Friday, June 22, 2012

Racial Double Standards

Walter E. Williams

Back in 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said we were "a nation of cowards" on matters of race. Permit me to be brave and run a few assertions by you just to see whether we're on the same page. There should be two standards for civilized conduct: one for whites, which is higher, and another for blacks, which is lower. In other words, in the name of justice and fair play, blacks should not be held accountable to the same standards that whites are and should not be criticized for conduct that we'd deem disgusting and racist if said or done by whites.

You say, "Williams, what in the world are you talking about?" Mitt Romney hasn't revealed all of his fall campaign strategy yet, but what if he launched a "White Americans for Romney" movement in an effort to get out the white vote? If the Romney campaign did that, there'd be a media-led outcry across the land, with charges ranging from racial insensitivity to outright racism. When President Barack Obama announced his 2012 launch of "African Americans for Obama", the silence was deafening. Should the same standards be applied to Obama as would be applied to Romney? The answer turns out to be no, because Obama is not held to the same standards as Romney.

Liberals won't actually come out and say that criticism of Obama is in and of itself racist, but they come pretty close. Former President Jimmy Carter said that criticism of Obama shows that there is an "inherent feeling" in America that a black man should not be president. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," said that critics of Obama are crackers. Morgan Freeman said that the campaign to see that Obama serves one term is a "racist thing." Former Obama czar Van Jones said that Romney's campaign sign "Obama Isn't Working" implies Obama is a "lazy, incompetent affirmative action baby."

Racial double standards also apply to how crime is reported. I'm betting that if mobs of white youths were going about severely beating and robbing blacks at random and preying on black businesses, it would be major news. News anchors might open, "Tonight we report on the most recent wave of racist whites organizing unprovoked attacks on innocent black people and their businesses." If white thugs were actually doing that, politicians would be demanding answers. Such random attacks do happen, but it's blacks preying on whites.

On St. Patrick's Day in Baltimore, a 19-year-old white man was viciously attacked by a mob of black thugs. He broke loose, but a second mob of black thugs attacked him, taking all of his belongings. Baltimore County Delegate Pat McDonough demanded the governor send in the Maryland State Police to control "roving mobs of black youths" at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and other activists demanded that McDonough apologize for talking about "black youth mobs."

Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by black thugs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls and at other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and other cities. Most of the time, the race of the attackers, euphemistically called flash mobs, is not reported, even though media leftists and their allies are experts in reporting racial disparities in prison sentencing and the alleged injustice of the criminal justice system.

Racial double standards are not restricted to the political arena and crime reporting; we see it on college campuses and in the workplace. Black people ought to be offended by the idea that we are held accountable to lower standards of conduct and achievement. White people ought to be ashamed for permitting and fostering racial double standards that have effects that are in some ways worse than the cruel racism of yesteryear.

SOURCE

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Self-sufficiency not allowed in the new America

A woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma is suing the city’s code enforcement teams after they illegally cut down her entire survival garden. Denise Morrison, who started the garden after becoming unemployed, had over 100 medicinal and edible plants in her front and back yard.

She told local Tulsa reporters that she started her garden, after becoming unemployed, as a way to feed herself and treat a variety of medical issues. Instead of relying on government handouts, this woman took matters into her own hands and decided to become self sufficient. She filled her yard with things like, fruit trees, berries, nut trees, and a wide variety of edible and medicinal herbs. She used these herbs to treat her diabetes, high-blood pressure and arthritis.

Is the Self-Reliant Lifestyle Now a Crime in America?
All her hard work ended when the local code enforcement team showed up to her house and forcibly removed her entire survival garden. Morrison says that she tried to explain how everything in her yard followed the local code enforcement rules. You see, she had problems with these people in the past and this time she was determined to do things by the book.

She obtained the local ordinances and followed every rule to the tee. She made sure that everything in her garden had a purpose, and that her garden looked its best at all times. Local ordinances stated that no plant could be over 12-inches tall unless they were being used for human consumption.

Morrison made sure every plant in her garden could be eaten, but that didn’t matter to the city. They could care less about what the law actually said, they were determined to take out her garden. “Every word out of their mouth was, ‘we don’t care,’” Morrison said.

Over 100 plant varieties were removed by the code enforcement team leaving her with no way to feed or medicate herself. They took almost everything, including a number of her fruit and nut trees. She told local reporters in Tulsa, “I came back three days later, sat in my driveway, cried and left.”

While this case is extremely sad, it’s also becoming more and more common throughout the country. From “nuisance abatement teams” that have been forcing Off-Griders in California to hook back into the grid, to the heartbreaking story of Andrew Wordes who took his life after code enforcement teams seized his home, this country is making it harder and harder for self-reliant people to live on their own land.

While some dismiss these cases as localized issues, I believe they’re part of a larger movement to control anyone who dares to live a self-reliant lifestyle. I think evidence of this can be seen in the federal governments attempts to regulate small farms out of existence, their use of the EPA to seize private land, the formation of the Department of Homeland Security’s Green Police Force, their attempts to seize control of the Great Lakes, oceans, and waterways, and their use of organizations like The National League of Cities to take control of local governments.

SOURCE

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The Washington 1 percent

The Associated Press recently reported that half of all new college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. These fresh-faced bachelor-degree holders are finding themselves opting for waiting tables and serving coffee just to pay off a trillion dollars in student loans. They are coming to grips with a lie perpetuated by university professors, faculty unions, and politicians that deluded them into thinking college by itself was the golden ticket to success.

Meanwhile, the rest of America is still muddling through years of high unemployment. The jobs connected to Alan Greenspan's housing bubble are gone and will likely never return. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke met the financial crisis with an unprecedented amount of monetary-base expansion, which has failed to significantly affect the unemployment rate. President Obama and his allies in Congress threw $800 billion at the economy to no avail and have been running federal deficits to the tune of over $1 trillion for three years now. This orgy of money printing and spending has done little for the residents of Main Street but has done wonders for Wall Street and other politically connected interests.

Last fall's Occupy campaign was representative of a growing distrust of the American economic system. Although many occupiers were misled into believing capitalism is the culprit behind the sluggish economy, the protest's focus on income inequality was not wholly inaccurate. Of course the inequality in income that is a byproduct of an unhampered market economy is not something to demonize. As Ludwig von Mises wrote in Economic Freedom and Interventionism,
Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy. It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders. It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers. It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulates riches.

Today, no Western, industrialized country operates under genuine capitalism. What passes for the free market in the context of mainstream political debate is actually a fascist-like partnership between big government and big business. The dynamic, cost-cutting competition that defines the uninhibited market has been stifled by Washington's endless decrees of regulation.

As Leviathan's grasp over all economic life continues to grow, it only makes sense that greater amounts of wealth funnel into the area that surrounds the various bureaucracies and decision-making bodies that make up the state. This past October Bloomberg News reported that Washington, DC, now tops Silicon Valley as the richest metropolitan area in the country. In a recent Time magazine article entitled "Bubble on the Potomac," author Andrew Ferguson documents the lifestyles of those within or well-connected to the federal-government apparatus:
Even as the nation struggles, the capital has prospered, making it a magnet for young hipsters but leaving its residents with only a tentative understanding of how the rest of the country lives.

Every week brings fresh evidence of continuing prosperity: a new restaurant, a new nightclub, another restored 19th century townhouse in a previously dodgy neighborhood selling for $1 million or more. Start-ups are hiring through Craigslist, and just opened lobbying firms have no trouble collaring clients.

Other big cities, of course, have made it through the recession in one piece. But few eased through the crash as lightly as D.C., much less prospered so widely on the rebound. The local unemployment rate, at 5.5%, stands well below the national figure of 8.2%. The region's foreclosure rates have always been significantly lower than those elsewhere, and now housing prices in D.C. and across the river in the Virginia suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria are close to their precrash peaks.

