Saturday, June 09, 2012

Politicians are top-of-the-line cons

Politicians keep selling distortions because voters keep buying it

Would anyone work to support themselves or their families – and then turn over a chunk of that hard-earned money to somebody else, just because of the words used by that somebody else?

A few people may be taken in by the words of con men, here and there, but the larger tragedy is that millions more are taken in by the words of politicians, the top-of-the-line con men.

How do politicians con people out of their money? One example can be found in a recent article titled "The Autism-Welfare Nexus" by Paul Sperry in "Investor's Business Daily."

Genuine autism is a truly tragic condition, both for those afflicted by it and for their parents. Few people would have any problem with the idea that both voluntary donations and government expenditures are well spent to help those suffering from autism.

"Autism," however, has been sweepingly redefined over the years. What was discovered and defined as autism back in 1943 is just one of a number of conditions now included as being part of "the autism spectrum." Many, if not most, of these conditions are nowhere near as severe as autism, or even as clearly defined.

The growing number of children encompassed by a wider and looser definition of autism has been trumpeted across the land through the media as an "epidemic" of increasing numbers of cases of autism. Before 1990, one child out of 2,500 was said to be autistic. This year, it is said to be one out of 88. As Paul Sperry points out in IBD, "the number of language disorder cases has fallen as autism cases have risen, suggesting one disorder has simply been substituted for another."

Having heard, over the years, from many parents of late-talking children that they have been urged to let their children be diagnosed as autistic to get either government money or insurance money to pay for language problems, I am not the least bit surprised by Sperry's findings.

Every dollar spent on children falsely labeled autistic is a dollar lost – and urgently needed – in dealing with the severe problems of genuinely autistic children. But money added to the federal budget for autism is money that can be given to people, in the expectation of getting their vote at election time.

Another example of words substituting for realities was a front page story in the May 24 issue of USA Today, showing that the official statistics on the national debt only count about one-fourth of what the federal government actually owes. Even the staggering official national debt is literally not half the story.

Under ordinary accounting rules and laws, the money promised to people as pensions when they retire has to be counted as part of the debts of a business or other organization. But, since Congress makes the laws, the trillions of dollars owed to people who have paid into Social Security do not have to be counted as part of the federal government's debts.

When you or I owe money, we are in debt – and face consequences if we don't pay up. But we are not the federal government and cannot write our own accounting laws.

Perhaps the biggest frauds committed by redefining words are the many fraudulent uses of the word "poor."

For most of the history of the human race, there was no problem in defining who were "the poor." They were people without enough to eat, often without adequate clothing to protect them from the elements, and usually people who lived packed in like sardines in living quarters without adequate ventilation in the summer or adequate heat in the winter, and perhaps also lacking in such things as electricity or adequate sewage disposal.

Today, most of the officially defined "poor" have none of these problems, and most today have amenities such as air conditioning, a car or truck, a microwave oven and many other things that once defined a middle class lifestyle. Americans in poverty today have more living space than the average European.

Why are they called "poor" then? For the same reason that autism, the national debt and many other things are redefined in completely misleading ways – namely, to justify draining more money from the public in taxes, expanding the government, and allowing politicians to give handouts to people who are expected to vote for their reelection.

If we keep buying it, politicians will keep selling it.

SOURCE

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If You Don't Like It

By economist Bryan Caplan

Suppose your boss screams all the time, has extremely bad breath, or requires all his employees to speak in a faux British accent. Even today, the law usually offers you no recourse - except, of course, for "If you don't like it, quit." Discrimination law has carved out a list of well-known exceptions to employment-at-will. But "If you don't like it, quit," remains the rule.

While researching firing aversion, I came across an interesting piece by Mark Roehling showing that few American employees realize that the law affords them almost no protection against discharge. Empirically, his work seems sound. But Roehling also clearly wishes that American workers had the kind of legal protection they falsely believe they already possess. Yes, he admits, employment-at-will has some academic defenders:

Legal scholars adopting classical or neoclassical contract law perspectives argue that employment at-will is justified in that it preserves the principle of freedom of contract, promoting efficient operation of labor markets and advancing individual autonomy (e.g., Epstein, 1984).

But:

The standard rejoinder to this argument is that employees' "consent" to at-will employment is, in many instances, neither voluntary nor informed due to inequality in bargaining power between employers and employees and asymmetric information (i.e., the lack of equal information about future risks and the effect of at-will disclaimers) that both tend to favor employers (Blades, 1967). These defects in the bargaining process, it asserted, cause at-will employment to be both inefficient and unfair.

How solid is Roehling's "standard rejoinder"? Let's start with "inequality in bargaining power." Sounds sinister. But we could just as easily say, "some people have more to offer than others - and the more you have to offer, the better a deal you'll get." Then it sounds utterly trivial.

In any case, what would the economy look like if people could only make deals when they happened to have "equal bargaining power"? Almost all trade would be forbidden. Parties have equal bargaining power about as often as they have equal heights. The beauty of the price mechanism is that it persuades unequals to trade by giving parties with more to offer a sweeter deal.

Roehling's invocation of "asymmetric information" is even more off-target. In any standard asymmetric information model, the effect is not to "favor" parties with more information, but to scare off parties with less information, leading to fewer trades and making both sides poorer. The upshot: If the law somehow solved the asymmetric information problem, the result would be a big increase in labor supply - presumably making Roehling's first problem - unequal bargaining power - even worse.

Still, Roehling's intuitions are clearly widely held. My question for people who share his intuitions: Why don't the same arguments make you want to tightly regulate the dating market? With a few exceptions, modern dating markets are based on a strong version of "If you don't like it, break up." People's complaints about romantic partners are endless: "He's mean to me," "She nags me," "He's cheap," "She won't have sex before marriage," etc. Yet prior to marriage, "If you don't like it, break up," is virtually your only legal recourse.

If you take Roehling's "unequal bargaining power" or "asymmetric information" rejoinders seriously, current rules of the dating market should outrage you. Think about the inequality of bargaining power between, say, Channing Tatum and an unattractive single mom who cleans hotel rooms for a living. He has movie star looks, magnetic personality, fabulous riches, and millions of female fans; she's ugly, poor, alone, and responsible for her child's support. As a result, he could practically dictate the terms of any relationship. Does this mean she should have some recourse beyond, "If you don't like how Channing treats you, break up"?

The same goes for asymmetric information. People keep all kinds of secrets from those they date - past relationships, current entanglements, income, philosophy, whether they'll ever commit. And again, people's ultimate legal threat against romantic partners' concealed information and dishonesty is only, "If you don't like it, break up."

You could say we have a double standard because personal relationships, unlike work relationships, are too complicated to regulate. Maybe so, but I doubt it. Work relationships are incredibly complex, too. It's almost impossible to objectively define a "bad attitude," but no one wants to employ someone who's got one. You could argue that if we regulate one aspect of unequal bargaining power in the dating market, it will just resurface elsewhere. But that holds for the labor market as well: If the law requires employers to provide health insurance, they'll obviously cut wages to compensate. The simple story works best: The apparent double standard is real. Since people resent employers, they're quick to rationalize policies that tip the scales against them - even if employees ultimately bear the cost.

"If you don't like it, quit" and "If you don't like it, break up," sound unappealing - even heartless. But in the real world, it's hard to do better. In any case, trying to "do better" is probably unjust. The fact that Channing Tatum has incredibly high value in the dating market is a flimsy excuse to restrict his freedom to date. And the fact that Peter Thiel has incredibly high value in the labor market is a flimsy excuse to restrict his freedom to hire. Instead of complaining about the stinginess of people who have lots to offer, we should celebrate the universal human right to say, "I don't want to see you anymore."

SOURCE

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From Hope and Change to Fear and Smear

Barack Obama lately has been accusing presumptive rival Mitt Romney of not waging his campaign in the nice (but losing) manner of John McCain in 2008. But a more marked difference can be seen in Obama himself, whose style and record bear no resemblance to his glory days of four years ago.

Recently, the president purportedly has been reassuring Democratic donors that his signature achievement, Obamacare, could be readjusted in the second term -- something Republicans have promised to do for the last three years. What an evolution: We have gone from being told we would love Obamacare, to granting exemptions to favored companies from it, to private assurances to modify it after re-election -- all before it was even fully enacted.

Obama's calls for a new civility four years ago are apparently inoperative. The vow to "punish our enemies" and the intimidation of Romney campaign donors are a long way from the soaring speech at Berlin's Victory Column and "Yes, we can." Obama once called for a focus on issues rather than personal invective. But now we mysteriously hear again of Romney's dog, his great-great-grandfather's wives, and a roughhousing incident some 50 years ago in prep school.

The "hope and change" slogan for a new unity gave way to a new "us versus them" divide. "Us" now means all sorts of targeted appeals to identity groups like African-Americans for Obama, Latinos for Obama, gays for Obamas, greens for Obama, or students for Obama.

