Saturday, November 05, 2011

‘Connecting America’ More Venture Socialism

Lacking any clear statutory authority, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) nonetheless voted last week to force American consumers to subsidize a massive expansion of rural broadband infrastructure.

“Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said during a speech in early October.

To stimulate this “necessary participation,” the FCC’s so-called “Connect America Fund” will spend $4.5 billion a year over the next six years siphoning money away from America’s telephone subscribers.

Government bureaucrats are understandably ecstatic — promising that this “historic” vote will lead to the creation of 500,000 new jobs.

Consumer advocates know better. “The Commission’s actions will lead to higher prices at a time when the average American is watching every penny,” said Gigi B. Sohn of Public Knowledge, a group that advocates for digital freedom.

Sohn added that the Commission “has once again evaded the central problem” by moving forward with this new fund despite lacking authority over broadband issues.

“By declining to address this issue, the Commission is condemning the industry to more years of uncertainty, consumers and others will be powerless to complain about industry practices and the future of the network is left in limbo,” Sohn said.

Of course the “Connect America Fund” is more than just another flagrant government shakedown of taxpayers and naked bureaucratic power grab. Like the “Green Jobs” scam that brought us the infamous Solyndra scandal, it’s yet another example of government fundamentally usurping the private sector’s role of allocating capital.

In fact, the government’s new “broadband scam” already has its own Solyndra scandal — a company called Open Range.

Right around the time Genachowski was making his “necessary participation” speech, it was revealed that Open Range filed for bankruptcy despite being approved for $267 million in loans from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Ironically, it was a decision by the FCC to deny a special license to Open Range’s business partner, Globalstar, that led to the company’s collapse. Some have even speculated that the FCC deliberately denied this license because it was promoting a competing venture involving LightSquared, a company backed by a powerful Democratic fundraiser.

Imagine that — one government bureaucracy works to jump start a specific company while another effectively shuts it down!

More HERE

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

Demopublicans: Big Government Republicans Reject Spending Curbs‏

The spending virus has become a permanent infection in Americam politics. How ill will it eventually make the patient?

If you want to know why it is so difficult to cut federal spending, look no further than Tuesday’s Senate actions on some appropriations bills. Three amendments were offered that would have either reduced spending or redirected it to a more useful purpose. All were defeated.

While there are more than enough Democrats in the Senate to beat back such amendments, there was no shortage of Republicans who voted against them. Indeed, one offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, which would have cut $1 billion from the Rural Development Agency, had 32 Republicans vote “nay.” Only 13 Republicans voted in favor.

Coburn’s other amendment to eliminate funding for the Small Community Air Service Development Program, saving $6 million, fared considerably better, getting 41 “yays”. Seven of those were Democrats, meaning that 11 Republicans still voted against it.

Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment didn’t even cut and spending. It merely reallocated 10% of highway funds away from “transportation enhancement activities” to the highway bridge program. It failed 60-38, with seven Republicans voting against it.

You’d swear that November 2010 never happened the way these Republicans vote. Perhaps some flooding of their office phone lines by Tea Partiers might result in an attitude improvement.

More HERE

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

Post Ignores Sexual Assaults in Wall Street Protests

I read the Washington Post article, “Violence and the occupy movement,” expecting to see a discussion of the sexual assaults and rapes being reported during the Wall Street protests. Instead, the author, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, writes about “the violence of systems that create and sustain economic and social injustice on a wide scale.” She is apparently talking about capitalism, a system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any in human history.

Brandon Darby broke the story at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com that the protests “pose special dangers for women” because of the rapes and sexual assaults taking place. He notes several such incidents:

* A 14-year-old runaway was allegedly sexually assaulted at Occupy Dallas.

* A 19-year-old student activist was allegedly raped at Occupy Cleveland.

* A man was arrested on charges of indecent exposure to children at Occupy Seattle.

* A female reporter was threatened by activists at Occupy Oakland.

Also at BigGovernment.com, John Nolte writes about the protesters’ “rap sheet,” which numbers 119 cases of sexual assault, violence, vandalism, anti-Semitism, extortion, perversion, and lawlessness. These are hardly law-abiding protesters, as the lawyers at the National Lawyers Guild and Center for Constitutional Rights maintain.

These incidents are occurring because of the complete breakdown of law and order in the makeshift tent cities of the Occupy movement. Under political pressure, the local and even federal authorities have ceded the space to the protesters, effectively abdicating law enforcement’s role. As a result, when police finally do move into these places, as we saw in Oakland, they are met with violence from organizers of the protests. When the police defend themselves, they are accused of police brutality. This accusation was a prominent charge made in Thistlethwaite’s piece.

The protests are in fact illegal, since there is no city or federal law which allows tents, food preparation, and other such activities in the cities where they are taking place. Some of the demonstrations have no permits or expired permits. They have made it impossible for truly law-abiding citizens to enjoy these public and private parks.

Everything fell into place when I found Ms. Thistlethwaite’s bio, disclosing that she works at the Center for American Progress, the group funded by billionaire currency speculator George Soros. This is the man who has exploited international financial markets around the globe to make himself rich but now insists that capitalism is a much greater threat to human progress than communism.

More HERE

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

ACORN Officials Scramble, Firing Workers and Shredding Documents, After Exposed as Players Behind Occupy Wall Street Protests

Officials with the revamped ACORN office in New York -- operating as New York Communities for Change -- have fired staff, shredded reams of documents and told workers to blame disgruntled ex-employees for leaking information in an effort to explain away a FoxNews.com report last week on the group’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street protests, according to sources.

NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices, removing or packing away supplies bearing the name ACORN and handing out photos of Fox News staff with a stern warning not to talk to the media, the sources said. “They’re doing serious damage control right now,” said an NYCC source.

NYCC Executive Director Jon Kest has been calling a series of emergency meetings to discuss last week’s report—and taking extreme measures to identify the sources in their office and to prevent further damage, a source within NYCC told FoxNews.com.

Two staffers were fired after NYCC officials suspected them as the source of the leaks, a source told FoxNews.com. “One was fired the day the story came out, the other was fired on Friday. (NYCC senior staff) told everyone that they were fired because they talked to you,” a source said.

FoxNews.com’s report identified NYCC as a key organizing force behind the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sources within the group also told FoxNews.com NYCC was hiring people to carry signs and join the protests. NYCC -- a nonprofit organization run almost entirely by former ACORN officials and employees --did not reply for comment prior to the publication of the initial article, but later posted a statement on its website dismissing the article and denying that it pays protesters.

The source said staffers at the meeting contested Westin’s denial:

“It was pretty funny. Jonathan told staff they don’t pay for protesters, but the people in the meeting who work there objected and said, ‘Wait, you pay us to go to the protests every day?’ Then Jonathan said ‘No, but that’s your job,’ and staffers were like, ‘Yeah, our job is to protest,’ and Westin said, ‘No your job is to fight for economic and social justice. We just send you to protest.’

“Staff said, ‘Yes, you pay us to carry signs.’ Then Jonathan says, ‘That’s your job.’ It went on like that back and forth for a while.”

NYCC is also monitoring its staff’s behavior, cracking down on phone use and socialization. Officials have ordered all papers -- even scraps -- to be shredded every night, the source said.

More HERE

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

Hamas-linked CAIR pretends that Muslims are threatened by Christians praying

In the wake of the Islamic supremacist anti-free speech firebombing in Paris, Hamas-linked CAIR is yet again trying to portray Muslims as victims. This time, they're pretending that Muslims in the Detroit area are threatened by Christians who are coming to the city to pray.

Perhaps Dawud Walid of Hamas-linked CAIR is so used to Muslims storming out of mosques after hearing the Friday sermon and rioting or terrorizing non-Muslims that he assumed a Christian gathering would work the same way.
Dearborn — The local head of a national Muslim civil rights group says a Christian prayer summit to be held at Ford Field next week promotes anti-Muslim sentiment and is warning local mosques to step up their security.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — Michigan, met Wednesday with Muslim activists to voice his concern over the rhetoric he fears could be at the center of the event Nov. 11.

"There's a bigger force or movement behind this prayer summit and how they're literally demonizing Muslims," he said.

But Metro Detroit pastors involved in the event say the gathering is merely meant to help Detroit, not target Muslims.

"I don't know anything about that," said Bishop Edgar Vann of Second Ebenezer Church. "People are coming here to pray for our city and that's what I'm concerned about. Christians will be praying, but it's open to anyone."

Walid advised the heads of local mosques to "maintain security at all entrances, and make sure to notify the police immediately if suspicious persons congregate on mosque property."

Such as...persons with ties to Hamas or other jihad terror groups?

