Friday, October 05, 2012

A most articulate black Christian

One can only hope that his clear-thinking sincerity and true  Christianity become contagious.  He in fact has a powerful message for all Christians, black or white.  I salute him


Univision Exposes Fast and Furious' Rising Body Count

From  ABC, CBS and NBC?  Crickets

A Univision special documents how weapons provided by the administration to Mexican drug cartels repeatedly have taken a deadly toll as families on both sides of the border wait for true answers and accountability.

We may never know how many deaths, kidnappings and other criminal activities were facilitated by more than 2,000 weapons that were allowed to "walk" into Mexico under the Obama administration's Fast and Furious program, but a Univision special aired Sunday exposes more of the carnage.

The special, put together by Univision's investigative unit and aired as a special edition of Univision's "Aqui y Ahora" ("Here and Now") identified massacres committed using guns from the ATF operation, including the killing of 16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juarez in January 2010.

In addition to fueling increased gun violence in Mexico, guns from Fast and Furious previously unreported by congressional investigators found their way into the hands of drug traffickers across Latin America in countries such as Honduras and Colombia, as well as the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Kudos to Univision, which regrettably will not have a reporter at Wednesday's presidential debate to ask the tough questions the administration's media sycophants will not, for pursuing the truth on Fast and Furious with more vigor than most American media outlets.

"I think up to 100 Mexicans might have died (in Operation Fast and Furious) and also American agent Brian Terry," Univision reporter Jorge Ramos said to President Obama during a recent interview.

"There's a report that 14 agents were responsible for the operation, but shouldn't the attorney general, Eric Holder ... have known about that? And if he didn't, should you fire him?"

We hope but doubt that President Obama will be asked such a question at Wednesday's debate by the network talking heads or that they'll be asked this challenging follow-up question by Ramos' co-host Maria Elena Salinas: "Why don't we have ... an independent investigation that is not done by the Justice Department?"

As we have noted, the recent report by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was largely a whitewash that, while citing 14 officials as potential scapegoats and admitting Fast and Furious represented a "pattern of serious failures" by various agencies, let the buck stop short of where it belongs — with Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama White House.

Univision found 57 Fast and Furious weapons in addition to 122 specifically mentioned in a congressional report. They included weapons used in the massacre at a party just one year after President Obama's inauguration and less than a year before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel just 10 miles from the Mexican border near Nogales, Ariz.

"On Jan. 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez," according to a version of the Univision report in English, on the ABC News website.

Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that three of the high-caliber weapons were traced to Operation Fast and Furious.

The report also reveals the botched operation may have played a role in a 2009 massacre, where 18 young men were killed at a rehabilitation center also in Juarez. The massacre was reportedly ordered and carried out by Mexican hit men.

Current estimates put the number of Mexican nationals murdered by Fast and Furious weapons at 300. More such evidence will be found and the Fast and Furious body count will rise, ignored by the administration and its media protectors.


Darrell Issa Does the Work American Reporters Won’t Do (again)

He pushed "Fast & Furious" to the point of a White House coverup too

Ever since the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration has been stalling, obfuscating and outright lying in order to avoid taking responsibility for the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador. To a considerable degree, they have gotten away with that strategy. But Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has stepped into the breach.

Issa's committee has been approached by whistle-blowers within the State Department, and the stories they tell about the department's malfeasance are shocking. Today Issa wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outlining information his committee has received and announcing his intention to hold hearings on what happened in Benghazi:

"Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the Ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest. In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."

This is, obviously, a bombshell. Issa goes on to itemize no fewer than 13 attacks and other incidents involving diplomatic personnel in Libya, including at least two attacks on the consulate in Benghazi.



Capital Gains Taxes

 Thomas Sowell

One of the many false talking points of the Obama administration is that a rich man like Warren Buffett should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But anyone whose earnings come from capital gains usually pays a lower tax rate.

How are capital gains different from ordinary income?

Ordinary income is usually guaranteed. If you work a certain amount of time, you are legally entitled to the pay that you were offered when you took the job. Capital gains involve risk. They are not guaranteed. You can invest your money and lose it all. Moreover, the year when you receive capital gains may not be the same as the years when they were earned.

Suppose I spend ten years writing a book, making not one cent from it in all that time. Then, in the tenth year, when the book is finished, I may sell it to a publisher who pays me $100,000 in advance royalties.

