Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Scots-Irish Voting Bloc

When national campaign strategists consider targeting an ethnic voting bloc to swing results in their direction, they typically consider blacks or Hispanics. Yet, an ethnic group they often overlook -- the Scots-Irish -- are the voters the Republican Party convinced in 2010 to swing back to GOP candidates, after they swung toward the Democratic Party in 2006, experts say.

As the 2012 election approaches and both parties eye the White House and U.S. House and Senate seats, strategists from both parties say the Scots-Irish again could be critical to winning.

"They could be the margins in a tight race," said Tom McMahon, a Washington strategist who was executive director of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 through 2009. The DNC, he said, wanted to ensure these voters "would be open-minded to voting for a Democrat,” because many are respected in their communities and could influence others.

"We found that when we talked about our core values as a party -- equality, fairness, social justice -- and how that applied to issues, we immediately made a connection to these voters,” he said. Democrats have not been effective with the Scots-Irish voting bloc during the past two years and might need to employ that approach again, McMahon believes.

The Scots-Irish apparently became voters to watch and court without knowing it.

“If they did know they were being focused on as part of a swing vote, they would probably vote in the exact opposite direction,” said Brad Todd, a Republican strategist in Washington.

Several hundred thousand Scots-Irish, primarily Presbyterians and other Protestants from the Irish province of Ulster, came to North America during the colonial era. Fiercely independent, clannish and skeptical of government, many settled in Pennsylvania and helped shape its industrial growth. They understood hardship and hard work.

"By the end of the 17th century, this became the largest migration from Europe to America,” said F. Thornton Miller, a professor of U.S. history at the University of Missouri.

These settlers preferred the hill country to coastal areas, building frontier communities across the ridges of the Allegheny Mountains, moving from Pennsylvania into Ohio, and then south into West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama. Often they became squatters, said Miller.

"They were known for fighting Indians, distilling and drinking whiskey. ... They became known as hillbillies," who didn't want to pay for land or to pay taxes, he said.

Today, political strategists might have some difficulty identifying these voters. Many don't identify with their ethnicity, and if they do, they are so distrustful of joining anything that they are hard to pin down, said McMahon and Todd.

“They have maintained their non-conformist nature all through the generations. ... This culture is the bellwether of change in this country, for either party,” said Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. Considered an authority on the Scots-Irish, Webb recently completed a documentary, “Born Fighting,” for the Smithsonian Channel and wrote several books on the subject.

Scots-Irish himself, Webb practices that non-conformist way of life: he was a Republican, and then ran as a Democrat for his Senate seat in 2006. He announced this year he would not seek reelection.

Todd determined the Scots-Irish were swing voters by poring over mapping data after the 2008 presidential election. He found a distinct voting pattern: people who rejected President Barack Obama, choosing Hillary Clinton in the primary election and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the general election.

“When I looked at that map, I realized I was looking at where the Scots-Irish had settled, starting with Pennsylvania and Ohio (and moving) diagonally south along the spine of Appalachia,” said Todd, who knows a little about these finicky voters because of his own Scottish and Irish bloodline.

He decided as a strategist that it made sense to target House seats Democrats held in areas settled by Scots-Irish families -- even if those congressional seats were considered to be "safe" Democratic incumbents.

His theory worked.

Republicans won eight of the 12 seats they targeted. Two GOP losses were in Pennsylvania, where Democratic Reps Jason Altmire of McCandless and Mark Critz of Johnstown held onto their seats by putting forth a message of maintaining independence from the Democratic Party and government regulation in Washington. That platform appealed to the populist nature of Scots-Irish voters in their districts.

“I campaigned on the same values that my constituents have," said Critz. "That independence from Washington resonates around here. We believe if government leaves us alone and doesn’t bother us, we will get the work done.”

Seventeen U.S. presidents are of Scots-Irish descent, including Obama, who visited with distant Gaelic relatives in Ireland this week -- perhaps because his strategists are beginning to realize he should not ignore these voters.

SOURCE

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Mr. President, Put Less Pressure on Israel, More (Some) on Her Enemies

In recent months, Israel's struggles to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority have been marred by Palestinian decisions. Chief among these challenges is the decision by the Palestinian Authority to bring Hamas representatives into their leadership. If that did not present enough challenges, last week President Obama increased the pressure on Israel by unleashing new parameters for Israel-Palestinian negotiations based on pre-1967 borders. All supporters of Israel have to be alarmed and concerned at this new explicit position the U.S. has taken.

Following Obama’s expression that negotiations be based on pre-1967 borders, supporters of Israel from across the political spectrum have condemned the idea. Despite the caveats President Obama portends to place on these factors, this is no place to start a negotiation.

President Obama insists that the parameters of pre-1967 borders were always a starting point for prior U.S. administrations pointing to the Clinton administration. This is nonsense. Obama’s declaration last week was the first explicit statement by a U.S. President that pre-1967 borders would be the parameters of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu’s terse phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to Thursday’s speech should have tipped the President off that this indeed would be viewed as new ground.

Further, Israel would be foolish to accept these conditions and rightly rebuked Obama for his position. Israel would be foolish to give up the Golan Heights along the Syrian border, foolish to pull its military presence out of the West Bank, and foolish to walk into a negotiation under the unnecessary pressures and concessions President Obama chose to place on the only true democracy in the Middle East. As the Prime Minister aptly put it, the pre-1967 Israeli borders, “were not the boundaries of peace; they were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive from them.” Never again, will Israel return to these indefensible borders regardless of the unnecessary pressure President Obama chooses to place on Israel.

In early 2008, President Obama called for the U.S. to preside over a Muslim Summit including leaders of Syria and Iran, not understanding that elevating their criticism of Israel with a United States moderator would have been a dangerous development for Israel. Recently, Obama’s Secretary of State Clinton referred to Syrian President Assad as a “reformer”. In April 2011, Assad’s regime fired live ammunition on protesters. And Assad has repeatedly supported Hamas and Hezbollah in fomenting violence towards Israel. With reformers like Assad, who needs reform?

Mr. President, I would ask you to stop putting unnecessary pressure on Israel and start demanding more of these autocratic regimes that stifle democracy and threaten the only democracy in the Middle East—Israel. I would ask you to start resembling your recent predecessors who had both actions and words which carried an unwavering support for Israel. Each and every day, Israel remains on the frontline along with the United States in the War on Terror and is nothing but an unabashed ally of pro-democratic and pro-American policy. Mr. President, stop putting undue pressure on Israel and start providing more support.

SOURCE

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The Great Liberator: Remembering Ronald Reagan at 100

Nile Gardiner

I had the privilege of attending the Ronald Reagan Centennial Gala in Washington earlier this week. Superbly organised by the Reagan Presidential Foundation, it was a truly magnificent event remembering the greatest American president of the last 100 years. Lech Walesa, the brave Polish freedom fighter who stood up to Communist tyranny, received the Reagan Centennial Freedom Award, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan delivered a moving message by video from her home in California.

Another highlight of the evening was the brilliant speech by British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who paid tribute to the powerful partnership between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, an unbreakable alliance that defeated the Soviet Empire and won the Cold War. Dr. Fox, who has been the star performer of David Cameron’s cabinet and for decades a true friend of the United States, declared to much applause:
It is impossible to assess the contribution of Ronald Reagan to the history of the 20th century without considering another political giant of the era- Margaret Thatcher- his friend, ally and intellectual soul mate.

…. At a time when leadership was so needed they brought values, vision and valour. The Cold War did not end. It was won. It was not an accident. It came about because the leadership of the free world was committed politically, militarily, and morally to the defeat of totalitarian ideology and the triumph of liberty and freedom.

It was not an exercise in expediency but the application of conviction. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher understood that our strength lay in people not governments and that liberated from the dead hand of the state -of the self perpetuating bureaucracy- the innovation and drive of free people would triumph. They believed that competition is to be welcomed not feared- that it is the means by which we judge our talents, one against the other, without recourse to conflict.

