Saturday, May 12, 2012

Update on my health

First let me say thanks to the 100 or more people who have wished me a speedy recovery and who have welcomed my return to blogging. That has helped to keep my spirits up and helped my resolve to battle on.

But I am far from out of the woods. I appear to have acquired an antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infection while I was in hospital and my wellness varies a lot from day to day. I pee a lot of blood and am often in acute pain for short periods. I have tried both the usual antibiotic preparations used to treat UTIs so the way forward is not at all clear. I am pretty sure that I will have to go back to hospital soon, where I will probably be put on an antibiotic drip.

And, yes, I am drinking a lot of Cranberry juice. It does help with UTIs

So although my blogging has begun to return to normal in the last couple of days, I cannot predict whether or not that will continue. I will however try to let people know if I seem likely to be temporarily off blogging.

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Drumming up class hatred

by Jeff Jacoby

THERE IS NOTHING NEW under the sun, including politicians who seek to win votes by milking the gap between rich and poor.

Today it's Barack Obama, demanding a "Buffett rule" and decrying the harm caused when "the gap between those at the very, very top and everybody else keeps growing wider and wider and wider and wider." Not so long ago it was John Edwards, intent on riding his "Two Americas" stump speech ("One America does the work while another America reaps the reward") all the way to the White House. Earlier still it was FDR, lambasting the wealthy who "did not want to pay a fair share" and boasting that he'd "increased still further the taxes paid by individuals in the highest brackets" because that was "the American thing to do."

Indeed, presidential candidates have been picking at the income-inequality scab since at least 1840. That was the year William Henry Harrison, running against incumbent Martin Van Buren during a recession, accused the president of pursuing policies "directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer." (Harrison won, but died a month after taking office.)

Those who peddle class resentment can always find ready takers; otherwise politicians wouldn't keep selling the same rug. But the demand for it is never as great as the demagogues imagine. Most Americans don't hate the rich, or even the very rich, and they don't despise the economic system that makes great wealth possible. "That all men are created equal" goes to the core of our national creed; its undeniable moral force led Americans to fight a horrific Civil War over slavery in the 19th century, and to embrace the legal and social upheaval of the Civil Rights movement in the 20th.

But what Americans honor is equality in the eyes of the law, political equality -- not equality of income or material circumstances. The two kinds of equality are inherently in conflict, as every effort to impose egalitarianism eventually proves. "There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal," wrote Friedrich Hayek in 1948. The fact that some people make much more money than others has never convinced the American people that a fundamental overhaul of society is necessary or even desirable. For all the extravagant claims made last year about Occupy Wall Street's significance, is anyone surprised that the movement has fizzled?

For months President Obama has been calling income inequality "the defining issue of our time," but relatively few Americans agree. In a recent Gallup poll, only 2 percent of respondents identified the gap between rich and poor as their top economic concern. Even among the Democrats in Gallup's survey, inequality didn't show up as a major worry.

Armed with a bully pulpit and backed by a liberal media chorus, Obama may have good political reasons to keep hammering away at the wealth gap. No doubt he can mobilize some voters with his suspect claims about billionaires paying a 1 percent tax rate, or the charge that Republicans want "everybody left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules."

But most voters understand intuitively that in a free society, unequal productivity will generate unequal wealth. Incentives and rewards are powerful motivators of work and risk-taking; and the greater the potential rewards, the more an economy will achieve. A Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Sam Walton is far more likely to flourish in a nation where people can become millionaires and billionaires -- and to enrich all of us in the process of enriching themselves.

"In a democratic, capitalist society, gaps in income are inevitable," write Peter Wehner and Robert Beschel Jr. in the current issue of National Affairs. "Yet it is worth noting that democratic capitalism has done far more to create wealth, advance human flourishing, and lift people out of destitution than any other economic and political system.. A policy agenda that has as its top priority the elimination of income gaps . not only encourages resentment but also threatens the American economy - because a narrow focus on closing gaps tends to go along with reduced overall growth."

There is no fixed limit to the wealth a society can produce, and today's "1 percent" produce an amazing amount of it. But their wealth takes nothing away from the other 99 percent. We are all free to rise as high as talent, education, and hard work will take us. Wealth is not theft. Productivity is not zero-sum. If economic disparity is a problem, then the way to solve it is by raising those who are stuck near the bottom, not tearing down those who have climbed to the top.

SOURCE

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Obama Invents Phony Right, Attacks Constitutional Rights

"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." -- Barack Obama, February 1996

"What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman." -- Barack Obama, October 2004

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." -- Barack Obama, May 2012

President Obama's "evolving" stand on the issue of same sex marriage, an evolution that led him from his original position favoring same sex marriage, to one opposing it and then back to his original support for this new "right" is a classic example of liberal "say whatever it takes to get elected" hypocrisy.

That liberals will say whatever it takes to get elected and Obama will pander to liberal homosexual pressure groups is no surprise, nor dangerous in and of itself.

What is dangerous is Obama's penchant for finding new "rights" that have no basis in the Constitution, while actively attacking the rights clearly articulated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Obama's willingness to attack the First Amendment freedom of religion of those who oppose abortion, his EPA's regular trampling of property rights, and his invention of the right to medical care in Obamacare show that the rights Obama and his liberal allies invent to get elected all come with a strong mandate for federal government coercion and the end of freedom of conscience.

Now that Obama has come out in favor of same sex marriage, his attack on the freedom of conscience of military chaplains who oppose same sex marriage and his refusal to defend laws that prohibit the recognition of same sex marriage is starting to look more and more like the first step toward a federal mandate for the recognition of same sex marriage.

This of course would throw the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment out the window.

As Obama and his liberal allies create phony new "rights" to secure votes from liberal pressure groups, they are actively attacking and undermining the fundamental rights the Constitution was intended to protect - such as freedom of religion and property rights. In their eagerness to create new "rights" and obtain the votes of the homosexual lobby, Obama and his liberal allies are set to once again ignore the Constitution as the "law that governs government," and that is the real danger in Obama's embrace of same sex marriage.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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'Paycheck Fairness' Will Mean a Pay Cut for Men

Wage discrimination is already illegal. So what? Get ready for another phony debate.

Team Obama calculates that its road to victory is paved with the votes of women, so the American people are now subject to a coordinated effort to cast GOP opposition to expanding government power as an assault on the weaker sex. But few women view public policy as a battle between the sexes. Women whose husbands, brothers and sons are struggling to find jobs find no comfort in women's comparatively low unemployment rate.

