In case anybody wonders how that turned out, there is a small update on my Personal blog. Wynnum is a seaside area of Brisbane.
In this corner, weighing 110 pounds and standing 5-feet 7-inches tall, 18-year-old pop star Justin Bieber. In the other corner, some guy who was aggressively taking his picture in a California shopping mall.
Los Angeles County police are investigating accusations that Justin struck a photographer, which, if true, would violate California Penal Code 242 even if the striking blow was, well, glancing. Detectives want you to call them if you saw the brawl or if Justin attacked you, as well.
So far Bieber is not talking.
Apparently, the photographer called the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff's department last Sunday afternoon. The victim says he was "battered" by the singer, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Selena Gomez. The victim complained of "pain" and was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released into the custody of a lawyer who immediately contacted the media.
Now, I am certain being attacked by Justin Bieber is no laughing matter. If the guy ever got a haircut and a neck tattoo, he could look menacing. Perhaps Justin knows kung fu.
But the odds are that this is yet another shakedown generated by a loser and his sleazy attorney who will game the system hoping Bieber will throw some money at them in order to make the annoyance go away.
There are now legions of lawyers who will file lawsuits against famous and rich people for just about anything. Lawsuits cost money to defend, and the media are overjoyed to publicize any and all alleged "transgressions." No evidence has to be provided to the press; a lurid accusation is enough. This is now an industry: Fleecing the Rich and Famous. In fact, it could be a reality show. Paging Robin Leach.
But if you really look at what's happening, it's despicable. Legalized extortion and blackmail are now epidemics in America. Famous people are routinely slandered, libeled, followed and menaced in public. And there's little they can do about it. If you are a public figure and/or have money, you are a huge target and will get little sympathy from the court or from the court of public opinion.
Recently, I took three young teenagers to see the play "Jesus Christ Superstar." Upon leaving the theater, a guy who identified himself as an "Occupy protester" was waiting for me with a camera and recorder. He began screaming nonsense. I told the guy to knock it off because he was scaring the kids. He actually yelled louder and even chased my car down the street. The girls were unnerved.
I truly wish Bieber had been with me that night so he could have smacked down that guy. I guess I could have done it, but the line of attorneys responding would have stretched from Broadway to Michigan.
We absolutely need tort reform in this country, and we need to adopt a brand-new slogan, as well: "Free Justin Bieber."
The anti-job Obama
Now would be a really good time for Obama to re-think the Keystone Pipeline. And Dodd-Frank. And Obamacare. And ANYTHING the EPA rules against outside of its own cafeteria.
Maybe lobbying and regulating against measures that would create jobs isn’t the right message a presidential reelection aspirant wants to project to the American people.
It occurs to me that maybe- I’m reaching here- the American people value the… um… jobs that would come along with the pipeline.
About 200,000-300,000 jobs would be created by the $7 billion pipeline project according to various estimate, including the estimates from Trans Canada, the compny that wants for build the pipline. A few jobs in the energy field tend to produce lots of other jobs. See: Dakota, South.
Because on Friday any president looking to be reelected got the worst of possible news outside of the Eurozone
The Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported that the number of jobs that were created last month here in the USzone is roughly half of what economists expected, even in their worst case scenario, raising unemployment faster than people are leaving the job market.
That’s pretty darned fast.
Because up until now the only thing Obama’s done to help alleviate unemployment is to get people to stop looking for work. And as they stop, they help the “official” unemployment rate go down when people are subtracted out of the workforce.
It’s so bad that I half expect Obama and his own Mortimer Snerd, Jay Carney, to say that the real problem with unemployment is that “freakin’ people keep looking for jobs. If they’d just stop and claim to be disabled, unemployment would be solved. It can’t be constitutional for people to be looking for jobs this late in my reelection campaign.”
A crook in charge of justice
Attorney General Eric Holder recently told a group of black clergymen that the right to vote was being threatened by people who are seeking to block access to the ballot box by blacks and other minorities.
