Update on my health
First let me say thanks to the 100 or more people who have wished me a speedy recovery and who have welcomed my return to blogging. That has helped to keep my spirits up and helped my resolve to battle on.
But I am far from out of the woods. I appear to have acquired an antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infection while I was in hospital and my wellness varies a lot from day to day. I pee a lot of blood and am often in acute pain for short periods. I have tried both the usual antibiotic preparations used to treat UTIs so the way forward is not at all clear. I am pretty sure that I will have to go back to hospital soon, where I will probably be put on an antibiotic drip.
And, yes, I am drinking a lot of Cranberry juice. It does help with UTIs
So although my blogging has begun to return to normal in the last couple of days, I cannot predict whether or not that will continue. I will however try to let people know if I seem likely to be temporarily off blogging.
Drumming up class hatred
by Jeff Jacoby
THERE IS NOTHING NEW under the sun, including politicians who seek to win votes by milking the gap between rich and poor.
Today it's Barack Obama, demanding a "Buffett rule" and decrying the harm caused when "the gap between those at the very, very top and everybody else keeps growing wider and wider and wider and wider." Not so long ago it was John Edwards, intent on riding his "Two Americas" stump speech ("One America does the work while another America reaps the reward") all the way to the White House. Earlier still it was FDR, lambasting the wealthy who "did not want to pay a fair share" and boasting that he'd "increased still further the taxes paid by individuals in the highest brackets" because that was "the American thing to do."
Indeed, presidential candidates have been picking at the income-inequality scab since at least 1840. That was the year William Henry Harrison, running against incumbent Martin Van Buren during a recession, accused the president of pursuing policies "directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer." (Harrison won, but died a month after taking office.)
Those who peddle class resentment can always find ready takers; otherwise politicians wouldn't keep selling the same rug. But the demand for it is never as great as the demagogues imagine. Most Americans don't hate the rich, or even the very rich, and they don't despise the economic system that makes great wealth possible. "That all men are created equal" goes to the core of our national creed; its undeniable moral force led Americans to fight a horrific Civil War over slavery in the 19th century, and to embrace the legal and social upheaval of the Civil Rights movement in the 20th.
But what Americans honor is equality in the eyes of the law, political equality -- not equality of income or material circumstances. The two kinds of equality are inherently in conflict, as every effort to impose egalitarianism eventually proves. "There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal," wrote Friedrich Hayek in 1948. The fact that some people make much more money than others has never convinced the American people that a fundamental overhaul of society is necessary or even desirable. For all the extravagant claims made last year about Occupy Wall Street's significance, is anyone surprised that the movement has fizzled?
For months President Obama has been calling income inequality "the defining issue of our time," but relatively few Americans agree. In a recent Gallup poll, only 2 percent of respondents identified the gap between rich and poor as their top economic concern. Even among the Democrats in Gallup's survey, inequality didn't show up as a major worry.
Armed with a bully pulpit and backed by a liberal media chorus, Obama may have good political reasons to keep hammering away at the wealth gap. No doubt he can mobilize some voters with his suspect claims about billionaires paying a 1 percent tax rate, or the charge that Republicans want "everybody left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules."
But most voters understand intuitively that in a free society, unequal productivity will generate unequal wealth. Incentives and rewards are powerful motivators of work and risk-taking; and the greater the potential rewards, the more an economy will achieve. A Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Sam Walton is far more likely to flourish in a nation where people can become millionaires and billionaires -- and to enrich all of us in the process of enriching themselves.
"In a democratic, capitalist society, gaps in income are inevitable," write Peter Wehner and Robert Beschel Jr. in the current issue of National Affairs. "Yet it is worth noting that democratic capitalism has done far more to create wealth, advance human flourishing, and lift people out of destitution than any other economic and political system.. A policy agenda that has as its top priority the elimination of income gaps . not only encourages resentment but also threatens the American economy - because a narrow focus on closing gaps tends to go along with reduced overall growth."
There is no fixed limit to the wealth a society can produce, and today's "1 percent" produce an amazing amount of it. But their wealth takes nothing away from the other 99 percent. We are all free to rise as high as talent, education, and hard work will take us. Wealth is not theft. Productivity is not zero-sum. If economic disparity is a problem, then the way to solve it is by raising those who are stuck near the bottom, not tearing down those who have climbed to the top.
Obama Invents Phony Right, Attacks Constitutional Rights
"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." -- Barack Obama, February 1996
"What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman." -- Barack Obama, October 2004
"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." -- Barack Obama, May 2012
President Obama's "evolving" stand on the issue of same sex marriage, an evolution that led him from his original position favoring same sex marriage, to one opposing it and then back to his original support for this new "right" is a classic example of liberal "say whatever it takes to get elected" hypocrisy.
That liberals will say whatever it takes to get elected and Obama will pander to liberal homosexual pressure groups is no surprise, nor dangerous in and of itself.
What is dangerous is Obama's penchant for finding new "rights" that have no basis in the Constitution, while actively attacking the rights clearly articulated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Obama's willingness to attack the First Amendment freedom of religion of those who oppose abortion, his EPA's regular trampling of property rights, and his invention of the right to medical care in Obamacare show that the rights Obama and his liberal allies invent to get elected all come with a strong mandate for federal government coercion and the end of freedom of conscience.