Next up in the Democratic campaign is the Paycheck Fairness Act, supposedly necessary to achieve "equal pay" for women. Never mind that it's already illegal to pay women less than men for the same work. Democrats say that failure to support this bill is akin to greenlighting workplace discrimination. In reality, women aren't the primary beneficiaries of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Lawyers are, since it encourages more litigation, increases potential lawsuit payouts, and makes it more difficult for companies to defend themselves.

Under the act, the government would also collect more information about compensation practices and establish a national award for employers deemed best in advancing "pay equity." These are distractions companies don't need.

Feminists have long wanted enlightened government officials, rather than the indifferent market, to determine salaries. Information collection and government-compensation guidelines today could easily become regulations and mandates tomorrow.

Such meddling would be disastrous for the economy, but men particularly should be warned: Bureaucrats micromanaging compensation standards will mean many male workers should expect a pay cut.

We've seen how this works. Soon Democrats will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX as a triumph for women's equality, but mothers of would-be wrestlers and male gymnasts know this well-intentioned law has a darker history.

Title IX amended federal education law to require that schools receiving federal funding couldn't discriminate on the basis of sex. However, enforcement procedures have morphed this antidiscrimination statute into a de facto quota system for athletics. Many colleges have eliminated men's teams, and some male sports are now all but extinct at the collegiate level, such as men's gymnastics.

Colleges' struggle to meet Title IX's proportionality requirement speaks to a larger issue: Women increasingly outnumber men on campus, earning an estimated 57% of bachelor's degrees. Against this backdrop, Title IX's enforcement policy seems particularly ill-conceived. Female students out-participate men in just about all activities other than sports, from theater programs to student government. Why are sports the sole target of Title IX?

It turns out that the law's champions-including the Obama administration's Title IX Interagency Working Group-do want to expand its reach to academics, specifically to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the few disciplines in which men's enrollment continues to outpace women's.

Of course, statistics about young men's troubling prospects shouldn't be used to justify a new set of intrusive government programs to bolster boys' self-esteem or curb women's success in pursuit of gender parity. But they should encourage greater awareness of how policies sold as protecting women can be used to bludgeon men, and they should spur greater skepticism of the idea that women need bigger government to succeed.

The War on Women rhetoric may be intended to derail specific candidacies, but it also derails needed public-policy debates. With trillion-dollar deficits, we need to make tough choices about funding priorities. Calling attempts to control government's costs an assault on women will only make deliberations less productive.

Americans had a preview of how this tactic stifles debate during the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw this law, known to be riddled with waste and fraud, as a politically toxic issue. So instead of pushing for needed reforms, he surrendered, declaring, "We're all in favor of the Violence Against Women Act. . . . There's nothing to fight about."

Women cannot be a political shield that prevents rigorous debate about the direction of our country.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

FL: Church defies produce stand order: "A Florida town is ordering a church to move a produce stand where the needy can get free food grown by the faithful, saying its location violates zoning laws. Members of the Believers' Fellowship Word of Faith Church in Lakeland started a garden on the 6-acre church grounds two years ago, growing everything from zucchini to onions to watermelons. At first, they gave the food out for free. But when demand outpaced supply, they added inventory donated by other local growers, expanded the tent to the roadside and began taking optional donations. All proceeds (500 in a typical week) go back into the garden for seeds, fertilizer and more."

Occupy's organized anarchy: "The 'Occupy' movement, which the Obama administration and much of the media have embraced, has implications that reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created. The unwillingness of authorities to put a stop to their organized disruptions of other people's lives, their trespassing, vandalism and violence is a de facto suspension, if not repeal, of the 14th Amendment's requirement that the government provide 'equal protection of the laws' to all its citizens. How did the 'Occupy' movement acquire such immunity from the laws that the rest of us are expected to obey"

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

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My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

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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)

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Some justifiable cynicicism from Ray Kraft

Politicians do not want to solve problems. If they solve a problem, they can no longer run against it, they can no longer blame it on anybody else, they can no longer promise to fix it. Problems have fantastic political value. Solved problems have no political value.

That is why Politicians are forever unsolving problems.

They have a vested self interest in unsolved problems. That's what gets them elected. Unsolved problems are infinitely useful. Solved problems are politically useless.

One glaring example: Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy kept getting re-elected for decades. Quick, what problem did he ever solve, as a Senator?

Yeah, I couldn't think of any either. Now, insert any other member of Congress for Ted Kennedy.

All the political problems we have today, we have because over the last fifty years all the members of Congress and every President have failed to fix them, a vast left and right wing conspiracy of incompetence.

Received via email

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A dolphin with sharp teeth

The Israeli Navy's new Dolphin submarine is the ultimate tool of warfare. Forget everything you knew about submarines, most of which is probably from watching war movies. This is something entirely different. We will not list all the measures installed onboard the submarine. This is in part because not all is known to us, and also because parts of it are classified. However, according to foreign publications, the submarine has two systems from which one can deduce about its capabilities.

The first system is an advanced and impervious SATCOM satellite communication system, which gives the military brass the ability to be in direct, secured contact with the submarine's command at all times.

The second is a system of 650mm torpedo tubes. According to foreign publications, these are not ordinary torpedo tubes, but rather sophisticated launchers from which various weapon systems can be launched, including cruise missiles equipped with nuclear warheads.

Foreign sources can tell that the submarine is capable of launching Rafael's advanced Popeye Turbo missile. This is a variant of an air-to-surface missile developed by the company which is no longer used in its original form. According to the same foreign publications, the US Navy monitored a test of such a cruise missile from an Israeli submarine in the Indian Ocean.

Take the following imaginary scenario for example – an Israeli navy submarine is cruising somewhere near Iran. In a moment of religious fervor, the Ayatollah regime decides to launch a nuclear missile at Israel after the world has failed in its efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program.

The IDF's HQ in the Kiriya base understands what is happening and decides to launch a severe counterstrike. A secure satellite communication system enables direct contact with the submarine commander. He is called to enter a state of strike readiness. The launch command, however, is not given via verbal communication - the submarine commander gets that order via special codes which change randomly. The code is sent, along with the preferred target.

The initial target is a large military facility near Tehran. After several seconds, a long object emerges from the ocean, rises to a height of several hundred meters and begins its flight towards the Iranian coast. Iran's radar systems do not detect the missile as it makes its subsonic way towards the target.

