Saturday, December 25, 2010

Scrooge Was a Liberal

Ann Coulter

It's the Christmas season, so godless liberals are citing the Bible to demand the redistribution of income by government force. Didn't Jesus say, "Blessed are the Health and Human Services bureaucrats, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"?

Liberals are always indignantly accusing conservatives of claiming God is on our side. What we actually say is: We're on God's side, particularly when liberals are demanding God's banishment from the public schools, abortion on demand, and taxpayer money being spent on Jesus submerged in a jar of urine and pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with pornographic photos.

But for liberals like Al Franken, it's beyond dispute that Jesus would support extending federal unemployment insurance.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible, but it does nicely illustrate Shakespeare's point that the "devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

What the Bible says about giving to the poor is: "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians (9:7)

Being forced to pay taxes under penalty of prison is not voluntary and rarely done cheerfully. Nor do our taxes go to "the poor." They mostly go to government employees who make more money than you do.

The reason liberals love the government redistributing money is that it allows them to skip the part of charity that involves peeling the starfish off their wallets and forking over their own money. This, as we know from study after study, they cannot bear to do. (Unless they are guaranteed press conferences where they can brag about their generosity.)

Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks' study of charitable giving in America found that conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals do, despite the fact that liberals have higher incomes than conservatives.

In his book "Who Really Cares?" Brooks compared the charitable donations of religious conservatives, secular liberals, secular conservatives and "religious" liberals.

His surprising conclusion was ... Al Franken gave the most of all!

Ha ha! Just kidding. Religious conservatives, the largest group at about 20 percent of the population, gave the most to charity -- $2,367 per year, compared with $1,347 for the country at large.

Even when it comes to purely secular charities, religious conservatives give more than other Americans, which is surprising because liberals specialize in "charities" that give them a direct benefit, such as the ballet or their children's elite private schools.

Indeed, religious people, Brooks says, "are more charitable in every measurable nonreligious way."

Brooks found that conservatives donate more in time, services and even blood than other Americans, noting that if liberals and moderates gave as much blood as conservatives do, the blood supply would increase by about 45 percent.

They ought to set up blood banks at tea parties.

On average, a person who attends religious services and does not believe in the redistribution of income will give away 100 times more -- and 50 times more to secular charities -- than a person who does not attend religious services and strongly believes in the redistribution of income.

Secular liberals, the second largest group coming in at 10 percent of the population, were the whitest and richest of the four groups. (Some of you may also know them as "insufferable blowhards.") These "bleeding-heart tightwads," as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls them, were the second stingiest, just behind secular conservatives, who are mostly young, poor, cranky white guys.

Despite their wealth and advantages, secular liberals give to charity at a rate of 9 percent, less than all Americans and 19 percent less than religious conservatives. They were also "significantly less likely than the population average to return excess change mistakenly given to them by a cashier." (Count Nancy Pelosi's change carefully!)

Secular liberals are, however, 90 percent more likely to give sanctimonious Senate speeches demanding the forced redistribution of income. (That's up 7 percent from last year!) We'll review specific liberals next week.

Needless to say, "religious liberals" made up the smallest group at just 6.4 percent of the population (for more on this, see my book, "Godless").

Interestingly, religious liberals were also "most confused" of all the groups. Composed mostly of blacks and Unitarians, religious liberals made nearly as many charitable donations as religious conservatives, but presumably, the Unitarians brought down their numbers, making them second in charitable giving.

Brooks wrote that he was shocked by his conclusions because he believed liberals "genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did" -- probably because liberals are always telling us that.

So he re-ran the numbers and gathered more data, but it kept coming out the same. "In the end," he says, "I had no option but to change my views."

Every other study on the subject has produced similar results. Indeed, a Google study of philanthropy found an even greater disparity, with conservatives giving 50 percent more than liberals. The Google study showed that liberals gave more to secular causes overall, but conservatives still gave more as a percentage of their incomes.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy analyzed a decade of state and federal tax returns and found that the red states were far more generous than the blue states, with the highest percentage of tightwads living in the liberal Northeast.

In his book "Intellectuals," Paul Johnson quotes Pablo Picasso scoffing at the idea that he would give to the needy. "I'm afraid you've got it wrong," Picasso explains, "we are socialists. We don't pretend to be Christians."

Merry Christmas to all, skinflint liberals and generous Christians alike!

SOURCE

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A new surge of Obamamania from the press

Hugh Hewitt

Wednesday's press conference may have starred President Obama fresh off his alleged big win on START and DADT, his losses on the Dream Act and the Omnibus spending bill, and the tie on the tax deal, but the big story was the eagerness of the White House Press Corp to revert to fawning treatment of their once-and-future leader.

"I think while they may be saying Merry Christmas," Mark Steyn told me on yesterday's broadcast, "but actually as far as they’re concerned, it’s Easter, that their messiah has risen from the dead, and now bestrides lame duck Washington like a colossus."

Even the leader of the rump group of real reporters at 1600, ABC's Jake Tapper, succumbed to the mood in the press room and congratulated the president on the passage of the repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. I don't think it is fair to attribute support for the repeal to Tapper on the basis of the remark, but reporters don't typically cheer the president's agenda anymore than they hiss at it.

Tapper's lapse may have been reflecting the loneliness of the holdout serious journalist when it comes to Obama. Yesterday's presser was a perfect example. The night before the press conference the president's Director of National Intelligence --James Clapper-- was stumped by Diane Sawyer's reference to Monday evening's arrests of a dozen terror suspects in Great Britain. Clapper blinked incomprehension when Sawyer asked him if the threat over there had any connections to the threat over here. An astonished Sawyer later returned to the subject and pressed Clapper, who admitted that he simply hadn't heard of the arrests, which had played nonstop on cable all day Tuesday and which I had discussed at length with New York Times London Bureau Chief on my Monday night show, --proving only that it wasn't exactly hard to get up to speed on the arrests even though they occurred across the Atlantic.

Imagine the press conference George W. Bush would have faced if either of his DNIs --John D. Negroponte or Michael Hayden-- had blanked on a major story with a network anchor the night before the questions rolled out. If either Bush appointee had been shown to be clueless about the smashing of a major terror ring in England on the week of Christmas, the tape would have rolled endlessly and the press would fairly have screamed questions about resignation demands at W.

Not this press corps and not this president. What conservatives saw yesterday was the first act in MSM's campaign to re-elect Barack Obama. The script isn't difficult to anticipate.

First, every Obama defeat --like the massive repudiation of the president's first two years in office and especially of Obamcare-- must be air brushed off the front page as quickly as possible.

Second, legislative defeats, like the ban on moving Gitmo detainees to the U.S. for trial which passed Wednesday, must not be mentioned unless, like the Dream Act, the MSM perceives political advantage in spinning the defeat in the president's direction.

Third, pratfalls by key members of Team Obama like James Clapper must vanish quickly and not be allowed to feed the public's obvious dismay with the competence of this Administration.

Next, prepare to present the GOP House as a band of rogue inquisitors eager to cobble together some sort of Whitewater II. Ignore the demands of Congress that out-of-control agencies like the FCC abandon unnecessary and ideological extreme initiatives like "net neutrality," and bury the baseline deficit from fiscal year 2007 --the last GOP budget-- of $160 billion versus the trillions spent in red ink since then.

Finally, keep all eyes off of the president's incredible record of weakness aboard, his hostility to Israel, and his inability to do anything about the rogue regimes of North Korea and Iran despite his many promises of engagement and a new start. The president's child-like approach to foreign affairs has left our friends with their heads shaking and our enemies with their hands clasping. The White House press corps, even with the Korean peninsula on the brink of all out war, must not press the president on the subject or on his manifest inability to bring any pressure to bear on the North Koreans or to do anything to stop the runaway nuclear proliferation of the gangster regime.

Wednesday's press conference featured the return of the media we saw throughout campaign 2008 --a blocking front for a hard-left president they approve of over drinks and to whose re-election they are resoundingly, and obviously, committed.

SOURCE

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Actually, Huck, It's Palin Who Gets It

Two names frequently bandied about as potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates engaged in a minor but revealing squabble this week. During what I assume was an action-packed episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" on TLC, the former vice presidential candidate poked some gentle fun at first lady Michelle Obama's ubiquitous children's health crusade.

And this wasn't the first time Palin had disparaged the campaign and the school nutrition food bill that comes attached to it.

As you would expect, duty beckoned enlightened Americans everywhere to run to their keyboards and ridicule Palin. The few rational Republicans left in the country were called to action and gently explained to this crazy woman that children are the future -- which, evolutionarily speaking, is indisputable.