"Them," in contrast, means almost everyone else who cannot claim hyphenation or be counted on as a single-cause constituency. In 2008, the Obama strategy was supposedly to unite disparate groups with a common vision; in 2012, it is to rally special interests through common enemies.

Remember the Obama who promised an end to the revolving door of lobbyists and special-interest money? Then came the likes of Peter Orszag, who went from overseeing the Obama budget to being a Citigroup grandee, and financial pirate Jon Corzine, who cannot account for more than $1.5 billion of investors' money but can bundle cash for Obama's re-election. If you told fervent supporters in 2008 that by early 2012 Obama would set a record for the most meet-and-greet fundraisers in presidential history, they would have thought it blasphemy.

Obama is said to go over every name on his Predator drone targeted-assassination list -- a kill tally that is now seven times larger in less than four years than what George W. Bush piled up in eight.

Guantanamo is just as open now as it was in 2008. If Obama supporter and former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh was once accusing President Bush of being "torturer in chief," he is now an Obama insider arguing that bombing Libya is not really war and that taking out an American citizen and terrorist suspect in Yemen is perfectly legal. Previously bad renditions, preventative detentions and military tribunals are now all good.

Some disgruntled conservatives jumped ship in 2008 for the supposedly tightfisted Obama when he called for halving the deficit in four years and derided George Bush as "unpatriotic" for adding $4 trillion to the national debt. Yet Obama already has exceeded all the Bush borrowing in less than four years.

What accounts for the radical change in mood from four years ago?
The blue-state model of large government, increased entitlements and high taxes may be good rhetoric, but it is unsound reality.

Redistribution does not serve static, aging populations in a competitive global world -- as we are seeing from California to southern Europe. "Hope and change" was a slogan in 2008; it has since been supplanted by the reality of 40 straight months of 8-percent-plus unemployment and record deficits -- despite $5 billion in borrowed priming, near-zero interest rates, and vast increases in entitlement spending.

Obama's bragging of drilling more oil despite, rather than because of, his efforts is supposed to be a clever appeal to both greens and business. Private equity firms are good for campaign donations but bad when a Republican rival runs them. "Romney would do worse," rather than "I did well," is the implicit Obama campaign theme of 2012.

To be re-elected, a now-polarizing Obama believes that he must stoke the fears of some of us rather than appeal to all of our hopes by defending a successful record, while smearing with the old politics rather than inspiring with the new. That cynical calculation and constant hedging and flip-flopping may be normal for politicians, but eventually it proves disastrous for the ones who posed as messianic prophets.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Enterprise value tax: "A proposal from the Obama administration that has generated significant opposition from the financial sector is the enterprise value tax. This is because high taxes on investment income can be a hindrance to investment by reducing incentives for investors and financial managers to engage in certain financial activities or higher risk investments."

Markets and generosity: "A frequent though quite unjustified charge against free markets is that they encourage what Karl Marx called the cash nexus or, as it is also put, commodification, treating people as items for sale. The claim is that when people engage in commerce, they are hardhearted, stingy, or as the Oliver Stone and OWS crowd would have it, greedy. But this is a complete distortion."

Bloomberg takes a Big Gulp out of liberty: "If the Mayor can dictate the size of soda pop servings, he can dictate every other aspect of any business in his city. He could pass an ordinance restricting donut shops from selling more than 2 donuts at a time to a customer. He could outlaw larger portions of French fries; more than one pork chop per plate; any serving of steak more than 3/4 of an inch thick -- there is no limit to what evil he could do to our appetites."

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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, June 08, 2012

Democrats show their never-ending hate

Just as you would expect, the Democrats kept it classy last night, flooding Twitter with calls for Scott Walker and his family to be murdered. Twitchy has collected dozens of death threats. A sampling:

Somebody gone kill Scott Walker man.

KILL SCOTT WALKER KILL SCOTT WALKER KILL SCOTT WALKER KILL SCOTT WALKER KILL SCOTT WALKER KILL SCOTT WALKER! Ole Bitch Ass Pig Ass Nigga!!!!

Somebody need to Abe Lincoln Scott Walker cave frog lookin ass.

I wanna kill scott walker so fucking baddd!!!!! & the racist dumb assholes that voted for him #nbs

Please somebody kill Scott Walker.

Scott walker will die within the next week ive already payed for the hit

Scott walker needs fall down the capital stairs & die..

NBS I Know What School Scott Walker Son Go To

AND If Scott Walker Got A Wife Imma Fuck Her Face—
Tj Fucked Yo Bitch (@iWusGetnSumHead) June 06, 2012

Ah yes, the modern Democratic Party. The liberals’ rhetorical violence contrasts with Walker’s own restrained and dignified victory speech last night

The degree to which Walker has remained calm and civil through months of crazed attacks from the Democrats–culminating over the weekend in the “love child” smear–is remarkable.

SOURCE

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Walker win a turning point

With Scott Walker’s crushing victory over Tom Barrett to retain his seat as Governor of Wisconsin, the nation may be reaching a critical turning point over the fundamental relationship between taxpayers and public employees. Between the government, and the governed.

Predicated on the consent of the governed, the U.S. experiment with democracy has reached a fundamental crossroads. Where the American people will either choose either a path that will enslave taxpayers to pay for the level of government that the government demands, or a sustainable, responsible fiscal path based on what can be afforded.

With the defeat of Senate Bill 5 in Ohio in Nov. 2011 and various reform measures in California in 2005 both via referendum, it looked as if perhaps the power wielded by the public sector unions was an insurmountable political force.

In California, those measures would have limited teacher tenure, made public union political contributions require written consent by employees, and imposed state spending limits. In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 would have restricted collective bargaining for public sector employees on health and pension benefits.

Much of the same policies were invariably implemented by Walker in Wisconsin despite strong opposition from the unions.

His plan, as enacted, limits state employees from being able to collectively bargain anything except wages, giving the legislature full authority once again over expensive health and pension benefits. Instead, it requires state employees to contribute half of the cost of their pension payments and 12 percent of their health care premiums. And why shouldn’t government employees pay their fair share for their own benefits?

Walker went even further to break the back of the political power wielded by the unions, prohibiting state agencies from collecting union dues. But the real axe to their power was providing public employees with an annual vote on whether to keep their public employee union.

With the opportunity, many employees are opting out of the union system, preferring to negotiate individually with their employers. This is costing millions of Big Labor’s political coffers, and costing labor bosses their jobs.

And that, more than any other provision, is what is hurting Big Labor —and their Democrat Party patrons — the most. It is why they have spent upwards of perhaps $50 million to oust Walker.

But it was all for naught. For once, the voters have chosen to rein in the beast. For once, a state, in this case Wisconsin, said no to the unions.

Walker’s win in Wisconsin should prove that given an opportunity voters will not simply vote for themselves more benefits at other taxpayers’ expense. Judging by Walker’s margin of victory, with more than 53 percent of the popular vote, at least some union members voted for Walker. This hopefully will provide much-needed courage to other politicians across the nation to take on and defeat the seemingly all-powerful public employee unions — and the looming insolvency their demands threaten states and localities with.

Public employee unions have for decades transformed public servants into the taxpayer’s masters in local, state and federal government. No longer. With Walker’s win, this is the first step in restoring the consent of the governed. And not a moment too soon.

SOURCE

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The real 'War on Women'

By Thomas Sowell

Among the people who are disappointed with President Obama, none has more reason to be disappointed than those who thought he was going to be "a uniter, rather than a divider" and that he would "bring us all together."

It was a noble hope, but one with no factual foundation. Barack Obama had been a divider all his adult life, especially as a community organizer, and he had repeatedly sought out and allied himself with other dividers, the most blatant of whom was the man whose church he attend for 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.

Now, with his presidency on the line and the polls looking dicey, President Obama's re-election campaign has become more openly divisive than ever.

He has embraced the strident "Occupy Wall Street" movement, with its ridiculous claim of representing the 99 percent against the 1 percent. Obama's Department of Justice has been spreading the hysteria that states requiring photo identification for voting are trying to keep minorities from voting, and using the prevention of voter fraud as a pretext.

But anyone who doubts the existence of voter fraud should read John Fund's book "Stealing Elections" or J. Christian Adams's book, "Injustice," which deals specifically with the Obama Justice Department's overlooking voter fraud when those involved are black Democrats.

Not content with dividing classes and races, the Obama campaign is now seeking to divide the sexes by declaring that women are being paid less than men, as part of a "war on women" conducted by villains, from whom Obama and company will protect the women -- and, not incidentally, expect to receive their votes this November.

The old -- and repeatedly discredited -- game of citing women's incomes as some percentage of men's incomes is being played once again, as part of the "war on women" theme.

Since women average fewer hours of work per year, and fewer years of consecutive full-time employment than men, among other differences, comparisons of male and female annual earnings are comparisons of apples and oranges, as various female economists have pointed out. Read Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute or Professor Claudia Goldin of Harvard, for example.

When you compare women and men in the same occupations with the same skills, education, hours of work, and many other factors that go into determining pay, the differences in incomes shrink to the vanishing point -- and, in some cases, the women earn more than comparable men.