More HERE

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Truth Is Major Obstacle to Obama's Re-election

So we need to get that truth out

President Obama formally kicked off his re-election campaign in Richmond, Va., and Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, and his theme was certainly not, shall we say, "it's morning again in America" -- President Ronald Reagan's optimistic re-election slogan in 1984.

Obama's central message was more like: "Hey, I realize things look bad, and I'm not going to pretend you want four more years of this. But just think how much worse it would have been without me and how much worse it's going to get if you get rid of me."

Interestingly, mainstream media journalists Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake were certain enough that Obama wasn't sufficiently forthcoming in his speech that they co-wrote a piece for The Washington Post "parsing" it. Without a whiff of disapproval, they said, "This being politics, Obama said less than what he meant. But, that's where we come in." The two then set out Obama's "most quotable lines" and followed each with their "translation of the message he was trying to send."

The writers are obviously sympathetic to Obama's agenda and, as fellow liberals, share his end-justifies-the-means sleight of hand -- whatever it takes to keep this federal juggernaut barreling along. Let's look at just a few of the quotes they highlighted.

Obama said: "I don't care how many ways you try to explain it: Corporations aren't people. People are people." The writers said Obama was responding to Mitt Romney's earlier remark that "corporations are people," and they said Obama intended to send this message: "Romney is the business candidate. I am the people's candidate."

Well, Romney is right. Most corporations (excepting holding companies and the like) are owned and operated by people. But Obama must depersonalize them because it makes his attacks on business seem less personal, which brings us to another point. Obama has denied he is anti-business, but everything about him screams otherwise, and even many of his liberal defenders, from these two writers to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Fareed Zakaria, have been hard-pressed to deny that he either is anti-business or sends unmistakable signals that he is.

Notice also how Obama framed the issue, which is revealing both as to his attitude toward business (mildly adversarial to hostile) and as to his general political worldview (us against them). He gratuitously drew a line of demarcation between corporations (read: business) and people. This is a false choice. Why can't we be pro-corporation and pro-people? Shouldn't an American president be bullish on both? The answer is yes, but Obama can't be; his class-conscious ideology forbids it, and electoral imperatives demand that he demonize his political opponents, which is why his hype about all of us coming together as one rings so hollow and disingenuous.

If you still doubt Obama's mindset, you should consider another quote: "We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn't be determined by the circumstances of your birth." Is there any way to read this statement apart from the drippingly bellicose class warfare resentment it connotes?

Obama also said, "Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country." Not to dabble in ancient Greek philosophy, but I dare say that the influence of a human being, especially one who has been as pivotally important to al-Qaida's ongoing jihad against the United States and its allies, can live well beyond the grave.

What's more naive and even dangerous about the statement is that it implies that bin Laden's death justifies the false hope that the enemy is less determined to destroy us than before and that we may now relax our guard. Yes, we get that Obama wants to keep reminding us that he issued the kill order for bin Laden, but let's not give him the further leeway of overblowing the significance of the kill to the war on terror.

This whole issue is a bit spooky when you consider Obama's double-minded approach to the war. On the one hand, he would have us believe it's darn near over; he's replaced our so-called jingoistic rhetoric with such gems as kinetic military actions and overseas contingency operations, and he seems to believe his overt efforts to reach out to the Muslim world, including flowery panegyrics to Muslim culture and the construction of Gitmo basketball courts, have mitigated Islamist hatred toward America and the West. (Polls emphatically say otherwise.) On the other hand, he's operating assassination drones like a repressed schoolboy with new toys and indulging in indefinite detentions of enemy combatants, as if wholly unaware of what the other half of his split personality has been preaching.

I've just scratched the surface, but the inescapable conclusion is that Obama cannot spin his domestic and foreign policy records enough to conceal the truth of his actual record. Indeed, the stubborn truth will be his greatest obstacle in November.

SOURCE

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It's only business that is being subjected to austerity

Which has it exactly the wrong way around if jobs are the issue

By mainstream media accounts, the presidential election in France and parliamentary elections in Greece on May 6 were overwhelming verdicts against “austerity” measures being implemented in Europe.

There is only one problem. It is a lie.

First off, austerity was never really tried. Not really. In France for example, according to Eurostat, annual expenditures have actually increased from €1.095 trillion to €1.118 trillion in 2011. In fact spending has increased every single year for the past decade. The debt there increased too from €1.932 trillion €1.987 trillion last year, just as it did every year before.

Real “austere”. The French spent more, and they borrowed more.

The deficit in France did decrease by about €34 billion in 2011, but that was largely because of a €56.6 billion surge in tax revenues. Again, there were no spending cuts. Zero.

Yet incoming socialist president François Hollande claimed after his victory over Nicolas Sarkozy that he would bring an end to this mythical austerity: “We will bring back Europe on a track for jobs, growth and the future… We’re no longer doomed to austerity.”

This is just a willful, purposeful distortion. What the heck is he talking about? Certainly not France.

If not France, then where?

In Italy and Spain, which have been dependent on tens of billions of cash infusions from the European Central Bank (ECB) to refinance their debts, cuts are hardly anywhere to be found either. In Spain, spending was cut by just €11 billion in 2011, a mere 2.3 percent reduction. In Italy, spending actually increased by €4.3 billion.

Both countries borrowed an additional €117 billion last year alone, raising their combined debts to €1.939 trillion. So, no austerity there. Just debt slaves.

Hollande might have been referring to the budgets of debt-strapped Ireland, Greece, and Portugal that have depended on over €290 billion of refinance loans from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But even there, the cuts are rather miniscule. In Greece, spending was cut by just €6.3 billion from 2010 levels. In Portugal, just €4.8 billion. Ireland only trimmed €2.2 billion off its 2009 levels, discounting its massive bank recapitalization in 2010 that blew up its budget by €25.7 billion.

The real point is that none of them even came close to balancing their budgets, with over €47 billion of combined deficits for 2011. More debt slaves.

Yet that is not stopping pundits like New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman from claiming otherwise, who said recently, “All this austerity is actually self-defeating. We’re seeing countries slash spending and drive their economies into a ditch.”

What austerity? These countries are all debt addicts. They’re not addressing the root of the problem. So, what should they do? Just borrow more?

Where’s the growth? Au contraire. Although all of this government largesse and excessive borrowing is supposed to be economic stimulus by Krugman’s account, these European economies are still stuck in a ditch. We tried the same thing here.

More than $3 trillion in fiscal and monetary stimulus since the financial crisis began — all to no avail. Well, some things did happen. We lost our AAA credit rating. And the debt is now larger than the entire economy.

