Saturday, March 26, 2011

The uniformed goons of the Left

Whether black, white, brown, red, pink, orange, green, or purple, leftists come in all colors… depending on their issue de jour. Watching the turmoil in Wisconsin in recent weeks, and seeing Democrats on the floor of the General Assembly… all decked out in their stylish orange t-shirts… shouting childish epithets at their Republican colleagues, one is reminded of how easily and how quickly liberals, Democrats, socialists, fascists and communists adopt self-identifying uniforms.

What comes to mind are leftist movements of the past two centuries: Mussolini’s Blackshirts; Hitler’s Brownshirts; the white-hooded Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; the black-suited New Black Panthers; the pink-shirted dilettantes of Code Pink; the red-shirted thugs of Obama’s ACORN; the green-shirted radicals of the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and the purple-shirted goons of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Of these, only Hitler’s Brownshirts and Mussolini’s Blackshirts are not known to have been closely associated with the Democratic Party.

Unlike Tea Party activists, who are capable of dressing themselves and thinking for themselves, union members and other self-identified leftists, socialists and fascists are, by their very nature, like children who must have others dress them and do their thinking for them.

Mussolini’s Blackshirts, the Fasci di Combattimenti, were established as a Fascist paramilitary force in 1919. Far from being as brutal as Hitler’s Brownshirts, Mussolini’s Blackshirts favored tactics such as tying an opposition “non-conformist” to a tree, forcing a pint or two of castor oil down his throat, and forcing him to swallow a live toad or frog. While not life-threatening, such punishments were enough to cause most Italians to give the Blackshirts a bit of latitude.

And while submissive adults were important to the Mussolini regime, it was the children, the fascists of the future, who were of greatest interest to Il Duce. Like Democrats of today and like Nazis of yesteryear, a top priority of Italian fascists was control of the state’s public education system… not because of the quality of the education children might receive, but because of the opportunities it provided for filling impressionable young minds with leftist ideology.

While Italian children were taught to sing hymns of praise to Il Duce, American children are taught by unionized teachers to chant, “He said red, yellow, black, or white, all are equal in his sight. Mmm, mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein Obama!”

Adolph Hitler’s Brownshirts, the Sturmabteilung (SA), served as the paramilitary arm of the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party. It played a major role in Hitler’s rise to power during the 1920s and ’30s until being violently displaced by the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1934.

The Hitler Youth, who wore the same brown shirts as their elders, were important to the future of the Third Reich because it was their job, not only to inform on their parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, but to train and recruit future SA members. And just as the Hitler Youth were taught Nazi slogans and Nazi doctrine by adult leaders, Youth for Obama children are taught to sing propaganda themes such as, “We’re gonna’ spread happiness. We’re gonna’ spread freedom. Obama’s gonna’ change it, Obama’s gonna’ lead ‘em, Obama’s gonna’ change it… and rearrange it. We’re gonna’ change the world.”

The Ku Klux Klan, identifiable by their white robes and white conical hats and facemasks, was formed in 1865 as the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party. The primary role of the Klan was to intimidate the freed slaves, controlling every facet of their daily lives as if they had not been freed from the bonds of slavery. Sworn testimony contained in the Congressional Record tells us that, after Republicans wrote and ratified the 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, Democrats often stood in the doorways of the polling places handing out Democratic ballots and reminding blacks that, if they failed to vote the Democrat ticket, there was a coffin waiting for them.

With that level of intimidation most blacks voted the Democrat ticket… but some did not. Archives maintained by the Tuskegee Institute contain the names of some 4,730 men and women who refused to be intimidated. Between 1882 and 1951, the white-clad night riders of the Klan lynched some 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites, essentially all Republicans. Now, in what can only be described as a mind-boggling reversal of roles, we find members of the New Black Panther Party, clad in black military style uniforms and brandishing police-style nightsticks, employing essentially the same tactics as the KKK… intimidating both black and white voters suspected of voting for Republican candidates.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), whose members and staff are recognizable by their red t-shirts, was born out of the welfare rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. According to ACORN propaganda, the group’s priorities have included better low-income housing, higher wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, better public schools, unionization of workers and other “social justice” issues. Putting a bit of “lipstick on a pig,” ACORN claims to have pursued these goals through public demonstrations, negotiations, lobbying and voter participation.

The truth is, in spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it taxpayer funds, have flowed through the hands of 30 ACORN state chapters and hundreds of local chapters, ACORN activists have little to show for their efforts. Low-income housing has been a national disgrace; few minorities have gained middle-class status via ACORN’s efforts; pressure exerted on banks to make mortgage loans to applicants with little or no ability to repay them, has brought our nation to the brink of financial collapse; the number of high school dropouts, especially in the black community, has steadily increased while education spending has grown exponentially; more than two out of every three black babies are born to unwed mothers; and, with ACORN’s assistance, the number of black babies aborted now borders on genocide.

The only thing ACORN has done successfully is to provide the Democratic Party with many thousands of dead or fictitious voters. Numerous officials have been indicted on fraud charges and on March 22, 2010, ACORN announced it was closing all of its remaining state chapters and disbanding due to falling revenue. Although Democrats will be forced to find a new source of fraudulent voter registrations, they’re almost certain to experience a one-time windfall from the sale of thousands of red ACORN t-shirts.

Until the shameless siege of the Wisconsin state capitol, the purple-shirted goons of the SEIU could be counted on to turn out in force… shouting, screaming, pushing, shoving and brutalizing the opposition. But now, the violence-prone goons of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the NEA and the AFT appear to have reclaimed their mantle as party “enforcers.” And while decent people may view with alarm the lawless nature of those who occupied the Wisconsin capitol, threatening and terrorizing Republican members of the House and Senate, it is easy to lose track of just who those people are.

They are not just a bunch of radical Democrats and unionized public employees in someone else’s state capital. No matter where we live, they are our family members, our neighbors; the teachers who teach our children; our fellow Wal-Mart shoppers; and, sadly, in far too many instances, they are the police officers and the firefighters in whose hands we place the safety of our families and our property. They are, like the Wisconsin classroom teachers and other public employees, those who contribute their hard earned dollars to elect Democratic puppets in our city halls, our county courthouses, our state legislatures, and the Congress.

They are the people who refuse to condemn the author of the death threat made to Wisconsin legislators, the cowardly threat that tells Republican legislators, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed… We have all planned to assault you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head…” They are the leftist hoodlums who have been taught by their union overlords to chant at Republicans, “You have killed democracy,” when few of them are sufficiently educated to write a single declaratory sentence describing the difference between a democracy and a republic.

They are not the people who have, through their industry, built a great nation; they are the people who would find comfort in the smothering embrace of a European-style socialist state. They are not builders of wealth, creators and leaders; they are the moochers, the parasites and the hangers-on of Ayn Rand’s epic work, “Atlas Shrugged.”

Now that conservatives and Republicans have been successful in attacking the power of public employee unions in Idaho, Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, the real battle begins. Between now and the 2012 general election, it is up to Republicans to remind voters of why collective bargaining reform is so essential. They must hang all of Wisconsin’s $100,000+ bus drivers, New York City’s 4,000 “rubber room” teachers and Harry Reid’s Northern Nevada Cowboy Poetry Festival tightly around the necks of Democrats. And now that the rainbow coalition of color-coded radicals, representing less than fifteen percent of the U.S. workforce, has been foolish enough to show us their true colors, it’s up to the rest of us to make sure the voters do not forget who they are when they go to the polls in 2012.

SOURCE

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No longer the land of the free

As American warplanes strategically attack Libya and American boots win the peace in Afghanistan and Iraq, YouTube sensation Remy sings that it is important to remember that our brave men and women are fighting for our rights to let the TSA take full body scans; place our three-ounce toiletries in plastic baggies; protect 16,000 pages of tax code; and ban energy drinks.



SOURCE

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Government's Work Is Never Done: The endless expansion of big government

"When," humorist P.J. O’Rourke has asked, "can we quit passing laws and raising taxes? When can we say of our political system, ‘Stick a fork in it, it’s done’?... The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop."

Alas for O’Rourke and those who sympathize with him, the project of contemporary liberalism is never done. You might look upon the vast expansion of the regulatory state over the past couple of decades and conclude that government could afford to take a breather—maybe even a three-day weekend. Wrong. To the liberal or progressive eye, the remarkable thing is not how much government does—but how much it has yet to do.

Take the recent tragic crash of a tour bus in the Bronx, which killed 15. Nobody knows yet what caused it. No matter. "Lax Rules for Discount Buses Cited After I-95 Crash," ran the New York Times headline over a story which began: "Discount tour buses transport millions of passengers a year"—sounds good so far, but here comes the but—"but the federal government has little control over who gets behind the wheel." Better pass some more rules, stat.

