes column:
This state of crisis is likely to become the norm for the Golden State. In contrast to other hard-hit states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada, which all opted for pro-business, fiscally responsible candidates, California voters decisively handed virtually total power to a motley coalition of Democratic-machine politicians, public employee unions, green activists and rent-seeking special interests.

California is now liberalism’s Ground Zero with such winners in charge as Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Henry Waxman, George Miller, etc. Oh, I forgot to list Jerry Brown who gave California public employees the right to unionize.

It is almost unimaginalble what has happened to California in twenty years. Yet, there was one enormous difference between California and the Southern states that supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 – the South has always been a right-to-work region. California was not and has harbored pockets of extreme Leftism never present in the South. The rise of the public employee unions along with environmentalists makes it virtually impossible for modern liberalism to present a pro-growth agenda – that is an albatross about which Coleridge could have written mournful verse.

SOURCE

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The Fight to Shrink Government

The rarified world of government was recently shaken to its roots by Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey. He cancelled a railroad tunnel that was to be built under the Hudson River to connect New Jersey and New York City. Based on the screams from the left-wing media, you would have thought that life in America had come to an end.

Once Governor Christie made his announcement, the left erupted in its usual, tiresome manner – on the opinion pages of the New York Times – with articles penned by two of its house leftists, Bob Herbert and Dr. Paul Krugman. Mr. Herbert – never a stranger to pointless hyperbole – decried the downfall of America as a great nation. He questioned why a country that built the Erie Canal and the Hoover Dam could not build a rail tunnel like the one that had just broken ground. Funny thing though – not once in his column did he mention anything about cost. Dr. Krugman similarly bemoaned the decline of the country, but at least he mentioned the estimated price tag of the tunnel: $8.7 billion. Of course, he then proceeded to dismiss the impact of this cost on the residents of Governor Christie’s state.

As one would expect in a newspaper written by liberals for liberals, nowhere was there any description of the facts and circumstances that brought Mr. Christie to this decision. The cost of the tunnel, which had been in the works for almost 20 years, had recently risen from $5 billion to $8.7 billion. $3 billion of this was coming from the U.S. government (which certainly can’t afford the money). Another $3 billion was coming from the Port Authority of New York – which they tell us is not the State of New York, but really is – and that state is hopelessly in debt with an out-of-whack budget. The last $2.7 billion was coming from New Jersey. The hitch was that New Jersey was on the hook for any cost overruns after $9.8 billion. Some experts estimate this to be $2 billion right now, with the strong likelihood that the final (overrun) bill will reach $6 billion, all of which would be borne by the 8 million residents of New Jersey. Mr. Christie considered that to be real money.

The elitist left, of course, was apoplectic. It’s not as if the Upper Westside Left really wants to make life easier for the “bridge and tunnel” crowd, who they live to disdain. Perhaps they’re worried that once wealthy New Yorkers realize that New Jersey has a sane Governor, they may start to flee across the Hudson to escape the confiscatory taxes of New York. Or maybe they’ve just never seen a government project that they can’t support, especially one that must be built by their labor union friends.

It’s not as if America works like it did in the mid-20th century. The Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, was built in 410 days. Even more amazing is it took all of four months between conception of the project and the beginning of construction. Now flash forward about seventy years when we have all sorts of improvement in technology. At one of my local parks, three 2-story buildings, a total of about 50,000 sq. ft, are now being built. That is 0.8% of the size of the Pentagon. These buildings were five years in planning and (so far) two years in construction. Egad, our country appears to be regressing.

What are the differences? Certainly not the capabilities of the American people. There are, in fact, three culprits: First, our political leaders have far too little concern for our tax dollars. They think that if the price of a project goes up, they can just throw more money at it. They don’t insist upon realistic cost estimates out of fear that if people knew the real price tag, the project would be rejected. Second, NIMBYs and environmentalists now add enormous time and cost to the development process, an increase magnified by the time value of money. Finally, the requirement that union labor be used on public projects escalates the cost exponentially. It limits competitive bidding and drives costs into the stratosphere.

Governor Christie took a long look at this, and considered the recent history of large public works projects in the Northeast, like The Big Dig in Boston. The cost of that project started at $2.8 billion, ended at $15 billion, and with interest will cost a staggering $22 billion to pay off. He considered the fact that none of the underlying reasons for these cost overruns have ever been seriously addressed. And he realized that if he approved the project now, when they came back asking for another billion and another billion after that, he would have no choice but to approve it. He looked at all these factors and said NO – not on my watch.

Don’t blame the messenger. Blame the people who have caused every project, no matter how small, to be dragged out with study after study. Blame the rules that restrict competitive bidding and require that construction is done by overpriced union labor. Blame the politicians who have allowed this process to descend into this disaster all over our country. Governor Christie was just the first to say no more. For that, he should be declared a hero.

SOURCE

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Our Leadership in Washington is the Problem, Not Body Scanners

Star Parker

The common explanation of why we cannot implement Israeli-style airport security here, despite acknowledging that the Israeli approach is the world's best, is logistics.

Israelis don't rely on machines. Their approach is human centered. All passengers get a quick interview by an agent trained to identify revealing behavior. Such an approach, the reasoning goes, is possible in a nation dealing with 10 million passengers annually, but with the 600 million we deal with, the logistics become unmanageable.