But why let mere facts spoil the emotional rhetoric or the political ploys to drum up hysteria and collect votes?

The farcical nature of these ploys came out after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared that Congress needed to pass the Fair Pay Act, because women average 23 percent lower incomes than men.

A reporter from The Daily Caller then pointed out that the women on Nancy Pelosi's own staff average 27 percent lower incomes than the men on her staff. Does that show that Pelosi herself is guilty of discrimination against women? Or does it show that such simple-minded statistics are grossly misleading?

The so-called Fair Pay Act has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with election-year politics. No one in his right mind expects that bill to become law. It will be lucky to pass the Senate, and has no chance whatever of getting passed in the House of Representatives.

The whole point of this political exercise is to get Republicans on record voting against "fairness" for women, as part of the Democrats' campaign strategy to claim that there is a "war on women."

If you are looking for a real war on women, you might look at the practice of aborting girl babies after an ultrasound picture shows that they are girls. These abortions are the most basic kind of discrimination, and their consequences have already been demonstrated in countries like China and India, where sexually discriminatory abortions and female infanticide have produced an imbalance in the number of adult males and females.

A bill to outlaw sexually and racially discriminatory abortions has been opposed and defeated by House Democrats.

SOURCE

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A cheer for constitutional monarchy's restraint on government

It diminishes politicians

As the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations wind down, it may be well to reflect on an aspect of public choice theory which supports constitutional monarchy — principally its rôle as a brake upon self-aggrandising politicians.

Public choice argues that, contrary to the myths propagated about the selfless motives of public servants, politicians and bureaucrats can be as self-interested in their public personas as they are as private citizens.

This is not the time to examine the unitive functions of the Crown, nor the acts of public service performed by the Royal Family — and how monarchy either refutes or conforms to the political landscape sketched out by public choice theory (though I personally believe the opportunities for gain are very few, while the burdens are many).

Neither is this an argument for constitutional monarchy as against republican forms of government; indeed, this may be one of the few areas where both forms, when modelled on justice, are equally serviceable according to the respective country’s traditions and national character — quite in variance, by the way, with respect to economics, where all the arguments are in favour of classical liberal/Austrian theories and quite contrary to Keynesian prescriptions.

Moreover, let it be admitted that constitutional monarchy is rarely an active force in limiting the power of politicians (minority parliaments being one exception, where the Crown has legitimate avenues of intervention), but serves rather more as a passive agent in limiting the State.

First, the very hereditary nature of British constitutional monarchy — i.e., non-elective — disinclines government to aggrandise the Head of State. Governments are reluctant to invoke public criticism for expenditures which do not in some way flatter the ‘heirs’ of democracy (especially when the House of Windsor is itself exceptionally well-endowed financially): Witness the absence of a royal yacht when H.M.Y. Britannia was decommissioned.

Second, the constitutional role of the monarch in the Westminster parliamentary system means that the prime minister is a servant of the Crown and cannot therefore with impunity rise above his station. It is at best to be guilty of lèse-majesté, and at worse an affront to the parliamentary party which can always be relied upon to remember that the inhabitant of No. 10 is simply primus inter pares.

The theoretical ground of this public choice defence is laid out by Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe who, while he may not necessarily be a monarchist, sees the unrestrained growth of elective governments as far more destructive of personal liberty and economic freedom.

When absolute monarchy reigned, Hoppe argues, the State and its appurtenances were held as private property, and husbanded wisely as a future inheritance; subjects were jealous of their rights and defended them tenaciously (arising from an awareness of ‘class consciousness’), leaving the Crown on guard not to exceed its authority.

Democracies, to the contrary, do not arouse a corresponding scepticism — Why, one day I too may be leader of the country! — but nor do they engender similar feelings of safeguarding wealth: Without the responsibility of bequeathing royal estates to one’s children, politicians become mere ‘caretakers’, and the spoils of State become transitory gifts that must be enjoyed and shared with one’s cronies while the democratic gods shine (a form of present-orientedness that is reflected in citizens’ consumption rather than investment).

Arthur Seldon called this ‘the dilemma of democracy’, noting four weaknesses in popular government: short-sighted with material resources; over-expansive with a tendency to ‘grow’; liable to conspiratorial patronage; and uncritical of majoritarian electoral decisions. All of which leads me to wonder why classical liberals are so often enamoured of the republican ideal. As Hoppe observes:
From the viewpoint of those who prefer less exploitation over more and who value farsightedness and individual responsibility above shortsightedness and irresponsibility, the historic transition from monarchy to democracy represents not progress but civilizational decline.

One can understand their inability to appreciate a Tory reverence for tradition and continuity, yet why do they so cavalierly dismiss the public choice arguments that demonstrate that limited government in the age of the Welfare State is held hostage to democratic fortune?

‘It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the œconomy of private people, and to restrain their expence,’ wrote Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. ‘They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will (II.iii.36).’

Let not the irony be lost: Britain has gone from the time when a burgeoning representative democracy set in motion the end of the divine right of kings, transformed thus into constitutional monarchy — which itself has become the most visible restraint on elected politicians who behave as if themselves graced with divine sanction. We may no longer fear kings, but their ministers remain a threat to our rights and freedoms. Elizabeth II embodies the limits we must impose upon the political classes; her Diamond Jubilee an occasion to remember the State is the servant of the people. God Save the Queen!

SOURCE

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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, June 07, 2012

Immoral Beyond Redemption

Walter E. Williams

Benjamin Franklin, statesman and signer of our Declaration of Independence, said: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." John Adams, another signer, echoed a similar statement: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Are today's Americans virtuous and moral, or have we become corrupt and vicious? Let's think it through with a few questions.

Suppose I saw an elderly woman painfully huddled on a heating grate in the dead of winter. She's hungry and in need of shelter and medical attention. To help the woman, I walk up to you using intimidation and threats and demand that you give me $200. Having taken your money, I then purchase food, shelter and medical assistance for the woman. Would I be guilty of a crime? A moral person would answer in the affirmative. I've committed theft by taking the property of one person to give to another.

Most Americans would agree that it would be theft regardless of what I did with the money. Now comes the hard part. Would it still be theft if I were able to get three people to agree that I should take your money? What if I got 100 people to agree -- 100,000 or 200 million people? What if instead of personally taking your money to assist the woman, I got together with other Americans and asked Congress to use Internal Revenue Service agents to take your money? In other words, does an act that's clearly immoral and illegal when done privately become moral when it is done legally and collectively? Put another way, does legality establish morality? Before you answer, keep in mind that slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; the Nazi's Nuremberg Laws were legal; and the Stalinist and Maoist purges were legal. Legality alone cannot be the guide for moral people. The moral question is whether it's right to take what belongs to one person to give to another to whom it does not belong.

Don't get me wrong. I personally believe that assisting one's fellow man in need by reaching into one's own pockets is praiseworthy and laudable. Doing the same by reaching into another's pockets is despicable, dishonest and worthy of condemnation. Some people call governmental handouts charity, but charity and legalized theft are entirely two different things. But as far as charity is concerned, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, said, "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." To my knowledge, the Constitution has not been amended to include charity as a legislative duty of Congress.

Our current economic crisis, as well as that of Europe, is a direct result of immoral conduct. Roughly two-thirds to three-quarters of our federal budget can be described as Congress' taking the property of one American and giving it to another. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid account for nearly half of federal spending. Then there are corporate welfare and farm subsidies and thousands of other spending programs, such as food stamps, welfare and education. According to a 2009 Census Bureau report, nearly 139 million Americans -- 46 percent -- receive handouts from one or more federal programs, and nearly 50 percent have no federal income tax obligations.

In the face of our looming financial calamity, what are we debating about? It's not about the reduction or elimination of the immoral conduct that's delivered us to where we are. It's about how we pay for it -- namely, taxing the rich, not realizing that even if Congress imposed a 100 percent tax on earnings higher than $250,000 per year, it would keep the government running for only 141 days.

Ayn Rand, in her novel "Atlas Shrugged," reminded us that "when you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good."

SOURCE

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The Upside of the Downside

Jonah Goldberg

One of my heroes, Irving Kristol, used to say that there's nothing wrong with the country a bad recession couldn't fix.

Kristol (father of the more famous Bill, by the way) wasn't hoping for a recession, he was merely making the point that so many of the problems with our culture, both popular and political, were the sorts of challenges that come with affluence.

Wealth makes it easier to abandon the old customs, rituals and habits of the heart that generated the wealth in the first place.

For instance, I always love reading about irresolute rich families that lose their mojo within a generation or two. When the illiterate shipping and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt died, he had amassed a personal fortune larger than the U.S. Treasury. Within a few generations, his family had squandered it all. Vastly better educated and more refined than their tobacco-juice-spitting patriarch, they also lacked his entrepreneurial drive and financial thrift because they never needed it. It's a pattern that repeats itself in countless families. Billionaires so often raise their children to be playboys or poets.