But leaving that aside, based on analyses like Krugman’s, one might get the idea that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe was caused not by too much borrowing, but by not enough of it.

No, Krugman, Hollande, et al., this really is a debt crisis. The government’s demand for borrowing is so voracious that it far exceeds even the financial system’s capacity to lend. The crisis has reached such critical proportions these countries cannot find a way to grow their way out of it.

Hollande’s idea of “growth” is just more government spending and waste in a new wrapper — more education funding, more pensions, more health care, and other soft socialist programs. Because the illness is being misdiagnosed, the solutions being proposed only threaten to exacerbate the symptoms.

If France and other European countries were truly interested in growth, they’d be cutting taxes on business. Yet, Hollande wants a 75 percent levy on the “rich” and to increase social spending. Socialists like Hollande and their ilk do not wish to save the private sector — they want to soak it. Very well.

But this is a true delusion. There is no painless way to solve the systemic imbalances caused by bloated political promises made to dependent classes of citizens. The rich are not rich enough to pay for the level of government we have.

There is no easier, softer way to stop the bleeding. Spending must be cut, budgets balanced, and debts paid down. Europe is nowhere near that right now. Nobody is.

But that’s not all that must be done. To alleviate the painful transition — and make no mistake it will be painful — real fiscal reform must be accompanied by pro-growth policies.

Here in the U.S., systemic unemployment and slow growth in the private sector could be addressed on the supply side. Capital gains and corporate taxes could be eliminated to encourage investment in U.S. companies. Environmental regulations that increase the cost of energy and of doing business here could be rescinded.

We could let banks fail when they make bad investments, and restore a sound money system to ensure price stability and an end to “too big to fail”.

More HERE

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My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

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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)

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Thursday, May 10, 2012


The Two Lefts

Steven Plaut refers below to the "Satanic" and the "stupid" Left. I don't think he is far wrong and I have made a similar distinction here. Not being religious, however, I would refer to the "evil" rather than the "Satanic" Left

It is impossible to understand politics in the world today without grasping the fundamental fact that there exist two different lefts. I propose that the two be referred to by everyone as the Stupid Left and the Satanic Left. The two are very different, although they work together. People who are part of the first are simply stupid people. People who are part of the second may in fact be quite shrewd, but are evil and nefarious. There is no third type of leftist.

Over time, the Stupid Left has been losing its numbers, as many Stupid Leftists either become smarter or morph into Satanic Leftists, and so desist from being mere Stupid Leftists. So a process of selection is occurring whereby the strength of the Satanic Left within the overall left grows. The "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations and their kin in Europe are attended by and contain both kinds of leftists, although they are increasingly organized by Satanic Leftists. Almost all the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions vis-à-vis Israel) guttersnipes are Satanic Leftists.

Both the Stupid Left and the Satanic Left demonstrate together against the United States, in favor of Iran and Islamofascism, in favor of destroying Israel, and in favor of Palestinian terrorism. But for different reasons. The Stupid Left really thinks that if the U.S. leaves Iran alone, it will refrain from developing weapons of mass destruction. The Satanic Left supports Iran precisely because it knows that Iran will develop them and use them!

The Stupid Left is anti-American because it thinks people in America are oppressed, poor, and mistreated, and that America is an evil country. The Satanic Left is anti-American precisely because it knows that the opposite is the case.

The Stupid Left hates America because it thinks America promotes evil, oppressive regimes around the world. The Satanic Left hates America because America gets in the way of the evil, oppressive regimes that the Satanic Left promotes.

The Stupid Left denounces capitalism and globalization and supports communism because it really believes that people are poor and oppressed under capitalism but free and happy under socialism. The Satanic Left denounces capitalism and supports communism precisely because it knows that the opposite is the case.

The Stupid Left does not know that communism produces gulags. The Satanic Left supports communism precisely because it produces gulags, and also because members of the Satanic Leftists presume that they will be placed in charge of the gulags.

The Stupid Left wants a Palestinian state because it thinks that such a state will pursue peace alongside Israel. The Satanic Left wants a Palestinian state precisely because it knows that such a state will launch a war of destruction against Israel and endless atrocities against the Jews.

The Stupid Left thinks that Israel mistreats Arabs. It does not know that Arab regimes mistreat Arabs. The Satanic Left knows that Israel does not and the Arab regimes do. The reason it wants Israel destroyed is not because it thinks Israel is unjust, but rather because it hates Jews.

The Stupid Left opposes Israeli armed force being used to suppress terror because it thinks that terror can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations. The Satanic Left opposes Israeli armed forces being used to suppress terror because it supports terror against Jews.

The Stupid Left is convinced that most Arabs seek peace, are moderate and decent people, and have legitimate grievances against the West. The Satanic Left supports Arab aggression and terror precisely because it knows that this is not true.

The Stupid Left thinks that Palestinian leaders and Arab nationalists are progressive and liberal. The Satanic Left supports the same people precisely because it knows they are fascists.

The Stupid Left is under the impression that Arab states have elections and freedom and enlightenment. The Satanic Left supports Arab regimes because they want to destroy Israel and murder Jews.

The Stupid Left thinks the West should not place its Arab residents under surveillance because they are decent people and loyal to their adopted countries. The Satanic Left opposes such surveillance because it wants more bin Ladens.

The Stupid Left thinks that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace. The Satanic Left wants the settlers evicted or killed because they are an obstacle to the Palestinian ambitions of destroying Israel.

The Stupid Left thinks the Middle East conflict is about Arab human rights. The Satanic Left knows that the Middle East conflict is about suppressing Jewish human rights. Satanic Leftists support this suppression.

The Stupid Left thinks the Middle East conflict is about land and borders. The Satanic Left knows that it is about Israel's existence. The Stupid Left thinks Israel is a discriminatory apartheid country. The Satanic Left wants Israel destroyed so that the Arabs can impose an apartheid regime directed against the Jews and any other non-Moslems.

The Stupid Left believes that it is trying to reform and change America. The Satanic Left wants to destroy America.

The Stupid Left thinks socialism works. The Satanic Left wants socialism because it knows that socialism does not work.

The Stupid Left thinks it is opposing racism. The Satanic Left's fundamental urge is to impose its own mode of racism and anti-Semitism on the world.

The Stupid Left thinks Zionism is a form of racism. The Satanic Left supports anti-Zionism precisely because anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. The Stupid Left chooses its political positions on the basis of the desire by leftists to make their parents angry. So does the Satanic Left, but Satanic Leftists really hate their parents.

