Rachel Corrie believed in Israel
I don't know if anybody else has pointed this out -- they probably have -- but the Israel-hating Rachel Corrie showed by her actions that she recognized Israel's moral superiority. Why didn't she hop out of the way at the last minute instead of getting run over by the bulldozer? I certainly would have in her shoes.
But the reason why she did not is clear: She clearly had absolute confidence that the bulldozer would stop at the last moment. Her only mistake was in assuming that the driver would see her lying on the ground in front of him. Had it been a Palestinian bulldozer I cannot imagine anyone not being prepared to hop out of the way. But Rachel Corrie was clearly not so prepared.
By her own actions she betrayed more than any words could do that she knew Israel was not the moral monstrosity that she claimed it was. Her death was an unintentional tribute to Israel. She knew in her heart where the virtue was. And coming from an enemy of Israel, the tribute is all the more impressive. She was hate-filled but she knew the truth.
A trenchant comment from Israel about her here.
The impoverishment of America
The Presidential race is boiling down to one dominant issue: which party's policies will do more to help the financially stressed American middle class. President Obama's campaign theme is that Mitt Romney and the Republicans cater to the rich, while Mr. Obama cares about struggling families.
He may care, but he sure hasn't done much for them. New income data from the Census Bureau, tabulated by former Census income specialists at the nonpartisan economic consulting firm Sentier Research, reveal that the three-and-a-half years of the Obama Presidency have done enormous harm to middle-class households.
In January 2009, the month President Obama entered the Oval Office and shortly before he signed his stimulus spending bill, median household income was $54,983. By June 2012, it had tumbled to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. (See the chart nearby.) That's $4,019 in lost real income, a little less than a month's income every year.
Unfair, you say, because Mr. Obama inherited a recession? Well, even if you start the analysis when the recession ended in June 2009, the numbers are dismal. Three years after the economy hit its trough, median household income is down $2,544, or nearly 5%.
The new income data reveal other eye-opening trends. The group that has suffered the most during the Obama Presidency has been black Americans, whose real incomes have fallen by more than 11%.
Mr. Obama also likes to say that government workers like teachers are hurting and the private economy is doing "just fine." But the data indicate that over the past three years households with government workers saw their incomes decline less than households with private workers. The public-private pay gap is now wider than ever ($77,998 government versus $63,800).
The last time incomes fell this fast was during the late 1970s under Jimmy Carter, and it's no coincidence that economic policies then and now are so similar. If Mr. Obama succeeds in convincing voters that he really is the tribune of the middle class, it will be the political conjurer's trick of the century.
MSNBC abandons GOP convention during every speech by a minority
One of the left's favorite attacks on the Republican Party is that it is the party of old white people, devoid of diversity and probably racist.
If you were watching MSNBC's coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday night, you might believe those assertions, since missing from the coverage was nearly every ethnic minority that spoke during Tuesday's festivities.
In lieu of airing speeches from former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, a black American; Mia Love, a black candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Utah; and Texas senatorial hopeful Ted Cruz, a Latino American, MSNBC opted to show commentary anchored by Rachel Maddow from Rev. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes and Steve Schmidt.
For those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational, trying to explain what happens in politics can be a real challenge.
For example, that segment of the population that has the least to fear from a reform of Medicare or Social Security is the most fearful -- namely, those already receiving Medicare or Social Security benefits.
It is understandable that people heavily dependent on these programs would fear losing their benefits, especially after a lifetime of paying into these programs. But nobody in his right mind has even proposed taking away the benefits of those who are already receiving them.
Yet opponents of reforming these programs have managed repeatedly to scare the daylights out of seniors with wild claims and television ads such as one showing someone -- who looks somewhat like Paul Ryan -- pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair toward a cliff and then dumping her over.
There are people who take seriously such statements as those by President Barack Obama that Republicans want to "end Medicare as we know it."
Let's stop and think, if only for the novelty of it. If you make any change in anything, you are ending it "as we know it." Does that mean that everything in the status quo should be considered to be set in concrete forever?
If there were not a single Republican, or none who got elected to any office, arithmetic would still end "Medicare as we know it," for the simple reason that the money in the till is not enough to keep paying for it. The same is true of Social Security.
The same has been true of welfare state programs in European countries that are currently struggling with both financial crises and riots in the streets from people who feel betrayed by their governments. They have in fact been betrayed by their politicians, who have promised them things that there was not enough money to pay for. That is the basic problem in the United States as well.
We are not yet Greece, but we are not exempt from the same rules of arithmetic that eventually caught up with Greece. We just have a little more time. The only question is whether we will use that time to make politically difficult changes or whether we will just kick the can down the road, and keep pretending that "Medicare as we know it" would continue on indefinitely, if it were not for people who just want to be mean to the elderly.
In both Europe and America, there are many people who get angry at those who tell them the truth that the money is just not there to sustain huge welfare state programs indefinitely. But that anger might be better directed at those who lied to them by promising them benefits that were inherently unsustainable.
Neither Social Security nor Medicare has ever had enough assets to cover its liabilities. Very simply, there has never been enough money put aside to do what the government promised to do.
These systems operate on what their advocates like to call a "pay as you go" basis. That is, the younger generation pays in money that is used to cover the cost of benefits for the older generation. This is the kind of financial pyramid scheme that got Charles Ponzi put in prison in the 1920s and got Bernie Madoff put in prison in our times.