More HERE

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

The Stupidity of "Buy American"

The case against economic protectionism. If everybody did it, trade would cease and living standards would plummet. And American exporters would grow broke, sending millions out of work -- JR

John Stossel

One sign of economic ignorance is the faith that "Buy American" is the path to prosperity. My former employer, ABC News, did a week's worth of stories claiming that "buying American" would put Americans back to work. I'm glad I don't work there anymore.

"Buy American" is a dumb idea. It would not only not create prosperity, it would cost jobs and make us all poorer. David R. Henderson, an economist at the Hoover Institution, explained why.

"Almost all economists say it's nonsense," he said. "And the reason is: We should buy things where they're cheapest. That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing those things."

This is what people always forget. Anytime we can use fewer resources and less labor to produce one thing, that leaves more for other things we can't afford. If we save money buying abroad, we can make and buy other products.

The nonsense of "Buy American" can be seen if you trace out the logic. "If it's good to Buy American," Henderson said, "why isn't it good to have Buy Alabaman? And if it's good to have Buy Alabaman, why isn't it good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala.? And if it's good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala. ..."

You get the idea. You wouldn't get very good stuff if everything you bought came from Montgomery, Ala.

"A huge part of the history of mankind is an increase in the division of labor. And that division of labor goes across national boundaries."

The same applies to so-called sweatshop-free products. I'm for free trade, but trade means you get the lowest price, and that might mean you buy something from what some people call a sweatshop. The name itself conveys abuse.

Henderson says that's wrong. The workers aren't abused. "In fact, they're better off taking those jobs. ... The mistake Americans make is they think they would never work in a sweatshop and therefore they say these people shouldn't. Well, no one's offering those people green cards. Those people are stuck in those countries. They're choosing their best of a bunch of bad options. And when you take away someone's best of a bad option, they're worse off."

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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

Friday, November 04, 2011

More Leftist "civility"

We’re not certain how many people listen to “progressive” radio host Mike Malloy, but for those of us who don’t Newsbusters does, and has brought to light some of his truly slanderous comments about Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. Namely that Coulter is a “deeply closeted killer” — who has only refrained from murdering Muslims to now because she hasn’t mustered up the “courage yet” — and that one day she will likely “enter into” a “suicide pact” with Glenn Beck.
Ann Coulter is an incipient, closeted, deeply closeted killer. We all know this. She has talked about going to Muslim countries and killing everybody.

She’s a real murderess, I mean, she really is. Just hasn’t had the courage yet. She will probably enter into some kind of a suicide pact at some point with Glenn Beck.

The segment was not intended to be satirical, these are Malloy’s thoughts in earnest.

More HERE

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

Who really built the Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam has become something of a liberal icon these days. President Obama points to it as an example of the sort of federally funded projects that once “unleashed all the potential in this country” — potential that his next round of stimulus will unleash again.

MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow has pointed to the 726-foot-high, 660-foot-wide dam as proof that some projects are just too big for private enterprise. “You can’t be the guy that built this,” she tells the TV screen. Only government can, is the implication.

Well, that would come as a surprise to the guy who did build it – or, rather, the guys who did, with their private companies. In the five-year process they discovered, even back then, that the biggest obstacle they faced in Black Canyon wasn’t nature or the Great Depression, but New Deal Washington.

The truth was, construction on the scale of Hoover Dam lay far beyond the powers of the federal government — in 1931 or even later. Four and a half million cubic yards of concrete — enough to build a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York — and 19 million pounds of reinforcing steel somehow had to be moved into the middle of the Nevada wilderness to construct both the dam and a 1.2-million-horsepower electric plant. Thousands of tons of loose rock then had to be scraped by hand from the surface of Black Canyon, before massive tunnels could be dug to divert the Colorado River to power the plant and then fill a reservoir 115 miles long with a 550-mile shoreline.

The heads of the consortium of six private construction firms that won the $48 million contract, which came to be known as “the Big Six,” weren’t the kind of business leaders who would appear on a presidential jobs commission today. Idaho builders Harry Morrison and Morris Knudsen (of Morrison-Knudsen), Utah Construction’s Bill Wattis, and California road-makers Henry Kaiser and Warren Bechtel (whose company later became the bĂȘte noire of the American Left) had all left school early to do manual labor. Kaiser had quit at 14; as a teenager, Bill Wattis had pounded rail spikes for the Union Pacific Railroad; Pacific Bridge’s Charlie Shea smoked foul-smelling cigars and dressed like one of his workmen. Only the heads of the venerable San Francisco construction firm Kahn and MacDonald had ever attended college, and Alan MacDonald had been such a misfit that he was fired from 15 different jobs before partnering with Felix Kahn.

Indeed, in 1931, only Morrison and his architect Frank Crowe knew much about building dams (at one point Kahn and MacDonald had tried their hand at it and failed).

But what they all did have was experience in big construction projects and mines, and a dedicated knack for doing the impossible. They and their workers and engineers built not only the dam, but also all the roads, railways, and other infrastructure necessary to bring in their equipment and materials. Kaiser and his partners even built an entire town (today’s Boulder City) to house their 5,200-strong work force.

And through it all the Six Companies had a running battle with Washington and the Interior Department.

Interior Secretary Harold Ickes had seen the dam as essentially a federal make-work project for the unemployed. Kaiser and his colleagues had to point out that they needed men with genuine skills, not just people willing to turn up for a paycheck. Ickes wanted the door open to union organizing; the builders convinced him the key to happy workers was paying them well, not giving them a union card. Ickes wanted every federal health and safety regulation to be rigorously enforced, and counted no fewer than 70,000 violations of the letter of the contract. They patiently showed him that applying those standards would mean the dam would never be finished on time, let alone on budget

More HERE

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

Remember Monica? ("That woman")



Liberals Suddenly Care About Sexual Harassment...Again

Christopher Adamo

It is hard to know where to begin listing the reasons why “liberalism” and “hypocrisy” have become synonymous. But the latest flap over some warmed over charges of “sexual harassment” against Herman Cain is a sterling example. Outrageous though this synthetic controversy may be, it hardly comes as a surprise. Conservatives have been warning for weeks that the left would most certainly engage in just such behavior once Cain’s star began to rise. Yet it is always amazing how shamelessly liberals can ignore the mountains of evidence proving their insincerity while they lecture the nation with almost comical passion.

Nor do they seem to be the least bit aware of how thoroughly they caricature their ceaseless self-glorification. This latest barrage against Cain is nearly satirical, and absolutely reeks with all of the stereotypical bleatings from their leftist strategy book. On the heels of the unsubstantiated and ambiguous claims of Cain’s supposedly crude innuendos, it is a sure bet that he will next be accused of having stolen hubcaps from his subordinates’ cars in Godfathers’ parking lots.

Admittedly, this current chorus of liberal fury exhibits an amazing ability to switch on a moment’s notice from alarm and righteous indignation to total indifference, and back to moral outrage, as varying events have unfolded and either presented a public relations liability or an opportunity to make political hay. Particularly in light of the recent history of real sex scandals perpetrated by prominent liberals, most of which involved substantiated incidents of harassment, assault, and abuse, liberals have been forced into some thoroughly shameless gymnastics in hopes of navigating the gauntlet needed to maintain the moral “high ground.” But of course they are up to the task.

Consider the drastic lane changes that were required in the 1990s, after the 1992 election of philanderer in chief Bill Clinton. After the stormy 1991 Supreme Court appointment of Clarence Thomas, which was punctuated by spurious charges against him of sexual harassment, liberals believed they owned the issue. Despite their failure to thwart his confirmation, they declared a moral victory, and insisted that votes to confirm Thomas constituted acceptance of abusive behavior towards women. For the next few years, they remained on that pious perch, loudly crowing of their superior advocacy of the fairer sex.

However, it was not long before the advent of the Clinton Presidency thoroughly discredited such claims and, more significantly, proved the entire liberal/Democrat establishment to be entirely phony in its professed concern for women in general. From the repugnant treatment of Paula Jones to a physical assault on Kathleen Willey (followed by thuggish attempts to silence her), to the very likely rape of Juanita Broderick to the exploitation of Monica Lewinsky, Clinton revealed an absolute contempt for women, other than as objects of his own amusement and self-gratification.

Even more significant however was the manner in which the entire liberal political cabal not only refused to condemn his actions, but breached every boundary of credibility and decency in order to defend him. New and contorted definitions of “sexual harassment” were concocted by liberal politicians and pundits which somehow always preserved a “safe zone” around Clinton. In other words, the left was not (and never has been) really interested in the proper treatment of women, but only sought to caterwaul about such things on a selective basis when it could gain political ground as a result. So now that the tables have seemingly turned and a Republican is in the crosshairs, the phony empathy and concern spews incessantly from every liberal mouthpiece. As such, the entire affair epitomizes liberal hypocrisy on parade.