While Washington's palette of policy prescriptions becomes more diversified, more and more feeders are flooding to the public trough to get a share of the pie. Trillions of tax dollars being spent every year means a better chance to obtain that much-needed earmark or appropriation. The political class's inclination to create a perfect society has resulted in the state having an influence in virtually all aspects of private life. The car you drive, the food you eat, and the pillow you lay your head down on to sleep at night all have to comply within the legislative whims of the federal government. Lobbying has thus become a lucrative profession for those savvy enough, and well financed enough, to pay for that subsidy or competitor-crushing regulation. Just as F.A. Hayek recognized, "the worst rise to the top of government," and centers of power attract all types of opportunists.

Though lobbying for privilege has become a staple industry within the DC area, it isn't the sector experiencing the biggest growth in employment. Ferguson explains:
Why the boom? The size of the nonmilitary, nonpostal federal workforce has stayed relatively stable since the 1960s. What has changed is not the government payroll but the number of government contractors. It's estimated that, thanks to massive outsourcing over the past 20 years by the Clinton and Bush administrations, there are two government contractors for every worker directly employed by the government. Federal contracting is the region's great growth industry. A government contractor can even hire contractors for help in getting more government contracts. You could call those guys government-contract contractors.

Which means government hasn't shrunk; it's just changed clothes (and pretty nice clothes they are).

In order to project the image of a scant increase in the number of federal-government employees, a type of shadow economy of contractors has developed to deceive the public's eye. These contractors are employees of the state whether on the official payroll or not. Their income is derived from stolen funds just as much as the budget analyst at any of the alphabet-soup bureaucracy. The so-called private companies they work for do the bidding of the state at what is often an exorbitant price compared to what may prevail under free-market conditions. Government contractors are merely deceptive when describing themselves as private, for-profit companies. They are de facto agents of the state.

With all the money culminating in the Washington area, the city and its surrounding suburbs are indeed a world apart from the rest of the country. As the Time article shows, while regulatory uncertainty and the threat of increased taxation continue to stifle entrepreneurial capital investment, DC residents often help themselves to $150 meals, a taxpayer-subsidized metro system, and a variety of bars serving overpriced drinks. Armed with "fistfuls of disposable income," they live in paradise compared to recession-wrecked America.

This disconnect in lifestyle is understandable when we consider the anatomy of the state. As Murray Rothbard defines it,
Social power is man's power over nature, his cooperative transformation of nature's resources and insight into nature's laws, for the benefit of all participating individuals. Social power is the power over nature, the living standards achieved by men in mutual exchange. State power, as we have seen, is the coercive and parasitic seizure of this production — a draining of the fruits of society for the benefit of nonproductive (actually antiproductive) rulers. While social power is over nature, State power is power over man.

By being infused with the central state, much of Washington, DC, lives parasitically off of the collective labor of the rest of the country. Their standard of living comes at the expense of those whom they lord over. The ruling class establishes the rules of conduct for millions despite being made up of just a very small portion of the population. In return, it demands and receives compensation that is then funneled to the politically connected. This stream of violently confiscated funds is the lifeblood of the city.

To drive this point home, it must be emphasized that those on the payroll of the state don't actually pay taxes. As Rothbard points out, the notion that they do is "a mere accounting fiction." Claiming a government employee pays taxes is the equivalent of claiming they pay their own salary.

In the end, the people of Washington have little desire to have their lavish way of life fall by the wayside. Their goal is to keep the nation's focus on the government's operations. This guarantees more power, prestige, and authority for a city overrun by men and women who take pride in their lawful ability to wage war abroad and at home. As long as the federal government remains an overarching factor in everyday life, it will attract a great deal of wealthy interests looking to the game the system in their favor.

The DC mindset is fixated on the idea that such a state of affairs can last forever. Much of the younger crowd that resides in the nation's capital still doesn't see the writing on the wall. Ferguson ends the article explaining why:
The optimism of ├╝ber-Washingtonians so far survives the unspoken worry about a coming age of austerity, in which government spending cuts would end the high life that Washingtonians have come to expect. They are right to be optimistic. The two most plausible deficit-reduction proposals — one by President Obama, the other by the Republican-controlled House Budget Committee — each calls for the government in 2021 to spend a trillion dollars more than it spends today.

Those living off the state are convinced the good times won't come to an end. Trillion-dollar deficits beg to differ however. The day will come when either investors demand higher interest rates for government bonds or prices pick up exponentially due to the extraordinary amount of inflation engineered by the Fed. Either way, Washington will then have no choice but to cut back or risk the complete destruction of the dollar. It will be a period of reckoning like no other. As Tom Woods writes in Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse, it is estimated that the federal government's unfunded liabilities comes in at around $111 trillion. According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the unfunded liability gap actually exceeds $211 trillion. Such staggering numbers mean a great default is coming. It's only a matter of who the losers will be.

For a country that is forced into subsidizing the profligate living habits of the state and its partners in crime, the only justifiable outcome would be for the latter to suffer.

For every government employee or contractor relieved of service in Washington, DC, and elsewhere, one or more taxpayers will be relieved of the burden of paying their salary. When such an event happens en masse, it will truly be a time of celebration for America as a whole.

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 21, 2012

Calvin Coolidge and the foundational truths of government

Calvin Coolidge had a penchant for silence but when he spoke, he did so with powerful effect. "The words of a president have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately,” he once warned. Underappreciated by historians and often marginalized through story and anecdote, the “throwback” president’s stock is on the rise. While it is true that the 30th president is due for a major reassessment, the ideas he put forward remain timeless because of his focus on foundational truths.

Silent Cal’s words and legacy speak directly to us and our national ills. Often referred to as the last Jeffersonian president, Coolidge praised limiting the state’s powers as he observed and reacted to the progressive era and the looming New Deal centralization. “These socialistic notions of government are not of my day,” he quipped during FDR’s rise.

Instead, Coolidge believed the progressive man bent on centralization was a stale soul. “Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers,” declared Coolidge. He continually harkened back to America’s Founding, believing that there are fundamental truths about man and his relationship to the state.

While early American debates centered on how important it is that federal power be limited, the progressive era saw the rise of breathless boasts about how much good and abundance could flourish out of unlimited federal power.

Seeing into the future, Coolidge warned Americans that if they thought they were speaking of the federal government when they referred to “the government” it would prove costly. A staunch defender of federalism, he believed local government took precedence when federal power is not specifically enumerated by the Constitution.

Seeing himself as civic educator, he explained: “The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager.” A glance at the federal debt today makes his case.

While Coolidge often spoke in short sentences full of common sense, there was considerable depth to his conservative views. Lampooned in part because of quotes like “The chief business of the American people is business,” Coolidge went on to also say in the same address, “Of course the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence.”

Sneered at by intellectual elites for being old fashioned and a defender of free-markets, Coolidge championed capitalism by personalizing it, rooting work within the dignity of man and eschewing materialism and greed. He warned Americans against sinking into a “pagan materialism.”

Coolidge oversaw an era of unyielding prosperity for most and unprecedented technological advances, but he knew the citizens of the republic must be rooted in faith. “If we are too weak to take charge of our own morality, we shall not be strong enough to take charge of our own liberty,” said Coolidge. He declared, “We cannot depend on government to do the work of religion.” He simply proclaimed in his brilliant speech on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, “The things of the spirit come first.”

Coolidge’s authenticity stands in contrast to most modern politicians and leaders. When his biographer William Allen White expressed frustration with not being able to see the real Coolidge by telling him, “I need to peek at the man behind the mask,” Coolidge amusingly snapped back, “I don’t know if I can help you, maybe there isn’t any.”

After Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, he hung up a portrait of Coolidge in the White House. The Washington press corps snickered at the act. Coolidge however put forward a serious and deep vision for the country. It is a vision that stands in stark contrast with how our government and many of our leaders operate today.

