Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blind to their Liberal Biases

David Limbaugh

I think it's very difficult for any of us to be objective about any subject, especially something we care deeply about, but my objective observation is that liberals tend to be less aware of and less willing to admit their biases.

We see this often, which I'll get to, but first, let me relate how this phenomenon most recently came to my attention.

In a conversation with a saleswoman for online college courses, I expressed my disappointment that the professor of a religion course I was considering for purchase is an avowed atheist. I said that if I were going to spend time studying the subject, I'd prefer the professor share my Christian worldview.

Don't misunderstand. I think it can be profitable to learn what nonbelieving "scholars" teach about the Bible, but the point I want to discuss here is the woman's response.

She maintained that it is preferable, for this largely secular course on the Bible, to have a professor who can approach the subject from an objective, critical and historical perspective, as if a believing professor would be incapable of that approach. But is that true?

Her error is assuming that nonbelief equates to objectivity. In fact, every human being -- and thus every professor -- has a worldview, and that worldview will inevitably influence his perception of the material. Every professor will have made critical intellectual decisions on a multitude of issues in the material, all of which will be influenced by his worldview.

For example, if you don't believe in miracles, you'd be more inclined to discount those verses of Scripture describing miraculous events, from the Virgin Birth to Jesus' converting water into wine to the bedrock Christian belief: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Nonbelievers might be more receptive to "higher criticism" and the "documentary hypothesis" and thus less skeptical of the theory that Moses didn't write the first five books of the Old Testament. They might be quicker to focus on apparent contradictions in Scripture that critical examination often reveals are not contradictions at all.

A believer in the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture will certainly bring his biases into biblical exegesis, but so will a nonbeliever. We cannot escape our biases.

But the woman insisted the secular professor is only interested in presenting the material from a critical and historical perspective. A noble aspiration, I concede, should the professor actually possess it, but nevertheless unattainable. Historians and critical readers have biases, too. They can't help it.

It's just wrong to assume that a nonbelieving worldview is more objective than a believing one. We are all blessed (or burdened) with our presuppositions, and they accompany us wherever we go.

It occurred to me that the woman's argument is analogous to the political liberals' legendary denial of bias. Indeed, many liberals don't even view themselves as liberals. Rather, they are reality- and fact-based creatures. Only conservatives allow their biases to taint their objectivity. Liberals will admit that some conservatives are rational, but to be both rational and conservative, they must be evil. They know the policies they support are wrong, objectively, but they choose to do so anyway -- or something like that.

Evidence abounds: Scholarly studies show that mainstream journalists are overwhelmingly liberal, yet many deny it, and many honestly don't even see the biases they bring to their selection and reporting of the "news." ABC's Christiane Amanpour, for example, denies her liberal biases, saying she "remains in the realm of fact." The Bush haters who deceived themselves about Bush's alleged WMD lies claimed they were reality-based when in "reality" their hatred made them stark-raving mad on the subject. A liberal college professor touting open academic inquiry banned "conservative" materials from class because she refused "to tolerate the intolerable." Members of the man-made global warming cult dogmatically proclaim a consensus despite strong dissent. Environmentalists extrapolate this mindset in their approach to scores of issues, traveling utterly quixotic paths and pursuing devastatingly expensive larks while dismissing skeptics as flat-earthers. Obama constantly refers to his ideas as self-evidently reasonable and Republicans' as driven solely by partisanship, because how could they possibly oppose his reality-based proposals?

As a conservative, I believe that many liberals proceed from good intentions, though I think their consistently horrendous results entitle us to some skepticism after a while even as to their intentions -- or at least to their ability to see past their oppressive biases. I don't believe, for example, that they are racists because their policies harm minorities, though they often do. I don't believe they automatically lack compassion just because their policies spread misery.

Yet many liberals do believe that conservatives are evil, uncompassionate racists because our policies don't fit their self-serving, narrow, shallow parameters of "good intentions." Many leftists are so possessed by a need to be morally superior that they can't abide the possibility that conservatives also have noble intentions. So it is that many who believe they are objective, fair and reality-based are far less so than the objects of their scorn.



The Wrong Kind of Minority

Leftists hate successful minorities. It's part of their compulsion to level everyone else down

Mona Charen

The Washington Post proclaimed in a recent headline another historic "first" for the United States -- the first female usher-in-chief at the White House. Stop the presses! The accompanying story reveals that the nominee hails from Jamaica, so it's probably a two-fer. Oh, boy.

The Post and other liberal organs are obsessed with firsts. The first female letter carrier to handle the Capitol Hill route will get a mention in the press. The first African-American anything is guaranteed at least a nod. You don't even have to be first to get "first" treatment. The last two Supreme Court nominees have been women, joining a court that had already seated two women (one retired). Nevertheless, the femininity of the candidates was cheerily chatted up. When Barack Obama became the first black nominee of a major party and then the elected president, dignified notice of an historical milestone would have been appropriate. But you know what happened -- the media went on an inebriated, extravagant first binge.

Funny how the first-effect only works for some. If Mitt Romney is nominated and elected, he will be the first member of a highly persecuted American minority group to be so honored. Yet no one is celebrating the possibility of the first Mormon president. Anti-Mormon bias, which has proved remarkably persistent over decades, is scarcely ever condemned.

It isn't that Mormons have not suffered. Following the religion's founding in upstate New York in 1830, the Mormons faced immediate hostility from their neighbors. Hounded by New Yorkers, the growing community moved west to Ohio, Missouri and Kansas. In Jackson County, Missouri, Mormon leaders were tarred and feathered, Mormon homes torched and Mormon property brazenly stolen.

County after county drove the Mormons out, sometimes threatening to kill even the children if they did not evacuate, culminating, in 1838, in an "extermination order" issued by Gov. Lilburn Boggs. Instructing the state militia, Boggs wrote, "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description." Thousands of Mormons were forced to flee, some with just the clothes on their backs, in the dead of winter. Illinois offered sanctuary for a time, but it was in that state that the religion's founder, Joseph Smith, was imprisoned and murdered by a mob.

The Mormons attempted to defend themselves and committed an atrocity of their own, the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 (for which the militia leader in charge was tried and executed by the Mormons). But most of the time, the group was on the defensive. Throughout its first seven decades, the sect was harried, persecuted, expelled, reviled and chased across a continent.

The practice of polygamy stirred hostility. As a Jew though, I cannot help noticing that Mormons were also hated because they seemed to prosper economically, because they rose to the top of organizations they joined and because they were so loyal to one another.

Outsiders can surely be fair-minded enough to acknowledge that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gets results. Utah has the nation's lowest levels of welfare dependency, child poverty and single parent homes. Its students are among the top scorers in the nation, despite relatively low levels of education spending. It ranks highest for contributions to charity by the wealthy and among the lowest for incarceration and cancer rates. Prominent Mormons established the Marriott hotel chain, Jet Blue and Bain Capital (of course). Mormon Americans invented the television, word processing and the hearing aid, among other things. Mormons have distinguished themselves in entertainment, sports and politics -- where they have risen to prominence in both parties.

Polygamy having long since been discarded, anti-Mormon bias today, ironically, often focuses on the LDS Church's opposition to same sex marriage. During the contest over California's Proposition 8, which limited marriage to the bond between men and women, opponents sought to intimidate Mormons who contributed financially or otherwise to the initiative. While there has been speculation that Mitt Romney's faith might suppress support among Republicans, a recent Gallup survey found that Democrats(27 percent) were more likely than Republicans (18 percent) to say they would not vote for a Mormon candidate for president.

Mormons are obviously the wrong kind of minority. Oh, they've been persecuted. But through a strong work ethic, self-discipline, traditional morality (Yes, there's an irony there, but get over it) and group cohesion, they have triumphed for themselves and for the country. The first Mormon president would be a milestone. But don't hold your breath for the applause.



Recess Appointments To NLRB Tantamount To Declaration Of War Against Employers

While President Obama is taking a break in Hawaii, the conversation in Washington, D.C. has not stopped regarding his National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Business is furious with a purported new rule ushered in just days before Christmas with labor radical Craig Becker at the helm that allows Big Labor to ambush employers with rushed elections and forcibly unionize workers who will be denied an informed choice.

Next, there is growing concern that Obama will once again bypass Congress and recess appoint Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the board as he did Craig Becker after his nomination was the subject of bipartisan opposition for views considered outside the mainstream. Griffin would have the distinction of being the second nominee in history to be nominated for a full term on the NLRB who came directly from a labor union, with Becker being the first. Griffin is the general counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and serves on the board of directors for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Lawyers Coordinating Committee. He would not be a neutral arbitrator of labor-management disputes, but would continue in the mold of Craig Becker.

