Saturday, May 21, 2011

German soldiers to be investigated for defending themselves from Afghan attackers

What a crock!

Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, has released new and explosive details about a violent altercation between demonstrators and German soldiers in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday that left 12 dead and dozens wounded, including two German soldiers. In a statement posted on its website Friday morning, the military contradicted its earlier claims and admitted that German soldier had deliberately fired upon the demonstrators. The Bundeswehr also said it was possible that the shots had been responsible for at least one death.

The incident occurred Wednesday morning in front of a German military camp in the northern Afghan city of Taloqan, in Takhar province, as a funeral march was being held for four people, including two women, who had been killed by US troops in a nighttime operation against suspected terrorists. The Bundeswehr had previously claimed that German soldiers had only fired warning shots to protect their camp from further attacks by enraged demonstrators taking part in the funeral procession.
The Bundeswehr claims that members of the funeral procession threw numerous hand grenades and Molotov cocktails toward the roughly 40 German soldiers in the small camp. The perimeter of the camp was being protected by Afghan guards belonging to a so-called "provisional advisory team" (PAT). After reportedly coming under heavy attacks, both the Afghan guards and Germans soldiers allegedly fired on the crowd in an effort to disperse it.

Until now, the Bundeswehr had denied any responsibility for the deaths of at least four demonstrators outside the camp's gates. On Wednesday evening, the Bundeswehr's website still said that the military had "no evidence" that attackers had been shot and killed by German soldiers. In several interviews, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière had previously only said that he wanted to wait for the results of an investigation before making any concrete statements on the events.

Locals questioned about the incident have provided crucial new details about the sequence of events. They say that, after being fiercely attacked by the crowd, the soldiers were in a "self-defense situation." The soldiers then reportedly made "warnings, including ones with hand signals" and fired "warning shots into the air." However, they also say that, at a later point, the soldiers also fired "targeted shots aimed at the leg area of violent protesters," in the words of the Bundeswehr. "In three or perhaps four cases," the report states, there were "shots at violent attackers" targeting the "torso or the arms and hands." One attacker was apparently hit "in the neck-head region."

The new Bundeswehr statement suggests that German soldiers might have also been responsible for killing some of the protesters. According to experts, shots fired from modern firearms are almost always fatal when they hit the head, neck or chest. Doctors in the city claim that the protests, which raged in the central part of the city over the course of the entire day, left at least 12 dead and more than 80 wounded.

It seems unlikely that it will be possible to conduct forensic examinations to determine whether the Germans were responsible for any of the deaths. Islamic custom dictates that the bodies of the dead must be buried within 24 hours of death. Since the burials have already taken place, it is no longer possible to conduct an autopsy or other examination.

The emergence of these new details will have serious consequences for the soldiers involved in the clashes, who can expect to face an investigation. The Bundeswehr has already contacted federal German prosecutors and provided them with details about the incident.



'Obama-Netanyahu meeting very useful and productive'

Talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama went better than planned on Friday, but certain differences remained between the two leaders and their visions for Palestinian-Israeli peace.

The two met just a day after Obama delivered a speech on the United States' Middle East policy in which he called for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians based on 1967 borders. Netanyahu rejected this, saying that such borders are "indefensible".

After a closed door meeting in the Oval Office that last more than an hour and a half, Obama and Netanyahu delivered comments to the press, and while both cited certain points of contention, it was made clear that these were "differences between friends".

Netanyahu was pleased with the outcome of the meeting, said one of his aides, adding the talk went better than he had anticipated. He reiterated his rejection of 1967 borders, saying it was important that he make this clear to Obama in their talks. He added that the international expectation that Israel return to 1967 borders is an obstacle to peace.

The prime minister's aide said talks with Obama were open, honest and friendly. He clarified that the differences between Netanyahu and the U.S. president were a matter of policy, were not personal, saying Israel cannot absorb Palestinian refugees, and will not negotiate with Hamas.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also was cautiously optimistic about Netanyahu and Obama's meeting, issuing a statement shortly after the Israeli and American leaders spoke with the press.

The press secretary said that the length of the one-on-one talk between Obama and Netanyahu, more than twice the time expected, was a positive sign, and "an indication of just how productive and constructive this meeting was".

Carney said that Obama recognizes the security issue for Israel, and that the United States recognizes Israel's right to self defense. He added that the U.S. will work to ensure security provisions that are "robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security".

Carney reiterated that while the United States will continue to push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it will keep in mind "Israel's security, which the United States remains committed to profoundly."



Media still covering for Obama

One feature that marks a totalitarian regime is media that serve as the government's information service. TASS, Radio Berlin, Voice of Hanoi -- these were all government entities that conveyed what the dictatorship wanted. The handout comes, the handout is published. The real danger point arrives when propaganda no longer rankles, but flows naturally. That's when authority carries more weight than evidence, and peer pressure suppresses independent thinking. It's also when captives become subjects.

Watching our free, First-Amendment-protected media react to the surprising release of President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate, I have to wonder: What exactly is the difference? I exaggerate, but not much. It's been three weeks since Obama first made his long-form birth certificate public on April 27, 2011. Why, suddenly, did he do this, and not in 2008, 2009 or 2010 when this first of the missing bona fides became a focal point of deep national consternation? Why did Obama send lawyers to courtroom after courtroom to keep this simple document hidden -- and now mass-produce it on Obama 2012 campaign t-shirts? Why did Obama prefer to see Army Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin throw away his military career and go to prison for five months rather than, presto, authorize the document's release? The answers have something to do with political inroads Donald Trump was quite unexpectedly making simply by asking natural, obvious questions about Obama that neither Big Media nor someone of un-ignorable celebrity had ever asked before. But that's not the whole story.

We have the long-form birth certificate now -- or at least another highly questionable PDF of a scan of a copy of a document to stare at online (and, almost ghoulishly, on those Obama 2012 campaign T-shirts) -- but we don't have all the answers. Certainly we didn't get them from the "off camera and only pen and pad, not for audio" White House briefing on the document's release. That's because the media don't think, can't think to ask for them. Having spent years fending off the rare query about the long-form birth certificate like angry cats snarling that the president had already released his birth certificate, they didn't even seem to notice what chumps the new Obama document -- the one they said had already been released -- showed them all to be.

Either that, or they channeled their anger at ... Donald Trump. At that moment the non-declared GOP presidential front-runner, Trump got off his helicopter in New Hampshire also on April 27 to discuss his big coup, which is how he viewed the release of this first document in Obama's hidden paper trail. To say the media didn't share Trump's positive views on transparency is the understatement of the year.

First question to Trump: You're taking "credit" but a lot of people say what you caused was a distraction.

The president plays games for three years and Trump caused the "distraction"? And "distraction" from what -- White House talking points? Remember, this is supposed to be a professional journalist talking.

Second question to Trump, who said he still wanted to know what took Obama so long: Why is it relevant?

Again, this isn't supposed to be a member of Obama's re-election team, at least not officially. Another question: What are your qualifications to assess it (the birth certificate)?

Another question: Who cares (whether Obama releases his academic records)?

Who cares? These aren't questions from reporters who follow facts where they lead. These are people who have circled the wagons, and woe to anyone outside. Meanwhile, back at the simultaneous White House briefing, the transcript shows what happened when one journalist haltingly attempted to do his job:

"Q. And this is going to sound -- I mean, you can just anticipate what people are going to -- remain unconvinced. They're going to say that this is just a photocopy of a piece of paper, you could have typed anything in there. Will the actual certificate be on display or viewable at any -- (laughter.)"

Laughter. That was the answer.

Evidence is a joke to media in thrall to authority, those whose incuriosity about the many mundane documents Obama has mysteriously withheld from us leads to copy fit only for a palace pamphlet. From the transcript: "Q. Dan, was there a debate about whether or not this deserved being discussed by the White House .... was there debate about whether or not this was worthy of the White House?"

Let them eat birth certificates.



Leftists are now the establishment

All of our ruling-class institutions - academia, courts, government, media and entertainment industries - are teeming with closed-minded, hard-left ideologues who seek to “fundamentally transform America.”