While America experiences crippling debt, moral decay, and decline of purpose, Coolidge’s words and legacy will appeal even more. Fundamental truths are forever new to a society that has lost its way.

SOURCE

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The Obama Administration’s Genocide Denial

Suppose that there was a country where Muslims were being massacred every month and mosques and imams were being targeted and destroyed. Could anyone imagine the Obama Administration choosing to remain silent in the face of such atrocities?

A mob attack on Muslims in Burma immediately resulted in a condemnation from the State Department and a call for its government to make more concessions to Muslims. But a car bombing and shooting attack on two churches in Nigeria have not been similarly commented on by the State Department, sending the message that Muslim life is precious, but Christian life is cheap. The Muslim dead of Burma are sacred, but the Christian dead of Nigeria are only more dead infidels.

Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist organization responsible for both attacks, has yet to be declared a terrorist organization by the State Department, despite having carried out religiously motivated bombings and shootings that have killed over a thousand people in the last few years alone. These numbers begin to approach the level of murders carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The "Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act of 2012", introduced by Senator Scott Brown, mandates that the State Department produce a detailed report that either designates Boko Haram as a terrorist group or justifies why it should not be listed as a terrorist group. A similar bill was introduced by Congressman Meehan in the House. It is a testament to the obstructionism of the State Department and its whitewashing of Boko Haram that such a bill even had to be introduced. While the State Department has played delaying games, the bodies of murdered Christians have continued piling up.

It is also tragically noteworthy that all eleven sponsors of the "Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act", in both the Senate and the House, have been Republicans. Not a single Democrat appeared to be willing to stand up for the human rights of Nigerian Christians. If the "Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act" comes down to a vote, that vote should be seen as nothing less than a test of complicity for individual Democrats in the cover-up of Nigeria's Islamic genocide by the Obama Administration.

Genocide denial pervades not only the Obama Administration and its Congressional allies, but also the media, which continues to promote the destructive myth that Boko Haram is not truly religiously motivated and that it can only be stopped by giving more money and power to the Muslim north.

Had a non-Muslim group carried out numerous attacks on mosques and Muslim worshipers, and then ordered Muslims to leave an area, it is absolutely inconceivable that the Obama Administration and its media allies would deny that these were religiously motivated attacks. It is even more inconceivable that its preferred solution would be to tell the government to stop fighting terrorism. But what is inconceivable when it comes to Muslims is Obama Administration policy for Christians.

At the end of April, Daniel Benjamin, from the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, testifying at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, denied that Boko Haram was affiliated with Al-Qaeda, while conceding that its members were probably being trained by Al-Qaeda. Benjamin then stated that the State Department's response to the Islamic genocide of Christians by Jihadists in the Muslim north was "to press for a change to its (Nigeria's) heavy-handed approach to the security threats in the north".

The State Department's approach to the genocide of Christians by Muslims is to press the Nigerian government to scale down its efforts against that genocide. Benjamin's statement is not unique; it is the consistent policy of the State Department, which is the consistent policy of the Obama Administration, to respond to Islamic genocide in Nigeria by pressuring its government to step down its war on terror.Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of African Affairs, in his remarks on Nigeria, claimed bizarrely, that despite a campaign of violence focused heavily around attacks on churches, "Religion is not driving extremist violence in either Jos or Northern Nigeria" and warned the Nigerian government to "avoid excessive violence".

That same month, Don Yamamoto, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs, testifying at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and reading from the same script, said that, "Religion is not the primary driver of extremist violence in Nigeria", like Carson, claimed that Nigeria's "religious and ethnic diversity is one of its greatest strengths" and demanded that the Nigerian government spend more time teaching its security forces to respect Muslim human rights.

Yet:

Close to 900,000 Arab Jews were expelled from Arab Muslim countries and countless murdered. Today, Christians are suffering the very same fate with the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians in Muslim countries.

* In Egypt, 100,000 Christians have left since the "Arab Spring" began.

* Bethlehem and Ramallah are no longer Christian majority cities.

* In Syria, Muslims have gone door-to-door telling Christian homeowners to leave immediately or be shot. 50,000 men, women and children have been forced to flee empty-handed as Muslims appropriated their property and possessions.

* In Sudan,where shariah is being enforced, 600,000 Christians have been told to leave the country or be treated like foreigners.

* In 2003, Iraq's Christian population stood at 1.4 million. Today, there are only 300,000 Christians remaining......(Janet Levy)

SOURCE

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A free market brings down health costs

by Jeff Jacoby

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY to make sure that Americans with chronic medical conditions -- those most likely to need costly or frequent health care -- can afford the insurance they need to meet their bills? The conventional answer, reflected in Mitt Romney's 2006 health-care reform law in Massachusetts and the federal overhaul signed by Barack Obama in 2010, contains these ingredients:

(1) Require everyone to have health insurance, with subsidized plans for low-income citizens. (2) Compel insurers to accept anybody who applies for coverage and to charge roughly the same premium for everyone, regardless of health status. (3) Make all health plans cover a fixed array of medical treatments, providers, and conditions that many customers may not need or want.

The orthodox view, in short, is that to shield people with serious medical needs from undue financial hardship we must suppress the normal workings of a free market -- supply and demand, competition, flexible prices. There's just one problem with this approach: It doesn't work.

Six years after RomneyCare became law, health insurance coverage in Massachusetts is all but universal. Yet a new statewide survey finds that those most in need of medical care are finding it harder than ever to pay for. According to the study, which was directed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and sponsored by WBUR, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, and the Robert Wood ­Johnson Foundation, 78 percent of sick adults consider health care costs a serious (50 percent say very serious) problem in Massachusetts. And far from seeing improvement, nearly two-thirds of sick adults say the problem has only gotten worse over the past five years.



This wasn't supposed to happen. Romney was confident his law would ease the pressure of medical costs. "Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced," he optimistically forecast in 2006. Yet today 14 percent of sick adults in Massachusetts report being unable to get medical care they needed at some point over the past 12 months, usually for financial reasons. About half of those who went untreated said they couldn't afford the out-of-pocket costs; another 21 percent said their insurer wouldn't pay for the test or treatment.

To be sure, the survey relies on respondents' own perceptions, which may not always be realistic or consistent. And its definition of "sick" adults is broad: It includes everyone who said they had a serious illness, medical condition, injury, or disability requiring a lot of medical care, as well as anyone who was hospitalized overnight in the past year. By that yardstick, 27 percent of Massachusetts adults are regarded as sick.

But even if that number should be taken with a grain of salt, it is clear that universal health insurance is no panacea for health care's financial pressures -- especially those that affect people with pre-existing or expensive medical conditions.

The way to make medical insurance more affordable and accessible for everyone, above all those whose health problems are greatest, is not by forcing insurers to pretend that the chronically ill or those requiring frequent care don't have above-average costs. If companies that sell homeowners insurance were barred from taking into account the size, location, or age of the houses they wrote policies for, it goes without saying that premiums and deductibles would keep rising and fewer losses would be covered. Making it illegal for health insurers to craft policies and charge premiums that accurately reflect the needs and risks of people with significant medical issues has a similar effect.

Rather than outlawing insurance for pre-existing conditions, health-care economist John C. Goodman argues, we should be encouraging it. In a new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, Goodman offers an abundance of ways in which an unfettered market could address the problems of people with chronic medical needs. One proposal: employers could buy health insurance that was fully portable -- employees would own their policies and could take them from job to job. Another idea: Health Savings Accounts for the chronically ill that would allow disabled patients to manage their own budgets and choose the goods and services that best meet their needs. Still another: "Health status insurance," which would allow individuals to protect themselves against the risk that a pre-existing condition could emerge down the road and cause their insurance premiums to rise.