But from an even more encompassing perspective, it is ever more apparent that glaring liberal inconsistencies and indefensible contradictions are hardly confined to this one topic. In fact, it is all but impossible to find any issue of supposed concern to the left that is not filled with hype, manipulation, intellectual dishonesty, and total fraud.

More HERE

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

Occupiers, Tea Partiers, and the Tenth Commandment

by Jeff Jacoby

AT THE OCCUPY PHOENIX demonstrations, fliers encourage protesters to violently resist police officers, asserting that "you will usually have only two options: submit, or kill the cop." At Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, an Occupy Wall Street protester was sexually assaulted in her tent; according to the New York Post, a woman was raped at the same site a few weeks earlier. In Denver, "Occupy" activists turned on the police, screaming obscenities and knocking a motorcycle cop to the ground. Occupy Oakland grew even more violent, as police were pelted with bottles and rocks, and had M-80 firecrackers thrown at them. And in cities from Boston to Berkeley, Occupy encampments have coincided with surges in vandalism, assault, and theft.

Some individuals have strained to compare the Occupy Wall Street protests to the Tea Party movement. "They're not that different," President Obama told ABC's Jake Tapper. "Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government." The Daily Show's host Jon Stewart argued: "Here's a group of Americans, disenchanted, railing against big government bailouts…. These protesters, how are they not like the Tea Party?"

But the contrast between the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers could hardly be greater. Tea Party rallies haven't turned public squares into squalid slums or incited protesters to curse the police. What the Occupy movement descended to in less than two months -- the hundreds of arrests, the vandalism, the anti-Semitic rants, the all-night drumming, the public urination -- is like nothing the American public saw in more than two years of Tea Party activism.

That isn't a fluke. When you flout the Tenth Commandment -- "Thou shalt not covet" -- things are apt to get ugly.

The ranks of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are filled with the frustrated and the fed-up; both movements seek dramatic change in the nation's policies. But the values that propel them are poles apart. The Tea Partiers advocate limited government, personal responsibility, lower taxes, and economic freedom, all within a framework of constitutional restraint. What the Occupiers appear to want above all is to punish the wealthy, to demonize corporations, and to wallow in their own victimhood and sense of entitlement. They claim to represent "the 99 percent." Many would like to "Shut Down the 1 Percent."

Such class hostility pervades the Occupy movement. It is ubiquitous among the signs and chants at the demonstrations ("Wall Street Is Our Street," "Tax the Millionaires," "Human Need, Not Corporate Greed"). It is echoed by media cheerleaders as well. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson last week condemned income growth among the highest-earning Americans as "theft," while NBC's David Gregory observed that the Occupiers' demands "dovetail nicely" into Obama's "big message ... of going after Wall Street and the banks, talking about unfairness."

Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, interviewing some 200 Zuccotti Park protesters, found that most of them share "a deep commitment to left-wing politics: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth." They favor stiffer taxes on the wealthy (77 percent) and more regulation of business (70 percent), and 31 percent say they would engage in violence to advance their agenda.

The violence is not tangential to the agenda. As the mounting hooliganism at Occupy encampments suggests, where class resentment takes root, predatory lawbreaking frequently follows. When politicians rail against "millionaires and billionaires," when social-activist campaigns scapegoat the "1 percent," it is only a matter of time before thugs feel emboldened to steal, rape, and worse. Class envy is not benign. At its most extreme -- the communist tyrannies of Lenin and Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot -- it unleashed the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century.

Economic envy may cloak itself in rhetoric about "inequality" or "egalitarianism" or "redistribution of wealth," but its oldest name is covetousness. That is the sin enjoined by the last of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor's."

At first blush it may seem odd that God would ban a mere desire. After all, the other nine commandments concern behavior: idolatry, theft, perjury, and so on. But as a matter of moral and social hygiene, the Tenth Commandment is indispensable. Covetousness -- particularly when it takes the form of class hatred -- is the root of innumerable other evils. From the belief that you don't have enough because others have too much, it isn't that great a stretch to the belief that those who have too much should be forced to make do with less. It shouldn't be surprising when a movement obsessed with what rich capitalists earn rather than with what they produce starts treating other people's property and persons with contempt.

Occupy Wall Street preaches that the "1 percent" got rich by exploiting the "99 percent." The Tea Party believes that with greater freedom and less government, we could all be more prosperous and productive. One is rooted in envy, the other in self-respect. What distinguishes them, you might say, is the culture of the Tenth Commandment. That distinction is showing up in many ways, not least in the latest police reports.

SOURCE

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

ELSEWHERE

Communism dying in Cuba too: "Cuban state media says the government is allowing citizens to buy and sell real estate property for the first time since the early days of the revolution. The reform is the most important yet in a series of free-market changes ushered in by President Raul Castro to breath life into a limping Marxist economy. Communist Party newspaper Granma says in Thursday's edition that the law will take effect Nov. 10. It will apply only to Cuban citizens and permanent residents of the island."

Election Day alcohol tremors?: "If you live in Michigan, you can’t order online from wine retailers in other states, at least not if you want the wine shipped to your door. But action this Election Day far off in Washington State may send tremors across America by cracking open the anti-consumer, anti-competitive alcohol regulations there. Entrenched interests -- particularly alcohol wholesalers -- appear frightful that they will be the ones to suffer from government withdrawal from the industry. But if enthusiasm for such freedom becomes contagious and spreads to other states, consumers will reap the benefits."

Even Dr Livingstone was horrified by black criminality: "The field diary makes clear that Livingstone - an ardent abolitionist - was horrified by the moral character of the freed slaves sent to reinforce his expedition. He describes them as 'senseless slaves with no honor.' In Livingstone's account, they emerge as rebellious and violent - at one point he confides that 'if they go anywhere, I must go with them or murder is certain.' In another passage, dated May 18, Livingstone says the slaves have mutinied and bought guns with his money. Those passages were either sanitized or excised from Livingstone's 1872 journal. Wisnicki claimed that the edits, combined with discrepancies between the field diary and the journal's descriptions of the massacre, suggest Livingstone may have had something to hide about the bloody incident. Mr Jeal acknowledged that the slaves were 'clearly very disobedient and violent men,' but said it was unlikely that they would have gone on a rampage in Livingstone's presence."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Ricin "terror plot": Four in Ga. accused of planning "militia" attacks

This will give Leftists a horn but will probably go the way of the Hutaree Militia case: A government setup. The Hutaree case is so poor that the Feds keep postponing a trial -- hoping for a plea bargain, no doubt

Four men in Georgia intended to use an online novel as a script for a real-life wave of terror and assassination using explosives and the lethal toxin ricin, according to court documents.

Federal agents raided their north Georgia homes Tuesday and arrested them on charges of conspiring to plan the attacks.

Frederick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68, are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. Relatives of two of the men said the charges were baseless.

Court documents accused the men of trying to obtain an explosive device and a silencer to carry out targeted attacks on government buildings and employees. Two of the men are also accused of trying to seek out a formula to produce ricin, a biological toxin that can be lethal in small doses.

Thomas' wife, Charlotte, told The Associated Press that the charges were "baloney." "He spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy. He would not do anything against his country," she said. "He loves his country."

Thomas, who is portrayed as the ringleader, talked of modeling the actions on the online novel "Absolved," which involves small groups of citizens attacking U.S. officials, according to court documents. It was written by former Alabama militia leader Mike Vanderboegh, who wrote on his blog Wednesday that his book was fiction and said he was skeptical a "pretty geriatric" militia could carry out the attacks the men were accused of planning.

Adams also arranged to buy what they thought was an explosive device and a silencer from an undercover agent. The men were arrested days after a lab test confirmed they had trace amounts of ricin in their possession, authorities said.

"While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

Federal investigators have monitored the group since at least March 17, when a confidential source recorded a meeting of the fringe group at Thomas' two-story house in Cleveland, a small town in the mountains of north Georgia. Thomas boasted of making a "bucket list" of government employees, politicians, businessman and media members that he felt needed to be "taken out."

It's not clear from the court documents exactly how the men obtained the trace amounts of ricin. [planted by the Feds?]

Thomas' wife said her husband was a Navy veteran, while Roberts' wife Margaret said her husband retired from the sign business and lives on pensions. She said FBI agents showed up Tuesday with a search warrant and went through her home, handcuffing her and taking a computer and other items.

"He's never been in trouble with the law. He's not anti-government," she said. "He would never hurt anybody."

More HERE

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

Payday loan economics

By Thomas Sowell

California is a great place for studying the thinking -- or lack of thinking -- on the political left. The mindset of the left was recently displayed in a big, front-page story in the October 30th issue of the San Mateo County Times. It was an investigative reporter's expose of the "payday loan" business and its lobbyists.