"With all due respect to my colleague and friend Sarah Palin, I think she's misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do," retorted the once generously proportioned Mike Huckabee on a New York radio show. Obama, explained the former Arkansas governor, is "not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government's desires on people. She's stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country."

(More like overstating the obvious, but that's another story.)

In this case, Huckabee is either confused or, judging from his prior work, the kind of guy who dismisses the distinction between convincing someone and coercing someone. Especially in those historical moments when "something needs to be done," which, as you know, can be often.

Now, if you believe, as the Obamas and countless others do, that local control and parental choice are disposable when the common good is threatened, then empowering Washington to dictate which foods are appropriate in bake sales, PTA functions and local school cafeterias probably sounds like a fantastic idea.

But the recently passed nutrition bill (the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, in Washingtonese), a key component to Mrs. Obama's plan to "end childhood obesity," is in fact both "telling people" what they should eat and "trying to force the government's desires on people."

So when Palin claims that the Obamas do not trust people "to make decisions for their own children," she is not unleashing some Bircher hyperbole; she is summing up the driving idea of two years of public policy and paraphrasing the first lady, who recently explained that when it comes to eating, "we can't just leave it up to the parents."

Mrs. Obama might be stating the obvious, but instead of placing the blame on parental incompetence or neglect or genes or whatever the reason is that kids are stuffing their little gullets with junk, she is feeding and creating myths to rationalize "action" -- whether we're talking about the lack of access to food (never have we had more access to food) or prohibitive prices (never has food -- including healthy fare -- been cheaper) or the plague of school lunches.

As for Huckabee, his history of intrusive legislation and alarmism over the crumbling salubriousness of the nation is obviously driven by his own experiences. And if you want to nag us or explain the ramifications of obesity, feel free. Certainly, potential presidents should have the ability to compromise, avoid ideological rigidity and be cognizant of national problems like obesity.

But foundational beliefs like an aversion to federal overreach into local decisions cannot be disposed of because kids happen to be part of the equation. And if Huckabee believes there's nothing wrong with the federal government controlling local school lunches and instituting national smoking bans, how many issues will he believe are more important than federalism?

Now, Sarah Palin may not always be the most sophisticated spokesperson for conservative ideology, but she is right on the money here. In fact, with all the sneering about her comments, she may want to turn to one of her favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, who also understood that "moral busybodies" who "torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

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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Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL WHO COME BY HERE

I plan to do some blogging in the next few days but not sure how much

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More Obamacare insanity: Sebelius' shameless attempt to jawbone insurers on costs

In early September, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius - throwing her new weight around after the passage of Obamacare - threatened the health insurance industry with a letter that spelled out "zero tolerance" for "unjustified rate increases."

This week, her agency unveiled a new rule that allows the federal government to decide what counts as an "unreasonable" rate increase. The upshot: If an insurance company increases the cost of a premium to above 10%, it may well feel the wrath of the feds.

There's just one problem: Under Obamacare, the federal government does not have the authority to block or overturn an insurance price increase. (Congress debated whether or not to give the Health and Human Services Department this authority during the crafting of the legislation, but it was ultimately rejected.) In point of fact, 43 states already regulate and approve rates in the individual or small business market through their insurance commissioners. This new law would let them continue to do their job - unless the federal government were to decide that their reviews weren't "effective." Once again, government is overreaching and telling private business what to do.

Stop for a moment and digest how silly all this is. Sebelius and her crew can scold insurance companies in public, but they have zero actual power to actually get a company to lower the objectionable cost. It's the politicization of price controls - big government at its strong-arming worst.

But there's a deeper problem here: The idea that our federal government, which is mandating that insurance companies to do more and more, can at the very same time be bullied by way of executive power to force them to charge less and less. We often decry "unfunded mandates" when they hit states and local governments; why should we just roll our eyes when the target is private industry? The disconnect within the Obama administration either reveals how little it cares about the laws of economics or how convinced it is that it can single-handedly rewrite them.

With the passage of Obamacare, the government slapped the managed care industry with a plethora of new must-do's: For example, requiring that the insurers cover young adults until they're 26 and banning them from denying coverage for anyone with preexisting conditions; mandating coverage of immunizations, and getting rid of lifetime limits.

To add all these new requirements, then in the same breath to tell insurers that they cannot raise premiums, is like telling General Motors that the cars it produces need to have side air bags, hybrid engines and state-of-the-art sound systems, but they can't raise a single sticker price.

SOURCE

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Labor department covering up union corruption

The Office of Labor Management Statistics (OLMS) was supposed to release an annual report tracking labor unions and evidence of corruption in union leadership in January 2010 but still hasn’t released the document.

OLMS, which falls under the Department of Labor, has released no such tracking report since George W. Bush’s administration, something that has the conservative nonprofit organization Americans for Limited Government (ALG) up in arms. ALG filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 2009 report, and OLMS denied the group’s request by saying it needed more time to complete the report. Originally, however, those reports were publicly available on the OLMS website.

The report would tabulate the number of cases nationwide of union leader prosecution, the amount of funds they embezzle and the misuse of union funds. It also would keep track of indictments. Those statistics do exist elsewhere, as criminal and most civil court proceedings become public record after the cases close, but they’re difficult to track down as they’re in courthouses all over the country. The OLMS annual reports kept track of that information, allowing people to access it easily.

ALG’s current head of research, Don Todd, who led OLMS during the Bush administration, told The Daily Caller he doubts it would be too difficult for the Obama administration to release that information, as they’re supposed to keep track of it all year long. He also said that this administration’s failure to release the report is “freakishly incompetent.” He suspects politics is to blame.

“It’s got to be a political decision,” Todd said in a phone interview. “You know, I ran the agency during the Bush administration, and it’s the career people that put the thing together. So, the fact that it’s not out is a political decision.”

Todd said he thinks the decision to withhold that information comes from the Secretary of Labor’s office, though, not President Barack Obama. “I wouldn’t think it would reach anywhere near that high of a level,” Todd said, referring to why he doesn’t think Obama is calling these shots. “But, the Labor Department is pretty much owned by the union movement now. A lot of the people who work there are from the movement.”

More HERE

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A hero for the people

Everybody hates Tim Eyman.

That’s what you might think if you spent too much time listening to politicians in his home state of Washington, or perusing ill-mannered and condescending Internet postings smearing the “initiative-crazed madman” for seemingly single-handedly starving their Big Brothers in Olympia, the state’s quaint capital.

Legislators have compared Eyman to a terrorist and a pig — but, ever-so-generously, not “a terrorist pig.” He’s said to lack “one ounce of compassion” and to be “the state’s most infamous political liar.”

David Goldstein, a progressive blogger and former radio talk show host, filed an initiative in 2003 that read in part, “[B]e it resolved, That the citizens of the State of Washington do hereby proclaim that Tim Eyman is a Horse’s Ass.” Yet, Goldstein lacked the gusto to get the signatures required to put the measure to a vote.

In September, a comment on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website took it to another level: “Won’t someone just kill Eyman already?” But don’t feel threatened, as the author added, “Oh wait, only righties kill people over politics.” Tell that to Stalin, Mao, and the Weathermen.

Why all the vitriol? It seems too many Democrats and “lefties” don’t like democracy nearly so much as they like to proclaim . . . at least when they lose. At Eyman’s hands, they lose fairly often.

But is Eyman the actual deliverer of the hated coup-stick thwackings? Eyman has no powerful political position. He’s simply a voter and, more importantly, a proponent of initiative measures. Everything he’s accomplished has merely allowed the people of Washington to vote and make the final decision. Eyman explains:

I didn’t repeal the state motor vehicle excise tax (I-695 in 1999) and local vehicle fees (I-776 in 2002) . . . impose 1 percent limits on property tax collections by state and local governments (I-747 in 2001) . . . give the state auditor the authority to do comprehensive performance audits of state and local governments (I-900 in 2005) . . . re-impose a 2/3’s vote requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes (I-960 in 2007), the voters did.

Repeat that: Eyman did’t do those things, the voters did. Eyman calculates that the people of Washington have saved themselves $15.5 billion in taxes by voting for the successful initiatives that he has pushed, working through a group called Voters Want More Choices . . . which he leads along with Jack and Mike Fagan. (The Fagans were very active in battling Republican George Nethercutt in 2000, after the former congressman broke his pledge to serve only three terms in the other Washington.)

