Saturday, April 21, 2012

Australian case a victory for all internet users

The High Court of Australia has ruled that ISPs have no duty to control what use people make of their services.  Making ISPs into censors would be an unbelievable mess.  The Australian case could now be strongly argued as a precedent in other English-speaking jurisdictions.  To have the internet free of censorship in Australia only would make other countries look ridiculous.  

Copyright owners say that they will now seek legislation to overturn their defeat in the courts. Their hope is faint, however.  The defeat of SOPA and PIPA in America and the defeat of ACTA in Europe is against them.  There have in fact  already been  legislative proposals for internet censorship in Australia that died even before the American and European defeats

INTERNET service provider iiNet has won a major legal battle over whether it should be held responsible for its customers downloading content illegally.  An appeal by the world's largest film and television companies against iiNet was dismissed today by the High Court.

A group of 34 international and Australian companies, including Warner Bros, Disney and the Seven Network, had alleged that iiNet had authorised the infringement of their copyright when its customers downloaded movies and television programs.

The movie companies had argued that iiNet had the power to prevent its customers from infringing copyright by issuing warnings and suspending or terminating customer accounts. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) appealed to the High Court after losing its first appeal to the federal court last year.

But today the High Court found that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent file sharing system to infringe copyright.  "Rather, the extent of iiNet's power to prevent its customers from infringing ... copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers," the court said.

iiNet Chief Executive Officer, Michael Malone, said the judgment supported the company’s position and proved the claims made against it were unfounded.  "iiNet has never supported or encouraged unauthorised sharing or file downloading,” Mr Malone said.  "Today’s High Court five-nil ruling confirms that iiNet is not liable for ‘authorising’ the conduct of its customers who engaged in online copyright infringement.  "This marks the end of more than three years of legal argument and challenges."

Mr Malone said increasing the availability of lawful, online content in a more timely, affordable and reasonably priced manner, brought the focus back to customers and was the best method to protect content owners’ copyright.

He said there was strong evidence that content partnerships and agreements between ISPs, legal websites and copyright holders had done more to reduce piracy and to showcase copyright holders’ materials than this unproductive legal battle.

The High Court dismissed the appeal with costs. Legal costs of the case to date are approximately $9 million and have already been expensed.

SOURCE.  Extended commentary here


A warning to China

India and China have had border clashes

 India's successful test firing of its first intercontinental ballistic missile - the Agni-V - has been met with delirium inside the country, but consternation over its borders.

Indian TV yesterday showed scenes of hundreds of cheering scientists at Wheeler Island, where the missile was launched in the Bay of Bengal, after its successful flight.

At 8.06am, the 20-metre rocket, which has the theoretical capability to carry a nuclear warhead up to 5000 kilometres, was launched, taking 20 minutes to reach its target somewhere in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia.

The Indian Defence Minister, AK. Antony, heaped praise on India's Defence Research Development Organisation, which designed and built the missile.  "The nation stands tall today," he said. "We have joined the elite club of nations. The immaculate success of the Agni-V is a major milestone in the country's missile research and development program."

India joins the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, Britain, China, Russia and France - as the only countries with intercontinental ballistic missiles. Fast emerging as an economic power, India is keen to play a larger role on the global stage and is campaigning strongly for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

It was recently declared the world's largest importer of arms and has raised its defence budget 17 per cent this year, to more than $38 billion.

As pointed out ad nauseum on Indian news channels, the Agni-V missile - it is named after the Hindu god of fire - has the capability to reach Beijing, from where most of the concern over yesterday's launch came.



Leftist racism

Yes, this is about race and racism. But no, it’s not about the Trayvon Martin case and how the media is pimping it.

It’s not even about the equally tragic black-on-white crimes some push to expose media bias in the Martin case. I don’t subscribe to the “Yeah, sure, but what about this!” game some play to expose leftist hypocrisy. A crime is a crime, regardless of the skin tone of the victims or the perps.

This is about how progressives continue to exploit race to keep us divided as a people and to manipulate voters.

This is about Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.  He loves his country, he’s a former military man, and he’s a black conservative. In other words, he drives progressives crazy. The only way they could hate him more is if he were a self-made millionaire or a married woman who carried a baby to term.

This week, Rep. West, a decorated military veteran, was in the news about a joke he made. Asked if there were any communists in Congress, he said yes, as many as 80. You’ll know them, he said, because they are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). Now, aside from what they call themselves, not much differentiates CPC members from communist on policy matters, but West clearly was joking.

The Left was not amused. What I call “Michael Stipe’s Disease” took over, wherein progressives channel the R.E.M lead singer in saying, “How can you joke when someone somewhere is suffering.” It’s a horrible affliction that impacts progressives at an alarming rate. I’d start a telethon but I just don’t care.

The outrage cascaded. Martin Bashir, the idiotic MSNBC host with a British accent (it’s the only way to differentiate hosts on that network since they’re all interchangeable, mindless Lego pieces) called the congressman “Joseph McCarthy” for the joke.

A spokesman for the Communist Party USA told Politico, “I just think it’s an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues. It’s kind of a sad ploy … guilt by association, taken to an extreme.”

As someone who works in word, I couldn’t help but notice his comment infers there is an association and some guilt to be gleaned … but I digress.

Noah Rothman, an editor at the leftist, chimed in with a column that essentially calls Rep. West an idiot – because, of course, Rep. West told a joke Rothman didn’t find funny and because he didn’t immediately give the “Washington” answer to whether or not he’d accept the VP nomination. A straight answer in Washington can be a most unsettling thing.

But the real criticism came from the black gossip site “Bossip.” Putting aside the weirdness behind the need for race-based websites on gossip or anything else, the staff at Bossip pulled the leftists’ favorite arrow from their quiver and called West an “Uncle Tom” and a “house slave”, both for his comments and for disagreeing with President Obama.

It’s quite common for black conservatives to endure such comments from liberals when they dare to think for themselves. And it’s equally common for the media to ignore such slurs.

That’s because most Leftists are racists, though not the traditional type you see in movies. Their beloved progressive movement was founded by noted racists and supporters of eugenics. They’ve known this all along. But now, they’ve realized they have to hide it.

There’s little difference between judging someone to be inferior to you based on skin color, and assuming they’re inferior because they don’t vote how you expect them to. That’s not to mention the racism involved in telling people they can’t succeed on their own, society is stacked against them so they shouldn’t even try. Telling them they need government’s help, doled out by Democrats exceedingly generous with other peoples’ money, just to get by. Or attacking successful people because, despite their skin color, they view the path to success differently.

Yet these are things in which progressives routinely engage. Even President Obama talks about the “unfairness” of America yet ignores the fact his own life story completely discredits his argument.

Americans used to celebrate success, regardless of race. We admired independence and self-reliance. We thought it better for people to thrive on their own than to survive on government handouts.

But the road to independence is paved with hard work and aspiration, and liberalism wants nothing of that. The generational death-spiral of government dependence has not led anyone out of poverty, but it has created reliably Democrat cities, districts and states – in other words: reliable voters.

The irony is that many liberals think they’re actually doing good for the people they’ve ensnared in poverty. They feel guilty because they’ve amassed a fortune they don’t think they deserve – perhaps in Hollywood, perhaps through inheritance, rarely through actual hard work. They don’t understand what real life is like. Then, there are people such as President Obama, who know the hard work it takes to succeed but embrace these policies for more cynical, less altruistic reasons.

You’d think all Americans would celebrate the life of a poor black child raised by his grandparents who worked his way up the ladder to the Supreme Court of the United States. Nothing is more “American” than that. But Clarence Thomas doesn’t subscribe to the notion government handouts are the only path from poverty. Therefore, he is despised and called unspeakable things by people who tell us to celebrate diversity. Because, to progressives, diversity means different colors but like minds – drones who think what they’re told.

Assuming things about a person based on their race is racist, even if it’s your own race. Hurling slurs and seeking to inspire hatred of someone because they don’t conform to your racist assumptions is disgusting. It’s also the cornerstone of the modern progressive ideology. And that cornerstone sits squarely on their chests, holding down Americans of all colors who wait, as generations before them did, for these promises of lightening their load to be fulfilled.

Creating government dependence in the name of compassion is anything but. It’s as close as we get in this country to eugenics. It’s modern slavery. And it’s the exact “next step” you’d expect from the people whose intellectual ancestors championed both. If you can’t eliminate those you deem unworthy, defeat them at the ballot box and demonize those who show them the only way to leave the plantation. It’s real, it’s happening, it’s progressivism, and it’s sick.



The Obamunist-Controlled Press Has a Job to Do on Jobs

This week’s jobless claims came in higher than expected tending to confirm that the recovery is: 1) still very slow; and 2) jobless, despite attempts by the Obamunist-controlled press to paint a different picture.