Edward Gibbon's theory of the fall of the Roman Empire has come in for some revision over the years, but his basic thesis still has merit. The Romans became so wealthy they lost the civic and martial virtues that built the empire in the first place. They in effect contracted out the hard work of civilization that allows civilization to continue.

And then, of course, there's the universally recognized lesson of Rocky Balboa, who learned the hard way from Clubber Lang (aka Mr. T) that success can make you lose the eye of the tiger more than failure can.

Anyway, you get the point.

And while I hope we can get back to having the problems of a rich country really soon, it's worth pausing to appreciate America's capacity for self-correction and the fact that many of the problems we had over the last couple decades were good problems to have.

Illegal immigration is a great example of a rich country's problem. (For instance, no one but terrorists are sneaking into Somalia in search of work.) After years of screaming over what to do about it, the rate of illegal immigration has suddenly plummeted. Some say it has actually stopped entirely, as many illegal immigrants have started going home. Yes, there are other issues at work, but no one denies that if the U.S. economy were in good shape, we wouldn't be seeing what we're seeing.

In terms of self-correction, the examples are all over the place. In 2005, America had the lowest personal savings rate since 1933. In fact it was outright negative -- i.e., consumers spent more money than they made. Today it's at 3.4 percent.

For years intellectuals looked enviously at the way the Japanese live in multigenerational homes. Grandma and grandpa looked after the grandkids, and everyone looked after grandma and grandpa. From 2008 to 2010, American multigenerational households increased at a faster rate of growth than in the previous eight years combined, according to AARP.

In perhaps the most welcome news, laser tattoo removals have increased by 32 percent from 2011 to 2012 alone. "Employment reasons" are cited as the new No. 1 reason for the procedure. It turns out that in an era of austerity, having a Chinese-character tattoo that translates into "I have Kung Pao chicken pants" is an act of unnecessary self-indulgence rather than glorious self-expression.

It also turns out that our politics have a capacity for self-correction that few experts anticipated. When President Obama came into office, his administration's mantra was "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste." This little prayer to cynicism masquerading as an idealistic insight was used to justify vast expansions of government. The social scientists even told us this was to be expected. After all, they explained, during times of economic hardship, voters rally around the government.

Except that's not true. Yes, it happened during the Great Depression. But ever since, liberalism has been a luxury thriving on prosperity, not austerity. The Great Society was a byproduct of the so-called Affluent Society.

Instead of a tsunami of political support for ObamaCare and government unions, we got the Tea Party and the rollback of public-sector collective bargaining. Instead of massive support for Obama's green agenda, the air is thick with calls for more drilling, more fracking and more Keystone pipelines. It turns out the "new progressive era" was just too pricey.

Hopefully, the interminable winter of Obama's "Summer of Recovery" will soon end. And when it does, I hope we take the lessons to heart.

SOURCE

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Obama's Clinton problem

Back in 2008, after a hard-fought primary battle against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., then-Sen. Barack Obama had a choice: he could put her on the ticket as his vice presidential nominee, thereby healing the rift that had torn apart the Democratic Party or he could go another direction. He chose Joe Biden over Clinton -- a move for which comics everywhere will forever thank him -- and relegated Clinton to a figurehead secretary of state.

The question at the time was: Why?

Pundits then settled on two answers. The first was ego: Obama didn't want to be outshone by his second-in-command, especially with regard to national security issues. The second was more nefarious: Obama feared having Hillary Clinton as the second-in-line to the presidency. Conspiracy theorists suggested that the Clintons weren't beyond Shakespearian action to obtain the highest office in the land once again; less kooky commentators theorized that a Clinton vice presidency would motivate her to undercut him in order to get a shot at the big chair.

It all seemed a bit overblown at the time. Not anymore.

This week, a desperate President Obama called on former President Clinton to help him reinvigorate his base. They held a joint fundraiser in New York City that netted the president some $3 million.

It also netted him some good old-fashioned Arkansas ass-whuppin' from the prospective first gentleman. "I care about the long-term debt of the country a lot," Clinton told the crowd. "Remember me, I'm the only guy that gave you four surplus budgets out of the eight I sent." Ouch. The only way the moment could have been more uncomfortable for Obama is if he'd been wearing something low-cut at the time, so Clinton could undress him visually as well as verbally.

Obama should have seen it coming. The week before the event, Clinton completely undercut Obama's central strategy of attacking Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, calling that record "sterling." "I think he had a good business career," said Bill. "A man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold."

But Clinton wasn't done. He also declared the American economy in a "recession" and suggested that President Obama re-up President Bush's tax rates.

Bill Clinton may be petty and vindictive, but that doesn't mean he's stupid. Backstabbing President Obama is a concerted strategy, not an emotional revenge tactic.

If Obama loses his re-election bid, Clinton will still be seen as the greatest Democratic president since FDR; no one-term president can challenge that title. If Obama loses, Hillary can also claim that he lost because she was isolated from central administration decisions and prepare to run as a moderate in 2016.

And so Bill has leapt into action. Driven by pride and opportunism, he's got President Obama right where he wants him. And yet, like a deer transfixed by headlights, Obama has no choice but to stand pat and hope that the Clinton bus doesn't run him down.

Every day, that hope seems less and less realistic.

SOURCE

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Austrian economics explain what Keynes cannot

Most of my classes at UNLV were very forgettable, but classes with Rothbard changed my mindset. He made me understand that peace and prosperity can only come from free markets and liberty. It is a message that will save the world.

Although Murray is no longer with us, his colleagues and students are here to pass his wisdom on to a whole new generation of students each year at Mises University. "There exists nothing as comprehensive, learned, or world-class as Mises U," Amherst College's Gregory Campeau wrote about MU a couple years ago. "If taken seriously, it can be a life-changing week in your intellectual life."

The mainstream financial press calls this the worst economic recovery in history. Bernanke's Fed and the Obama administration have thrown everything at the economy but the kitchen sink, and even the phony government numbers are punk. GDP grew 3 percent in 2010, 1.7 percent in 2011, and 2012 doesn't look any better. Millions are unemployed and many more millions have given up. Uncle Sam provides groceries for 46 million Americans.

While government and its captive press desperately want to characterize the current economy as a recovery, it is anything but. And for young people it is a tragedy. "I've never seen the world so bad for young people. The only way I can describe it is as a Great Depression," said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Boston's Northeastern University, who has studied young-adult unemployment in depth.

The number of young adults in their 20s without jobs is the highest since recordkeeping began after World War II, and the bleak outlook has barely improved even as the broader US economy has seen new hiring in recent months.

Only 55 percent of Americans in the 16-to-29 age bracket were working in 2010, which is down dramatically from 67 percent in 2000. However, the situation is even worse than those numbers indicate. That's because millions of young adults are also underemployed, working part time while looking for a full-time job — the modern term for that being "mal-employed," which means holders of college degrees working low-end jobs.

The average young college graduates don't know what hit them. They've done everything they were told. They went to good universities, persevered, earned their diplomas, and collectively piled up a trillion dollars in debt doing it. Now, depending on their major, they're tending bar or waiting tables.

Northeastern's Sum is outraged that the Obama administration hasn't created a stimulus plan to employ college graduates. "We've betrayed our young people badly," he said.

However, government has betrayed young people with its continuous meddling in the economy. The future is cloudy because of the endless stimulus plans, high taxation, and overregulation by government busybodies. The Federal Reserve continuously prints money, bailing out bankrupt businesses, allowing these capital wasters to destroy the resources that could spur job growth.

The Fed-induced booms and busts have decimated the retirement savings of older Americans, at the same time that price inflation keeps those hoping to retire from saving enough. Instead, they must remain on the job rather than enjoy retirement, denying positions to young people.

The worst of it is, Ben Bernanke has every intention of making matters worse. He believes it when people call him the foremost authority on the Great Depreciation. The Fed chair believes he must flood the world with money to eradicate deflation. He holds the dangerous notion in his head that he knows just the right amount of money to inject and just the proper interest rate to fix in order to centrally plan the economy.

He told a 60 Minutes TV audience a couple years ago that he was 100 percent certain of being able to control inflation. But the nation's high unemployment bothers him, and he thinks he can fix it with more money. He's wrong, but he doesn't understand that he's wrong.

Students question the authorities and the government's quashing of personal and economic freedoms. They know something is wrong when day-to-day economic news bears no relation to the state of the real economy. They don't believe the mainstream babble, because their job prospects are abysmal and they want to know what caused this mess. At Mises University they gain an academic understanding of the diabolical effects of this government tyranny. The education they receive has relevance each and every day.

Mises, Rothbard, and the rest of the great Austrian thinkers taught us that meddling by Washington and the Federal Reserve will not create economic riches. The malinvestments of the boom must be liquidated, and that liquidation process will continue despite Obama and Bernanke claiming they can reinflate the bubble prosperity. They can't.