This November, Voters Want More Choices sponsored I-1053, a statewide measure requiring tax increases to be passed by a two-thirds majority of both houses of the legislature, and fee increases be passed by a majority. The measure was written in response to the legislature’s repeal of a similar initiative, I-960, passed by voters back in 2007. The more recent go-round garnered 64 percent of the vote — the most ever for an Eyman-proposed issue.

In his spare time, Tim took on the red-light camera industry in his home town of Mukilteo, north of Seattle. He overcame the resistance of local officials to even holding a vote on the issue, and his measure to require public approval before installing any cameras and limiting fines to $20 won 70 percent of the vote.

What’s most essential about Tim Eyman is his understanding of the importance of the initiative and referendum process. “Initiatives allow you to fundamentally change public policy in a really substantial way,” he told the Washington Times. “It is the ultimate in truth in advertising. You can’t hide what your proposal does. Initiatives can’t change their mind after the election — unlike politicians.”

Like America’s Founders, Eyman understands that, ultimately, the principle of who decides is more important than the actual decision. “This is not a debate over is a toll good or bad, is a ferry fare increase good or bad, are car tab fees good or bad,” he recently told the Everett Herald. “It’s a question of who should decide.”

Eyman wants voters to decide. Many politicians, and many who want a government unlimited by voters, disrespectfully disagree.

What befuddles his opponents the most is Eyman’s pluck. He admits that he’s a little “obnoxious” at times. But he says citizens don’t get anywhere without some sort of “battering ram.”

Worse still, he enjoys the battle. He told Seattle Times columnist Bruce Ramsey, “I take a mischievous glee in being the greatest thorn in the side of people who desperately need to be humbled.”

There are those who diminish Tim Eyman as being in the political process only to make money. But they are far removed from reality. A man of Eyman’s talents could make a lot more money in a different pursuit. It’s hard to imagine that his pension — if he has one, which I doubt — would rival those snagged by run-of-the-mill Evergreen State government employees.

In fact, to gain the funding necessary to place this year’s I-1053 on the ballot, Tim took a second mortgage out on his home for $250,000. He still owes $237,000. It’s not something someone “in it for the money” would do.

It is something freedom-lovers all across the country should help him pay off.

Eyman’s success is a testament to his smarts, his tenacity and his hard work. It also testifies to the ballot initiative process, whereby citizens can reform government and change the law by taking an issue to the ballot box for a decision by their fellow citizens.

Hate Tim Eyman? I adore the man.

SOURCE

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Dems Suggest the Bible Hates the Rich

Michael Medved

The debate over the extension of the Bush tax-rates revealed the deep hostility from many prominent Democrats toward Americans who have achieved financial success, and already carry the bulk of the income tax burden. Ironically, some liberals, including Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, even cited Biblical authority to back up their resentment of the rich. A favorite “proof text” for such attitudes comes from Matthew 19:24, where Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

The classic 1706 Christian commentary by Matthew Henry explains this passage by saying, “Rich people have great temptations to resist….more duties are expected of them than from others, which they can hardly do…It must be a great measure of divine grace that will enable a man to break through these difficulties.”

In other words, wealth comes with special challenges and responsibilities, but it is hardly a crime deserving of punishment or discouragement. Inconveniently for liberals who hate the rich, the Bible also says –in Leviticus 19:15- that the legal system must not favor the poor, or the rich.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Nomination of extreme Leftist to federal appeals court blocked: "A Cal law school dean's nomination to a federal appeals court appears to be dead, at least for now, under a deal struck between U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans to break a year-end judicial confirmation logjam. Officials familiar with the deal said Democrats agreed not to seek votes on the nominations of Goodwin Liu, associate dean at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, and three others, while Republicans agreed to confirm at least 19 of President Barack Obama's noncontroversial nominees. The Senate has approved 10 judges in the past few days without a single dissenting vote as part of this deal"

Deadbeat states: "Socialism is secondary to state squandering — and a consequence of it. America is a debtor nation. The defining characteristic of the Unites States is debt — public and private; macro and micro, federal and state. I sincerely hope you are not invested in municipal bonds. The '$3 trillion municipal bond market, where state and local governments go to finance their schools, highways, and other projects,' is about to come crashing down."

Birthrate among US teens hits record low: "The rate at which U.S. women are having babies continued to fall between 2008 and 2009, federal officials reported Tuesday, pushing the teen birthrate to a record low and prompting a debate about whether the drop was caused by the recession, an increased focus on encouraging abstinence, more adolescents using birth control or a combination of those factors."

The enemy within: "In the early 1980s, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher emerged victorious from a war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands that propelled her to a landslide victory in the 1983 general election. On July 19, 1984, she gave a speech to the assembled legislators of her Conservative party, in which she said that she had defeated 'the enemy without,' but that 'the enemy within ... is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty.' She was referring to government-sector unions, and specifically the mineworkers’ union, which was then attempting to hold Britain hostage."

The Golden Rule, reformulated: "Without humility, most people who are concerned about justice and compassion may get lost in moral dilemmas. Humility reminds us we might not have all the right answers or can foresee all the consequences. Humility reminds us that perhaps it's sometimes better to do nothing, and to tolerate the distasteful."

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 23, 2010

Conservative change in Britain

The old Leftist lie that conservatives were simply against all change still has legs even though Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher made it clear by their actions that it was only the simplistic and destructive changes proposed by the Left that conservatives oppose. So it is interesting to see below that Britain's present-day Conservatives also have lots of changes on their agenda

The Tory-led Coalition sees itself in revolutionary terms. Steve Hilton, who is David Cameron’s political guru, is supposed to have declared: ‘Everything must be changed by 2015. Everything.’ An odd thing, perhaps, for an alleged Conservative to have said.

Then there is Nick Boles, the staunchly Cameroon Tory MP for Grantham, who at a conference last week said that David Cameron and Nick Clegg want their ‘people power’ revolution to unleash ‘chaotic’ effects across the community. That sounds like Mao Zedong on a wild night.

During the election campaign Nick Clegg often said that he plans to ‘change Britain for good’, a call to arms he repeated at the Lib Dem party conference in September. I don’t know about you, but there is quite a lot about Britain which I like, and I am by no means sure that Mr Clegg’s transformed version would be preferable.

There is a good deal of this Maoist-type talk. And if you look at the Coalition’s proposals in various areas, there is a lot of frenetic activity of which Mao, as the creator of ‘permanent revolution’, would have warmly approved.

Andrew Lansley is turning the NHS inside out, though in ­opposition the Tories said another bureaucratic shake-up was the last thing it needed. Michael Gove is trying to create as many ‘free schools’ as ­possible. Ken Clarke is overhauling the judicial and prison systems. Iain Duncan Smith is embarking on the most sweeping welfare reforms for a generation. Eric Pickles wants to transfer powers from councils which think they know best to local communities.

The sheer speed and multiplicity of these reforms, combined with all the revolutionary rhetoric, has led some ­commentators to suggest that the Coalition is more radical even than Margaret Thatcher who, for all her zeal, actually proceeded quite cautiously, particularly during her first term of office.

Some people suggest that the theme uniting these bold plans is a smaller State. I doubt whether this is true. When all the cuts announced by the Chancellor have taken effect in 2015 — and this assumes, possibly wrongly, that they will be rigorously applied — government spending as a proportion of gross national product will have merely returned to the ­levels of 2007. That does not sound like a dramatically smaller State to me.

Others say that localism is another common theme. When Mr Boles enthused about the advantages of chaos he was ­trying to point out the vices of central planning. We can most of us agree with that. But I remain sceptical as to whether the reforms already announced will substantially shift power to local communities. Will electing police chiefs really have such an effect?

More HERE

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The Left's legislative rampage

Repudiated Congress implements the New Gay Army

Defeated congressional Democrats will leave town in the next two weeks having left behind Christmas presents few Americans will cherish. The national debt is $5,208,241,108,177.58 more now than it was when Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was sworn in as House speaker. The U.S. military, already strained by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, faces transformation from the world's most powerful fighting machine into an organization where political correctness is more important than victory.

Saturday's Senate vote cleared the final hurdle for the repeal of President Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy designed to prevent homosexual conduct in the ranks. Battle lines will now form over how the homosexual advocacy policies will be implemented. Though the repudiated lawmakers who rammed the repeal through this weekend's session pretend they are simply latter-day Rosa Parkses seeking to end discrimination, there is no comparison. Since 2005, a mere 1 percent of Army discharges involved homosexual conduct. This issue isn't about retaining or recruiting qualified personnel for the military. This is part of the left's larger societal goal of using government to force others to embrace unorthodox personal lifestyle choices.