Politico headlined that unemployment applications “decline slightly” this week.  The Associated Press via the Chicago Sun Times- an Obamunist press if there ever was one- also reported that unemployment applications “decline slightly.” Reuters too skewed its headline: “US jobless claims edge down last week,” as did the New York Times: “US Jobless Claims Dip.”

By the end of the session, when the market finished down, it was agreed that, at least by the standards of the stock markets, the economy is swooning, not swimming and the jobs data was bad.

“The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was higher than expected,: reported Dow Jones, “a sign of lost momentum in the labor market, as 386,000 initial claims were filed in the week ended April 14, more than the 375,000 economists expected in a Dow Jones Newswires poll.”

Even more ominous is that the number for last week was revised upward from 380,000 initial claims to 388, 000 initial claims.

As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes:

Their economists had bet that last week’s results were an outlier, which wasn’t an unreasonable assumption.  This, however, looks like an upward movement in job churn, not a good sign for overall employment.  It’s interesting that we’re seeing that now rather than last month, where jobless reports ran in the mid-360Ks but job creation got stymied at only 120,000 for the month.  If this indicator continues at the mid-380K level or starts rising above it, April’s jobs report may make March look positively cheery.

Political Calculations mentioned the job market potentially slowing few weeks ago. “The March 2012 jobs data would seem to confirm that the U.S. economy has indeed begun to decelerate after growing strongly, as we have been expecting. We would be seeing a very different picture for jobs in the U.S. if the economy were genuinely gaining steam across the board.”

It’s too bad that the public is still served poorly by so-called journalist who really operate as an extension of the Obama campaign press office.  You’d think even as a matter of self-preservation, journalists would eventually worry just a tad about their own credibility.

But Obamunism has the same problem that most isms share.  People picked it based on emotion and have spent their lives- and their credibility- trying to justifying it based on logic.
And emotion, in these cases, always wins out.    




Another Obama gaffe quickly covered up:  "In an effort to ingratiate himself with Argentina’s leftist president and leading nut-case bimbo, Cristina de Fernandez (who walked out of the conference, anyway), Obama insulted our British allies by referring to the Falkland Islands by the revisionist Argentine name, the “Malvinas.” Well, he meant to, anyway. But in his speech, the president—never strong on geography—confused the Malvinas with the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, half a world away. Our Southern neighbors thought it was a hoot. But you didn’t hear about it, of course. Obama’s a genius, according to our journalists’ sacred dogma, and Thou Shalt Not Mock."

ND: Town would outlaw “man camps” in oil fields:  "One town smack in the middle of North Dakota's historic oil boom has a plan for getting rid of the 'man camps' that have sprung up as laborers pour in: Ban their campers. Williston, the state's ninth-largest city, is fed up with an estimated 400 RVs that are scattered throughout the city limits and house out-of-state workers who have flocked in to help oil companies tap the massive Bakken formation. ... If passed, the law would make living in a home on wheels a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine."

Helping Those With Disabilities Secure Employment:  "James Bovard rightly criticizes the Obama administration for seeking to force many businesses to adopt hiring quotas for disabled applicants. Such quotas not only raise costs and slash productivity, but also violate federal law.  The Supreme Court has said that the disabilities-rights laws aren't "affirmative action" statutes, in cases like Southeastern Community College v. Davis (1979). While these laws require employers to reasonably accommodate disabilities, they don't require a general preference for disabled applicants, much less quotas. Since these quotas harm taxpayers, undermine merit-based hiring and reduce efficiency, they are invalid under the Procurement Act and court rulings like Chamber of Commerce v. Reich (1996), which limit the president's power to dictate the hiring decisions of government contractors."



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, April 20, 2012

Obama's Big Government Liberalism

The hypocrisy of hope and change

Last November, President Obama stood before an audience and said government needs to be “responsive to the needs of people, not the needs of special interests.” He added, “That is probably the biggest piece of business that remains unfinished.”

He made these remarks, The New York Times reports, before a $17,900-a-plate fundraising dinner at the home of Dwight and Antoinette C. Bush, two heavy contributors to his reelection. But according to the Times, that wasn’t Antoinette Bush’s only contact with Obama. Six months earlier, she had visited the White House, bringing with her a “top entertainment industry lobbyist.” This was when a big brouhaha was erupting between that industry and Internet companies over online piracy.

The visit of a big political contributor and an industry lobbyist to the White House may not normally raise eyebrows, but this is the Obama White House. The Times notes,
Although Mr. Obama has made a point of not accepting contributions from registered lobbyists, a review of campaign donations and White House visitor logs shows that special interests have had little trouble making themselves heard. Many of the president’s biggest donors, while not lobbyists, took lobbyists with them to the White House, while others performed essentially the same function on their visits. …

[T]he regular appearance of big donors inside the White House underscores how political contributions continue to lubricate many of the interactions between officials and their guests, if for no other reason than that donors view the money as useful for getting a foot in the door.

Welcome to Obama’s new world. It looks a lot like the old.

And this is not the only way it resembles politics as usual.

Like his predecessors, Obama has been a good friend to big companies, especially banks. Take Bank of America. BoA is what you’d expect of a financial institution coddled by government subsidies and privilege: inefficient, corrupt (unjustly foreclosing on homeowners), and a frequent corporate-welfare recipient.

Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi reports that when BoA needs help, Obama is there. Taibbi writes that BoA is
a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.

But Bank of America hasn’t gone out of business, for the simple reason that our government has decided to make it the poster child for the “Too Big To Fail” concept.

Who can we thank? In part, President Barack Obama, who’s planning to run a populist reelection campaign pitting the wealthy and well-connected against the rest of us. Hypocrisy lives—even in Obama’s allegedly post-political world.

According to Taibbi,
Bank of America … is perhaps the biggest welfare dependent in American history, with the $45 billion in bailout money and the $118 billion in state guarantees it’s received since 2008 representing just the crest of a veritable mountain of federal bailout support, most of it doled out by the Obama administration.

Revealingly, BoA soothed nervous creditors last year by shifting $73 trillion in derivatives to the part of the bank covered by federal deposit insurance—aka the taxpayers.



Good economists are awkward people

Walter Williams

It's difficult to be a good economist and simultaneously be perceived as compassionate. To be a good economist, one has to deal with reality. To appear compassionate, often one has to avoid unpleasant questions, use "caring" terminology and view reality as optional.

Affordable housing and health care costs are terms with considerable emotional appeal that politicians exploit but have absolutely no useful meaning or analytical worth. For example, can anyone tell me in actual dollars and cents the price of an affordable car, house or myomectomy? It's probably more pleasant to pretend that there is universal agreement about what is or is not affordable.

If you think my criticism of affordability is unpleasant, you'll hate my vision of harm. A good economist recognizes that harm is not a one-way street; it's reciprocal. For example, if I own a lot and erect a house in front of your house and block your view of a beautiful scene, I've harmed you; however, if I am prevented from building my house in front of yours, I'm harmed. Whose harm is more important? You say, "Williams, you can't tell." You can stop me from harming you by persuading some government thugs to stop me from building. It's the same thing with smoking. If I smoke a cigarette, you're harmed — or at least bothered. If I'm prevented from smoking a cigarette, I'm harmed by reduced pleasure. Whose harm is more important? Again, you can't tell. But as in the building example, the person who is harmed can use government thugs to have things his way.

How many times have we heard that "if it will save just one human life, it's worth it" or that "human life is priceless"? Both are nonsense statements. If either statement were true, we'd see lower speed limits, bans on auto racing and fewer airplanes in the sky. We can always be safer than we are. For example, cars could be produced such that occupants could survive unscathed in a 50-mph head-on collision, but how many of us could buy such a car? Don't get me wrong; I might think my life is priceless, but I don't view yours in the same light. I admire Greta Garbo's objectivity about her life. She said, "I'm a completely worthless woman, and no man should risk his life for me."

Speaking of worthlessness, I'd be worthless as an adviser to either the White House or Congress because if they asked me what they should do to get the economy going, I'd answer, "Do nothing!" Let's look at it. Between 1787 and 1930, our nation suffered both mild and severe economic downturns. There was no intervention to stimulate the economy, but the economy always recovered.

During the 1930s, there were massive interventions, starting with President Herbert Hoover and later with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their actions turned what would have been a sharp three- or four-year economic downturn into a 10-year affair. In 1930, when Hoover began to "fix" the economy, unemployment was 6 percent. FDR did even more to "fix" the economy. As a result, unemployment remained in double digits throughout the decade and reached 20 percent in 1939. President Roosevelt blamed the high unemployment on his predecessor. Presidential blaming of predecessors is a practice that continues to this day.

You say, "Williams, the White House and Congress should do something." The track record of doing nothing is pretty good compared with doing something. None of our economic downturns in the century and a half prior to 1930 lasted as long as the Great Depression.