Now that Obama has come out in favor of same sex marriage, his attack on the freedom of conscience of military chaplains who oppose same sex marriage and his refusal to defend laws that prohibit the recognition of same sex marriage is starting to look more and more like the first step toward a federal mandate for the recognition of same sex marriage.
This of course would throw the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment out the window.
As Obama and his liberal allies create phony new "rights" to secure votes from liberal pressure groups, they are actively attacking and undermining the fundamental rights the Constitution was intended to protect - such as freedom of religion and property rights. In their eagerness to create new "rights" and obtain the votes of the homosexual lobby, Obama and his liberal allies are set to once again ignore the Constitution as the "law that governs government," and that is the real danger in Obama's embrace of same sex marriage.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
'Paycheck Fairness' Will Mean a Pay Cut for Men
Wage discrimination is already illegal. So what? Get ready for another phony debate.
Team Obama calculates that its road to victory is paved with the votes of women, so the American people are now subject to a coordinated effort to cast GOP opposition to expanding government power as an assault on the weaker sex. But few women view public policy as a battle between the sexes. Women whose husbands, brothers and sons are struggling to find jobs find no comfort in women's comparatively low unemployment rate.
Next up in the Democratic campaign is the Paycheck Fairness Act, supposedly necessary to achieve "equal pay" for women. Never mind that it's already illegal to pay women less than men for the same work. Democrats say that failure to support this bill is akin to greenlighting workplace discrimination. In reality, women aren't the primary beneficiaries of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Lawyers are, since it encourages more litigation, increases potential lawsuit payouts, and makes it more difficult for companies to defend themselves.
Under the act, the government would also collect more information about compensation practices and establish a national award for employers deemed best in advancing "pay equity." These are distractions companies don't need.
Feminists have long wanted enlightened government officials, rather than the indifferent market, to determine salaries. Information collection and government-compensation guidelines today could easily become regulations and mandates tomorrow.
Such meddling would be disastrous for the economy, but men particularly should be warned: Bureaucrats micromanaging compensation standards will mean many male workers should expect a pay cut.
We've seen how this works. Soon Democrats will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX as a triumph for women's equality, but mothers of would-be wrestlers and male gymnasts know this well-intentioned law has a darker history.
Title IX amended federal education law to require that schools receiving federal funding couldn't discriminate on the basis of sex. However, enforcement procedures have morphed this antidiscrimination statute into a de facto quota system for athletics. Many colleges have eliminated men's teams, and some male sports are now all but extinct at the collegiate level, such as men's gymnastics.
Colleges' struggle to meet Title IX's proportionality requirement speaks to a larger issue: Women increasingly outnumber men on campus, earning an estimated 57% of bachelor's degrees. Against this backdrop, Title IX's enforcement policy seems particularly ill-conceived. Female students out-participate men in just about all activities other than sports, from theater programs to student government. Why are sports the sole target of Title IX?
It turns out that the law's champions-including the Obama administration's Title IX Interagency Working Group-do want to expand its reach to academics, specifically to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the few disciplines in which men's enrollment continues to outpace women's.
Of course, statistics about young men's troubling prospects shouldn't be used to justify a new set of intrusive government programs to bolster boys' self-esteem or curb women's success in pursuit of gender parity. But they should encourage greater awareness of how policies sold as protecting women can be used to bludgeon men, and they should spur greater skepticism of the idea that women need bigger government to succeed.
The War on Women rhetoric may be intended to derail specific candidacies, but it also derails needed public-policy debates. With trillion-dollar deficits, we need to make tough choices about funding priorities. Calling attempts to control government's costs an assault on women will only make deliberations less productive.
Americans had a preview of how this tactic stifles debate during the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw this law, known to be riddled with waste and fraud, as a politically toxic issue. So instead of pushing for needed reforms, he surrendered, declaring, "We're all in favor of the Violence Against Women Act. . . . There's nothing to fight about."
Women cannot be a political shield that prevents rigorous debate about the direction of our country.
FL: Church defies produce stand order: "A Florida town is ordering a church to move a produce stand where the needy can get free food grown by the faithful, saying its location violates zoning laws. Members of the Believers' Fellowship Word of Faith Church in Lakeland started a garden on the 6-acre church grounds two years ago, growing everything from zucchini to onions to watermelons. At first, they gave the food out for free. But when demand outpaced supply, they added inventory donated by other local growers, expanded the tent to the roadside and began taking optional donations. All proceeds (500 in a typical week) go back into the garden for seeds, fertilizer and more."
Occupy's organized anarchy: "The 'Occupy' movement, which the Obama administration and much of the media have embraced, has implications that reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created. The unwillingness of authorities to put a stop to their organized disruptions of other people's lives, their trespassing, vandalism and violence is a de facto suspension, if not repeal, of the 14th Amendment's requirement that the government provide 'equal protection of the laws' to all its citizens. How did the 'Occupy' movement acquire such immunity from the laws that the rest of us are expected to obey"
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)