Warning about too little regulation is a house specialty at the Times, which over the past couple of years has run a "Toxic Waters" series about "the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response"; a "Radiation Boom" series about advanced medical techniques ("As Technology Surges, Radiation Safeguards Lag"); and a "Drilling Down" series on natural-gas fracking ("Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers").

But it’s not just The Times. The default position for most major media outlets is that more regulation is good—and whenever a new problem arises, the obvious and necessary answer is a firmer government hand.

Or even when a new problem does not arise. A few days ago The Washington Post ran a lengthy story on car booster seats for children who weigh more than 65 pounds, which "are not held to any government safety requirements." Missing from the story: Any evidence that this has increased carnage on the roadways. To the contrary, the article quotes a car-seat specialist for the Safe Kids advocacy group, who confirms that "we’re not seeing large numbers of kids affected by shoddy products." Nevertheless, the article lamented the fact that "parents are confronted with a barrage of safety seat choices"—why can’t the government mandate just one?!—and "many parents say they find little information about seats beyond what they cull from private testing organizations, such as Consumer Reports magazine and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety." Oh, is that all?

"Just when you thought it was safe to pull up to a table to eat," warned NPR’s Joanne Silberner not long ago, "infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota says think again." Even though a new food safety measure recently has been signed into law, even though the number of people sickened from eating tainted food has actually declined, not all is well, because—ready for it?—Republicans in Congress have been "expressing great reluctance" about meeting the FDA’s $326 million request for new food safety activities, Silberner reported.

Note what her story did not say: that Congress had refused the request. Or that the new activities could not possibly be performed for less than the sum requested. Or, more pertinent, that the regulatory activities would actually produce commensurate gains in food safety. Or any gains at all, for that matter. Those gains were simply assumed.

But not all regulations are created equal. A 1980 ban on unvented space heaters cost around $100,000 per life saved (in 1995 dollars), according to an article in the Fall 2002 issue of Regulation magazine. By contrast, a 1991 rule governing the chemical 1,2-Dichloropropane in drinking water cost $1.9 billion per life saved.

Since money is finite, it makes sense to spend regulatory dollars where they will do the most good. The platitudinous statement that "if it saves one life, it’s worth it" is not only wrong, but tragically wrong if the resources used to save that one life could have saved 500 others. And sometimes, regulations actually have the opposite effect of that intended. There is even a term for the phenomenon—the Peltzman Effect, named after Sam Peltzman, a University of Chicago economist who found that seat-belt laws and other safety measures often encourage more reckless driving. (This has been demonstrated in, among other places, Drachten, Holland, where the frequency of accidents at a particular intersection declined after lights and traffic signals were removed.)

Considerations such as these seem to carry little weight with fans of the regulatory state such as The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson—who noted, in the wake of the once-in-a-millennium tsunami that has devastated Japan, that "we haven’t defeated risk." Once we have—presumably after the Rapture comes—then maybe the expansion of the regulatory state can throttle down. Until then, this much is clear: If O’Rourke wants to stick a fork in anything, he better have a permit.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

GE, Obama and cozy government business: "In America today, the biggest recipients of handouts are not poor people. They're corporations. ... Businesses love to have government as their partner. There's safety in it. Why take chances in a marketplace full of fickle consumers and investors, when you can get secure money and favors from the taxpayers? It's an old story, and free-market advocates as far back as Adam Smith warned against it. Unfortunately, too many people think 'free market' means pro-business. It doesn't. Free market means laissez faire: prohibit force and fraud, but otherwise leave the marketplace alone. No subsidies, no privileges, no arbitrary regulations. Competition is the most effective regulator."

Sleeping Reagan Air Traffic Controller Shows FAA's Failures: "The incident at Reagan National Airport in which two airliners landed after midnight without any assistance from the control tower illustrates a long-standing flaw with the Federal Aviation Administration. That agency combines two incompatible roles in a single body: aviation safety regulator and operator of the air traffic control system. Every other aspect of the aviation system is regulated at arm’s-length by the FAA: airports, airlines, air taxis, business jets, pilots, mechanics, and the producers of planes and engines. Only the air traffic control system is operated by the safety regulator itself, rather than being regulated by it. Every developed country in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, has separated its air traffic control system from its aviation safety regulatory agency"

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, March 25, 2011

There are still "Samurai" in Japan

Hideaki Akaiwa is one of them, an unassuming hero. When his home town of of Ishinomaki in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture was flooded by the tsunami, he set out with great courage to rescue his wife and mother from the waves. There are several versions of the story in the news so it appears to be a true account. Some versions of the story say that he used scuba gear in his efforts but apparently he only used a wetsuit. He is an experienced surfer. In good Japanese style, he rejects personal publicity and has given only a few monosyllabic replies to questions. I have modified the account below to remove profane language



Hideaki's wife of twenty years was still buried inside the lake somewhere. She hadn't gotten out. She wasn't answering her phone. The water was still rising, the sun was setting, cars and were swooshing past on a river of sea water, and and rescue workers told him there was nothing that could be done - the only thing left was to sit back, wait for the military to arrive, and hope that they can get in there and rescue the survivors before it's too late. With 10,000 citizens of Ishinomaki still missing and unaccounted for, the odds weren't great that Hideaki would ever see his wife again.

For most of us regular folks, this is the sort of that would make us throw up our hands, swear loudly, and resign ourselves to a lifetime of hopeless misery. But Hideaki Akaiwa isn't a regular guy. He's an insane hero, and he wasn't going to sit back and just let his wife die alone, freezing to death in a miserable water-filled tomb. He was going after her. No matter what.

Hideaki wasn't going to let a pair of soul-crushing natural disasters deter him from doing awesome things and saving his family. He dove down into the water in the freezing cold, pitch black rushing current on all sides, and started swimming through the ruins of his former hometown.

Surrounded by incredible hazards on all sides, ranging from obscene currents capable of dislodging houses from their moorings, sharp twisted metal and giant cars careening through the water like toys, he pressed on. Past broken glass, past destroyed houses, past downed power lines arcing with electrical current, through undertow that could have dragged him out to sea never to be heard from again, he searched.

Hideaki maintained his composure and navigated his way through the submerged city, finally tracking down his old house. He quickly swam through to find his totally-freaked-out wife, alone and stranded on the upper level of their house, barely keeping her head above water. He grabbed her tight and dragged her out of the wreckage to safety. She survived.

But Hideaki Akaiwa still wasn't done yet.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering what the hell is more intense than face-punching a tsunami and dragging your wife of two decades out of the flooded wreckage of your home, but it gets even better. You see, Hideaki's mother also lived in Ishinomaki, and she was still unaccounted for. I think you all know where this is going.

First, Hideaki searched around the evacuation shelters and other areas, looking for his mom among the ragtag groups of survivors who had been lucky enough to flee to higher ground. She might have escaped, and he needed to find her. Now. He ran through the city like some post-apocalyptic action hero, desperately trying to track her down, but when a couple of days went by without any sign of her, he knew what he had to do. The water had only receded a few inches by this point, the rescue teams weren't working quickly enough for his tastes, and Hideaki Akaiwa once again took matters into his own hands - rushing back into the waterlogged city looking for his mom.

So, once again Hideaki navigated his way through the Atlantean city, picking his way through crumbling wreckage, splintered wood, and shredded metal to find his elderly mother. After another grueling trek, he tracked her down on the upper levels of a house - she'd been stranded there for four days, and would almost certainly have died without the timely aid of her son. He brought her to safety somehow as well, as you might expect at this point.

Now, while most people would have been content in the knowledge that their family was safe, Hideaki Akaiwa isn't the sort of hero who's going to hang up his flippers and quit just because he'd taken care of his own personal business - this guy made an oath to keep going back into the wreckage on his own to find people and help them to safety. Today this 43 year-old Japanese hero rides out every single day, multiple times a day, riding around on a bicycle with his legs wrapped in plastic to keep himself dry. His only equipment - a pocketknife, a canteen, a flashlight, a change of clothes, and a set of aviator sunglasses - packed into a trusty trio of backpacks, he rides out in search of people needing rescue, a modern-day, real-life action hero.

SOURCE. Another account here.

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More stories from remarkable Japan

Observations by a visiting British journalist. He was apparently also in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and draws some obvious comparisons. I think readers here will know well enough about the Katrina aftermath, however

In Japan there has been not the slightest sign of civil unrest. In the hard-hit city of Sendai, I was humbled by a visit to the Tatekoshi elementary school — one of hundreds used as shelters for the homeless.

It was evening when I arrived, and the 272 men, women and children had just eaten a supper of sticky rice and curry sauce, and then formed an orderly queue to wash in cold water in the cloakroom. They were preparing to spend another freezing night sleeping on the gym floor. They knew they would be sardined together like this for many months, yet I heard not a murmur of complaint.