They understood that there is a difference between tolerance and surrender and that the moral relativism that blurs the distinction between right and wrong needs to be confronted. They knew what they believed to be right and had the courage to say so- and they knew what they believed to be wrong and had the fortitude to confront it.

They knew that in a free society the market works – that the combined wisdom of millions of individuals, acting in their own interests, is always likely to trump the wisdom of the self selecting elites of government.

They were giants of history when history needed giants. We may never see their likes again in our lifetime. But living and nurturing their legacy is the greatest honour that any of us can do for their dreams, their endeavours and their hopes. Let us not let them down.

These are wise words that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic should heed, at a time of towering public debts, economic uncertainty, and mounting threats to the security of the free world. In her eulogy for President Reagan at his memorial service in Washington National Cathedral in June 2004, Lady Thatcher referred to her close friend as “the great liberator”, a leader who had freed hundreds of millions from tyranny in Europe, as well as offering renewed hope for the American people after a period of decline. In the words of the Iron Lady:
Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavours because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for: freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.

With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today, the world – in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw and Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev, and in Moscow itself, the world mourns the passing of the great liberator and echoes his prayer: God bless America.

SOURCE

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Pay Freedom Forward, Properly Arm Our Armed Forces

As Americans begin the Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who have given their lives to defend the freedoms and way of life that we enjoy. The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano writes in The Sacramento Bee that as we honor them, we must also “do our utmost not to add to their ranks”:
Cold gray monuments, brassy parades, majestic flyovers – they are all remembrances of those who died in the service of the nation. They are all part of our Memorial Day.

No day speaks more about American patriotism than the day we thank those who gave their lives in the fight for freedom. Yet, no ceremony, no solemnity can ever replace those we have lost . . .

So while on this day we honor sacrifice, we have a job the rest of the year as well: reminding our leaders in Washington to ensure that the troops who defend us have what they need to do the job – and come back to us. There is no better way to recognize the valor of those who serve, and demonstrate care and respect for their families, than to pay it forward – to properly arm our armed forces for the next fight.

Carafano writes that adequately funding defense is among America’s greatest challenges, and it is one that must be addressed:
After 10 years, we have put a lot of wear and tear on the armed forces. The danger that our military preparedness could plummet has never been greater.

Today, America has the smallest Navy since before World War I, and the force is aging. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the popular movie “Top Gun.” The ship featured in the film was the USS Enterprise. It is still at sea. In fact, it was commissioned in the 1960s, and is the second oldest ship in the U.S. fleet. Ships in the Navy’s sister fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard, are even older . . .

America’s Air Force has the oldest average fleet of planes and the fewest number of planes in its inventory at any time since World War II . . .

The Army and Marine Corps both have aging fleets of vehicles – and have just seen the plans to replace them pushed further down the road.

Annual spending to buy new equipment is already under-funded by about $50 billion a year. Still, there are calls to slash military spending.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Can A Test Really Tell Who's A Psychopath?

There's a story on NPR under the above heading. It discusses the accuracy of Hare's checklist for deciding who is a psychopath. The test is now widely used in the criminal justice system to decide who can safely be released on parole. NPR opposes that, of course.

But on what grounds? Their principal ground seems to be the case of one man: A man with a long record of violent crime who scores highly on the Hare test. Rather than seeing that long record of violent crime as excellent validation of the test (proof that the test measures what it purports to measure) they say: "Aha! But that is the man of yesteryear. After many years in prison he has now reformed."

Yet what they report of his behaviour they evaluate very naively. They report that the man realized he would have to adopt different behaviour to get out of jail and worked systematically on doing that. And he has really charmed lots of people by the new and caring man that he is.

What a laugh! That's exactly what psychopaths do. They are great actors when they need to be and charming people is their stock in trade. If the NPR writers knew anything about psychopaths, they would be embarrassed to write what they did. They have actually disproved their own case.

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Lone blogger calls a bureaucracy to account

Bob McCarty is a campaigning blogger. He takes on a cause and hammers it repeatedly. And there is a lot to hammer in the good ol' goldurned US of A these days.

His latest foray is to tackle some oppression emanating from the USDA. Like all bureaucracies, its first priority is to hurt people rather than help them and their latest caper is to fine a couple $90,000 for the heinous offence of selling more than $500 worth of rabbits in one year. After a lot of effort, the USDA seem to be caving. See here.

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Stop the Bad Guys?

I rarely disagree with Prof. Boudreaux but I have to say that his clever little libertarian formulation below is grossly at variance with the facts. He seems to think that conservatives heart foreign wars. He is wrong. Traditionally, American conservatives have been isolationists and that strain of thought is still well represented by Pat Buchanan and his American Conservative. And Ron Paul is, after all, a Texas Republican.

It has long been Democrat administrations that have involved America in foreign wars, from Wilson, to Roosevelt, to Truman to Kennedy. And note that America's latest war abroad -- Libya -- is also the work of a Democrat President.

Conservatives will only respond to attack, which is why Roosevelt had to provoke and facilitate the attack on Pearl Harbour. And despite many previous Muslim provocations, it was only when America was genuinely attacked on 9/11/2001 that George Bush swung into action which resulted in taking down two of the three most hostile Muslim regimes. It is only a pity that he left the Iranian madmen to continue their crazy and very dangerous course


It’s not too much of a simplification to say that modern American conservatives believe the national government to be ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.

Nor are the boundaries of acceptable simplification breached by saying that modern American “liberals” believe the national government to be sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.

This striking contradiction in political viewpoints has not, of course, gone unnoticed.

I was prompted to ponder this contradiction not long ago after I read an op-ed in the Washington Post by the neoconservative William Kristol calling on Uncle Sam to attempt to influence the outcomes of the recent popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. My ponderings produced a hypothesis: Modern conservatives and “liberals” are obsessively fixated on bad guys (just different ones).

For both conservatives and “liberals” the world is full of problems caused by bad actors—greedy, heartless, power-hungry autocrats who deploy illegitimately acquired power to trample the rights and livelihoods of the masses. Ordinary men and women seek liberation from these tyrants, but—being ordinary and oppressed—the typical person cannot escape the overlords’ predation without help. Their liberation requires forceful intervention by well-meaning and courageous outsiders.

For “liberals” the oppressed masses consist of workers and the poor, and the oligarchs who do the oppressing are business people and private corporations. What encourages this oppression are free markets and their accompanying doctrine of nonintervention by government into the economy.

However, contrary to the “liberals,” nonintervention rests on at least three truths: First, the complexities of modern economies are so great, and hard to discern, that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that government officials can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning government is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even government’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.

Second, even if economic intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to sport noble names (such as the “Great Society programs” and the “Fair Labor Standards Act”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions.

Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene to correct them are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives.

“Unequal income distribution” is perhaps the foremost such situation. While most “liberals” are obsessed with the “distribution” of income and believe that people of modest means must be especially disturbed by the fact that some other people earn more than they earn, in fact the typical American of modest means is far less bothered by “unequal” income “distribution” than are members of the “liberal” academy and punditry. This latter fact only further confirms to the “liberal” mind that ordinary Americans need third-party intervention to save them from their own naiveté; ordinary Americans just don’t know what glories they are denying themselves by acquiescing in the prevailing economic power structure.

Modern “liberals” dismiss these three objections to economic intervention as being fanciful excuses used by the economically powerful—and, even worse, also by the economically naive free-market faithful—to provide (flimsy) intellectual cover for predations by capitalist bad guys. The realistic assessments by modern “liberals” indicate to them that economic intervention is necessary and righteous.

A nearly identical debate plays out on the foreign-policy front, but with the sides switched.

For modern American conservatives the oppressed masses consist of foreign peoples yearning for American-style freedom and political franchise. But these unfortunate foreigners are oppressed by oligarchs who happen to control their governments. “Liberals” (and liberals) who adhere to a doctrine of U.S. government nonintervention in foreign affairs raise the same three objections that conservatives (and liberals) raise against government intervention in the economy.

First, the complexities of foreign governments’ relationships with their citizens are so great and hard to discern that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that Uncle Sam can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning intervention is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even Uncle Sam’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.