Am I the same as someone who has a salary of $100,000 that year?

Or am I earning $10,000 a year for ten years' work?

It so happens that the government will tax me the same as someone who earns $100,000 that year, because my decade of work on the book cannot be documented. But the point here is that it is really a capital gain, and it illustrates the difference between a capital gain and ordinary income.

Then there is the risk factor. There is no guarantee to me that a publisher will actually accept the book that I have worked on for ten years -- and there is no guarantee to the publisher that the public will buy enough copies of the book to repay whatever I might be paid when the contract is signed.

Even the $10,000 a year -- which is less than anyone can earn on an entry level job -- is not guaranteed. If my years of work produced an unpublished manuscript, I would not even have been among the first thousand writers who met this fate.

Very similar principles apply to businesses. We pay attention to businesses after they have succeeded. But most new businesses do not succeed. Even those businesses that eventually turn out to be enormously successful may go through years of losing money before they have their first year of earning a profit. spent years losing money before turning a profit for the first time in 2001. McDonald's teetered on the edge of bankruptcy more than once in its early years. Desperate expedients were resorted to by the people who ran McDonald's, in order to just keep their noses above the water, while hoping for better days.

At one time, you could have bought half interest in McDonald's for

$25,000 -- and there were no takers. Anyone who would have risked $25,000 at that time would be a billionaire today. But there was no guarantee at the time that they wouldn't be just throwing 25 grand down a rat hole.

Where a capital gain can be documented -- when a builder spends ten years creating a housing development, for example -- then whatever that builder earns in the tenth year is a capital gain, not ordinary income. There is no guarantee in advance that the builder will ever recover his expenses, much less make a profit.

There are whole industries where no one can expect to make a profit the first year -- publishing a newspaper for example. Virtually every major American airline has lost money in some years, and some of the biggest and most famous airlines have ended up going bankrupt.

If a country wants investors to invest, it cannot tax their resulting capital gains the same as the incomes of people whose incomes were guaranteed in advance when they took the job.

It is not just a question of "fairness" to investors. Ultimately, it is investors who guarantee other people's incomes in a market economy, even though the investors' own incomes are by no means guaranteed.

Reducing investors' incentives to take risks is reducing the jobs their investments are likely to create.

Business income is different from employees' income in another way. The profit that a business makes is first taxed as profit and the remainder is then taxed again as the incomes of people who receive dividends.

The biggest losers from politicians who jack up tax rates are likely to be people who are looking for jobs that will not be there, because investments will not be there to create the jobs.



Obama's Old-World Arrogance

When President Obama came to the U.N. General Assembly on September 25, his arrogance was on full display. He skipped meeting any world leaders, but did find time to sit down and talk about his lover moves on ABC's "The View." Topics included how he's a "romantic husband," how he "tucks in" his wife at night and how his first kiss with Michelle is now memorialized by a monument in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for war against a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. Yawn.

Obama also skipped the traditional luncheon, leaving U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon looking like "a jilted prom date," reported CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I think he must be busy with something at this moment," Moon said at the lunch, drawing laughs. "Or perhaps he must be stuck somewhere in traffic."

But the arrogance was also there in Obama's U.N. speech. In one passage, he flagrantly drew a straight line from blasphemers of Jesus Christ to his own critics, as if those two groups are similar in their willingness to offend messianic figures.

"Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet, we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs," he declared. Then it was all about him: "As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so." Anyone who has heard him diss the Supreme Court for the Citizens United verdict, affirming political free speech, knows that's baloney.

Our Obama-worshipping media played the second half of that clip as if Obama were somehow being humble, which thoroughly distorts the picture. The media coverage of Obama's speech overlooked Obama's bizarre statement that "we not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe."

No one in the liberal media thought it sounded ridiculous after the Obama administration doubled down on the Catholic Church with Obamacare, insisting that faithful Catholics must fund insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. No one blinked after the "filmmaker" who made the Muhammad-mocking YouTube video was suddenly jailed in California (perhaps for years) for, ahem, "violating probation."

The media certainly skipped the Obama sound bite that rocketed around Twitter within minutes, the pandering passage about Muhammad. "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," he proclaimed.

Then he did his typical triangulating with religions: "But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated or churches that are destroyed or the Holocaust that is denied."

Our media failed to report the obvious: Obama is AWOL when it comes to condemning desecrations of Christianity. Where is he with the constant, obscene attacks against Catholics at home? Where is he on the assault on Christianity all across the Muslim world? How about Israel?