This is truly world-class chutzpah, by an Attorney General who stopped attorneys in his own Department of Justice from completing the prosecution of black thugs who stationed themselves outside a Philadelphia voting site to harass and intimidate white voters.
This may have seemed like a small episode to some at the time, but it was only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The U.S. Attorney who was prosecuting that case -- J. Christian Adams -- resigned from the Department of Justice in protest, and wrote a book about a whole array of similar race-based decisions on voting rights by Eric Holder and his subordinates at the Department of Justice.
The book is titled "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department." It names names, dates and places around the country where the Department of Justice stopped its own attorneys from pursuing cases of voter fraud and intimidation, when it was blacks who were accused of these crimes.
If Mr. Adams is lying, he has taken a huge risk in citing individuals by name and quoting them directly. Yet, despite the fact that most of those he accuses are lawyers, apparently no one has sued him. Moreover, Adams has also testified under oath before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, on the racial double standard at the Department of Justice, when it comes to voting rights.
What Attorney General Holder has been complaining loudly about, and launching federal lawsuits about, are states that require photo identification to vote. Holder calls this blocking minority "access" to the voting booths.
Since millions of black Americans -- like millions of white Americans -- are confronted with demands for photo identification at airports, banks and innumerable other institutions, it is a little much to claim that requiring the same thing to vote is denying the right to vote. But Holder's chutzpah is up to the task.
Attorney General Holder claims that the states' requirement of photo identification for voting, in order to prevent voter fraud, is just a pretext for discriminating against blacks and other minorities. He apparently sees no voter fraud, hears no voter fraud and speaks no voter fraud.
Despite Holder's claim, a little experiment in his own home voting district showed how easy it is to commit voter fraud. An actor -- a white actor, at that -- went to a voting place where Eric Holder is registered to vote, and told them that he was Eric Holder.
The actor had no identification at all with him, either with or without a photo. He told the voting official that he had forgotten and left his identification in his car. Instead of telling him to go back to the car and get some identification, the official said that that was all right, and offered him the ballot.
The actor had the good sense not to actually take the ballot, which would have made him guilty of voter fraud -- and, being white, he would undoubtedly have been prosecuted by Eric Holder's Department of Justice.
But the actor had made his point. When a white man with no identification can go to a voting site, impersonate a black man who lives in that district, and get his ballot offered to him, then it is far too easy to commit voter fraud.
Does not Attorney General Eric Holder understand that? Of course he understands it! The man is not stupid, despite his other failings.
Holder's pooh-poohing of voter fraud dangers, and hyping the "threat" of denying minorities "access" to the voting booth, are completely consistent with his drive to (1) maximize the number of votes by black Democrats and (2) spread as much fear as possible among minorities that they are under siege, and that the Democrats are their only protection and salvation.
It is a political protection racket, with payoffs in votes.
Nor can Holder's boss, Barack Obama, be unaware of voter fraud. After all, he comes from Chicago, where voting officials refuse to discriminate against dead people.
Reprehensible international bureaucracies
I’m not a big fan of international bureaucracies, mostly because they always seem to promote bad policy such as higher tax rates.
* The International Monetary Fund is urging higher tax rates and pushing for nations to replace flat tax systems with so-called progressive taxation.
* The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has embraced Obama’s class-warfare agenda and is pushing for higher tax rates in America.
* The United Nations is working with statists such as George Soros and urging global taxes.
* Even the World Health Organization has adopted some of this activist left-wing mentality, and is pushing global tobacco taxes.
To add insult to injury, the bureaucrats who work at these organizations have created very comfortable lives for themselves while the rest of us pick up the tab, as documented here and here.
But the ultimate insult is that the overpaid and pampered bureaucrats receive tax-free salaries while they jet-set around the world pushing for higher taxes.
Yes, you read correctly. They demand higher taxes for everyone else, but their bloated salaries are exempt!
Here’s some of what the UK-based Guardian just reported about the head of the IMF.