Second, even if foreign intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to enjoy noble names (such as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions in which corporations such as Halliburton and Blackwater rake in huge, undeserved profits at the expense of the American taxpayer and the foreign populations ostensibly being helped.

Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives. As oppressive as Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime genuinely was, it’s not at all clear that merely disposing of this particular bad guy has liberated Iraqis from oppression. Saddam’s rule was very much a result—and certainly not the principal cause—of Iraq’s anti-liberal culture and dysfunctional social institutions, not to mention earlier U.S. intervention.

Foreign countries’ political, economic, and social institutions are too complex and too deeply rooted in unique histories to be adequately grasped by American politicians and military leaders. Therefore American intervention—which is inevitably ham-fisted—adds to this mix only confusion and turmoil.

The two kinds of intervention situations aren’t analogous in all details; differences exist. But these differences are small when compared to the similarities. “Liberals’” confidence that domestic markets can be improved by battalions of bureaucrats charged with keeping bad guys in line is surprisingly similar to conservatives’ confidence that the welfare of foreigners can be improved by battalions of U.S. military troops charged with keeping bad guys in line.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Drug war futility: "Like the war on booze of yesteryear, today’s decades long war on drugs is claiming more lives and liberty casualties than the banned substances themselves could ever accomplish unchecked. The harder authorities crack down on traffic in recreational drugs, the more demand for them is created. Banning substances merely gives rise to more of them, including new substances yet to be banned."

Egypt to reopen Gaza border crossing: "Egypt will permanently open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the government announced yesterday, suggesting that military leaders are being swayed by growing sentiment here in favor of distancing the country from Israel. Opening the Rafah crossing, the only official entry point outside Israel into the Palestinian territory, would ease the blockade imposed after the militant group Hamas took control of the strip in 2007."

Edwards likely to face criminal charges: "The Justice Department plans to move ahead with criminal charges against former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, contending that he misused campaign funds to cover up an affair with his mistress, a person close to Edwards said yesterday. 'DOJ has made its decision to move forward with charges,’ the person told The New York Times in an e-mail. 'This phase of the case is moving rapidly toward conclusion,’ the person added, but did not clarify whether that meant an indictment or a plea bargain."

AZ: Judge rules Loughner unfit for trial: "A federal judge ruled Jared Lee Loughner mentally incompetent to stand trial in the Jan. 8 shooting spree that gravely wounded an Arizona congresswoman after two medical experts agreed he suffered from schizophrenia and for several years has been troubled by delusions and hallucinations. ... The ruling came after U.S. marshals removed Loughner from the courtroom Wednesday when he suddenly started screaming."

Sunstein and Obama, deregulators? "The Bush and Obama administrations have tried fiscal stimulus to speed up economic recovery. It didn’t work. The Federal Reserve tried increasing the money supply, which they called 'quantitative easing' because it sounds much more pleasant than 'printing money.' That didn’t work. Then they tried it again. That didn’t work, either. What to do? We at CEI have been pushing a deregulatory stimulus for years. Now that all other possibilities are exhausted, the administration appears to be taking small steps in that direction."

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

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

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

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

For Democrats, It's All About Tax Hikes

If nothing else, last week made it abundantly clear where Democrats stand on today's most pressing issues, and the picture isn't pretty.

In case you missed it, the Democrats floated a plan for a millionaire surtax in an attempt to, as the Hill put it, "force Republicans to accept other tax increases." They tried to hike taxes on oil companies by more than $2 billion a year, because the industry is currently making big profits; and mounted a nationwide campaign to scare seniors away from Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reform — including a new ad that depicts Ryan tossing a senior citizen off a cliff.

Detect a theme there? On issue after issue, Republicans are putting forward serious, sober and often politically risky solutions to the nation's most pressing problems, while Democrats play class-warfare games and stoke the public's fear.

To cope with the nation's gargantuan debt, for example, the GOP issued a budget plan that focuses — correctly — on reining in the government's runaway spending. The only thing Democrats want to talk about is how all our problems can be solved if we just raise taxes on the "the rich."

President Obama wants to boost them by at least $1 trillion, and Senate Democrats promise their long-delayed budget will include $2 trillion in new taxes. That's ill-advised even if the economy were humming along, but reckless given the current state of things.

When it comes to sky-high gas prices, Republicans at least understand that the root of the problem is too little oil supply, and in the Senate this week they tried to pass a bill to boost domestic oil production, only to be blocked by Democrats.

What do Democrats do instead? Demonize oil companies for making a profit and try to squeeze them for extra tax dollars. As President Obama said, "They are making tens of billions of dollars each — huge profits — while you're struggling to fill up your gas tank."

Never mind that less oil production and more oil industry taxes are the exact opposite of what's needed to bring gasoline prices down.

And while House Republicans advocate a serious Medicare reform plan that harnesses market forces to rein in the program's costs and protect it for the future, Democrats offer only fear.

Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius said Ryan's Medicare plan would cause some seniors to "die sooner," and the Democratic National Committee proclaimed in an ad that Republicans are "now for killing" Medicare. The topper came in the Ryan-pushing-grandma-over-the-cliff ad, produced by a group headed by the DNC's former deputy national finance director. What's their Medicare solution? Nothing.

Democrats might think stoking envy and fear is politically sufficient, but we give the public more credit than that.

The country faces serious problems and voters deserve political leaders willing to step up and propose serious, credible solutions. As the last week made clear, they aren't getting anything like that from the party of FDR.

SOURCE

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If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?

Question: What do the following have in common? Eckert Cold Storage Co., Kerly Homes of Yuma, Classic Party Rentals, West Coast Turf Inc., Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc., Only in San Francisco, Hotel Nikko, International Pacific Halibut Commission, City of Puyallup, Local 485 Health and Welfare Fund, Chicago Plastering Institute Health & Welfare Fund, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Teamsters Local 522 Fund Welfare Fund Roofers Division, StayWell Saipan Basic Plan, CIGNA, Caribbean Workers' Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Health and Welfare Plan.

Answer: They are all among the 1,372 businesses, state and local governments, labor unions and insurers, covering 3,095,593 individuals or families, that have been granted a waiver from Obamacare by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

All of which raises another question: If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?

More specifically, why are more than half of those 3,095,593 in plans run by labor unions, which were among Obamacare's biggest political supporters? Union members are only 12 percent of all employees but have gotten 50.3 percent of Obamacare waivers.

Just in April, Sebelius granted 38 waivers to restaurants, nightclubs, spas and hotels in former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco congressional district. Pelosi's office said she had nothing to do with it.

On its website, HHS pledges that the waiver process will be transparent. But it doesn't list those whose requests for waivers have been denied.

It does say that requests are "reviewed on a case by case basis by Department officials who look at a series of factors including" -- and then listing two factors. And it refers you to another website that says that "several factors ... may be considered" -- and then lists six factors.

What other factors may be considered? Political contributions or connections? (Unions contributed $400 million to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle.) The websites don't say.

In his new book, "The Origins of Political Order," Francis Fukuyama identifies the chief building blocks of liberal democracy as a strong central state, a society strong enough to hold the state accountable and -- equally crucial -- the rule of law.

One basic principle of the rule of law is that laws apply to everybody. If the sign says "No Parking," you're not supposed to park there even if you're a pal of the alderman.

More HERE

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How to Go to Congress and Become a Millionaire

Ever wonder how people go to Congress and become millionaires? A new academic report clears it up for us.

A report from four scholars, Alan J Ziobrowski; James W Boyd, Ping Cheng; and Brigitte J. Ziobrowski, titled Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, shows that between 1985 and 2001 members of Congress enjoyed a considerable advantage over members of the public in their investment returns.

The article was published by Berkeley Electronic Press and is a follow up to a similar study done on investments by US Senators.

“A previous study suggests that U.S. Senators trade common stock with a substantial informational advantage compared to ordinary investors and even corporate insiders,” says the introduction to the report. “We apply precisely the same methods to test for abnormal returns from the common stock investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. We measure abnormal returns for more than 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House delegates from 1985 to 2001. Consistent with the study of Senatorial trading activity, we find stocks purchased by Representatives also earn significant positive abnormal returns (albeit considerably smaller returns). A portfolio that mimics the purchases of House Members beats the market by 55 basis points per month (approximately 6% annually).”