SOURCE

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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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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The American media knows where to find its friends

Barbara Walters, the grande dame of American television news, was forced to apologise on Tuesday night after it emerged that she had tried to use her influence to further the career of a former leading aide of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Emails seen by London's The Daily Telegraph show that Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria's UN ambassador, secure a place at an Ivy League university and an internship with Piers Morgan's CNN programme.

When confronted with the emails, which were obtained by a Syrian opposition group, the 82-year-old ABC broadcaster admitted a conflict of interest and expressed "regret" for her actions.

Miss Jaafari, 22, who in some reports has been dubbed "Serious Kim Kardashian", was a close adviser to Mr Assad and was at his side as Syrian troops dramatically stepped up their campaign of killing and repression.

She would speak to the president several times a day, sometimes calling him "the Dude" in her adopted American accent, and was sometimes the only official in the room when he did interviews with Western journalists.

Miss Jaafari, whose father Bashar Jaafari has known Walters for around seven years, began dealing with the broadcaster late last year as ABC News lobbied for an interview with Mr Assad.

Walters's interview in December - the first with an American television network - made headlines around the world as Mr Assad denied he was responsible for the crackdown which had already resulted in thousands of deaths across Syria. The emails show that after the interview Miss Jaafari and Ms Walters stayed in close contact.

Miss Jaafari did not ultimately get the internship nor the university place.

Miss Jaafari was part of a young circle of aides who advised Mr Assad to speak to the Western media as evidence of atrocities mounted. When he agreed to the interview with Walters in December, Miss Jaafari wrote a list of talking points advising that the "American psyche can be easily manipulated" if he were to make a limited expression of regret.

SOURCE

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Iceland

For a while, the country had the Midas touch. During 2003-07 the Icelandic stock market grew ninefold, while real estate prices tripled. But the newfound riches proved fool’s gold. The three largest banks, whose assets at their peak were nearly 10 times the national GDP, collapsed in the fall of 2008. The Icelandic currency, the krona, lost more than half its value against the euro and became all but worthless outside the country. Employers shed jobs and inflation reached 20 percent. The stock market took an 85 percent dive. And Icelanders were now on the hook for an estimated $85 billion to $100 billion in bank losses, or roughly $300,000 for every man, woman and child. And you thought we had it bad.

Yet here it is, 2012, and Iceland appears to have recovered from this debacle rather nicely – and without a bailout from the IMF. Put simply, the government allowed major banks to fail and told foreign creditors to bite the bullet. It dismantled the failed banks, paid off creditors from the proceeds of asset sales, and tightened bank capitalization requirements. The country still faces major problems. Household and business debt remains high. And some Icelanders are migrating to Norway and elsewhere in search of a job. Yet on balance, the country is far better off than could have been predicted three years ago.

Here’s how the Washington Post’s Brady Dennis this January described the scene in the principal city of Reykjavik:
On the snowy streets of this capital city, the economic panic of 2008 has mostly faded. The trendy cafes along Laugavegur brim with customers. Restaurant menus feature $40 grilled minke whale and $60 racks of lamb, and hardly a table goes empty. Boozy youths line up to pack nightclubs that thump all night. It’s even okay now to joke about the crash, or kreppa, as it’s known: “We may not have cash, but we have ash!” reads one T-shirt with a picture of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in 2010.

“Three years later,” the author writes, “the unemployment rate has fallen. Tourism has increased. The economy is growing. The government successfully raised money from investors in the summer for the first time since its crisis.”

In many ways, Iceland is an easy country to like. The 40,000-square-mile North Atlantic republic, located just south of the Arctic Circle some 500 miles from its nearest European neighbor Scotland, is a hybrid of Old Norse and modern culture. Average life expectancy at birth is now 81. Median income (2011) is around $38,000. The nonprofit watchdog group Transparency International continues to rate Iceland as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, even after the banking collapse. The country has spectacular natural scenery, including more than 100 volcanoes. One of its filmmakers, Baltasar Kormakur, directed a hit Hollywood movie this winter, “Contraband,” starring Mark Wahlberg; Kormakur, in fact, had starred in the 2008 film on which it was based, “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” directed by another Icelander, Oskar Jonasson. And, of course, there is the instantly recognizable female singer-songwriter, Bjork, whose mix of folk-rock, post-punk and electronica has won tens of millions of fans the world over.

But the main reason to like Iceland may be its reluctance, at least when it counted, to transfer part of its sovereignty to the European Union. Iceland, despite its short-sighted bank deregulation of a decade ago, had a 7 percent unemployment rate in 2011, to be sure, way above the 1 percent preceding the collapse and yet slightly lower than the average of the immediate post-crash years – no mean feat. Annual GDP has been growing at 3 to 4 percent since 2009. “For a country whose entire financial system collapsed, Iceland is doing remarkably well,” admits Julie Kozack, IMF mission chief for Iceland.

This raises the question: Why? How could a nation witness the evaporation of its financial assets and yet stabilize the situation within a relatively short time, while much of the rest of Europe approaches the abyss? Certainly, Iceland is in far better shape without international aid than is subsidized Greece. So given all that it did wrong, Iceland must have done a few things right since.

Without discounting the importance of cultural explanations, arguably the main reason for Iceland’s resurgence is related to the economics concept of moral hazard. In essence, moral hazard refers to the additional risks that a particular party – be it a person, a corporation or a nation – takes on when it does not have to bear the costs of its mistakes. People by nature are less cautious when they know in advance that an outside party will cover them. As a corollary, the outside party, typically armed with better information about motive and action, is more likely than otherwise the case to behave irresponsibly, believing he won’t get caught or otherwise bear the cost. Think of Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, in the two “Wall Street” movies.

The flip side of moral hazard is aversion to it. That is, in assessing a possible transaction or long-term agreement, a principal party may decide that the risk of an agent mishandling his money isn’t worth the gain in expertise. Equally to the point, he may sense that taking responsibility for the consequences of his own mistakes will reduce the likelihood of making them in the first place.

Iceland is an example of the second scenario. Its government during those dark months of late 2008 and early 2009 wisely eschewed a “too big to fail” policy in dealing with the nation’s financial institutions, recognizing, if out of necessity, that it can’t compensate reckless banking decisions. “No responsible government takes risks with the future of its people, even when the banking system itself is at stake,” said then-Prime Minister Geir Haarde in an emergency address to the nation in October 2008. He would resign on February 1, 2009. Johanna Sigurdardottir, a Social Democrat, would take over.

But why did the recklessness occur in the first place? It happened in large measure because country’s bankers thought Iceland was ready for the big time. The global economy, especially the demand for homeownership, was expanding. The bankers believed they could grow rich by radically ramping up mortgage lending and then packaging the loans as marketable securities to investors on Wall Street and elsewhere – sound familiar? Escalation in house prices presumably could cover any shortfalls, and the Icelandic government or the IMF could rescue them if prices didn’t keep rising. Who wanted to be a fisherman when the world was your oyster anyway?

“You had to be crazy not to want to become a banker,” says University of Iceland student Heimir Hannesson, looking back at those years. “You went to college, studied business. You became a millionaire overnight. That was the dream. And for a few years, it was the reality.”

Unfortunately, the reality of Geir Haarde, who served as prime minister for less than three years, is that he’s out of a job and likely headed for prison. The Sigurdardottir administration is bent on meting out justice to those whom it sees as responsible for the financial collapse. Her predecessor makes for a good trophy. This March, former Prime Minister Haarde, facing four separate criminal negligence charges, took the witness stand in his defense, arguing that no government could have prevented Iceland’s crash since nobody outside the banks was aware of how much debt they were carrying. He would be found guilty anyway in April on one of the charges.

Under its new leadership, Iceland may go the way of European integration. Finance Minister Oddny Hardardottir affirmed her commitment to adoption of the euro. The country applied for membership in the European Union in July 2009 and opened talks in 2010, despite widespread domestic opposition. Hardardottir believes that using the euro isn’t in conflict with becoming more solvent, and that the euro is a superior alternative to the highly fluctuating krona. “I’m not concerned about the future of the euro,” she remarked early this year. “The demand is that countries become more disciplined in their economic management. That’s something that we should also take to heart, although we’ve shown great effort and performance in that regard following the economic collapse.”

One only can hope. But in the meantime there are a couple reasons why Americans should pay close attention to the situation in Iceland.

First, like it or not, from the beginning of the EU, we have been committed to its solvency via the International Monetary Fund. And lately we’ve become more committed than ever. This spring, IMF officials cobbled together an additional $430 billion in pledges on top of the $380 billion in existing IMF lending capacity and the aforementioned 750 billion euro (US$950 billion) EU-IMF crisis package. Our total IMF liability now stands at $172 billion, second only to the $186 billion of Japan. (It could have been higher, actually, had the Obama administration pushed Congress on the issue.) The U.S. helped pay for the Irish and Portuguese bailouts this way. Now we’re covering the Greeks.