The Stupid Left says it favors equality. The Satanic Left favors transferring power to itself so that it can oppress others.

The Stupid Left supports Marxist groups all over the world because it thinks these are nonviolent and favor pluralism. The Satanic Left supports them because they know these are violent and totalitarian.





The Left’s National Vote Fraud Strategy Exposed

This report reveals the Left’s vote fraud strategy for the 2012 elections. Like a KGB operation, it is thorough, multi-faceted and redundant. It has overt and covert, illegal and legal elements, the latter of which are designed, at least in part, to facilitate illegal activities later. It is a deliberate, premeditated, comprehensive plan to win the 2012 presidential election at all costs, and is in keeping with the organizational methods, associations and ethics of the Community-Organizer-in-Chief, Barack Obama.

The Left seeks fundamental structural change to our entire form of government. In keeping with their amoral, means-justifies-ends philosophy, they will register any voters, dead or alive, legal or illegal, who will then vote as many times as possible, in order to establish a “permanent progressive majority.” As two New York Democrats recently caught in a vote fraud scandal told police, “voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections…”

Low income individuals are the perfect dupes for this strategy. An expanding welfare state makes them increasingly dependent on government benefits, a development that guarantees their vote for liberal-left candidates. At the same time, people with marginal attachment to society may be less inclined to report illegal activity at the polls—or actually participate. The “victim” narrative promoted in popular culture and press may even encourage such behavior. Meanwhile, a growing tax burden and public debt suck private enterprise dry—pushing ever more people onto the dole.

Politicians of both parties are not above engaging in vote fraud. But this kind of corruption is relegated to individual campaigns or areas where corrupt political establishments have been able to develop unchallenged. It is not a systematic component of overall national strategy, as it is with the Left.

This strategy has been under development for decades. They have constructed an entire industry devoted to this task and pursue a multifaceted strategy to accomplish it:

1. Swamp election officials with overwhelming numbers of registrations at the last possible minute, a huge proportion of which are deliberately fraudulent, in order to create systematic chaos. This accomplishes numerous goals:

* Makes verification of registrations difficult, given the small size and limited budgets of state and local election offices.

* Provides multiple opportunities for vote fraud.

* Throws the entire voting process into question, providing pretext for lawsuits where concessions may be obtained from election officials.

* When election officials challenge registrations, they are accused of “voter suppression.” This in turn serves complementary goals:

* Charge of “voter suppression” reinforces the Left’s narrative about America as an oppressive, “racist” country.

*Publicity and lawsuits intimidate election officials, who settle on terms favorable to the Left.

2. Activists sue state authorities for “voter suppression,” creating further chaos and pressuring them to become de facto taxpayer-funded voter registration operations;

3. Eric Holder’s Justice Department tacitly supports voter intimidation tactics, sues states and backs private lawsuits, and resists reform as “voter suppression.”

4. Leftist echo chamber discredits allegations of vote fraud, supports “suppression” theme, and promotes advantageous legislation.

The ultimate goal is a systematized, taxpayer-funded voting machinery that will guarantee maximum participation from the Left’s voting demographic while undermining the ability to manage elections and prevent fraud.

More HERE




Liberal pundits play pretend on European austerity

Incumbent governments overseeing wobbly economies are falling apart across Europe. In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte tendered his government's resignation after he failed to produce a budget. In France, socialist Francois Hollande ousted President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's vote. And in Greece, the two parties that supported last year's European Union bailout suffered significant losses at the polls.

The source of voter discomfort is no mystery. While not technically in a recession, Europe is heading for a severe slump. Average unemployment in the European Union is at 10.2 percent, and the European Commission predicts that its economy will shrink by 0.3 percent in 2012.

American liberals have been quick to diagnose the source of Europe's economic problems. "Blame it on austerity economics," Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes, "the bizarre view that economic slowdowns result from excessive debt, so government should cut spending."

The New York Times' Paul Krugman added Monday, "Claims that slashing government spending would somehow encourage consumers and businesses to spend more have been overwhelmingly refuted by the experience of the past two years. Spending cuts in a depressed economy just make the depression deeper."

To hear them describe it, you'd think European austerity was just about spending cuts. Quite the contrary. Although Krugman curiously fails to mention the word "taxes" in his latest column, tax increases have most certainly played a part -- and in many cases the largest part -- in the European austerity packages he is decrying.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports tax hikes made up 47 percent of France's deficit-reduction package -- €21.5 billion out of €46 billion. In Greece, 54 percent of their austerity package came from higher taxes, and in Portugal, the breakdown was 62 percent tax hikes and only 38 percent spending cuts. Such reliance on tax increases is the exact opposite of what economic history recommends. As a recent OECD report concluded, "International experience shows expenditure-based fiscal consolidation tends to be more successful" than increasing taxes.

But Reich, Krugman and President Obama all favor a large tax increase for the United States. Both Reich and Krugman have recently endorsed a 70 percent top marginal tax rate. Obama is doing nothing to prevent the $494 billion "taxmageddon" that is set to occur automatically on January 1, 2013, when the Bush-era tax rates expire under current law.

Austerity packages, no matter how constructed, are always painful for at least some segments of the population. They are more or less painful depending on how dependent a population has become on government financial assistance. This is why it is so vitally important to deal with the problem early, as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposes in his Path to Prosperity. If Congress reforms these programs now, it will not only empower Americans to make more of their own health and retirement decisions; it will also help the nation avoid reneging on unrealistic promises later. The alternative is playing out across Europe now.



Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Big Tea Party win

Richard Mourdock has defeated longtime Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana in the Republican primary, according to an Associated Press projection, ending the career of one of the Senate’s most pragmatic politicians

Mourdock, state treasurer in Indiana, campaigned as a conservative alternative to Lugar. He became a darling of the tea party movement after he began a legal challenge to the terms of the Obama administration’s bailout of Chrysler.

Mourdock was endorsed by Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Lugar had the backing of the party establishment, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Mourdock will face Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, a three-term congressman from the South Bend area, this fall. The matchup is the preferred outcome for Democrats, who view Lugar’s ouster as an opportunity to pick up a longtime Republican seat.

Lugar had warned Indiana voters that choosing Mourdock would thwart Republican efforts to take control of the Senate. Democrats will be defending 23 Senate seats in November – compared with 10 for the GOP – but just a handful are considered truly up for grabs.