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) recently called on the president to "stand up for America's values and beliefs and denounce the 'Piss Christ' that has offended Christians at home and abroad." The urine-soaked crucifix image (funded by the National Endowment for the Arts) is once again being honored in a gallery, the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery on West 57th Street in Manhattan, a short cab ride from the United Nations.

Obama had nothing to say. There were no calls to the gallery the way Team Obama called YouTube and asked for censorship. There were no $70,000 advertising buys in Christian countries to pacify rioters. There was just silence.

But in his speech, Obama employed New York City as a model of religious tolerance. "For as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith," except the Christians who are always fair game for mockery.

William Donohue of the Catholic League protested the exhibit at the gallery scene. He also made a video where he put a bobble-head doll of Obama in a jar with "faux feces" and asked for a federal grant like the one Andres Serrano received. ''It's brown Play-Doh," he explained. "You get the point, right? The cultural and political elite are basically secularist. They don't believe in God. This is their god. Liberalism is their god," he said, pointing at the Obama jar.

At the center of that secularist elite is our very politicized media, the ones who are rigging this election and allowing Obama to say all sorts of ludicrous things about religion and to skip all sorts of meeting with world leaders.




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


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


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Is Barack Obama a Compulsive Liar?

Barack Obama has lied about the terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Libya for over 15 days, even going so far as to overtly imply that this attack was prompted by an obscure internet movie trailer in his speech at the United Nations two weeks after it was confirmed the White House knew it was an Al Qaeda sponsored attack.   Additionally, during the current campaign the lies and obfuscations about Mitt Romney and the Republicans have been so fast and furious that it is nearly impossible to keep up with them.

The administration's reaction to what went on in Libya is not a surprise, as reliance on prevarications and the attendant dishonesty is part and parcel of Obama's normal behavior.  There rarely has been a speech or an off the cuff comment since he entered the national stage that does not contain some deliberate or insinuated falsehood.  This tendency is exemplified in his recent interview with Univision wherein Obama lied about why he never introduced immigration reform and when the ill-fated Fast and Furious program was raised, he began blaming the Republicans and George Bush respectively.

There is now a near universal mistrust of Obama among world leaders as well as many members of Congress who candidly admit they cannot deal with Barack Obama, as he has proven himself to be untrustworthy and unbelievable -- particularly as he refuses to accept any responsibility for the outcome of his actions and policies.  The diminished status of the United States around the globe and the greatly eroded standard of living for the vast majority of Americans are testament to these character flaws.

At times even the most diehard of his sycophants in the mainstream media are forced to report on this disturbing trait in their hero.  This past spring the Washington Post ran a lengthy front page article on Obama's machinations during the debt ceiling debate.  The highlight of the piece: Barack Obama deliberately lied to the American people concerning the intransigence of the Republicans in the House of Representatives.   It was an amazing admission for a pillar of the sycophantic mainstream media to write a story claiming that their hero lied.   A further example of the media's awakening to the deceit and fabrications of the Obama administration is the recent reporting on the Libyan scandal which is actively pursuing the lies and cover-up.

However, there has been five years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by the media, including some in the conservative press and political class who are loath to call Mr. Obama what he is in the bluntest of terms: a liar and a fraud.  That he relies on his skin color to intimidate, either outright or by insinuation, those who oppose his agenda only adds to his audacity.  It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws his entire life, aided and abetted by the sycophants around him; thus he is who he is and cannot change.

In an earlier column I asked the question is Barack Obama a compulsive liar or a sociopath?

A Sociopath:

    "A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others.  A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused--it is done to get one's way).  Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others.  Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways."

A compulsive liar:

    "A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit.  Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions.  Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small.  For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right.  Compulsive lying is usually developed in early childhood, due to being placed in an environment where lying was necessary."

While Barack Obama exhibits traits from both categories, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is primarily a compulsive liar.  How else to explain the lies and obfuscations that so easily come forth regardless of whom he may be talking to or the subject matter.   His sociopathic skills come to the fore in his ability to manipulate others to join him in his these prevarications, or to exploit the celebrity culture that has overwhelmed a deliberately ill-educated American society.

In the United States there is great deference paid to the occupant of the White House.  Justifiably so, as that person is the chief operating officer of the country, but more importantly he or she is the head of state representing the nation around the globe.  The President's actions and demeanor set the tone for not only the political class but the country as a whole.  Over the centuries there have been many exceptional but also a few inept men to hold the office of President.