Second, having instituted our own bailouts over the last four years, we should be experts by now on the risks of growing an economy based on moral hazard. The Bush and Obama administrations, each aided by Congress, have created large-scale emergency conduits to support the automobile and financial services industries. In the short term, we mitigated a highly painful collapse. But in the long term, we are laying the groundwork for a potentially far deeper and intractable collapse. By signaling to “too big to fail” enterprises that they need not fear going extinct, we are enabling them to make bad decisions at taxpayers’ expense. The ever-expanding federal deficit is in some measure a consequence of this. Take heart, at least, that we’re not the lead player in some North American Union; one only can imagine the ultimate cost of bailing out Mexico.

One wishes Iceland well in its ongoing recovery. It may have only roughly one-hundredth of our land area and one-thousandth of our population, but its aversion to joining the EU during the Haarde years likely has benefited other nations, ours included. “I don’t want the euro, hell no,” remarked a female food truck operator in Reykjavik several months ago. “The countries that have the euro, it’s going pretty badly.” Iceland may well get the euro anyway. If that happens, it’s conceivable the U.S., if indirectly, will be responsible for some of its bills.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

WI: Walker survives recall vote: "Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions."

CA: Appeals court won’t touch pro-family ruling, SCOTUS likely next: "An escalating showdown over gay rights in America appears to be heading inevitably to the US Supreme Court. Two major appeals court cases dealing with same-sex marriage are poised for possible review at the nation’s highest court -- perhaps with decisions as early as next year. A federal appeals court in San Francisco announced on Tuesday that it would not examine a February decision striking down as unconstitutional California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative, which effectively banned same-sex marriages in the state."

A liberal war on women: "The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act), a law passed by a liberal Congress in 2009 and signed by President Obama, 'keeps many homemakers from qualifying for credit cards,' notes the world’s oldest law blog, Overlawyered."

The Bernanke bust: "To Austrians, all economic 'booms' founded on monetary largesse always end in economic busts, roughly equal in size and intensity to the preceding booms. By distorting interest-rate and price signals and, as a consequence, creating malinvestments that must eventually be liquidated, monetary booms necessitate economic busts. This is true regardless of whatever short-term benefits the economy or financial markets appear to enjoy from this largesse.

Lese majesty: "A farmer decides, in the wake of the Mad Cow outbreak to conduct tests above and beyond those required by the government in order to advertise that his beef is safer than the national standard. The USDA doesn’t allow him to do so, he cannot conduct his own tests with his own money."

Universal health care does not mean government health care: "Maybe social means are inadequate; or maybe there is some reason, which has yet to be mentioned, why governmental control is preferable, as a means for getting it, to voluntary associations for mutual aid. But whether the position is right or wrong, it’s certainly not one that can be answered simply by defining it out of existence, as you do when you pretend that the only alternatives available are (1) corporate coverage of only those who can afford it; or else (2) universal coverage by means of government mandates; as if there were no (3) universal coverage by non-governmental means."

The power of market-driven diversity: "The story of Chicago-based Supreme Life Insurance Company of America, one of the most venerable black-owned businesses in American history, challenges the prevailing fiction that minority customers need the government to guarantee services for them and is a dynamic reminder of the power of markets as a basis for economic freedom."

Wealth creation is not the enemy: "President Obama accuses Mitt Romney of putting profits above people by striving to create wealth rather than jobs during his 15 years at Bain Capital. This critique of Romney's work at the private equity firm, which Obama says will be central to his re-election campaign, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism"

The case for single-issue activism: "The only period, as I see it, when the supporters of freedom have made really sizeable inroads against the state was in the early nineteenth century where single-issue campaigns against the Corn Laws, slavery, emancipation of Catholics and so on brought substantive achievements. Many of those involved were, as Lord Acton observed, not true supporters of freedom. Similarly, amongst Thatcherism’s greatest achievements must surely be the great utility privatisations or curbing of excessive union powers even though many Thatcherites were hardly typical supporters of Liberal freedoms. It is this limited, achievable and comprehensible type of reform we first need to find and then unite behind."

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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)

****************************

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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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

More on how a criminal Leftist got a law-abiding conservative arrested

With the help of many misrepresentations and an aged scofflaw judge

David Hogberg

As reported last week on Capital Hill, the judge in the Brett Kimberlin-Aaron Walker peace order hearing granted Kimberlin’s peace order. At the end of the hearing, Walker was led away in handcuffs.

I went back to the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County on Friday to get a copy of the warrant for Walker. I have uploaded it here (addresses and phone numbers are redacted).

The warrant was filed by Kimberlin on Sunday, and from it a few things are now clear that I got wrong in the post from last week. First, Kimberlin claims that Walker violated the second peace order Kimberlin filed against Walker, not the first. Kimberlin filed the second peace order on May 22, and it is “temporarily” in effect until the hearing on May 29th.

In it, Kimberlin basically claims that the blog posts Walker wrote between May 22 and May 27 constitute a violation of the peace order (more on that in a bit).

Also, in the blog I wrote that the “court apparently agreed (that Walker had violated the peace order) and Walker was arrested.”

That leaves the impression that the judge had Walker arrested. He did not. Rather, the warrant was carried out by a Montgomery County Sheriff, as is clear from the first page of the warrant. The easiest way for a sheriff to arrest someone is to know exactly where he is, and the sheriff obviously knew Walker would be in court that day.

In the warrant, Kimberlin claimed: "Mr. Walker has tweeted on Twitter about me in alarming and annoying ways over hundreds of times in the past week and urged others to attack me. He has generated hundreds of blog posts directly and indirectly based on false allegations that I framed him for an assault.

Mr. Walker has had many people threaten me directly with death, and told me to stop talking to the police, and not show up in court or I would die."

Notice that Kimberlin doesn’t explicitly say how Walker had people threaten him. Nowhere on his blog or Twitter feed does Walker tell anyone to threaten Kimberlin. What proof does Kimberlin then have that Walker had people threaten him? If the Tuesday hearing was any indication, he has none. Kimberlin then gets very slippery in this part:

The peace order prohibits as special condition “threats” and “no electronic contact.” I have received many threats by Electronic contact on behalf of Mr. Walker. On Saturday, May 26, 2012, at 7:57 pm, “A message from Aaron — Don’t show up in court Tuesday or you are dead. This is your only warning.” On Sunday, May 27, 1:24 pm, “If Brett does not start acting like a grown up and quit calling the police on people like a little punk, there will be hell to pay.”

Note that Kimberlin claims he has received these “on behalf of” Walker. Thus, we can safely assume that the first message is not actually from Aaron Walker. (Having spoken to Mr. Walker, I can say that it seems highly unlikely he would be that stupid.)

But the broader point here is that Kimberlin apparently believes that if Walker writes a blog post or tweets about him, and then third parties send him threatening emails, it constitutes harassment on the part of Walker. Then there is this laugher:

"Mr. Walker has urged people to intimidate me if I come to court on Tuesday by tweeting for a mob of people to show up."

While there are some tweets in Walker’s Twitter feed encouraging people to show up (see here and here), I can’t seem to find the ones where he says he wants a “mob” to “intimidate” Kimberlin.

Yet Kimberlin seems to believe that a blogger who writes about him is responsible for death threats from third parties. So maybe he also believes that asking people to show up to court is the equivalent of egging on a mob. None of this would even pass the laugh test, let alone the principles set forth in the Supreme Court case Brandenburg vs. Ohio.

But, apparently, it might pass the Vaughey test. That would be the test named after C.J. Vaughey, the judge in the Kimberlin-Walker peace order hearing who found in favor of Kimberlin last Tuesday.

Someone has posted the full audio of the hearing here, and blogger Patterico has done an excellent job posting text of some of the more outrageous moments. Here is the part where the judge invoked the Vaughey standard:

"WALKER: But, your honor, I did not incite him within the Brandenburg standard though.

VAUGHEY: Forget Bradenburg (sic). Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly."

Not much to say here except that the rot that is judicial activism has obviously spread far and wide in our court system.

There was one part that was not included in Patterico’s post that is worth examining since it may shed some light on Vaughey’s biases. At one point in the hearing the judge asks Walker what if a “freak somewhere up in Oklahoma” does nasty things to Kimberlin. A little later he says, “You don’t get all these people from Oklahoma, Indiana, Wyoming, wherever the heck it is, and all of these past things.”

Looks like Vaughey forgot to mention Montana and Texas. Seriously, does Judge Vaughey think that “freaks” come from primarily red states? If so, it says a lot about his mindset. On the other hand, that may be reading too much into it. Maybe he was just listing states off the top of his head. But then, why not use the term “freak” without associating it with any states?

Vaughey is technically a “retired” judge. Perhaps he should enjoy retirement in the more traditional fashion of not going back to one’s old job.

WARNING: If you are going to post comments on this, keep it civil. In other words, NO threats of violence. Any such comments will be removed.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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Florida to Continue Voter Purge in Defiance of DOJ

Florida, a key U.S. electoral battleground where the 2000 presidential election was decided by a few hundred ballots, will defy the U.S. Justice Department's warning to stop its effort to purge ineligible voters, a state spokesman said on Saturday.

The warning issued this week by the head of the Justice Department's voting section said the move to purge voters appeared to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities. It demanded a response by Wednesday.