Consider that, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, self-identified liberals outweigh their conservative counterparts in the mainstream media by a 5-1 margin.

Likewise, a 1999 North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators in colleges and universities throughout the United States determined that five times as many college faculty members vote Democratic as Republican. In fact, 72 percent described themselves as “to the left of center,” while a mere 15 percent identified themselves as “right of center.”

One can only imagine that in the ensuing decade, the ideological disparity has increased. Ask any kid in the halls of academia, and he’ll tell you, with few exceptions, that professor so-and-so is a liberal so-and-so.

Still, liberals - or “progressives,” as they prefer to be called - persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It’s precious.

In fact, today’s liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform - like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings - to a carnival-prize caricature of what they imagine nonconformity to look like. You know, the usual stuff: neo-Marxism, environmentalist activism, sexual relativism, big-government nanny statism, an actions-without-consequences rendering of reproductive rights, and other such populist nonsense. Simply put, today’s progressive nonconformist conforms.

Indeed, the “Stepford Wives” have become the “Stepford Lesbians.” The prudish, judgmental church lady has swapped spots with the easy - yet somehow self-righteous - birth-bashing feminist.

So what is a young person - brimming over with that instinctive, defiant impulse to rebel against “the man” - to do?

Well, in this up-is-down, spend-money-to-save-money world, conservatives have become the contemporary nonconformists. Today’s rebellious youth are telling the progressive establishment to put its moral-relativist, redistributionist party-line pig swill in its well-used chamber pipe and smoke it.

Kids: Really want to get under your obnoxiously “tolerant,” Volvo-driving, MSNBC-watching folks’ skin? Try this: Go to church, abstain from premarital sex, join the Young America’s Foundation, attend a Tea Party rally, enroll at Liberty University, listen to Rush Limbaugh and vote Republican. You’ll have them writhing in their Birkenstocks.

I’ve often said that President Obama could either be the best thing to happen to America or the worst. The best insofar as this man’s policies are so radical, so extreme that, in keeping with Newton’s third law of motion, the “opposite reaction” might well trigger Republican rule in perpetuity.

First, the bad news: So far, Mr. Obama is the worst. Now, the good news: I believe he has awakened a sleeping giant in the millennial generation (ages 18 to 29). Today’s counterculture is rejecting the tired progressive policies pushed by this president and his secular-socialist sycophants.

For instance, a 2010 Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll determined that nearly 60 percent of millennials believe abortion is “morally wrong,” a nearly 10-point increase over the more progressive baby-boomer generation. The tide is turning.

Similarly, a recent survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found that millennials are worried sick about their futures. Yet President Hopey Changey and Democrats in Congress continue to play back-alley dice with their lives via incomprehensible deficit spending and a national debt that swells annually by the trillions.

Do you think these kids won’t rebel as the clouds quickly darken?

Winston Churchill [actually Clemenceau] once observed, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.” Liberalism is emotion-based and rooted in soaring, knee-jerk notions of “social justice.” Conservatism is logic-based and rooted in reality.

Today’s rebellious youth have the heart part down. I’m glad to see they’re developing some brains.



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


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


Friday, May 20, 2011

Old emptyhead finally get a few things right about the Middle East

Barry's reference to Israel's 1967 borders is of course toxic and lots of people have been jumping up and down about it but note that he mentioned it in the context of land swaps and agreement between the parties. And his insistence on recognition for Israel will be poison to the Arabs. He also seems to feel powerless in the matter, which is rare wisdom for him

In his address Thursday afternoon on U.S. policy in the Middle East, Obama told an audience at the State Department that the borders of a "sovereign, nonmilitarized" Palestinian state "should be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

Negotiations should focus first on territory and security, and then the difficult issues of the status of Jerusalem and what to do about the rights of Palestinian refugees can be broached, Obama said.

"Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table," Obama said, noting the new unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, a group foresworn to Israel's destruction.

"How can one negotiate with a party that shows itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?" Obama said. "In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question."

The U.S. president did not announce a specific initiative to resume talks between the two sides.

Obama also said that the Palestinians’ plan to declare statehood at the U.N. General Assembly this September will not result in a state. “For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure,” Obama said. “Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.”

Ultimately, the president said, making peace is up to the parties.

"No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away," he said. "But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace."



The minimum wage disaster

The latest weekly new jobless claims was lower than expected, but still about 150,000 higher than economists say is necessary to indicate we're on the road to a recovery. The unemployment rate increased to 9.0 percent last month. More than 14 million people are still out of work; another 6 million have given up even trying to find a job and have left the workforce.

Transfer payments from various social welfare programs now account for a record high 35 percent of total salary and wage income in America. Food stamps are used by 1-in-7 people nationally.

The only thing that is working well in America seems to be Obama's plan to "spread the wealth," but he's borrowing 40 cents of every dollar to do it.

While the numbers are staggering, Washington seems paralyzed to do much to help. In fact, evidence mounts that many of the woes facing Americans trace to failed public policy put in place by misguided politicians. The latest wreck on the growing list is the government mandated minimum wage.

In 2006, Democrats campaigned on an increase in the minimum wage, and early in 2007 the new Democrat majority delivered, unfortunately with significant Republican congressional support. And, George W. Bush signed it into law as part of a bigger appropriations package.

At that time, the minimum wage was $5.15 per hour and the unemployment rate was less than half (4.4%) of what it is today. Congress hiked the minimum wage more than 40% to $7.25 on a three step schedule with the last hike taking effect in July, 2009.

In March, 2010 A Line of Sight contributing editor, Chris Jaarda, examined the history of the minimum wage and found that unemployment spiked following four of the last five increases in the federal minimum wage. Jaarda also discovered that 79% of economists agree with the following: “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers.” Somebody should have told Congress.

A newly released study by two labor economists, William Even (Miami University) and David Macpherson (Trinity University) confirmed, yet again, what Jaarda and many others already knew; increasing the minimum wage punishes most the young, unskilled workers, and worse, has a significant racial component.

Even and Macpherson's study, "Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases" analyzed the employment status of 16-24 year-old male high school dropouts, by definition the most unskilled, inexperienced group in the labor pool.

Among the white males, the authors determined that "each 10% increase in a state or federal minimum wage has decreased employment by 2.5%; for Hispanic males, the figure is 1.2%."

"But among black males in this group, each 10% increase in the minimum wage decreased employment by 6.5%."

Just a reminder, that 2007 increase was 40%. Guess what happened?

During the peak of what has been dubbed the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for young adults (16 to 24 years of age) as a whole rose to above 27%, according to syndicated columnist, Walter Williams. However, the unemployment rate for black young adults was almost 50%, but for young black males, it was 55%.

Many factors including the financial crisis contributed more to the recession than the minimum wage increase. In trying to parcel out the right numbers, Even and Macpherson compared the job loss caused by higher minimum wages with that caused by the recession and found between 2007 and 2010, employment for 16-to-24-year-old black males fell by approximately 34,300 as a result of the recession; over the same time period, approximately 26,400 lost their jobs as a result of increases in the minimum wage across the 50 states and at the federal level.

Even and Macpherson explain that young black men are more likely to be employed in low-skilled jobs in bars and restaurants, exactly the kind of businesses with narrow profit margins that are more adversely affected by increases in minimum wage. Indeed, the National Restaurant Association lobbied against the 2007 legislation, pointing out that the last increase led to 146,000 lost jobs.

Walter Williams – himself a black male – unloaded blistering satire at the political establishment; "The best way to sabotage chances for upward mobility of a youngster from a single-parent household, who resides in a violent slum and has attended poor-quality schools is to make it unprofitable for any employer to hire him."

When the 2007 minimum wage increase was passed, the New York Times hailed it as a "major victory for low income workers." That's the standard liberal – oops, progressive – line. But, I doubt the 50% of black young adults that are out of work feel all that victorious.



End Game: My Job is to...

As we march, seemingly inexorably, toward a socialist society we bemoan the bureaucrats sitting in Washington making decisions about every aspect of our daily lives on matters both big and small. The vision of a blathering bureaucrat deciding what health options are available to us sends shudders down our spines.