According to the reporter: "In California lenders charge up to $45 in fees on a maximum $300 loan. This amounts to an interest rate of 460 percent, trapping some borrowers into a never-ending cycle of debt."

Let's take this one step at a time. Whatever the merits or demerits of the rest of the argument, $45 is not going to trap anyone in a never-ending cycle of debt, even if they are making only the bare minimum wage. Personal irresponsibility in managing money can trap anyone, but that is regardless of whether or not they take out payday loans.

Now to the 460 percent rate of interest. You don't need higher math to figure out that $45 is 15 percent of $300. How did we get to 460 percent? Very simple: By distorting the actual conditions of most payday loans.

As the name might suggest, payday loans are short-term loans to tide people over until they get their next check, whether a salary check, a welfare check or whatever. Payday loans are relatively small sums of money borrowed for very short periods of time, often by low-income people who want some cash right now, for whatever reason.

Is it worth paying the $45 to get the $300 right now, rather than wait a couple of weeks for your check to arrive?

No third party can know that. But taking decisions out of the hands of those most directly affected is one of the central patterns of the political left that make them dangerous to the very people they think they are helping. This is not idealism. It is arrogance -- and too often, it is ignorant arrogance, as in this case.

The 460 percent figure comes from imagining that the borrower is not just going to borrow the money for a couple of weeks, but is going to keep on borrowing every couple of weeks all year long.

Using this kind of reasoning -- or lack of reasoning -- you could quote the price of salmon as $15,000 a ton or say a hotel room rents for $36,000 a year, when no consumer buys a ton of salmon and few people stay in a hotel room all year. It is clever propaganda, but do people buy newspapers to be propagandized?

What about the $45 that is at the heart of all this runaway rhetoric? Does that do more than cover the risk and the costs of processing the loan? Apparently our crusading investigative reporter did not find that worth investigating, even in a long article taking up another page and a half inside the newspaper.

What is called "interest" by the media includes things that an economist would not call interest. The fees charged must also cover the cost of processing the loan, which is to say the pay of people doing the work, the rent of the premises and other overhead expenses, as well as the risk of default.

But mundane facts like these would spoil the moral melodrama, starring the reporter on the side of the angels against the forces of evil.

Instead, we get the story of how the payday loan industry, like most other industries, has lobbyists contributing money to politicians to try to get spared more regulations. This the investigative reporter calls "protecting" the payday loan industry.

Protecting them from what? From the politicians. Some would call their campaign donations "protection money," in the same sense in which the Mafia collects protection money.

None of this is peculiar to this industry, to California or to our times. When Al Gore was Vice-President of the United States, he phoned businesses from the White House to tell them how much money he expected them to contribute to political campaigns.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's son extorted a $200,000 loan from a grocery chain that was under federal investigation -- and he never repaid the loan. Moreover, FDR spoke directly to the head of the chain to seal the deal.

There are not a lot of angels to be on the side of.

SOURCE

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

Why Our Blacks are Better Than Their Blacks

Ann Coulter

By spending the last three decades leveling accusations of "racism" every 10 seconds, liberals have made it virtually impossible for Americans to recognize real racism -- for example, the racism constantly spewed at black conservatives.

In the last year alone, a short list of the things liberals have labeled "racist" include:

-- Being a Republican;

-- Joining the tea party;

-- The word "the" (Donald Trump's statement that he has a "great relationship with the blacks");

-- References to Barack Obama's playing basketball (Trump again);

-- Using Obama's middle name;

-- Scott Brown's pickup truck;

-- Opposing Obamacare;

-- Opposing Obama's stimulus bill;

-- Opposing Obama's jobs bill.

The surge in conservative support for Herman Cain confuses the Democrats' story line, which is that Republicans hate Obama because he's black.

Cain is twice as black as Obama. (Possible Obama campaign slogan: "Too Black!")

This is why the liberal website Politico ran with a story on Cain that had everything -- a powerful black man, a Republican presidential candidate, the hint of sexuality -- except facts.

All we learned was: About a decade ago, as many as two anonymous women accused Cain of making unspecified "inappropriate" remarks and one "inappropriate" gesture in the workplace. (We had more than that on John Edwards' mistress a year into the media's refusal to report that story.)

If the details helped liberals, we'd have the details.

To have been accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s is like having been accused of molesting children at preschools in the 1980s or accused of being a witch in Massachusetts in the 1690s.

In the 1990s, one plaintiff won a $50 million jury verdict against Wal-Mart on the grounds that a "hostile environment" was created by her supervisor's yelling at both male and female employees. In another case, a plaintiff won a $250,000 award for sexual harassment based on her complaint that a male colleague had reached for a pastry saying, "Nothing I like more in the morning than sticky buns," while "wriggl(ing)" his eyebrows.

It got so crazy that a 6-year-old boy was suspended from class for a day for kissing a classmate on the cheek, and a Goya painting had to be removed from a Penn State classroom because a professor complained that it constituted sexual harassment.

With no standard other than the subjective offense taken by the accuser, absolutely anyone could be called a witch, i.e., a sexual harasser. So it's striking that the only two conservative public figures accused of being witches both happened to be conservative blacks: Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain.

Liberals go straight to ugly racist stereotypes when attacking conservative blacks, calling them oversexualized, stupid and/or incompetent.

The late, lamented, white liberal reporter Mary McGrory called Justice Antonin Scalia "a brilliant and compelling extremist" -- while dismissing Thomas as "Scalia's puppet."

More recently, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid called Scalia "one smart guy." In the next breath, he proclaimed Thomas "an embarrassment to the Supreme Court," adding, "I think that his opinions are poorly written."

When Bush made Condoleezza Rice the first black female secretary of state, terror swept through the Democratic Party. What if people began to notice and ask questions: "Who's that black woman always standing with George Bush?" Never mind! He's probably arresting her.

In addition to an explosion of racist cartoons portraying Rice as Aunt Jemima, Butterfly McQueen from "Gone With the Wind," a fat-lipped Bush parrot and other racist cliches, allegedly respectable liberals promptly called her stupid and incompetent.

Joseph Cirincione, then with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Rice "doesn't bring much experience or knowledge of the world to this position." (Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose experience for the job consisted of being married to an impeached, disbarred former president.)

Democratic consultant Bob Beckel -- who ran Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign so competently that Mondale lost 49 states -- said of Rice, "I don't think she's up to the job."

When Michael Steele ran for senator in Maryland in 2006, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dug up a copy of his credit report -- something done to no other Republican candidate. He was depicted in black face with huge red lips by liberal blogger Steve Gilliard. Oreo cookies were rolled down the aisle at Steele during a gubernatorial debate in 2002.

Trafficking in racist imagery is consequence-free for liberals because they have ruined charges of "racism" with their own overuse of the term. By now, any accusation of racism has the feel of a Big Foot sighting.

It's a neat trick, rather as if the Nazis had called everything "genocide" right before launching the Holocaust, and then admonished resisters not to "play the genocide card."

Liberals step on black conservatives early and often because they can't have black children thinking, "Hmmm, the Republicans have some good ideas; maybe I'm a Republican."

The basic setup is:

Step 1: Spend 30 years telling blacks that Republicans are racist and viciously attacking all black Republicans.

Step 2: Laugh maliciously at Republicans for not having more blacks in their party.

It is beyond insane that Herman Cain would have considered running for president if he had the tiniest skeleton in his closet. To be an out-of-the-closet black Republican, you had better be a combination rocket scientist/Baptist preacher. Which, as it happens, Cain is.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is cutting into its prime-time programming to announce updates in the fact-free hit on Cain. That's not because anyone there thinks he'll be the nominee. Everyone knows it's going to be Mitt Romney.

But liberals are determined to make sure that, six months from now, everyone has forgotten Herman Cain so they can go back to claiming Republicans oppose Obama because they hate blacks.

SOURCE

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

ELSEWHERE

Syria signs Arab League deal to pull back military: "Under intense pressure from Arab states, Syria has signed a pact to pull its armed forces from the streets, release political prisoners and engage with opposition groups after seven months of unrest that has ravaged the strategically situated nation and unsettled the entire region. On the surface, the move appears to be a major concession from an increasingly isolated President Bashar Assad, who has been the target of international condemnation and sanctions."

UK: Court rules against Assange in extradition case: "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lost a skirmish in his legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden today, but has a two-week window in which to seek permission for an appeal to the supreme court. Assange has not been charged with any crime and alleges that the extradition request, for questioning on alleged sex crimes, is politically motivated."