Actually 12 times .55 percent comes out to 6.6 percent annually. That .6 percent return accounts for an additional $130,000 over a 17 year period.

So how lucrative can the 6.6 percent advantage be for Senators and Representatives? A portfolio of $100,000 getting average stock market returns of 11 percent over a 17 year period would have grown to $589,000. If you were a member of the United States House of Representatives, though, enjoying the advantage that inside government information can bring you, your portfolio would have reached $1,573,000, according to an investment calculation I did using the finding from the study.

Assuming only average market returns for the next 20 years, a Representative would grow their portfolio to close to $13 million. Under the same circumstances US Senator would have grown the portfolio to $18 million.

The conclusion of the study favors some sort of reporting mechanism similar to those imposed upon corporate insiders. “We find strong evidence that Members of the House have some type of nonpublic information which they use for personal gain. That having been said, abnormal returns earned by Members of the House are substantially smaller than those earned by Senators during approximately the same time period. These smaller returns are due presumably to less influence and power held by the individual Members.”

While the sky wouldn’t fall if reporting requirements were imposed on members of Congress, the report misses the most obvious point.

Why do we have a federal government that can so substantially ensure winners and losers in investments and our economy? Isn't a system like that prone to corruption? Don't we witness the effects of that corruption in legislation like Obamacare, or the cadillac benefits offered public employees?

The report points out the even corporate insiders don’t enjoy the return advantages that members of Congress enjoy. It’s one of the most damning indications yet that the scope of government has gotten wildly out of control. It’s also another example of laws that Congress passes for the rest of us but won’t consider following. That’s a practice that must end if we want to restore confidence in government.

We can only do that by making sure that government can no longer pick winners and losers in the stock market.

SOURCE

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Memorial Day Thanks and Devotion

Flip through the local paper, and you'll see that Memorial Day notices appear as sales headlines and attention-grabbers. Memorial Day Sale and Pre-Memorial Day. Pretty soon we'll see post-Memorial Day sale advertisements.
Similarly, television and radio are full of Memorial Day advertisements. I've even received a few Memorial Day Sale notices by e-mail during the time I've spent writing this column.

Sales and BBQ are the two things that many people think about when Memorial Day is mentioned. What else? Well, for many Americans, it's the weekend that the pool opens and summer begins.

But it means more than that. Memorial Day began as Decoration Day soon after the Civil War. Each year on this day, the graves of the fallen soldiers were decorated to honor the memory of their sacrifice to keep our country united. They gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The holiday can be traced back to John Logan, who served as an Illinois congressman prior to the Civil War, then volunteered as a Union soldier and was promoted during the war to general. He issued an order in 1868 to honor those who died in the war. At that time, he was serving as commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of former Union soldiers.

"The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country," stated the order. "We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance," it said, adding that their deaths were "the cost of free and undivided republic."

It was a high cost indeed. More than 600,000 American soldiers died during the Civil War, the most deadly war for Americans.

That first year, approximately 5,000 people gathered at Arlington Cemetery to decorate the graves with American flags. Since then, the custom has grown and spread.

Arlington Cemetery, located in Virginia across the Potomac from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, is today the military graveyard of hundreds of thousands of United States soldiers. On a recent visit to our nation's capital, I had the opportunity to walk through the cemetery and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Walking through the cemetery, surrounded by thousands of small, white gravestones, perfectly aligned, row after row, it is easy to remember the sacrifice that has been made on our account. Soldiers have died. Families have lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends. There are miles and miles of trails through the cemetery.

At home, at the beach or at the pool, taking time to reflect on the importance of Memorial Day may prove difficult to do amid the sales and BBQs, the day off from work. But we should all pause and remember -- to honor those who have given their lives for our country and to dedicate ourselves to living in a way that ensures their sacrifices were not in vain.

One of the most fitting tributes to American soldiers is one that was given before Memorial Day was recognized -- President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln delivered his address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa., in November 1863, while the Civil War was still raging. He was not the main speaker for the day, but had been invited as an afterthought. His speech was so short (less than two minutes) that the photographer did not have time to get a picture of him delivering it.

The speech, one of my favorites, is engraved in the Lincoln Memorial, across the river from Arlington National Cemetery.

Its 278 words don't include "I" or "me," but they do take the audience from our start as a nation and the American Revolution to Lincoln's wishes for the future of our nation.

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ... It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

This Memorial Day, let's give thanks, and increase our devotion, so that our soldiers will not have died in vain.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The tumor on America that Washington D.C. has become

Martin Hutchinson below:

I have moved from Vienna, VA., a suburb of Washington DC to Poughkeepsie NY, a semi-suburb (it’s 73 miles away) of New York. Many have clearly regarded this as an eccentric choice, and much of the motivation stems from things like hating the Washington summer more than the Poughkeepsie winter that are personal to each of us. Nevertheless, there is also a philosophical background for the move, in that I believe the rapid growth of the Washington area to be profoundly unhealthy.

Washington’s unhealthiness has been highlighted during the Great Recession, for example by the housing market. Other regions of the country suffered a severe real estate price decline in 2006-09, except for a few places such as Houston that had not previously enjoyed a boom. The Washington area enjoyed an extraordinary 150% price gain in 2000-06 according to the S&P Case-Shiller data, third after the Miami and Los Angeles areas and more than Phoenix, San Francisco or Las Vegas. Unlike those other regions, however, its price decline in 2006-09 was considerably less, 33% compared to 47% in Miami, 56% in Las Vegas and 42% in Los Angeles. Then after 2009, the recovery in Washington was considerably stronger than in other areas, with prices now up 10% from the bottom and still continuing to rise while house prices in most other areas decline.

The explanation, of course, is that Washington is not on the same economic cycle as the rest of the country. There was some pretence in the late 1990s that northern Virginia had developed a substantial tech sector, but the reality was that most of the sector was either evanescent (like AOL) or highly dependent upon government contracting or, like MicroStrategy, both. The reality is that when government expands, Washington does well, and vice versa.

You can see this in its local real estate market also. There is very little housing dating from the 1920s, a major real estate boom era around most East Coast cities, but a period of well-run, economical government. Conversely, there is a vast amount of housing, generally rather small and unattractive with very mean rooms, dating from the New Deal and wartime 1930s and 1940s. The 1960s, genesis of the two houses we lived in around Vienna, produced the Great Society and another housing boom of rather larger houses, most of them shoddily built. Then the 1980s was another period of recession, when Washington house prices were far below those around New York and little building took place. Finally the Bush years, stretching into the Obama years, saw a massive building boom and the apotheosis of the Washington area McMansion – huge, shoddily built and packed tightly together on the suddenly expensive land.

Whereas the modest and unattractive 1940s housing was inhabited mostly by government bureaucrats when first built, as were the larger 1960s offerings and some of the more reasonable sized modern housing stock, the true market for McMansions was not those working in government, let alone private sector entrepreneurs but the parasites, the swarm of lobbyists (whose numbers doubled under the supposedly limited-government Bush) and lawyers who have come to dominate the big money around Washington. Like Detroit in 1900-1915, Washington in recent years has been a boomtown, and the creaking infrastructure and monstrous traffic delays are the result of this.

The other special feature of Washington life is the nature of its inhabitants. They have far higher academic qualifications than the rest of mankind, even those lucky residents of the up-market suburbs around New York and San Francisco. Fairfax County, Virginia has 55% college graduates, compared with 41% in Westchester County, New York and 51% in Marin County, California. Fairfax residents would argue that this factor justifies them in having the nation’s highest average household income -- $107,000, compared with a mere $79,000 in Westchester and $90,000 in Marin.