The AFL-CIO has been at the forefront of efforts to politicize the NLRB and use it as a vehicle to gain payback from government bureaucrats. Stewart Acuff, an official with the AFL-CIO wrote in 2010, “It [sic] we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action...”

Sharon Block’s nomination raises independent concerns. Most recently, Block has served as deputy assistant secretary for Congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. She reports to former Congresswoman and current Secretary Hilda Solis who is one of the fiercest partisans in Big Labor’s camp in the nation’s capital.

Solis has supported the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act which would have done away with the secret ballot election and has gone out of her way to cater to the union bosses who have been given free rein in the Obama Administration.

Under her direction, the Labor Department is considering a rule change on “persuader” activity that would change the public disclosure requirements for employers, law firms, consultants and trade associations that provide services regarding labor relations and union organizing. Current law requires reporting by employers, consultants and law firms, when they directly “persuade” or interact with employees. The law provides an exemption; however, when a law firm or consultant simply provides advice without directly interacting with employees. The proposed change virtually eliminates this “advice exemption,” so that businesses would have to provide detailed and confidential data, including possibly proprietary information about business operations and details about contracts for services with their attorneys and outside consultants.

The effect of the rule will be to restrict business’ ability to secure legal and other advice during a union organizing campaign which will be detrimental to employers who want to fairly address the issue of unionization with their employees and to employees who would be not be provided necessary information on the pros and cons of unionization before they vote....

And this brings us to the end of 2011 with widespread anticipation that this President, who has demonstrated little care for orderly process and the rule of law, could recess appoint new labor allies to the NLRB. This would enable that agency to continue its assault on workers and small businesses while rewarding the President’s largest campaign supporters, Big Labor bosses who spent nearly half a billion dollars to put him in the White House.

As Politico reported recently in an article titled, “It’s World War III at the NLRB,” the American business community would view NLRB recess appointments as tantamount to a declaration of war. It would be the end to any Obama legislative agenda for 2012 and put to rest any argument that he wants to bring Americans together to overcome the severe economic challenges we are confronting.

More here



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, December 30, 2011

Only One Candidate Is Right on The Two Most Important Issues

Ann Coulter below relaxes most of her usual acerbic tone and makes a serious argument that Romney is the only candidate who can deliver for conservatives. I think she is right. There is much in Romney's past that conservatives dislike but his turn to the Right could be solid. Most people drift Rightwards as they get older. Remember that both Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan started out as liberals

In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.

Taxes can be raised and lowered. Regulations can be removed (though they rarely are). Attorneys general and Cabinet members can be fired. Laws can be repealed. Even Supreme Court justices eventually die. But capitulate on illegal immigration, and the entire country will have the electorate of California. There will be no turning back.

Similarly, if Obamacare isn't repealed in the next few years, it never will be. America will begin its ineluctable descent into becoming a worthless Western European country, with rotten health care, no money for defense and ever-increasing federal taxes to support the nanny state.

So let's consider which of the Republican candidates are most likely to succeed at these objectives.

In order to allow Democrats to indignantly denounce Republicans who said Obamacare would add to the deficit, the bill was structured so that no goodies get paid out immediately. That way, when the Congressional Budget Office was asked to determine if Obamacare was "revenue neutral" over its first 10 years, government accountants were looking at a bill that collected taxes for 10 years, but only distributed treats in the later years.

Starting at year 11, those accountants will be in for a big surprise when the government starts paying out Obamacare benefits without interruption. Because of this accounting fraud, Obamacare can still be repealed. But as soon as all Americans have been thrown off their employer-provided insurance plans and are forced to start depending on the government for health care, Republicans will never be able to repeal it.

The vast complex of unionized government workers managing our health care from Washington will fight to keep their jobs (for more on this topic, see the Department of Education), voters will want their "free" government treats (for more on this topic, see Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) -- and even if they don't, there won't be a private insurance market for them to go back to (for more on this topic, see IRS rules favoring employer-provided health care).

The only way to stop Obamacare is to beat Obama in 2012, and repeal it before the health care Leviathan is born. Otherwise, starting in 2016, Republicans will run for office promising only to improve Obamacare. Newt Gingrich will be calling plans to reform it "right-wing social engineering."

All current Republican presidential candidates say they will overturn Obamacare. The question for Republican primary voters should be: Who is most likely to win?

2012 is not a year for a wild card. It's not a year for any candidate who will end up being the issue, instead of making Obama the issue. It's not a year for one wing of the Republican Party to be making a point with another wing. (And there are no Rockefeller Republicans left, anyway.) It's not a year to be gambling that America will vote for its first woman president, or that the country is ready for a nut-bar libertarian.

Running against an incumbent president in a make-or-break election, Republicans need a candidate with a track record of winning elections with voters similar to the entire American electorate.

Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have never had to win votes beyond small, majority-Republican congressional districts.

Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have won statewide elections, but Huntsman and Perry ran in extremely red states that don't resemble the American electorate. Only Romney and Santorum have won a statewide election in a blue state, making them our surest-bets in a general election.

But if Santorum wins, we lose on the second most important issue -- illegal immigration -- and he'll be the last Republican ever to win a general election in America.

Just as Americans ought to be able to learn the perils of a welfare state by looking at Greece, we ought to be able to learn the perils of illegal immigration by looking at California.

Massive legal and illegal immigration has already so changed the California electorate that no Republican can be elected statewide anymore. Not so long ago, this was a state that produced great Republican governors and senators like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, S.I. Hayakawa and Pete Wilson.

If even Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, two bright, attractive, successful female business executives -- one pro-life and one pro-choice -- can't win a statewide election in California spending millions of their own dollars in the middle of the 2010 Republican sweep, it's buenas noches, muchachos.

And yet, almost all Republican presidential candidates support some form of amnesty for illegals in order to appeal to the business lobby.

Among the most effective measures against illegal immigration is E-Verify, the Homeland Security program that gives employers the ability to instantly confirm that their employees' Social Security numbers are legitimate. It is more than 99 percent accurate, and no employee is denied a job without an opportunity to challenge the records.

Although wildly popular with Americans -- including Hispanic Americans -- the business lobby hates E-Verify. Employers like hiring non-Americans because they can pay illegal aliens less and ignore state and federal employment laws. Any candidate who opposes E-Verify is not serious about illegal immigration. If anything, E-Verify ought to be made mandatory to get a job, to get welfare and to vote.

Kowtowing to business (while pretending to kowtow to Hispanics), Paul, Perry and Santorum oppose E-Verify. As a senator, Rick Santorum voted against even the voluntary use of E-Verify.

Jon Huntsman claims to support E-Verify, but also wants to give illegals amnesty as soon as the border is sealed -- as determined by someone other than us. Also, he gave driver's identification cards to illegal aliens in Utah. (You'd think a guy no one has ever heard of would be more careful about ID cards.)

Following his latest guru, Helen Krieble, Newt Gingrich is for amnesty, combined with second-class status for illegals. Instead of giving illegal aliens green cards, Newt proposes giving them "red cards" so they can stay, take American jobs, have children, receive welfare benefits, attend public schools -- and eventually be granted amnesty. The Republican primaries will be over before most voters realize what Newt's "red card" scheme entails.

Only Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney aren't trying to sneak through amnesty for illegal aliens. Both support E-Verify.

Numbers USA, one of the leading groups opposed to our current insane immigration policies, gives Republican presidential candidates the following grades on immigration: Paul, F; Gingrich, D-minus; Huntsman, D-minus; Santorum, D-minus; Perry, D; Romney, C-minus; and Bachmann, B-minus.

And that was before Romney said last week that Obama's drunk-driving, illegal alien uncle should be deported!

That leaves us with Romney and Bachmann as the candidates with the strongest, most conservative positions on illegal immigration. As wonderful as Michele Bachmann is, 2012 isn't the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.



'Things Happened'

The year's highlights in shifting responsibility

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network last March, shortly before he announced that he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich reflected on his sins, which include cheating on his first two wives with women he would later marry. "At times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country," he said, "I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

You might have thought that Gingrich's serial adultery reflected a different sort of passion and that his inability to control it reflected poorly on his self-discipline, not to mention his truthfulness, his loyalty, and the reliability of his promises. But how can you fault him for loving his country so much that he forgot he was married?

Gingrich's depiction of his infidelity as a testament to his patriotism was one of the year's most memorable exercises in responsibility deflection. Some more highlights:

Gotta Light? In February the Justice Department, as part of its lawsuit against the major tobacco companies, demanded a "corrective statement" saying, "We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes." It did not mention that the federal government, which approved the machine-based method for determining "tar" yields and pressured cigarette manufacturers to advertise those numbers, was complicit from the beginning in marketing practices it now deems fraudulent.