Israel signals attack on Iran: "An Israeli official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to persuade his Cabinet to authorize a military strike against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program -- a discussion that comes as Israel successfully tests a missile believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran. It remained unclear whether Israel was genuinely poised to strike or if it was saber-rattling to prod the international community into taking a tougher line on Iran."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

STDs at OWS

It’s the Autumn of Love! Occupy Wall Street protesters are flocking to nearby health clinics for STD and HIV testing after getting their freak on in ’60s-style hookups with crusty strangers, sources told The Post yesterday.

“Last week was free love,” said a medical professional at a clinic located a short walk from Zuccotti Park, referring to the number of people who organizers have referred for sexually transmitted disease testing.

A volunteer at the park admitted concern among protesters about STDs. “We give directions to clinics if people ask for information regarding STDs,” said the volunteer, who identified himself only as “Captain” and added that pregnancy tests are also a hot item. “Like anything else, it happens. People ask, and we do the best we can for them.”

Volunteers at the medical tent hand out cash, usually $15 or $20, so the randy radicals can visit clinics that cater to a low-income clientele, the source said. Experts said it’s the right thing to do.

“My advice for the protesters would be to practice safer sex. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a condom than get treated for an STD,” said Dr. Lisa Oldson, medical director of Chicago-based Analyte Health, which provides testing services for labs nationwide, including STD Test Express New York.

SOURCE

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

Confusing democracy with mob rule

By THOMAS SOWELL

In various cities across the country, mobs of mostly young, mostly incoherent, often noisy and sometimes violent demonstrators are making themselves a major nuisance.

Meanwhile, many in the media are practically gushing over these "protesters," and giving them the free publicity they crave for themselves and their cause -- whatever that is, beyond venting their emotions on television.

Members of the mobs apparently believe that other people, who are working while they are out trashing the streets, should be forced to subsidize their college education -- and apparently the president of the United States thinks so, too.

But if these loud mouths' inability to put together a coherent line of thought is any indication of their education, the taxpayers should demand their money back for having that money wasted on them for years in the public schools.

Sloppy words and sloppy thinking often go together, both in the mobs and in the media that are covering them. It is common, for example, to hear in the media how some "protesters" were arrested. But anyone who reads this column regularly knows that I protest against all sorts of things -- and don't get arrested.

The difference is that I don't block traffic, join mobs sleeping overnight in parks or urinate in the street. If the media cannot distinguish between protesting and disturbing the peace, then their education may also have wasted a lot of taxpayers' money.

Among the favorite sloppy words used by the shrill mobs in the streets is "Wall Street greed." But even if you think people in Wall Street, or anywhere else, are making more money than they deserve, "greed" is no explanation whatever.

"Greed" says how much you want. But you can become the greediest person on earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest. It is what other people pay you that increases your income.

If the government has been sending too much of the taxpayers' money to people in Wall Street -- or anywhere else -- then the irresponsibility or corruption of politicians is the problem. "Occupy Wall Street" hooligans should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

Maybe some of the bankers or financiers should have turned down the millions and billions that politicians were offering them. But sainthood is no more common in Wall Street than on Pennsylvania Avenue -- or in the media or academia, for that matter.

Actually, some banks did try to refuse the government bailout money, to avoid the interference with their business that they knew would come with it. But the feds insisted -- and federal regulators' power to create big financial problems for banks made it hard to say no. The feds made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

People who cannot distinguish between democracy and mob rule may fall for the idea that the hooligans in the street represent the 99 percent who are protesting about the "greed" of the one percent. But these hooligans are less than one percent and they are grossly violating the rights of vastly larger numbers of people who have to put up with their trashing of the streets by day and their noise that keeps working people awake at night.

As for the "top one percent" in income that attract so much attention, angst and denunciation, there is always going to be a top one percent, unless everybody has the same income. That top one percent has no more monopoly on sainthood or villainy than people in any other bracket.

Moreover, that top one percent does not consist of the "millionaires and billionaires" that Barack Obama talks about. You don't even have to make half a million dollars to be in the top one percent.

Moreover, this is not an enduring class of people. Nor are people in other income brackets. Most of the people in the top one percent at any given time are there for only one year. Anyone who sells an average home in San Francisco can get into the top one percent in income -- for that year. Other one-time spikes in income account for most of the people in that top one percent.

But such plain facts carry little weight amid the heady rhetoric and mindless emotions of the mob and the media.

SOURCE

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

Democrat Blanche Lincoln To Obama: Stop Regulating

Today the National Federation of Independent Businesses will release a letter that calls on President Obama to cut back on government regulation. What’s notable is that one of the signatories is ex-Sen. Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat.

Although Lincoln tended to be a more moderate Democrat while she was in the Senate, it’s still not helpful to the White House to have a party member do something like this just before an election year.

When asked about this, NFIB President Dan Denner replied, “She’s a long and strong supporter of small business. That was a good part of her state ... and she had a strong track record when she was here in Washington of support for small business. She’s someone we at NFIB have worked closely with for many years.”

He added that Lincoln doesn’t see this as political: “What she’s said at some of the events we’ve had in the past is that it’s not a political statement, it’s about the significance of regulation to small business.”

The letter states:
Since 2005, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of federal regulations defined as “economically significant” — each costing the economy $100 million or more. Today there are 4,257 regulations in the pipeline with 845 directly impacting small businesses.

Federal regulations disproportionately affect smaller firms, according to a study conducted last year for the Small Business Administration. The study found that small businesses pay 36 percent more per employee, per year to comply with federal regulations than larger businesses. Whether new rules require more paperwork, redundant certifications, or costly new technology, they put an unanticipated drain on small-business resources.

The letter is accompanied by a “Statement of Principles For Regulatory Reform.” It urges the government to assist small business with regulatory compliance, make every major regulation undergo rigorous cost-benefit analysis, base regulation on objective data and hard science, and require more transparency in the regulatory process.

Neither document calls for deregulation or a moratorium on new regulations, but Denner stated, “We would like to see a moratorium until these principles are addressed.”

SOURCE

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

China fear overblown

Below is a letter to the editorial-page of the Washington Times by Prof. Boudreaux

In your uncritical review of Pat Buchanan’s new book – which expresses his hysterical fear that the American economy will be shattered if nothing more is done to block Americans’ access to inexpensive goods from abroad (and especially from China) – you assert that “It doesn’t matter what you want; almost every consumer product on U.S. store shelves is made overseas, especially in China. It doesn’t matter how much you want to find it; almost nothing you need is made in the USA” (“Buchanan: Take the China Test,” Oct. 30).

Wrong. According to an August 2011 report by the San Francisco Fed, the percent of Americans’ personal consumption expenditures used to buy Chinese-made goods and services in 2010 was 2.7 percent. And if we exclude expenditures on food and energy, the percent of our 2010 personal consumption expenditures spent on goods and services from China rises to only 3.1 percent.

In contrast, the percent of Americans’ personal consumption expenditures spent on goods and services made in America in 2010 was 88.5 (and 88.0 percent if we look at personal consumption expenditures excluding those on food and energy).*

Surveying the “Made in” labels on goods sold at Wal-Mart and Costco, while perhaps a cheap source of anecdotal fodder for fear-mongering protectionists, is not rigorous economic research.

SOURCE

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

Will Obama Evade Law on UNESCO Vote?

As expected, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — UNESCO — voted to admit “Palestine” as a full member-nation today, a move that will trigger an automatic cutoff of American funds and participation in the organization mandated by U.S. law. But the immediate response of the American delegation that had fought to either delay or defeat the move was far from defiant.

According to the New York Times: "David T. Killion, the American ambassador, said that the United States, “remains deeply committed” to UNESCO. But he said that Monday’s decision, which he repeatedly called premature, “will complicate our ability to support UNESCO.” The United States will seek other means to support the agency, Mr. Killion said, although he did not offer specifics about any avenues under consideration."

While it is difficult to understand exactly what Killion means by that, it seems to indicate the Obama administration will seek to evade the restrictions enacted by Congress in order to go on supporting the problematic UN agency. Doing do will not only undermine the rule of law, it will send a very loud signal to the world the administration places a higher priority on its devotion to the UN than it does support for Israel.

While the Obama foreign policy team, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had tried hard to avoid this vote, throughout the controversy their main concern has seemed to be their embarrassment about the law that requires an end to U.S. funding for UNESCO if it, or any other world body or agency, admitted the Palestinians as full members in this manner. Instead of directly challenging the notion that the Palestinian drive for recognition as a sovereign state without first making peace with Israel or even controlling the territory in question, the tone of American diplomacy in UNESCO has been more about saving the organization from any inconvenience.

That inconvenience will be considerable no matter how much Obama and Clinton regrets it. The United States provides $70 million per year or 22 percent of UNESCO’s annual budget.