What America's health-care landscape needs is more freedom and competition, not less. True reform would end the tax-code distortion that links health insurance to employment. It would tear down the barriers to buying health insurance across state lines. It would roll back the mandatory benefits that make everyone's health coverage too expensive. Massive health-care "reforms" that restrict choice, suppress prices, and block innovation aren't reforms at all. In sickness and in health, they generally make things worse.

SOURCE

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Oregon: Welcome to the jungle

The racist attacks on whites by groups of blacks continue

Portland Police are investigating two “large-scale” fights that happened in Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland earlier this week. According to Sgt. Pete Simpson, both fights involved groups of black teenagers randomly attacking people in the park.

Simpson said the first incident happened on June 13 around 10:30 p.m. That’s when officers responded to reports of 150 drunken teenagers in the park.

Officers arrived and found several groups of teens leaving. As they continued through the park a young woman flagged them down and pointed out a 14-year-old boy who had been beaten up, Simpson said. He was lying on a picnic table.

The boy had been hit in the face and paramedics were called to treat his injuries.

According to Simpson, the victim told officers he was with a friend in the park when he was punched from behind. He said his attackers were 5-10 black teenagers who were randomly attacking white teens in the park. He said they also attacked a homeless man.

The victim said the attackers stole his cell phone, iPod, headphones and hat.

The second attack happened the next night, also around 10:30 p.m. In that case, officers got a report of a fight involving more than 20 people in the park.

They didn’t find the fight when they arrived but did find three men who said they were attacked by a group of 20-30 black teenagers, Simpson said.

The three victims, who are all in their 20s, said they were playing “soccer tennis” at the tennis courts when some of the teens started calling out to them and throwing bottles on the court, according to Simpson.

The victims said they were then attacked by people in the group. Two of the men suffered facial injuries but declined medical treatment.
"As they came onto the court, it became clear it was time to get out of there," one of the victims told KATU. "In hindsight, being in a public park at night is not the safest place to begin with."

Portland Police officers plan on stepping up patrols in the park this weekend. The park will also close at 10 p.m. through the weekend instead of the normal midnight closing time.

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 20, 2012

The Nation's Top 'Progressives' - and Socialists and Communists

Paul Kengor

The left-leaning magazine The Nation has published a list of what it deems America’s all-time, most influential progressives. The list, which you can review for yourself , is very revealing.

For starters, it’s fascinating that The Nation leads with Eugene Debs at number 1. Debs was a socialist. It was 100 years ago this year, in 1912, that Debs ran for president on the Socialist Party ticket.

Today’s progressives get annoyed if you call them socialists. Well, why is a pure socialist the no. 1 “progressive” on The Nation 's list?

Of course, progressives really get annoyed if you suggest they bear any sympathies to communism. That being the case, two other “progressives” on The Nation ’s list are quite intriguing: Paul Robeson and I. F. Stone.

Paul Robeson was a proud recipient of the “Stalin Prize.” Even the New York Times concedes Robeson was “an outspoken admirer of the Soviet Union.” When Robeson in 1934 returned from his initial pilgrimage to the Motherland, the Daily Worker thrust a microphone in his face. The Daily Worker rushed its interview into print, running it in the January 15, 1935 issue under the headline, “‘I Am at Home,’ Says Robeson At Reception in Soviet Union.”

The Bolsheviks, explained Robeson, were new men. He was bowled over by the “feeling of safety and abundance and freedom” he found “wherever I turn.” He discovered sheer equality under Joseph Stalin.

When asked about Stalin’s purges, Robeson retorted: “From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!”

Yes, Robeson was deadly serious. Robeson told the Daily Worker that he felt a “kinship” with the USSR. So much so that he moved his family there. He also joined Communist Party USA. In May 1998, the centennial of Robeson’s birth, longtime CPUSA head Gus Hall hailed Robeson as a man of communist “conviction,” who “never forgot he was a communist.”

None of this is mentioned in The Nation ’s profile, which blasts anyone who dared consider Robeson a communist. Instead, The Nation insists that Comrade Paul was a “progressive.”

And that brings me to I. F. Stone. Stone is listed at number 26 on The Nation’s list. Stone has been hailed by liberals for decades as the literal “conscience” of journalism—a hero of impeccable honesty. In fact, we now know that Stone, at one time, was a paid Soviet agent.

In their latest Yale University Press work, historians John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev conclude that Stone (from 1936-39) was a “Soviet spy.” Also closely studying Stone’s case is Herb Romerstein. In The Venona Secrets , Romerstein likewise concluded that “Stone was indeed a Soviet agent.” One of the stronger confirmations from the Soviet side is retired KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who reported: “He [Stone] was a KGB agent since 1938. His code name was ‘Blin.’ When I resumed relations with him in 1966, it was on Moscow’s instructions. Stone was a devoted communist.” None of this appears at Stone’s “progressive” profile at The Nation .

And speaking of progressives with communist sympathies, also on The Nation ’s list is Margaret Sanger . The Planned Parenthood matron sojourned to Stalin’s Potemkin villages in 1934. “[W]e could well take example from Russia,” Sanger advised Americans upon her return, “where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.”

The Planned Parenthood founder was stunned by the explosion in abortions once legalized by the Bolsheviks. No fear, though. Sanger offered this confident prediction: “All the [Bolshevik] officials with whom I discussed the matter stated that as soon as the economic and social plans of Soviet Russia are realized, neither abortions nor contraception will be necessary or desired. A functioning Communistic society will assure the happiness of every child, and will assume the full responsibility for its welfare and education.”

This was pure progressive utopianism, an absolute faith in central planners.

Overall, the socialists, communists, and Soviet sympathizers on The Nation’s list are dizzying: Upton Sinclair, Henry Wallace, W. E. B. DuBois, Norman Thomas, Lincoln Steffens, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tom Hayden, Barbara Ehrenreich, and John Dewey—founding father of American public education.

Thus, I’m compelled to ask: Is this “progressivism?” Is progressivism synonymous with liberalism, or is it much further to left, closer to communism?

I plead with progressives: This is your ideology … Could you better define it, if that’s possible? Or is the definition of progressivism always progressing ? Actually, it is always progressing; that’s precisely the problem with this train-wreck of an ever-elusive ideology. The Nation’s list of leading American “progressives” is truly a teachable moment.

SOURCE

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The GOP’s Emerging Backbone?

It may be too early to tell, but the Republican Party appears to be shedding its draw-no-blood, lose-gracefully approach to campaigns that has kept conservative voters either frustrated or stubbornly at home on election days.

On May 30, former New Hampshire governor and Mitt Romney supporter John Sununu sparred with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien over Romney’s association with Donald Trump, who is continuing to discuss the president’s birth certificate controversy. Sununu wasn’t interested, insisting that he would rather discuss “jobs. . . and the disastrous [economy].” O’Brien continued, snidely stating that, obviously, Republicans consider the birther issue important. Sununu wrote off the topic as “CNN’s fixation” and deftly highlighted the network’s blatant support of the president. Though not exactly a knockdown-dragout, is was certainly rousing, refreshing and long overdue. Way to go!

On the June 1 O’Reilly Factor, Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh (Chicago area, American Conservative Union score of 94 percent) appeared, who recently told his constituents that the Democrats are actively seeking to buy votes and promote dependency. “They’re trying to do it with Hispanics, just like they’ve done it with African Americans. . . Without government dependency, Jesse Jackson wouldn’t have a job.” Walsh stood behind his words in a live interview with O’Reilly, who, though he sided with Walsh’s sentiments, thought the congressman’s rhetoric might be insulting to some. “I was trying to be insulting to the Democratic Party,” Walsh replied.

“What if Jackson were sitting here?” O’Reilly continued. “Would you say that he doesn’t want the best for his community?” Ah, yes, the mantra of liberal good intentions, always used to stifle conservative passions. Didn’t work on Walsh who replied “Baloney. . . Jackson stands in the way of school choice” and other proposals that could strengthen the black community. He further referred to Jackson as a “race hustler.”