The Japanese are sticklers for neatness, and their blankets were folded with absolute precision, with each person claiming exactly the same amount of space. They are also obsessive about hygiene, and had hung their laundry to dry over the gym’s parallel bars.

The adults chatted amiably in small social groups, and one elderly woman told me how ‘fortunate’ they felt to have a roof above their heads.

Meanwhile, the best-behaved children I have ever come across made light of the fact they had lost their computers and other electronic gadgetry, and played traditional games instead. One little girl even folded a beautiful origami bird from coloured cardboard and proudly presented it to me as I left.

Less than a fortnight after their homes were reduced to matchwood and all their belongings were lost, these valiant people are already contributing towards Japan’s new future.

Ferried back to their flattened districts in local authority buses each day, they join the search for bodies and clear away rubble. ‘There is no time to look back,’ one young woman told me. ‘We must face up to what has happened, take responsibility for ourselves, and move forward. There is nothing else to be done.’

This is exactly the message promoted daily on NHK TV, Japan’s equivalent of the BBC. In Britain, in such circumstances, government ministers and bosses of the power plants so grievously damaged would be called to account for their every action. But there is no Japanese Jeremy Paxman.

The news is rather like one of those old Pathe newsreels screened in our cinemas during World War II, with clips of rice rations being delivered and communities pulling together. The newspapers publish useful tips, such as how mothers can make nappies out of plastic shopping bags and carry their babies on their backs in slings made from towels.

In Japan, however, they don’t ‘do’ heroes. Glorifying the individual is simply not their way. Nor is it done to disclose intimate personal details, or express one’s innermost feelings.

That is why we don’t even know the names of some of the most courageous men alive, the so-called ‘Fukushima 50’ — the brave nuclear power technicians risking a lingering death from nuclear fall-out in an effort to avert a catastrophic meltdown. And, whatever becomes of them, we probably never will.

With a great deal of persuasion, I did, at least, get permission to speak to two policemen who rescued an 80-year-old grandmother and her grandson, aged 16, after eight days trapped in the wreckage of their home.

If I expected them to describe, in copious detail, how they located the pair, then scrambled over precarious timbers and shards of glass to reach them, I was to be disappointed.

‘We are not special. It was a team effort,’ Sergeant Yoichi Seino told me with a shrug. ‘We are just happy we were able to send a message to our people, to never stop hoping.’

All along the tsunami coast, I met this same, one-for-all and all-for-one sense of purpose. Take, for instance, the young Sendai council worker whose entire life had been swept away by the great wave. ‘My dearest wife and son were lost in the great tsunami, but I’m still their proud husband and father,’ the man, who signed himself ‘S’, had written on a sign pinned to the town hall door. ‘I know it’s hard, but please — I implore you — don’t give up!’

Back in the relative safety of Tokyo, I related these experiences to a young flight attendant, and invited her to explain why her compatriots react so very differently to Westerners in the face of great hardship.

‘In Japan, children learn from a very early age always to think about the harmony of the group, rather than their own feelings,’ she told me. ‘We think: “If I accept a bad situation, then everybody will accept it, and it will be easier.”

‘It’s not that we aren’t scared inside, for instance about what might happen at Fukushima. And of course we feel heartbroken at the massive loss of life. ‘But we hide our true feelings because we believe that will help other people. What good will it do if I say I am frightened? The ripples of that emotion will only spread through the group.’

She continued: ‘When I went to high school in LA, I was amazed because Americans had an opinion about everything and expressed it loudly. My teacher wanted me to do the same, but that is not the Japanese way.’

Indeed not. But it is the Japanese way to be hospitable to guests — as I discovered when a woman brought me a bowl of noodles to eat as I trudged through the snow. And it is their way to carry on regardless, when the skyscraper they are working in suddenly shudders so violently that I dived under the desk.

At the airport this week, I met a young woman from Tokyo flying to London to distribute thousands of traditional Japanese hand-painted pictures. They were inscribed with a simple message: ‘Please pray for Japan.’

And so we should, for her stricken people deserve our prayers as they begin — with a very old-fashioned, once-British stiff upper lip — to rebuild their shattered lives.

SOURCE

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Leftists are still fascinated by that old hater

Which tells is a lot about them. Basically, Marx hated everyone. He even mocked the workers

BOOK REVIEW of "Commonwealth" By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Reviewed by: David L. Prychitko

Some two decades after the collapse of communism, socialist intellectuals still scramble to rehabilitate Marx and collectivist social theory in general, with Duke University professor Michael Hardt and Italian sociologist Antonio Negri leading the bunch. Academics are attracted to their radical critique of existing capitalist institutions. Non-academics and educated laypersons on the left are attracted to their radical message and hope that the people will successfully engage in a revolution to overturn private ownership and market exchange.

Although the book has attracted some zealous followers, it is a difficult read. One wades through lengthy and tiring discussions of Foucault, debates with Sartre, attempts to refashion Marxist theory, and then, sandwiched in between, hopeful tales about the restoration of “authentic identity” among the Maya and lengthy, optimistic claims about how the people of Cochabamba are progressing from “antimodernity” toward “altermodernity.” One suspects that the authors understand that their ideas won’t hold up well if stated in plain English, so they resort to an obscure but intimidating style. Amidst all of this, and among many other intellectual detours, stands a full-blown chapter on Spinoza’s concept of love. Suffice it to say that Hardt and Negri argue that people must be trained and educated in love in order to fight the evil forces of private property.

The authors assume (but don’t bother to argue) that property and market exchange block and destroy genuine human relationships. Marx had this general insight correct, they believe, but they suggest that his analysis needs to be corrected and updated in its details to fit our postindustrial age. Hardt and Negri claim that Marx’s theory of alienation, for example, must be further developed from an analysis of competitive separation of people and estrangement of the fruits of their labor to an “alienation of one’s thought” itself. Exactly what that means isn’t clear, but I think they’re suggesting that our thoughts aren’t truly our own, but are created by the capitalist system that allegedly controls us.

The authors insist that life—genuine, loving human relationships—is nestled in “the common.” The common consists of those institutions beyond private and public ownership of the means of production and, it appears, the fruits of labor, too. (One of the book’s many confusing aspects is that the meaning of “the common” is vague and shifting.) In Hardt and Negri’s view private property is the essence of capitalism, public property the essence of socialism, and the common is the essence of—you guessed it—communism. With this concept the authors try to break from the totalitarian consequences of “the victorious revolutions” of Russia, China, and Cuba. They claim to be optimistic that the revolution is imminent and, at long last, emancipating.

Nowhere do the authors consider the possibility that their revolution might lead to adverse results. Nor do they ever come to terms with the knowledge-communicating properties of voluntary and open exchanges of property rights. The coordination of plans, which is ultimately coordination of thoughts and expectations, is completely ignored in the book. How this can happen without private property and exchange is a mystery.

The common, the authors proclaim, is the ground of freedom and voluntarism. Activities within the common are the source of true wealth (hence the book’s title). The freedom of the common is the freedom to find and develop love, and it provides the source of the multitude’s supposed creative power. But “capital,” that meaningless collectivist concept that goes back to Marx himself, disrupts the common. Capital, they assert, exploits the multitude, the truly productive.

And the multitude is huddled and gathered mainly in cities, in “the metropolis,” used as another collectivistic concept. Marx focused on the factory, but Hardt and Negri claim that the metropolis is supposedly the current site of “hierarchy and exploitation, violence and suffering, fear and pain,” and therefore will be the site of the impending revolt. The authors have absolutely no sense of cities as spontaneous orders where millions cooperate for mutual gain. Maybe people keep going to cities because they are alienated from their own thoughts.

Hardt and Negri try to impress with their knowledge of Foucault, Laclan, Derrida, and Viveiros de Castro, but where’s Smith? Where’s Hayek? Where’s Jacobs? They never address the spontaneous and invisible-hand-like nature of markets, the communicative and wealth-enhancing nature of exchange, the role that cities play in such exchange, and the notion of civil society, an independent sector that is not fundamentally organized through commercial activity or the violent compulsion of the State. Are they even aware of the counterargument? And if so, when do they plan to address it?

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japan can do it

They're an example to us all -- and show what could be done everywhere



The picture of gaping chasms in a Japanese highway demonstrated the power of the March 11 earthquake. Now the astonishing speed of reconstruction is being used to highlight the nation’s ability to get back on its feet.

Work began on March 17 and six days later the cratered section of the Great Kanto Highway in Naka was as good as new. It was ready to re-open to traffic last night.

Many workers returned to their jobs the day after the quake and subsequent tsunami and some businesses in the worst-hit regions have already reopened.

The Japanese recovery has prompted some investors, including American Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, to declare that the disaster which has left 23,000 dead or missing represents a ‘buying opportunity’ in the money markets.