Lugar, known as one of the more centrist members of the Senate, was befriended by Barack Obama during his time in the Senate. Obama touted the friendship during his 2008 campaign for president, angering some of Lugar’s constituents.

The Senate’s longest-serving Republican, Lugar also suffered a blow earlier this year when a panel in Indiana ruled that he was ineligible to vote in his former home district because he no longer lived there.





Some optimism for November

In assessing the Romney vs. Obama campaign for the presidency, let's step back and look at the big picture. The Republican nominee will win in November, and here's why.

Mitt Romney is currently running about even with Barack Obama in reputable polls. Tied, or even a few points behind, in May is the ideal position for the challenger.

Romney's vote minimum is McCain's 47% -- and he will certainly do much better than that. Obama's vote maximum is his previous 53% -- and he will certainly do much worse than that.

Romney has the discipline to stay in message.

Romney wants to win more than McCain did in 2008.

Romney has better strategists than McCain had in 2008.

Romney is not afraid of Obama.

Romney has firmed up his support among conservatives more effectively than some had feared.

Romney's campaign funding will be better than McCain's was in 2008.

The RNC is much stronger than it was in 2008.

Republican activists are using the internet more effectively than in 2008.

Obama and congressional Democrats are clearly to blame for the dismal economy.

Obama can boast of few positive achievements in office.

Obama is becoming an object of ridicule.

Obama has needlessly created political enemies among the electorate.

Obama has lost support among the moderates who still remain within the Democratic Party .

Obama's background is at last being examined.

Voters are tired of media claims that he is a messiah, a uniter, above politics.

Democrats are not as motivated as they were in 2008.




Voting with their feet after a socialist victory

Wealthy French eye move across the Channel. London is already home to about 200,000 French people

Wealthy French people are looking to London as a refuge from fresh taxes on high earners pledged by candidates in the country’s presidential elections.

The “soak the rich” rhetoric that has punctuated the presidential campaign has prompted a sharp rise in the numbers weighing a move across the Channel, according to London-based wealth managers, lawyers and property agents specialising in French clients.

François Hollande, the new Socialist president, wants to impose a tax rate of 75 per cent on income above €1m and at the launch of his bid in January said: “My true adversary in this battle has no name, no face, no party ... It is the world of finance.”

Inquiries from French clients had risen by roughly 40 per cent since the speech, says David Blanc, a partner at Vestra Wealth, a London-based wealth manager. “I have definitely seen strong interest in what could be done to protect assets both for people resident in France but also for French nationals who are UK resident,” said Mr Blanc, a former UBS executive.

The prospect of a Gallic diaspora of high earners was backed up by Knight Frank, the property agent, which said numbers of French web users searching online for its prime London properties online in the past three months had risen 19 per cent compared with the same period last year. The equivalent figure for Europe as a whole fell 9 per cent.

“The election seems to have pushed a growing number of wealthy French to consider their options for where they are likely to base themselves in the future,” says Liam Bailey, head of research at Knight Frank.

London’s status as an international finance hub as well as its proximity to France make it a natural choice for French professionals. Enclaves of French expatriates are firmly established in areas such as Belgravia and South Kensington, close to the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, a popular secondary school.

The departure of France’s business people, entrepreneurs and the young for opportunities overseas is not a new phenomenon. When Nicolas Sarkozy visited London in 2007 he called for its French residents to return to a reformed France under his presidency.

Mr Blanc says some French clients were even contemplating acquiring British or other nationality in order to safeguard assets from fears that France could move to collect more tax from citizens overseas. “A lot of people are extremely worried,” he said.

Alexandre Terrasse, a partner in corporate and property law at Jeffrey Green Russell, says he had seen a 25 per cent rise in activity from French clients over the past six months, “The 75 per cent tax is clearly a sign that the politicians will hit the wealthy and they don’t want to have to deal with that.”

Bernard Grinspan, managing partner of the Paris office of Gibson Dunn, an international law firm, says: “Some of our clients are very seriously discussing relocation – not only to London but also Singapore and New York. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”



Tweedledum and tweedledee -- and both wrong?

The article from Britian below was written just before the final French elections. My libertarian inclinations make me sympathetic to it but I think I should add that even small differences can be important.

To maximize their vote all successful politicians have to be fairly centrist. It is only very rare personalities like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who can shift the whole political spectrum rightwards

Left and Right politicians like Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, and Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, sing from same hymn sheet. But political 'debate' ignores the fact that the market economy can't afford enormous social security programmes.

To listen to the excitable coverage, you might think that we were in the midst of a jolly stimulating election season in three separate countries. France, the US and London (a country within a country) would all seem to have been pitched into good old-fashioned struggles between Left and Right. One might be inclined to conclude that, after a generation of middle-ground consensus, there has been a revival of substantive debate about ideology on this side of the Atlantic, and even a startling move towards something of the kind in America - where true ideological differences between parties are almost unknown.

In London and in France, the contests were apparently between socialist adherents of the Old Faith (or historical throwbacks, if you prefer) and proponents of the market theory of wealth creation who were undaunted by the recent troubles of the capitalist system. Ken Livingstone and Fran‡ois Hollande represented the politics that time had once forgotten: unashamedly committed to the power of the state and to belief in the virtue of public spending. In the opposing corners, Boris Johnson positioned himself clearly and explicitly to the Right of his own party leadership, and Nicolas Sarkozy defended both free markets and foreign interventionism.

Meanwhile in America, a seemingly fundamental debate is taking place between the most Left-wing president in living memory and a Tea Party-dominated Republican Party that has moved significantly to the Right. So we are back to profound arguments about basic political philosophy, right? We now have serious differences of principle between parties (or at least between prominent candidates). Is there, at last, something more intellectually satisfying to fight over than the fiddly details of how little regulation, or how much taxation, is needed to hit just the right balance?

No, there isn't. This whole confrontation is overblown and illusory. All of the voices and personalities who come remotely close to power in mainstream political life in all these countries actually co-exist within the same narrow centrist spectrum. There is no Left of the old school - threatening to seize the means of production and the levers of the economy in the name of the proletariat. Not even Mr Livingstone advocates renationalising Britain's industries or the wholesale confiscation and redistribution of private property. And Mr Johnson, while he is certainly a more forthright spokesman for business interests and lower taxes than David Cameron, would not deny the need to regulate the banks or protect the disadvantaged.