But a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the state must ensure only eligible voters cast ballots, and intends to go forward with the campaign.

"We have a year-round obligation to ensure the integrity of Florida's elections. We will be responding to (the Justice Department's) concerns next week," Chris Cate said in an email message.

Polls show Florida will be closely contested between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the outcome could swing the Nov. 6 election.

A mere 537 Florida votes decided the 2000 election in favor of Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore, amid charges from both sides that some people were unable to vote, some votes were uncounted, or were counted incorrectly.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided the contest in a ruling that halted the recount process.

Supporters of Florida's voter scrub, conducted by the administration of Republican Governor Rick Scott, say it is aimed at clearing voter registration rolls of non-citizens. But critics call it part of longstanding Republican efforts to deter minorities and the poor, who tend to vote Democratic, from casting ballots.

In its letter to Detzner on Thursday, the Justice Department also said the effort seemed to violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act and its rules for maintaining "accurate and current" voter registration lists "in a uniform and non-discriminatory manner."

The purge effort, begun in April, compares lists of registered voters with driver's license records that contain information on citizenship. Critics contend the information can be out of date as many people become citizens after they get their driver's licenses or state IDs.

So far the state has identified about 2,700 voters as suspicious and sent them letters demanding they produce proof of citizenship to avoid being stricken from the voter rolls.

SOURCE

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Only Getting Worse

by GADI ADELMAN (Gadi Adelman grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed)

Since returning to the United States in 1981 I've been attempting to educate people on the truth of Islam. Over the years I have seen dozens of new people emerge writing about the same thing, and it is obviously helping. There is no doubt that we are making headway and more people are aware of the threat of Islam.

It would seem to me that if more people have become educated and are aware of the situation things should be getting better rather than worse but sadly, that's not the case. Day in and day out, if you read publications other than the mainstream media, it's the same headlines, stories and news reports from all over the world. Islamic terrorism, honor killings, child brides, female genital mutilation and innocent people being murdered for no other reason than not being Islamic.

The so called "Arab Spring" has certainly made matters worse with the birth of new Islamic Republics that are demanding Sharia governments and laws.

Since 9/11 there has been 18,985 deadly attacks all carried out in the name of Islam and explicitly for Allah.

Just yesterday 15 people were killed and 38 wounded in two separate church bombings in Nigeria. Without a doubt this was the work of ‘Boko Haram', the Al Qaeda linked group who refer to themselves as the "Nigerian Taliban". The name ‘Boko Haram' actually translates to "Western education is forbidden".

Over 2 years ago, in April 2010 I wrote an article "No Big Deal, Just Some People In Africa, Right?", in which I explained that Christians were being killed by the hundreds for no reason other than because they were Christian, and yes, this was happening all in the name of Islam. Well this year alone there have been over 530 people, including women and children who have unfortunately become more of that statistic.

This week, like all others, we just see more of the same. Another Israeli soldier was killed Friday morning when a terrorist from Gaza crossed the border in to Israel and opened fire on a group of soldiers. Staff-Sergeant Netanel Moshiashvili, a medic, was mortally wounded.

Eleven Lebanese girls, between six and eight years old, were all victimized by their 22 year old teacher. The sexual assault occurred at a school in Mount Lebanon.

The teacher is said to have harassed the girls, forcing them to undergo nude photo sessions. According to the Lebanese website Naharnet:
One six-year-old told her father that the teacher had instructed her "to lift her skirt before pressing himself up against her."

A young mother was found guilty of adultery in Sudan and has been sentenced to death by stoning according to a report in the Guardian.
Intisar Sharif Abdallah was tried without access to a lawyer and is being detained with her four-month-old baby, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty puts Abdallah's age at 20; Human Rights Watch says she may be under 18.

Abdallah admitted to the charges only after her brother reportedly beat her. The conviction was based solely rests on this testimony. The man held with her reportedly denied the charges and was released.

What a shocker, she had no right to an attorney, they beat a confession out of her, and the man who denied any wrong doing was released. Sharia and women's rights hard at work once again.

Reuters reported that Brussels Police were attacked Thursday night after they arrested a Muslim woman for refusing to remove her face veil:
the woman had scuffled with officersed and she was taken to hospital with mild concussion," the police spokesman told Le Soir newspaper.

The woman's husband went to the police station later that day to complain, accompanied by about 20 others.

Protesters hurled bins and metal barriers at a Brussels police station, a spokesman for Brussels police stated "They tried to enter by force, but they were not able to, so instead they threw metal barriers and bins."

For those that don't recall, "Belgium and France both banned people from wearing full face veils in public last year."

Iran is only upping its game of words now warning the United States not to resort to military action against it, saying on Saturday that US bases in the region were vulnerable to the Islamic Republic's missiles. The Jerusalem Post article explains,
"The politicians and the military men of the United States are well aware of the fact that all of their bases (in the region) are within the range of Iran's missiles and in any case are highly vulnerable," Press TV reported Brigadier-General Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.

Safavi also warned that Iranian missiles could reach all parts of Israel.

Yes and they really are just using the nuclear power for "peaceful purposes", why on earth would anyone not believe that after they outright threaten the US and Israel.

This article wouldn't be complete without the story of the former associate professor at Sweden's medical institute. According to the UK Daily Mail:
A former associate professor at Sweden's prestigious Karolinska medical institute is being held in police custody for cutting off his wife's lips with a knife and then eating them in Stockholm.

Talk about "eating your words.: So what would make someone do this, yes, you guessed it, honor.
The man, who is 52, admitted to cutting off his wife's lips in a closed court hearing, the paper reported, saying it was retaliation.

"It was honour related. He doesn't seem to regret a thing. He believes she insulted him," a source with knowledge of the matter told the paper.

The man, who is from Iran, was doing post-Doctoral research at the institute in 2010.

So there is just very small sample of what goes on throughout the world week after week in the world of the "religion of peace."

Yes, more people are aware, but even less seem to care. All we can do is educate, it is up to you the reader to pass it on further. Remember, we can still speak out about these atrocities, as long as we have lips.

SOURCE

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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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Monday, June 04, 2012

GOP Whistling Past the End of America

Ann Coulter

An election almost as important as the presidential election will be held next Tuesday, and conservatives aren't making a big deal of it, just as they didn't make a fuss over the 2008 Minnesota Senate election as Al Franken stole it from under their noses. (Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Minnesota has a reputation for clean and fair and good elections. We've got 4,100 precincts run by volunteers. They do a good job, and we thank them.")

The public sector unions are trying to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office for impinging on their princely, taxpayer-supported lifestyles. If Walker goes down, no governor will ever again suggest that snowplow operators work when it snows. No governor will dare try to deprive public school teachers of their Viagra. Forget about ever firing self-paced, self-evaluated, unnecessary government employees.

Always leading the nation, California has already been bankrupted by the public sector unions. That's the country's future if Walker doesn't win, and it's not going to matter who's in the Oval Office.

Democrats know what's at stake. They're treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead.

Polls don't register passion. Public employee unions have vast organizing abilities, millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, and millions of voters who are either union members themselves or relatives of union members. And it's their lifestyles being voted on.

The public sector unions will turn out 99.9 percent of their people. Even if they are only 15 percent of the electorate, that could be enough. Union members will have every distant relative, every neighbor, every person they can drag to the polls, voting to recall Walker next Tuesday.

Ordinary people answering polls may agree with Walker, but they'll have to decide: "Do I really want to get out of bed early and drive to the polls, just so they don't recall the governor?"

News reports blare with the information that the Walker campaign has spent more money than the opposition. This is absurd. Every union member in the country is working to defeat Walker.

Union political operatives aren't volunteers: They're getting salaries from the unions. But those expenditures don't get counted as money spent on a campaign -- a little detail of campaign finance laws Republicans have been screaming about for 20 years.

One measure of the unions' disproportionate passion is how difficult it is to obtain non-union information about the Wisconsin fight. Try running a few Google searches on Scott Walker and the public sector unions, and you'll get 20 pages of union propaganda under names such as "Common Dreams," "All Voices," "United Wisconsin," "Veterans News Now," "Struggles for Justice," "One Wisconsin Now," "Defending Wisconsin" and "Republic Report."

From the hysteria, you wouldn't know Walker's reforms have nothing to do with government employees' salaries. He eliminated collective bargaining only for all other aspects of government employees' contracts. OK, you can have two guys on a snowplow, but you can't have a snowplow watcher.

One of the most egregious union scams Walker dispensed with was the requirement -- won in collective bargaining -- that all school districts purchase health insurance from the same provider. The monopolist insurer was WEA Trust, which happens to be affiliated with the teachers union.

Simply by eliminating this union boondoggle, Walker has already saved individual school districts millions of dollars per year, which could easily rise to hundreds of millions of dollars. (Most districts still get their health insurance from WEA Trust, but the mere threat of competition forced it to lower its price.)