Clinton and others in the administration have highlighted the good work done by the agency on women’s rights and international development but largely ignored the steady stream of anti-Israel decisions that stem from UNESCO’s role as the arbiter of world heritage sites. UNESCO has opposed the efforts of Israeli archeologists to explore the Jewish roots of Jerusalem, called Jewish shrines such as Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron “mosques” and ignored the vandalism of ancient artifacts on the Temple Mount by the Palestinian Authority’s religious arm.

More HERE

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

ELSEWHERE

SCOTUS case on GPS surveillance could break new ground: "In a potentially groundbreaking case on high-tech tracking by police, the Supreme Court will decide whether constant surveillance is such an intrusion on people's lives that police need a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a person's car. The case, to be heard Nov. 8, tests law enforcement's use of the latest technology to fight crime as it raises the specter of a 'Big Brother' government knowing one's every move."

Conference on Cyberspace: State reps preach freedom while proposing control: "UK Foreign Secretary William Hague opened the London Conference on Cyberspace today with seemingly incompatible demands: That the Internet stay 'open to innovation and the free flow of information' on one hand, but be controlled on behalf of 'intellectual property' claimants on the other. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales countered that the biggest problem Internet freedom faces is 'misguided and overreaching government policy.'"

Visible projects, hidden destruction: "Today's crop of central planners and big-spending politicians could learn a thing or two about economics from Henry Hazlitt's classic bestseller, Economics in One Lesson, published in 1946. Common sense doesn't have an expiration date. 'There is no more persistent and influential faith in the world today than faith in government spending,' Hazlitt wrote."

Nobody’s tax scheme will fix feds’ spending problems: "Trying to fill the federal government's gigantic budget hole with a 5.6 percent surtax on the tiny number of people with incomes greater than $1 million, as President Barack Obama proposes, is like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with a spoonful of dirt. It's a gesture, a charade, a joke. It's just not serious. Spending, not revenue, is the problem. Did you believe the federal government was too small 10 years ago? I'll bet not."

Is US culture stifling entrepreneurship?: "In the US, entrepreneurship is often portrayed as something reserved for an elite, intellectual class. The message seems to be, 'Only start a business if you've really got it figured out.' The entrepreneur drops out of college not because he's dumb -- but rather because he's too smart and visionary for school. In a way, that's not what entrepreneurship is all about. Despite the common portrayal, it's not about being smarter than everyone else; it's about creating something for yourself."

The TSA monster is coming for you: "The TSA's 'VIPR' program is a growing bureaucratic monster that will bring groping and body scans to train stations, highways, sporting events and concerts, as well as shopping malls near you. This is just the latest instance of the Federal State's poisoning of American rights and freedoms."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hatred of an American oil company

Corrupt NY officials aid and abet a corrupt prosecution in Ecuador

Chevron is not backing down to New York State officials who are pressuring the company to settle a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that involves plaintiffs from Ecuador who are suing over alleged environmental damages.

On Oct. 7, Chevron submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in an effort to flush out and detail the assistance he and his predecessor Alan Hevesi furnished to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the consultants.

The litigation began in New York back in 1993, but the case was moved to Ecuador a decade later. Although Chevron has never operated in Ecuador, it purchased Texaco Petroleum in 2001, which was the subject of the initial suit. Plaintiffs accused Texaco of dumping oil-drilling waste in unlined pits they claim later contaminated the forest and caused illness to the local population. In response, Chevron pointed out that Texaco remediated environmental impacts that resulted from its operations. Moreover, this remediation was certified by government agencies in Ecuador.

“All legitimate scientific evidence submitted during the litigation in Ecuador proves that TexPet’s remediation was effective and that the sites it remediated pose no unreasonable risks for human health or the environment,” Chevron officials have pointed out. Moreover, Ecuador’s state-owned company, Petroecuador, was actually the majority owner of the consortium that included Texaco and bears responsibility, with the government of Ecuador, for any environmental damage that has occurred in the region, Chevron has argued.

Nevertheless, in Feb., an Ecuadorian court in Lago Agrio issued an $18 billion judgment against Chevron. Since then the company has fought back vigorously. It claims the ruling is illegitimate and unenforceable because of documented evidence of fraud on the part of the plaintiffs, the Ecuadorian government and that country’s judiciary. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York concurred after hearing the evidence and issued a preliminary injunction that barred any attempt to enforce Ecuadorian judgment outside of that country.

Diapoli has leaned on Chevron to settle the suit claiming that it could impact the state pension fund’s $780 million investment in Chevron stock, according to a report in the New York Times. The plaintiffs working through their representatives have also cajoled DiNapoli into taking a public stand against Chevron, the report says.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also interjected himself into the case while serving as state attorney general at the behest of an aide who was being paid $10,000 a month by a group that collaborated with the plaintiffs the New York Times reported.

Chevron has filed a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) suit that claims plaintiffs’ lawyers and consultants provided “clandestine assistance” to the Ecuadorian court in drafting the judgment against Chevron.

Chevron’s RICO suit alleges that the defendants and key co-conspirators have used the lawsuit to threaten the company, dupe U.S. government officials and harass Chevron employees. Those named in the suit include: New York City-based plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger; his Ecuadorian colleagues Pablo Fajardo and Luis Yanza; their front organizations, the Amazon Defense Front and Selva Viva; and Stratus Consulting, a Boulder, Colo.-based consulting firm.

Donziger, the New York attorney, has stepped down as the lead attorney and has declined to make any recent media comments. The plaintiffs have reacted to recent developments through Pablo Fajardo, an attorney in Ecuador.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, has issued a preliminary injunction order against RICO defendants. The order “enjoins and restrains” the defendants from receiving any benefits, directly or indirectly, until after a final determination is made about the RICO suit.

More HERE

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

Ireland Versus Greece: A clear lesson for America

America's Celtic cousins have chosen the right path

Ireland’s refusal to bow to Eurozone pressure on tax hikes has resulted in slow but steady economic growth on the Emerald Isle — while Greece’s insistence on tax hikes in lieu of tougher “austerity” measures has crippled its economy and threatened to plunge the Eurozone (and the world) into another recession.

What lessons should U.S. policymakers take from these divergent paths? That’s easy — if economic recovery is truly your goal, cut government instead of raising taxes.

Last January, an EU report revealed the Greek deficit was 12.7 percent of GDP — more than three times its government’s previous estimate (and more than four times the amount permitted under EU rules). Three months later, that figure was adjusted upward to 13.6 percent of GDP.

Ireland’s situation wasn’t much better. From 2008-2010 government spending climbed from 42.8 percent to 67 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, Ireland’s debt quadrupled over roughly the same period to more than 100 percent of GDP as Dublin took a page out of Washington D.C.’s “too big to fail” playbook.

Having forced Greece into adopting a host of new tax increases, Eurozone nations eager to enhance their own competitiveness tried to force Ireland into raising its 12.5 percent corporate income tax rate to a level more in line with rates in France (33 percent) Germany (30 percent), Spain (30 percent) and Great Britain (28 percent). Irish leaders wisely rejected this demand, however, recognizing that such a tax hike would eliminate a key competitive advantage and hamstring their economic recovery.

They were correct.

“Ireland was Europe’s second fastest growing economy in the second quarter of this year, expanding at an annual rate of 2.3 percent,” bond analyst Michael Hasenstab wrote recently. “The recovery in GDP growth in turn helped Ireland to meet and exceed the deficit-reduction targets set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.”

Hasenstab also noted that foreign direct investment climbed by 19 percent during the first six months of 2011 due to Ireland’s competitive tax climate and comparatively light regulations.

Meanwhile in Greece – which imposed higher corporate, value-added, fuel, luxury and property taxes – GDP is projected to slump by 5.5 percent this year, and another 2.5 percent next year. Meanwhile Greek debt – forecast to climb to €357 billion this year (or 162 percent of GDP) — will soar to 173 percent of GDP next year.

Clearly, Ireland will be in a much better position to weather the consequences of a possible Eurozone collapse than Greece — or for that matter Portugal, Spain or Italy.

And while European nations are doing everything within their power to plug a growing number of holes in the dam, it’s looking increasingly like “when” not “if” this collapse occurs.

Earlier this month Great Britain authorized another £75 billion worth of quantitative easing — in addition to the £200 it has previously approved. Meanwhile the European Central Bank announced it was authorizing another €40 billion in emergency loans on top of the €60 billion it already approved. A few weeks ago, Dexia — the Franco-Belgian bank that was bailed out in 2008 to the tune of €6.4 billion — received another bailout along with state guarantees of up to €90 billion to finance borrowing over the coming decade.

And of course there’s a second Greek bailout on the way that’s likely to top €110 billion.

In light of America’s deteriorating economic and financial position, when should our leaders press the panic button?