Bird Shot. "Will Toucan Sam go the way of Joe Camel?" The New York Times wondered after the Federal Trade Commission proposed guidelines for marketing food to children in April. "By explicitly tying advertising to childhood obesity," the Times said, the FTC was indicting "cuddly figures like Cap'n Crunch, the Keebler elves, [and] Ronald McDonald." How can food-hawking characters introduced in the 1960s be blamed for weight trends that began in the 1980s?

Poker Choker. In September federal prosecutors accused Full Tilt Poker of defrauding customers by failing to keep enough money on hand to cash them out at a time when "the company faced a growing shortfall….related to its inability to collect funds from U.S. players." The federal government deliberately created that shortfall by threatening to prosecute people for processing payments related to online poker.

Cannabis Capitulator. When she blocked implementation of Arizona's new medical marijuana law last May, Gov. Jan Brewer, a self-proclaimed champion of the 10th Amendment, blamed the Justice Department, claiming she was afraid, despite assurances from the state's U.S. attorney, that regulators overseeing dispensaries would face federal prosecution. Seven months later, Brewer, who opposed the ballot initiative that legalized the medical use of marijuana, finally admitted she was determined to thwart the will of Arizona's voters, asking a federal judge to overturn the policy they approved.

Super Zero. Last summer Congress, which had shown no signs of fiscal restraint even though it had several committees dedicated to spending, decided the solution was another committee: the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The "super committee" was supposed to relieve Congress of responsibility for making hard budgetary decisions. And even if it failed, it would succeed, because then spending cuts would kick in "automatically" (assuming Congress let them), insulating legislators from blame. Washington's best minds are still trying to figure out how it all fell apart.




Romney takes an easy lead in Republican race: "Mitt Romney has surged into the lead in Iowa just days before the state kicks off voting to decide the Republican presidential nominee, a new poll shows. The CNN/Time/ORC survey also confirmed Mr Romney's dominance in New Hampshire, the second state to vote, leaving the 64-year-old former Massachusetts governor eyeing a possible romp to the nomination. But in a sign the Republican race remains volatile, the staunch conservative Rick Santorum tripled his showing from a month ago to finish third in the latest survey on 16 per cent. Mr Romney, who was reluctant to make a big play for Iowa after losing out to Mike Huckabee in 2008, now finds himself in pole position as his main rival Newt Gingrich falters."

That’s government for you -- by Milton Friedman: "When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else’s money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he does’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you."

Who should control the world?: "In the market economy, the buyer is the decision maker. He or she determines what gets produced, how much, and directs the pattern of change. The supposedly powerful fat cats of the corporate world are daily submitting to the wishes of the little guy with a computer and a credit card. Any company in a market can be shut down in a matter of weeks if the consumers switch loyalties. This happens every day. Nothing like this system exists in our dealings with the state."

Boom and bust madness: An empirical look at the Fed’s dollar binge: "Given the Fed’s continued actions to keep interest rates low and its reported plans to keep them that way beyond 2014, now seems a good time to revisit the deleterious effects that monetary expansion has on the economy. The data makes all too apparent the relevance of the Austrian Business Cycle in explaining the results of years of easy money."

Food fights and free enterprise: "It is sometimes said, following Milton Friedman’s insight, that business is not a friend to the free market, and the truth of this is no more evident than in recent battles between established restaurateurs and operators of mobile eateries. Once a business becomes established and enjoys a measure of success, a narrow view of its own interests can lead its principals to thwart innovation by others, and this is usually done by influencing the way laws are enacted or enforced."



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, December 29, 2011

Keeping all your assets in the USA is unsafe

By keeping all your assets in the country where you live, you commit, ahead of time, to ratify whatever policy your home government might adopt, no matter how objectionable, unreasonable or pernicious that policy happens to be. If the next new mandate is "Register today to get a nail pounded into your head," you're already signed up.

Americans, by and large, run all their affairs within the confines of the US. The US economy is so large and so varied that it's easy to assume that everything you want to do with your wealth can be done without crossing any borders. And people in the US, like people anywhere, live with the habits and attitudes developed over generations. They're only human. In the case of Americans, those habits grew out of long experience with a government that was small and that generally practiced the rare virtue of following its own laws. In a happy exception to mankind's experience with rulers, there was little to fear from it.

Stay at home is still the norm for Americans, but it's a norm that is slowly fading. Every billion-dollar tick of the government debt clock, every expansion of the government's regulatory apparatus, every overreaching judicial decision made in the name of a compelling public need, every inversion of protection for citizens into license for the state and every intellectually tortured discovery of a new meaning in the Constitution's 4,400 old words leaves a few thousand more people wondering how prudent it is to consign all their eggs to a single national basket. Encounters with high-handed IRS agents and eager TSA gropers do nothing to ease that concern. And for those who listen thoughtfully, the messages from our designated leaders and their would-be replacements only hurry the dawning sense of unease.

Specific worries include exposure to predatory lawsuits, especially claims that could draw extra go-power by association with politically favored causes or legally favored groups; fear of where income tax rates might climb; the prospect of losing a family business in a regulatory battle or simply through estate tax; the fragility of financial institutions that have operated for forty years with the assurance that the Federal Reserve would rescue them from any folly; the possibility that a government desperate to protect the dollar from collapse might impose foreign exchange controls or capital controls; the memory and precedent of the forced gold sales of 1933; and the thought that a government floundering in deficits might start pilfering from IRAs and other pension plans.

But beyond those particular worries and perhaps more important than any of them is the sense that from here on, anything goes. The politicians will do whatever they find convenient, because there is no longer anything to stop them – not an electorate that is jealous of its freedoms and certainly not the Constitution, which is now just a playhouse for judicial imagineering. No one can know what's coming next from the government and the financial system it has fostered, but for many of us there is an awful suspicion that we are not going to like it.

Most Americans still have yet to stick a single financial toe across the border, but more and more are considering it. Many, perhaps millions of toes are now twitching at the thought. Their owners want to end their absolute dependence on what happens in the US. They want to prepare for whatever is coming down the road, even though they don't know what it will be. They want to be as ready as possible, even though their worries can only guess at what's ahead.

Because internationalizing your financial life means dealing with the unfamiliar, the project can seem more complex than it really is, so it's best to start with the simplest measures, even if by themselves they don't give you all the safety you're looking for. Even from a simple beginning, what you learn with each step will make the next step easier to plan. Start with the first rung on the ladder of internationalization. Then climb, at your own speed, to reach the right level of protection.

Much more HERE


The gift of giving

by Jeff Jacoby

OF ALL THE RITUALS that mark this season, none is more misguided than the complaints about how crass and mercenary the holidays have become.

The laments begin early in November, when Santa starts showing up in TV commercials. They surge during the hyperactive shopping weekend that follows Thanksgiving. By the time Christmas (and Chanukah) are actually at hand, you'd have to be in a persistent vegetative state not to hear all the scolding about how the "reason for the season" has been lost amid the buy-one-get-one sales and the over-elaborate mall displays.

Even Pope Benedict joined the chorus this year. In the homily he delivered on Christmas Eve, he deplored "the superficial glitter" of the season, urging the faithful not to confuse the "commercial celebration" Christmas has become with its "true joy and true light."

I wouldn't presume to argue with the pope about the religious significance of Christmas, and I will readily acknowledge that the holiday shopping season can certainly be stressful, expensive, and more than a little materialistic. Nonetheless, as a measure of cultural and communal health, I can't help seeing this yearly impulse to shower friends and family with presents as one of our society's most endearing and heartening traits.

Ten days ago I took my 8-year-old son Micah to a local Dollar Tree Store, where he was eager to spend his savings -- 11 dollars and change, grubbily folded into a miniature wallet -- on Chanukah gifts for his family. We had done this together last year, and Micah had been besieging me to pick an evening when the two of us could make a return trip.

I found it a wonderful experience, no irony intended. Dollar Tree isn't exactly Tiffany & Co., and in any case Micah chooses gifts with all the sophistication and refinement you'd expect from a rambunctious third-grade boy who loves bugs and can never seem to keep his shirt tucked in. The presents he picked out for his mother included a desktop picture frame for her office, glow-in-the-dark necklaces ("Mama can wear them if she goes for a walk at night"), and two boxes of Milk Duds; for his teen-age brother he found an air horn, Lemonheads, and a container of "noise putty" that emits flatulent sounds when poked. A devotee of Martha Stewart Living the kid is not.

But whatever Micah may have lacked in style and taste, he more than made up for with the unfeigned delight he brought to the whole project. He couldn't wait to turn his little clutch of dollars into presents for the people he loves. He wasn't consciously trying to be altruistic or selfless; and he's never given 30 seconds' thought to the meaning of generosity. He was simply excited by the prospect of giving -- and indeed, when the moment came a few nights later to bestow his gifts on his recipients, he was practically bouncing up and down with elation. If this is crass commercialism, let's have more of it.