It would be political suicide for a politician to follow my counsel — and for good reason. Americans have been miseducated into thinking that Roosevelt's New Deal saved our economy. That miseducation extends to most academics, including economists, at our universities, who are arrogant enough to believe that it's possible for a few people in Washington to have the information and knowledge necessary to manage the economic lives of 313 million people. Good economists recognize our limitations, making us not nice people to be around.



Another Day, Another Administration Witch Hunt

So many imaginary villains and so little time

This week, President Barack Obama is taking the fight to "oil speculators" and "market manipulation" (nee "free enterprise"), demanding that traders put up more money for transactions and government ratchet up enforcement and monitoring. "None of these will bring gas prices down overnight," Obama helpfully explained in his news conference. "But they will prevent market manipulation and help protect consumers."

No, they won't. They'd probably hurt consumers, and they would doubtlessly raise the cost of doing business. So for a few hundred words, let's treat populist agitation as if it were earnest policy.

Let's start by being thankful for oil speculation—no matter what the motivation of those involved might be. To begin with, speculation allows companies with exposure to fluctuating commodity prices to hedge against rising costs by locking in. Sometimes the bet pays off; other times it doesn't. But risk and profit are not yet crimes.

Oil speculation also offers consumers and investors information about the future that can help them make informed long-term decisions. Speculators trade commodities based on the information available in the marketplace. They reflect reality; they don't create it.

But sometimes, unfortunate as it is, prices will rise. "Gouging," the close scaremongering cousin of "speculation," helps persuade consumers not to use what they don't need. It incentivizes to modify behavior—our driving habits or the size of our cars. We conserve more when prices are higher, so we avoid shortages, and producers intensify their production. (Funny how Democrats get this concept when writing energy policy designed to artificially spike fossil fuel prices.)

The president surely understands, as well. He knows that a fungible commodity's price is driven by demand and geopolitical events beyond the control of speculators or, for the most part, Washington. There are billions of people in China, India and elsewhere who are new consumers of oil—and they are better off for it. We are better off for it.

Or put it this way: Natural gas prices are trading so cheaply that it's no longer profitable to drill for most companies. According to Businessweek, there are only 624 operating drills in the United States, the fewest since April 2002. So I guess natural gas speculators forgot to manipulate the world market this month. Or do oil manipulators only work part time? Confusing.

Where, after all, is the president's evidence that oil speculation is driving up oil prices? The White House "Fact Sheet" on the matter offers plenty of solutions to a problem it hasn't even proved exists. Why are we going to spend another $52 million—and who-knows-what in political witch hunt trials—on a theory that plays on assumptions and flourishes in the progressive blogosphere?

Obviously, much of this is driven by political realities and accusations by Republicans that the president isn't doing enough to curb rising oil prices. George W. Bush also talked about manipulation nonsense, and I'm sure it's gone on forever.

So it's also worth noting that Washington, regrettably enough, already has the power to enact the counterproductive regulations the president is asking for. Nothing needs to be passed. It was only last year when Obama formed a special task force designed to find manipulation in the oil market and to ferret out incidents of gas gouging.

It is rare when Washington gives a topic what it deserves. But the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group has given the American people exactly what the topic deserves: zip.



Thank you, Argentina

You can always count on Argentina for abject lessons on how not to run a country. That’s always been painful for its citizens but useful for the rest of us to see how hair-brained, populist schemes just don’t work.

This week, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced the seizure of Spanish oil company Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil company YPF to give the government 51% control. Spain is outraged and has recalled its ambassador. The Argentine navy has been diverted from the Falklands and is now steaming towards the Canary Islands.

Ms Fernandez justified her move on the grounds that YPF has failed to invest sufficiently to prevent Argentina from importing ever greater quantities of fuel. The fact that Argentine oil reserves have been dwindling means the sector needs greater and increasingly sophisticated investment to reach more complex structures, just like in the North Sea. Expropriation isn’t going to attract that kind of high-risk investment.

Once in state hands, odds are high that YPF will be used by the government for other purposes, just like Venezuela’s PDVSA. It was no surprise that Hugo Chavez cheered the news from Ms Fernandez. Perhaps he hopes she can show PDVSA how to increase daily oil production which has fallen by 7% in the past five years.

The YPF seizure continues Argentina’s cavalier attitude towards other people’s money shown back in 2008 when Ms Fernandez grabbed some $24 billion of private pension funds and used central bank reserves to meet debt payments. More recently, the country has been in a spat with the IMF over the quality of its statistics. Argentina claims inflation is running at somewhere between 5% and 11% but private independent estimates put the number at somewhere around 25%. The Economist is refusing to publish official Argentine inflation data.

Disrespect for the law and wilful distortion of the facts are no way to manage an economy. Productive investment requires assurance that monies invested will be paid back and that investment decisions are based on reliable data.

Like many floundering politicians, Ms Fernandez confuses ownership with productivity. This is especially so when it comes to natural resources as if the mere existence of oil within a set of borders is wealth in itself. But wealth comes from finding, extracting, processing, shipping and selling the commodity, just like any other product. America, Canada, Britain, Australia and others benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources by private companies operating within clearly understood legal arrangements, not from state ownership of the entire production process and certainly not from expropriation.

With her latest move, Ms Fernandez continues the long, sad tradition of Argentina failing to live up to its potential. At least the rest of us get real-world case studies of bad policy-making.




It's important to know when to quit: "Forty-one years into a repeat of a prior failed experiment in controlling human behavior through asinine and ridiculous laws (alcohol), our 'War On Drugs' has long since become what many have called a 'war on people'. And, some people more than others. Now, decades later, with well over $1 TRILLION spent to literally no avail (unless you actually think making a country with 5% of the world’s population having 25% of the world’s prison population -- over a third of them non-violent drug possessors or users -- a sign of success)"

Rich bashing is unjust and vicious: "The casual manner in which President Obama proposes that various progressive tax measures be implemented against the so called rich -- ones who earn more than two million a year -- is indicative of just how deep seated and widespread is the prejudice against wealthy people in the United States of America. This is the country that had been hailed as the leader of the free world, as substantially capitalist, as mostly enjoying a free market place, etc. It seems however that the team now in charge of administering the laws and public policies of the country hasn’t a clue as to what human freedom or liberty really means."

Vatican orders crackdown on US nun association: "The Vatican orthodoxy watchdog announced Wednesday a full-scale overhaul of the largest umbrella group for nuns in the United States, accusing the group of taking positions that undermine Roman Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting 'certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.' An American archbishop was appointed to oversee reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which will include rewriting the group's statutes, reviewing all its plans and programs -- including approving speakers -- and ensuring the organization properly follows Catholic prayer and ritual."



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, April 19, 2012

Is Obama a right-wing extremist?

Norway killer Breivik's clenched-fist Communist salute is universally being described in the media as "Right wing".

Background on the clenched fist salute here

Note that Breivik began the third day of his trial the same way he began the previous two, with the clenched fist salute.


Tiny gene change affects brain size, IQ: scientists

One more piece of the jigsaw. There have now been several genetic changes found to be associated with higher IQ. The interest of this discovery is that the gene seems to work by increasing brain size. High IQ people do tend to have bigger brains, though the effect is not a strong one. So this finding confirms that the size effect is genetic

An international team of scientists said Sunday the largest brain study of its kind had found a gene linked to intelligence, a small piece in the puzzle as to why some people are smarter than others.

A variant of this gene “can tilt the scales in favour of a higher intelligence”, study leader Paul Thompson told AFP, stressing though that genetic blessings were not the only factor in brainpower.

Searching for a genetic explanation for brain disease, the scientists stumbled upon a minute variant in a gene called HMGA2 among people who had larger brains and scored higher on standardised IQ tests.

Thompson dubbed it “an intelligence gene” and said it was likely that many more such genes were yet to be discovered.

The variant occurs on HMGA2 where there is just a single change in the permutation of the four “letters” of the genetic code. DNA, the blueprint for life, comprises four basic chemicals called A (for adenine), C (cytosine), T (thymine) and G (guanine), strung together in different combinations along a double helix. In this case, the researchers found that people with a double “C” and no “T” in a specific section of the HMGA2 gene had bigger brains on average.

“It is a strange result, you wouldn’t think that something as simple as one small change in the genetic code could explain differences in intelligence worldwide,” said Thompson, a neurologist at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The discovery came in a study of brain scans and DNA samples from more than 20,000 people from North America, Europe and Australia, of European ancestry.

People who received two Cs from their parents, a quarter of the population, scored on average 1.3 points higher than the next group — half of the population with only one C in this section of the gene.

The last quarter of people, with no Cs, scored another 1.3 points lower. “The effect is small,” said Thompson, but “would be noticeable on a (IQ) test … (it) may mean you get a couple more questions correct. “It wouldn’t be an enormous change. Even so, it would help our brain resist cognitive decline later in life.”