Whereas the buck used to stop at the top, along with the falling dollar the buck now stops at the bottom. The bureaucratic chain of command issues highly refined “rules and regulations” down the organizational stream. Where it ends up, like effluent through a sieve, is with the little guy at the bottom.

This bottom dweller has zero accountability and zero authority except to perform his assigned job, which is spelled out in great detail. By the time the control gets to this level, the underlying "logic" (that term is used loosely) has all but evaporated. Whatever justification or good intentions or intended outcome of the rules when issued from the top, they have distilled to a simply defined task now devoid of any rational relationship to the real world.

The most obvious examples in the public arena today are at the airport screening sites. TSA screeners go lemming-like through the motions dictated from the upper level geniuses. Recall the nine year old girl recently patted down by a screener, an incident which caught national attention. This screener was just “doing his job” regardless of the fact that if anyone outside of the TSA touched the girl like that it would have been a criminal offense requiring registration as a sex offender. The “don’t touch my junk” guy had it right. It would have been a crime if it weren’t the government.

And there is no recourse here. The little men are “just doing their job”. The functioning of our society has been reduced to the conduct of little jobs being performed by little men in a virtual vacuum with no ability to relate to the rationality of the action.

To see where we in America are headed we merely have to look to Europe. A personal example. A few weeks ago I was traveling in Paris with my wife. I had purchased a fistful of single ride Métro tickets. In theory, you use the ticket at the turnstile to enter the Métro and also use the same ticket to exit – simple enough. Turns out that most exits don’t require use of the ticket to exit, so I started just putting the tickets back in my pocket with the other unused tickets. Unexpectedly, at one station we were greeted by a trio of Métro enforcement bureaucrats wielding handheld electronic gizmos asking for everyone’s tickets. Sorting through all those used and unused tickets in my pocket I pulled one out. It was the wrong one, and was rejected. The machine's conclusion: I was trying to cheat the system.

Showing my pile of tickets I tried to explain that the right ticket was amongst them. 'Sorry. The machine says you showed an incorrect ticket. My job is to make sure everyone has a ticket.' My unfamiliarity with the system was irrelevant as was the fact that the proper ticket was available if only they'd let me run it through their machine. Too bad. His job was to run a ticket through his machine. If the machine issued a verdict of "guilty" the result is a 25€ fine.

This is the holy grail of socialism. Reduce enforcement to a little man with a singular “job” to be performed faithfully and blindly and you have nirvana.

Judgment, logic and rational action have no place in that enlightened world. And there is no recourse to higher authority because the little man was doing his job in compliance with his training.

In America we're on the same course and again our airport regulations show us our future. The first leg of our Paris journey was via commercial mini-jet to New York. Entering the security zone with our full sized luggage a "pre-screener" told us that if our bags were too large for the carryon bag test cage, we' have to check them. We tried to explain that since our flight was on a small regional jet, all luggage would be checked as we entered the plane.

His response: “My job is to tell you the bag must fit in the test cage”. There you have it. "My job is..." It didn’t matter if my luggage was to be checked plane side or not or pitched into the Atlantic Ocean, his job was …

"My job is..." Next time you hear someone say that watch out: you are seeing the heart of the socialist beast.




Dems get filibustered for a change: "Democrats needed 60 votes to move the nomination forward to final passage. Senate Republicans on Thursday toppled the nomination, 52-43, of controversial University of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a first in President Barack Obama's presidency. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said the nominee's writings "reveal a left-wing ideologue who views the role of a judge not as that of an impartial arbiter, but as someone who views the bench as a position of power." And though the Kentucky senator said he has "nothing against (Liu) personally, "Earning a lifetime appointment isn't a right, nor is it a popularity contest." [By blocking Miguel Estrada's nomination, it was the Dems who started this ball rolling. Their chickens have come home to roost]

NM: Warrants let Feds enter home without owner’s knowing: "A special type of government search warrant that allows authorities to search homes without informing the owner for months is becoming more common. ... These search warrants don’t involve knocking on doors or any type of warning at all. Delayed-notice search warrants, or 'sneak-and-peek' warrants, allow federal agents to enter your home without telling you they’ve been there until months later."

CA: Male genital mutilation ban to appear on San Francisco ballot: "A proposal to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has been cleared to appear on the November ballot, setting the stage for the nation's first public vote on what has long been considered a private family matter. But even in a city with a long-held reputation for pushing boundaries, the measure is drawing heavy fire. Opponents are lining up against it, saying a ban on a religious rite considered sacred by Jews and Muslims is a blatant violation of constitutional rights."

Google: We’re not creepy enough to recognize your face: "We're kind of creepy, but not that creepy — the gist of Google guru Eric Schmidt's public scorn-pouring on technology that'd allow a company to recognize and identify your face, or my face, or anyone's face. How? By storing pictures of said faces in a massive photographically encyclopedic database. That Google would create such a database was 'unlikely,' said Schmidt, adding that for anyone to create such a repository was 'crossing the creepy line.'"

An expensive Gov. Moonbeam: "Pausing in his struggle to solve (or to get others to solve) today's iteration of California's recurring fiscal crisis, Jerry Brown, the recurring governor, recently approved a new contract for the prison guards union. Henceforth, guards can cash out at retirement an unlimited number of unused vacation days. Most California employees can monetize only 80 accrued days. Many guards will receive lump sums exceeding $100,000. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that guards possess time worth $600 million. The union contributed almost $2 million to Brown's 2010 campaign."

Rep. Duncan Hunter criticizes Navy's decision to name ship for Cesar Chavez: "U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) disagrees with the Navy's decision to name a cargo ship under construction in San Diego for California farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. The decision, announced Tuesday, "appear[s] to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy's history and tradition," Hunter said in press release. Hunter, who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that if the Navy wanted to recognize "the Hispanic contribution to our nation, many other names come to mind." Hunter mentioned Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, killed in combat in Iraq and nominated for the Medal of Honor. "Peralta is one of many Hispanic war heroes -- some of whom are worthy of the same recognition," Hunter said."


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


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


Thursday, May 19, 2011

More on Obama's birthplace

I recently postulated that it was Obama's mother who set up the fraud that Obama was U.S.-born. I said that maybe Obama popped out a bit early in Mombasa so his mother took him to Hawaii ASAP and got his birth registered there -- possibly by corrupting some official in some way. I have however received the following objection to that:
First, it should be obvious that a child born outside of the USA requires either a US visa on a foreign passport or to be entered on the mother’s US passport to get to the USA. This is true today, and it was also true in 1961--and, since there were a lot fewer travelers, officials checked the documents more carefully.

Those documents or the applications for them would still exist and would have been found easily IF Obama was born outside of the USA. But no such document has been found.

I can accept that that might be true for an older child but would it be true for a newborn babe in arms? If the mother said, "I haven't had time for that yet", would not the official most likely have waved the mother through? Any ideas?


Are the Jews the Chosen People?

If I were religious, I would agree with this wholeheartedly. The Bible says it, after all

Dennis Prager

I assume that the type of person who reads columns such as this one has wondered at one time or another why, for thousands of years, there has been so much attention paid to Jews and why, today, to Israel, the one Jewish state.

But how do most people explain this preoccupation? There is no fully rational explanation for the amount of attention paid to the Jews and the Jewish state. And there is no fully rational explanation for the amount of hatred directed at Jews and the Jewish state.

A lifetime of study of this issue, including writing (with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin) a book on anti-Semitism ("Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism") has convinced me that, along with all the rational explanations, there is one explanation that transcends reason alone.

It is that the Jews are God's chosen people.

Now, believe me, dear reader, I am well aware of the hazards of making such a claim. It sounds chauvinistic. It sounds racist. And it sounds irrational, if not bizarre. But it is none of these.

As regards chauvinism, there is not a hint of inherent superiority in the claim of Jewish chosen-ness. In fact, the Jewish Bible, the book that states the Jews are chosen, constantly berates the Jews for their flawed moral behavior. No bible of any other religion is so critical of the religious group affiliated with that bible as the Hebrew Scriptures are of the Jews.