“For Greece, crisis came when its debt reached 137 percent of its economy,” U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint recently warned. “For Ireland, it was 74 percent. For Portugal, it was 82 percent. Every country and every crisis is unique, but with the United States debt-to-GDP ratio at 102 percent, there is no question we are already well within the debt ‘red zone.’”

What’s becoming abundantly clear, though, is that once that button is pressed — the key to surviving a debt crisis is cutting government, not the economy.

SOURCE

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

Occupy Wall Street’s Anti-Semitic Slurs Ignored by the Left

The President and his buddies seem to be fans of the “Occupy” movement. Some even claim they created it. They neglect to mention that there is a great deal of hate and even violence in this group.



SOURCE

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

Equally Poorer

As President Obama continues to base his reelection hopes on resentment toward the "1 percent" who are supposedly not "paying their fair share," the latest evidence suggests that his attacks are still off-target.

According to data just released by the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans earned 16.9 percent of all adjusted gross income in the United States. While no doubt that's a lot of money, it actually represents a decline from 2008, when the rich earned 20 percent of all income. That's right; the rich are earning a smaller proportion of U.S. income.

In fact, there has been a 39 percent decline in the number of American millionaires since 2007. Among the so-called super rich, the decline has been even sharper. The number of Americans earning more than $10 million per year has fallen by 55 percent. Perhaps someone should tell the folks in Zuccotti Park: Inequality is actually declining.

Interestingly, the decline in earnings by the rich has corresponded with higher unemployment and rising poverty overall. We are all poorer, but at least we are more equally poor. Hooray.

Could it be that the rich might actually perform a valuable service in our economy by, say, creating jobs? After all, what does the president think that the rich do with their money: Bury it in their back yard? In reality, individuals either spend that money or they save and invest it. If they spend it, it helps provide jobs for the people who make and sell whatever it is they buy. If the money is instead saved and invested, it provides the capital that is needed to start businesses and hire workers. It is trite but true — not many Americans have been hired by a poor person.

As for their not paying their fair share, according to the Tax Foundation report, that top 1 percent of earners paid 36.7 percent of all income taxes, an amount that truly does seem disproportionate. The top one-tenth of 1 percent, the truly rich, earned nearly 8 percent of all income but paid a hefty 17 percent of all income taxes.

And while Warren Buffett may, as he claims, be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary, he is clearly an exception. In fact, the effective tax rate paid by the rich has actually gone up in recent years, and now averages roughly 24 percent, compared with an average of 11 percent for all taxpayers. Moreover, as the Tax Foundation points out, the reason that Buffett and those like him pay low effective tax rates is that much of their income is derived from capital gains and dividends, but "income derived from these sources has already been taxed once by the corporate income tax, which is not included in the current study, meaning the average effective tax rate numbers can be somewhat misleading."

All of this may be one reason why, despite the protestations of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, support among Americans for redistribution of the wealth is actually declining. According to the General Social Survey, the number of Americans who believe that "government should reduce income differences between the rich and the poor" has fallen dramatically, with barely a quarter of the population strongly supporting the proposition. And, the biggest decline for redistribution has actually occurred not among the rich but among the working class.

Perhaps the "99 percent" are not quite so seduced by class warfare as President Obama thinks. Or perhaps they understand that, as William J. H. Boetcker once said (in a quotation often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln), "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich."

SOURCE

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

ELSEWHERE

The numbers refute Keynes, Obama, Krugman: "The actual numbers on consumer spending instantly refute the Keynesian economic proposals favored by President Obama and Paul Krugman. There is no lack of 'consumer demand.' Instead, consumer spending is at an all-time high. Why then do so many small business owners list 'poor sales' as their chief concern? Could it be because they need more sales in order to pay the increased burdens imposed upon them by The State?"

Censoring cash: "Some governments are weighing the outright elimination of cash. Last year, for example, Swedish officials debated going cashless. Cash still circulates, but the prominent Swedbank announced its intention to cease cash transactions in central Sweden with the exception of one Karlstad branch office."

Social cooperation doesn't mean government: "In recent months I’ve drawn attention to the emphasis that free-market liberals historically have placed on social cooperation. Contrary to the partly self-inflicted caricature of the libertarian as an atomistic, rugged, self-reliant individualist, the weightiest thinkers in this tradition have in fact stressed the indispensability of sociality to human well-being."

Occupy Wall Street demands life without hardship: "I watched cable news. The lead story was about Occupy Wall Street -- a group that seems to consist of mostly young, able-bodied, able-minded people with their well-honed sense of entitlement 'protesting' against a country that much of the world would lie, cheat, steal and kill to enter. They finally issued their list of 13 demands. These included, but were not limited to, a 'guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.' Such a life would provide the Occupy folks plenty of time to think up more demands -- while sitting around all day."

I ah tell ya, this shite will blow up on you: "The Iranian government is showing remarkable stupidity in their coverage of OWS. I know, I know, their 1% isn’t on friendly terms with our 1%, so they are happy to see our 99% pissing upward. But, honestly, have they given any thought to what your average Iranian might actually think when he sees coverage of people protesting in the streets? I don’t see how this will improve Yusuf Schmoiani’s opinion of his 1%."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tony Blair -- the Leftist fool who trusted an Arab dictator

A secret cache of Colonel Gaddafi’s chemical weapons has been found in Libya, the country’s new rulers announced yesterday.

The deadly arsenal proves the tyrant had refused to give up his weapons of mass destruction – despite promising Tony Blair he would relinquish them in the infamous ‘Deal in the Desert’.

The National Transitional Council said the chemical warheads had been secured and would be made safe by experts. A spokesman said: ‘They are from the Gaddafi era and are under guard until they can be handed over.’

To this day, Mr Blair defends his decision to embrace Gaddafi by trumpeting the idea that he forced the dictator to give up his WMD programme.

His spokesman said earlier this week: ‘Mr Blair, in office, had been responsible for getting Gaddafi to give up his chemical and nuclear weapons programme and renounce terrorism.’

Gaddafi agreed to destroy most of his weapons of mass destruction in 2003 as part of moves to bring Libya, then a pariah state, in from the cold. The agreement was sealed in 2004 when Mr Blair shook hands with Gaddafi in a tent outside Tripoli.

The disarming process was being overseen by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, but was never finished because of the outbreak of war.

It meant the dictator retained around ten tons of deadly mustard gas and other chemicals. Throughout the uprising, rebels feared vengeful Gaddafi – who warned they faced the ‘fires from Hell’ – would unleash WMD on his own people. In Misrata, panic gripped the population when forces loyal to Gaddafi were seen wearing gas masks.

Nato spy planes and satellites monitored suspected chemical weapons dumps at three separate locations, including the Rughawa site some 130 miles south of the tyrant’s birthplace Sirte.

More HERE

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

Never have so few been blamed for so much by so many

by Spengler

Here's your final exam question in Middle Eastern studies:

A mass of Coptic Christians marches through Cairo to protest the military government's failure to protect them from Muslim radicals. They are attacked by stone-throwing, club-wielding rowdies. Armed forces security personnel intervene, and the Copts fight it out with the soldiers, with two dozen dead and scores injured on both sides. Who is to blame?

The full credit answer is: Benjamin Netanyahu, for building apartments in Jerusalem. If that's not what you wrote, don't blame me if you can't get a job at the New York Times.

Rarely in the course of human events have so few been blamed for so much by so many. There are precedents, for example, when Adolf Hitler claimed that a Jewish "stab in the back" lost World War I for Germany. The notion that the problems of three hundred million Arabs revolve around the governance of a few million Palestinians has the same order of credibility.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations always presumed that Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan would remain intact - that Egypt would interdict terrorists infiltrating Israel from the Sinai, stop weapons from reaching Hamas in Gaza, and otherwise fill its obligations. But Egypt is dissolving. The Egyptian army crossed a red line on October 9, according to Egyptian blogger Issander al-Armani. [1] Soldiers attacked Coptic demonstrators who were demanding protection from the army, The military not only shut down news coverage of the massacre, but used state television to call on Egyptian Muslims to "defend the army from the Copts".

On September 19, the Egyptian army showed that it could not protect Israel's embassy in Cairo; on October 9, it showed itself ready to murder members of the country's Christian minority. Egypt is dissolving because it can't feed itself, and it can't feed itself because it is going bankrupt. Former International Atomic Energy chief Mohamed ElBaradei, now a candidate for Egypt's presidency, warned last week that Egypt would run out of money within months, according to the English-language edition of Almasry Alroum:
Egypt might face bankruptcy within six months, Egyptian reform advocate and presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei warned on Monday. During a meeting with labor leaders at the Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS) in Helwan, south of Cairo, ElBaradei attacked the "failing" policies of Egypt's ruling military council.He criticized the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for what he called incompetence and lack of experience, saying that experienced government officials don't have enough power. Egypt is currently relying on its cash reserve with no gross domestic product, he said [2].