The implications are clear from a look at how the federal government treats issues of homosexuality. President Obama, for example, repeated his call for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in his proclamation of June 2010 as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month." It's inevitable that the same programs will be foisted on the military services. Troops can look forward to so-called pride parades on military bases and awareness days for the transgendered.

Everyone knows the sort of thing that might work in Greenwich Village or a San Francisco neighborhood doesn't go over well in a fighting force drawn largely from red state America - an area whose residents Mr. Obama once derisively referred to as the type who "cling to guns or religion." That's why implementing the New Gay Army means forcing soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to endure "diversity" training. Those who don't like it will be told to get out, as several senior military leaders have suggested already. Chaplains in particular will face the dilemma that preaching their faith will violate the new pro-homosexual code of conduct. As a result, far more are likely to leave or be thrown out of the military as a result of Mr. Obama's policy than were ever affected by Mr. Clinton's.

It's hard to see how that will do anything to strengthen the nation's defenses. It does, however, please the well-funded fringe groups that helped Mr. Obama secure his election victory in 2008. That win isn't likely to last beyond 2012. As with the strong-arm tactics employed to force through Obamacare, using a last-minute lame-duck session to enact a controversial policy won't earn many friends outside of left-wing activist circles. It's no wonder Mr. Obama's popularity continues to plunge.

America needs a president who will put military readiness and national security above special interests. That's not what we have in the White House these days.

SOURCE

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Texas Just Got Bigger

OK, OK, enough with dancing on the bar, shooting pistols in the air, and whatever else Texans are legendarily credited with doing when they celebrate. News of the state's projected gain in congressional representation .affords opportunities for useful, not to mention sober, analysis of what makes a state really work.

We're gittin' them four new seats, boys, due in large measure to a engrained habit of welcoming capital, capitalists, and various other proponents of growth.

Population growth of 20.6 percent over the past decade has both a geographical and an economic basis. Proximity to Mexico has historically made Texas a major destination for Mexican immigrants. These immigrants come -- the economic angle emerges here -- because jobs in Texas are relatively plentiful.

Their plentitude draws more than just Mexicans. As the Dallas Morning News' Jim Landers points out, a yearly average of 80,000 Californians moved to Texas between 2006 and 2008. Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana likewise contributed to the influx, Landers says.

Abundant resources -- land, petroleum, and so on -- create their own blessings; but a collateral blessing to Texas, in terms of creating attractions for population growth, is the state's taste for relatively small, relatively non-oppressive government. Save for the opposite disposition in states like New York and California, Texas, with its hot summers and taste for the un-chic, might not stand out so favorably among the other states.

Stand out it does. Texas doesn't even have a personal income tax. It accords to business such latitude as comports with observance of mainstream legalities. The state legislature meets just five months out of every 24. The state's almost uniformly liberal newspapers rag on business a bit, but few enough others do. It's a good place, Texas is, to make a living.

During the recession, housing values fell less than those in other states, and unemployment never reached 9 percent. Advantages of this sort get noised abroad, and newcomers start showing up. It is what Lenin called voting with your feet -- taking yourself and your family where you expect your discrete needs to be met.

More HERE

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Why Obama bailed out Wall St.

When it comes to big business and the economy, America is essentially a Fascist ("corporate") State with just a facade of democracy. The GOP and the Donks differ only in relatively small ways and that's the only choice you get. Witness GWB and the TARP. The Tea partiers want to make the GOP into a truly conservative party but they will almost certainly get swallowed up by the system

The political establishment, helped by the mass media and intelligentsia, has long played a game in this country. It consists in depicting the competition for power as between two blocs: one hostile to business in the name of social justice, the other friendly to business in the name of “the free market.” Each bloc’s talking points and pet projects are calculated in superficial ways to reinforce its signature theme. Whenever the blocs need to rally their respective bases, they accentuate their surface differences. The “antibusiness” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, Wall Street lackeys, while the “pro-free-enterprise” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, socialists.

It’s all a sham that serves each side’s interests. The rivals actually want two variations of the same thing: the corporate state, a system of economic privilege that transfers wealth via government from market entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers to well-connected business interests.

What we have are two factions of a single establishment. Differences in rhetoric notwithstanding, both are friends of and beholden to big entrenched manufacturers (military contractors lead the way) and big financial institutions. Neither faction wishes to do anything to undermine the interests of these businesses. And for their part, the business people have no desire to antagonize either side. They need one another: The politicians need the campaign funds and economic cooperation; the businesses need the subsidies, guarantees, low interest rates, and impediments to competition. The banks in particular need friendly relations with politicians (federal, state, and local) who float debt that brings big fees for bond underwriters. It’s one close and lucrative alliance (which is not to say the various parties agree on every detail). Thus it has been throughout American history. (Doubters should consult Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.’s classic, The Decline of American Liberalism.)

Enter Barack Obama. “For the most part, Obama had been good to the banks—really good. They’d gotten everything they wanted in terms of bailouts and handouts and reaped enormous profits because of it,” Gasparino writes. “. . . The fact of the matter is, when you strip away the name-calling and class warfare coming from the Obama administration, and when you ignore Wall Street’s gripes about the new financial reform legislation that will put a crimp in some of its profits, these two entities are far more aligned than meets the casual eye. They coexist to help each other—in an unholy alliance against the American taxpayer.”

Gasparino points out that Obama signaled his eagerness to be Wall Street’s friend at a meeting with the big players during his presidential campaign, and they came through with the money. Wall Street had no reason for remorse when they saw his economic appointments and advisers: Timothy Geithner (formerly of the New York Fed), Lawrence Summers (Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and former World Bank president), Paul Volcker (former Fed chairman), Robert Rubin (formerly of Goldman Sachs, later of Citigroup), Ben Bernanke (reappointed as Fed chairman), Rahm Emanuel (formerly of Goldman Sachs), and Greg Craig (a political insider who has gone on to represent Goldman Sachs from one of the nation’s top law firms). Many other Wall Street insiders, whose names are not so well known, have the President’s ear.

Gasparino’s thesis is confirmed by the essential continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations. Wall Street got first consideration beginning when the rotten fruit of bipartisan housing and monetary policies became apparent. If anything, the Obama team has substantively treated Wall Street better than the Bush team did. The Fed has gone into the business of allocating capital selectively, buying up mortgage-based and other “assets” of dubious value from institutions deemed too big to fail. One must guard against being deceived by political rituals. The Dodd-Frank financial “reform” is portrayed as the long-overdue taming of Wall Street, but no one who pays close attention believes that. The usual players will help write the myriad rules the new law calls for, and they are not likely to harm the insiders’ interests.

Sure, Obama bashed Wall Street last fall. No surprise: There was a campaign on and his party was in deep trouble; unemployment was stuck above 9.5 percent; and the disillusioned base needed rallying or it might not have shown up at the polls. The bigwigs at Goldman and the other firms may not be happy about the rhetorical roughing-up. They may even be concerned that a desperate Obama will do something in the short run that could reduce the growth of profits and executive pay. Such uncertainty is surely one reason for the reluctance to invest and slow recovery. But it’s unlikely that any big player fears that the future holds a radical anti-capitalist revolution.

The daily talk-radio and cable-news alarms about this being the most radical left-wing administration in U.S. history should be chalked up to base-rallying on the other side. As I suggested at the outset, the American political system capitalizes on the division in public opinion over the role of government by propagating the myth that there is a grand war raging between the advocates of Big Government and the advocates of Free Markets. In fact, it’s an intramural competition between two rival factions that favor government management of the economy—with a few differences in detail—on behalf of special interests.

Why the charade? All the better to exploit the productive classes, those that would be prospering in a freed market.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

NATO denies US plans Pakistan escalation: "The NATO force in Afghanistan denied Tuesday that the American military intends to carry out ground raids inside Pakistan in pursuit of insurgent leaders hiding there. ... The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions that senior U.S. military officials believe they will soon be authorized to send American special operations forces into Pakistan's tribal areas with the aim of capturing figures from the Taliban and a virulent offshoot organization, the Haqqani network."

The other way to repeal ObamaCare: "The repeal amendment, also known as the federalism amendment, would be a welcome step forward in reestablishing half of Madison’s double security to our rights. By allowing two-thirds of state legislatures to repeal any federal law or regulation, it would remind the federal government that ours is a federalist system; that federal power isn’t unlimited; and that the states have legitimate authority (not rights! — only people have rights) in all instances in which the Constitution’s enumerated powers don’t grant the federal government authority to act."