The research, published in Nature Genetics, was conducted by more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide, working together on a project called Enigma.

Thompson said other studies have implicated some genes in IQ, but this was the first to link a common gene to brain size.

The team found that every T in place of a C represented a 0.6 percent smaller brain — equal to more than a year’s worth of brain loss through the normal ageing process.

Asked to comment on the research, Tom Hartley, a psychologist at Britain’s University of York said he was “a little wary of thinking in terms of a gene for intelligence.

“There are undoubtedly a lot of things that have to work properly in order to get a good score on an IQ test, if any of these go wrong the score will be worse.” But he said it was “fascinating” to find that such small genetic changes could affect the size of critical structures such as the hippocampus, the brain’s memory centre.

“Given the importance of the hippocampus in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease these could turn out to be very significant findings,” said Hartley.



Can Wal-Mart Scale L.A.’s Great Wall of Regulation?

Opponents claim local Asian-Americans oppose the big-box store. Locals tell a different story.

Some of the most powerful unions in Los Angeles want to make sure that Wal-Mart doesn’t have a chance of opening anytime soon in Chinatown. Perhaps they should meet some of the Chinese senior citizens who support it. I did—and with the help of a translator and my own rusty Chinese, I learned that “fresh fruit,” “always low prices,” and “cheap stuff” sound good in Mandarin and Cantonese, too, especially to those immigrants and seniors living near the poverty line or in assisted living centers.

For decades, there’s been nothing on the vacant first floor of the apartment complex where Wal-Mart wants to open its Chinatown store—which it hopes will be the first of many “neighborhood marts” in Los Angeles County. Slightly smaller than a Whole Foods supermarket and only one-fifth the size of a typical Wal-Mart, the 33,000 square-foot store on West Cesar Chavez Avenue would offer fresh fruits and groceries, beauty products, and—most crucially for the seniors I spoke with—a pharmacy.

Right now, Chinatown has only one grocery store and a highly priced CVS drugstore to serve its nearly 50,000 residents. The lack of competition allows these stores to charge even more than the area’s high-priced small markets for what should be cheap products like aspirin.

In addition, many residents worry about the quality of the meat at some of the Chinese shops that Los Angeles city officials say a Wal-Mart will undercut. Indeed, all of the Chinatown residents I spoke with emphasized that at some of the Chinese markets, meats and other items are displayed on the sidewalk, exposed to the air and heat.

During a recent visit, Ming-Sheng and Lindsey Hu invited me into their home and offered “tea eggs,” a traditional Chinese delicacy, after I took off my shoes. The Hus, immigrants from China, are excited that a Wal-Mart may finally open up nearby. After showing me pictures of her grandchildren, Mrs. Hu—a lively 82 years old—proudly took me to her bathroom to see all of the Target and Wal-Mart products. Although inexpensive, they weren’t easy to buy. Mrs. Hu must be driven 30 minutes by car to the Target in Alhambra, or wait for her children to take her—more than 40 minutes by car—to Rosemead’s Wal-Mart. A new Wal-Mart in Chinatown would be more convenient, especially for her 86-year-old husband, who has limited mobility, and for the other residents of the Grand Plaza Senior Apartments, next to the planned Wal-Mart.

While Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) has decried Wal-Mart’s “ability to…drive all other competitors away” with rock-bottom prices, many Chinatown residents, suffering for years from gouging by the local markets, would probably say “good riddance.” In what must frustrate the unions most, the typical argument that products “Made in China” are inherently inferior doesn’t work in Chinatown. “I come from China, too!” one of the old Chinese ladies protesting in favor of Wal-Mart said. “We Chinese are cheap!” another pro-Wal-Mart elderly lady told me.

The neighborhood Chinese stores charge “whatever they think they can get,” another senior said. Another problem is that most Chinatown residents must cross a busy thoroughfare to get to these markets. The Wal-Mart, in contrast, would be on the same side of the avenue—a safer, more convenient trip, especially for those with limited mobility. A resident of the Grand Plaza apartments explains that having a Wal-Mart nearby might even help save taxpayer dollars. He notes that city social workers have to come and help many of the seniors buy groceries, taking time from their other duties. In addition, the man told me through a translator, “Nobody wants to be a drain on the public.”

To the Los Angeles City Council, size matters, and in this case large is bad. City Hall’s anti-business attitude comes at a cost. While the City of Angels’ deficit for next fiscal year is a whopping $220 million and counting, local politicians have ruled out so-called Big Box retailers.

So Wal-Mart’s proposed small neighborhood store actually complies with the city’s unrealistic anti-superstore ordinance. This law, enacted in 2004, forces big-box retailers who want to open a store larger than 100,000 square feet to provide a costly economic analysis showing whether it will depress wages or harm nearby businesses. (So much for Schumpeterian creative destruction!)

Despite the planned Chinatown store’s compliance with the strict size limit, the council in late March unanimously approved a motion that would block it—suggesting that sponsor Ed Reyes and his colleagues are really against Wal-Mart, not just large outlets. Wal-Mart, however, outmaneuvered the council by obtaining its needed building permits the day before the vote. Naturally the unions, allied with the left-wing Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), have vowed to appeal those permits. “They’ve got to review the permits to determine if any errors were made,” James Elmendorf, LAANE’s deputy director, told the Los Angeles Times.

LAANE and councilmembers Reyes and Eric Garcetti may search for “errors,” but the move is so transparently unfair that even the Times’ editorial page has come out against it. “Rather than presenting potential businesses with reliable rules and allowing those businesses to judge whether they can or will comply, every deal in the city is subject to negotiation,” the editorial board wrote. The paper might have added that unions and allies like LAANE get to decide the terms of these negotiations.

Part of LAANE’s opposition to Wal-Mart comes from its support of what it calls a “living wage,” but what they mean by that isn’t at all clear—and deliberately so. According to Charles Crumpley, editor of Los Angeles Business Journal, the starting wage for a non-managerial Wal-Mart worker is $12.69 an hour. In Long Beach, LAANE wants to force hotels to pay their staffs a “living wage” of just $13 an hour. The tiny difference suggests that the organization is nickel-and-diming companies it doesn’t like in the service of its union funders and allies, like the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 (whose members get $15.41 an hour—before dues).

To one Taiwan-born Chinatown resident I spoke with, the whole notion of a “living wage” is ridiculous. “Anyone can live, and live well, in America. Even the homeless here are fat,” the now retired restaurateur told me with a laugh, pointing to the homeless hangout spot on Cesar Chavez. To those who came to America with nothing or very little, the notion that you can’t get ahead here is offensive and false.



Why Tax Capital Gains at all?

Income tax time is an appropriate moment to go to the heart of President Obama’s complaint about the taxes Warren Buffett and other rich people pay, or don’t pay. What the president is really complaining about is that the tax rate on capital gains is too low.

But there is a more basic question to be asked: why tax capital gains at all?

Did you know that the term "capital gains" does not even appear in the official income accounts for the U.S. economy? That’s right. No matter how high stock prices climb, they do not affect the official reckoning of national income one iota.

"Capital losses" aren’t included either.

When stock prices soar, stock owners are wealthier — at least they feel wealthier. When stock prices plunge, owners of stocks feel less wealthy. But none of these ups and downs have any bearing whatsoever on the official calculation of the income for the economy as a whole.

So here is the policy question: If we are going to have an income tax, should we tax only income? Or should we tax activities, events and transactions that are not counted as part of our national income?

At the New York Times Economix Blog, Princeton University economist Uwe Reinhardt argues that capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as ordinary income (which is included as part of national income, by the way). I had a debate about all of this with Michael Kinsley at Slate some time back. Interested readers may want to refer to the text of that debate for more details than I plan to go into here. Also, don’t miss Steven Landsburg’s devastating critique of Uwe’s piece.

Imagine a poker game. At the end of the evening, some players walk away winners. Some are losers. No real income has been produced at this event. It’s strictly entertainment. The winnings of the winners are exactly equal to the losses of the losers. Should the IRS get involved? If your answer is "no" I like the way you think.

As it turns out, however, the IRS does get involved and it does so in a very unfair way. It taxes the winner’s gains but limits the ability of the losers to deduct their losses. (Gambling losses can only be deducted from gambling winnings, not from other income.) If the IRS treated everyone fairly (symmetrically) there would be no point to taxing gambling income. The deductions by the losers would offset the gains of the winners and there would be no net revenue for Uncle Sam.

Now let’s turn to stock prices. One way to view the stock market is to see it as a place where people also make bets. They are betting on the future income of corporations. Eventually the future will arrive, however. The companies will realize their actual income and they will pay taxes on it. If the firms return some of this income to investors (stockholders), the investors will pay a tax on their dividend income. If the firms pay interest to bondholders, they will be able to deduct the interest payments from their corporate taxable income, but the bondholders will pay taxes on their interest income.