More HERE

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The great budget battle



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A "quagmire" in Libya?

Democrats were shouting from the rafters about a "quagmire" (getting bogged down) when George Bush sent troops into Iraq but it seems that Obama may have got the USA into a real quagmire in Libya -- with very confused policy objectives being the cause

Let's imagine that all goes well in Libya. The rebels, protected by air strikes, recapture lost territory and sweep into Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi and his sons one way or the other disappear.

Leaders propose a democratic and secular constitution that voters overwhelmingly approve. The first act of the duly elected government is to issue a proclamation of thanks and friendship to the United States, Britain, France and others who prevented Gadhafi's mass slaughter.

Well, we can all dream, can't we? But in the cold light of day, none of these happy eventualities seems very likely. As one who hopes for success in this enterprise, I am dismayed by the contradictions in the course we are following.

Some three weeks ago, Barack Obama said Gadhafi "must go." But the United Nations Security Council resolution under which we are acting stops well short of this goal.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen confirmed that Gadhafi may remain in power indefinitely. National Security Council staffer Ben Rhodes said, "It's not about regime change."

If not, then the purported purpose of the operation, to "protect civilians," could be of unlimited duration. Libya might well be divided between a Gadhafi regime in the west around Tripoli and a rebel regime in the east around Benghazi.

Maintaining the existence of the latter will likely require military force. Obama has conceded that the United States is currently in command of operations, but says that command will be handed off to others in "days, not weeks."

But news reports make it clear that the overwhelming majority of military forces in action are American. Putting a British or French officer in command will not change that. And putting U.S. forces under foreign command might weaken support for the enterprise here at home.

Obama's policy is reminiscent of the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. The policy satisfies advocates of humanitarian intervention, like the National Security Council's Samantha Power, who remember Bill Clinton's regret that he didn't intervene to stop the slaughter in Rwanda.

Unfortunately, in order to satisfy those who oppose anything smacking of unilateralism, it took time to get the U.N. Security Council to act, so that we missed the moment when it seemed possible that recognition of a rebel government or imposition of a no-fly zone would topple Gadhafi.

That delay gave him time to launch a counterattack that made him strong enough to withstand the limited military action that could get multilateral approval.

By accepting limits on U.S. involvement, Obama aims to satisfy skeptics of military action, like Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who publicly pointed out the difficulties of maintaining a no-fly zone. We have seen this before, when Obama announced his surge in Afghanistan together with a deadline for the beginning of troop withdrawals.

The result in Libya is a policy whose means seem unlikely to produce the desired ends.

In the process, this Democratic president has jettisoned some of the basic tenets of his party's foreign policy.

"It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action," candidate Obama said in December 2007. But Congress was not informed or, it seems, consulted in any serious way about this decision to take military action in Libya.

Instead, members of Congress, like the general public, heard the president make the announcement in Rio de Janeiro. That's quite a contrast with George W. Bush, who sought and obtained congressional approval of military action in Afghanistan in September 2001 and Iraq in October 2002.

Since then, many Democrats have denounced Bush's "rush to war" in Iraq. But military action there began a full five months after Congress approved. Obama didn't wait five days after the Security Council resolution.

Bush argued that intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was in the national interest. Obama, who has made the same argument about Afghanistan, doesn't seem to be making it about Libya. For some supporters of his policy, the absence of any great national interest makes it all the more attractive.

It's not likely to remain attractive to American voters if it fails to result in the overthrow of Gadhafi and leads to an open-ended military commitment in a nation where our vital interests are not at stake.

But a better outcome is at least possible. After all, history shows that dreams sometimes do come true.

SOURCE

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Doctors Give the Practice of Medicine under Obamacare a Grim Prognosis

On Monday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel of current and future physicians to discuss the impact of Obamacare on their profession. Their remarks highlighted the importance of the doctor-patient relationship as the heart of the practice of medicine and detailed direct threats as a result of the new health law.

Representative Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) explained that part of being a physician is fighting for the best interests of each individual patient. Under Obamacare, this will be harder to do, as government inserts itself further into the provision of care. One example is the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare. Representative Burgess pointed out that under ACOs, doctors would not be held accountable to patients, but rather to the hospital or health plan in charge. Based on his experience as an OB/GYN, Representative Burgess argued that it will be more difficult for doctors to stand up for patients’ needs to insurers or the government if they work directly for the latter.

Dr. Martha Boone, a urologist from Atlanta, further argued that currently, if an insurer denies coverage for a certain treatment, she can call the medical director (a fellow physician) and explain her rationale. In the case of coverage provided by the government, such as Medicare and Medicaid, that’s not an option—the answer is always no. Greater government influence in medical decision-making will come at the expense of patients’ own desires.

Physicians’ concerns go beyond the expansion of bureaucratic power into patient care. Jeet Guram, a first-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, pointed to the new law’s expansion of Medicaid, a flawed program, to cover an additional 18 million Americans. Since Medicaid pays physicians significantly lower rates than private insurance or Medicare, it is difficult for doctors to accept Medicaid patients without risking insolvency. As more Americans enter the system, barriers to access for Medicaid beneficiaries will become even more pronounced.

Of further concern to Guram is Obamacare’s “misalignment of priorities” when it comes to medical innovation. The new law increases government control over cost and utilization of services, which could distort demand. Further discouraging innovators are the law’s new taxes on pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. As Representative Burgess said, investors “don’t hazard big things for small rewards.” Medicine is on the cusp of exciting new territory, but discouraging future innovation could change that.

The sentiments expressed by the panel echo those of the medical profession at large. According to a recent survey sponsored by Pfizer, 59 percent of physicians cited the interference of non-medical entities in medical decisions as a negative development in the health care system. And 50 percent held an unfavorable view of Obamacare, compared to 24 percent who saw it as favorable.

Threats to the doctor-patient relationship existed before the passage of Obamacare. However, rather than empowering doctors and patients, the new law will result in further erosion as a result of government intrusion in health care.

SOURCE

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An Obamacare waiver for the whole of NYC?

We read:
Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health law waiver might work for New York City.

Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the city’s special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of the health care law’s biggest supporters; during the debate leading up to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public option.

“The president said, ‘If you have better ideas that can accomplish the same thing, go for it,’” said Weiner. “I’m in the process now of trying to see if we can take [President Barack Obama] up on it in the city of New York, … and I’m taking a look at all of the money we spend in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a better plan.”

New York is one of two states that pass on Medicaid expenses to cities and localities, so “the city winds up having an enormous Medicaid expense,” Weiner said.

Weiner can spin this as a testament to how "flexible" the law is until he's blue in the face (don't fall for that ruse), but in truth, this amounts to an astounding admission of failure. This is an ardent supporter of The Greatest Federal Law Ever publicly conceding that it doesn't make sense for the nation's largest city -- and scrounging for workable alternatives. Wow.

SOURCE

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An economic fallacy that will not die

Economic lunacy abounds, and often the most learned, including Nobel Laureates, are its primary victims. The most recent example of economic lunacy is found in a Huffington Post article titled "The Silver Lining of Japan's Quake" written by Nathan Gardels, editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, who has also written articles for The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post.

Mr. Gardels says, "No one -- least of all someone like myself who has experienced the existential terror of California's regular tremors and knows the big one is coming here next -- would minimize the grief, suffering and disruption caused by Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami. But if one can look past the devastation, there is a silver lining. The need to rebuild a large swath of Japan will create huge opportunities for domestic economic growth, particularly in energy-efficient technologies, while also stimulating global demand and hastening the integration of East Asia. ... By taking Japan's mature economy down a notch, Mother Nature has accomplished what fiscal policy and the central bank could not."

Gardels is not alone in seeing silver linings in disasters. Harvard University's Professor Larry Summers, former Obama economic adviser and Treasury secretary, said the disaster "may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake, Japan actually gained some economic strength."

It's not just disasters in Japan. After Florida's devastating 2004 hurricane, newspapers carried headlines such as "Storms create lucrative times." and "Economic growth from hurricanes could outweigh costs." Economist Steve Cochrane added, "It's a perverse thing ... there's real pain, but from an economic point of view, it is a plus."

Why might Japan's and Florida's devastation be seen as "pluses"? French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) explained it in his pamphlet "What is Seen and What is Not Seen," saying, "There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen."

Bastiat elaborated further in his "Broken Window Fallacy" parable where a vandal smashes a shopkeeper's window. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the shopkeeper. Soon, someone in the crowd suggests that instead of a tragedy, there might be a silver lining. Instead of the boy being a vandal, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. Fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler and so forth.

Bastiat says that's what's seen. What is not seen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had his window not been smashed. He might have purchased a suit from the tailor. Therefore, an act that created a job for the glazier destroyed a job for the tailor. On top of that, had the property destruction not occurred, the shopkeeper would have had a suit and a window. Now he has just a window and as a result, he is poorer.