Yes! Meanwhile, Mitt Romney recently spoke outside the vacant Solyndra office building in California and has not allowed himself to be distracted by such controversies as Sandra Fluke, Bain Capital, etc.

A recent Democratic ad praised candidate John McCain for, in 2008, steering clear of questioning Barack Obama’s early years and associations. “Why won’t Mitt Romney do the same?” the ad asked in conclusion.

At question is, again, the governor’s relationship with Donald Trump and the birther issue. In truth, Romney has steered clear, preferring to highlight the president’s failed record. But whatever one thinks of Trump, why is he any more politically toxic than any of Obama’s lapdogs in entertainment and the mainstream media, including MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, whose ring (and I’m being nice here) all Democratic presidential candidates have to kiss at some point in the election cycle? Trump has supported Romney thus far, and a true leader does not turn his back on his friends in deference to the school-girl snippiness of a media campaign turning from desperation to panic mode (and rising unemployment numbers will only turn up the bile).

Not to say that Mitt Romney is a great leader. Nothing written here should be construed as an endorsement. Still, the passion of a party fighting for the highest ideals of the American people appears to be emerging — somewhat.

The epic determination of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker merits a volume unto itself, and even the limp leadership of House Speaker John Boehner has shown a few rhetorical signs of life. Republicans may well know that the stakes have never been higher, and after the uninspiring campaigns of Bob Dole and John McCain and the “kinder, gentler, new tone” administrations of both Presidents Bush, the freedom-loving American can only hope that the GOP’s backbone wasn’t found too late.

SOURCE

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Supreme Court reins in an arrogant bureaucracy

Mark Calabria

Having one’s read of the law vindicated by the Supreme Court is always a nice feeling, even if I had to wait about a decade. From 2002 to 2003, I managed the HUD office which administered the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

In 2001, prior to my arrival, the legal staff at HUD released a “policy statement” claiming that RESPA’s Section 8(b) prohibited some instances of fees as excessive or unreasonable because said fees would constitute a person “giving or accepting any unearned fees”.

How HUD even knows what is earned or unearned is besides the point, Section 8(b) of RESPA only prohibits fees that are basically split between two or more parties. As far as statutes go, RESPA is actually quite clear. That clarity, however, did not stop HUD from taking the convoluted position that one can split or share a fee with one-self. This was obviously an attempt to create a “reasonable” test for fees where one did not exist.

During my brief tenure at HUD, the RESPA office largely ignored this section of the 2001 policy statement. The staff there related to me that its inclusion was largely “political” anyway, an attempt to the make the remainder of the policy statement more palatable.

I made clear at the time that the policy statement went far beyond any actual authority in RESPA. It seems, however, that the trial bar was not willing to let this statement remain dormant, and assembled a class action based upon this erroneous reading of RESPA, leading to last week’s decision, which rejected 9 to 0 HUD’s reading of RESPA.

Dodd-Frank moved the RESPA office from HUD to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It moved much of the HUD enforcement and legal staff as well. What is not clear is whether the willingness to simply make up law where there is no statutory authority was also left behind.

One of the reasons why I, among others, have strong concerns as to the current structure of the CFPB is this trend of regulators constantly going around the letter of the law. How are we to hope for respect for the law when those tasked with enforcing it show so little respect themselves.

SOURCE

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Jihad's Willing Executioners

Quietly, behind the scenes, the Muslim Brotherhood is enforcing censorship of all U.S. government training about Islam and the forces of Islamic jihad. Under the co-opted direction of National Security Council official, Quintan Wiktorowicz, key Cabinet Departments, including Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State are purging their curriculum materials of any references about Islam that their Muslim Brotherhood advisors find objectionable. In effect, the national security policy of the U.S. government is being brought into compliance with Islamic law on slander.

It's much easier to conquer an adversary who's been anesthetized, cowed, infiltrated and lulled into ignorant passivity than one who's alert and on the defensive. That, in a nutshell, is why there is a campaign called "Islamophobia," designed and promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood to silence those who would speak truth about Islam. And it is why the Brotherhood coup that has just achieved the capitulation of the top levels of the U.S. government is so dangerous to the future of the Republic and America's Constitutional rights.

Farah Pandith is the Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the U.S. Department of State. In that official capacity, she repeatedly has associated with groups and individuals that are known affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood and its equally jihadist off-shoot, HAMAS. In an interview with the Gulf Times at the conclusion of the May 2012 9th U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar, Pandith confirmed that it has been the policy of the Obama administration since its inception "to put the priority of engaging with one fourth of humanity [Islam] front and centre."

She's right: There's never before been an American president who so unashamedly and deliberately has sought to empower those who've openly and repeatedly declared themselves the sworn enemies of this country. It will be recalled that Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, effectively declared war on the U.S. in October 2010, about nine months before the Obama administration granted formal diplomatic recognition to the jihadist group.

Much more HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Public-sector growth is bad news: "Every (unsubsidized) job in the private sector exists because it generates more in wealth or value than it consumes in resources — and hence grows the economic pie. That’s not the case with the public sector. For example, between 1970 and 2010, public school enrollment went up by 8.5 percent — while public-school employee rolls swelled a mind-boggling 96.2 percent. This cost the country $210 billion and failed to produce one iota of improvement in student achievement. Was this money well-spent because the teachers who received it could spring for nice houses and vacations? Or was it a waste of precious resources that could have been better deployed elsewhere? Since public-sector jobs don’t pay for themselves, they have to be financed either through taxes or borrowing or inflation (printing money), all of which divert resources from productive private endeavors and hurt overall growth."

Holder Buckling Under Threat of Contempt Charges: "Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday agreed to make what he called "an extraordinary accommodation" to Republicans investigating the botched "Operation Fast and Furious" by turning over department emails he has long insisted deal with internal deliberations and should be protected. Holder is trying to head off a push by House Republicans to hold him in contempt of Congress for allegedly "stonewalling" their investigation. And he offered to personally brief the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in the next few days. Issa's office said in an early response that Holder's letter "only seems to indicate a willingness to offer a selective telling" of key events"

Recession: Family net worth down 35% in last 5 years: "The toll of the great housing bust and financial crisis came into clearer focus Monday, as the Census Bureau released numbers showing a 35 percent drop in net worth for the median US household between 2005 and 2010. The numbers give a report card on the financial health of US families before and after the recession. The typical household saw its net worth -- financial assets minus debts -- fall from $102,844 in 2005 to $66,740 five years later, with the census giving those numbers in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars"

Let them eat healthcare: "An unfortunate aspect of the whole Healthcare Reform debate is that advocates of increased government intervention routinely confuse care and coverage. Even after this obfuscation is pointed out, advocates of increased government intervention continue to make the same error. There seems to be no way to shame an advocate of increased government intervention to accurately describe the debate as over healthcare coverage and not over healthcare itself. And yet, that is the point. Healthcare does become less available the more the government intervenes."

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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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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EU on brink of a new dark age

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) always writes with a lightness of touch but he is a genuine classicist and it seems to me that his dark vision of the EU below could be largely true of the USA as well

It is one of the tragic delusions of the human race that we believe in the inevitability of progress. We look around us, and we seem to see a glorious affirmation that our ruthless species of homo is getting ever more sapiens.

It is one of the tragic delusions of the human race that we believe in the inevitability of progress. We look around us, and we seem to see a glorious affirmation that our ruthless species of homo is getting ever more sapiens. We see ice cream Snickers bars and in vitro babies and beautiful electronic pads on which you can paint with your fingertip and - by heaven - suitcases with wheels! Think of it: we managed to put a man on the moon about 35 years before we came up with wheelie-suitcases; and yet here they are. They have completely displaced the old type of suitcase.