ElBaradei, the undeserved winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (he helped Iran cover its tracks en route to enriching uranium to near weapons grade), nonetheless is the closest thing to a responsible figure in Egyptian politics. His warning that Egypt is burning its cash reserves is accurate. On October 5, the Financial Times reported that Egypt's foreign exchange reserves had fallen from $35 billion in January to only $19.4 billion, [3] enough to cover less than five months' worth of imports.

The central bank had reported $25 billion of reserves in August, [4] so the monthly decline appears to be around $6 billion; it is hard to tell precisely because the Egyptian central bank publishes contradictory data about its reserve position. The earlier $25 billion figure might have counted loans expected from the Gulf states, but as the FT explains, "Only $500m of some $7bn of promised aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have arrived so far."

Almost 60% of Egyptians live in rural areas, yet the country imports half its caloric consumption and spends $5.5 billion a year in food subsidies. When it runs out of money, millions will starve. Many already are hungry. The state-controlled newspaper al-Dostour warned on October 9 that an "insane" increase in the price of food - up 80% so far this year - has left citizens "screaming". [5]

The newspaper added that the "current state of lawlessness has left merchants and businesses with no supervision", leading to hoarding, price-gouging and shortages. This was evident at the outset of the uprisings, [6] and a breakdown of the country's food distribution system was evident by May, as I wrote at the time. [7]

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces appears baffled. Its leader, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, does not appear in public. Previously he ran Egypt's military industries. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was briefly transportation minister, having taught highway engineering for most of his career.

He has spoken publicly about only one topic of political importance, namely the peace treaty with Israel, which he proposes to change, as he told Turkish television on October 8. [8] Egypt's leaders face a crisis brewing for two generations in which the Egyptian government kept half of its population illiterate and mired in rural poverty as an instrument of social control. As ElBaradei warns, they have no idea what they are doing.

Syria, meanwhile, is in civil war, which may turn into a proxy war between the Sunni powers and Iran. And Iraq's leader Nuri al-Maliki, the leader of the supposed Iraqi democracy we spent a trillion dollars and 4,000 lives to put in place, is backing the Bashar al-Assad regime in alliance with Iran. [9]

Turkey, the self-styled rising power in the region, is about to get its come-uppance in the form of a nasty economic downturn. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's belligerence has risen in inverse proportion to the market price of the Turkish lira:

I warned in August of the "instant obsolescence of the Turkish model" as the credit bubble engineered by the ruling party explodes. [10] Markets have already anticipated a sudden turnaround in the Turkish economy. The lira fell by a quarter between November 2010 and September 2011, making it the world’s worst-performing emerging market currency. The stock market has fallen in dollar terms by 40%, making Turkey the worst performer after Egypt among all the markets in the MSCI Tradable Index during 2011.

In short, there is not a patch of ground in Israel's proximity that is not roiling and boiling with political and economic turmoil. Echoing in the ears of Israel's leaders are the words of Isaiah (57:20-21), which Jews around the world read on October 8 on the Day of Atonement: "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

Spengler's corollary states: Neither is there peace to the stupid. We have Nicholas Kristof writing in the October 6 New York Times: "Now it is Israel that is endangered most by its leaders and maximalist stance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is isolating his country, and, to be blunt, his hard line on settlements seems like a national suicide policy. Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements because they erode hope of a peace agreement in the future."

Kristof is talking about the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which was undeveloped land before 1967 and which every conceivable peace agreement would assign to Israel.

Nothing will appease the liberals, because if liberal social engineering can't fix the problems of the Middle East, the world will have no need of liberals. The New York Times will demand [14] that Israel concede and apologize, as surely as a gumball will roll out of the machine when I crank in a quarter. Existential need trumps rationality, most of all among the self-styled priesthood of rationality.

SOURCE

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

Losing the peace in Iraq?

BY NEW YEAR'S DAY, the US military presence in Iraq will be history. President Obama has made it official, announcing last week the fulfillment of his campaign pledge to end the Iraq war and bring the troops home. Senior American commanders in Iraq had recommended keeping up to 18,000 servicemen there, and even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wanted around 4,000 to remain. But Obama, whose meteoric rise to power was fueled by opposition to the war, overruled them. "The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," he told reporters. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

And what happens then? The president asserts that American soldiers will "cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success" and that the US withdrawal will "strengthen American leadership around the world." But that's only bluster. Obama has never shown much interest in the fate of Iraq after American forces leave. As a candidate for president he insisted that even preventing a potential genocide wasn't a good enough reason to keep US forces in Iraq, and long after it was clear that President Bush's "surge" had led to dramatic progress in the war, Obama continued to claim that it was making the situation worse.

In fairness, elections have consequences. Obama has never made a secret of his determination to pull American troops out of Iraq; certainly he has been more passionate on that subject than on the importance of securing Iraq's long-term viability as a stable, pro-American oasis in the Arab world. As a matter of short-term political calculus, presidents rarely go wrong when they "bring the boys home for Christmas." Indeed, a New York Times/CBS poll taken immediately after Obama's announcement found a significant upward bump in his approval rating on Iraq.

But what is good for the Obama re-election effort may be calamitous for Iraq and for US interests in the Middle East.

Retired Army General John Keane, an architect of the 2007 surge and former adviser to General David Petraeus when he served as US commander in Iraq, describes the year-end withdrawal deadline as "an absolute disaster." Iraq's fractious, fragile democracy is still little more than a multitude of factions capable of backsliding into violence without an American presence to keep the peace. Right next door is Iran, which already operates terror squads in the country and will now intensify its bid to dominate Iraq and use it as a base to spread Islamist theocracy to the Persian Gulf. And after such a hard-won victory over al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a victory that cost so much blood and treasure -- America's departure throws open the door to a return of the jihadists beginning in 2012.

"We won the war in Iraq," Keane told The Washington Times, "and we're now losing the peace."

A similar sense of foreboding comes from John Burns, the highly-regarded New York Times correspondent who spent more than five years covering Iraq. "I have very little confidence that the center can hold there without the tripwire that American troops represent," Burns said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. "When they're gone, I think all bets are off . . . . A lot of groups of ill intent have been waiting for the Americans to go."

Perhaps everything will turn out fine. Perhaps Iraq's constitutional system will prove more durable than Keane and Burns fear. Perhaps, as the president tells us, quitting Iraq will in some way actually "strengthen American leadership around the world."

That isn't, however, what history suggests. To this day, the United States maintains a substantial military presence in Italy (approximately 11,000 active-duty personnel), South Korea (28,500), Japan (40,000), and Germany (54,000). When US forces settle in for the long haul after fighting and winning bloody wars, the results have generally been decades of peace and progress. But when the United States bugs out -- as it did in Vietnam after 1972, or in Germany at the end of World War I -- the results have been disastrous, both for the nations we walked away from and for American influence worldwide.

In pulling the US military out of Iraq, the president is doing what he said he would do. If it all works out, he will be able to trumpet his success in safely bringing the troops back. But if he turns out to have squandered the peace after so many sacrificed so much to win the war, there won't be much doubt about who lost Iraq.

SOURCE

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

ELSEWHERE

Hamas boosting anti-aircraft arsenal with looted Libyan missiles: "The improved quality of anti-aircraft missiles held by Hamas in Gaza is increasingly worrying the Israeli defense establishment. Hamas recently managed to smuggle relatively advanced Russian missiles, which were looted from Libyan military warehouses, into the Gaza Strip. Israel is worried about the presence of the missiles, both because they curb the air force's almost unlimited freedom of movement over Gaza today, and because of their possible use against civil aviation in Eilat. Shoulder-fired anti-aicraft missiles have been smuggled into Gaza in recent years at Iran's initiative. But the fall of Muammar Gadhafi's regime has enabled Hamas to bring in much higher quality missiles - and in much larger quantities."

Another A380 grounded: "China Southern Airlines first Airbus A380 remained grounded after a mechanical failure forced the cancellation of a flight on Saturday, less than two weeks after its maiden flight. "We are not sure when the A380 flights can be resumed at the moment," Zou Yingping, a press officer of the Guangzhou- based carrier, said by phone today. Zou said the problem was related to the super-jumbo's flap power and drive unit."

Robin Hood defamed again: "Once you boil away all of its high-sounding rationalizations, socialism is only a lame attempt to make stealing appear respectable. That's all it ever was, all it is now, and all it ever will be. ... Socialism pops up in some funny places. When the City Fathers -- Democrat or Republican -- steal your home or business to widen a road or build a park, or simply to give it to some other business that will probably pay higher taxes, that's socialism."

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. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. 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)

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