After the 2001 terrorist attack, economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column "After the Horror," "Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could do some economic good." He explained that rebuilding the destruction would stimulate the economy through business investment and job creation.

Do a simple smell test on these examples of economic lunacy. Would the Japanese economy face even greater opportunities for economic growth had the earthquake and tsunami also struck Tokyo, Hiroshima, Yokohama and other major cities? Would the 9-11 terrorists have done us an even bigger economic favor had they destroyed buildings in other cities? The belief that society benefits from destruction is lunacy.

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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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sarah Palin is a Threat to More than Just the Establishment Here at Home

Sarah Palin’s trip to India and Israel is a great opportunity for her to boost her foreign policy credentials, solidify future potential alliances, learn more about the issues by engaging directly with the movers and the shakers and develop relationships which will be important to her should she become president. But, it’s also an opportunity for those who are enemies of America to size up a potential opponent; and if you are a Muslim extremist bent on establishing Sharia law worldwide, Sarah Palin represents a serious threat.

Because liberalism and elitism in both major political parties here at home are protecting their own interests, not enough is being understood about the role Palin would play on the world stage should she become president.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher experienced the same issues along their ways. They were seen as lightweights from the uneducated classes that couldn’t fully grasp the complexity of things like détente, global interconnection, the complexities of intelligence gathering and the concessions that had to be made in order to keep people safe – even if it meant toning down rhetoric or letting a domino country or two fall. They couldn’t grasp the complexity of these things not because they were unintelligent. It was because they didn’t accept the premise behind these things in the first place.

While opponents of Reagan on both sides of the aisle saw a cavalier cowboy who would say something inflammatory enough to cause the Soviet Union to go to war with us, they operated from the premise that we could be scared but the Soviets were too cold to fear us. Reagan knew defeating the Soviet Union wasn’t going to come from pressing the button and throwing the planet into World War III. He knew that defeating them required us to have a set of convictions and be willing to stand up for those convictions in much the way a child stands up to a bully.

You can put all the greatest political, intellectual, military and diplomatic minds in the country into a room and have them overanalyze any issue. In their great complexities and in their deep thinking rooted in years of education and research, you will find one difficulty with their methodology. “We win, you lose” is too simple a concept for them to grasp.

This is not to say people shouldn’t be educated and shouldn’t analyze problems. This is to make the point that in any competition or conflict, the ultimate underlying meaning is winning is everything. One never wins out of weakness or fear, but rather out of primal brute strength. Calling out an “evil empire” or demanding that its leader “tear down this wall” may sound provocative to “trembling tigers” that are comfortable in their positions of power on what is now becoming a rocky boat, but it’s a language better understood in international power politics than it is in our domestic language of civil debate.

You earn the respect of your enemy when you demonstrate the ability to stand up to them and defeat them. Getting together, holding hands and singing Kumbaya may work in the feel good confines of Berkeley, but it’s a completely foreign language to forces outside our bubble of Constitutional democracy. The only language they understand is force; and if we don’t speak to them in that language, they won’t understand us.

Force can be defined as political, economic or military. But the fact of the matter is you don’t communicate with people who are using triggers, detonators and suicide bombers by calling a meeting.

There are too many people in America who don’t understand that there are millions of Muslim extremists throughout the world who want to destroy us. There are too many people in America that don’t understand that these people are already in the process of establishing a world caliphate. If we wait for the “plane to hit the building” this time around, it may be too late.

Once again, it’s not the complexities of the situation that disqualify people like Palin the way the elites would have us believe; it’s her unwillingness to accept the premise that really drives them nuts. Just as it was with the Soviet threat, the idea of peaceful coexistence or curling up into a ball and only attacking them if they attack us are still being seen as viable options against Muslim extremism. Coexistence and isolationism didn’t get us out of the Cold War; and these will not prevent a worldwide caliphate either. “We win, you lose” is the only way to stop them.

When it comes to the language of international power politics, you must remember that the world does not operate under a civil democracy where disputes are settled in courts. It’s a wild frontier out there with armed maniacs willing to die for Allah. It’s not about being scared of them. It’s about understanding their language so that we can communicate with them. Their language is brute force. Until we learn to speak that language fluently, we will always have problems relating to a world that doesn’t relate to us through our prism of civility and a naiveté that assumes they value life the way we do.

Sarah Palin understands the language of international power politics. She's fluent in it. When she uses mama grizzly imagery, she is talking about the primal condition of nature. Here in America, we are civil human beings. But out there in the world, a lot of those people are just animals.

The elites and the liberals in America may worry that she will rock their little boats and upset their little apple carts, but they can take solace in the fact that this country will still be a familiar enough place for them to survive in if she does win the presidency. One cannot say the same should Obama win a second term.

Watch how we react when the electricity goes off or if there is no food in the store. They say you can’t release domesticated animals into the wild because they won’t survive. Well, we humans better realize that we, too, have been conditioned like domesticated animals. Our problem is we are spoiled as a nation. See those folks over there in the Muslim world? The extremists don’t have that problem....

The lame stream media won’t touch the Palin Doctrine or call Muslim extremism what it really is. They’re afraid people might start listening to Palin and take her seriously.

The media lives a double life of lies by propping up the incompetent president they helped get elected while desperately hiding the truth about Palin’s strengths, qualifications and message because they know these could get her elected in 2012 at the expense of their poor chosen one. Listen to Sarah Palin’s 2008 VP acceptance speech and check that against Obama’s message of hope and change. Is what we have going on right now in America and in the world the hope and change that some of you voted for?

Don’t kid yourselves. Muslim extremism is as dangerous as communism was back in the Soviet days. Resist the urge to watch the Tina Fey version of Sarah Palin play back in your head when reading this or any other article that is trying to break through the fabric of a lying media. They want you to doubt her. They want you to fear her. Unless you’re a Muslim extremist, those fears are unfounded.

More HERE (See the original for links)

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Uncivil disobedience: Media ignores union thuggery

By GLENN HARLAN REYNOLDS

Just a couple of months ago, in the wake of Jared Loughner's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, simple talk of "targeting" a political opponent for defeat was treated as beyond the pale. But let's look at some more recent language -- and conduct -- that our bien-pensant punditry can't be bothered to notice, let alone condemn.

In Michigan, protesters opposed to Gov. Rick Snyder's austerity budget broke a window to get into the capitol building. One faces felony charges after assaulting police with an edged weapon; 14 were arrested.

In Washington, DC, the windows at GOP headquarters were shot out, not the first time that Republican offices have been subject to such attacks.

In Madison, Wis., the state capitol was occupied for weeks by teachers-union members and their supporters. Doors and windows were broken; a mob tried to keep Republican state senators from entering the Senate chamber to vote.

And blogger Ann Althouse -- a Wisconsin law professor who voted for Barack Obama -- received nasty threats for the crime of posting video depicting this thuggish conduct on YouTube: "We will f--- you up," the threateners wrote. This was not the first threat she has received for her blogging.

The GOP state senators who supported Gov. Scott Walker's budget also received death threats, including an e-mail reading, in part: "I want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and your republican dictators have to die.

"This is how it's going to happen: I as well as many others know where you and your family live, it's a matter of public records. We have all planned to assult [sic] you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head...

This threat was more credible because mobs of union protesters had already visited senators' houses, screaming and banging on the windows.

At the Huffington Post, liberal Lee Stranahan wonders why this kind of thing isn't getting more attention from the traditional media who were tut-tutting over much more minor (and even imaginary) offenses to civility so very recently. "Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

"Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it's stunning to find out that the right-wing media really isn't exaggerating -- proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media.

He's right, but the big-media folks seem so anxious to peddle the same tired storyline -- right-wingers are violent and ignorant, left-wingers are peaceful and virtuous -- that they almost have to ignore anything that will spoil the narrative.

More HERE

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More union foul play?

“I think we need the freedom to have barbecues,” said Cynthia Davis during a telephone interview Sunday. If you think it sounds crazy for Davis, a former state representative now serving as chair of the St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Party, to stake her claim on the right to have a barbecue without government interference, you don’t know the half of it!

On Saturday, Davis hosted her “First Barbecue of the Spring” on the lawn in front of the Back to Basics Christian Bookstore which she owns and operates with her husband, Bernie, and several of her seven children in O’Fallon, Mo. On the menu of food items offered to invited guests was dangerously-delicious meat from T-Bones Natural Meats, suspiciously-sumptuous cakes from Susie G’s Specialty Cakes and — OMG! — chips and salsa from Chevy’s Fresh Mex®.

Though several dozen people attended the early-afternoon event, Davis did not expect Rick Etherington, an environmental public health specialist from the St. Charles County Health Department, to be among them. But he showed up, explaining that he was there in response to the health department receiving calls about the barbecue on Thursday and again on Saturday.