Aren't they grand? Life seems impossible without them, and soon they will no doubt be joined by so many other improvements - acne cures, electric cars, electric suitcases - that we will be strengthened in our superstition that history is a one-way ratchet, an endless click click click forwards to a nirvana of liberal democratic free-market brotherhood of man.

Isn't that what history teaches us, that humanity is engaged in a remorseless ascent?

On the contrary: history teaches us that the tide can suddenly and inexplicably go out, and that things can lurch backwards into darkness and squalor and appalling violence. The Romans gave us roads and aqueducts and glass and sanitation and all the other benefits famously listed by Monty Python; indeed, they were probably on the verge of discovering the wheely-suitcase when they went into decline and fall in the fifth century AD.

Whichever way you look at it, this was a catastrophe for the human race. People in Britain could no longer read or write. Life expectancy plummeted to about 32, and the population fell. The very cattle shrunk at the withers. The secret of the hypocaust was forgotten, and chilblain-ridden swineherds built sluttish huts in the ruins of the villas, driving their post-holes through the mosaics.

In the once bustling Roman city of London (for instance) we find no trace of human habitation save for a mysterious black earth that may be a relic of a fire or some primitive system of agriculture. It took hundreds of years before the population was restored to Roman levels.

If we think that no such disaster could happen again, we are not just arrogant but forgetful of the lessons of the very recent past. Never mind the empty temples of the Aztecs or the Incas or the reproachful beehive structures of the lost civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. Look at our own era: the fate of European Jewry, massacred in the lifetimes of our parents and grandparents, on the deranged orders of an elected government in what had been one of the most civilised countries on earth; or look at the skyline of modern German cities, and mourn those medieval buildings blown to smithereens in an uncontrollable cycle of revenge.

Yes, when things go backwards, they can go backwards fast. Technology, liberty, democracy, comfort - they can all go out of the window. However complacent we may be, in the words of the poet Geoffrey Hill, "Tragedy has us under regard". Nowhere is that clearer than in Greece today. Every day we read of fresh horrors: of once proud bourgeois families queuing for bread, of people in agony because the government has run out of money to pay for cancer drugs. Pensions are being cut, living standards are falling, unemployment is rising, and the suicide rate is now the highest in the EU - having been one of the lowest.

By any standards we are seeing a whole nation undergo a protracted economic and political humiliation; and whatever the result of yesterday's election, we seem determined to make matters worse. There is no plan for Greece to leave the euro, or none that I can discover. No European leader dares suggest that this might be possible, since that would be to profane the religion of Ever Closer Union. Instead we are all meant to be conniving in a plan to create a fiscal union which (if it were to mean anything) would mean undermining the fundamentals of Western democracy.

This forward-marching concept of history - the idea of inexorable political and economic progress - is really a modern one. In ancient times, it was common to speak of lost golden ages or forgotten republican virtues or prelapsarian idylls. It is only in the past few hundred years that people have switched to the "Whig" interpretation, and on the face of it one can forgive them for their optimism.

We have seen the emancipation of women, the extension of the franchise to all adult human beings, the acceptance that there should be no taxation without representation and the general understanding that people should be democratically entitled to determine their own fates.

And now look at what is being proposed in Greece. For the sake of bubble-gumming the euro together, we are willing to slaughter democracy in the very place where it was born. What is the point of a Greek elector voting for an economic program, if that program is decided in Brussels or - in reality - in Germany?

What is the meaning of Greek freedom, the freedom Byron fought for, if Greece is returned to a kind of Ottoman dependency, but with the Sublime Porte now based in Berlin? It won't work. If things go on as they are, we will see more misery, more resentment, and an ever greater chance that the whole damn kebab van will go up in flames. Greece will one day be free again - in the sense that I still think it marginally more likely than not that whoever takes charge in Athens will eventually find a way to restore competitiveness through devaluation and leaving the euro - for this simple reason: that market confidence in Greek membership is like a burst paper bag of rice - hard to restore.

Without a resolution, without clarity, I am afraid the suffering will go on. The best way forward would be an orderly bisection into an old eurozone and a new eurozone for the periphery. With every month of dither, we delay the prospect of a global recovery; while the approved solution - fiscal and political union - will consign the continent to a democratic dark ages.

SOURCE

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An imperial presidency, on steroids

Hugh Hewitt

My new book, "The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency," already needs a second edition so I can expand the chapter on President Obama's abuse of his office.

If the president declares that his new immigration enforcement priority is octogenarian Estonians who entered the country without documents in the '40s, can he thereby unilaterally direct all other enforcement of the naturalization laws of the United States be suspended until all those scoundrels are rounded up?

If the president declares that justice requires that cosmetic surgeries in Los Angeles are necessary for his vision of the good life, can he unilaterally direct his Department of Health and Human Services to oblige all insurance-providing employers in California to require that benefit as part of the standard health insurance package?

If the president no longer cares to defend the federal laws criminalizing marijuana or any other drug, can he direct his Department of Justice to cease the defense of those laws in the federal courts of the United States?

The president's Friday edict on immigrants in the country illegally but brought here as children by others over the past decade and a half; his command regarding Catholic institutions and the morning-after pill; and the wave of his hand on the Defense of Marriage Act -- all of these acts and many more claim for the president a breathtaking unilateral authority over matters quite obviously within the shared control of the Congress and the executive.

There is no limiting principle curbing the president's unilateralism once exercised and unrebuked by Congress or the courts.

Defenders of the president's many decrees cite President George W. Bush's conduct of the war on terror as grounds for an expansive interpretation of executive authority, but they forget not only the Constitution's assignment of commander-in-chief authority to the president but also the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution from the fall of 2001. Bush acted pursuant to the Constitution's design and congressional authorization, not against it or without it, as is the case with President Obama.

Arthur Schlesinger wrote "The Imperial Presidency" in 1973. Forty years later, we realize he was decrying a piker by comparison with Obama.

Gov. Mitt Romney was right to note that the cases of young people brought here illegally and raised here for years and years present situations calling out for generous treatment and grace.

The working out of that treatment, however, is a complicated business with many subcategories of claims and circumstances, and Congress should be in the driver's seat. Sen. Marco Rubio is leading that effort -- or was, rather, until the president usurped the congressional authority, thus making comprehensive progress this year all but impossible.

The president's recklessness with regard to his understanding of his powers is growing in inverse proportion to his standing in the polls. As he falls farther and faster, and as crack-ups pile up, from "the private sector is doing fine" to his mistake-by-the-lake speech in Cleveland, he reaches wildly for any handle on which to hold and any special interest to which goodies can be delivered.

Same-sex marriage? You bet. The Dream Act? Why not? Recess appointees when the Senate isn't in recess? But of course.

A desperate and angry president can't even handle a boorish reporter without visible pique? Whatever happened to the maxim that the essence of good taste is never to be offended by bad taste?

Not with this president, not in this bunker, not during this campaign or, God forbid, after his re-election.

The Manhattan-Beltway media elites like the politics and the confrontations, as they are easy to film and drone on about.

Historians, though, will wonder, where were the grown-ups in the Fourth Estate who ought to have named and, if not condemned, at least noted an executive power on steroids, with all the irascibility and rage that such abuse brings?

SOURCE

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Improving health care

By John Stossel

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme will rule on whether the Obamacare insurance mandate is constitutional. Seems like a no-brainer to me. How can forcing me to engage in commerce be constitutional?

But there's a deeper question: Why should government be involved in medicine at all?

Right before President Obama took office, the media got hysterical about health care. You heard the claims: America spends more than any country -- $6,000 per person -- yet we get less. Americans die younger than people in Japan and Western Europe. Millions of Americans lack health insurance and worry about paying for care.

I have the solution! said Obama. Bigger government will give us more choices and make health care cheaper and better. He proceeded to give us that. Bigger government, that is. The cheaper/better/more choices part -- not so much.

Costs have risen. More choices? No, we have fewer choices. Many people lost coverage when companies left the market.