As for racism, Jewish chosen-ness cannot be racist by definition. Here is why: a) The Jews are not a race; there are Jews of every race. And b) any person of any race, ethnicity or nationality can become a member of the Jewish people and thereby be as chosen as Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah or the chief rabbi of Israel.

And with regard to chosen-ness being an irrational or even bizarre claim, it must be so only to atheists. They don't believe in a Chooser, so they cannot believe in a Chosen. But for most believing Jews and Christians (most particularly the Founders who saw America as a Second Israel, a second Chosen People), Jewish Chosen-ness has been a given. And even the atheist must look at the evidence and conclude that the Jews play a role in history that defies reason.

Can reason alone explain how a hodgepodge of ex-slaves was able to change history -- to introduce the moral God-Creator we know as God; to write the world's most influential book, the Bible; to devise ethical monotheism; to be the only civilization to deny the cyclical worldview and give humanity belief in a linear (i.e., purposeful) history; to provide morality-driven prophets and so much more -- without God playing the decisive role in this people's history?

Without the Jews, there would be no Christianity (a fact acknowledged by the great majority of Christians) and no Islam (a fact acknowledged by almost no Muslims). Read Thomas Cahill's "The Gifts of the Jews" or Paul Johnson's "A History of the Jews" to get an idea about how much this people changed history.

What further renders the claim for Jewish chosen-ness worthy of rational consideration is that virtually every other nation has perceived itself as chosen or otherwise divinely special. For example, China means "Middle Kingdom" in Chinese -- meaning that China is at the center of the world; and Japan considers itself the land where the sun originates ("Land of the Rising Sun"). The difference between Jewish chosen-ness and other nations' similar claims is that no one cares about any other group considering itself Chosen, while vast numbers of non-Jews have either believed the Jews' claim or have hated the Jews for it.

Perhaps the greatest evidence for the Jews' chosen-ness has been provided in modern times, during which time evil has consistently targeted the Jews:

-- Nazi Germany was more concerned with exterminating the Jews than with winning World War II.

-- Throughout its 70-year history, the Soviet Union persecuted its Jews and tried to extinguish Judaism. Hatred of Jews was one thing communists and Nazis shared.

-- The United Nations has spent more time discussing and condemning the Jewish state than any other country in the world. Yet, this state is smaller than every Central American country, including El Salvador, Panama and even Belize. Imagine if the amount of attention paid to Israel were paid to Belize -- who would not think there was something extraordinary about that country?

-- Much of the contemporary Muslim world -- and nearly all the Arab world -- is obsessed with annihilating the one Jewish state.

In the words of Catholic scholar Father Edward Flannery, the Jews carry the burden of God in history. Most Jews, being secular, do not believe this. And many Jews dislike talk of chosen-ness because they fear it will increase anti-Semitism; they may be right.

But it doesn't alter the fact that the obsession with one of the smallest countries and smallest peoples on earth, and the unique hatred of the Jews and the Jewish state by the world's most vicious ideologies, can be best explained only in transcendent terms. Namely that God, for whatever reason, chose the Jews.



Unemployment up again

The Obama economy continues to drift downward as our nation’s jobless rate is back at 9 percent with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the number of unemployed persons increased by 205,000 in April.

Yet, incredibly the BLS writes in their May 6, 2011 release that, “The number of unemployed persons, at 13.7 million, changed little in April.” 205,000 more people unemployed is not a small change by anyone’s standards. To put it into perspective, 205,000 newly unemployed is the equivalent of slightly fewer than two-thirds of everyone who currently holds a job in the entire state of Alaska being laid off.

Ironically, the same report from BLS shows that there are almost three million more people “not in the labor force” in April 2011, than in April 2010 with the number of drop outs increasing by 131,000 last month alone.

All this bad news in the employment report was overshadowed by the contradictory claim in the report that 244,000 new private sector jobs were created by the economy in April.

While I wish the economy had grown by almost a quarter of a million jobs, it is hard to reconcile this number with the reality of the rest of this and other U.S. Labor Department reports. For instance, the number of people that BLS reports as being employed in April 2011 dropped by 190,000, a number that is irreconcilable with the claimed 244,000 new jobs created claim.

Also, the weekly U.S. Labor Department report on new Unemployment Insurance Claims that closed out the month of April showed that unemployment was accelerating through the month.



Study: Obama's Stimulus Cost 595,000 Jobs

New economics research suggests that President Obama's stimulus plan may have destroyed or forestalled employment, including more than 1 million private-sector jobs.

Economists Timothy Conley, University of Western Ontario, and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University found that the stimulus resulted in a net loss of 595,000 jobs from April 2009 to September 2010.

That counters research by the Congressional Budget Office, the Council of Economic Advisors, and many other economists. But Conley and Dupor's research differs in that instead of looking at the stimulus' effects on total employment, it breaks jobs into four different sectors: Goods-producing industries, including manufacturing; Health and education, leisure, and business and professional (HELP) services; Other service industries; State and local government.

The authors divided employment this way "because of the large differences in trends across the sectors over the past decade."

Their paper shows the stimulus created or saved 443,000 government jobs and 92,000 non-HELP service jobs. But it destroyed or forestalled 772,000 HELP jobs and 362,000 goods-producing positions. That's a net loss of 1.042 million private jobs.

"I don't find that very compelling," said Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. "Since 2008 the economy went through a wringer and trends in these sectors were broken ... furthermore, their results were only marginally significant."

While acknowledging that Conley and Dupor's result were not very statistically robust, James Sherk argues that the lack of job growth is a significant finding.

"If the other studies which are programmed to show that the stimulus has a positive effect on jobs were right, then you'd expect Conley-Dupor to show 2 to 3 million jobs created," said Sherk, senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "That it was a negative figure ... tells you at best the stimulus was a wash."

Much other research, such as that conducted by the CBO, CEA, Federal Reserve economist Daniel Wilson, and economists Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, assume a "Keynesian" multiplier effect for government spending.

Zandi and Blinder assume that government infrastructure spending has a multiplier of 1.57 — every dollar government spends on infrastructure yields $1.57 in economic growth.

These studies yield an array of estimates of jobs created or saved, from 800,000 to 4.2 million.

"Those papers aren't really an independent test of whether the stimulus was effective," said Sherk. "They show that the models they use are pre-programmed to show job creation. One of the problems with the multiplier effect is that it assumes that government spending is just as good as private sector spending."




A couple of times a year I gather together what I think are the most amusing or most interesting pictures off my various blogs and put them together as a "gallery". I have just put up the gallery for the second half of last year. You can access it here or here



Stance lands Brown in Medicare debate: "Senator Scott Brown’s support for a GOP budget plan that would transform Medicare into a voucher system promises to become a potent issue in his reelection campaign, say political analysts and advocates for senior citizens. Brown, in a speech Friday in Newburyport, revealed that he would vote for the House-passed budget plan when it comes up in the Senate. In doing so, the freshman Republican brushed up against the supercharged issue of overhauling Medicare."

Netherlands: War crimes prosecutors seek Gaddafi’s arrest: "The International Criminal Court prosecutor asked judges Monday to issue arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and two other senior members of his regime, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in a crackdown against rebels. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi ordered, planned and participated in illegal attacks." [These morons will just cause Gaddafi to dig his heels in]

Individualism isn’t ridiculous: "Some critics of individualism propose an alternative social philosophy and defend it so it is then possible to compare their case to the individualist position. But more often than not what critics do is caricature individualism, suggesting that individualists believe that people are autonomous, meaning, exist all on their own with no need for anyone else. Or they claim individualism means that no one has any moral responsibilities toward anyone else. Or that everyone is basically self-sufficient or should be."

Abolish corporate income taxes: "Many people hate corporations. Progressives and populists blame them for a host of sins, and several libertarians assert they couldn't exist in their present form without the State. We at oppose the crony capitalism of the Corporatist State, and we cringe whenever people assume our pro-free market philosophy is a 'defense' of corporations. That is why our new campaign is a 'heresy.' What we propose may shock you, but we have good reasons. Our position is that even if you hate corporations ... Abolishing corporate income taxes is in your self-interest."