Would modern society really be improved if the happiness of gift-giving were not an integral part of one special season each year? Granted, anything can be overdone, and materialism is no exception. And it is important to remember that the hustle and pressure of buying presents for loved ones doesn't reduce our obligation to give charitably and generously to the poor.

But how diminished our culture would be without that hustle and pressure. Children learn an important lesson when they see the adults in their world treat the joy of others as a priority worth spending time, money, and thought on. No one has to teach kids to be acquisitive and selfish -- that comes naturally -- but what an inestimable asset they acquire when they find out for themselves that it really is more blessed to give than to receive.

It is only a coincidence of the calendar that links Christmas and Chanukah; theologically the two holidays have little in common. But essential to both Judaism and Christianity is the principle of imitatio Dei, of striving to walk in God's ways, above all by being kind to others as He is kind to us. Isn't that what underlies the expense and scramble of our holiday gift-giving? In lavishing gifts on others, we reflect the openhandedness with which God lavishes gifts on us. Maybe that's not the entirety of the season's "true joy and true light." But if my 8-year-old's unaffected joyfulness is any indication, it makes a great start.



Occupy Wall Street becomes highly collectible

How sick is this? Empty-headed bums need to be remembered?

Occupy Wall Street may still be working to shake the notion it represents a passing outburst of rage, but some establishment institutions have already decided the movement’s artifacts are worthy of historic preservation.

More than a half-dozen major museums and organisations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly collecting materials produced by the Occupy movement. Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity, and museums have approached protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera.

The Museum of the City of New York is planning an exhibition on Occupy for next month.

“Occupy is sexy,” said Ben Alexander, head of special collections and archives at Queens College, which has been collecting Occupy materials. “It sounds hip. A lot of people want to be associated with it.’’



Is Obamacare Stopping Businesses From Hiring? Businesspeople certainly think so


President Obama says his health care “reform” will be good for business. Business has learned the truth.

Three successful businessmen came on my Fox Business show last week to explain how Obamacare is a reason that unemployment stays high. Its length and complexity make businessmen wary of expanding.

Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, which runs hotels and restaurants, said that when he asked his company’s health insurance experts to summarize the impact of Obamacare, “the three of them kind of looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve gone to seminar after seminar, and, Mike, we can’t tell you.’ I think that just kind of sums up the uncertainty.”

Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, added that Obamacare makes it impossible to achieve even basic certainty about future personnel costs: “If I was trying to get you to fund a new business I had started and you asked me what my payroll was going to be three years from now per employee, if I went to the deepest specialist in the industry, he can’t tell me what it’s actually going to cost, let alone what I’m going to be responsible for.”

You would think a piece of legislation more than a thousand pages long would at least be clear about the specifics. But a lot of those pages say: “The secretary will determine ...” That means the secretary of Health and Human Services will announce the rules sometime in the future. How can a business make plans in such a fog?

John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, the 12th biggest bank in America, pointed out how Obamacare encourages employers not to insure their employees. Under the law, an employer would be fined for that. But the penalty at present—about $2,000—is lower than the cost of a policy. “What that means is in theory every company ought to dump their plan on the government plan and pay the penalty,” he said. “So you don’t really know what the cost is because it’s designed to fail.”

Of course, then every employee would turn to the government-subsidized health insurance. Maybe that was the central planners’ intention all along.

An owner of 12 IHOPS told me that he can’t expand his business because he can’t afford the burden of Obamacare. Many of his waitresses work part time or change jobs every few months. He hadn’t been insuring them, but Obamacare requires him to. He says he can’t make money paying a $2,000 penalty for every waitress, so he’s cancelled his plans to expand. It’s one more reason why job growth hasn’t picked up post-recession.

Of course, we were told that government health care would increase hiring. After all, European companies don’t have to pay for their employees’ health insurance. If every American employer paid the $2,000 penalty and their workers turned to government for insurance, American companies would be better able to compete with European ones. They might save $10,000 per employee.

That sounded good, but like so many politicians’ promises, it leaves out the hidden costs. When countries move to a government-funded system, taxes rise to crushing levels, as they have in Europe.

Whalen sees Obamacare as a crossing of the Rubicon. “We’ve had an agreement in this country, kind of unwritten, for the last 50 years, that we would spend about 18 to 19 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) on the federal government. This is a tipping point. This takes us to 25 to 30 percent. And that money comes out of the private sector. That means fewer jobs. This is a game-changer.”

He means it’s a game-changer because of the cost. But the law’s impenetrable complication does almost as much damage. Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute is right: If you wonder why businesspeople are not investing and reviving the economy, the answer lies in all the question marks that Obamacare and other new regulations confront them with. Higgs calls this “regime uncertainty." It’s also what prolonged the Great Depression.

No one who understands the nature of government as the wielder of force—as opposed to the peaceful persuasion of the free market—is surprised by this.




American wealth eroding: "The Federal Reserve is now unleashing American banks from restrictions on dividends. This means Americans are essentially capitalizing Americans banks at a loss while banks are divvying out dividends to make it falsely appear they are solvent. Bank stockholders, including many bank executives, will now reap even larger rewards at the expense of the savings class"

Dorothy Rabinowitz’s attack on Ron Paul: "One of the more fascinating attacks on Ron Paul comes from Dorothy Rabinowitz in the December 22, 2012, issue of the Wall Street Journal. Not surprisingly, given that Rabinowitz serves on the Journal’s editorial board, she goes after Paul for his foreign-policy views. What I found interesting about the article, which is entitled 'What Ron Paul Thinks of America,' is the superficial nature of the attack. Rabinowitz’s article, quite simply, lacks any depth of analysis on the critical points she makes about Paul."

Would Ron Paul have stopped the Holocaust?: "The latest line of attack on the Texas congressman, courtesy of his ex-staffer Eric Dondero, has it that Ron Paul would not have taken us into World War II to stop the Holocaust. 'He expressed to me countless times, that ‘saving the Jews,’ was absolutely none of our business,' Dondero claims. Of course, that’s exactly how Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and the rest of America’s wartime leaders felt."

Britain’s future lies with America, not Europe: "In 1952, then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson said that 'Britain has lost an empire but has failed to find a role.' Sadly for Britain, it decided to renounce its longstanding global cultural, legal and philosophical links to North America and instead looked for that role in Europe. Despite its geographic proximity to Britain, the Continent is nevertheless home to a host of cultures, legal systems and governing philosophies very different from those of traditionally liberal Britain. The consequences from that bad choice have bedeviled Britain for decades."

Alcohol pricing: Better England free than England sober: "The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today condemns proposals to make it harder for poor people to buy alcohol. The proposals include higher taxes, compulsory minimum prices for drink, further controls on advertising, and power to close down retailers. The only disagreement between the three main parties is how far they wish to go."



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, December 28, 2011

Israel and Christianity

Being an atheist, my church attendance these days is EXTREMELY spotty. Easter and Christmas is about it -- though Anne would be happy if we went more often. Anne is not particularly pious but, like me, she is a CULTURAL Protestant Christian. And culture accounts for a lot. A shared cultural background gives us an instinctive understanding of one-another and a similar response to many things. We are all happiest among our "ain folk", as the Scots put it. That is probably all gobbledegook to most Leftists but the loss is theirs.

I am at the moment in the grip of the joyous Christmas season -- and the hymns and carols that we sing at this time are so Israel-focused that I fail to see how any Christian can NOT be a great supporter of Israel. Pastor Hagee is sometimes berated for his extreme Israel-focus but if I lived in his town I think I might be inclined to attend any special services that he put on.

The Bible is an Israeli book. Even Luke the good physician -- who was not a Jew -- was apparently an Israeli.

So how can we not rejoice at this time over the return of descendants of its Biblical inhabitants to the "Promised Land"? We sing and read so much about that land and the personalities that emerged from it. I see Christians who are not strong supporters of Israel as fake Christians.


A Christian critique of Christmas

Weak protests about the "commercialization" of Christmas are routine and I think most of us know that most of the traditions associated with Christmas are of pagan origin but the writer below is offended by those pagan origins and sees them as sacrilegious. As with me however, her inherited culture leads her to accept most of the conventional celebrations

The very harsh words written by puritans in Boston 1679-1681 conveyed the message that the celebration of Christmas was basically a satanical practice.

In a nutshell, the puritans felt that since it was the Catholics that proclaimed Christ as being born on December 25th, it therefore was a sacrilege to follow Catholic dogma because they were heretics.

If the judge asked you if you honor Jesus Christ on the celebration of Saturnalia what would your answer be? Yes? Do you honor Christ on the same day as the pagan god? If you aren’t Catholic why would you call it Christmas, Christ-mass? And why would we want to honor our Lord and Savior on the day others are honoring Saturnalia anyway? Doesn’t God detest such practices? When Moses went up to meet God on Mount Sinai, he came back to find his brother Aaron had fashioned idols in order to honor GOD. Isn’t it obvious that God himself has already told us what honors him? Why do we believe that Christmas honors Christ? It doesn’t. It actually puts our Messiah in a boiling caldron with the rest of the false gods and there is nothing honoring in that.