Today so much power is vested in the Office of President that honor and integrity must be a hallmark of a president's character.  It is not with Barack Obama; he is perhaps the most dishonest and disingenuous occupant of the oval office in history, and has the potential to do more long-term damage to the United States than all his predecessor combined.

His failings can no longer be excused by this historical deference or timidity fostered by race with the euphemisms of spin or politics as usual being used to avoid the truth.  It is extraordinarily difficult to run against someone such as Barack Obama -- a stranger to truth and integrity willing to do anything to win -- but Mitt Romney must do so by candidly admitting who he is dealing with.

While the future of the country depends on dramatically altering the economic and governing landscape, it cannot do so unless the opposition politicians and average citizens recognize and forcefully challenge the lies and machinations of Barack Obama and his allies without fear of what may be said about them or to them by either the Obama machine or their sycophants in the media.



More of Obama's effortless lies  -- swallowed whole by the media

The best response to all that's strange, mysterious or just surprising may be a smile. But the news of late has reduced me to the one-word question and expletive favored by "Mad Men's" Don Draper whenever he's confronted by anything that doesn't make sense:


Take the sheer number of fabrications Barack Obama managed to pack into one response to a simple question on CBS' "60 Minutes." To swallow them all would require a boxcar of salt. And the whole enchilada came packaged in our president's usual condescending style -- as if he were still addressing a class of first-year law students at the University of Chicago, their notebooks at the ready to capture every pearl of wisdom he might drop, however artificial.

All it took to unleash this Niagara of falsehoods was a simple question about the explosion of the national debt on this president's watch. (It's now 60 percent higher than when he took office.) The president's response went on for some time, but the biggest whopper had to be his claim that "when I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history."


The biggest annual deficit the federal government has ever run turns out to have been in 1943 in the midst of the Second World War, the next biggest in the wartime years 1944 and 1945. As the Wall Street Journal was quick to point out.

It took the Journal two whole, heavily footnoted columns to go through the various snares-and delusions contained in the president's extended answer to a simple question. And the Washington Post awarded him four Pinnochios, its Oscars for dissembling, on the basis of this performance.

Here's the text of the president's statement in all its sprawling fraudulence:

"When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren't paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren't paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially slower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush."

Beginning with that bogus claim about inheriting the biggest annual deficit in American history, the president went on to make a number of other dubious assertions that needed clearing up:

1. The Bush tax cuts actually increased government revenues, as tax cuts tend to do, rather than add to the federal deficit. Those awful Bush tax cuts worked so well that President Obama now proposes keeping them for most Americans.

2. The Bush administration's drug insurance plan under Medicare may not have been paid for, but that doesn't mean this president wants to drop it. On the contrary, ObamaCare would extend it. On a vast scale.

3. The war in Iraq was already being won by the time President Obama came into office, and American involvement there was starting to wind down -- thanks to the Surge of troops that Sen. Obama had said would never work. (So did Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. senator and now his secretary of state.) The Surge proved so successful that President Obama adopted the same tactic in Afghanistan. And if it works as well there, it will also reduce this country's military expenditures, and therefore the federal deficit -- not increase it.

4. This president was willing to take responsibility for "only" 10 percent of the federal deficit, a figure that has no discernible basis in fact. His stimulus package back in 2009 cost $830 billion, and still failed to do much to stimulate the economy. The unemployment rate remains above 8 percent. The recession formally ended in June of 2009, yet his administration has been driving up the national debt by trillion-dollar deficits every year since he was sworn in. Where he got that 10 percent figure is anybody's guess, probably his.

5. When the president says the deficit is growing at the slowest rate since the Eisenhower administration, he's just having some fun with numbers. Because he's measuring its rate of growth from the end of his first fiscal year in office -- after he had increased government spending by $535 billion a year. Given that inflated base, of course the rate of increase would appear smaller -- however ruinous.

And so trickily on. Bill Clinton did this kind of thing much better. And is still doing it much better, to judge by his ring-tailed roarer of a speech at the Democratic National Convention this year, which may have been just as deceptive but was so much slicker.

What was most remarkable about our president's extensive mix of the misleading and just plain false wasn't so much its web of falsehoods, semi-falsehoods and numbers games. Most of us are accustomed to that kind political gamesmanship by now. (Oh what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practice to deceive.)