The difference between the Centre Right and the Centre Left (for they are all that remains of the two sides of that old titanic struggle) is now almost entirely rhetorical. The CR wants a free-market economy with an entitlements programme attached to guard against social unrest. The CL wants an entitlement society with free-market activity attached to provide the necessary funds. The argument about the mix is very much confined to the margins - and about how you describe it. The actual differences being so slight (and there being so much flexibility needed to cope with fluctuating reality) that it is necessary to lard the descriptions with emotive, absolutist language to generate some faux passion.

So in the course of their bare-knuckle "debate" last week, Mr Hollande said to Mr Sarkozy, "I protect the children of the Republic, you protect the most privileged", thereby encapsulating the sentimental moral blackmail of modern CL-ism. And Mr Sarkozy retorted, "You want fewer rich people. I want fewer poor people," which pretty much sums up the view of CR-ism that only free markets can produce prosperity for the mass of the population.

In short, the CL more or less accepts that real wealth can only be produced by free-market economics but it still behaves as if it hates wealth creators. It continues to talk as if "profit" was an obscene word, deliberately confounding the idea of "profit-making" with "profiteering". Note the horrified reactions when there is any possibility of private profit being made through investing in public services such as health and education. Such services must remain free of the taint of the profit motive (which is to say entirely government-funded) even if that means they remain inefficient and in the grip of vested interests.

The CR, on the other hand, accepts the need for what EU spokesmen call "social solidarity": what amounts, in practical terms, to a more-or-less comprehensive welfare system which promises to ensure that no one can fall into poverty (as defined by government statistics) whatever life choices he may make. However much it may talk of "making work pay" and cracking down on benefit dependency, no official spokesman for the CR will actually repudiate the principle that it is the state's business to eradicate poverty.

So no, there is no ideological war here. The serious differences between these supposedly enemy camps - however much vitriol and personal abuse they may fling at one another - are minimal and mainly a question of labels and packaging.

Well, you may say, that's not so bad, is it? Everybody is in basic agreement about some very important things: free-market economics (for all its recent upheavals) is accepted as the only way to create wealth. And we all accept that we have a moral responsibility to reduce poverty. If politicians want to pretend that there is more differentiation between them than there really is in order to inject a bit of excitement into the electoral process, what's wrong with that?

Just this. In all the phoney ardour and heat, no one is paying any attention to the two facts that make nonsense of this supposed debate - which is not a debate. The first is that the assumption which all the principal parties have chosen to share is wrong. Relying on the free market to support a vast system of entitlements (whichever of the two you choose to make your first priority) is not sustainable. The market economy simply cannot afford the enormous cost of the social security programmes that are now regarded as politically untouchable in Europe and in the US - as both of their political elites are painfully discovering.

The second, and even more critical point, is that the economy has become so globalised that it is beyond the control of any national government, and therefore outside the reach of democratic accountability.

Politicians running for office may squabble and insult one another for all they are worth - but the economic future can now escape their grasp altogether.



Tuesday, May 08, 2012


A gradual return to blogging

As you will see below, I am getting my blogging shoes back on but I can only go short distances as yet. I will just put up interesting odds and ends that I come across occasionally rather than resume my usual full schedule of blogging. I expect that I might be back at normal activity in a couple of days.


I have also just put up a few things on TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH , POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and GUN WATCH

Bibi outmaneuvers them all again

Definitely one smart guy

In a surprise turnabout, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to cancel the early elections he had called just 24 hours before and instead form a unity government with the opposition party Kadima, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

The decision shocked much of Israel's political establishment, which was gearing up to dissolve the parliament, or Knesset, and launch campaigns for a Sept. 4 vote.

By joining the government coalition, newly elected Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz avoids facing voters amid polls indicating that his centrist party would lose more than half its Knesset seats. Just a month ago, Mofaz declared he would not join the government and vowed to unseat Netanyahu.

In exchange, Mofaz has been promised a ministerial position in the government, officials said. His predecessor, Tzipi Livni, had rejected calls to join Netanyahu's government, saying it was not serious about reaching a peace deal with Palestinians.

For Netanyahu, the deal means he can retain his government, which many consider to be one of the nation's most stable, and reduce his dependence on smaller nationalist and religious parties, whose conservative agendas have dominated his coalition.

The primary loser will be the recently reformed Labor Party, which polls suggested was preparing to make a big comeback in the September vote to become the nation's second-largest party.

As they woke up Tuesday to the news, other political parties condemned the deal, calling it a cynical power grab that would backfire with Israeli voters.

Labor lawmaker Isaac Herzog called the new unity government an "alliance of cowards.... This is a golden opportunity for Labor to lead the people on a different course from that of Netanyahu and Mofaz, if not now, then in 2013," he wrote on his Facebook page, referring to next year's regularly scheduled vote.

There were questions about how long the unity government would last given the stark differences over certain issues, such as Palestinian peace talks. Mofaz is expected to push for a more aggressive effort to restart negotiations, which some right-wing members of Netanyahu's Likud are already warning could hurt West Bank settlement expansion.

One particularly divisive issue is a plan to begin drafting fervently-Orthodox young people into the army. Netanyahu and Mofaz both support the move, though the religious party Shas is staunchly opposed and had threatened to quit the coalition if the government adopted it. With the votes Kadima brings to the new coalition, such threats would not bring down the government as feared.

Hanan Crystal, a political commentator for Israel Radio, predicted Tuesday that the new unity government would allow Netanyahu to pursue a more centrist policy in dealing with Palestinians and other social issues in Israel. He called it the "move of a super-statesman."



Jews Are a 'Race,' Genes Reveal

By Jon Entine

BOOK REVIEW of Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People By Harry Ostrer/ Oxford University Press, 288 Pages, $24.95

In his new book, “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People,” Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist and professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, claims that Jews are different, and the differences are not just skin deep. Jews exhibit, he writes, a distinctive genetic signature. Considering that the Nazis tried to exterminate Jews based on their supposed racial distinctiveness, such a conclusion might be a cause for concern. But Ostrer sees it as central to Jewish identity.

“Who is a Jew?” has been a poignant question for Jews throughout our history. It evokes a complex tapestry of Jewish identity made up of different strains of religious beliefs, cultural practices and blood ties to ancient Palestine and modern Israel. But the question, with its echoes of genetic determinism, also has a dark side.

Geneticists have long been aware that certain diseases, from breast cancer to Tay-Sachs, disproportionately affect Jews. Ostrer, who is also director of genetic and genomic testing at Montefiore Medical Center, goes further, maintaining that Jews are a homogeneous group with all the scientific trappings of what we used to call a “race.”