I love Christmas time. I love the lights, music (sometimes), the food and traditions. I love when our families come together, and exchange gifts. But over the years my passion for the baby Jesus has suffered a massive hemorrhage, bled out, shriveled up and died. I killed the tradition of worshiping Christ during Christmas. I wouldn’t dare step foot in a church during the Christmas season now. You’ll be hard pressed to find me in a church at anytime these days. Am I now an atheist? Hardly!

Just because I refuse to mention Christ at Christmas time doesn’t make me an atheist, gnostic, or any other label you’d like to pin to my chest, I simply refuse to allow my Messiah to be grouped in with the fake sun god, Tammuz, Yule, and any other Babylonian or Viking god you can think of. There are some Messianic believers (and Christians too) who have gone so far as to never bring an evergreen tree in the house, or decorate, or make gingerbread men.

I’m not among those who refuse to celebrate the holidays. Some could say “ba humbug to you!” But really, as I said before I enjoy the tree, lights, food and traditions and sometimes the music. I don’t want that to end.

Am I satanical and pagan for having that tree? Some might say I am. I like having a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. I like giving gifts to my children. It isn’t pagan to me, its a tradition I enjoy. So sue me. LOL I have never worshiped Yule or had his phallic symbol in our home, I’ve never put up images of Saturnalia, and I most certainly do not have any need to tell our children about Santa which is nothing more than a Norse god, and my evergreen tree all decked out with gifts below doesn’t appease any dark god of winter. If I did, then you could say I were pagan and proud. I’m not a secret pagan either. I have friends who are pagans…beautiful lovely people, but that’s not me. No, its just the traditions we’ve grown up with. Would I condemn others for doing it their way? Nope. Would I get mad if others weren’t observing the holidays the way I do? Hell no.

I find it funny how crazy Christians get over Christmas (I can safely say I was in that category for a long time, so I can speak about this from experience, not just observation). They go all out with special services, songs about Jesus’ birth, throw him a party on the 25th and condemn others who want to take Christ out of Christmas.

Why is this funny? Because they want to perpetuate the lie that he was born on the 25th of December and they get offended believing Satan (the FATHER OF LIES) is attacking the holiday. They believe there is a war on Christmas. Yeah there’s a war alright! God is waging war. He never said to honor him with lies. His Son was not born on the sun god’s birthday. Why would anyone who worships the living God choose to honor our Lord and Savior in such a manner? Aren’t we to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth? How does one reconcile themselves to the fact that the whole Christmas season is a lie? To say “Jesus is the reason for the season” is actually a profane statement. True profanity at its finest.

It took a long time for me to let go of the lie of Christmas. There isn’t anything Christ-like in Christmas, no matter how many images of the baby Jesus are on greeting cards, gifts or in television shows. No matter how angry Christians ironically become over Jesus being taken out of the season, its still a lie, and a big one at that.

I know this subject is a bit controversial, but I love talking about controversial things…Christmas being one of them. I’m not sure if I’ve offended anyone, and that is never my intention, but I’m just giving my take on what the Christmas season means to me.

This year none of my children are with me on Christmas. Two are in NJ visiting relatives, one is home with her dog that has an ear infection and one needed to work today. I set up another Christmas date for all of us which is on the 28th this year. I like the idea of not giving in to Christmas dogma. Its very liberating for my children and for us. It means that relatives can have our kids for the holidays and we can make our own very special time together. It wasn’t always like that for me, but as I’ve grown up I’ve mellowed out a bit. As I bring this blog entry to a close, I’m so excited that in a few days all my kids will be together under one roof, joking, eating, enjoy each other and opening gifts.

Have a Merry X-Mas and a Happy New Year!



Is the whole world now turning towards North Korean economic policies?

Economic historian Martin Hutchinson below is once again pointing to awkward lessons from history

The death of Kim Jong-il, dictator of North Korea since 1994, has been met with near universal condemnation both of his human rights record and his approach to economics. Yet juche, the philosophy of self-reliance underpinning the North Korean economy since his father Kim Il-sung devised it, is far from dead. Instead, as hapless populist leaders search in the current recession for alternatives to the apparently failed 1990s “Washington consensus” version of capitalism, they are in many cases turning to versions of juche, horrible as its record has been in North Korea. Maybe Kim Il-sung, like Karl Marx before him, is destined to inspire millions of deluded followers a generation or more after his death.

The North Korean philosophy of juche was first propounded by Kim Il-sung in a December 28, 1955 speech “On eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and establishing Juche in ideological work.” Kim urged party functionaries not to import ideas wholesale from the Soviet Union, but to establish North Korea as a revolutionary nation in its own right. The ideology was developed over the next decade, alongside the Kim family’s extreme personality cult, receiving an impetus from the Sino-Soviet split of 1960, and was elaborated in an April 1965 speech, in which it was held to entail political independence, economic self-sustenance and self-reliance in defense. Kim Jong-il elaborated the ideology further in his 1982 “On the juche idea” and added an “army first” policy to it in 1996.

Juche has been held responsible for many of North Korea’s follies, including its universally hostile and deceptive foreign policy and its wayward nuclear program, although many of the Kim regime’s most unpleasant features are common to totalitarian states throughout history. However juche’s economic side, the doctrine of extreme self-reliance, minimizing international trade, investment and contact at every level, is of most interest here.

Self-reliance showed its downside in North Korea in 1994-98, when the country’s GDP halved and its populace descended into famine. However its earlier record was better. As of 1968, fifteen years after the end of the Korean War, North Korea was considerably richer than South Korea. This was only peripherally a result of juche; North Korea had inherited the bulk of the pre-war Japanese industrial plant (little of which had been destroyed by the 1950-53 war) and received considerable help including subsidized energy imports as a member of the Sino-Soviet bloc. After 1970, the subsidies declined and the Japanese equipment wore out, so North Korea entered a period of stagnation.

However the great blow to the juche economy was the fall of the Soviet bloc and the exposure of North Korea to the full force of the international market. Whereas juche had worked reasonably well within a non-market-driven economic bloc containing a third of the world’s population and much of its natural resources, as an eccentric ideology in a world of blistering free trade it proved a disaster. Since 2000, the North Korean economy has subsisted on handouts from its now much richer neighbor to the south and by blackmailing the West through its nuclear program.

There are thus lessons to be drawn from the last fifty years of North Korean economic history. First, any attempt to be self-reliant requires an economic entity that is large enough to produce most of the goods it needs, even inefficiently. North Korea on its own, without the Soviet bloc as friendly neighbors, manifestly fails on this criterion.

Second, and less obviously, juche works better in a world in which it is not particularly outlandish, in which free flow of goods and services is blocked by relatively high tariffs, and in which many other countries are practicing similar policies. In the 1950s and 1960s Britain and much of Europe had exchange controls and high tariffs both internal and external, China was an inward-looking peasant economy and India and most of Latin America were practicing policies of crude import substitution that were to hobble their economies for decades thereafter. The Soviet bloc, above all, devoted much of its output to weaponry and disabled the price mechanism through central planning. Only the United States practiced something close to free trade and unrestricted international investment, while Japan initially and the remainder of east Asia later built their economies on their export prowess to U.S. and European markets, without any corresponding domestic opening.

In the 1990s, conversely, exchange controls were a thing of the past, as was the Soviet bloc. International trade was at record highs, and international investment was finally returning to its apogee of 1914. Even more disruptively, the advent of the Internet during the decade made international supply chains far easier to manage than they had ever been before, leading to a massive boom in emerging markets that is still with us. In such a world, North Korean economic methods that had worked adequately in a more restricted world fell apart completely. Juche was much more outrageously sub-optimal in 1998 than it had been in 1968; thus the collapse of the North Korean economy in the middle 1990s.

Juche is thus a completely discredited economic ideology – except that today you can see elements of juche creeping into economic policy all over the world. Mercosur, the trade bloc including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and soon Venezuela, has just agreed to choose 100 imports on which it will impose 35% tariffs. Brazil itself has imposed a 30% tariff surcharge on imported automobiles. All five Mercosur leaders are leftists, elected in a reaction to the previous policies of economic liberalization; their natural instinct is to protect their economies from what they see as destructive global competition. Then you have the “anti-dumping duties” imposed by the U.S. on Chinese tires and the countervailing duties imposed by China on imports of U.S. automobiles. In India, the impulse to free markets under Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004) is long gone; the current government has hurriedly reversed a decision to open Indian retailing a fraction further to foreign investment.