What was unusual about his long-winded speech of an answer to a simple question was that it elicited not the slightest dissent from the country's liberal (now called progressive) intelligentsia. There's no point in looking for any criticisms of the president's preposterous claims from a columnist like, oh, Paul Krugman, to cite the most blatant example of the deterioration of thought on the American left.

Didn't there used to be a creature known as the honest liberal? What ever happened to the liberal conscience? Where are the Lionel Trillings and Murray Kemptons and Dwight Macdonalds of today? The kind of liberals who, despite their political leanings, saw through Alger Hiss' cover story from the first, and were never afraid to challenge left-wing orthodoxies in general.

Something seems to have died in the American soul. Now whatever our own presidential candidate says, no matter now outrageous, it sparks no outrage, while everything the other party's candidate says must be a lie.

What a sorry comedown for American political commentary when obvious falsehoods have to be pointed out by the fact-checking, bean-counting, Pinnochio-awarding number crunchers at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Rather than the kind of commentators who offer thought, not just rows of figures. What has been lost is the eloquence that makes political commentary not just a public service but an art.



The World's Most Dynamic Religion Is ...

For at least the last hundred years, the world's most dynamic religion has been neither Christianity nor Islam.  It is leftism.

Most people do not recognize what is probably the single most important fact of modern life. One reason is that leftism is overwhelmingly secular (more than merely secular: it is inherently opposed to all traditional religions), and therefore people do not regard it as a religion. Another is that leftism so convincingly portrays itself as solely the product of reason, intellect, and science that it has not been seen as the dogma-based ideology that it is. Therefore, the vast majority of the people who affirm leftist beliefs think of their views as the only way to properly think about life.

That, in turn, explains why anyone who opposes leftism is labeled anti-intellectual, anti-progress, anti-science, anti-minority and anti-reason (among many other pejorative epithets): leftists truly believe that there is no other way to think.

How successful has leftism been?

It dominates the thinking of Europe, much of Latin America, Canada, and Asia, as well as the thinking of the political and intellectual elites of most of the world. Outside of the Muslim world, it is virtually the only way in which news is reported and virtually the only way in which young people are educated from elementary school through university.

Only the United States, of all Western countries, has resisted leftism. But that resistance is fading as increasing numbers of Americans abandon traditional Judeo-Christian religions, lead secular lives, are educated by teachers whose views are almost uniformly left-wing and are exposed on a daily basis virtually exclusively to leftist views in their news and entertainment media.

And when there is resistance, the left declares it "extremist." Merely believing that marriage should remain defined as it has been throughout recorded history, as between a man and a woman, renders you an extremist. So, too, belief that government should be small -- the Tea Party position -- renders one an extremist. Last week, the managing editor of Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, said on MSNBC that the Salafis, the most radical Islamist sect, are "the Tea Party of Muslim democracy."

Even Christianity and Judaism, the pillars of Judeo-Christian values, the moral value system upon which America was founded and thanks to which it became the world's beacon of liberty, have been widely influenced by leftism. Many priests, ministers, rabbis and many Jewish and Christian seminaries are leftist in content and Jewish or Christian only in form.

Years ago, I debated one of the most prominent rabbis in the Conservative movement of Judaism on the issue of whether morality must be God-based. The Ivy League Ph.D., yarmulke-wearing rabbi argued that God was not morally necessary. If you want to understand why so many Jews vote left while nearly all the Western world's opposition to -- and frequently hatred of -- Israel emanates from the left, one explanation is this: For most American Jews, their religion is leftism, while Judaism is their ethnicity and culture. The Reform, and increasingly the Conservative, movements have, to a large extent, become political movements that use Hebrew and Jewish rituals to equate Judaism with progressive politics.

Within mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism, the same dominance of leftist values exists. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops largely holds the same social and economic views as the Democratic Party and The New York Times editorial page. It differs with the left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion and religious freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception. As for mainstream Protestant denominations, they, too, are largely indistinguishable from leftism. Proof? Ask a liberal Protestant minister to name one important area in which he and leftism differ. Ask a liberal Reform or Conservative rabbi the same question. Their silence will be telling.

The truth is that the left has been far more successful in converting in converting Jews and Christians to Leftism than Christianity and Judaism have been in influencing leftists to convert to Christianity or Judaism.