Iran building rocket bases in Venezuela: "The Iranian government is moving forward with the construction of rocket launch bases in Venezuela, the German daily Die Welt wrote in its Thursday edition. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is Teheran’s most important South American ally.Iran is building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, approved the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.”"


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


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


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is this the intellectual level of those who protect America?

A 13-year-old boy in Washington state faced federal interrogation by a Secret Service agent over a Facebook posting that warned President Obama of suicide bombers.

Vito LaPinta of Tacoma, Wash., said he posted a message on Facebook after Usama bin Laden’s death, saying Obama should be careful of possible retaliatory acts against him by other terror members, according to the station. “I was saying how Usama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers,” the boy told the station.

A week later, the boy said a man walked into Truman Middle School “with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service.” “He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the president,” he said.

The Tacoma school district acknowledged a Secret Service agent questioned Vito and that it was a security guard who called Vito’s mom because the principal was on another call. The school district said they didn’t wait for Vito’s mother to get there because they thought she didn’t take the phone call seriously.

“That’s a blatant lie,” Robertson said. The teen’s mom says she rushed to Truman Middle School immediately and arrived to discover her son had already been questioned for half an hour.



Keith Burgess-Jackson on happiness

I have never understood why people study happiness or set their sights on it. Have these people never heard of the paradox of happiness? If you aim for happiness, you're less likely to attain it than if you aim for something other than happiness. I think progressives are far more likely than conservatives to obsess about happiness. Conservatives find happiness in intermediate institutions, such as family, community, friendships, and church. They don't seek happiness; they never even think about it. Happiness finds them.

Progressives, many of whom are atheists, seek to destroy these intermediate institutions so as to bring everyone under the control of the managerial state. Since the state can't make people happy, progressives end up making everyone miserable and bitter. It's hard to believe that progressives think of themselves as the smart ones.

Addendum: Justice consists in proportioning happiness to merit. Vicious people deserve to be unhappy. It's not a good thing that a vicious person is happy; it's a bad thing. Nor is it a bad thing that a vicious person is unhappy; it's a good thing. The only happiness that matters, in other words, is the happiness of virtuous people.



Obama's $250,000 Question

Left and right agree: His agenda requires him to break his tax pledge

Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama turned even Joe the Plumber to his political advantage by playing percentages and pitting the majority of the country against the super-rich. Such was the simplicity of his message that even those attending an American university could grasp it. As one college student told this newspaper at the time, "Everyone knows Obama's only going to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, and Joe the Plumber does not make more than $250,000."

Politically that was a winner. Now, however, the numbers are not adding up—or at least, not in a way that will pay for President Obama's ambitions for the federal government. And at least some of his allies on the progressive left are pointing it out.

In the New Republic, the Brookings Institution's William Galston zeroes in on the fuzzy math. "Unless Obama is prepared to tolerate huge deficits indefinitely," he writes, "or to emulate arch-conservatives and curb the budget deficit with spending cuts only, he will have to break his unsustainable tax pledge at some point. The only question is when."

"The President's political advisers are keenly aware of the fact that Democrats need to improve their performance with these voters or face defeat in 2012," Mr. Salam writes. "This helps explain the profound irrationality of the Obama administration's approach to key public-policy questions." By irrationality, he means what Mr. Galston means: the split between what the president needs to do economically to fund his programs and what he did politically to get himself elected.

Mr. Galston, of course, is no Art Laffer, though his original piece was full of interesting figures illustrating that the U.S. tax regime is more progressive than the most popular clichés would have it. Mr. Galston cheerfully supports raising taxes on those with incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 to support progressive policies and help tame the deficit. He is simply honest enough to know that Mr. Obama cannot get the top 2% of income earners to pay for everything he has promised to do.

Inside the Beltway, one of the most hallowed chestnuts is that so polarized have our politics become, we can no longer agree on basic facts. Mr. Galston and Mr. Salam and their respective allies disprove that. Both agree on the revenue problem, though their policy conclusions veer off in sharply opposite ways.

Both would probably also agree that in the last two elections, the American people have zeroed in on one part of the message without perhaps accepting the full consequences of their position. In 2008, Americans went resoundingly for Mr. Obama, who promised that no one but the super-rich would have to worry about paying more for anything. Then in 2010, a tea party backlash helped elect Republicans who promised to reduce the size and reach of government.

So here's the question for 2012: If we the people don't want the higher taxes that are needed to support not only ObamaCare but a growing federal government, are we willing to support the real cuts that go along with that choice? And if we decide we don't want these programs touched, will we accept the higher taxes that go along with keeping them, including for people making a lot less than $250,000?

This is the heart of the argument shaping up between Mr. Obama and Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Manifestly Mr. Obama believes that as much as Americans say they want smaller government, the moment they find one of their favorite programs (e.g., Medicare) up for consideration, they balk.

Mr. Ryan and Republicans make the opposite bet: The president's spending has made Americans more willing to face up to these choices, especially if the alternative is higher taxes on more people.

The argument over taxes and spending, of course, is never fully won. The good news here is Messrs. Galston and Salam have met across the ideological spectrum to offer a good starting point. For those of us who believe that America is best served by a debate that forces citizens to make a clear choice—and that Mr. Ryan has the better part of the argument—we say, "Bring it on."


Retired tax accountant Dick McDonald comments:

Tax experts were not fooled into thinking that Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to raise taxes only the 2% of taxpayers making more than $250,000 was a fiscal possibility. Taxing 100% of their income wouldn’t even make a dent in Obama’s bloated budget or even a ripple in his generational-killing deficits.

The fact is he rode into the White House on a lie and to date the Republicans have not called him on it. In fact that is part of what is wrong with Republicans – they don’t have daily talking points to beat Democrats repeatedly over the head.

So the article above warns us that Obama is coming after those making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. He plans to raise their taxes. He has no other choice. They have all the money.

In addition to what you learn above be aware that the IRS is going after the same income group. They have been prohibited from auditing taxpayers based on the probability of larger assessments since the late 90’s. Lately statistics show that auditing this group also generates more tax dollars.

Apparently the rich have legions of tax accountants and attorneys that present difficult auditing barriers whereas your $100,000 to $200,000 taxpayers can’t afford such high-priced talent and just lie down when faced by the IRS.

So much for campaign promises. They are coming after us.


Democrat corruption

20% of new Obamacare waivers are restaurants etc. in Pelosi's district‏

Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

For instance, Boboquivari’s restaurant in Pelosi’s district in San Francisco got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari’s advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.

The reason the Obama administration says it has given out waivers is to exempt certain companies or policyholders from “annual limit requirements.” The applications for the waivers are “reviewed on a case by case basis by department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be offered in the absence of a waiver.”



A total departure from reality on America's Left

Comment by Dick McDonald

Senate Democrats are voting today to end tax breaks for Big Oil which should save $21 billion over the next ten years. Granted, if it passes both Houses and is signed into law, it will generate $21 billion more for Democrats in Congress to spend to buy votes from their “dependents” in the next ten years. It will definitely increase the cost of gasoline to the consumer by $21 billion in the next ten years as these new taxes the politicians are confiscating will just be passed on to the consumer.

Harry Reid on the floor today just proved how ignorant (or “insane”) he is by saying “We have to do something about the exorbitant gas prices and the best way to start with that is to do something about the five big oil companies getting subsidies they don’t need.”

WHAT IS THIS MORON SMOKING? Oil companies are not going to reduce gas prices because Congress taxes them an additional $21 billion.


Understanding Liberals

Walter E. Williams

The liberal vision of government is easily understood and makes perfect sense if one acknowledges their misunderstanding and implied assumptions about the sources of income. Their vision helps explain the language they use and policies they support, such as income redistribution and calls for the rich to give something back.

Suppose the true source of income was a gigantic pile of money meant to be shared equally amongst Americans. The reason some people have more money than others is because they got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. That being the case, justice requires that the rich give something back, and if they won't do so voluntarily, Congress should confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners.