For most of the 3,000-year history of the Jewish people, the notion of what came to be known as “Jewish exceptionalism” was hardly controversial. Because of our history of inmarriage and cultural isolation, imposed or self-selected, Jews were considered by gentiles (and usually referred to themselves) as a “race.” Scholars from Josephus to Disraeli proudly proclaimed their membership in “the tribe.”

Ostrer explains how this concept took on special meaning in the 20th century, as genetics emerged as a viable scientific enterprise. Jewish distinctiveness might actually be measurable empirically. In “Legacy,” he first introduces us to Maurice Fishberg, an upwardly mobile Russian-Jewish immigrant to New York at the fin de siècle. Fishberg fervently embraced the anthropological fashion of the era, measuring skull sizes to explain why Jews seemed to be afflicted with more diseases than other groups — what he called the “peculiarities of the comparative pathology of the Jews.” It turns out that Fishberg and his contemporary phrenologists were wrong: Skull shape provides limited information about human differences. But his studies ushered in a century of research linking Jews to genetics.

Ostrer divides his book into six chapters representing the various aspects of Jewishness: Looking Jewish, Founders, Genealogies, Tribes, Traits and Identity. Each chapter features a prominent scientist or historical figure who dramatically advanced our understanding of Jewishness. The snippets of biography lighten a dense forest of sometimes-obscure science. The narrative, which consists of a lot of potboiler history, is a slog at times. But for the specialist and anyone touched by the enduring debate over Jewish identity, this book is indispensable.

“Legacy” may cause its readers discomfort. To some Jews, the notion of a genetically related people is an embarrassing remnant of early Zionism that came into vogue at the height of the Western obsession with race, in the late 19th century. Celebrating blood ancestry is divisive, they claim: The authors of “The Bell Curve” were vilified 15 years ago for suggesting that genes play a major role in IQ differences among racial groups.

Furthermore, sociologists and cultural anthropologists, a disproportionate number of whom are Jewish, ridicule the term “race,” claiming there are no meaningful differences between ethnic groups. For Jews, the word still carries the especially odious historical association with Nazism and the Nuremberg Laws. They argue that Judaism has morphed from a tribal cult into a worldwide religion enhanced by thousands of years of cultural traditions.

Is Judaism a people or a religion? Or both? The belief that Jews may be psychologically or physically distinct remains a controversial fixture in the gentile and Jewish consciousness, and Ostrer places himself directly in the line of fire. Yes, he writes, the term “race” carries nefarious associations of inferiority and ranking of people. Anything that marks Jews as essentially different runs the risk of stirring either anti- or philo-Semitism. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the factual reality of what he calls the “biological basis of Jewishness” and “Jewish genetics.” Acknowledging the distinctiveness of Jews is “fraught with peril,” but we must grapple with the hard evidence of “human differences” if we seek to understand the new age of genetics.

Although he readily acknowledges the formative role of culture and environment, Ostrer believes that Jewish identity has multiple threads, including DNA. He offers a cogent, scientifically based review of the evidence, which serves as a model of scientific restraint.

More HERE

By all means read the rest of this article but from what I can see it is overstated. If Jews are a race how do we account for the blue-eyed blond Jews who came out of Lithuania and look like Lithuanians while at the same time acknowledging the dark-haired, dark-eyed darker-skinned Jews who came out of Arab countries and look much like Arabs? And what do we make of the fact that some Palestinians have "Jewish" genes?

It seems to me that a much more defensible formulation would be to say that distinctive genes from the area of ancient Israel are still common among Jews today. That is certainly enough for Jews to claim Israel as their ancestral home -- JR

Monday, May 07, 2012



An interesting difference between Australia and the USA

I seem to be over the worst of my health problems but am unlikely to resume my previous level of blogging for a couple of days yet. Nonetheless you can't keep a good blogger down for long so there are a couple of things that have moved me to hit the keyboard today. I have put up a post on FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, for those who read that blog and I have another comment below

Australia and the USA are unusually similar countries so it tends to be the differences between them that are surprising. And one huge difference between the two countries has just emerged. Australia's LEFTIST government has just announced that it will be bringing down a SURPLUS budget tomorrow night.

Where Obama borrows 40% of every dollar he spends, the Australian government will not only fund every cent of its expenditure from taxes - it will also leave a small amount over to reduce existing debt.

Yet despite their many differences of detail, the tax burden in Australia is not particularly more onerous overall than it is in the USA. Standards of living are similar and the Australian rate of unemployment is much lower -- at about 5.2%.

Be that as it may, however, the important point is that the Australian government is hiking taxes only by a small amount, with the surplus to be achieved mainly by spending cutbacks -- defence, of course, but also welfare cutbacks. And the defence expenditure cutbacks will be achieved without reducing the numbers of the defence force.

So how come? It fits with my perception that Australian Leftists are much less loony than the American Left. Nancy Pelosi's comment that you'll have to pass the Obamacare legislation in order to find out what's in it summarizes the American Left for me. I cannot imagine that being proposed in any other democracy. Russia maybe.

So how have the Democrats become so detached from reality? I think it is because they can. They have such large and "rusted on" blocs of minority supporters that they don't need to be reasonable. With block votes from blacks, Hispanics and Jews, they can largely do no wrong. There is also among the majority population a subset who will always vote Left, come what may. Put those four blocs together and Democrats only have to seem vaguely reasonable for them to govern. Even amid America's great economic woes those groups have ensured that Obama's popularity remains strong. Romney will struggle to defeat him. In any other country, disastrous economic stewardship such as Obama's would utterly doom an administration.

So minority votes are responsible for the many follies that the Democrats have unleashed on America and may ultimately lead to American decline. Democrats have to seem reasonable to only a small part of the majority population because the addition of rusted-on minority votes will get them into power. Around half of the American electorate is not making any real evaluation of the candidates, thus undermining a basic assumption of democracy.

FOOTNOTE:

Since someone is bound to raise it I will say a few words about the fact that the Australian Leftist government has legislated a carbon tax. Is that not extreme? It is extreme but it is not what the governing Labor party wanted. They in fact went to the polls promising not to introduce such a tax. They reversed course only because they needed the Green party in order to form a majority government. Unlike the USA, but like most other countries, the Australian electoral system does give some power to third parties and the Greens in Australia had votes in parliament that the Labor party needed. But the price of those votes was a carbon tax. So it was a Green rather than a Leftist enactment.