Davis and others at the event agreed that Etherington was polite and only doing his job. It appears, however, that he was being used by someone as a pawn in a thinly-veiled effort to shut down Davis’ event and, in turn, hurt her chances of winning a seat on the board of the St. Charles County Ambulance District during elections April 5.

The ambulance district? I know, it might seem unimportant, but keep reading and you’ll understand why the matter caught my attention.

Etherington spent about an hour at the event, according to Davis, but did not shut it down. Instead, he allowed her to send a representative to the health department when it opened for business Monday morning to obtain a no-cost, after-the-fact permit for the event.

Two days after the event, one question remains: Who would want to disrupt an invitation-only barbecue on private property by calling out a health department inspector who, I’m told by one local restaurant industry insider, almost never works weekends?

All the arrows seem to point to the ambulance district paramedics represented by the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri IAFF Local 2665 — and for good reason.

Fresh on the heels of contract negotiations that ended with them faring pretty well (i.e., their wages were frozen and they lost one vacation day per year) despite a bad economy, those union paramedics don’t want a person like Davis on the board when their next round of salary negotiations with the ambulance district begins in 2012. After all, she states in her campaign literature that “She’ll ask the tough questions.”

The ambulance district had to borrow $1.4 million in September 2010 just to meet payroll, according to Davis; On Jan. 24, 2010, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that members of the paramedics’ union were at the center of a firestorm that resulted in allegations of union influence, threats and back-room deals on the normally-quiet board.

More HERE

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Hamas Rocket Attacks On Israel Go Practically Unnoticed

With all eyes on the events unfolding in Japan, with Japanese triple-disaster, and the battle against the regime of Libya's dictator Moamar Khadhafi, a massive rocket attack on Israel practically went practically unnoticed this weekend.

Members of the terrorist group Hamas launched attacks against Israel from their base in Gaza during this weekend's Sabbath. The Israeli intelligence service says they have proof that the Iranian government is instigating these latest attacks by providing the rockets and mortars.

Terrorists launched more than 50 rockets which landed in southern Israel this Saturday morning with the aim of causing maximum -- and indiscriminate -- death and destruction, according to Israeli government officials.

This was the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said, while Hamas police beat up and confiscated equipment from reporters covering the attack.

This massive assault comes just days after Israel seized a cargo ship, Victoria , carrying rockets and other lethal weapons from Iran and Syria that were headed for delivery to Hamas in Gaza.

More HERE

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"Quantitative easing" (money printing) is coming home to roost in Britain too

Families are being punished by the highest rate of inflation for two decades amid fears of an interest rate rise. Figures published yesterday put the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation at 5.5 per cent, the biggest annual increase in the cost of living since 1991. At the current level, inflation is higher in Britain than any other European country – except Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania.

The figures were released on a day of bad news for the economy, which included: The cost of fuel hitting a record average price of £1.33 for a litre of unleaded; The announcement that public sector borrowing was the highest ever for a February at £11.8billion.

The biggest problem facing families is that the cost of ‘essential’ items is rising, which means they cannot escape. For millions, the biggest battle is finding the money to fill up their car. The average price of petrol and diesel has never been higher.

More HERE

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Touchdown: B-2 stealth jets return after epic 11,500 mile journey to bomb Libyan aircraft shelters



Six hero pilots return home safe and sound from a bombing mission to Libya which saw them in the cockpit for an incredible 25 hours. Three B-2 Spirit bombers, piloted by two men each, made it back after the 11,418-mile round trip from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri - where they are kept in special hangars - to Libya, where they hit targets on forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi and back again.

At $2.1bn, they are the most expensive warplanes in the world and rarely leave their climate-controlled hangars. But when it does, the B-2 bomber makes a spectacularly effective start to a war - including during this weekend's aerial attack on Libya's air defences.

Its mission is to penetrate heavily defended enemy territory and 'kick down the door' on the opening night of a conflict. One of its special features is its ability to carry eight GBU-37 'bunker buster' bombs, weighing in at 2.27 tonnes that are capable of boring 20 to 30 ft of rock or reinforced concrete before detonating.

After the first wave of more than 110 Tomahawk missiles launched from allied warships in the Mediterranean, they struck yesterday morning on 'a variety of strategic targets over Libya', according to the US Air Force.

They dropped a total of 45 one-tonne satellite guided missiles on Libyan aircraft shelters before making the 5,709 mile journey back to the Missouri. The B-2 stealth bombers were first used in the Kosovo and Serbian war and have been used more recently in Afghanistan.

The long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defence, and with one refuelling, is able to fly to any point in the world within hours. The aircraft is famous for rather ominous-looking bat-like silhouette: The leading edges of the wings are angled at 33° and the trailing edge has a double-W shape. It is manufactured at two Northrop Grumman facilities in Pico Rivera and Palmdale in California.

The aircraft also are deadly and effective: An assessment published by the USAF showed that two B-2s armed with precision weaponry can do the job of 75 conventional aircraft. That makes it a powerful weapon to strike targets including bunkers, command centres, radars, airfields, air defences. The B-2 can carry 16 2,000 pound (900 kilogram), satellite-guided bombs, including an earth penetrating version.

More HERE

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Just a tribal war in Libya

In Libya and Yemen and Bahrain, as with Egypt, there is a LOT being published in the media, a LOT of commentary on-line, and a LOT of screaming back and forth about the wonderful revolt or rebellion and how it includes all the “lost” segments of Islamic society (women, homosexuals, atheists, etc.). Balderdash! All this indicates that people do NOT understand either tyranny, dictatorship, nor the history and current situation in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Look first at Libya. Libya is a tribal society, and has been since the Arabs overran this part of the Roman empire in the 7th Century, including the Visigothic regime which had conquered this portion of the empire. The country doesn’t even have a constitution.

Gaddafi “overthrew” the old Islamist monarchy in 1969, but only because his tribe joined an alliance of other key tribes which did not want to remain under the tribe to which the monarchs had belonged from 1951 to 1969, and he was in front. He is not a figurehead, but the dominant personality and leader of a coalition of tribes in a bewildering array of committees and councils and even mixed tribal military and militia units. The national military is a cesspool of competing tribal interests. The “rebels” are not really rebels: they are tribes that have withdrawn from the various coalitions: often they are the majority, and the “government forces” are definitely in the minority: the tribes who still want to keep the current (or former) regime.

Some tribes have been very resistant to Gaddafi’s (and his tribe’s and their allies’) brand of government and Islam: they want to return to the Islamic tribal system, and have been under pressure from the more “secular” tribes and Gaddafi for decades (one reason Al Qaeda has so many Libyans in its ranks.) Other tribes just want to be in the driver’s seat. Though the current uprising has some popular roots, it is taking place and continuing because it is allowed and supported by several of the tribes which have decided to no longer participate in the shared power structure, either because THEY want to be boss, or because they are tired of the brutality used to enforce the “code of honor” that the tribes have used to resolve their conflicts.

Gaddafi (and his tribe) are in a bad position: his tribe was not a large one, and his personal influence, though built on his tribe, actually has supported and protected his tribe. Enough others have, until now, agreed with what he has done so that he has been in power for 42 years. But now enough tribes (and people) have withdrawn their support that it has collapsed into civil war. The protesters and the mobs are as much the tools of the tribes and power brokers as they are any kind of independent force for change.

The uprising and civil war is very VERY unlikely to lead to any “democratic” state - just a reordering of tribal power – even if the EU, NATO, or the US intervene. This is NOT a situation in which individual liberty is likely to increase - indeed, just the opposite. And in the chaos, the various small tribes and political groups, from Al Qaeda to the local branches of every possible group you can imagine, see this as the perfect opportunity to strike out at their enemies - but at the same time, they are better targets than ever for their own enemies.

As long as Arabs, Persians, and others are enslaved spiritually by their religion, Islam or “Submission”, and enslaved mentally by their tribal culture and society, there will be no “democratic” OR “republican” revolution on Arab Street, no individual liberty with personal responsibility, and no peace in the “Lands of Peace.” And if we do not understand that, we will continue to find OUR liberty and freedoms threatened by Islam and Arabs and their ilk two centuries from now.

More HERE

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An assortment of good thoughts from Thomas Sowell

Don't mention "municipal golf courses" to me. It sends my blood pressure up through the roof. What earthly excuse is there for spending the taxpayers' money subsidizing a golf course? Politicians can't even invoke "the poor," as they do when trying to justify other government boondoggles.

The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.

Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do-- and nothing is more unpredictable.

An e-mail from a perceptive reader points out that, although Congressional "earmarks" represent a very small part of federal spending, they can be used as bribes to buy the votes of members of Congress on bills involving the spending of vastly larger sums of the taxpayers' money.