Because ObamaCare requires insurance companies to cover every child regardless of pre-existing conditions, WellPoint, Humana and Cigna got out of the child-only business. Principal Financial stopped offering health insurance altogether -- 1 million customers no longer have the choice to keep their insurance.

This is to be expected when governments control health care. Since state funding makes medical services seem free, demand increases. Governments deal with that by rationing. Advocates of government health care hate the word "rationing" because it forces them to face an ugly truth: Once you accept the idea that taxpayers pay, individual choice dies. Someone else decides what treatment you get, and when.

At least in America, we still have some choice. We can pay to get what we want. Under government health care, bureaucrats will decide how long we wait for our knee operation or cataract surgery ... or if we get lifesaving treatment at all.

When someone else pays for your health care, that someone else also decides when to pull the plug. The reason can be found in Econ 101. Medical care doesn't grow on trees. It must be produced by human and physical capital, and those resources are limited. Politicians can't repeal supply and demand.

Call them "death panels" or not, a government that needs to cut costs will limit what it spends on health care, especially on people nearing the end of life. Medical "ethicists" have long lamented that too much money is spent in the last several months of life. Given the premise that it's government's job to pay, it's only natural that some bureaucrat will decide that 80-year-olds shouldn't get hip replacements.

True, surveys show that most Brits and Canadians like their free health care. But Dr. David Gratzer notes that most people surveyed aren't sick. Gratzer is a Canadian who also liked Canada's government health care -- until he started treating patients.

More than a million Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets to see one. In Norwood, Ontario, my TV producer watched as the town clerk pulled four names out of a big box and then telephoned the lucky winners. "Congratulations! You get to see a doctor this month."

Think the wait in an American emergency room is bad? In Canada, the average wait is 23 hours. Sometimes they can't even get heart attack victims into the ICU.

That's where we're headed unless Obamacare is repealed. But that's not nearly enough. Contrary to what some Republicans say, we didn't have a free medical market before Obama came to power. We had a system that limited competition through occupational licensing, FDA rules and other government intrusions, while stimulating demand through tax-favored employer-based "insurance," Medicare and Medicaid.

If we want affordable and cutting-edge health care, there's only one approach that will work: open competition. That means eliminating both bureaucratic obstacles and corporate privileges. Only free markets can give us innovation at the lowest possible cost.

Of course, that also means consumers should spend their own money on health care, limiting insurance to catastrophic expenses. Americans don't want to hear it. But that's the truth.

SOURCE

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Scenes From Militarized America

* Deputies in Richland County, South Carolina will get “Navy SEAL” training. You remember Richland County. It’s the county where Sheriff Leon Lott put out a press release a few years ago to celebrate the new tank from the Pentagon’s 1033 program—one with a turreted, belt-fed, 360-degree rotating machine gun that shoots .50 caliber ammunition, and that he charmingly named “The Peacemaker.” He’s also the one who sent his SWAT team into the homes of University of South Carolina students whose only transgression was to have appeared in the same photo where Michael Phelps was pictured smoking pot.

* Portland, Maine gets a Bearcat, courtesy of DHS. The press release announcing/justifying the acquisition apparently cited Coumbine (in which the SWAT team didn’t go in, because it was too dangerous), and the infamous North Hollywood shootout, a 15-year-old story that has become the go-to incident to justify new military gear. It also cites two local incidents, one in which the suspect turned out to have been holding a pellet gun, and another that didn’t result in any criminal charges.



* The thumbnail above is from a series this photographer took of the Aventura, Florida SWAT team. Aventura is a town of 35,000 people, described on various blogs as a haven for shopping malls and country clubs. The town has recorded one murder in twelve years.

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)

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

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 18, 2012

A very consequential choice ahead

Hugh Hewitt

On Monday The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza launched a voyage of the imagination --an extremely well sourced essay on what Team Obama thinks a second term would look like. Lizza's article should be mandatory reading for the pundit class, especially those enamored of the idea that all the country needs is some collective group therapy.

I have interviewed both GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP Senate Conference Chair John Thune since the article's appearance, asking each of them for their assessments of the president's recent rhetoric and of the argument being advanced from 1600 Pennsylvania about the vast gulf between the parties.

Both agreed that there is a divide that is large and growing, and a choice that the American people cannot avoid making. Mitt Romney spent a productive week outlining the dimensions of the divide and that which has been obvious to Beltway folk for a while is now on full and indeed unavoidable display for the whole country to see.

This isn't an argument about civility, or about the virtues of bipartisanship. It is a fundamental separation of values and a divide of directions. On this finally there is agreement: The president is taking America on a course far from any it has pursued before and one on which there can be no false "compromise."

Read the Lizza piece and the transcripts of the two interviews. Read as well the transcript of my interview with Lizza, who himself seems uncomfortable with the reality of what he so accurately communicated. (I conducted my half of that conversation from the front porch of Ronald Reagan's ranch, on the 25th anniversary of the Gipper's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech, which may have produced in me determination to hold Ryan to the significance of what he had been told --a channeled "There he goes again" impulse.)

The president ran as a centrist in 2008. He is running now as a hard left, big government Alinskyite, fully committed to the politics and the purpose of the fabled Chicago organizer. The president's "reset" speech in Cleveland yesterday, widely panned even by an admirer as loyal as Jonathan Alter doesn't leave any room for trimming.

Good, and enough of the old school liberals who want to tut-tut their way past the consequences of the president's full throated demands for an acceleration of the assault on the private sector and still more expansion of the national government. They treat the president as though he doesn't believe what he is saying, as though the "private sector is doing fine" line was a Biden-like burp of incoherence.

He does believe it, and yesterday's marathon oration of cliches wrapped around the theme of more-money-for-the-government is Exhibit 1,000 in evidence of his intent. The president wants it all, and if he wins he will demand it.

It is tiresome beyond belief to have the president's MSM protectors daily trying to undo the president's meaning, like so many Penelopes waiting for their Ulysses to get home. He means it. He says it again and again. What is it that compels so many of his apologists to attempt to air brush the man's every public appearance of the meaning of his words?

Only this: They know it is a loser. They know this is not how the left advances. They know that letting President Obama be President Obama means letting him be former President Obama.

This is the next five months: The president saying what he wants, Mitt Romney hearing him clearly, repeating the message and saying "No!" and the president's handlers and accomplices trying to hold hands over the country's ears and shouting "We can't hear you" loud enough and long enough in the vain hope of changing the subject.

Nothing could be more clear, more stark, more consequential. Voters have to choose.

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The Democrat’s War on Small Business

Small businesses owners are apparently one of the most misunderstood groups in America. Despite overwhelming respect from the American public, Democrat administrations openly use envy and resentment of small business success to justify enacting legislation that threatens their prosperity.

Periodic polling by Rasmussen and other national polling groups shows that small business owners are the most respected profession in America, respected by more than 80 percent of the American public. This is even higher than pastors and religious leaders that have a 50 percent favorability rating. At the bottom of the list are members of Congress with a 25 percent favorability rating. Similar polling by The Tarrance Group conducted in 2010 for The Free Enterprise Alliance, which also includes government bureaucrats and union leaders, give those occupations only a 20 percent favorability rating.

Since we live in a representative democracy, small business owners have always relied on their elected legislators to create an environment where their hard work and personal investment will lead to prosperity for themselves and their employees. For much of America’s history this was true. However today, the legislative and regulatory process has been hijacked by those on the left that want to use it for their own intellectual and financial gain at the expense of small business owners and taxpayers.

As a rule, small business owners are risk adverse. There is a very good reason for this. Almost every small business owner is financially at risk for the success of their business. In exchange for a bank line of credit, the business owner pledges their business and personal assets as collateral to the bank. Unlike large corporations like GM and Chrysler, small business owners do not have the political influence to get preferential government treatment if they default on their loans. If the small business owner fails, the bank will simply seize their personal assets and the owner will get to start over after many years of hard work.