“Taxes for thee, but not for me”
Christine Lagarde, the IMF boss who caused international outrage after she suggested in an interview with the Guardian on Friday that beleaguered Greeks might do well to pay their taxes, pays no taxes, it has emerged. As an official of an international institution, her salary of $467,940 (£298,675) a year plus $83,760 additional allowance a year is not subject to any taxes. …Lagarde, 56, receives a pay and benefits package worth more than American president Barack Obama earns from the United States government, and he pays taxes on it. The same applies to nearly all United Nations employees.
To make matters worse, these globe-trotting bureaucrats have figured out all sorts of ways of padding their pay.
Base salaries range from $46,000 to $80,521. Senior salaries range between $95,394 and $123,033 but these are topped up with adjustments for the cost of living in different countries. A UN worker based in Geneva, for example, will see their base salary increased by 106%, in Bonn by 50.6%, Paris 62% and Peshawar 38.6%. Even in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, one of the poorest areas of the world, a UN employee’s salary will be increased by 53.2%. Other benefits include rent subsidies, dependency allowances for spouses and children, education grants for school-age children and travel and shipping expenses, as well as subsidised medical insurance. For many years critics have complained that IMF, World Bank, and United Nations employees are able to live large at international taxpayers’ expense.
So how do these bureaucrats justify their lavish salaries and gold-plated benefits?
Officials from the various organisations have long maintained that the high salaries are a way of attracting talent from the private sector. In fact, most senior employees are recruited from government posts.
Kudos to the Guardian for exposing this nonsense, particularly the fraudulent claim that lavish compensation packages are need to attract and retain these incompetent bureaucrats.
But let me add to the Guardian’s analysis. In a recent email exchange with several people, I addressed this issue, specifically commenting on whether the head of the IMF, Ms. Lagarde, should get a giant salary because she could earn more money in the private sector. I wrote that there were two responses to this assertion.
1. She has genuine skills as a wealth creator. In which case, we should force her out of the IMF as soon as possible so her talents can be used productively rather than destructively.
2. She can get big bucks by trading on her connections and entering the world of corporatism. Work for KPMG, or the Carlyle Group, or some other entity that specializes in getting favorable deals for the elite. That’s not the private sector.
In either case, her salary in her current position should be zero. Unless we think she should be paid the value of her marginal product, in which case she probably owes the world’s taxpayers several hundred billion dollars.
In other words, it doesn’t matter whether Ms. Largarde’s ability to earn lots of money is the result of genuine ability or cronyism. Since the IMF is pursuing bad policy, her value in that position is below zero.
My Cato colleague Richard Rahn was correct when he wrote that it is the ultimate hypocrisy for tax-free bureaucrats to lobby for higher taxes on the rest of us.
And that’s why defunding these parasitic international bureaucracies is not just good fiscal policy and good economic policy, it’s also the morally just policy.
The Great Debate
Here I am on the campaign trail, frenetically promoting my book, "The Death of Liberalism." I appear on scores of radio interviews, in and out of the studio. I appear on Fox News and C-SPAN. I hardly have time for dinner, but it could be more demanding still. I could be invited to appear on mainstream media, as it is still quaintly called. Yet I am not. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC do not call. I, the editor of a major magazine from the right that has been around for 45 years, have written a book arguing that a major political ideology, Liberalism, is dead, and no one in the mainstream media seems to think it merits even a spitball. Things have changed even more than the mainstream media knows.
Thirty years ago, when I came out with a book, all the above networks -- at least all the above networks that were then in business -- would have me on. They thought I was crazy, but they would have me on. Through all these years, my views have not changed or radicalized. They remain pretty much fixed, though possibly I am a little bit more liberal. I am more tolerant of sexual diversity. I have flipped and oppose capital punishment. I am open to reforming the criminal justice system to treat nonviolent crime differently from violent crimes. But today, the mainstream media is alien country to me. I cannot get in even with a green card. Three, possibly four, presidents have been my friends, but I remain persona non grata with mainstream media, especially when I talk about politics.....
I say wherever I go nowadays that Liberalism is dead. One piece of evidence is mainstream media. It pretends the dominant political view in the country, conservatism, does not exist.
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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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)