Washington area residents will argue that their greater qualifications justify their higher earnings, but from inspection the percentage of college graduates is not sufficiently higher in Fairfax than in the very affluent Marin County for any such premium to be justified. Furthermore, there is no living cost differential that would justify the income differential; indeed rather the opposite as the average owner-occupied residence in Marin is valued at $514,600 compared to $233,000 in Fairfax. Fairfax County real estate is overpriced – this was another reason for leaving the place – but is nothing like as lunatic economically as the fancier bits of California – or indeed south-east England.

As I have remarked before in these columns the Washington area is a kind of anti-Hollywood. Whereas Hollywood is full of people with room-temperature IQs but attractive looks and winsome personalities, the Washington area is full of PhD-credentialed trolls. Thus not only are the academic qualifications of Fairfax County not sufficiently superior to those of Marin County to justify their higher earnings, but Washington-area people are often seriously lacking in other qualifications that make for a commercially successful existence, such as looks, charm, salesmanship and workaholism. Plenty of insurance, real estate and used car salesmen lack substantial academic qualifications, but are nevertheless sufficiently well endowed in other respects to make very large amounts of money indeed, whatever their defects would be as GS-15s.

Washington is thus a region whose inhabitants are paid more than their qualifications are worth, do particularly well in recessions, and often lack the qualities that make them attractive to others. It is thus not surprising that they have little empathy with the travails of those outside Washington whose lives are entangled in the maelstrom of this very serious and damaging recession.

Far from maintaining sound monetary and fiscal policies, which would enable ordinary businesses to recover their footing and begin to grow again, they pursue a chimera of negative real interest rates and gigantic budget deficits that produces high bureaucrat employment, a surface health in financial markets, and long-term unemployment for everyone else.
Far from realizing that in a globalized world market, less skilled and older workers are especially vulnerable, they persistently refuse to enforce immigration laws, producing a large illegal immigrant population that can satisfy Fairfax County’s insatiable demand for maids and gardeners, while driving down wages and job opportunities for low-skill labor to Third World levels.
Far from attempting to relieve burdens on small business and allow them to produce the jobs that are needed, they produce a series of health, environmental and labor regulation schemes that impose massive additional costs on the businesses that produce the country’s wealth.

These impositions are not particularly generated by one or other political faction; they are the result of Washington’s cocooning from the rest of its countrymen. Washington insiders like Newt Gingrich, who has lived within the Beltway for thirty years, cross party lines to support these economically damaging schemes. Conversely a few “blue dog” Democrats whose ties remain outside Washington oppose them, like Joe Manchin (D.-W.Va.) who while campaigning for his West Virginia Senate seat took a shotgun to a copy of his own party’s cockamamie environmental legislation.

It is not surprising that outsiders find U.S. politics dysfunctional; it is dominated by a pampered super-class of lobbyists, lawyers, most politicians and senior bureaucrats, all of which are not only protected from the economic forces that afflict the rest of the economy but actually benefit, both relatively and in absolute terms, from hard times in the U.S. economy as a whole and the “stimulus” schemes for which they provide an excuse. The same effect can be seen in Brussels, when I knew it in the 1970s a very pleasant modestly wealthy capital of a small country with good restaurants, a fine banking system and legendarily affluent “Belgian dentists” who were the major investing force behind the early Eurobond market. Needless to say, Brussels is today richer per capita, but its wealthy now are not dentists but bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists, sleek, pampered and utterly cut off from the people for whom they invent damaging regulations.

The idea, pioneered by the Founding Fathers, of a capital city inhabited only by statesmen and bureaucrats, without any other significant economic base, is a very dangerous one. While government is small, it produces the quirky charm of nineteenth century Washington or 1949-99 Bonn – lacking as they did most big-city amenities, they were universally detested by their inhabitants, who left them at weekends whenever possible. However as government grows, it becomes itself a sufficiently large employer to finance a major city – with amenities like the Kennedy Center and the Washington Metro that can easily be paid for by beyond-Beltway taxpayers who gain no benefit from them. Eventually they become bureaucrat Xanadus, like Brasilia, Napyidaw (Burma) or Astana (Kazakhstan) in which government, freed from significant outside pressure, can indulge its fantasies at the expense of a people kept safely remote.

My new abode, New York’s Dutchess County, is only half as rich as Fairfax County, with commensurately lower house prices (yippee!) and only half the proportion of university graduates. While it has a couple of large businesses and several colleges, most of its richest inhabitants are successful used car dealers and realtors, whose depredations extend only to their customers. I look forward eagerly to its modest amenities.

SOURCE

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Major Israeli firm helping Iran?

You'd have to be a Clinton to think so

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday slapped sanctions on seven companies that allegedly do business with Iran – two of them companies with strong Israeli ties.

Among those singled out by Clinton for alleged business ties with Iran were the Ofer Brothers Group, controlled by Yuli Ofer, and the largest stockholder in Mizrachi-Tefachot Bank, and the Tanker Pacific group, located in Singapore and owned by Yuli's brother Sami Ofer, who also has a controlling interest in the Israel Corporation, Zim, Israel Chemicals, Dead Sea Industries, and Royal Carribean Cruise Lines.

The sanctions were imposed on shipping and utility companies suspected of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, which forbid selling ships or energy exploration equipment to Tehran. A State Department official said that the sanctions on the Ofers' companies date back to September 2010, when the companies allegedly transferred to Iran an oil tanker in a deal worth $8.65 million.

It would have been easy enough for the companies to investigate whether the people they sold the ship to were legal entities, but the fact that they did not indicates that they intended for the deal to go through, the State Department said.

In a statement, the Ofer brothers categorically denied the charges. “We have never sold ships to Iran, and well-respected Israeli officials will certify this,” the statement said.

SOURCE

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Iceland the inspiration

In April, the people of Iceland went to the polls, decisively rejecting a bailout of British and Dutch investors who lost billions in the Icesave bank in 2008. Iceland is the rare example of a nation that allowed its banks to fail in the wake of the financial crisis.

Now it appears to be an example for the whole world, and has inspired protests in Spain and Italy, a movement called M15. Some of the movement’s slogans include, “When we grow up we want to be Icelanders,” “don’t rescue the banks,” “let the culprits pay the crisis,” “banks rob us,” and “bipartisanship is dictatorship”.

While some in the media have characterized the movement as left-wing, it appears to be appealing to individuals across the political spectrum, young and old. One video promoting the movement spoke out against both of the major parties in Spain, the center-right Popular Party, and the leftist PSOE.

And dispelling the notion entirely, the group’s founding website, “Real Democracy Now,” articulates a broad message for folks of all political stripes: “Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic, and social outlook which we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.”

This all sounds quite familiar. In this narrow sense, M15 appears to at least in part resemble America’s tea party movement. It’s a revolutionary sentiment that surpasses party factions.

These protesters, like the tea party, oppose efforts to bail out international banks that bet poorly on housing and sovereign debt. They also recognize — and oppose — the tyranny of the few that has emerged in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis where financial institutions refuse to take any losses on their bad investments.

More HERE

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The Left are still bashing GWB

Their "principles" are always changing but their hate is permanent

Last week I was called by Peter Stone of iWatch, the online ezine of the generally far left Center for Public Integrity. Mr. Stone asked for my opinion on the refusal of George W. Bush to attend the Obama festivities at Ground Zero after the killing of bin Laden. Mr. Stone suggested that Bush's excuse, 'other commitments,' was somehow dishonest given that he was in New York City a few days later giving several speeches at more $100,000.00 per. Stone did note as an aside that Clinton had also declined the Obama invitation citing the same excuse, and that he too was in the City shortly after giving equally lucrative speeches.

I responded that I thought it was inappropriate for Obama to be at Ground Zero considering that he had tried to get the Guantanamo prisoners, who have already admitted guilt, removed to civilian trials in Lower Manhattan. Also that Obama's self glorification was hypocritical since harsh interrogation had led to bin Ladin and Obama was still pursuing prosecutions against the very same CIA agents whose methods obtained that information.

I also emphasized to Stone that I would not want my comments to be part of a one sided denunciation of Bush, since, as he himself pointed out, Clinton was exploiting his ex-presidency in exactly the same way as Bush. Mr. Stone assured me that his piece was to be unbiased, critical of both.

