I recently postulated that it was Obama's mother who set up the fraud that Obama was U.S.-born. I said that maybe Obama popped out a bit early in Mombasa so his mother took him to Hawaii ASAP and got his birth registered there -- possibly by corrupting some official in some way. I have however received the following objection to that:
First, it should be obvious that a child born outside of the USA requires either a US visa on a foreign passport or to be entered on the mother’s US passport to get to the USA. This is true today, and it was also true in 1961--and, since there were a lot fewer travelers, officials checked the documents more carefully.
Those documents or the applications for them would still exist and would have been found easily IF Obama was born outside of the USA. But no such document has been found.
I can accept that that might be true for an older child but would it be true for a newborn babe in arms? If the mother said, "I haven't had time for that yet", would not the official most likely have waved the mother through? Any ideas?
Are the Jews the Chosen People?
If I were religious, I would agree with this wholeheartedly. The Bible says it, after all
I assume that the type of person who reads columns such as this one has wondered at one time or another why, for thousands of years, there has been so much attention paid to Jews and why, today, to Israel, the one Jewish state.
But how do most people explain this preoccupation? There is no fully rational explanation for the amount of attention paid to the Jews and the Jewish state. And there is no fully rational explanation for the amount of hatred directed at Jews and the Jewish state.
A lifetime of study of this issue, including writing (with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin) a book on anti-Semitism ("Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism") has convinced me that, along with all the rational explanations, there is one explanation that transcends reason alone.
It is that the Jews are God's chosen people.
Now, believe me, dear reader, I am well aware of the hazards of making such a claim. It sounds chauvinistic. It sounds racist. And it sounds irrational, if not bizarre. But it is none of these.
As regards chauvinism, there is not a hint of inherent superiority in the claim of Jewish chosen-ness. In fact, the Jewish Bible, the book that states the Jews are chosen, constantly berates the Jews for their flawed moral behavior. No bible of any other religion is so critical of the religious group affiliated with that bible as the Hebrew Scriptures are of the Jews.
As for racism, Jewish chosen-ness cannot be racist by definition. Here is why: a) The Jews are not a race; there are Jews of every race. And b) any person of any race, ethnicity or nationality can become a member of the Jewish people and thereby be as chosen as Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah or the chief rabbi of Israel.
And with regard to chosen-ness being an irrational or even bizarre claim, it must be so only to atheists. They don't believe in a Chooser, so they cannot believe in a Chosen. But for most believing Jews and Christians (most particularly the Founders who saw America as a Second Israel, a second Chosen People), Jewish Chosen-ness has been a given. And even the atheist must look at the evidence and conclude that the Jews play a role in history that defies reason.
Can reason alone explain how a hodgepodge of ex-slaves was able to change history -- to introduce the moral God-Creator we know as God; to write the world's most influential book, the Bible; to devise ethical monotheism; to be the only civilization to deny the cyclical worldview and give humanity belief in a linear (i.e., purposeful) history; to provide morality-driven prophets and so much more -- without God playing the decisive role in this people's history?
Without the Jews, there would be no Christianity (a fact acknowledged by the great majority of Christians) and no Islam (a fact acknowledged by almost no Muslims). Read Thomas Cahill's "The Gifts of the Jews" or Paul Johnson's "A History of the Jews" to get an idea about how much this people changed history.
What further renders the claim for Jewish chosen-ness worthy of rational consideration is that virtually every other nation has perceived itself as chosen or otherwise divinely special. For example, China means "Middle Kingdom" in Chinese -- meaning that China is at the center of the world; and Japan considers itself the land where the sun originates ("Land of the Rising Sun"). The difference between Jewish chosen-ness and other nations' similar claims is that no one cares about any other group considering itself Chosen, while vast numbers of non-Jews have either believed the Jews' claim or have hated the Jews for it.
Perhaps the greatest evidence for the Jews' chosen-ness has been provided in modern times, during which time evil has consistently targeted the Jews:
-- Nazi Germany was more concerned with exterminating the Jews than with winning World War II.
-- Throughout its 70-year history, the Soviet Union persecuted its Jews and tried to extinguish Judaism. Hatred of Jews was one thing communists and Nazis shared.
-- The United Nations has spent more time discussing and condemning the Jewish state than any other country in the world. Yet, this state is smaller than every Central American country, including El Salvador, Panama and even Belize. Imagine if the amount of attention paid to Israel were paid to Belize -- who would not think there was something extraordinary about that country?
-- Much of the contemporary Muslim world -- and nearly all the Arab world -- is obsessed with annihilating the one Jewish state.
In the words of Catholic scholar Father Edward Flannery, the Jews carry the burden of God in history. Most Jews, being secular, do not believe this. And many Jews dislike talk of chosen-ness because they fear it will increase anti-Semitism; they may be right.
But it doesn't alter the fact that the obsession with one of the smallest countries and smallest peoples on earth, and the unique hatred of the Jews and the Jewish state by the world's most vicious ideologies, can be best explained only in transcendent terms. Namely that God, for whatever reason, chose the Jews.
Unemployment up again
The Obama economy continues to drift downward as our nation’s jobless rate is back at 9 percent with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the number of unemployed persons increased by 205,000 in April.