Britain outlaws ID cards: "The bill abolishing the National Identity Scheme is expected to gain royal assent later today. The Home Office said that it expected the identity documents bill would be passed into law on 21 December. As a result, existing ID cards will be invalid for use in a month's time."

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 22, 2010

The Sad Limits of Realpolitik ("Realism" in politics)

Morality matters

Early in his service as President Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger paid a visit to his homeland. The West German government suggested to the press that Kissinger intended to visit some relatives. "What the hell are they putting out?" Kissinger vented to his aides. "My relatives are soap."

Blunt, and true. Kissinger had left Germany in August 1938 as a 15-year-old refugee, three months before Kristallnacht. His granduncle, three aunts and other relatives were murdered in the Holocaust.

So it is appalling to hear Kissinger, an epic life later, telling Nixon on a scratchy recording from March 1, 1973: "Let's face it: The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. It may be a humanitarian concern."

Some commentators have attempted to provide a psychological explanation for this incident, having to do with the struggles of a Jew in an anti-Semitic White House. But this effort is not necessary. Kissinger's words were not the expression of a quirk but of an argument. In 1969, he had publicly declared: "We will judge other countries, including communist countries, on the basis of their actions, not on the basis of their domestic ideologies." This is a commonplace assertion of a school of foreign policy called "realism" -- that only the external behavior of regimes really matters, that their internal conduct does not concern American interests. It is a view currently popular, even ascendant, among foreign-policy thinkers. Kissinger was merely being unsentimental in its application.

In response to the recent release of the recording, Kissinger said his words "must be viewed in the context of the time." That context was a debate over the Jackson-Vanik Amendment of 1974. The Soviet government -- which both practiced anti-Semitism and resented the brain drain of Jewish departures -- had imposed heavy fines on emigres. Sen. Henry Jackson and Rep. Charles Vanik, supported by American Jewish groups, responded with legislation that linked normal trade relations with the Soviet Union (and other "non-market" economies) to the freedom to emigrate.

Kissinger believed that detente with the Soviet Union was of overriding importance and that human rights issues should only be raised quietly, on an unrelated diplomatic track. "The Jewish community in this country, on that issue," he told Nixon, "is behaving unconscionably. It's behaving traitorously."

But Jackson-Vanik turned out to be a pivot point in the Cold War. After an initial drop in emigration, the legislation exerted two decades of pressure on Soviet leaders, eventually resulting in higher emigration levels. It pressed one of the West's most powerful ideological advantages against the Soviet Union by demonstrating the weakness of a system that must build walls to keep its people from fleeing. This emphasis on human rights inspired not only Jewish refuseniks but other groups and nationalities that inhabited the Soviet prison.

Jackson-Vanik was both a rejection of Kissinger's realism and a preview of Reaganism. It asserted that oppressive regimes are more likely to threaten their neighbors, placing human rights nearer the center of American interests. It elevated standards of human dignity that were direct threats to regimes premised on their denial.

Henry Kissinger is not a simple villain, because he is not a simple anything. Complexity is his creed. In other circumstances, he was a friend to the state of Israel. He skillfully navigated a difficult patch in the Cold War. In later writings, he has recognized the role of idealism in sustaining American global engagement.

This 37-year-old quote does not characterize an entire career. But it illustrates the narrowness of foreign policy realism. It has a sadly limited view of power, discounting American ideological advantages in global ideological struggles.

Realists often hold a simplistic view of great-power relations, asserting that any humanitarian pressure on Russia or China will cause the whole edifice of global order to crumble. This precludes the possibility of a mature relationship with other nations in which America both stands for its values and pursues common interests.

And from this historical episode, it is clear that repeated doses of foreign policy realism can deaden the conscience. In President Nixon's office, a lack of human sentiment was viewed as proof of mental toughness -- an atmosphere that diminished the office itself. Realists are often dismissive of Manichean distinctions between good and evil, light and darkness. But in the world beyond good and evil, some may be lightly consigned to the gas chambers.

SOURCE

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Looting Lorillard

A BOSTON JURY last week ordered Lorillard Inc., the tobacco company, to pay $71 million as compensation -- and another $81 million in punitive damages -- for the death of lifelong smoker Marie Evans, who died of lung cancer in 2002. Evans's son William, a Harvard-trained lawyer, claimed that Lorillard had hooked his mother on cigarettes by giving out free samples of Newports in the Boston neighborhood where she lived as a child in the 1950's and 1960's.

Lorillard denied the allegation, and apparently the only direct evidence for it was a videotaped deposition in which Marie Evans described how she began smoking at 13. But it doesn't seem implausible to me. The great majority of smokers take up the habit before turning 18, and even I can recall packs of cigarettes being handed out on Cleveland's Public Square in the late 1970's.

Yet even if it were true, how can it be just or moral to expropriate tens of millions of dollars from a company for distributing free samples of a lawful product? Why should Marie Evans's decision to smoke -- something she always knew was bad for her health -- entitle her son and estate to be showered with money? Reasonable people can debate whether cigarettes, already heavily regulated, should be banned outright. But it is not reasonable to hold tobacco companies liable for the foreseeable risks that smokers assume.

Lorillard never forced or tricked Marie Evans to use cigarettes; she became a smoker willingly. By her own account, she first received those free cigarettes when she was 9, and for years traded them for candy. Plainly it wasn't Lorillard that eventually got Evans to start smoking; if she could resist the lure of tobacco until she was 12, she could have resisted it at 13.

The demonizing of tobacco companies is popular, and who wouldn't rather think ill of Big Bad Tobacco than of a devoted mother who lost a terrible fight with lung cancer at the age of 54? But sorrow for Marie Evans and sympathy for her son don't alter reality: What turned her into a smoker was not a wicked corporation. It was a foolish choice she made as a teen-ager. People who willingly make foolish choices -- a category that includes most human beings, especially those of the teen-age persuasion -- ought not to be enriched for their foolishness.

Yes, smoking is addictive, but the addiction is not inescapable: Tens of millions of Americans have kicked the habit and nowadays most never start. Among those who do, there may conceivably be some so weak-willed, suggestible, or mentally deficient that they were literally incapable of refusing an invitation to smoke. Marie Evans -- a single mother who earned a degree from Northeastern University, rose through the ranks at Verizon to become a human-resources manager, and is described as "the determined one" by Michael Weisman, the lead plaintiff's lawyer in the suit against Lorillard -- was clearly not such a smoker.

"It's awful, what they did to my mom," Willie Evans told an interviewer this week. But "they" -- Lorillard -- did nothing very different from the countless other vendors who tempt us with products we would be well advised to resist, or at least to use in moderation. As a son who loved his mother and hated to see her suffer, Evans understandably hates the cigarettes that sickened and killed her. It's even understandable that he might hate the company that makes the cigarettes she favored. However, to turn her death into a legal pretext for looting that company does her memory no honor. Neither does Evans's claim that his mother "had no free will." Of course she had free will. And one of the ways she exercised it had tragic consequences.

What if Marie Evans had died from cirrhosis of the liver after drinking a six-pack of Budweiser every day for 40 years? Would her son be entitled to a fortune in damages from Anheuser-Busch? If she had been an incorrigibly reckless driver, who died in a crash caused by her speeding, would Willie Evans have sued the auto manufacturer whose commercials made fast cars so irresistible to his mother? If she had eaten her way to an early grave, would her son have gone after Nestle, Mars, and Hershey for getting her hooked on sweets long ago with a marketing strategy that targeted children?

The urge to blame others for our own self-destructive choices is as old as the power to choose. There is nothing admirable in yielding to that urge. Still less in rewarding those who do with $152 million.

SOURCE

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Why the persisting high unemployment?

The Fed and its failed theories

While the Fed has pumped huge quantities of liquidity into the economy, the U.S. is paradoxically facing a credit crunch. As the accompanying chart indicates, banks have utilized their liquidity to pile up cash and accumulate government bonds and securities.

In contrast, bank loans have actually decreased — a credit crunch. And since credit is a source of working capital for businesses, a credit crunch acts like a supply constraint on the economy. Even though it appears as though the economy has loads of excess capacity, the supply-side of the economy is, in fact, constrained by the credit crunch. It is not surprising, therefore, that the economy is not firing on all cylinders.