Finally, leftism has even attained considerable success at undoing the central American values of liberty, "In God We Trust," and "E Pluribus Unum," supplanting liberty with egalitarianism, a God-based society with secularism, and "E Pluribus Unum" with multiculturalism. (I make this case at length in "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph" [HarperCollins].)

This triumph of the twentieth century's most dynamic religion -- leftism -- is why, even in the midst of an ongoing recession, the leftist candidate may win. As I wrote in my last column, it's not just the economy, stupid.




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


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


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Foreword to The Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich

by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

It seems that certain things in this world simply cannot be discovered without extensive experience, be it personal or collective. This applies to the present book with its fresh and revealing perspective on the millennia-old trends of socialism.

While it makes use of a voluminous literature familiar to specialists throughout the world, there is an undeniable logic in the fact that it emerged from the country that has undergone (and is undergoing) the harshest and most prolonged socialist experience in modern history. Nor is it at all incongruous that within that country this book should not have been produced by a humanist, for scholars in the humanities have been the most methodically crushed of all social strata in the Soviet Union ever since the October Revolution. It was written by a mathematician of world renown: in the Communist world, practitioners of the exact sciences must stand in for their annihilated brethren.

But this circumstance has its compensations. It provides us with a rare opportunity of receiving a systematic analysis of the theory and practice of socialism from the pen of an outstanding mathematical thinker versed in the rigorous methodology of his science. (One can attach particular weight, for instance, to his judgment that Marxism lacks even the climate of scientific inquiry.)

World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis, features which the author of this volume points out repeatedly and in many contexts.

The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct--also laid bare by Shafarevich--these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach.

The twentieth century marks one of the greatest upsurges in the success of socialism, and concomitantly of its repulsive practical manifestations. Yet due to the same passionate irrationality, attempts to examine these results are repelled: they are either ignored completely, or implausibly explained away in terms of certain "Asiatic" or "Russian" aberrations or the personality of a particular dictator, or else they are ascribed to "state capitalism."

The present book encompasses vast stretches of time and space. By carefully describing and analyzing dozens of socialist doctrines and numerous states built on socialist principles, the author leaves no room for evasive arguments based on so-called "insignificant exceptions" (allegedly bearing no resemblance to the glorious future).

Whether it is the centralization of China in the first millennium B.C., the bloody European experiments of the time of the Reformation, the chilling (though universally esteemed) utopias of European thinkers, the intrigues of Marx and Engels, or the radical Communist measures of the Lenin period (no wit more humane than Stalin's heavy-handed methods)--the author in all his dozens of examples demonstrates the undeviating consistency of the phenomenon under consideration.

Shafarevich has singled out the invariants of socialism, its fundamental and unchanging elements, which depend neither on time nor place, and which, alas, are looming ominously over today's tottering world. If one considers human history in its entirety, socialism can boast of a greater longevity and durability, of wider diffusion and of control over larger masses of people, than can contemporary Western civilization.

It is therefore difficult to shake off gloomy presentiments when contemplating that maw into which--before the century is out--we may all plunge: that "Asiatic formation" which Marx hastened to circumvent in his classification, and before which contemporary Marxist thought stands baffled, having discerned its own hideous countenance in the mirror of the millennia. It could probably be said that the majority of states in the history of mankind have been "socialist."  But it is also true that these were in no sense periods or places of human happiness or creativity.

Shafarevich points out with great precision both the cause and the genesis of the first socialist doctrines, which he characterizes as reactions: Plato as a reaction to Greek culture, and the Gnostics as a reaction to Christianity. They sought to counteract the endeavor of the human spirit to stand erect, and strove to return to the earthbound existence of the primitive states of antiquity.

The author also convincingly demonstrates the diametrical opposition between the concepts of man held by religion and by socialism. Socialism seeks to reduce human personality to its most primitive levels and to extinguish the highest, most complex, and "God-like" aspects of human individuality. And even equality itself, that powerful appeal and great promise of socialists throughout the ages, turns out to signify not equality of rights, of opportunities, and of external conditions, but equality qua identity, equality seen as the movement of variety toward uniformity.

Even though, as this book shows, socialism has always successfully avoided truly scientific analyses of its essence, Shafarevich's study challenges present-day theoreticians of socialism to demonstrate their arguments in a businesslike public discussion.