Yet, incredibly the BLS writes in their May 6, 2011 release that, “The number of unemployed persons, at 13.7 million, changed little in April.” 205,000 more people unemployed is not a small change by anyone’s standards. To put it into perspective, 205,000 newly unemployed is the equivalent of slightly fewer than two-thirds of everyone who currently holds a job in the entire state of Alaska being laid off.
Ironically, the same report from BLS shows that there are almost three million more people “not in the labor force” in April 2011, than in April 2010 with the number of drop outs increasing by 131,000 last month alone.
All this bad news in the employment report was overshadowed by the contradictory claim in the report that 244,000 new private sector jobs were created by the economy in April.
While I wish the economy had grown by almost a quarter of a million jobs, it is hard to reconcile this number with the reality of the rest of this and other U.S. Labor Department reports. For instance, the number of people that BLS reports as being employed in April 2011 dropped by 190,000, a number that is irreconcilable with the claimed 244,000 new jobs created claim.
Also, the weekly U.S. Labor Department report on new Unemployment Insurance Claims that closed out the month of April showed that unemployment was accelerating through the month.
Study: Obama's Stimulus Cost 595,000 Jobs
New economics research suggests that President Obama's stimulus plan may have destroyed or forestalled employment, including more than 1 million private-sector jobs.
Economists Timothy Conley, University of Western Ontario, and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University found that the stimulus resulted in a net loss of 595,000 jobs from April 2009 to September 2010.
That counters research by the Congressional Budget Office, the Council of Economic Advisors, and many other economists. But Conley and Dupor's research differs in that instead of looking at the stimulus' effects on total employment, it breaks jobs into four different sectors: Goods-producing industries, including manufacturing; Health and education, leisure, and business and professional (HELP) services; Other service industries; State and local government.
The authors divided employment this way "because of the large differences in trends across the sectors over the past decade."
Their paper shows the stimulus created or saved 443,000 government jobs and 92,000 non-HELP service jobs. But it destroyed or forestalled 772,000 HELP jobs and 362,000 goods-producing positions. That's a net loss of 1.042 million private jobs.
"I don't find that very compelling," said Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. "Since 2008 the economy went through a wringer and trends in these sectors were broken ... furthermore, their results were only marginally significant."
While acknowledging that Conley and Dupor's result were not very statistically robust, James Sherk argues that the lack of job growth is a significant finding.
"If the other studies which are programmed to show that the stimulus has a positive effect on jobs were right, then you'd expect Conley-Dupor to show 2 to 3 million jobs created," said Sherk, senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "That it was a negative figure ... tells you at best the stimulus was a wash."
Much other research, such as that conducted by the CBO, CEA, Federal Reserve economist Daniel Wilson, and economists Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, assume a "Keynesian" multiplier effect for government spending.
Zandi and Blinder assume that government infrastructure spending has a multiplier of 1.57 — every dollar government spends on infrastructure yields $1.57 in economic growth.
These studies yield an array of estimates of jobs created or saved, from 800,000 to 4.2 million.
"Those papers aren't really an independent test of whether the stimulus was effective," said Sherk. "They show that the models they use are pre-programmed to show job creation. One of the problems with the multiplier effect is that it assumes that government spending is just as good as private sector spending."
A couple of times a year I gather together what I think are the most amusing or most interesting pictures off my various blogs and put them together as a "gallery". I have just put up the gallery for the second half of last year. You can access it here or here
Stance lands Brown in Medicare debate: "Senator Scott Brown’s support for a GOP budget plan that would transform Medicare into a voucher system promises to become a potent issue in his reelection campaign, say political analysts and advocates for senior citizens. Brown, in a speech Friday in Newburyport, revealed that he would vote for the House-passed budget plan when it comes up in the Senate. In doing so, the freshman Republican brushed up against the supercharged issue of overhauling Medicare."
Netherlands: War crimes prosecutors seek Gaddafi’s arrest: "The International Criminal Court prosecutor asked judges Monday to issue arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and two other senior members of his regime, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in a crackdown against rebels. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi ordered, planned and participated in illegal attacks." [These morons will just cause Gaddafi to dig his heels in]
Individualism isn’t ridiculous: "Some critics of individualism propose an alternative social philosophy and defend it so it is then possible to compare their case to the individualist position. But more often than not what critics do is caricature individualism, suggesting that individualists believe that people are autonomous, meaning, exist all on their own with no need for anyone else. Or they claim individualism means that no one has any moral responsibilities toward anyone else. Or that everyone is basically self-sufficient or should be."
Abolish corporate income taxes: "Many people hate corporations. Progressives and populists blame them for a host of sins, and several libertarians assert they couldn't exist in their present form without the State. We at DownsizeDC.org oppose the crony capitalism of the Corporatist State, and we cringe whenever people assume our pro-free market philosophy is a 'defense' of corporations. That is why our new campaign is a 'heresy.' What we propose may shock you, but we have good reasons. Our position is that even if you hate corporations ... Abolishing corporate income taxes is in your self-interest."
Iran building rocket bases in Venezuela: "The Iranian government is moving forward with the construction of rocket launch bases in Venezuela, the German daily Die Welt wrote in its Thursday edition. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is Teheran’s most important South American ally.Iran is building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, approved the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.”"
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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)