To understand why, in the Fed's sea of liquidity, the economy is being held back by a credit crunch, we have to focus on the workings of the loan markets. Retail bank lending involves making risky forward commitments. A line of credit to a corporate client, for example, represents such a commitment. The willingness of a bank to make such forward commitments depends, to a large extent, on a well-functioning interbank market — a market operating without counterparty risks and with positive interest rates. With the availability of such a market, even illiquid (but solvent) banks can make forward commitments (loans) to their clients because they can cover their commitments by bidding for funds in the wholesale interbank market.

At present, the major problem facing the interbank market is the zero interest-rate trap. In a world in which the risk-free Fed funds rate is close to zero, banks with excess reserves are reluctant to part with them for virtually no yield in the interbank market. Accordingly, the interbank market has dried up — thanks to the Fed's zero interest-rate policy — and, with that, banks have been unwilling to scale up their forward loan commitments.

In short, the Fed's zero interest-rate policy has created a credit crunch that is holding back the economy. The only way out of this trap is for the Fed to raise the Fed funds rate to, say, two percent.

The Fed's interest-rate strategy is not the only thing holding back the U.S. (and international) economy. Regime uncertainty is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. The Fed — by embracing more quantitative easing — has generated uncertainty. Bond market participants, among others, anxiously ponder how and when the Fed will eventually drain liquidity from the economy. Bankers are also nervous. They have been called on to beef up their banks' capital positions. This they have done. But, will there be more mandates to increase bank capital? And, if this wasn't enough, the all-important bank regulations that will accompany the new Dodd-Frank bank legislation will take years to be written and finalized. It's not surprising that bankers, instead of making loans, are piling up excess reserves....

We must not forget that the Fed's ultra-low interest rates have not only produced a U.S. credit crunch, but also picked the pockets of prudent savers. For example, with "low" returns (and "low" discount rates), the unfunded liabilities of state pension funds in the U.S. have exploded and are estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2013. In the United Kingdom, actuaries are also having sleepless nights because of "low" yields (and "low" discount rates). Over half of the companies in the U.K. are projected to face bankruptcy if government bond yields remain at current levels.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Gaza: IDF fighter jets strike Hamas targets: "The IDF Spokesman unit on Tuesday confirmed that IAF aircraft attacked terrorist activity targets in the southern Gaza Strip. ... Palestinian sources claimed that the IDF attacked targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to the military wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam Brigade and eye witnesses reported that four people were injured during the attacks. The reports follow an incident in which a Kassam rocket landed near a kindergarten in a kibbutz near Ashkelon on Tuesday morning, injuring a 14-year-old girl."

After four decades, Harvard opens door to ROTC: "Harvard University will welcome ROTC back to campus now that Congress has repealed a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, university president Drew Faust said. The move will end a four-decade standoff between one of the nation’s most prestigious universities and its armed forces. The tension began over the Vietnam War and continued in recent years as university administrators, faculty, and students objected to what they saw as discrimination against gays and lesbians." [It will be a while before the change will be implemented so Harvard sound like they are racing to get a monkey off their backs]

Census result: "The population of the United States grew 9.7% to 308.7 million people over the past decade -- the slowest rate of growth since the Great Depression -- the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. In the 1930s, the population grew by just 7.3%. Comparatively, the nation added 13.2% more residents during the 1990s."

NJ: Mortgage firms face possible foreclosure freeze: "The chief judge of New Jersey's highest court ordered six leading mortgage lenders and servicers to face a possible freeze on their foreclosures in the state due to problems in handling documents, the Associated Press reported. ... [Supreme Court Justice Stuart] Rabner's order follows a report to the Supreme Court citing depositions and court filings in other states. It portrayed a system rife with abuse in the filing of foreclosures that include 'robo-signing,' in which employees signed hundreds of documents without checking them for accuracy." [There have been a lot of bungles]

Murkowski the RINO: "One of Pres. Obama's biggest supporters in the Senate in the past week is not even a member of his own party: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Murkowski supported the president's position on the Senate's four biggest votes since last Wednesday. She and fellow Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) voted in favor of the tax cut compromise and to invoke cloture on New START treaty, the Dream Act and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Both senators also voted in favor of the final repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Saturday. No Senate Republican voted for all four bills other than Murkowski."

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

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

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

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monitoring America

Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

Other democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

* Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.

* The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.

* Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.

* The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.

The need to identify U.S.-born or naturalized citizens who are planning violent attacks is more urgent than ever, U.S. intelligence officials say. This month's FBI sting operation involving a Baltimore construction worker who allegedly planned to bomb a Maryland military recruiting station is the latest example. It followed a similar arrest of a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen allegedly seeking to detonate a bomb near a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. There have been nearly two dozen other cases just this year.

"The old view that 'if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won't have to fight them here' is just that - the old view," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told police and firefighters recently.

The Obama administration heralds this local approach as a much-needed evolution in the way the country confronts terrorism. However, just as at the federal level, the effectiveness of these programs, as well as their cost, is difficult to determine. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, does not know how much money it spends each year on what are known as state fusion centers, which bring together and analyze information from various agencies within a state.

More HERE

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Secrets Your Government Hides From You

Dave Gaubatz

Having worked for the U.S. government for twenty four and a half years and holding our nation’s highest secrets, I would be the first to say there are times information collected by the government should be classified and not released to the public. Having said that, it has been my experience as a counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence officer and analyst that only 10 percent of what is collected should be classified. The other 90 percent should be released to the public.

Why then would our government classify the vast enormous amount of intelligence collected and not openly provide this to the people? Readers should keep in mind the government works for the people, not the other way around. There are 3 primary reasons the government classifies information and only one of them is for legitimate reasons:

1: Legitimate reason: The release of certain information would cause ‘grave’ consequences for our national security and our military forces.

2. Illegitimate reason: The release of certain information would cause major embarrassment to some government departments or leaders. In other words when government employees make serious mistakes the information is simply classified so the public will never know of the errors. One such example is ‘friendly fire’ incidents during war time. The government classifies these types of incidents so they can avoid having to answer to the families of the injured or killed military personnel. In addition many friendly fire incidents were in actuality ‘murders’ committed by our own troops against their fellow soldiers.

Many readers who know of my counter-terrorism research since leaving federal service are aware that my team and I have visited over 250 Islamic Centers in the U.S. I personally spent several days at an Islamic center in Knoxville, TN. The Mosque had hundreds of books and DVD’s pertaining to violence and the methodology of treason and sedition against the U.S. While at the mosque I had an opportunity to spend several hours with a senior Muslim worshipper. The man began explaining ‘friendly fire’ incidents in Iraq. He began by telling me his nephew was in a military prison because he had intentionally killed several of his fellow troops. Why? Because they were considered the enemy, not the Muslims fighting for Saddam Hussein. This Muslim man continued informing me that there are numerous such killings of American troops by American Muslim soldiers. He followed up by showing me numerous references in the mosque that justified this action. He said the media and U.S. government will not report these ‘murders’ because it could cause a backlash against American Muslim troops.

3. Illegitimate reason: The government collects information on U.S. citizens that are illegal under U.S. laws. How and why do they do this? Under U.S. laws it is illegal to collect intelligence on U.S. citizens without going through very stringent guidelines. The government knows how to use ‘loop holes’ to collect illegal intelligence on U.S. citizens. They simply make it a criminal case instead of an ‘intelligence’ case. The government can collect without restriction as much ‘mundane’ information on any U.S. citizen as long as they classify the investigation as criminal versus counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism. Little do the American people know that vaults and vaults of information is collected on citizens for possible future use against them, even when there is no legitimate reason for the intelligence to be collected. The information is classified and it literally takes an act of Congress to find out what information the government has collected on you.

Now for the ‘meat’ of this article. I will provide Americans three things they should know that is contrary to what the government informs you of:

1. In the U.S. we have several military installations that contain our country’s highest weapons programs and the technology for future weapons one can not even imagine to understand. What is kept from the American people is that scientists, engineers, and others are given access to these installations on a daily basis. My primary duties as a Federal Agent were the protection of our nation’s highest technology. Almost on a daily basis there are foreigners from Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, etc… who work on the sensitive U.S. military installations and have free access to ‘roam’ the bases: essentially they collect intelligence on our troops, weapons technology, and vulnerabilities. In turn they report the intelligence to their respective Embassies. Should Americans not know that our U.S. military bases are not as safe as the government wants us to believe?

2. Another ‘secret’ that should not be classified is that the U.S. government has major corporations such as Boeing, Northrop, Lockheed Martin and many others who work on ‘Top Secret’ programs. How many reports do the American people hear through our media and government officials that foreigners are caught on a regular basis ‘stealing’ classified information? Why would this type information be classified? The only reason it is classified is because our senior military and government officials would be put on the spot and have to answer some very embarrassing questions.