When political commentators from the Fox News Channel had books whose sales would normally make the New York Times' non-fiction best-seller list, the New York Times changed the rules for putting books on that list. Thus best-selling political books by Mike Huckabee and Dick Morris appeared last Sunday on a more obscure list of miscellaneous personal advice and how-to books, such as "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook."

When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food.

Even if it could be proved that judges who are making rulings that go counter to the written law produce better results in those particular cases than following the letter of the law would have, that does not make society better off. When laws become unreliable and judges unpredictable, lawsuits become a bonanza for charlatans, who can force honest people to settle out of court, for fear of what some judge might do.

The mainstream media never expressed half the outrage about Mao Zedong as they did about Ronald Reagan. Yet, when it came to killing millions of innocent civilians, even Hitler was an amateur compared to Mao.

The Obama administration seems to be following what might be called "the Detroit pattern"-- increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions. In the short run, it got mayors re-elected. In the long-run, it reduced Detroit from a thriving city to an economic disaster area, whose population was cut in half, as its most productive citizens fled.

Safety advocates who say that we shouldn't take chances, but should ban things that might be unsafe, don't seem to understand that if we banned every food to which somebody had an allergy we could all starve to death.

The vile people who picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in action are far away enough from the mourners not to be heard. It is media attention that magnifies their sick message.

Intolerance may not promote progress but it can promote survival. An intolerant Islamic world may outlast the Western world that seems ready to tolerate anything, including the undermining of its own fundamental values and threats to its continued existence.

SOURCE

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Arab League Redefines Chutzpah

Dennis Prager

I always thought the best illustration of "chutzpah" was that of the boy who kills his parents and then pleads with the court for mercy, on the grounds that he is an orphan. But given that that is only a hypothetical example, we now have a better illustration of chutzpah because this one is true.

Witnessing the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's large-scale killings of Libyan civilians, the Arab League begged us, the Europeans and the Security Council to militarily intervene on behalf of the Libyan people.

So, despite the fact that America is rather weary of fighting Muslim mass murderers, is militarily overstretched and has a devastating national debt, America said yes. We are the most decent country on Earth, and even a liberal-left Democrat in the White House feels the moral pull of America's legacy, values and unparalleled strength.

But no sooner have America and the Europeans intervened than the Arab League officially protests our intervention on the grounds that Libyan civilians -- 48 claimed, 0 confirmed at the time of the protest -- have been killed by the intervention requested by the Arab League.

What exactly did the Arab League, most of whose dictators have murdered thousands of their own people for political reasons, think would happen once the U.S. and the Europeans intervened militarily? Did they assume not one Libyan civilian would get killed? Has there been a military action in history in which no civilians died?

Amr Moussa, the outgoing secretary general of the Arab League, claimed in his statement that "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians."

Perhaps Moussa did not read the Security Council resolution. It does not limit anti-Gadhafi military activity to "imposing a no-fly zone." The resolution authorizes U.N. member states "to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi (italics added)."

Perhaps President Obama should hold a press conference and make this announcement: "Given the Arab League's protest, we are immediately ending our military involvement in Libya. Apparently, Mr. Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, assumed that military intervention is possible without the killing of a single civilian. He should have told us so. Under that condition, we would never have put our blood and treasure on the line. So now, we are out, and the blood of every Libyan killed and tortured by the Libyan dictator is now on the Arab League's hands. On behalf of the American people, I ask the Arab League, and especially Mr. Moussa, to never again appeal to us to save Arabs from their dictators. Shukran."

(The president likes using Arabic words when he addresses Arab audiences, so his using the Arabic word for "thank you," shukran, would add a nice flourish.)

What does this Arab League protest mean? It clarifies once again that tribal values outweigh moral values in the Arab world, including among much of its educated elite such as Moussa. In many Arabs' eyes, it is better for an Arab tyrant to slaughter any number of Arabs, and to allow that tyrant to retain power, than for Westerners to kill a dozen Arabs in order save tens of thousands of them trying to topple that tyrant.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

MA: Two Boston parades, two different crowds: "Under a brilliant, blue sky in South Boston yesterday, there were two Saint Patrick’s Day parades: the traditional one and, more than a mile behind it, an alternative one billed as the Peace Parade. The first had all the usual trappings of the cultural celebration and street party that dates back more than a century and draws crowds lining the streets six people deep. After that parade ended, the crowd mostly dispersed, unaware or uninterested in what followed. Forty-five minutes later, the police let the second one begin: the court-ordered procession of antiwar demonstrators and gay rights groups"

SCOTUS upholds release of Fed bailout records: "The Supreme Court let stand Monday a ruling that the U.S. Federal Reserve must disclose details about its emergency lending programs to banks during the financial crisis in 2008. The justices rejected appeals by a group representing major commercial banks of last year's ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that required disclosure of the lending records."

Authority: God vs. man: "I think God’s true law is written in our hearts and we know these things intuitively just as we know the justness of the rights described in The Bill of Rights. To the Founders, these rights were self-evident and ordained by our creator (again, whatever 'creator' means to you). These rights flow from the notion of self-ownership, which is also self-evident. Not to believe in self-ownership is to accept the idea that other people own you and/or that you own other people. This is an absurdity on its face, yet many hold that view — that we are owned by society"

Merging Britain's income tax and national insurance: "I am relieved to hear that chancellor George Osborne is considering merging income tax and national insurance, even if the changes are likely to be slow in coming. The division between these two direct taxes on income tax once (just about) justifiable on the contributory principle -- that payment of certain amounts of national insurance made you eligible for certain benefits. That justification no longer holds to any great extent, and if the state pension is changed as planned it will evaporate altogether. The only remaining reason to keep income tax and national insurance separate is for political, presentational reasons: to stop people from cottoning on to just how much tax they are paying." [Similar to the IRS/Social Security split in America]

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, March 21, 2011

What NPR think of their audience



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Adventures in government lunacy

Story from Britain

Adventures in government stupidity are of course nothing new: but to raising the bar to sheer howling lunacy is more unusual. Even that toxic brew of special interests, bureaucrats and politicians rarely produce something that is outright insane. Rarely, but not never:
Local authorities will put up the deposit to allow first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, under a scheme unveiled today. The organisation behind the ‘local lend a hand’ initiative, Capita business Sector Treasury Services, says it will free up social and affordable housing by making it easier for people to buy their own homes. The initiative is initially being backed by Lloyds TSB, and has been piloted by five local authorities, but Capita hopes to get more lenders and councils on board as the scheme progresses.

The local authorities will lodge funds with the lender to cover the shortfall in a first-time buyer’s deposit. This can be up to 20 per cent of the mortgage, so for a typical 75 per cent loan to value mortgage, the buyer would only need to find a 5 per cent deposit. Available funds in each area will be capped, although the council shouldn’t incur any actual costs unless there are problems with the mortgage repayments.

So let us try and get this straight. The world's entire financial system is still reeling from its recent effort to walk straight off a cliff by lending money to people to buy houses they couldn't afford. This lesson having been learned, said financial houses no longer being willing to lend to people without a substantial deposit, showing that they've some skin in the game, that you don't lend hundreds of thousands to people who have bupkiss, we now have the following bright political solution?

The taxpayers should subsidise these deposits so that when (no, not if) something goes wrong in the future the taxpayers have to pick up the bill? That, having seen what people buying houses they cannot afford does, we should insist that more people should buy houses they cannot afford?

This, this, is why we send our finest minds to Oxbridge so that they may rule over us all? Somewhere up there the Goddess of Irony is weeping bitter tears into her nectar as not even she had thought of that one.

Look, it's terribly, terribly, simple. If local councils want local houses to be cheaper they should grant planning permission for more local houses. Supply and demand really does work you know and it is the planning permission itself which is the most expensive part of a house these days. No, not the land, not the building, but the chitty allowing you to build on that land. The council even makes a profit issuing permissions rather than losses on paying people's deposits.

With ideas at the above level of stupidity I fully expect both Ed Balls and George Osborne to announce next week that the way to close the deficit is to make cucumbers from Moonlight.

SOURCE

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Stoic, heroic Japan vs. Neurotic Nation USA

Ilana Mercer

On the day that a venerated American institution was preparing to bestow an award for transparency in government on President Barack Obama ̶ the domestic equivalent of the president's Nobel peace prize, Charles Krauthammer called it ̶ members of our country's media were accusing the Japanese government of secrecy. On that day, Neurotic Nation USA, egged on by the meltdown media, began hoarding Geiger counters and potassium iodide supplements as a protection against imaginary radiation plumes from Japan, wafting across 5,000 miles of ocean.

Our country's edgy experts have ordered the evacuation of Americans in Japan within a 50-mile radius of the damaged reactors at Fukushima. Japan is being harangued to ape America. The Japanese have, so far, moved people from within a 20-kilometer radius of the power plant. Funny that. The Neurotic Nation, whose military personnel in Japan are popping iodine pills if they've so much as flown over, or visited, the vicinity, expects the country that is fielding "The Fukushima 50" to do the same.