Then you have the EU, not seen by most of its keenest supporters as a free trade zone – that’s a myth cooked up for the gullible British – but as a closed system strong enough at last to repel the hated influence of the United States and Asia. The attempt to battle against market forces which correctly flag the Greek economy as hopelessly uncompetitive at current exchange rates is a classic of juche thinking. So too is the German energy subsidy system, now copied by other EU countries, which allows multiple state-favored energy inputs at non-market prices, while a certification system is used to exclude Chinese wind turbine manufacturers. Even in stock exchanges, now the leading edge of globalization, the Deutsche Boerse-NYSE deal is being stymied by regulatory opposition at the European end, while having been let through by the U.S. authorities.

The current global flowering of juche is not surprising. In the Great Depression, not only did the United States raise its tariff barriers to inordinate levels by the Smoot Hawley absurdity, but even the normally free-trading Britain tried to produce a self-reliant Imperial market through the Ottawa Agreement of 1932. The result of the latter was a nice rebound of the British economy in the 1930s, but the gradual collapse of British manufacturing in sector after sector when it was exposed to the full rigors of international competition after World War II. It must not be forgotten that no Soviet era industrial behemoth fared so hopelessly in international competition as did the 1970s British Leyland. My father’s long standing ambition was to own a Jaguar; he achieved this ambition in 1973, poor man. British Leyland’s torture of an innocent customer by its abysmal quality control of that era will not be soon forgiven!

Thus you should not imagine for a second that Kim Il-sung’s juche ideology works in terms of providing long-term prosperity. Wherever it has been tried to any but the most minimal extent it has impoverished its people, as surely as it has in North Korea. In a world where the free market is working properly, like the global economy before 1914, or that of 1990-2008, only a lunatic would attempt it. However when the global economy suffers a prolonged setback, as in the 1930s or recently, a juche approach becomes increasingly attractive politically. What’s more, if the rest of the world is itself indulging in anti-competitive activities, or blocking the free movement of goods and capital, juche becomes less sub-optimal and can even work partially, for a time. Only when the system liberalizes once more does the extent of its failure become apparent.

Maybe we will soon lift out of the current global economic problems, and the world’s attempts to reproduce North Korean economic policies will be seen as a minor blip in a free market system. But there is an alternative possibility, in which the market-distorting policies themselves do enough economic damage that the global recession becomes indefinitely extended, and growth worldwide shudders to a halt or even reverses. Indeed the globalization process, producing as it does a shift in wealth from the West to emerging markets, could in a prolonged recession provide the seeds of its own downfall. Japan, the United States and western Europe, countries that still collectively retain much of the world’s economic clout but feel their economic welfare declining, could conceivably indulge in an orgy of juche-inspired policy self-destruction.

In that case Kim Il-sung, evil tyrant that he was, will have become the leading economic inspiration of the unhappy 21st century.



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, December 27, 2011

A great speech by a real entrepreneur

And all in a delightful Irish accent


Whose Country Is It Anyway?

Pat Buchanan

Half a century ago, American children were schooled in Aesop's fables. Among the more famous of these were "The Fox and the Grapes" and "The Tortoise and the Hare."

Particularly appropriate this Christmas season, and every Christmas lately, is Aesop's fable of "The Dog in the Manger." The tale is about a dog who decides to take a nap in the manger. When the ox, who has worked all day, comes back to eat some straw, the dog barks loudly, threatens to bite him and drives him from his manger. The lesson the fable teaches is that it is malicious and wicked to deny a fellow creature what you yourself do not want and cannot even enjoy.

What brings the fable to mind is this year's crop of Christmas-haters, whose numbers have grown since the days when it was only the village atheist or the ACLU pest who sought to kill Christmas. The problem with these folks is not simply that they detest Christmas and what it represents, but that they must do their best, or worst, to ensure Christians do not enjoy the season and holy day they love.

As a Washington Times editorial relates, the number of anti-Christian bigots is growing, and their malevolence is out of the closet: "In Leesburg, Va., a Santa-suit-clad skeleton was nailed to a cross. ... In Santa Monica, atheists were granted 18 of 21 plots in a public park allotted for holiday displays and ... erected signs mocking religion. In the Wisconsin statehouse, a sign informs visitors, 'Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.' A video that has gone viral on YouTube shows denizens of Occupy D.C. spewing gratuitous hatred of a couple who dared to appropriate a small patch of McPherson Square to set up a living Nativity scene."

People who indulge in such conduct invariably claim to be champions of the First Amendment, exercising their right of free speech to maintain a separation of church and state. They are partly right. The First Amendment does protect what they are doing. But what they are doing is engaging in hate speech and anti-Christian bigotry. For what is the purpose of what they are about, if not to wound, offend, insult and mock fellow Americans celebrating the happiest day of their calendar year?

Consider what this day means to a believing Christian. It is a time and a day set aside to celebrate the nativity, the birth of Christ, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God and their Savior who gave his life on the cross to redeem mankind and open the gates of heaven.

Even if a man disbelieves this, why would he interfere with or deny his fellow countrymen, three in four of whom still profess to be Christians, their right to celebrate in public this joyous occasion?

This mockery and hatred of Christmas testifies not only to the character of those who engage in it, it says something as well about who is winning the culture war for the soul of America.

Not long ago, the Supreme Court (1892) and three U.S. presidents -- Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter -- all declared America to be a "Christian nation." They did not mean that any particular denomination had been declared America's national religion -- indeed, that was ruled out in the Constitution -- but that we were predominantly a Christian people.

And so we were born. Around 1790, America was 99 percent Protestant, 1 percent Catholic, with a few thousands Jews. The Irish immigration from 1845 to 1850 brought hundreds of thousands more Catholics to America. The Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920 brought millions of Southern and Eastern Europeans, mostly Catholic and Jews. As late as 1990, 85 percent of all Americans described themselves as Christians.

And here one must pose a question. How did America's Christians allow themselves to be dispossessed of a country their fathers had built for them?

How did America come to be a nation where not only have all Christian prayers, pageants, holidays and holy days been purged from all government schools and public institutions, but secularism has taken over those schools, while Christians are mocked at Christmas in ways that would be declared hate crimes were it done to other religious faiths or ethnic minorities?

Was it a manifestation of tolerance and maturity, or pusillanimity, that Christians allowed themselves to be robbed of their inheritance to a point where Barack Obama could assert without contradiction that we Americans "do not consider ourselves to be a Christian nation"?

What are these Christmas-bashers, though still a nominal minority, saying to Christians with their mockery and ridicule of the celebration of the birth of Christ? "This isn't your country anymore. It is our country now." The question for Christians is a simple one: Do they have what it takes to take America back?



Feds' War on Religion

I am very disappointed by the dissolution of religious liberties in the U.S. military. Times have sadly and radically changed since my father served in World War II, since I served four years in the Air Force and since my two brothers, Wieland and Aaron, served in the Army in Vietnam. (My brother Wieland paid the ultimate price there in the line of duty.)

I thank God that I served in the Air Force during a time in which moral absolutes and a deep reverence for God pervaded culture, especially the military. No service member was ashamed or afraid to express his faith in God or his Christian beliefs. In fact, the very thought that service members would somehow have to protect or defend their Christian faith would have seemed ludicrous.

Remember that it was only a few short decades ago when a commander in chief spoke passionately about his Christian faith. President Ronald Reagan said this before the lighting of the national Christmas tree Dec. 16, 1982: "In this holiday season, we celebrate the birthday of one who, for almost 2,000 years, has been a greater influence on humankind than all the rulers, all the scholars, all the armies and all the navies that ever marched or sailed, all put together. ... It's also a holy day, the birthday of the Prince of Peace, a day when 'God so loved the world' that he sent us his only begotten son to assure forgiveness of our sins."

The First Amendment secures our total religious rights and liberties: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The American Civil Liberties Union and like-minded groups, such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, are not preserving First Amendment rights; they are perverting the meaning of the establishment clause (which was to prevent the creation of a national church like the Church of England) and denying the free exercise clause (which preserves our right to worship as we want, privately and publicly). Both clauses were intended to safeguard religious liberty, not to circumscribe the practicing of religion. The Framers were seeking to guarantee a freedom of religion, not a freedom from it.

I respect all religions but adhere to one. I believe what Benjamin Rush -- a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a member of the presidential administrations of Adams, Jefferson and Madison -- wrote: "Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament."

Friends, now is not the time in the history of our republic to be sheepish about our patriotism or religious convictions, as so many of our leaders are. Now is the time to demonstrate with boldness in what and whom we believe. That is the type of leader and president that we need in America's future.

Whatever your religious persuasion, don't be ashamed of it. And don't hesitate to let others know where you stand, respectfully speaking. Freedom of speech and religious liberty are your First Amendment rights. This is America. And that's one of the things that still make us a great nation. In God we trust.