3. The Saudi government is not the friends of America. They support Al Qaeda and desire Sharia law implemented worldwide. The Saudi government is responsible for pouring thousands of pieces of ‘hate material’ into our public libraries and schools. They encourage the Maj. Hassan’s and Mohammed Mohamed (Oregon). Our government knows the Saudis’ intention is to destroy Israel and America, but Saudi Arabia pumps billions of dollars into our politicians pockets, our major media outlets, major universities, and into such organizations such as CAIR. While in Saudi Arabia a couple of months prior to ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ I was the lead collector of intelligence targeting Saudi Arabia. If the American people want the truth about Saudi Arabia they should demand a Congressional Hearing on this topic. The hundreds of reports my fellow Agents and I wrote about Saudi Arabia would astonish you…. and upset you to know we deal with Saudi Arabia as our friends, when behind the scenes they are educating suicide bombers to kill innocent Americans.

Now I believe it is important to explain why this article is being written. I had mentioned I worked for the government for 24.5 years. There are literally millions and millions of documents that are classified, but should not be. There are numerous people such as Maj. Hasan from Ft. Hood the government has information on and fully understand they are a serious risk to our national security, but due to political correctness and to avoid being labeled an Islamophobe, the information is classified and military members are warned (with the threat of possible court-martials) that to discuss these issues is prohibited. The murders committed by the 11 Sept. 2001 hijackers did not have to happen. There were literally thousands of intelligence reports revealing this attack, yet the reports remain sealed in vaults.

SOURCE

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A foretaste of totalitarianism

The first two years of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid administration has given most Americans a taste of what it is to live in a nation where the central government is run by people who do not give a damn for public opinion or the Constitution.

It took barely a year for Americans to come together in a Tea Party movement to oppose Obamacare. That hideous piece of legislation interposes the government between all Americans and their physicians, inflicting a bureaucratic nightmare that, if permitted to exist, will surely kill Americans denied timely care.

The members of the Tea Party are not just Republicans, not just Democrats, and not just independents. They are quintessentially Americans that swiftly concluded that a serious mistake was made when Obama was elected. On the anniversary of the original tea party, Sen. Reid was forced to make a humiliating retreat, dropping the $1.1 trillion "budget" bill intended to shackle the newly elected members of Congress and to impose still more debt and control over Americans.

The Obama administration is shot through with control freaks, nags and busybodies, not the least of whom is the First Lady, Michelle Obama. On the signing of a bill giving the governmental control over food in the nation’s schools she said that obesity is “not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well.” That is just absurd. It is a feeble excuse to interpose the federal government between parents and the schools to which they are compelled to send their children.

“We cannot leave it up to the parents,” said Michelle Obama. Not surprisingly, a Rasmussen Reports poll revealed that 75% of those asked did not agree with the First Lady.

Hardly a day goes by when some member of the Obama administration doesn’t say or do something absurd. In mid-December, the U.S. Surgeon-General, Regina Benjamin, said “there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke.”

She claimed that even occasional smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke “causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death.” That is not based in any valid analysis and it ignores the rising levels of life expectancy in America. It is just another piece of the hysterical anti-tobacco agenda of busybodies who have no right to tell anyone whether they should smoke or not.

The most dangerous thing Americans do every day is to get behind the wheel or be a passenger in an automobile. Auto accidents annually kill 40,000 or more.

Recently, at the Cancun, Mexico conference of global warming charlatans, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said that “climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet” as if human beings had anything to say or do about it. He might was well have said that the United Nations must begin to control the Sun, the oceans, and the clouds.

Finally, after being banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1980, the agency decided that saccharin, a sweetener substitute for sugar, was neither toxic nor a cancer-causing agent, a fact determined in the late 1990s by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The EPA routinely bans chemicals claiming they could cause cancer, ignoring the fact that too much exposure to any chemical, including salt or sugar, is unwise.

These and a thousand other examples are reasons to distrust the Obama administration in particular and the federal government in general. As it continues to grasp more and more power over lifestyle decisions that belong to individuals, it threatens the very reason America was founded.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

McConnell: Government will stay afloat: "Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said yesterday that he and the Democratic leader have agreed on a spending measure to keep the government running through March. Passing the bill would prevent the government from running out of money for daily operations and forcing a shutdown. McConnell of Kentucky said on CNN’s State of the Union that he and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada reached a deal on the measure."

Are economic forces redrawing congressional map?: "New population data from the Census Bureau this week will reshuffle political clout among the states, and the power shift may be amplified by economic forces as well as demographic ones. Simply put, some states have been gaining people because they offer cheaper housing or more abundant jobs. ... Economic opportunities are one major factor behind those choices, researchers say."

Tax deduction for mortgage interest could be on the chopping block: "Perhaps the most sacred of all the sacred cows in the tax code, the home mortgage deduction has long been seen as crucial to a major element of the American dream — owning your own home. It has also been a boon to home builders, construction workers, the financial services industry and local governments that benefited from fatter real estate tax revenue. But nearly a century after coming into existence, the mortgage deduction may face a day of reckoning."

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, December 20, 2010

The evil consequences of the Left's hate-filled class war

We often take the class warfare rhetoric of the Left for granted these days, inured to its wickedness by its ubiquity in the media and academia. For most on the Right the class and race warfare rhetoric espoused by leftists is simply another point to debate and an easy explanation for leftist political stances and social mores. But this ideology of hatred does more than affect tax policy, it costs lives. America’s streets run red with the blood of the innocent cut down by the foot soldiers of the secret war America’s Left has initiated.

Clay Duke, the man who opened fire on a Florida school board, was one such foot soldier. But he was also a victim. That the mentally ill Duke took his cues from leftist groups like Media Matters is verified by Duke’s own words. What shocked people more was the reaction of his supposedly sane wife who, having just heard that her husband committed suicide after attempting to murder several innocent men and women, told news crews that her mentally disturbed husband should be an example to all Americans. She called for a violent class war.

I may be unkind to point out the obvious here but it’s clear that this deranged man not only adopted the class warfare rhetoric of the Left, but was enabled by his radical wife. Fortunately for his would-be victims Duke only ended up killing himself, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a victim here. Duke needed help and those closest to him were so mired in their Marxist fantasy world that he ended up dead and his friends and supporters (yes, there are supporters of Clay Duke) continue their radical passion play.

But this has distracted attention from an even more disturbing story. In Cape Cod a series of fires are being blamed on an arsonist who leaves a very telling calling card. From the Cape Cod Times:
Police and fire officials are investigating an arson fire in Sandwich that has a disturbing similarity with a suspicious incident in Barnstable.

In both cases, the arsonist left a calling card, the message, “(expletive) the rich” at the scene.

At 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 24, flames engulfed an unoccupied home still under construction at 16 Boulder Brook Road in Sandwich. Only the exterior of the house had been completed. The home, which was valued at $500,000, had a three-car garage and three bedrooms, but no plumbing or electric service, Sandwich Fire Chief George Russell said.

The heavy damage burned much of the evidence. But the state Fire Marshal’s Office was recently able to rule that an arsonist had set the fire, Russell said.

The following week, on Dec. 2, incendiary devices were found at 43 Trotters Lane in Marstons Mills, law enforcement officials said.

At Trotters Lane, the message “(expletive) the rich,” was clearly spray painted on a fence on the property, Barnstable police Det. John York said.

York said a similar message had been found at the Sandwich property. Sandwich officials have declined to provide details about that case.

“F*@k the rich” is a common battle cry for radicals, including Libertarian Communists and Anarchists of all stripes, even ones who are admittedly well off themselves. But class warfare in America has little to do with actual class, it is simply a call for violence against those who oppose neo-Marxist policies. That is why these mighty “class warriors” tend to be the children of well-off families.

On May Day of this year there was a riot in Asheville, North Carolina organized by a Black Bloc cell. The very left-leaning city’s residents expressed surprise that their stores were attacked, going so far as to claim they were “on the same side” politically. Several people contacted me to tell me that the riot was organized by the local anarchists and socialists using radical bookstores for planning meetings and the dozen or so rioters arrested turned out to be local college kids.

A few months later an anarchist named Casey Brezik slit the throat of a Missouri community college dean in a blitz attack launched during a special event featuring Governor Jay Nixon. Brezik, like Duke, was mentally unstable and his family had declared him an endangered missing adult. While they worried about their missing loved one, local anarchists were providing Breznik with shelter and drugs and setting him loose on the public. It turned out that he had been arrested at the G-20 for assaulting a police officer, but Canada only held him for two days before deporting him back to us.