A competing liberal implied assumption about the sources of income is that income is distributed, as in distribution of income. There might be a dealer of dollars. The reason why some people have more dollars than others is because the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist, a multinationalist or a conservative. The only right thing to do, for those to whom the dollar dealer unfairly dealt too many dollars, is to give back their ill-gotten gains. If they refuse to do so, then it's the job of Congress to use their agents at the IRS to confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners. In a word, there must be a re-dealing of the dollars or what some people call income redistribution.

The sane among us recognize that in a free society, income is neither taken nor distributed; for the most part, it is earned. Income is earned by pleasing one's fellow man. The greater one's ability to please his fellow man, the greater is his claim on what his fellow man produces. Those claims are represented by the number of dollars received from his fellow man.

Say I mow your lawn. For doing so, you pay me $20. I go to my grocer and demand, "Give me 2 pounds of steak and a six-pack of beer that my fellow man produced." In effect, the grocer asks, "Williams, you're asking your fellow man to serve you. Did you serve him?" I reply, "Yes." The grocer says, "Prove it."

That's when I pull out the $20 I earned from serving my fellow man. We can think of that $20 as "certificates of performance." They stand as proof that I served my fellow man.

Contrast the morality of having to serve one's fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces with congressional handouts. In effect, Congress says, "You don't have to serve your fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces. We'll take what he produces and give it to you. Just vote for me."

Who should give back? Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer. Which one of these billionaires acquired their wealth by coercing us to purchase their product? Which has taken the property of anyone?

Each of these examples, and thousands more, is a person who served his fellow men by producing products and services that made life easier. What else do they owe? They've already given.

If anyone is obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients of legalized theft, namely people who've used Congress, including America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others. When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive, it doesn't bode well for its future.



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


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


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Obama's birth certificate

Joseph Farah has got a spate of articles up at the moment in which he presents evidence against the authenticity of the "photocopy" of Obama's original birth certificate. He is also dropping heavy hints of big developments to come shortly.

From the beginning I have been one of the skeptics about Barry's nativity so I think I should say what I think of the present state of the controversy. Opinions are all you can get about the matter at the moment and I do think that there is something that most of the skeptics have overlooked. So let me start at the beginning.

Obama's mother (above) was clearly a sexy chick with a liking for dark skin and all that went with it. But she would certainly be well aware of the advantages of American citizenship and would have wanted it for her son. So when Barry popped out a bit early in Mombasa, an enterprising lady like her with little respect for the rules of the day would have hopped onto a plane as soon as possible and done what needed to be done to get Barry registered as American-born -- and inserted an appropriate birth-notice in the local paper. And Barry has profited from that deception more than she could ever have dreamed of. So it is possible that we are looking at a deception that was initially devised by Obama's mother.

Now I want to say something about government bureaucracies. I worked in two of them in my younger days so have a good feel for how they work. They can be enormously inefficient but they are also set up in a way that is hard to circumvent. And I think that whatever Barry's mother did to achieve her deception was not perfectly done. There would be signs in the documentation that it was a deception and Barry has been covering that up ever since. His refusal to release ANY documentation from his past is certainly inexplicable otherwise. Do all his documents list him as Kenyan-born?

And the YEARS it took for him to release an alleged copy of his original birth certificate suggests that he had offers from early on to do a forgery but in his typical indecisive way it took him a long time to take up that offer. Only the Trump megaphone pushed him over the edge. Whatever else The Donald is good at, getting lots of publicity in the popular press is something he seems to do effortlessly.

So we come to the indications that the recently released document is a forgery. The premier indication, according to all the skeptics, is that the serial number on the certificate is out of sequence. Unfortunately, from my experience of bureaucracies, I see that as no smoking gun at all. Certificates are issued according to the order that the clerk finds then in his in-tray. They may not at all reflect the exact order in which the events that they certify happened. I would therefore suggest that skeptics greatly downgrade their emphasis on that point.

So I think that there are many indications that both his birth certificate and Obama himself are one big fraud but proving it decisively is at the moment impossible. We will just have to wait and see what Farah's bombshell is. Or maybe Mossad will release a real copy of the original certificate if Obama gets too dangerous to Israel. I imagine that Mossad went to Kenya fairly early on -- long before the Kenyans started to wipe their records


I received from a reader the following comment on the above:

You are right to question the Obama “Certificate of Live Birth”. It contains a forged signature. The mom’s signature has been tampered with. You can see this for yourself, simply by zooming in on the certificate on the government web site. You will see that the “Ann D” part is handwritten and the “unham Obama” part has been drawn in by someone else on the computer. Here is a reference to this.

“Additionally, if you zoom in using Acrobat with your browser on a lot of the text, you’ll notice that it appears jagged and a single color. That’s not original. A pen doesn’t write in a single color; as you write lighter, the color is lighter; as you press harder, it’s darker than everything else. So writing in pen is not a single solid color, and when it scanned, anti-aliased, which means that the square pixels on the edges fade to make it appear smooth. Most of the text in the document including a large portion of the signatures is just a single blotch of color. The likely explanation is that someone just drew them in using a tool similar to “pencil” in Adobe Photoshop.”

I don't necessarily agree about the signature of Ann Dunham. The break between the A and the n is certainly unusual but could just be style. So I offer the above as a sample of the many criticisms that have been made -- often by very expert people -- JR


Destructive tax rhetoric

Thomas Sowell

We could definitely use another Abraham Lincoln to emancipate us all from being slaves to words. In the midst of a historic financial crisis of unprecedented government spending, and a national debt that outstrips even the debt accumulated by the reckless government spending of previous administration, we are still enthralled by words and ignoring realities.

President Barack Obama's constant talk about "millionaires and billionaires" needing to pay higher taxes would be a bad joke, if the consequences were not so serious. Even if the income tax rate were raised to 100 percent on millionaires and billionaires, it would still not cover the trillions of dollars the government is spending.

More fundamentally, tax rates-- whatever they are-- are just words on paper. Only the hard cash that comes in can cover government spending. History has shown repeatedly, under administrations of both political parties, that there is no automatic correlation between tax rates and tax revenues.

When the tax rate on the highest incomes was 73 percent in 1921, that brought in less tax revenue than after the tax rate was cut to 24 percent in 1925. Why? Because high tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring in as much hard cash as lower tax rates that they do pay. That's not rocket science.

Then and now, people with the highest incomes have had the greatest flexibility as to where they will put their money. Buying tax-exempt bonds is just one of the many ways that "millionaires and billionaires" avoid paying hard cash to the government, no matter how high the tax rates go.

Most working people don't have the same options. Their taxes have been taken out of their paychecks before they get them.

Even more so today than in the 1920s, billions of dollars can be sent overseas electronically, almost instantaneously, to be invested in other countries-- creating jobs there, while millions of American are unemployed. That is a very high price to pay for class warfare rhetoric about taxing "millionaires and billionaires."

Make no mistake about it, that kind of rhetoric wins votes for political demagogues-- and votes are their bottom line. But that is totally different from saying that it will bring in more tax revenue to the government.

Time and again, at both state and federal levels, in the country and in other countries, tax rates and tax revenue have moved in opposite directions many times. After Maryland raised its tax rates on people making a million dollars a year, there were fewer such people living in Maryland-- and less tax revenue was collected from them.

In 2009, many people specializing in high finance in Britain relocated to Switzerland after the British government announced plans to take 51 percent of high incomes in taxes.

Conversely, reductions in tax rates can lead to more tax revenue being collected. After the capital gains tax rate was cut in the United States in 1997, the government collected nearly twice as much revenue from capital gains taxes in the next four years as in the previous four years.

Similar things have happened in India and in Iceland.

There is no automatic correlation between the direction in which tax rates move and the direction in which tax revenues move. Nor is this a new discovery.

Back in the 1920s, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon pointed out that people with high incomes were simply not paying the high tax rates that existed on paper, because they were putting their money into tax shelters.

After the tax rates were cut, as Mellon advocated, investments flowed back into the private economy, producing higher output, rising incomes, more tax revenue and more jobs. The annual unemployment rate in the next four years never exceeded 4.2 percent, and in one year was as low as 1.8 percent.