A private annuity cannot play these financial games without its executives risking the fate of Ponzi and Madoff. That is why proposed Social Security and Medicare reforms would allow young people to put their money somewhere where the money they pay in would be put aside specifically for them, not used as at present to pay older people's pensions, with anything left over being used for whatever else politicians feel like spending the money on.
It is today's young people who are going to be left holding the bag when they reach retirement age and discover that all the money they paid in is long gone. It is today's young people who are going to be dumped over a cliff when they reach retirement age, if nothing is done to reform entitlements.
Yet the young seem not to be nearly as alarmed as the elderly, who have no real reason to fear. Try reconciling that with the belief that human beings are rational.
Heavier Punishment for failing to fill out a form than for Child Porn
If you can read the following and not get upset, you are not a good person. Please move to France (where higher taxes are “patriotic”) and don’t come back.
I’m engaging in a bit of hyperbole, but you’ll hopefully understand after reading this excerpt from a very disturbing report posted on Zero Hedge.
Jacques Wajsfelner of Weston, Massachusetts is a criminal mastermind. Big time. Like Lex Luthor. But rest easy, ladies and gentlemen, for this nefarious villain is about to face some serious jail time thanks to the courageous work of US government agents. You see, Mr. Wajsfelner was finally caught and convicted of a most heinous crime: failing to disclose his foreign bank account to the US government.
Note– he was not convicted of tax evasion. He was not convicted of failing to file or pay taxes. His crime was not filing the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Because of his failure to disclose his foreign bank account, Wajsfelner is now looking at FIVE YEARS behind bars in a Day-Glo orange jumpsuit.
Oh, one more thing– Wajsfelner is 83 years old. He was born in Germany during the global depression and rise of Adolf Hitler. The Wajsfelner family soon fled the Nazi regime and made its way to the United States.
Please note that Mr. Wajsfelner didn’t get convicted of not paying tax. He got convicted for the utterly trivial and victimless “crime” of not reporting a foreign bank account.
So the government is sending a completely harmless old man to jail for something that shouldn’t be illegal (and if we had a flat tax, there would be no double taxation of saving and investment, so it wouldn’t matter for tax purposes if your bank account was in Georgetown, Kentucky, or Georgetown, Cayman Islands).
Now let’s compare the treatment of Mr. Wajsfelner with the way some real criminals are treated.
Then there’s Eric Higgins of Port Huron, Michigan, who was recently busted for major possession of child pornography and engaging in sexually explicit conversations with juveniles online. He was given 20 months. Oh… and Mr. Higgins was a US Customs & Border Patrol agent. …
Or Ricardo Cordero, another US Customs & Border Patrol officer who was given 27-months for personally smuggling 30 Mexican nationals into the United States, and assisting another smuggler to bring 15 Mexican nationals across the border. This genius even had the smuggler testify as a character witness at his divorce proceeding!
Or Jon Corzine, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and member of the political elite, who presided over one of the largest plunders in the financial system ever seen during the recent MF Global collapse. He walks the streets freely to this day.
The article closes with a very accurate – but understated – assessment of the federal government.
It seems pretty clear where the US government stands: the victimless crime of failing to report a foreign bank account is far more egregious than, say, possession of child pornography, engaging with minors in online sex chat, bribery, extortion, fraud, and abuse of official power.
This horrifying example of government abuse is a good example of why I’m a libertarian. Yes, I get upset about bloated and counterproductive government spending. And I also get irked by our punitive and destructive class-warfare tax system.
But what gets me most upset is unfair tyranny against powerless people.
More HERE (See the original for links)
The end of the wedge is not as thin as it used to be
Three Brazilians have been united in a civil ceremony after a public official deemed that the man and two women should be entitled to family rights as any other couple would be.
Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, from the state of Sao Paulo, accepted the civil union between the three people, saying there is no law to prevent it happening and that it merely reflected the changing idea of family.
"We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything," Ms Domingues said.
"For better or worse, it doesn't matter, but what we considered a family before isn't necessarily what we could consider a family today."
The three were formally united three months ago but the news had only emerged this week.
They had lived together in Rio de Janeiro for three years sharing bills and expenses and had recently opened a joint bank account.
The union has enraged some religious and legal groups, with lawyer Regina Beatriz Tavarez da Silva telling the BBC it was "absurd and totally illegal".
The individuals originally decided to join in civil union to protect their rights in case of death or separation from a partner.
French writer says Anders Breivik was 'what Norway deserves’
Richard Millet, a respected French writer and editor, has sparked controversy for his comments on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass killer, whom he described as “without doubt what Norway deserves”.
Mr Millet, who says he has read all 1,500 pages of Breivik’s online manifesto, insists that he does not approve of the Norwegian gunman’s crimes.
However, he praised Breivik’s writing and cry of hatred for social democracy, immigration and multiculturalism.
“Breivik is without doubt what Norway deserves,” wrote Millet in an 18-page pamphlet. He is “as much a child of a broken family as of an ideological and racial fracture caused by immigration from outside Europe over the last 20 years,” added Mr Millet, who has edited several award-winning books in France.
His writing about Breivik has sparked consternation in the literary circles, with one author Annie Ernaux calling the text “a politically dangerous act”.
Another author Tahar Ben Jelloun said: “He has lost his head.”
Others were less critical. “He is still my editor,” said Alexis Jenni. “I don’t want to take any public position on the subject. Millet believes only in literature. “He is someone who writes marvellously well. His questionable ideas do not reduce his literary qualities,” he argued.
Breivik was last week sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing 77 people in a bomb attack and deadly shooting rampage that shook Norway.
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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)