Like Duke, this “class warrior” was little more than a mentally disturbed weapon used by leftists to inflict as much destruction as possible on innocent Americans.

Racial division is a key strategy of class warfare, and the Left is adept at stirring up racial animosity. The recent riots in Oakland were organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party, who also played a hand in organizing violent clashes between police and illegal immigrants in Westlake, California. In both cases the RCP used racially charged incidents to stir up “revolution” and class war.

But protests turning into riots are the least consequence of the Left’s racially divisive class war.

Over the summer Des Moines was plagued with a series of racially motivated attacks at the Iowa State Fairgrounds where whites were attacked at random by black teens who police reported said it was “beat Whitey night.” Several police officers were attacked and in at least one incident a teen girl brazenly assaulted a woman in front of police for no reason other than her race.

A 4th of July “flash mob” in Philadelphia also included racially motivated assaults on random people.

In the once “up and coming” upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, a 200 member strong Latino motorcycle gang has been terrorizing the well-to-do residents and the police have been powerless to stop them.

More disturbing were the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome. The young white couple was kidnapped, raped, and tortured in a racially charged murder many dubbed the Knoxville Horror. Christopher Newsome was sodomized then dragged to some nearby railroad tracks where he was shot and set on fire. Channon Christian then endured several hours of “horrific” sexual torture before being hog-tied and left with a plastic bag tied over her head in a dumpster where she slowly suffocated.

And while that case became the focus for racial debate the crime had more to do with class envy and the racial divisions promoted by the Left producing criminals with a sense of entitlement to their criminality if the victim is easily perceived as an “oppressor.” The Left stoked the fires of animosity by portraying calls for the five murderers to face hate crimes as racist themselves.

Too many on the Right have been lulled into complacency by the dreary pronouncements of the Left. We think that because there isn’t massive, sustained civil unrest that the Left’s class war is just an idea, a theory that drives the push to reinstate the death tax. But the class war dreamed of by the Left is here and its casualties are the thousands of mugging victims, rape victims and murder victims that we read a few lines about in the local crime blotters. Houses burned, Americans dead and whole sections of our cities given over to the near lawlessness and we still won’t accept that a “class war” has begun?

What will it take for America to wake up and see that the poison the Left has spewed into our culture is killing us?

SOURCE

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They Just Hate Rich People

by Michael D. Tanner

If the debate over the tax deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans has shown anything, it is that the American Left really hates the rich. But why?

Politicians often divide Americans between "the rich" and "working people," implying that the rich don't work for their money. Complaining about the tax deal, Rep. Jim McDermott (D., Wash.) contemptuously referred to the rich as "trust-funders," suggesting that most had done nothing to earn their wealth. But in reality, roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn't inherit their wealth; they earned it.

In fact, several studies indicate that the rich work very hard for their wealth. For example, research by professors Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst found that the working time for upper-income professionals has increased since 1965, while working time for low-skill, low-income workers has decreased. Similarly, according to a study by the economists Peter Kuhn and Fernando Lozano, the number of men in the bottom fifth of the income ladder who work more than 49 hours per week has dropped by half since 1980. But among the top fifth of earners, work weeks in excess of 49 hours have increased by 80 percent. Dalton Conley, chairman of NYU's sociology department, concludes that "higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do."

Research by Nobel Prize–winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman showed that those earning more than $100,000 per year spent on average less than 20 percent of their time on leisure activities, compared with more than a third of their time for people who earned less than $20,000 per year. Kahneman concluded that "being wealthy is often a powerful predictor that people spend less time doing pleasurable things and more time doing compulsory things."

The rich are not sitting by the pool, sipping their cocktails; they are sitting in their offices, working their behinds off.

And more important, their work often produces the goods, services, and technologies that make all our lives better. Nearly all of the modern technological marvels in our life, the things that help us live longer, reduce the amount of manual labor in our lives, or just entertain us, are the result of someone trying to become rich, and often succeeding.

We also hear constantly that the rich need to "pay their fair share." But the rich already pay a disproportionate share of taxes. The richest 1 percent of Americans earn 20 percent of all income in America but pay 38 percent of income taxes. The top 5 percent earn slightly more than one-third of U.S. income while paying nearly 59 percent of income taxes. One might suggest, therefore, that the wealthy already pay nearly double their "fair share." Of course other taxes, such as payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and the like, tend to be more regressive, mitigating this somewhat. But even if you include all types of federal, state, and local taxes, the wealthy pay a higher proportion of taxes than their share of income would warrant.

The rich give back involuntarily through taxes and voluntarily through charity.

Households with more than $1 million in income make half of all charitable donations in this country. That totaled more than $150 billion last year.

The Left also makes two other contradictory claims about the rich and their wealth. On the one hand, we are told that the rich spend their money frivolously. Perhaps some do, but this ignores the fact that frivolous expenditures often provide jobs and income for the rest of us. Back in 1990, for example, Congress decided to impose a "luxury tax" on such frivolous items as high-priced automobiles, aircraft, jewelry, furs, and yachts. The tax "worked" in a sense. The rich bought fewer luxury goods — and thousands of Americans who worked in the jewelry, aircraft, and boating industries lost their jobs. According to a study done for the Joint Economic Committee, the tax destroyed 7,600 jobs in the yacht-building industry alone.

On the other hand, we are told that lower taxes on the wealthy won't help the economy because the rich don't spend enough of their money. That old-fashioned Keynesian economics — which assumes economic growth is driven by consumer demand — ignores the fact that money not spent by the rich is not simply stuffed under millionaires' mattresses. The savings of the rich provides the investment capital that funds new ventures, creates new jobs, and spurs innovation. The money that the rich save and invest is the money that companies use to start or expand businesses, buy machinery and other physical capital, or hire workers.

No doubt there are dishonest or unscrupulous businessmen who have gotten rich by taking advantage of others. And it's hard to feel much sympathy for the Paris Hiltons of the world, flitting through life with a sense of entitlement that they haven't earned. But most wealthy Americans have worked hard for what they have, pay more than their fair share of taxes, give generously to charity, and, most important, drive the economic growth that all of us non-rich people rely on.

That's something to remember the next time that politicians start to beat the drums of class warfare.

SOURCE

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A dialogue with a young male abortion supporter

“Do you have any children?”

“Ah... no.”

“Have you even been through an abortion with, say, a woman you love in support of her right to choose?”

“Well, no.”

“I’ve been through two. The first was one that I supported. The second was one that I had deep misgivings about but didn’t oppose.

“Those were all long ago, but now I know that those were two children I didn’t have and will never know, and not a month goes by I don’t think about that and regret it.

"If it ever happens to you, you’ll agree at the time and then, years later, it will come back to you. It will come back to you that you are missing children in your life and it is partially your doing. And it will haunt you, the thought of the people they could have been.

“You’re young and deluded. You’re going to walk away and make this a story you’ll tell to the other kids out running your scam. Then you’ll forget all about it for years, maybe decades, and you’ll go off and have some abortions of your own.

"And then one day, years after that, you’ll come to know what I know now. That’s when you’ll remember me; a man who through his own vanity and foolishness, kept two children out of his life. “That’s when you’ll remember this moment. But like me, it will be too late for you.”

He walked away shaking his head, already moving into the forgetting. Some day, it will come back to him. I’ll be remembered as a stranger, but suddenly not all that strange.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Common Is As Common Does: "There is a big discussion going on in Britain based on the fact that Kate Middleton, Prince William's fiancee, is a "commoner," i.e., not born of royal blood. Interestingly, Prince William has opined, as the linked story notes, that he likes America because here, snobbery is more about money than about bloodlines. But I don't think he's got it quite right. What I like about America is that here, one is defined by what one does, rather than by who one is. "Common" is as "common" does; a man identifies himself as a gentleman and a woman as a lady -- in the best sense of the terms -- by how they behave, not to whom they were born. Americans admire "money" less than they do the qualities that are often (though not always) associated with amassing it, i.e., diligence, enterprise, intelligence, self-denial, thrift."

Judicial hellholes kill jobs and redistribute wealth: "The most recent list of judicial hellholes has just been released by the American Tort Reform Association. It lists 'courts in Philadelphia; California’s Los Angeles and Humboldt counties; West Virginia; South Florida; Cook County, Illinois; and Clark County, Nevada, as some of the worst in the nation' for lawsuit abuse. The list is accompanied by an executive summary and a detailed report."

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)

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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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