Here is the bottom line: There is no need for the IRS to tax the bets that people make along the way — as stock prices gyrate up and down. Eventually all the income that is actually earned will be taxed when it is realized and those taxes will be paid by the people who actually earned the income.

But, as in the case of the poker game, let’s suppose the IRS decides to foolishly get involved anyway. What will be the outcome? Uncle Sam almost certainly won’t collect much money unless (as with gambling) it treats people asymmetrically. And that is exactly what it does. It taxes capital gains ferociously while limiting the ability of people to deduct their losses.

Moreover, unlike the poker game, I have complete discretion over when I choose to sell a share of stock. I can time my gains so they fit into this taxable period or the next. I can time my losses in the same way. It is because of this discretion that the federal government would get almost no net income from the taxation of capital gains if it treated losses the same way it treats gains. That’s why the government imposes so many arbitrary restrictions on how both losses and gains can be realized. But these restrictions interfere with the flexibility of the capital market. And they do so for no good reason — because eventually all corporate earnings will be realized and taxed anyway.



Australian economy leads the world

Australia is actively seeking skilled immigrants at the moment, particularly tradesmen -- JR

Australia has the strongest economy in the developed world and it is expected to outperform all comers for at least the next two years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF - which issued its World Economic Outlook in Washington overnight - said it expected the Australian economy to expand by 3 per cent this year as fiscal tensions from Europe and the United States continue to ease.

The update said that it expects the Australian economy will outstrip growth over all other advanced economies over the next two years, noting we live in a region where exposure to troubled European banks was less than for other parts of the world.




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, April 18, 2012

More media deception

I note that Norway killer Breivik's clenched-fist Communist salute is universally being described in the media as "Right wing". Right wing Communism? It has been the Communist salute for around a century and Leftist journalists would be well aware of that. They have probably even seen examples of it at Leftist rallies in the USA in recent times. But for the media white can be black if it can be used to attack conservatives

There is NO Right-wing salute. Both the Communist and the Fascist salutes are Leftist. The man who invented the Fasicist salute -- Mussolini -- was a prominent Marxist theoretician. And if Hitler's socialist worker's party (NSDAP) was Right wing, it sure was a strange socialist worker's party. More on that here

Breivik flashed the same salute on day 2 of his trial as well. An interesting excerpt from today's testimony:
Breivik has disclosed how much he admires al-Qaeda. He described them as the "most successful revolutionary force in the world" and praised their "cult of martyrdom". He also said that he expected his rampage last July to be ended by a bullet from the security forces. "22 July was a so-called suicide attack. I didn't expect to survive that day," he said.

It is becoming increasingly clear that he sees himself as a revolutionary or a martyr rather than as being subservient to any ideology. How else to explain that he hates Muslims but admires Al-Qaeda?

At the risk of being seen as knowing what I am talking about, perhaps I should mention that on July 25, 2011 I described Breivik's actions as "pure Al Qaida"


"Conservatives Have All the Best Stories"

But, we're not telling them. So says Ann McElhinney of Not Evil, Just Wrong and Mine Your Own Business fame.

She has a great conversion story. She was a typical European liberal living in Romania working as a freelance journalist. She came upon a story of an "evil" Canadian mining company which was planning to open a gold mine in Transylvania by first tearing down a village, and, of course, raping, pillaging, and plundering the villagers. At least, that was the story she presupposed while riding the train to the area. What she found when she got there was somewhat different. May I present the incomparable -- Ann McElhinney!

Unless you are used to rapid-fire Irish speech, you may need to listen to it twice!

Ms. McElhinney is a fabulous mess of a speaker (John Fund), which makes every one of her speeches a trove of riches for conversation. Just in this short clip there's the brain dead liberal story, the liberal media bias story, the DDT story, the environmentalist tyranny story, the CO2 as the new DDT story, the wrong versus evil story, and probably more that I missed.

However, this post is just about conservatives telling their conversion stories. Or, if you've always been conservative, what's the most potent story you tell which reinforces the conservative facts of life?



Australia: A triumph of faith and connectedness: Fundamentalist pastor saves little girl

In a society as atomized and as anonymous as ours, church connections can be very important

A TODDLER who survived up to five days alone in her home after her mother died was within hours of dying herself, paramedics said yesterday.

Lucy Keevers, 2, has spent three days under the intensive care of doctors after she was found severely dehydrated at the house in Wagga Wagga, in the state's southwest, on Friday.

Her 36-year-old mother Liz, a severe epileptic, is believed to have had a seizure and died in the lounge room up to five days before Lucy was found.

Ambulance Service Inspector Eamonn Purcell said Lucy was close to death when she was rescued from the death house by a local preacher.

He said the two-year-old - with blonde hair like her mother, and wearing a pink outfit - did not make a sound as she sat in the back of the ambulance.

Insp Purcell said her eyes were open wide and she was weak, with a rapid pulse and low blood pressure. "Even when they stuck a needle in her, she didn't blink. I think she was within hours of death herself," he said.

The mother and daughter moved to the suburb of Ashmont about 18 months ago, renting a house on Tarakan Ave and attending the local church with a neighbour.

Insp Purcell said paramedics were often confronted by distressing situations and had been touched by the brave little girl.

Relatives arrived in Wagga Wagga yesterday to begin the task of clearing out the death house.

Neighbour Kim Beaumont described Lucy as a happy, quiet girl who was very much loved by her mother.

Ms Beaumont said she last saw Liz as she hung out the washing on Tuesday, April 10.

"It was just awful," she said. "The washing was still on the line and I kept telling myself I must go over and see whether Liz was OK? "You just feel so guilty, I know you shouldn't blame yourself but you do."

Ms Beaumont said Liz was an active, full-time mum. "She was on medication and being seen by doctors but no one expected this. There were never any problems at the house," Ms Beaumont said.

Church of Christ Pastor Ross Brinkman said the mother was a much-loved member of the church and the girl regularly attended playgroup there. He found the young mother and daughter after becoming concerned and breaking into the house by the front window.

"I received a phone call from one of our parishioners alerting me that she had not turned up to events," Pastor Brinkman said. "I went around to investigate and that's when we made the discovery."

Pastor Brinkman said the woman's daughter would be well cared for within the Wagga community. "The concern we have is for the welfare of the daughter. We will continue to love and care for her," he said.



Shifting the range of what is politically possibile

Comment from a prominent British free-market group

Yes, it's wrapped up in unlovely jargon but this is what we exist to do: shift the Overton Window. Chris Dillow:

"But that's what half of me thinks. Another half remembers Richard Cockett's description of how libertarian think-tanks helped - over very many years - to shift the Overton window; within my lifetime, private ownership of utilities, for example, has gone from being unthinkable by the political class to taken for granted."

It's true that we're largely seen as being right wing but this is a serious mistake upon the part of those so viewing us. We actually want the poor to get richer, something that makes us rather leftie. That we advocate policies like markets, policies that actually do make the poor richer, makes us unique among lefties, this is true but in this sense we are indeed of the left. As we are in desiring to increase liberty, remove legal and economic privilege and so on.

But what is this Overton Window thing? That's the set of policies which at any one time can be plausibly taken as being politically realistic. Our job is to shift the perception of the various policies we propose so that, over time, they become part of that set of plausible, possible, political actions.

Madsen has his own way of describing this, that we start out saying something that by the standards of the times marks us out as being complete loons howling in the wilderness. By the time people are drinking the beer made today they'll be chuckling at the latest weirdness from those nutters. By the time today's production of good Scotch gets drunk it'll be a serious policy proposal that one or more political parties is including in a manifesto. And by the time this year's claret is ready to drink it'll be a settled part of the legislative landscape and no one at all can remember that we haven't always done it this way.

And we'll take such victories from any political party: Red Ken is associated with the Congestion Charge in London but it's us classically liberal think tanks that set that policy running. Privatising the utilities was enacted by the Tories and I know for certain that the current Lib Dem idea of sharing paternity and maternity leave was inserted into party policy as a result of someone reading this blog. From my pointing out that we don't in fact have a gender pay gap, we have a motherhood pay gap. And it really shouldn't be all that much of a surprise to anyone knowing my background that the UKIP flat tax policy has certain similarities to the flat tax ideas of this think tank.

In terms of the future my biggest ambition is to get drug legalisation through in just this manner. We've been saying it for years already, that it's the illegality that causes many of the problems. We're already seeing serious and sensible politicians running with the idea: heck, Portugal has essentially decriminalised even if not legalised drugs. That Overton Window has already shifted and it is possible to at least conceive now of a future government legalising and taxing appropriately all drugs. It won't be by the time today's Scotch is ready to drink, sadly, but I can see it happening by the time this year's claret is ready.