Despite political demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich," in human terms the rich have less at stake than working people. Precisely because the rich have so many ways of avoiding taxes, a high tax rate is likely to do them far less harm than it does to the economy, on which millions of people depend for jobs.



Obamacare Based on Fraudulent Premise

Regardless of whose numbers you accept, Obama insisted that his plan would make sure everyone was covered. And what's the relevance of increasing insurance coverage if not to increase people's access to health care? So, it was just accepted as an essentially unchallenged premise that Obamacare, whatever else you wanted to say about it, would increase Americans' access to health care.

But as many of us knew all along and warned, Obamacare will not increase access to care. It will inevitably lead to rationing, and rationing, by definition, means reducing care. The major difference is that under Obamacare the state will decide who gets what care -- a bureaucratic, emotion-free board of "experts" called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Let's put aside for a moment the inflammatory implications of calling this board a "death panel," which I think is justified. Let's temporarily remove it from the equation so that Obamacare proponents can't use it to marginalize its opponents as hyperbolic extremists.

We don't have to go that far to blow Obama's case for Obamacare out of the water, so for the sake of argument, let's concede that Obamacare won't empower any board to kill people, even though it will empower a board to determine treatment that could prolong or shorten our lives.

Let's just zero in on the reality that IPAB will make top-down decisions directly affecting access to care, which will be enforceable by law and not reviewable or even subject to repeal except by a two-thirds vote of Congress. Obamacare has no other way to bring medical costs down except to ration care, through IPAB and other provisions in the law. IPAB will ration by limiting reimbursements to health care providers according to its designated schedule.

Another provision of this noxious socialist law imposes a penalty on primary care physicians who refer patients to specialists most frequently, as noted by Obama's distant cousin Dr. Milton R. Wolf, who I cite in my book. Here again, Obamacare will in many cases discourage and ultimately deny access to the most appropriate medical care according to the physicians closest to the patients.

There are other access-limiting provisions in the law. The premise of increasing accessibility is just the excuse to confer on Big Brother control over health care and many other aspects of our lives, like so many other ostensibly well-intentioned liberal programs.

We needn't prove the imminence of a death panel to demonstrate that the foundational premise of Obamacare -- increased access -- is based on a lie and thus the case for it falls. What remains standing are all the negative aspects of a socialized medical system: loss of freedom, reduction of quality and choice of care, waiting lines, and a severe compromise of the personal relationship between physician and patient.




Gingrich the has-been: "White House hopeful Newt Gingrich called the House Republican plan for Medicare 'right-wing social engineering,' injecting a discordant GOP voice into the party's efforts to reshape both entitlements and the broader budget debate. In the same interview Sunday, on NBC's Meet the Press, Mr. Gingrich backed a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, complicating a Republican line of attack on President Barack Obama's health law."

US outlines global plan for cyberspace: "The Obama administration laid out plans Monday to work aggressively with other nations to make the Internet more secure, enable law enforcement to work closely on cybercrime and ensure that citizens everywhere have the freedom to express themselves online. And in the strongest terms to date, the White House made it clear the U.S. will use its military might to strike back if it comes under a cyberattack that threatens national security." [Note: If you believe the Obama regime is in any way serious about Internet freedom, I've got this bridge ...]

Israel not allowed to defend its borders: "The United Nations condemned on Monday Israel's 'disproportionate, deadly force' against demonstrators mourning the anniversary of the founding of Israel. Israeli soldiers fired at a demonstration at the Lebanese border village of Maroun al-Ras on Sunday, killing 10 Palestinians, security sources and the Lebanese army said. The protest in Lebanon coincided with similar ones at Israel's frontiers with Gaza and Syria, where Israeli troops shot at demonstrators to prevent crowds from crossing frontier lines."

Indiana: Full frontal fascism: "If there are any Indiana cops who still respect the Constitution, please do your state a huge favor, and go barge into the home of 'Justice' Steven David -- during supper would probably be a good time. Barge in, without a warrant, and without any legal justification, guns drawn, and start ordering people around. See if 'Justice' David does anything to resist. If he does, lock his fascist ass up for violating his own idiotic legal ruling. In fact, since he just declared it to be illegal for him to resist your illegal invasion of his home, if he lifts a finger to stop you, shoot the bastard, or at least give him a good tasering. (That's exactly what happened in the case where 'Justice' David sided with the law-breaking cop.)"

Free market misconceptions in the blogosphere: "The first and biggest misconception about free markets, in my humble opinion, is that we’ve ever had one. At least we haven’t had one in recent history. I don’t know whether this misconception has been spread deliberately or not, but I believe that at least in some cases it has been purposely proffered in order to obfuscate and shift blame so that a more collectivist agenda could be carried out. Yet people still blame the free market for the current situation."


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


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


Monday, May 16, 2011

Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” fraud

President Obama has succeeded in seizing new power over health care and other swaths of American lives in part because previous presidents muddied Americans' understanding of freedom.

Most of the past century's debates over the meaning of liberty have featured one politician after another who promised people true freedom, if only they would submit to increased government power. In the process, politicians have been generously shrinking people's individual liberty.

The clearest political turning point in the American understanding of freedom came during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. He often invoked freedom, but almost always as a pretext for increasing government power. He proclaimed in 1933, "We have all suffered in the past from individualism run wild." Naturally, the corrective was to allow government to run wild.

Roosevelt declared in a 1934 fireside chat, "I am not for a return of that definition of liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few." Politicians such as Roosevelt began by telling people that control of their own lives was a mirage; thus, they lost nothing when government took over.

In his renomination acceptance speech at the 1936 Democratic Party convention, Roosevelt declared that "the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties ... created a new despotism.... The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor -- these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship."

But if wages were completely dictated by the "industrial dictatorship" -- why were pay rates higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world, and why had pay rates increased rapidly in the decades before 1929? Roosevelt never considered limiting government intervention to safeguarding individual choice; instead, he favored multiplying power to impose "government-knows-best" dictates on work hours, wages, and contracts.

New improved freedom

On January 6, 1941, he gave his famous "Four Freedoms" speech, promising citizens freedom of speech, freedom of worship -- and then he got creative: "The third [freedom] is freedom from want ... everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear ... anywhere in the world." Proclaiming a goal of freedom from fear meant that the government henceforth must fill the role in daily life previously filled by God and religion. His list was clearly intended as a "replacement set" of freedoms, since otherwise there would have been no reason to mention freedom of speech and worship, already protected by the First Amendment.

Roosevelt's list of new freedoms liberated government while making a pretense of liberating the citizen. It offered citizens no security from the state, since it completely ignored the rights protected by the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear firearms), the Fourth Amendment (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure), the Fifth Amendment (due process, property rights, the right against self-incrimination), the Sixth Amendment (the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury), and the Eighth Amendment (protection against excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments).

Roosevelt's revised freedoms also ignored the Ninth Amendment, which specifies that the listing of "certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people," as well as the Tenth Amendment, which specified that "powers not delegated" to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.

And, even though Roosevelt included freedom of speech in his new, improved list of progressive freedoms, he added: "A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups.... ... We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.... The best way of dealing with the few slackers or troublemakers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, to use the sovereignty of government to save government."

Thus, the "new freedom" required that government have power to suppress any group not actively supporting the government's goals. (The United States was still at peace at the time of Roosevelt's speech.) The expansions of freedoms in the list were promised to the whole world -- primarily people who did not vote in U.S. elections -- while the implicit contractions of previously sanctified freedoms would affect only Americans.

Roosevelt elaborated on his concept of freedom in his 1944 State of the Union address. He declared that the original Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." He called for a "Second Bill of Rights," and asserted, "True individual freedom can't exist without economic security." And security, according to Roosevelt, included "the right to a useful and remunerative job," "decent home," "good health," and "good education." Thus, if a government school did not teach all fifth-graders to read, the nonreaders would be considered oppressed. Or, if someone was in bad health, then that person would be considered as having been deprived of his freedom, and somehow it would be seen as the government's fault.

Roosevelt also declared that liberty requires "the right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living" -- a nonsensical concept that would require setting food prices high enough to keep the nation's least efficient farmer behind his mule and plow.