Time For a Healthy Change

It’s an iron law of economics: You can’t get something for nothing. And yet politicians love to promise to hand out benefits, but are often reluctant to pay for them. So something’s got to give.

As proof, look across the pond, to Great Britain’s “free” health care system. There, patients “are facing more pain and longer waits,” the Associated Press reports. “That’s because the National Health Service is being forced to trim 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) from its budget by 2015, as part of the most radical changes made since the system was founded more than 60 years ago.” And “free” health care is only going to get more expensive, for taxpayers and patients.

The British government plans to fire some 20,000 health care workers and close a large number of hospitals. Even so, health care analysts there say hospitals are making patients wait for care, in the hope that some will decide to pay for it themselves or die while waiting.

“At some point, we’ll have to look at what the boundaries are of what governments provide and what people will be paying for themselves,” Mark Pearson, head of health at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, told AP. “At the moment, countries aren’t ready to have that discussion yet, but that breaking point will come one day.”

Maybe it’s time to have exactly that conversation here in the U.S. Medicare would provide the ideal opportunity.

“Before concluding work for the year, Congress must tackle other major issues as well, including figuring out how to avert a scheduled deep cut in reimbursement rates paid to doctors under Medicare,” the Washington Post reported on Dec. 12.

But why? The deep cut is supposed to be a feature, not a bug. In an attempt to rein in Medicare spending, Congress created a payment formula that would supposedly have trimmed reimbursment payments to doctors every year since 2003.

Instead, lawmakers have chosen to override their own price controls. “Congress has voted repeatedly to temporarily extend or increase existing reimbursement rates through deficit spending,” Peter Suderman wrote in Reason magazine. “The temporary patches have substituted for permanent fixes because no one knows how to pay for a long-term fix. But by relying on a series of temporary patches, Congress has made it even more expensive to enact a long-term fix.”

Because lawmakers have voted to cancel the annually-scheduled cuts, physician reimbursement rates are set to plunge by almost 30 percent next year. That’s the cut that the Post notes Congress intends to avoid with the latest version of what’s now called “Doc fix” legislation. But, again: why change the policy every year at the last minute? All year long lawmakers pretend they intend to change Medicare, and they end up not only preserving it, but making it more expensive.

Here’s an idea. Instead of simply passing “Doc fix” year in and year out, let’s actually fix the problem by “bending the cost curve” and holding down Medicare expenses.

Earlier this year, Rep. Paul Ryan introduced a plan that would transform Medicare for anyone under the age of 54. When these people retired, they’d be given a voucher that would be used to buy private insurance.

It’s a solid idea. Retirees could pick and choose what plan would work best for them. They’d have a personal involvement in their health care, and in holding down costs. As for whether these retirees could actually handle the responsibility, remember that they’ve been buying and selling things: houses, cars, food, all their lives. They’ve raised children, held jobs, planned weddings, run businesses. They’re certainly capable of selecting a plan that provides for their health care needs.

These plans don’t exist yet, of course. But they’d spring up if people actually had Medicare vouchers to spend. And the price competition would hold costs down much more efficiently than Congress’ failed spending caps have.

The federal government can’t go on borrowing almost half of what it spends today from tomorrow’s taxpayers. We need to change course, before an iron law of economics crushes us the way it’s already crushing democracies in Europe.



State Legislatures Take on “Judicial Hellholes” that Undermine Business

Some state legislatures are taking a stand against abusive litigation practices that drive up costs for consumers and discourage business, according to a new report from the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF). Even as it identified “judicial hellholes” where judges apply the law against defendants in a manner that is considered unfair and unbalanced, ATRF called attention to “points of light” throughout the country where state lawmakers are taking a stand against runaway litigation practices.

“State legislatures enacted nearly 50 civil justice reforms in 2011,” the report says. “These included comprehensive tort reform packages in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina, and more targeted reforms in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.”

Some of these reforms include new measures that guard against the use of “junk science” in court and limiting liability to landowners in cases where those who are injured were trespassing. ATRF also highlighted encouraging court rulings in jurisdictions that are typically weighted against civil defendants.

Even so, the nation has a long way to go before abusive litigation practices are brought to heal as the report makes clear. The following areas have been identified as the top “judicial hellholes” for 2011: the states of California and West Virginia, along with local jurisdictions, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, South Florida, Madison and St. Claire Counties in Illinois, and New York City and Albany, New York.

Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson notes that, “job creation and investment in a state is often dictated by the litigation climate within that state. Simply put, those states which give the trial lawyers free rein to drum up nuisance law suits struggle to compete for business investment with those who have reasonable tort liability rules.”

Beyond the states and localities named as “judicial hellholes,” some other jurisdictions were named as being just on edge of falling off into the abyss.

Louisiana, for example, has been placed on the “hellhole watch list” as result of so-called “legacy lawsuits” that based on contamination allegations against well sites that are highly questionable in many cases.

“This is not the first time Louisiana has been called out on the national stage for its poor legal climate, and whether we like it or not, reputation matters,” Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) said. “The perception of a state’s legal climate affects how companies do business, and where they decide to invest and create new, well-paying jobs.”

The legal climate also affects each state’s competitive posture, the report notes. Although Louisiana has enormous economic potential, it is at a competitive disadvantage against neighboring states of Mississippi and Texas, which less are burdened by the threats of specious, business killing litigation.



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, December 26, 2011

Hate is a powerful motivator

And it drives Leftists on continually

They just don't know when to quit. Consumed with the singular task of re-electing Barack Obama, progressives across the country will use the holiday season to propagandize their conservative relatives and friends. White House elves are directing the re-education Christmas camp efforts.

On Tuesday, the Obama 2012 campaign released an instructional video titled "Home for the Holidays: Share Why You're Working to Re-elect President Obama." Instead of relaxing with loved ones, the president's monomaniacal campaign staff and volunteers provide "pointers" and "strategies" for converting their "stubborn" families.

Not coincidentally, the operatives at -- funded by Obama donor George Soros -- spearheaded a similar holiday re-programming effort at Thanksgiving. Headlined, "Your Conservative Uncle," the group urged supporters (and e-mailed public school teachers across the country whether they approved of the message or not) to "correct" family members who watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Hark, hear the talking points.

The slickly produced Obama video spotlights testimonials from exasperated young people speaking condescendingly of their Republican-voting fathers and grandmothers. Obama, says one, is the "politician of my generation." He's a "people's man," preaches another. Those who disagree are ignorant, "stuck in their ways" and "works in progress," the campaign drones complain.

"If the conversation at the dinner table turns to politics over the holidays," they advise, "don't just quickly change the subject. As you head home this weekend, think about how you'll steer the discussion to the progress we've made over the past three years -- from health care to ending the war in Iraq -- and why the people you're passing the mashed potatoes to should support President Obama in 2012."

If those people happen to be medical device makers hit by hidden Obamacare taxes or small business-owners still wondering why Big Labor cronies got regulatory waivers while they didn't, the mashed potatoes might rightly end up somewhere other than on guests' plates.

Team Obama and their acolytes mock conservative family members who won't sing from their hymnbook, but fail to address the commander in chief's own Boy in the Bubble syndrome. The video also whitewashes away mounting left-flank gripes -- like those of former White House cheerleader and Hollywood liberal activist Matt Damon, who this week challenged the president's, er, manhood.

"I've talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grass-roots level," Damon told Elle Magazine. "One of them said to me: 'Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician.' ... You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."

Just like their dear leader, the Obama pep-and-prep squad is convinced that the problem is their communication of White House policies instead of the costly, failed, corrupted policies themselves. If only Grandma would watch Obama's Osawatomie speech on YouTube one more time. If only Uncle George would just be quiet and absorb one more indignant lecture from his Occupy Wall Street-championing niece or nephew.

The left's single-minded holiday soldiers remind me of journalist Ambrose Bierce's famous diagnosis: "A bore is a person who talks when you wish him to listen." There's a time for political proselytizing. There's a place for ideological battles. And there's a moment when you should give it all a rest.

It's ridiculous to squander precious time with family and friends on partisan squabbles. Shouting over turkey about the payroll tax holiday? Turning the New Year's Eve Party into a Democratic evangelical service? Severing lifelong relationships over Kabuki Beltway brawls? My Christmas wish is for a collective deep breath and a dose of perspective before America hurtles into the 2012 presidential primaries and caucuses.

This is the time to celebrate the gift of life. I'll be counting my blessings, enjoying the company of loved ones regardless of their voting records and engaging in prayerful reflection. And when a liberal family member passes the mashed potatoes, I'll have only one thing to say: Would you mind passing the gravy, too? Thanks.