A matter of principles

By Prof. Donald J. Boudreaux

Soon after Lehman Brothers' 2008 bankruptcy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reportedly proclaimed that "there are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises."

Mr. Bernanke likely meant that, in a financial crisis, policymakers shouldn't be wedded to their pre-crisis understanding of what does and doesn't constitute sound economic policy. They should instead react to events as these unfold.

No one objects to policies changing to reflect an improved understanding of the economy. A financial crisis, however, is the worst situation for improving our understanding of the economy. And government officials are the last people to look to for such enlightenment. Panic, puzzlement and political pressures are all super-intense. The only reliable guides through this confusion are principles.

It's not as if we economists have no well-developed theories for understanding economic crises. We do. We also have principled policy recommendations based on these theories.

But in this crisis, Bernanke, panicking, tossed aside his principles.

I use the word "principles" here loosely. True principles aren't abandoned in a storm. The fact that Bernanke and many other government officials so readily pitched aside their alleged principles testifies to the fact that these officials simply aren't very principled.

Prior to 2008, Bernanke's economics was much closer to the free-market school of Milton Friedman than to the faith-in-government creed of John Maynard Keynes. Backed by sound logic and plenty of facts, the Friedman school teaches that markets are not naturally prone to huge downturns; such downturns typically result from unwise government meddling.

And so the cure for such crises is to stop the unwise government meddling. Sure, central bankers must take certain steps during each crisis to ensure that it doesn't get out of hand. These special steps, though, all turn upon ensuring that the money supply doesn't collapse. That's it. Nothing more.

Bernanke, though, went way beyond this prudent step. Blinded by panic (or eager to please the White House and Congress), Bernanke ignored what Carnegie Mellon economist Allan Meltzer calls "the powerful regenerative forces of the market."

Meltzer -- a pre-eminent scholar of monetary policy and the Fed -- understands that government meddling often causes unusually large numbers of people to make unusually bad investments. Although seemingly sensible when made, these investments are doomed because the information that guided these investments was distorted by unwise government meddling in the economy.

There's no way to get the economy back on the right track except to liquidate these lousy investments and allow the market to rediscover better, more sustainable ones.

And it's at this stage that sound principles are especially important.

Liquidating bad investments is painful. Real people suffer real financial losses. These people naturally wish to avoid these losses if they can. And politicians are eager to help them do so because that makes politicians appear to be powerful and good -- and worthy of re-election.

So politicians borrow and print money madly. Today's taxes don't rise and government spends the money, hoping to bolster the falling values of these bad investments.

For a time, this unprincipled policy might succeed -- but this "success" is only brief and illusory. Bad investments aren't turned into good investments simply because government "injects" new "demand" into the economy.

Had a principled economist been chairman of today's Fed, that person's principles would have led him or her to focus on the long-run health of the economy. He or she would therefore have argued against the massive "stimulus" package, knowing that the market economy would rejuvenate itself.




Print-on-demand aids book industry sales: "One of the book industry's largest print-on-demand operations has expanded to keep up with orders. The Nashville-based Ingram Content Group's Lightning Source division opened three new facilities last month -- two in the U.S., and one in Germany. Print-on-demand books are a bright spot for the traditional book industry, which has slumped as e-readers increase. According to research for IT Strategies, around a billion pages are being printed on demand each month -- driven by sales from Amazon."

Happiness is not an entitlement: "We ought to leave 'happiness' to novelists and philosophers -- and rescue it from the economists and psychologists who think it can be distilled into a 'science' and translated into pro-happiness policies. Fat chance. Government can often mitigate sources of unhappiness (starvation, unemployment, disease), but happiness is more than the absence of misery. If we could manufacture happiness, we could repeal the 'human condition.' Somehow this has escaped the social scientists who want to make happiness the goal of government."

Edgar the entrepreneur: "Edgar the Exploiter is a wonderful animated short by Tomasz Kaye that defends voluntary employer-employee relations and demonstrates the harm that policies like minimum-wage laws inflict on the very people they are supposed to help. Edgar is a capitalist who hires Simon as an unskilled laborer, until a minimum-wage law impels Edgar to lay Simon off."



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, April 17, 2012

Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik trial starts

His trial has just begun and the London Daily Telegraph is live-blogging it.

Once again he gave the Communist clenched-fist salute as he entered the courtroom. Breivik of all people would be aware that the Fascist salute is with an open hand. So he would appear to see himself as being primarily a revolutionary. Since the Fascist salute is generally these days associated with the political right, he would appear to be disclaiming that affiliation. He may well think conservatives are too gutless.


A Leftist government that does surplus budgeting!

Americans must find the Australian Left hard to comprehend -- one that tries to spend LESS than it raises in taxes. Obama borrows 40% of what he spends. But surplus budgeting is a tradition in Australia. At the time the GFC hit, Australia had ZERO Federal debt. It's one of a number of ways in which Australia is more conservative than the USA. We are in nothing like the mess that the USA is in

FINANCE Minister Penny Wong has rejected any suggestion that bringing the Budget back to surplus in 2012-13 could trigger a recession. "It's the right thing to do to bring the Budget back to surplus," she told Network Ten yesterday.

Senator Wong said November's mid-year economic review forecast growth of 3.5 per cent and it "assumed the fiscal policy the Government's got in place".

She has rejected a suggestion by her Opposition counterpart Andrew Robb that a surplus would be achieved by fiddling the books.

Mr Robb said one example was the energy security fund to help coal-fired generators adjust to the carbon tax, scheduled to start on July 1. Labor will spend $1 billion this financial year and in each of 2013-14 and 2014-15 on the fund, but only $1 million has been set aside for next financial year.

"You don't come back to surplus simply through accounting," Senator Wong said. "You come back to surplus because you make hard decisions."

But Mr Robb said he wasn't convinced. He said Senator Wong was caught out and unable to explain why the funding for generators wasn't anything other than a dodgy accounting trick.

More here


The unchecked menace of voter fraud

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama White House are trying to stop new laws intended to protect the integrity of our electoral system. They have already blocked the implementation of new voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas claiming there is not evidence of widespread voter fraud. They have also claimed that these new laws would place too heavy a burden on minority voters and would suppress their ability to vote.

To say that there is not widespread evidence of voter fraud is disingenuous at best. If you listen to Point of View on a regular basis, you have heard us cover dozens of stories of significant voter fraud all across the country over the past few years. Many of these have wound up in the courts, making it impossible for the Justice Department not to know about them.

To show just how easy it is to vote fraudulently, a man working for James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas went to Eric Holder’s voting place on Nebraska Avenue in Washington, D.C. and asked if they had a Holder registered. This scruffily dressed, young white man (Eric Holder is 61 and black) never actually claimed to be Holder but was offered his ballot anyway. You can see the amazing video of this exchange here.

As to suppressing minority voter turnout, after new voter ID laws were put in place in Georgia and Indiana, minority turnout increased. So why is the Obama Justice Department so intent on blocking the implementation these laws intended to protect the integrity of the vote?

Received by email from Kerby Anderson, Host of "Point of View"


How to reform the TSA

Air travel would be safer if we allowed knives, lighters and liquids and focused on disrupting new terror plots. A former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley says:

Airport security in America is broken. I should know. For 3½ years—from my confirmation in July 2005 to President Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009—I served as the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

You know the TSA. We're the ones who make you take off your shoes before padding through a metal detector in your socks (hopefully without holes in them). We're the ones who make you throw out your water bottles. We're the ones who end up on the evening news when someone's grandma gets patted down or a child's toy gets confiscated as a security risk. If you're a frequent traveler, you probably hate us.

More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve.

The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.

Any effort to rebuild TSA and get airport security right in the U.S. has to start with two basic principles:

First, the TSA's mission is to prevent a catastrophic attack on the transportation system, not to ensure that every single passenger can avoid harm while traveling. Much of the friction in the system today results from rules that are direct responses to how we were attacked on 9/11. But it's simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

Second, the TSA's job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes.

I tried to follow these principles as the head of the TSA, and I believe that the agency made strides during my tenure. But I readily acknowledge my share of failures as well. I arrived in 2005 with naive notions of wrangling the organization into shape, only to discover the power of the TSA's bureaucratic momentum and political pressures.

There is a way out of this mess—below, I'll set out five specific ideas for reform—but it helps to understand how we got here in the first place.

The airport checkpoint as we know it today sprang into existence in spring 2002, over a month and a half at Baltimore/Washington International airport. New demands on the system after 9/11, like an exhaustive manual check of all carry-on bags, had left checkpoints overwhelmed by long lines and backlogs. A team of management consultants from Accenture delved into the minutiae of checkpoint activity at BWI: How long did it take to pass from one point to another? How did the behavior of travelers affect line speed? How were people interacting with the equipment?