Knowing the generally far left bias of Center of Public Integrity I of course had very low expectations, and I was not disappointed on reading Stone's column. His May 20 column was entitled: After Skipping Ground Zero Event With Obama, Bush Made Three Paid Speeches .

Microsoft Word informs me that Stone's article is 1051 words in length. All but three sentences of it are devoted to attacking G.W. Bush. As an additional example of 'lack of bias,' next to the column is a sidebar called "Top 10 Failures of the Bush Administration" with a live link to an article on that subject.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

NY: Power company charges “flag fee” to town honoring war hero: "A New York community that displayed American flags on utility poles to honor a fallen hero is outraged after the Long Island Power Authority sent them a bill -- for using their poles. 'I was pretty shocked,' said Peter Reich, a councilman in the Long Island community of Shelter Island. 'It’s the most ludicrous thing.' The flags were hung last year for the funeral of Army 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert. The Shelter Island native was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan"

Will comparative effectiveness research kill more people than it helps?: "Better health care at lower cost. That's what comparative effectiveness research promises, but can it deliver? A new study argues that federal comparative effectiveness research won't generate cheaper, better medical care to the American public. Instead, it will force cuts in pharmaceutical and medical device research and development, resulting in 32 million lost years of life and economic losses totaling $1.7 trillion."

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A small thought on automobiles

It's slightly mad but people generally seem to be saying something about themselves when they buy a partcular car. I drive a very humble 2004 Toyota Echo and I believe that says something about me -- or my Presbyterian upbringing: "Waste not, want not". I actually feel proud of my good sense in making my journeys at minimal cost in quite acceptable comfort. And the Echo is very zippy and I like zipping.

So why do people buy cars more expensive than mine that certainly get them there no faster than mine? I think ONE motive is to seek praise and admiration. An expensive car shows how rich the person is and he thinks that should be admired.

Problem. That doesn't seem to work:
Car envy is causing bad behaviour on Queensland roads, researchers have found. A University of Queensland study revealed that nothing gets drivers' blood boiling more than the sight of someone in a fancy car trying to push into the queue.

PhD student Redzo Mujcic and economics professor Paul Frijters analysed the behaviour of 1000 Brisbane commuters at selected intersections and roundabouts. Commuters had the option to let someone from a side road enter the main road.

"People compare themselves to others and the perception of status has an impact on how commuters behave," Mr Mujcic said. "The study showed that drivers in cheaper cars were quite unlikely to stop for drivers of luxury cars."

The study found drivers of the cheapest cars were least likely to let another driver merge ahead of them, with the drivers of prestige cars only slightly more courteous. The most thoughtful drivers were those who owned vehicles of average value.

More HERE

So what should an admiration-seeker do? I discovered the answer to that quite by accident. As a conservative I rather like old things so some years ago I bought myself a 1963 Humber Super Snipe -- a grand old English car. It is a bit unreliable so I take it out only once a week for a longish drive but whenever I do I get heaps of praise and admiration! I get what the Ferrari driver wants! And the Humber cost way less than a Ferrari does. It just goes to show what all conservatives know: Life is complicated.

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Dependency and Votes

Thomas Sowell

Those who regard government "entitlement" programs as sacrosanct, and regard those who want to cut them back as calloused or cruel, picture a world very different from the world of reality.

To listen to some of the defenders of entitlement programs, which are at the heart of the present financial crisis, you might think that anything the government fails to provide is something that people will be deprived of. In other words, if you cut spending on school lunches, children will go hungry. If you fail to subsidize housing, people will be homeless. If you fail to subsidize prescription drugs, old people will have to eat dog food in order to be able to afford their meds.

This is the vision promoted by many politicians and much of the media. But, in the world of reality, it is not even true for most people who are living below the official poverty line.

Most Americans living below the official poverty line own a car or truck-- and government entitlement programs seldom provide cars and trucks. Most people living below the official poverty line also have air conditioning, color television and a microwave oven--and these too are not usually handed out by government entitlement programs.

Cell phones and other electronic devices are by no means unheard of in low-income neighborhoods, where children would supposedly go hungry if there were no school lunch programs. In reality, low-income people are overweight even more often than other Americans.

As for housing and homelessness, housing prices are higher and homelessness a bigger problem in places where there has been massive government intervention, such as liberal bastions like New York City and San Francisco. As for the elderly, 80 percent are homeowners whose monthly housing costs are less than $400, including property taxes, utilities, and maintenance.

The desperately poor elderly conjured up in political and media rhetoric are-- in the world of reality-- the wealthiest segment of the American population. The average wealth of older households is nearly three times the wealth of households headed by people in the 35 to 44-year-old bracket, and more than 15 times the wealth of households headed by someone under 35 years of age.

If the wealthiest segment of the population cannot pay their own medical bills, who can? The country as a whole is not any richer because the government pays our medical bills-- with money that it takes from us.

What about the truly poor, in whatever age brackets? First of all, even in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods, people are not stealing bread to feed their children. The fraction of the people in such neighborhoods who commit most of the crimes are far more likely to steal luxury products that they can either use or sell to get money to support their parasitic lifestyle.

As for the rest of the poor, Professor Walter Williams of George Mason University long ago showed that you could give the poor enough money to lift them all above the official poverty line for a fraction of what it costs to support a massive welfare state bureaucracy.

We don't need to send the country into bankruptcy, in the name of the poor, by spending trillions of dollars on people who are not poor, and who could take care of themselves. The poor have been used as human shields behind which the expanding welfare state can advance.

The goal is not to keep the poor from starving but to create dependency, because dependency translates into votes for politicians who play Santa Claus.

We have all heard the old saying about how giving a man a fish feeds him for a day, while teaching him to fish feeds him for a lifetime. Independence makes for a healthier society, but dependency is what gets votes for politicians.

For politicians, giving a man a fish every day of his life is the way to keep getting his vote. "Entitlement" is just a fancy word for dependency. As for the scary stories politicians tell, in order to keep the entitlement programs going, as long as we keep buying it, they will keep selling it.

SOURCE

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When It Comes to Doomsdays, the Left Shouldn't Laugh at the Religious

Dennis Prager

It appears that the Rapture leading to the end of the world predicted by a Christian radio broadcaster for this past Saturday, May 21, 2011 did not take place. And the failure was covered worldwide. A Google search on Saturday evening, Pacific Time, yielded more than 32,000 articles -- in English alone -- in the world media.

The secular, especially the anti-religious, left, enjoy these spectacles of religious foolishness. They seem to confirm for them not only how absurd these end-of-days predictions are, but how absurd religion is in general.

But the left should not laugh too loudly. The religious world has far fewer doomsday predictions than the left does. At least every few years, the secular-left frightens itself -- and tries to frighten everyone else -- about another doomsday scenario.

The most obvious current example is, of course, global warming. For years now, we have been told by the world's left-wing media that scientists are united in predicting that there will be worldwide catastrophe as a result of global warming caused by manmade carbon dioxide emissions. Oceans will rise so high that they will drown many of the world's great coastal cities; entire island-countries will disappear; vast areas of the world will dry up; and countries will fight one another for the little remaining fresh water.

Compared to the global warming scenario, I'll face the Rapture -- and I'm not even Christian.

Of course, none of these global warming predictions has materialized. For example, in April of this year, Der Spiegel reported:

"Six years ago, the United Nations issued a dramatic warning that the world would have to cope with 50 million climate refugees by 2010. But now that those migration flows have failed to materialize, the UN has distanced itself from the forecasts. On the contrary, populations are growing in the regions that had been identified as environmental danger zones."

As a result of so many such false alarms, and because so many places have experienced record cold temperatures, global warming has been renamed "climate change."

But global warming is only the most recent doomsday scenario offered by the left. Here is a small sample of some others:

Recall the Time and Newsweek cover stories about how heterosexual AIDS would become a national plague -- since "AIDS doesn't discriminate." Skeptics who said at the time that heterosexual AIDS in America was largely a scare were called "anti-science." But Michael Fumento, the science writer who wrote "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS," first in Commentary Magazine and then as a book, turned out to be right. In America, it was a myth.