Amazingly, Walker actually had to eliminate "overtime" for snowplow operators who work outside of their 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. shifts. Isn't the whole idea of snowplowers to have them work when it snows and not during specific, pre-set hours of the day?

The teachers unions wail, "It's all about the kids!" -- and then we find out the Milwaukee teachers union sued the school district because their health insurance didn't cover Viagra. Yes, it's all about the kids.

Fox News has barely mentioned this election, while on MSNBC they're doing non-stop campaigning on behalf of the unions. Apparently, James Madison will be rolling over in his grave if government unions aren't allowed to dictate how many employees are required to move a copy machine.

SOURCE

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Race Matters...To Racists

And Democrats have dishionest arguments galore to support their racial agenda

In February 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder said America is a “nation of cowards” on race because we don’t talk about. So let’s talk about it.

Progressives are up in arms over the prospect of voters being required to show something at the polls they must show regularly to function as a productive member of society – a photo ID. It’s because progressives, particularly progressive Democrats, have a vested interest in preventing as many people as possible, especially minorities, from becoming productive members of society.

Productive members of society – and those who aspire to be – don’t need or want government to do for them what they can do for themselves. The socialists, communists, fascists and anarchists – in other words, progressives – obviously don’t have the support to win elections. They must find many votes beyond their core supporters to survive. So they attempt to manipulate minorities.

They play the race card. They attempt to convince them Republicans, particularly conservatives, are racists.

Never mind only a few generations ago, it was Democrats who were lynching black people in the South, turning water cannons on them, toying with the idea of using eugenics to eliminate them and, always, trying to prevent them from voting. Since the party of slavery couldn’t own the bodies of black people anymore, it turned to trying to own their minds.

And votes. In the last 50 years, progressives have become quite interested in minority votes as the popularity of their message has waned. They pushed for a web of government dependence to entangle minorities – direct subsidies of just enough money to encourage complacency, public housing that serves as a staging ground for continuing criminal enterprises, an education system that coddles and babysits but does not, no matter how much money is sunk into it, educate, and, from their leaders, the soul-crushing rhetoric of victimhood and entitlement. Utopia is only an election cycle away – if we can get rid of those damn Republicans.

How else to explain how U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has been in office since 1965? It certainly isn’t because he has helped his district in Detroit. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off … twice. You can tell what it used to be when you drive through, and it’s sad. There is no one in that district not named Conyers whose life is better off since he assumed office, yet he’s re-elected by overwhelming margins every two years. Why?

They vote Democrat because they are told Republicans will only make things worse. Never told – or asked – is how things truly could be worse. But it’s folly to seek logic in irrational thought.

Which brings us back to voter ID laws. Holder told a group of black preachers this week the push in some states to require a government-issued ID to vote constituted an assault on minority voting rights. He seemed unconcerned about protecting the integrity of that right.

Holder claims requiring a photo ID to vote would disenfranchise minorities disproportionately…somehow. MSNBC harps on this point relentlessly, and progressives from Rev. Al Sharpton to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., equate voter ID laws with a return to Jim Crow. But why? Do these progressives fear their partners in democracy are too stupid to obtain a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID?

The sad part is the rhetoric surrounding this issue figures only to get worse. Get real, progressives. Almost everyone has a photo ID these days. You have to have one to deal with banks, stores, school registrars, property managers, traffic cops and with the HR people where you work. Progressives should be encouraging minorities to get IDs, not concocting excuses so they don’t have to. A few years ago, they demanded illegal aliens have access to drivers’ licenses. Was that Jim Crow? Only if you want to keep those people lashed to the ship of government dependency.

There’s no upward mobility in that plan. You can’t even move across the street. You’re just stuck where you are, where your parents were, where your children will be. But you’ll keep voting for Democrats because there will always be “leaders” who you view as having the job of helping you telling you the alternative is worse.

Democrats know upward mobility is not their friend. Even the prospect of it threatens their power structure. That’s why they don’t want you having a photo ID. It’s crucial to helping you improve your life on your own. And if you can improve your life on your own, you don’t need them or anything they’re selling.

If vote fraud is such an insignificant thing – as progressives falsely claim – then why not root it out completely? Because the party that always seems to ensure the polls in St. Louis stay open just long enough to get right amount of votes to pull out close elections at the 11th hour, or miraculously finds forgotten “lost” votes in car trunks or offices after the number needed to win is known has no interest ensure the integrity of our “sacred” right to vote. They need Mickey Mouse and the offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys on the rolls in every jurisdiction.

Because they want to win. And they’re willing to do anything to win. They will cheat the process they hold so dear. They will oppress the people they claim to champion. They will spend $10 trillion on the war on poverty and make not a dent in the poverty rate. Because it’s not the defeat of poverty they seek. It’s political power. Their ideas won’t win elections, so their bought votes must.

A progressive will look at someone, assess the amount of pigment in their skin and determine how that person should think and vote. Hell hath no fury like that of progressives when someone of color who dares stray from their pigmentally assigned expectations. Just ask Clarence Thomas.

That’s because what progressives want is power – government power, their power – and they have no problem using race baiting to steer votes their way.

Even if voter fraud were as rare as progressives claim, the real fraud is when they tell large chunks of the population their destiny is determined by their skin tone. A photo ID won’t set anyone free, but it is a passport to a society that values work, rewards diligence and offers an upward path. Progressives can’t have that because those who choose that path are significantly less likely to vote progressive.

SOURCE

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Obama and the TV Networks Ignore America's Number One Issue

The government says the economy is weakening yet again and unemployment claims are rising, but President Obama is going about business as usual.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits jumped by 10,000 last week to nearly 400,000.

And the Commerce Department said the economy grew at a snail's pace 1.9 percent in the first three months of the year -- slower than the government's earlier estimate.

Despite all those glowing, exaggerated stories on the network nightly news shows that the Obama economy was taking off, Commerce officials discovered a grimmer and more negative reality in their latest numbers. Consumers were spending less than was once thought, the U.S. trade deficit shot up, and businesses aren't restocking as much because of unsold inventories.

With Election Day a little more than five months away, the Gallup Poll continues to find the weakening Obama economy and high unemployment levels remain far and away the overriding issue for most Americans. No other issue comes close.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll confirms that finding, with more than half of the voters calling the economy and jobs the "single most important issue" before the country.

But Obama continues to campaign merrily about the country as if this 800 pound gorilla of an issue didn't exist. He doesn't talk about it. He doesn't complain about it. He doesn't bemoan it. He isn't seen doing anything about it, except to blame the previous administration.

The Democratic leadership up on Capitol Hill, which controls the U.S. Senate, is similarly mute on the issue of jobs and the economy, praying things will get better on their own before November.

It is going to take more than prayer to get this economy up and running again, it's going to take aggressive, pro-job, pro-investment policies. But the so-called "party of the working class" hasn't a clue about what it takes to create economic growth and spur risk-taking private investment.

As for Obama, it isn't as if he's been busy doing more important work. There he was this week handing out gold medals to nearly a dozen of his biggest supporters, while insulting Poland with a stupid remark about "Polish death camps," when they were Nazi death camps.

On other days he is bashing Republican Mitt Romney for investing in companies to help get new businesses off the ground, despite Romney's high job creation success rate.

But even Obama, as much as he avoids the harsh daily truth of his feeble economy, can't escape the grim reality of the unemployment rates across the country -- from California (10.9 percent) to Rhode Island (11.2 percent).

The politically devastating evidence of millions of Americans who can't find full time work was on the front page of the Washington Post this week. He couldn't have missed the story.

Beneath a blunt headline that read, "Prime-age workers still lost in the recession's undertow," economics reporter Peter Whoriskey reports that the number of Americans "in their prime-working years" (between ages of 25 and 54) who have jobs was "smaller than it was at any time in the 23 years before the recession..."

The shrinking share of these workers now stands at 75.7 percent. Before the recession hit, it was at 80 percent.

This disturbing figure, more than any other, Whoriskey writes, "captures more of the ongoing turbulence in the job market. It reflects 'missing workers' who have stopped looking for work and aren't included in the unemployment rate."

When he talks about the unemployment rate coming down, Obama never talks about these long discouraged, jobless workers who are never added to the monthly unemployment rate. But Whoriskey says "huge numbers are on the sidelines."

"What it shows is that we are still near the bottom of a very big hole that opened in the recession," says Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a far-left think tank. She estimates the number of missing workers at about 4 million.

The immensity of this economic issue is hard to hide, though the White House, the president, the Democrats in Congress are doing their best to distract voters with other issues that are of little if any concern to most Americans.

About 83 percent of the voters polled by the Post in mid-May said the Obama economy was "poor" or "not so good," reflecting higher negative ratings than in the entire decade preceding the recession.

But the Obama administration is getting a lot of help from the network news programs who have gone to great lengths to bury this story for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is intensifying his focus on the economy and jobs, knowing these are the issues that will decide this election.

Obama may not want to talk about his failed record on these two issues, but he's going to be held accountable for them at the ballot box in the end.

SOURCE

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)

****************************

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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