The consultants had a million ideas for improvement, but with no infrastructure, acquiring even the most ordinary items became a quest. For example, before passengers walked through the metal detectors, they needed to place their keys, jewelry and change into a container. But the long, skinny plastic dishes in use at the time tipped over. So a team member went to PetSmart, bought a bunch of different dog bowls and tested each one. The result was the white bowl with a rubber bottom that's still in use at many airports. (Please, no jokes about the TSA treating passengers like dogs.)

One brilliant bit of streamlining from the consultants: It turned out that if the outline of two footprints was drawn on a mat in the area for using metal-detecting wands, most people stepped on the feet with no prompting and spread their legs in the most efficient stance. Every second counts when you're processing thousands of passengers a day.

Members of Congress, who often fly home to their districts for the weekend, had begun demanding wait times of no longer than 10 minutes. But security is always about trade-offs: A two-minute standard would delight passengers but cost billions more in staffing; ignoring wait times would choke the system.

After I was confirmed as TSA administrator in 2005, one of the first things I did in office was to attend screener training at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

I sat down at a computer with Gary, a solidly built guy in his 40s with a mustache and a shaved head. Gary pointed at a screen that simulated the carry-on bag monitors at checkpoints. "What do you see?" he asked, a half smile on his face.

I stared at the series of colorful, ghostly images that Gary froze on the screen and tried to pick an easy one. "Well, that's a computer or some electronic, there are wires, maybe a battery." The sharp edges were easy to pick out, and the recognizable pattern of a motherboard jumped out. "But I don't know about that big orange blob on top of it."

"Right," said Gary. "The orange-colored part…. That means it's organic. Anything made of organic material—clothes, shoes, food—it's all going to register orange here."

As a confidence boost, Gary gave me a series of images with guns and knives in various positions. Knives lying flat were giveaways, but when viewed lengthwise, they had very little visible surface. Explosives were a whole different story. A plastic explosive like C4 is organic and dense. It appears as a heavy orange mass. Unfortunately, a block of cheddar cheese looks roughly the same.

As we started testing with a moving scanner, Gary warned me that too many false positives would be a big problem. A "hair-trigger" strategy would get me flunked. Images with guns took about one second to identify. Clear bags took roughly five seconds to double check for blade edges. It was cluttered bags—with their multihued oranges, blues, greens and grays jumbled together—that were the killers.

I wish that more of our passengers could see the system from the perspective of a screener. It is here, at the front lines, where the conundrum of airport security is in sharpest relief: the fear of missing even the smallest thing, versus the likelihood that you'll miss the big picture when you're focused on the small stuff.

Clearly, things needed to change. By the time of my arrival, the agency was focused almost entirely on finding prohibited items. Constant positive reinforcement on finding items like lighters had turned our checkpoint operations into an Easter-egg hunt. When we ran a test, putting dummy bomb components near lighters in bags at checkpoints, officers caught the lighters, not the bomb parts.

I wanted to reduce the amount of time that officers spent searching for low-risk objects, but politics intervened at every turn. Lighters were untouchable, having been banned by an act of Congress. And despite the radically reduced risk that knives and box cutters presented in the post-9/11 world, allowing them back on board was considered too emotionally charged for the American public.

We did succeed in getting some items (small scissors, ice skates) off the list of prohibited items. And we had explosives experts retrain the entire work force in terrorist tradecraft and bomb-making. Most important, Charlie Allen, the chief of intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security, tied the TSA into the wider world of U.S. intelligence, arranging for our leadership to participate in the daily counterterrorism video conference chaired from the White House. With a constant stream of live threat reporting to start each day, I was done with playing defense.

But the frustrations outweighed the progress. I had hoped to advance the idea of a Registered Traveler program, but the second that you create a population of travelers who are considered "trusted," that category of fliers moves to the top of al Qaeda's training list, whether they are old, young, white, Asian, military, civilian, male or female. The men who bombed the London Underground in July 2005 would all have been eligible for the Registered Traveler cards we were developing at the time. No realistic amount of prescreening can alleviate this threat when al Qaeda is working to recruit "clean" agents. TSA dropped the idea on my watch—though new versions of it continue to pop up.

Taking your shoes off for security is probably your least favorite part of flying these days. Mine, too. I came into office dead set on allowing people to keep their shoes on during screening. But, contrary to popular belief, it isn't just Richard Reid's failed shoe-bomb attempt in December 2001 that is responsible for the shoe rule. For years, the TSA has received intelligence on the terrorists' footwear-related innovations. Some very capable engineer on the other side is spending a lot of time improving shoe bombs, which can now be completely nonmetallic and concealed in a normal street shoe. There's still no quick way to detect them without an X-ray.

I was initially against a ban on liquids as well, because I thought that, with proper briefing, TSA officers could stop al Qaeda's new liquid bombs. Unfortunately, al Qaeda's advancing skill with hydrogen-peroxide-based bombs made a total liquid ban necessary for a brief period and a restriction on the amount of liquid one could carry on a plane necessary thereafter.

Existing scanners could allow passengers to carry on any amount of liquid they want, so long as they put it in the gray bins. The scanners have yet to be used in this way because of concern for the large number of false alarms and delays that they could cause. When I left TSA in 2009, the plan was to designate "liquid lanes" where waits might be longer but passengers could board with snow globes, beauty products or booze. That plan is still sitting on someone's desk.

The hijackings of the 1960s gave us magnetometers, to keep guns off planes. After the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, a small amount of international checked baggage was scanned and people were required to fly with their luggage. After 9/11, the TSA was created and blades were banned.

Looking at the airport security system that we have today, each measure has a reason—and each one provides some security value. But taken together they tell the story of an agency that, while effective at stopping anticipated threats, is too reactive and always finds itself fighting the last war.

Airport security has to change. The relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained. And the way that we use TSA officers—as little more than human versions of our scanners—is a tremendous waste of well-trained, engaged brains that could be evaluating risk rather than looking for violations of the Standard Operating Procedure.

What would a better system look like? If politicians gave the TSA some political cover, the agency could institute the following changes before the start of the summer travel season:




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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)


Monday, April 16, 2012

No Obamacare Exchanges should be created by the States

Obamacare had a bad couple of days before the Supreme Court — so bad that President Obama made some ill-considered comments about the Court from which he still hasn't totally backpedaled. Though the oral arguments over the individual mandate and severability were encouraging, we cannot count on the Supremes to kill Obamacare. Opponents must keep fighting it on all fronts.

The most important front right now is to ensure that states do not create the health-insurance exchanges Obamacare needs in order to operate. Refusing to create exchanges is the most powerful thing states can do to take Obamacare down. Think of it as an insurance policy in case the Supreme Court whiffs.

Exchanges are the new government bureaucracies through which millions of Americans will be compelled to purchase Obamacare's overpriced and overregulated health insurance. Through these bureaucracies, insurance companies will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Without these bureaucracies, Obamacare cannot work.

Here are just a few reasons why states should refuse to create them.

Jobs. Refusing to create an exchange will block Obamacare from imposing a tax on employers whose health benefits do not meet the federal government's definition of "essential" coverage. That tax can run as high as $3,000 per employee. A state that refuses to create an exchange will spare its employers from that tax, and will therefore enable them to create more jobs.

Religious freedom. In blocking that employer tax, state officials would likewise block Obamacare's effort to force religious employers to provide coverage for services they find immoral — like contraception, pharmaceutical abortions, and sterilization.

The federal debt. Refusing to create exchanges would also reduce the federal debt, because it would prevent the Obama administration from doling out billions of dollars in subsidies to private insurance companies.

The U.S. Constitution. The Obama administration has indicated that it might try to tax employers and hand out those subsidies anyway — even in states that don't create an exchange, and even though neither Obamacare nor any other federal law gives it the power to do so. If that happens, the fact that a state has refused to create an exchange would give every large employer in the state — including the state government itself — the ability to go to court to block the administration's attempt to usurp Congress's legislative powers.

A lower state tax burden. States that opt to create an exchange can expect to pay anywhere from $10 million to $100 million per year to run it. But if states refuse, Obamacare says the federal government must pay to create one. Why should states pay for something that the federal government is giving away?

Bye-bye, Obamacare. That is, if the feds can create an exchange at all. The Obama administration has admitted it doesn't have the money — and good luck getting any such funding through the GOP-controlled House. Moreover, without state-run exchanges, the feds can't subsidize private insurance companies. That by itself could cause Obamacare to collapse.

Unfortunately, ever since Obamacare became law, lobbyists for the insurance companies and others who would financially benefit from it have been wooing state officials with the false promise that a state-run exchange would preserve state control over health care. If the Supreme Court fails to strike down the entire law, they'll say, "Aw, shucks. Now you have to create an exchange."

Nonsense. Obamacare does not and cannot mandate that states create exchanges. Moreover, state-run exchanges do not preserve local control. They will do Washington's bidding, or else they will be commandeered or swept aside.