At the Democrat National Convention in 2000, the Democrats featured five children ages about 5 to 11 who recited lyrics about the doomsdays they could look forward to growing up in America. The first child, for example, said this:

"When I grow up ... Will I be able to see a rainbow in a smog-filled sky? Will there be any trees alive?"

In his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich wrote: "In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate."

Another doomsday prophecy from the left: Two prominent feminist writers, Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf wrote in their bestselling books, "Revolution from Within" and "The Beauty Myth" -- and the news media reported -- that 150,000 girls and women per year die of anorexia nervosa. The number is actually fewer than 100.

There is one major difference between leftist and religious doomsday scenarios. The religious readily acknowledge that their doomsday scenario is built entirely on faith. The left, on the other hand, claims that its doomsday scenarios are entirely built on science.

That there is little truth to the left-wing claim is not as important as the fact that these doomsday scenarios have undermined the status of science. How many scientists have been compromised by their joining the research-money and fame bandwagons of left-wing apocalyptic predictions? And how has this affected the public's perceptions of science and scientists when it comes to contentious issues?

SOURCE

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Israel has much more in common with Christian civilization than with the Muslim horror or with the impossible dreams of the Left

Israel was always one of us: a constituent member, that is to say, of the community of civilized nations. Losing Israel as a member of that community would be like losing Nebraska or Pennsylvania or Georgia. It would be far worse, indeed, than losing "people's paradises" like San Francisco or Cambridge, Mass.

This isn't at all the way that President Obama sees things. To the president, Israel is a trouble spot -- a running sore on the international carcass. Heal the sore and you've got peace. The idea is, have Israel offer to retreat, by and large, behind its pre-Six Day War lines, making room thereby for a Palestinian state.

The improbability of that vision -- or delusion -- is to be glimpsed by looking around the neighborhood. Who is rioting or repressing? The Egyptians. The Syrians. The Libyans. This is to speak only of the currently noisier nations.

When was the last time we saw throngs of Israelis filling public squares to call for their leaders' ouster or demise? When was the last time we saw Israeli security forces shooting down unarmed demonstrators? The answer to both questions is the same: We haven't ever seen it. It hasn't happened. Massacres in the Middle East are a phenomenon we see outside Israel, not within.

"Why" isn't a question that needs to be asked or answered right now. The fact of Israel's unique standing in the Middle East is the matter in need of underscoring. Israel's and the United States' long-standing cordiality -- a condition the president is not precisely promoting by leaning on Benjamin Netanyahu instead of the terrorist gang Hamas -- is based only partly on the solidarity of American Jew with Israeli Jew. It is based only partly on the perception of particular evangelical Christians that the convergence of the Jews in Judea and Samaria somehow betokens fulfillment of biblical prophecies.

A bigger reason for the cordiality of which I speak concerns basic values. Israel's civic values are recognizable as Western values -- love of freedom, dislike of tyranny; willingness to lay lives on the line in defense of both values.

Americans who favor the Palestinian side in Middle Eastern controversies over Israeli settlements on the West Bank and the like generally belong to the political left. They don't themselves particularly like the traditional America. They less prefer the American "exceptionalism" that so much resembles Israeli "exceptionalism."

It's Israel's enemies and critics on whom we ought to keep our gaze as we evaluate the president's proposals. Not many of these critics are of the old, irrational anti-Semitic right.

More noticeable are the kind -- you see them in left-wing religious circles and in hard-core secular environments -- who rarely have a good word to say for Western history or Western values; who tend to view the United States as a sinister presence abroad, doing more harm than good.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

McDonald's Chief Exec Comes To Ronald's Defense: "During last week's annual shareholders' meeting, McDonald's chief exec Jim Skinner dismissed a letter from a group of 550 healthcare workers asking the fast food chain to stop marketing to children using methods such as toys and the clown. "Ronald McDonald is going nowhere," Skinner told the assembly. Shareholders also rejected a proposal for the company to issue a report outlining its role in childhood obesity. The board of directors opposed the motion, saying it offered a variety of food to its customers, provided nutrition information about the food, and communicated with children "in a responsible manner through age appropriate marketing and promotional activities" Skinner said, "This is about choice and we believe in the democratic process." Regarding demands that the company's clown icon be retired, Skinner added: "As the face of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald is an ambassador for good and delivers important messages to kids on safety, literacy and balanced, active lifestyles"

A bigger cutter: "Republican 2012 presidential hopeful Gary Johnson believes the GOP's unpopular blueprint to replace Medicare with a subsidies system should cut even deeper, and he isn’t shy about saying so. 'As president I would sign the plan into law, because it does move forward on the issue,' the former governor of New Mexico told Raw Story in a wide-ranging interview. 'But I think it doesn’t go far enough.' So, what would Johnson do? He would do to Medicare what the House-passed plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) does to Medicaid: turn the program into block grants for states"

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

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

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

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Monday, May 23, 2011

The big ego at AIPAC

Striding to the podium inside the Washington Convention Centre, President Barack Obama did his very best to avoid any sense that he felt intimidated by entering what was, in political terms, the lion's den. There was tepid applause and a couple of isolated boos from the crowd of almost 10,000 members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as Aipac, the premier and most hardline mainstream group in the powerful pro-Israel lobby in the United States.

Rather than even acknowledge the artlessness of his 1967 comments, or the fact that he had not prepared the Israeli Government for what he was about to say, his tone was of the "I'm sorry you feel that way" variety of non-apology.

In the Oval Office on Friday, Mr Obama did little to disguise his irritation with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier, for turning to him to deliver an impassioned tutorial on Israel's history in the full glare of the cameras.

"It's the ancient nation of Israel," the Likud leader told Mr Obama. "We've been around for almost 4,000 years. We have experienced struggle and suffering like no other people. We've gone through expulsions and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions."

It was an unprecedented rebuke of an American president by an Israeli premier. Menachem Begin is said to have delivered similar monologues to President Jimmy Carter, but never in public.

Even 48 hours later, it was clear at the Aipac conference that Mr Obama, who is remarkably thin-skinned for a top-flight American politician and has never been lacking in self-regard, was still smarting. When loud applause greeted Mr Obama's mention of Mr Netanyahu's name, the president's eyes narrowed and he chewed his lip. He was distinctly unamused.

He did, however, spell out what he had failed to do in his Foggy Bottom speech. He said that a settlement would result in "a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967", the eve of the Six-Day War in which Israel pushed back the forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan and occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

But it was notable that Mr Obama neglected to reject, just as he had at Foggy Bottom, the Palestinian demand for a "right of return".

In this environment, the prospect of serious peace negotiations is as dim as ever, but Mr Obama appeared to feel that his own personality, political skills and success against the al-Qaeda leader would be enough to resolve what President Harry Truman once described as "the 100-year headache".

Most Americans view Israel as an ally that should be backed to the hilt. If the perception sticks that Mr Obama is prepared to undermine Israeli security, it could be very damaging.

In 2008, 78 per cent of Jewish voters chose Mr Obama over Senator John McCain. That level of support could well ebb between now and 2012. More seriously, there are signs that donations from wealthy Jews, which played a key role in Mr Obama's stratospheric fundraising totals in 2008, will fall off.

Ed Koch, the former New York mayor and a prominent Democrat and Obama donor in 2008, condemned the President for having "sought to reduce Israel's negotiation power", echoing what many other prominent Jewish Democrats have said.

More HERE

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Spain's ruling Socialist party reeling from the outcome of local elections

The Socialists spent all the people's money on "renewable" energy and "Green jobs" -- with the inevitable economic calamity following. Spain was relatively well-managed under Aznar's conservatives

SPAIN'S ruling Socialists reeled from spectacular local election losses yesterday as protesters vented outrage over the highest jobless rate in the industrialised world.

Support for the government collapsed in the face of the beleaguered economy, soaring unemployment and massive street protests, a grim omen for 2012 general elections.