"The Fukushima 50" are volunteers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company. These men are working under near-impossible conditions at the problem power station to douse radioactive fires and spent nuclear rods, and to plug reactor containment vessels. As we say in the U.S., these men are taking a hit for the team.

Judging by their bombast, you'd think that our experts have been to the site at Fukushima. Indeed, Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asserted that the water meant to cover and cool the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor had evaporated, leaving the rods dangerously exposed. They were overheating, he declared from ground zero … at the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel in Washington.

"It's way past Three Mile Island already," crowed physicist Frank von Hippel. "The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion." Where exactly was professor von Hippel situated when he issued his doom-laden predictions? At Princeton, N.J.

Jaczko's Japanese counterparts have countered that they are on the verge of restoring electrical power to the Daiichi plant, and with it the ability to pump water over the sizzling, spent fuel.

Are the nuclear plants in Japan working the way ours do in America? MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked one of the many American specialists to shamelessly share his findings from afar.

Hardball's blowhard has a point. The USA's stellar safety record ̶ the best in the world, perhaps ̶ is helped by the fact that we don't have much of a nuclear power industry. Following the recommendations set out in "The China Syndrome," a Hollywood dramatization of the incident at Three Mile Island, the construction of new reactors in the USA was practically halted. Nobody died in that 1979 accident in Pennsylvania. Nobody but the nuclear-power industry.

The chauvinism with which our ego-bound elites are treating The Japanese Other continued apace. After all, this genteel, able people do not qualify as members of an easy-to-patronize, protected group, the kind so valued in the U.S.

CNN's rude Wolf Blitzer turned furiously on Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese ambassador to the U.S., in an interview that reminded me of the time the regal (Akio) Toyoda went up against the proverbial Torquemada, his tormentors on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. No words of condolence did Blitzer offer to the Japanese gentleman for the calamity his country and people had endured. Instead, he hammered Fujisaki about the possibility of "another Chernobyl" at the Daiichi power plant.

That one of the largest tremors in recorded history had left some 6 million Japanese households without electricity horrified Wolf. Where were Wolf and his network during the biggest windstorm to have hit Washington and Oregon in decades? In 2006, at least a million residents in the Pacific Northwest were stranded without power for days ̶ some for weeks ̶ in primitive conditions, befitting a Third World country. So, too, is Blitzer blissfully unaware that, with Katrina, the U.S. government's claim for high standards in a natural disaster was sundered forever.

At one stage, the bewildered Blitzer repeated, incredulously, "No looting? No looting; are you sure?" which is when a CNN Japanese foreign correspondent took the opportunity to educate this insular American. Japan was relatively crime-free. If you lose your wallet, you'll likely find it at the nearest police station. People pull together here, yet are propelled forward by individual agency and initiative, she explained proudly.

But that was hardly a journalistic angle worth pursuing. For to grasp the reason this homogenous society's culture has endured, one would have to juxtapose it with balkanized America, a country riven by feuds and factions courtesy of state-imposed tribalism (multiculturalism and mass immigration). Far better to crank things up by pursuing the partial meltdown, full meltdown or core meltdown angles.

Most members of the meltdown media have been schooled in activism, not in journalism. To them, every news story becomes, reflexively, a cause – a reason to "educate" and promote "awareness," rather than to report the facts. That so many of our news outlets settled on identical front-page, or pixelated, leads is unsettling.

As a consequence of this pervading groupthink, we have not seen nearly enough of how impressively the Japanese people are coping, how calm and courageous they appear in interviews. When CNN's international correspondent alluded to "scenes of hardship," the camera cut to a shelter. The images were heartbreaking, to be sure. But, unlike those taken during Katrina, there was much to inspire in Japan. One saw rows of neatly laid-out mats. The elderly had been snugly tucked in clean blankets. Kids, faces covered with masks, were sweeping the floors industriously.

In other footage, lines of people snaked around the neighborhood, waiting patiently, sometimes for days, to purchase food and water. The individuals interviewed were grief-struck, but they held it together. Nobody was screaming for government aid. There has been no menace or murder on what remains of the streets of Sendai city.

Accustomed as I am to seeing abreacting Americans or unhinged Haitians, these sights astounded me. My heroes have always been in the Greek tradition. This makes the silent, stoic, refined Japanese my heroes. Japan will be OK. It is a highly civilized, advanced society.

SOURCE

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U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in World

Were No. 1! But that's the bad news. After a reign as the nation with the second highest corporate income tax rate, the United States is set to move into first place when Japan lowers its rate next month.

The combined federal and state rate in the U.S. is 39.2 percent of corporate profits, a new analysis by the Tax Foundation disclosed. When Japan, which currently has a rate of 39.5 percent, enacts a planned cut of 4.5 percentage points in April, America will have the highest rate of all the economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.

United States companies are now in the position of trying to compete in the 21st-century world economy with a 20th-century tax system, said Scott A. Hodge, the Tax Foundations president and author of the new study.

America has moved to the top of the corporate tax list not by raising taxes but through inaction. Between 2000 and 2010, nine OECD countries cut their corporate tax rates by double-digit figures, and almost every OECD nation has cut rates to some extent. In the United States, on the other hand, the rate has remained essentially unchanged during that 10-year period.

Germany, which had the highest rate in 2000, 52 percent, has slashed its rate to 30.2 percent, and Canada, No. 2 in 2000, cut its rate from 42.57 to 29.52 percent. The rate in Ireland is now just 12.5 percent, while in Iceland it is 15 percent and in Chile, 17 percent. Four other OECD nations have a rate lower than 20 percent. Worldwide, about 75 countries have cut their rates since 2006, according to the Tax Foundation.

But 2011 marks the 20th year in which the U.S. statutory tax rate has been above the average of OECD nations.

For the United States to move to the OECD average and match China which significantly lowered its rate in 2008 the federal rate would have to be reduced to 20 percent. The scope of corporate tax reform so far endorsed by the White House would fall far short of this goal, the Tax Foundation stated.

Hodge said: Dozens of countries around the world including many of the United States closest trading partners have realized that sky-high corporate tax rates are an economic dead end. Now more than ever, Americans want to see policies that will help create increased growth, more jobs, and higher standards of living exactly the things that a lower and more streamlined corporate tax system can help achieve.

And the National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on the Foundation's report, observed: As other nations enact reforms and rate cuts, the U.S. corporate rate will continue to stand out as a hindrance to economic growth and competitiveness unless lawmakers move to lower the tax burden for businesses.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

TN: Teachers’ bargaining may hinge on GOP internal battle: "Republicans in the state Senate are pressing ahead with a plan to take away teachers' power to unionize, even after their counterparts in the state House of Representatives unveiled a deal last week that would let teachers continue to bargain with school boards over some issues. House leaders and Gov. Bill Haslam back the compromise, but Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the leader of the Senate, is calling on conservatives to rally behind a complete ban on teachers unions."

NY candidate Davis: Bus blacks to farms to pick crops: "Congressional candidate Jack Davis said in a Republican Party endorsement meeting that Latino farmworkers should be deported and that inner-city African-Americans should be bused to farms to pick crops. Several sources who attended the endorsement interview confirmed Davis' statement to Buffalo News. The remark echoes a similar comment he made to the Tonawanda News in 2008. 'We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities,' Davis said. 'Put them on buses, take them out there and pay them a decent wage; they will work.'"

The Obama administration’s “open government” empty rhetoric: "Liberal 'open government' advocates are giving the president a medal for supposedly promoting 'government transparency.' He shares their liberal ideology, but not their alleged commitment to transparency. In reality, President Obama is so hostile to open government that 'the Obama administration censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about its Open Government Directive,' according to the Associated Press."

Bureaucracy stifles enterprise: "Without government grants, tax credits, or artificial incentives of any kind, David 'Cranky Dave' Wolk saved his money and built up, ex nihilo, his own business — a gathering place and venue for artists and their creations. Like the vigilante HVAC man, Cranky Dave filled a niche for artists and the community and apparently did at least well enough to keep the doors open. Now things are getting difficult for him as Saint Louis city chases after his unpaid earnings tax bill (when he says he had no earnings) and simultaneously cites him for not having a separate trash bin for his business (he says he was using the one for his residence, which is in the same building and that he upcycles much of the trash produced by his business, incorporating it into art and craft projects)."

Democrats a roadblock to fiscal responsibility: "Passing the federal budget is perhaps the most important task the Congress has each year. It has failed miserably. The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Theoretically, a budget should be signed into law no later than Sept. 30. Here it is March and still no budget. The Congress just passed its sixth continuing resolution, this time to keep the government operating through April 8. This is inexcusable."

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

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

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

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

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

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