Roosevelt clarified the necessary underpinnings of his new freedom when, in the same speech, he called for Congress to enact a "national service law -- which for the duration of the war ... will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation." He promised that this proposal, described in his official papers as a Universal Conscription Act, would be a "unifying moral force" and "a means by which every man and woman can find that inner satisfaction which comes from making the fullest possible contribution to victory." Presumably, the less freedom people had, the more satisfaction they would enjoy.

Commenting on foreign policy, Roosevelt praised Soviet Russia as one of the "freedom-loving Nations" and stressed that Marshal Stalin was "thoroughly conversant with the provisions of our Constitution." Roosevelt's concept of freedom required people to blindly trust their leaders -- a trust he greatly abused. He also denounced those Americans with "suspicious souls" who feared that he had "made ‘commitments' for the future which might pledge this Nation to secret treaties" at the summit of Allied leaders in Tehran the previous month. But at that summit, he had secretly agreed to allow Stalin to move the Soviet border far to the West -- thus consigning millions of Poles to life under direct Soviet rule. (Roosevelt and Stalin used roughly the same dividing line that Hitler and Stalin had used in 1939 to divide Poland into Nazi and Soviet spheres.)



The relative decline in manufacturing -- the British case and the world

Woes is us, we don't make anything any more. We get this all too frequently, that manufacturing in the UK has declined so much, that we're over reliant upon services, that simply we've too few northerners making things that can be dropped on feet, that, in short, we're all stuffed.

That we all know that the value of manufacturing production has been rising, even as it shrinks as a portion of the economy, doesn't seem to clinch the matter. For we're still told that the decline of manufacturing as a portion of the economy is some dreadful fate.

OK, so it has indeed been falling as a percentage of GDP. Is this a bad thing?

Hmm, well, it doesn't really seem so, does it? Or at least if it is, then we're in good company. For as you can see (and don't worry too much about the absolute numbers, they might not be calculated in quite the same way, just look at the trends), manufacturing is falling as a percentage of the global economy all over. And we know very well that global manufacturing output isn't falling: so it must be just that other parts of the economy, services obviously, are growing faster than manufacturing.

At which point it becomes terribly difficult to worry about what percentage of the UK economy manufacturing is or isn't. For as we know, GDP is the "value of goods and services". The total amount of value produced that we can share out in some or another manner. It matters not whether that value is created by building jet engines or painting women's nails: it's still value created, an increase in wealth and that is rather the point of this whole thing, isn't it?



Capital is the key to wealth

A Travel Channel episode of No Reservations, a cooking-focused show narrated by Anthony Bourdain, took viewers to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.... In a scene early in the show set in this giant city after the earthquake, Bourdain and his crew stop to eat some local food from a vendor. He discusses its ingredients and samples some items. Crowds of hungry people begin to gather. They are doing more than gawking at the camera crews. They are waiting in the hope of getting something to eat.

Bourdain thinks of a way to do something nice for everyone. Realizing that in this one sitting, he is eating a quantity of food that would last most Haitians three days, he buys out the remaining food from the vendor and gives it away to locals.

Nice gesture! Except that something goes wrong. Once the word spreads about the free food — word-of-mouth in Haiti is faster than Facebook chat — people start pouring in. Lines form and get long. Disorder ensues. Some people step forward to keep order. They bring belts and start hitting. The entire scene becomes very unpleasant for everyone — and the viewer gets the sense that it is worse than we are shown.

Bourdain correctly draws the lesson that the solutions to the problem of poverty here are more complex than it would appear at first glance. Good intentions go awry.

The people of Haiti in the documentary conform to what every visitor says about them. They are wonderfully friendly, talented, enterprising, happy, and full of hope. Like most people, they hate their government. Actually, they hate their government more than most Americans hate theirs. Truly, this is a precondition of liberty. There is a real sense of us-versus-them alive in Haiti, so much so that when the presidential palace collapsed in the recent earthquake, crowds gathered outside to cheer and cheer! It was the one saving grace of an otherwise terrible storm.

With all these enterprising, hard-working, and creative people, millions of them, what could possibly be wrong with the place?

Where is the wealth? There is plenty of trade, plenty of doing, plenty of exchange and money changing hands. Why does the place remain desperately poor? If the market economists are correct that trade and commerce are the key to wealth, and there is plenty of both here, why is wealth not happening?

One can easily see how people can get confused, because the answer is not obvious until you have some economic understanding. A random visitor might easily conclude that Haiti is poor because somehow the wealth is being hogged by its northern neighbor, the United States. If we weren't devouring so much of the world's stock of wealth, it could be distributed more evenly and encompass Haiti too. Or another theory might be that the handful of international companies, or even aid workers, are somehow stealing all the money and denying it to the people.

These are not stupid theories. They are just theories — neither confirmed nor refuted by facts alone. They are only shown to be wrong once you realize a central insight of economics. It is this: trade and commerce are necessary conditions for the accumulation of wealth, but they are not sufficient conditions. Also necessary is that precious institution of capital.

What is capital? Capital is a thing (or service) that is produced not for consumption but for further production. The existence of capital industries implies several stages of production, or up to thousands upon thousands of steps in a long structure of production. Capital is the institution that gives rise to business-to-business trading, an extended workforce, firms, factories, ever more specialization, and generally the production of all kinds of things that by themselves cannot be useful in final consumption but rather are useful for the production of other things.

In a developed economy, the vast majority of productive activities consist in participation in these capital-goods sectors and not in final-consumption-goods sectors.

But there is a sense in which capitalism is the perfect term for a developed economy: the development, accumulation, and sophistication of the capital-goods sector is the characteristic feature that makes it different from an undeveloped economy. The thriving of the capital-goods sector was the great contribution of the Industrial Revolution to the world.

Now, this is interesting to me because anyone can easily miss this point just by looking around Haiti where you see people working and producing like crazy, and yet the people never seem to get their footing. Without an understanding of economics, it is nearly impossible to see the unseen: the capital that is absent that would otherwise permit economic growth.

Now to the question of why the absence of capital. The answer has to do with the regime. It is a well-known fact that any accumulation of wealth in Haiti makes you a target, if not of the population in general (which has grown suspicious of wealth, and probably for good reason), then certainly of the government. The regime, no matter who is in charge, is like a voracious dog on the loose, seeking to devour any private wealth that happens to emerge.

This creates something even worse than the Higgsian problem of "regime uncertainty." The regime is certain: it is certain to steal anything it can, whenever it can, always and forever.

This is an interesting case of a peculiar way in which government is keeping prosperity at bay. It is not wrecking the country through an intense enforcement of taxation and regulation or nationalization. One gets the sense that most people never have any face time with a government official and never deal with paperwork or bureaucracy really. The state strikes only when there is something to loot. And loot it does: predictably and consistently. And that alone is enough to guarantee a permanent state of poverty.




Bank overhaul battle pays off for GOP pols: "Republicans fought a hard but ultimately losing battle to block the Wall Street regulatory overhaul that Barney Frank and his fellow Democrats guided through Congress last year. But now they are turning the legislation known as the Dodd-Frank law to fullest advantage. The GOP is winning a larger share of campaign money contributed by banks and other Wall Street interests who want to roll back elements of the stricter rules."

Rules for thee, not for me: "It seems that many of the same organizations that supported the passage of Obamacare are also the organizations that have been granted waivers to not be subjected to that legislation. It seems rather ironic, because if the people involved in those organizations really believed in the program then they would have no reason to ask for a waiver. On the other hand, those groups that were not favorable to Obamacare are not being granted any waivers."

Government, Fed to blame for high gas prices: "I do a lot of driving. I probably fill my gas tank up three or four times a week. So, needless to say, I feel the pain when gas prices soar. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress want to make things worse, as they are wont to do when it comes to all things economic. Obama has decided, wrongheadedly of course, that the evil oil companies are the problem."

GM’s profits: Nothing to gloat about: "While bailout enthusiasts hail GM's first-quarter earnings as proof that the administration saved the auto industry, President Obama should know better than to gloat. No such feat was accomplished and the imperative of extricating the government from GM's operations has yet to be achieved."

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


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


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