Even if we assume the Obama administration figures out a way to impose a federal exchange on states, are there any atrocities a federal exchange might inflict that federal regulations could not require state-run exchanges to inflict? Of course not.

That's why every conservative and free-market group, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, has advised states to refuse to create an exchange and to send all related grants back to Washington. Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wisconsin have already done so.

If the Court strikes Obamacare down, state officials who refused to create an exchange will look prescient. If not, they will be positioned to drive a stake through its heart.



Chris Christie: America becoming a nation of couch potatoes

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the U.S. is turning into a “paternalistic entitlement society” that will bankrupt the country financially and morally because “we’ll have a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check.”

“I’ve never seen a less optimistic time in my lifetime in this country and people wonder why,” the first-term Republican governor said at the Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth in New York City.

“I think it’s really simple. It’s because government’s now telling them ‘stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society,” he said.

“That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally because when the American people no longer believe that this a place where only their willingness to work hard … determines their success in life then we’ll have a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check,” Christie said.

Much of the blame, Christie said, falls at the feet of politicians at all levels of government who are too eager to please voters.

“I’m not looking to be loved. You see, I think politicians get themselves into the biggest trouble when they care more about being loved than being respected. That’s why we run up these deficits we run up. That’s why we can’t say ‘no’ to anything. Because we care too much about being loved. I’m loved enough at home, believe me — on occasion,” he said.



Obama Admin: Your Privacy and All Your Stuff Belong To Us

Did you know that the federal government claims that it can take away your constitutional rights any time that it wants to?

Over the past several decades, there have been an endless parade of laws and executive orders that have been slowly and methodically carving up our rights under the U.S. Constitution. Most Americans are not even aware of the "creeping totalitarianism" that is happening. Most Americans just trust the "authorities" when they tell us that certain things "must be done" in order to keep us all safe.

But even if we gave up all of our privacy, even if we gave up all of our liberties and our freedoms, and even if we gave the government all of our stuff, they still would not be able to keep us safe. It is inevitable that evil people are going to do evil things, and if you are counting on the Obama administration to keep you safe then you are being delusional. Obama is not going to save us from anything.

But Obama will gladly take away our rights and our freedoms if the American people allow him to. The Obama administration seems to have an endless lust for more power. Sadly, if we do give away our rights it will have some very serious consequences. If we freely give away all of the rights that we have been given under the U.S. Constitution it will be incredibly difficult to ever get them back. Giving up liberty for security never works, and if we want to be worthy of being called Americans then we need to start standing up for the republic that our forefathers worked so hard to build.

An executive order that Barack Obama signed recently made headlines all over the nation. The title of the executive order is "National Defense Resources Preparedness" and it is actually an update of a series of previous executive orders.

The original "National Defense Resources Preparedness" executive order (EO 8248) was issued back in 1939. This latest version is very similar to EO 12919 that was signed by Bill Clinton in June 1994. However, several very important changes have been made in this new version.

For example, in Section 201(b) the words "under both emergency and non-emergency conditions" have been added.

So now the federal government can take control of all food, all energy, all health resources, all transportation resources and "all other materials, services, and facilities" in the country even if the United States is not experiencing emergency conditions.
Not that the Obama administration really needed to put that in there. After all, the U.S. government has been operating under a constant state of national emergency since September 14, 2001.

So the Obama administration did not really need to include a new excuse for taking control of everything. The existing "state of emergency" would probably work just fine.
If Barack Obama woke up one day and decided to exercise the powers in this executive order, he would be able to do pretty much anything that he wanted. This executive order would essentially allow Obama to declare a state of martial law in the United States even during a time when no emergency was happening.

Much more HERE


The motives of "Deep Throat": Mark Felt

Felt was no. 2 in the FBI

As the 40th anniversary of Watergate impends, we are to be bathed again in the great myth and morality play about the finest hour in all of American journalism.

Woodward and Bernstein paint Deep Throat, writes Holland, as a “selfless high-ranking official intent on exposing the lawlessness of the Nixon White House.” But this is self-serving nonsense.

The truth was right in front of Woodward. His refusal to see it made him a willing or witless collaborator in the ruin of the reputation and career of an honorable pubic servant, Patrick Gray.

Felt was consumed by anger and ambition. When Hoover died, a month before the break-in, Felt, who had toadied to Hoover, saw himself as Hoover’s successor. But President Nixon went outside the bureau to name Gray from the Department of Justice acting director.

Concealing his rage and resentment, Felt wormed himself into Gray’s confidence, and then set out to destroy Gray. Felt’s method: Leak discoveries of the Watergate investigation to a cub reporter at the Post, which everybody in Washington read, rather than to veteran journalists known to be FBI outlets. This would cover Felt’s tracks.

Published in the Post, the leaks of what the FBI was uncovering would enrage Nixon and make Gray appear an incompetent unable to conduct a professional investigation. This would make it unlikely that Nixon would ever send Gray’s name to the Senate for confirmation as permanent director.

And if Gray, an outsider, fell because he couldn’t keep the FBI from leaking, Nixon might turn to Felt, the ranking insider who could button up the bureau like Hoover did.

By ingratiating himself with Gray as he set out to discredit and destroy him, Felt expected that when Gray was passed over by Nixon, he would recommend to Nixon that he appoint his loyal deputy, Felt, as director. Even if cynical and vicious, the scheme was clever.

Until Nixon found out Felt was the leaker in late 1972, he was considering Felt for the top job. Felt’s machinations and deceptions at the apex of the FBI make Nixon’s White House appear in retrospect to have been a cloistered convent of Carmelite nuns.

More revolting than the ruin of Gray’s reputation was what Felt did to the good name of the bureau he professed to love. By leaking what agents were learning about Watergate, he was discrediting the FBI.

Inside the government, he made the FBI look like an agency of bumblers who could not keep secrets. Outside the government, the FBI looked like a three-toed sloth, while a fleet-footed and fearless Washington Post was unearthing the truth.

The FBI appeared beaten at every turn by the brilliant Post, when it was the FBI’s homework Felt was stealing and the Post was cribbing. Woodward and Bernstein were glorified stenographers.

And though Deep Throat was portrayed as a man sickened by the wiretaps and break-ins by the White House, Felt himself, writes Holland, “authorized illegal surreptitious entries into the homes of people associated with the Weather Underground.”

Mark Felt was a snake. He used the Post to destroy his rivals and advance his ambitions, and the Post didn’t care what his motives were because Felt was assisting them in destroying their old enemy.



Breivik ‘has sympathizers’

As debate continues over whether confessed Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik is insane, an ideological warrior, simply evil or all of the above, chilling details continue to emerge about how he thinks. Among them, that he still has no regrets over killing 77 persons last summer, wishes he’d been able to carry his attacks further, and that he has sympathizers both in Norway and abroad.

Oslo-based newspaper Aftenposten has been publishing a steady stream of excerpts from records of lengthy conversations between Breivik and police investigators, court-appointed psychiatrists and prison officials during the past several months. On Friday came more details from the 310-page report written by a second team of court-appointed psychiatrists who reversed an earlier evaluation of Breivik by claiming he’s not insane after all.

They could find no evidence, for example, that Breivik’s ongoing references to “we” instead of “I” when discussing his attacks is a sign of any “identity disturbance.” Rather, they contend in their report, it’s because “he has sympathizers in Norway and other countries.” They wrote that Breivik has received many letters of support since he bombed Norway’s government headquarters on July 22 and then gunned down scores of people, mostly youth, at a Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utøya.

“While in custody he’s received a steady stream of sympathy declarations from like-minded persons,” the psychiatrists wrote, adding that they “therefore find no basis for interpreting his extreme and unrealistic political perceptions and goals as a sign of psychotic thought processes.”

Psychiatrists Agnar Aspaas and Terje Tørrissen also reported that they studied the right-wing extremist online milieu where Breivik was an active participant. “It’s well-known … that there are political subcultures that adhere to the extreme political ideas that (Breivik) has defended,” they wrote. They believe that Breivik has reason to believe he is not alone in his beliefs that Norway and Europe need to be protected from ongoing immigration by Muslims.

Breivik recently admitted that he fabricated the existence of the organization for which he initially claimed he was a commander, Knights Templar, but neither Aspaas nor Tørrissen believe that is a sign of psychosis either. “He has shown that the entire idea of Knights Templar sprang out of his own fantasy,” they wrote, according to Aftenposten. They believe he simply has wrapped himself into an “unrealistic future dream based on totalitarian and militant ideological svermeri (fanaticism).”

Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s defense attorney, won’t comment on the psychiatrists’ report but has told reporters that his client was satisfied with it.

While the psychiatrists found no psychosis, no suicidal tendencies, no paranoia nor any grand delusions, they claim he does have an extremely over-inflated opinion of himself and that he rejects society in general. In short, he believes he’s right and most everyone else is wrong.



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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