Despite the risks, small business creates prosperity. As globalization and increased regulation encourages large corporations to move production to other countries, most new jobs created in America have been in small businesses. However, these small businesses require policies that allow prosperity to enable job creation to occur. When risk adverse small business owners are concerned about the impact of legislation and regulation, as they have been since 2009, they will not hire more employees.

If the Federal government passes a law that makes it easy for their employees be coerced into joining a union and then allows a government bureaucrat to determine the wages and benefits they will be paid, why should small business increase the number of employees beyond their existing loyal work force? That is exactly what recent NLRB regulations are designed to do.

If the energy cost for a small business will dramatically increase to subsidize renewable energy projects, why expand energy intensive processes? Given that uncertainty, it makes sense to move those processes to a manufacturer in another country to stay competitive. That is what large corporations have already done. This is why studies have shown that green energy policies in Spain have cost 2.2 jobs for every one they create.

If a small business already struggling with the cost of providing health care benefits, will face even higher insurance costs, why increase the number of employees or even provide coverage? Businesses over 50 employees will be forced to comply with all the provisions of Obamacare. Coverage mandates will force insurance companies to greatly increase the cost of coverage. However the fines are low for not providing coverage, so it is far cheaper to stop providing coverage. In addition, there are even fines for providing “unaffordable” coverage to employees that qualify for government insurance subsidies, so why hire less skilled workers.

In a free market economy, owners of small businesses cannot raise prices merely because their costs go up. If the wages paid to minimum wage employees, which are mostly part-time high school and college workers, go up, the employer will not be able to automatically pass those costs on to the customer. This is why after each minimum wage increase in the last ten years there has been a sharp increase in the unemployment rate for young workers. Yet progressive socialists propose even greater increases in the minimum wage, while at the same time demanding more funding for programs to reduce unemployment among young and minority workers.

What progressive socialists apparently resent most about free enterprise and small business is that it works. If a small business owner works hard, makes personal sacrifices, and does not demand instant gratification, a small business can be profitable during periods of economic prosperity. Because many small businesses are not organized as corporations, the profits of the small business appear on the owner’s personal tax return. That is why a significant portion of the people that report taxable earnings over $200,000 are small business owners. Unlike the very wealthy that have their earnings in sophisticated investments that reduce their taxation, most small business owners are taxed at the highest personal tax rates.

While Obama and the left have singled out those making over $200,000 to subsidize their wealth redistribution schemes, the reality is that those people already pay far more than their share of taxes. The top 5 percent of taxpayers in this country already pay 60 percent of all income taxes. When you include the employees of small businesses, the tax burden is even more unfair. Taxpayers earning above the median wage of $32,000 pay 97 percent of the tax burden in this country. Conversely, that means that the other 50 percent of taxpayers only pay 3 percent of income taxes. While the left tries to vilify those with high earnings during periods of prosperity, it is their earnings that pay for most of the cost of government.

The last time an administration demonized small business, created uncertainty, and raised taxes, it turned a recession into a depression. Very similar policies to those promoted by the Obama administration were first enacted voluntarily by Herbert Hoover, then legislatively by FDR. These policies were able to turn the Stock Market Crash of 1929 into the decade long Great Depression. Although unemployment started to decline on its own after 1929, Progressive Socialist policies created ten (10) years of high unemployment and misery until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and reduced employment through the induction of 12 million people into the military service.

Unfortunately for small business owners, just having the respect of the public does not ensure that legislators will enact policies that produce prosperity for small business owners, their employees and their communities. Small business owners and their employees must become involved in the political process if they are going to prevent legislators from enacting policies that threaten free enterprise and the prosperity it provides.

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Liberal "revivals" of conservatives from the past

Jonah Goldberg does a good job below of showing that conservatives who were reviled in their time by the Left somehow experience a revival of respect after they have passed from the scene. The Left of today praise conservatives whom the Left of the past abhorred. It is a strange trope but I think there may be one element of truth in it. Conservatives were once more polite but after decades of unprincipled and treacherous behaviour from the Left, conservatives these days are more prone to call out the Left for the would-be totalitarians and thugs that they are

My daughter learned a neat rhetorical trick to avoid eating things she doesn't like. "Daddy, I actually really like spinach, it's just that this spinach tastes different."

Democrats and the journalists who love them play a similar game with Republicans and conservatives. "Oh, I have lots of respect for conservatives," goes the typical line, "but the conservatives we're being served today are just so different. Why can't we have Republicans and conservatives like we used to?"

"The Republican Party got into its time machine and took a giant leap back into the '50s. The party left moderation and tolerance of dissent behind." So reported the Washington Post's Judy Mann -- in July of 1980.

Today, of course, the 1950s is the belle epoch of reasonable conservatism. Just ask New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, or for that matter, President Barack Obama, who insists that the GOP is in the throes of a "fever" and is displaying signs of "madness." It's his humble wish that the GOP regains its senses and returns to being the party of Eisenhower again.

Today's intellectual conservatives, likewise, are held against the standard of yesterday's and found wanting. New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus wrote a book on "The Death of Conservatism" a few years ago (inconveniently, right before conservatism was dramatically revivified by the Tea Party, which helped the GOP win historic victories in the 2010 elections) in which he pined for the conservative intellectuals of the 1950s and 1960s.

Of course, the Tanenhauses of their day were horrified by the very same conservative intellectuals. Within a year of William F. Buckley's founding of National Review in 1955, liberal intellectuals insisted that the magazine's biggest failure was its inability to be authentically conservative. The editor of Harper's proclaimed the founding editors of NR to be "the very opposite of conservatives." Liberal titan Dwight Macdonald lamented that the "pseudo-conservative" National Review was nowhere near as wonderful the old Freeman magazine.

Again and again, the line is the same: I like conservatives, just not these conservatives.

As far as I can tell, there are competing, or at least overlapping, motives for this liberal nostalgia for the conservatives and Republicans of yesteryear. Some liberals like to romanticize and glorify conservatives from eras when they were least effective but most entertaining. Some like to cherry-pick positions from a completely different era so as to prove that holding that position today is therefore centrist.

But whatever the motivation, what unites them is the conviction that today's liberals shouldn't cede power, respect or legitimacy to today's conservatives. Hence when compassionate conservatism was ascendant, liberals lamented that the GOP wasn't more libertarian.

When, in response to the disastrous explosion in debt and spending over the Bush-Obama years, the GOP enters a libertarian phase, the same people who insisted they'd love Republicans if they became libertarian are now horrified by their "social Darwinism."

Look where G.W. Bush's moderation got him: denounced as a crazed radical by much of the liberal establishment, despite having run as a "compassionate conservative" who, once in office, vastly expanded entitlements and worked closely with Teddy Kennedy on education reform. Right on schedule, Dubya is now entering the rehabilitation phase.

It'll be some time before liberals bring themselves to say, "I miss George W. Bush." But already, the New York Times is proclaiming that Bush represented "mainstream conservatism," unlike today's Republicans, of course. As always, the problem with conservatism today is today's conservatives.

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ELSEWHERE

Leftist thug's Case Against Aaron Walker Dismissed!: "Capital Hill can confirm that the criminal case against Aaron Walker has been dismissed by the Maryland State Attorney. Walker, you will recall, was led away in handcuffs after a June 4 peace order hearing. The charge, filed by Brett Kimberlin, was that Walker has violated a temporary peace order. Go here to see a screenshot of the criminal case against Aaron Walker. Near the middle, you will see “Disposition” next to which you will see the words “NOLLE PROSEQUI.” Nolle Prosequi is Latin for “we shall no longer prosecute,” and “is a declaration made to the judge by a prosecutor in a criminal case...either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped.” One wonders why the prosecutors declined to go forward? Perhaps the evidence left something to be desired?"

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

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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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