The Government Grinches That Stole Christmas

‘Tis the season for every media outlet, blog, or writer to put out a “Top List” of the year. Instead of the usual top hits or highlights of the year, it’s worth remembering why this was one of the roughest years for small business owners at the hands of our own government. Herein our own list of the Grinches that tried to replace holiday cheer with a goody bag of ill-considered, overly onerous rules and regulations and other assorted job killers this year.

NLRB Speedy Election Rule: Just in time for Christmas, the National Labor Relations Board this week published its final version of a rule that will intentionally speed up elections for employees deciding whether they want to join a union—so that employers don’t actually have time to comply with all the agency’s arcane laws and talk to their employees. The result will inevitably more people in a union who have no idea what it’s going to mean for their work lives, retirement security, and ability to advance based on their own merit.

And just to throw in its own version of gift wrapping, the same NLRB is attempting to push through a rule forcing 6 million workplaces to post “notices” that are little more than glossy advertisements for joining a union. Think Normal Rockwell shills for Teamsters.

EPA: Led by Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA has been on an aggressive regulation push this year with rewriting air quality codes and using sustainability as argument to leverage control over business. In Texas alone new EPA rules have cost the state thousands of jobs and have halted in some cases energy production which increases the cost of gasoline. Nationwide the cost of compliance with the new EPA regulations to businesses will be in the hundreds of billions.

The Dark Angel atop the tree—ObamaCare: While not enacted in this calendar year, the costs and hidden surprises of this job killing monstrosity continue to spring forth. Once fully functional there will be a sharp increase in layoffs for employers who cannot afford to keep up with the increased costs. The repeal of this legislation is at the top of many small business owners wish list.

Gibson Guitars Raided: The Little Drummer Boy had to be thankful that he did not meet the same fate as his buddies in the guitar business. The iconic American instrument company was raided by Feds who accused the company of selling “illegal wood” that it had legally obtained. The final sour note: the government basically acknowledged the company would have an easier time manufacturing its products overseas.

Uncertainty: As business owners, we have to be planners. Profits, losses, expenses, payroll, etc all need to be mapped out and predictable so that determinations can be made about whether to expand, to hire, or to sometimes even downsize.

One of the most harmful things this Administration has done for business and jobs is to create a environment of absolute uncertainty. What new costly regulations might add to our overhead? What new taxes or mandated benefits might make the new employees unaffordable? We just don’t know, and that’s a big problem. It’s a lot having to wonder every time you make a business decision whether you’ll shoot your eye out with that brand-new Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right in to the stock.

If our elected representatives wanted to ring in the new year with a serious resolution for enabling economic growth led by job creation, checking this list twice—and then undoing it—would be a great gift to all those looking for a happier holiday next year.



'Dysfunctional' government is a feature, not a bug

by Jeff Jacoby

YOU DON'T NEED ME to tell you that the chattering class is appalled by the partisan gridlock and political bickering that keeps Washington from dealing efficiently with the nation's problems. Last week Gallup measured Congress's job approval at 11 percent, a new low. Heading into Christmas week, you could hardly open a paper or turn on the radio without encountering a wave of dudgeon over the latest legislative squabble -- a standoff over extending a payroll tax cut that expires on Dec. 31. "Just when you thought the mess in Washington couldn't get any messier" was the way an exasperated Washington Post editorial began, while a columnist in The Examiner pronounced the wrangling on Capitol Hill "almost a parody of Washington dysfunction."

So what else is new? Last month it was the failure of the so-called Supercommittee to agree on a package of budget cuts that was said to epitomize the federal establishment's fecklessness. In the spring and summer it was the protracted fight over the federal debt ceiling and Standard & Poor's downgrade of US Treasury bonds. Before that there were the polarizing confrontations over stimulus spending, financial-industry regulation, and Barack Obama's massive health-care overhaul.

Two years ago Newsweek was lamenting that partisan politics had turned this nation into "America the Ungovernable." The liberal newsweekly was in a lather over the political forces conspiring "to prevent President Obama from running the country effectively," and was upset in particular because Massachusetts had just elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to the US Senate. That meant another vote for the GOP's "agenda of pure nihilism," Newsweek fumed, and more of the "political impotency that has come to define the United States in the 21st century."

These days liberals think rather better of Brown, who has positioned himself as the Senate's least conservative Republican and who issues statements condemning "gridlock and partisanship" as "disgusting." When Brown broke with House Republicans over the payroll-tax extension last week, Doris Kearns Goodwin sang his praises on MSNBC: "If there were more Scott Browns … then perhaps this partisanship would not be as dysfunctional as it is because he's able to cross party lines."

Of course "this partisanship" would also be less "dysfunctional" if more Democrats decided to cross party lines. It takes two political parties to bring Congress to a standstill, after all. Either one can always speed up the legislative process by yielding to the other.

But our democratic republic wasn't designed for speed or legislative efficiency. Alexander Hamilton: Impediments to legislative efficiency were built in to the constitutional system "to increase the chances . . . against the passing of bad laws through haste, inadvertence, or design."

The Framers of the Constitution never expected Congress to clear the decks for sweeping presidential action. They weren't troubled by fears that America would be rendered "ungovernable" by the ease with which new laws or major policy changes could be delayed or derailed. What the smart set bewails today as "gridlock" or "brinksmanship" or an "agenda of pure nihilism," the architects of the American system regarded as indispensable checks and balances. They knew how flawed human beings can be, and how ardently propelled by their passions and ideals.

That was why they regarded restraint -- not speed, not deference to presidents, not bipartisan cooperation, not administrative expertise, not popular opinion -- as the linchpin of their constitutional plan. "Impressions of the moment may sometimes hurry [Congress] into measures which itself on mature reflection would condemn," Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 73. They may not have envisioned Supercommittees, Gallup polls, or MSNBC. But they knew that presidents and lawmakers would always be under pressure to act too fast, do too much, decide too quickly.

So it was essential, Hamilton said, that hurdles and roadblocks be incorporated into the constitutional structure -- "to increase the chances in favor of the community against the passing of bad laws through haste, inadvertence, or design." True, that might sometimes hold up needed change. But "the injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing … bad ones."

The system was meant to be frustrating, and frustrating many have found it. Just this year, North Carolina's governor suggested that congressional elections be "suspended" for two years, so lawmakers could act without fear of being rebuked at the polls. It would be "very tempting," President Obama mused in July, "to bypass Congress, and change the laws on my own."

Such frustration is understandable. It is also one of the safeguards of American liberty. Our constitutional republic has thrived for more than two centuries, but it might never have done so without the "gridlock" and "dysfunction" we love to hate.



The legacy of the "Dear Leader"

Kim was a man on his own mission - to enrich himself, maintain power at any price, and to crush anyone who stood in his way. He was, in short, his father's son. It is hard to overstate the level of oppression he exerted on the population of the Hermit Kingdom. The abuses in North Korea under his rule were among the most severe in the world in the last 20 years.

As pro bono counsel to Havel, Elie Wiesel and former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, I worked with the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea and produced two reports on the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country.

We concluded that North Korea was committing crimes against humanity against its own people. During its late 1990s famine, some one million people and perhaps many more died, and the population remains at constant risk of starvation with some 37 per cent of children chronically malnourished.

North Korea also operates a vast gulag system, with some 200,000 people imprisoned for real or imagined offences. These camps impose a brutal regimen on their populations, including forced labour, starvation-level rations, and widespread torture.

It is estimated more than 400,000 people have died in these camps in the past two decades.




SC: DoJ nixes voter ID law: "The Justice Department on Friday rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, saying it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years. The Obama administration said South Carolina’s law didn’t meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting."

“Systemic risk” for profit: "It isn’t for poor, laboring Europeans that the continent’s 'public servants' sought to swell the state. Whatever their dishonest fustian about social and economic justice, the ruling class served not to attack Europe’s private sector banks, but to accommodate them. In Europe, economic centralization has witnessed big government grow in tandem with big business, which has goaded the development of a legal and regulatory regime that disqualifies small competitors."

No, Melissa, there isn’t a Santa Claus: "Reliance on bureaucrats is a necessary part of government, but hardly desirable. Bureaucrats are supposed to serve the public. Economic science points to agency problems in public bureaucracies. Bureaucrats, as agents of the public, should serve the public. Since neither elected officials nor ordinary citizens have strong incentives, let alone enough time, to monitor bureaucrats, these functionaries have leeway to pursue their own interests, at the expense of the general public. Bureaucrats have poor reputations for public service, and deservedly so."

Patria, parenti, amici: "There is one obvious difference between nationalism and familial favoritism. Familial favoritism is a deep and ineradicable part of the human psyche, thanks to many millions of years of evolution. Nationalism -- and expansive tribal identities more generally -- pretends to be equally fundamental, but it's largely cheap talk. People happily give tons of free stuff to their children. But you need coercion to make people surrender more than a pittance to their 'fellow citizens"

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



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


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