But this is not the whole story. It's true that the Israelis use primarily people rather than machines to screen. But the real difference in the Israeli approach and success is reliance on human judgment. Human judgment can never be removed from the equation. We've been sold, and we're buying, the big lie that machines can replace human judgment and responsibility.

All technology starts with people. It is people who define problems and then design machines to deal with those problems. If the problem is incorrectly defined to begin with, then the machine, no matter how technologically sophisticated, is not going to solve it. In other words -- garbage in, garbage out.

The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. The Israelis know their enemy. They know exactly what to look for and their priority is to identify and stop them. I wish I could say the same here. But I can't. And this is the problem.

How can we possibly use technology to identify and root out terrorists when the leaders of our country cannot, or refuse to identify with clarity who these individuals are and what they are about?

This latest round of humiliation that we citizens have to endure - electronic strip searches or intimate physical groping of our bodies - is the result of the so called "underwear bomber" incident from last Christmas.

Can we possibly forget that our Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the nation after that incident that "the system worked?" Or can we allow ourselves to forget that when Napolitano began her new job she wanted to expunge the word "terrorism" from our vocabulary and call these incidents "man-caused disasters?"

Or can we forget the exchange in congressional hearings between Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Attorney General Eric Holder where Holder refused to acknowledge a link between terrorism and radical Islam? Holder said then, "There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them potentially religious."

Israelis can identify terrorists because they know exactly who they are and what they're about. If Eric Holder cannot, or refuses to see a connection between Islam and terrorism, what, in his view, does define who these individuals are? And if he cannot do it with more precision than "there are a variety of reasons why people do these things," how can we possibly hope to have an effective strategy for identifying and dealing with terrorists?

Now we've just had the latest product of Holder's impeccable judgment: All murder counts dismissed on al-Qaida operative Ahmed Ghailani because of Holder's insistence that terrorists be tried in civilian courts.

We're spending more and more on technologies designed to deal with the last terrorist incident, which they can readily circumvent by doing things a little differently the next time. Even if logistics make it impossible to do interviews as Israelis do, we could still design technologies to help zero in on likely suspects.

It's hard to sort out whether our current administration is simply confused and naive, or whether they actually sympathize with our enemies. Either way, we citizens are the ones paying the price, in the wasted money we're shelling out and the humiliating invasions into our privacy.

So let's be clear that body scanners are not the problem. They are the symptom. The problem is our leadership in Washington.

SOURCE

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Beck derangement syndrome

Glenn Beck has taken over from GWB in driving "progressives" into insanity

One of the most celebrated American movies of all time is being hijacked by host Glenn Beck, according to a writer objecting to the talk-show host's decision to broadcast a show from a small town hit hard by the recession.

"Beck is now trying to steal the great 1946 Frank Capra classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' and turn it into a rallying cry for the conservative anti-government Christian right," said Lauri Lebo, a former newspaper reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., in a commentary posted online.

"Somehow, Beck manages to reinterpret the movie through an unregulated free-market ideological Ayn Rand prism and message of Christian conservatism."

"First of all, it's a Christmas movie with an angel in it and God, so I'm pretty sure that it's already got the religion thing in it," Beck said in response to Lebo.

Lebo had written "there are some terrific themes in that movie. Dare I even say it? Terrific progressive themes."

It was that remark about "terrific progressive themes" that sparked the most spirited reaction from Beck, as he explained: "Who saved the Building & Loan in Bedford Falls? The people did. George did, with his own private funds. The government didn't bail him out, and that's the deal. You remember the bank was bailing everyone out ... along with the government closing down the banks. The banks and the government were in collusion. ...

"The local banks were the ones that didn't have a problem. It's the gigantic banks run by people like [Mr.] Potter that were just trying to get rich and didn't care about people. The local banks are the George Baileys. That's not progressive. Progressive is about going past the Constitution and having people at a government level babysit people because they're all too stupid."

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Anti-freedom vixens label Opt Out as “terrorism”: "Apparently not a glimmer of individual freedom and self-responsibility exists within the gray matter of at least three of the big government-worshipping political correctness-idolizing denizens of ABC TV’s morning gabfest fare, ‘The View.’ Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck accused We Won’t Fly founders Jim Babb and George Donnelly — by name — of planning ‘an act of terrorism’ with their peaceful anti-TSA National Opt Out Day and added that their names should be placed on a watch list.”

Kerry Honors Self With Symphony-Hall Bash: "The Drudge headline says it all: Sen. Kerry Rents Out 2,000-seat Boston Symphony Hall to celebrate ...himself. I guess if no one else is going to do it for you...or maybe his yacht was unavailable. The article points out that Kerry has been also asking "battle-weary Bay State Democrats" for cash for his re-election campaign, even though the election is four years away. Thanks, George W., for saving the country from four years of this".

Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientist: "Unidentified assailants riding motorcycles launched bomb attacks early on Monday against two Iranian nuclear physicists here, killing one of them. Some unofficial Iranian media reports, controlled by hardliners, described Mr. Abbasi as a loyalist supporter of the Iranian regime involved in nuclear research at the Defense Ministry and said both scientists were from the nuclear engineering department of Shahid Beheshti University. The attacks were similar to a bombing last January in which a remote-controlled bomb killed another physics professor, Masoud Ali Mohammadi, outside his home."

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

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

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

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

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

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