With 98.21 per cent of the municipal ballots counted, the Socialists had just 27.81 per cent of the total vote compared to 37.58 per cent for their conservative Popular Party opponents.

"The results of the vote show that the Socialist Party has clearly lost today's elections. We have suffered a broad setback compared to four years ago," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.

Grinding in the humiliation, Socialists lost historic bastions Seville and Barcelona, a city they had run since the first municipal vote in 1979, four years after the death of General Francisco Franco.

About 65 per cent of the 34 million eligible voters cast a ballot to choose 8,116 mayors, 68,400 town councillors and 824 members of regional parliaments for 13 of the 17 semi-autonomous regions.

The big winner of the night was the opposition leader Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party, widely forecast to sweep into government next year for the first time in eight years. Crowds of cheering supporters waving blue Popular Party flags rallied outside the party headquarters in central Madrid to celebrate the victory, built on widespread anger over the economy.

Even as the economy grew gingerly this year, the unemployment rate shot to 21.19 percent in the first quarter, the highest in the industrialised world. For under-25s, the rate in February was 44.6 percent.

Despite Mr Zapatero's promise not to stand in the next general elections due next year, partial ballot counts suggested other big losses. In regional elections, the Popular Party was poised to snatch the central region of Castilla-La Mancha, another Socialist stronghold.

SOURCE

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Liberal patriotism



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Mob of Black Thieves "Swarms" Las Vegas Convenience Store

High speed attacks by black gangs also occur amid crowds in Britain -- where it is referred to as "steaming"

Caught on camera, a mob of young people bombarded the City Stop convenience store on Sunset Road and Pecos Road and stole $600 in merchandise.

"It became a feeding frenzy," said City Stop owner Jon Athey. "They were in the store for three minutes and 30 seconds. It's a pretty scary thing."

Athey says the crowd darted in and snatched numerous items from the store. "Beer to jerky to candy bars to soda, whatever hit their fancy. potato chips," he said. Athey says this tactic is known as a "swarm". After 42 years in the convenience store business, Athey says this crime stands out. "This is the biggest one I've ever seen," he said.

If you walk into a convenience store, you expect every move to be recorded on camera. Surveillance cameras in every direction, however, didn't stop this crew.

"Now, you're seeing droves swarming in the front doors - right here - as fast as they can come in," Athey said as he watched the surveillance video. "You can see them milling around by the beer doors. Now, you're going to see them start selecting products they're putting in their coat pockets. They're putting it down their pants."

The crowd started walking out without paying, only to return. "Here it is, two minutes into the deal. They're all coming back for seconds," Athey said.

Seconds later, they grabbed more beer and the clerk's cell phone. They then rushed back out the door.

"We were blessed nobody was hurt," Athey said. Athey says the clerk followed his training. He hopes this crowd doesn't try to swarm another store. "You can't allow this to happen, because it's going to break out into violence. Some cashier is going to decide that he's got to defend the property, and he'll get hurt," he said.

Metro says this crime is being investigated as a burglary and grand larceny. Investigators are taking a close look at the surveillance video. Some customers may have also recorded the thieves' license plate numbers.

SOURCE. (Video at link)

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Gingrich and 'the party of food stamps'

by Jeff Jacoby

RACIAL MCCARTHYISM is alive and well in Barack Obama's America, where reckless liberals hurl baseless charges of racism at critics of the nation's first black president. Remember ex-president Jimmy Carter attributing "an overwhelming portion" of the fervent opposition to Obama's health-care bill to "the fact that he is a black man"? Or actress/activist

Janeane Garofalo smearing the Tea Party phenomenon as being "about hating a black man in the White House . . . racism straight up"? Or for that matter Obama himself, predicting that Republicans would demonize him because "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills"?

Last week it was David Gregory's turn to play the race card. The host of NBC's "Meet the Press" accused Newt Gingrich of having used "coded, racially-tinged language" when he described Obama as a "food-stamp president" a few days earlier.

Actually Gingrich hadn't made anything like a racially-tinged remark, coded or otherwise. He had simply given his stump speech to a Republican audience in Georgia, during which he criticized Obama's limp economic record in these words:

"Do you want to be a country that creates food stamps -- in which case, frankly, Obama is an enormous success, the most successful food stamp president in American history? Or do you want to be a country that creates paychecks?"

Gregory played a video clip of that passage from Gingrich's speech, then demanded that the former speaker explain its supposed racial subtext. Gingrich couldn't believe Gregory was serious -- "Oh, come on, David! That's bizarre, this kind of automatic reference to racism." He pointed out that what he had said "is factually true: 47 million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism!?"

You have to be tuned to a remarkably subtle frequency to detect any hint of racial animus in Gingrich's comment -- the same frequency, perhaps, at which adjectives like "skinny," "arrogant," and "articulate" turn into racist epithets. To be sure, Gingrich himself has sometimes played fast and loose with racial pejoratives; when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court, for example, he took to Twitter to tag her a racist. But he's innocent this time.

The more-food-stamps-vs.-more-paychecks theme is one that Gingrich has been pushing for nearly a year. In memos last summer and fall, he urged Republican congressional candidates to point out that the use of food stamps -- "a key metric in gauging the health of the American economy" -- was going through the roof. When Congress was controlled by Republicans in the 1990s, he wrote, unemployment and food stamp usage plummeted. By contrast, "the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress" had led to rising joblessness and food-stamp rolls. The statistics he laid out had nothing to do with the president's color -- he hardly mentioned Obama -- and everything to do with drawing a contrast between "the Democratic Party of food stamps" and "the Republican Party of paychecks."

Now Gingrich is running for president, so he has adapted his food-stamp argument accordingly. His target is the Democrat in White House, not Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats. But the underlying message is no more racial today than it was last August. It's the Democratic and Republican attitudes toward welfare vs. work that Gingrich is spotlighting. Not Obama's race.

There is no getting around the fact that food-stamp use is at an all-time high. In February, the most recent month for which federal data is available, 44.2 million people -- one American in seven -- were on food stamps. (Gingrich slightly misstated the numbers on "Meet the Press.") On Obama's watch, the number of recipients has soared by more than 12 million, setting a new high every month.

But they soared on George W. Bush's watch as well. The number of food-stamp users went up in seven of the eight Bush years, climbing from 17.3 million in 2001 to 28.2 million in 2008 -- a 63 percent leap. Indeed, the Bush administration led a campaign to dramatically expand and destigmatize the use of food stamps, a campaign that began before the recession did. If Obama has been "the most successful food stamp president in American history," it is only by continuing what his predecessor began.

The Bush record, in other words, dramatically contradicts Gingrich's message about Democrats being the party of food stamps. "Meet the Press" would have been a great venue to ask about that contradiction. Why did David Gregory opt instead to pursue a bogus racial "gotcha?"

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Stimulus wiped out a million private sector jobs: "The economy may be slowly recovering, but that's in spite of - not because of - the recent orgy of federal spending. Two economics professors, Tim Conley and Bill Dupor, concluded this month that the $800 billion stimulus package wiped out a million private-sector jobs, destroying a net 550,000 jobs"

The dangers and opportunities of social proof: "The mechanics of social proof, while somewhat complex, are pretty easy to understand. Simplistically, we humans have a strong tendency to glance over at other members of the herd in an attempt to gauge the correct action or reaction to take in any given circumstance. While this tendency can be useful in identifying the right bread plate to use at a fancy dinner party, it can also have devastating consequences."

Actually, we're not all in this together: "Having attended UC-Berkeley in the sixties, I have a certain nostalgia for the wacko hippie leftist crowd. I agreed with them on the Vietnam War back then, and not much else. So I'm always curious as to what today's equivalent, MoveOn.org, is up to. A recent fundraising letter they sent to their members (trust me, I'm not one) included this statement: 'As progressives, we share a core belief that we're all in this together.' It is a small victory, I suppose, that leftists feel compelled to refer to themselves as progressives these days. But MoveOn is certainly correct that the collectivist notion of 'all in this together' is central to the leftist worldview."

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

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

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

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

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

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