To cut to the conclusion of Shafarevich's book, he argues that socialism is basically nihilistic.  It aims only at destruction


Dancing on the Grave of Keynesianism (money printing)

The alternative is "Austrian" economics  -- the view that government meddling in the economy is always bad and that economic decisions  should be left up to the individual

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 was the best news of my lifetime. The monster died. It was not just that the USSR went down. The entire mythology of revolutionary violence as the method of social regeneration, promoted since the French Revolution, went down with it. As I wrote in my 1968 book, Marxism was a religion of revolution. And Marxism died institutionally in the last month of 1991.

Yet we cannot show conclusively that "the West" defeated the Soviet Union. What defeated the Soviet Union was socialist economic planning. The Soviet Union was based on socialism, and socialist economic calculation is irrational. Ludwig von Mises in 1920 described why in his article, "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth." He showed in theory exactly what is wrong with all socialist planning. He made it clear why socialism could never compete with the free market. It has no capital goods markets, and therefore economic planners cannot allocate capital according to capital's most important and most desired needs among by the public.

Finally, when it became clear in the late 1980s that the Soviet economy was bankrupt, a multimillionaire socialist professor named Robert Heilbroner wrote an article, "After Communism," for the New Yorker (September 10, 1990), which is not an academic journal, in which he admitted that throughout his entire career, he had always believed what he had been taught in graduate school, namely that Lange was right and Mises was wrong.  Then, he wrote these words: "Mises was right."

The Soviet Union was always economically bankrupt. It was poverty-stricken in 1991. It was, in conservative journalist Richard Grenier's magnificent phrase, Bangladesh with missiles. Outside of Moscow, Russians in 1990 lived in poverty comparable to mid-19th-century America, but with far less freedom. Yet this was never told to students during the years that I was in school, which was in the 1960s. There were a few economists who did talk about it, but they got little publicity, were not famous, and their books were not assigned in college classrooms. The standard approach of the academic community was to say that the Soviet Union was a functioning economy: a worthy competitor to capitalism.

Paul Samuelson was the most influential academic economist of the second half of the 20th century. He wrote the introductory textbook that sold more than any other in the history of college economics. In 1989, as the USSR's economy was collapsing, he wrote in his textbook that the Soviet Union's central-planning system proves that central planning can work. Mark Skousen nailed him on this in his book Economics on Trial in 1990. David Henderson reminded readers in the Wall Street Journal in 2009.

Samuelson had an amazingly tin ear about communism. As early as the 1960s, economist G. Warren Nutter at the University of Virginia had done empirical work showing that the much-vaunted economic growth in the Soviet Union was a myth. Samuelson did not pay attention. In the 1989 edition of his textbook, Samuelson and William Nordhaus wrote, "the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive."

The creator of the so-called Keynesian synthesis and the first American winner of a Nobel Prize in economics was blind as a bat to the most important economic failure of the modern world. Two years later, the USSR was literally broken up, as if it had been some bankrupt corporation. Samuelson never saw it coming. People who are conceptually blind never do.

The Keynesian Era Is Coming to a Close

I say this to give you hope. The Keynesians seem to be dominant today. They are dominant because they have been brought into the hierarchy of political power. They serve as court prophets to the equivalent of the Babylonians, just before the Medo-Persians took the nation.

They are in charge of the major academic institutions. They are the main advisers in the federal government. They are the overwhelmingly dominant faction within the Federal Reserve System.

There was no overwhelming outrage among staff economists at the Federal Reserve when Ben Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) cranked up the monetary base from $900 billion to $1.7 trillion in late 2008, and then cranked it up to $2.7 trillion by the middle of 2011. This expansion of the money supply had no foundation whatsoever in anybody's theory of economics. It was totally an ad hoc decision. It was a desperate FOMC trying to keep the system from collapsing, or at least they thought it was about to collapse. The evidence for that is questionable. But, in any case, they cranked up the monetary base, and nobody in the academic community except a handful of Austrians complained that this was a complete betrayal of the monetary system and out of alignment with any theory of economics.

The problem we are going to face at some point as a nation and in fact as a civilization is this: there is no well-developed economic theory inside the corridors of power that will explain to the administrators of a failed system what they should do after the system collapses. This was true in the Eastern bloc in 1991. There was no plan of action, no program of institutional reform. This is true in banking. This is true in politics. This is true in every aspect of the welfare-warfare state. The people at the top are going to be presiding over a complete disaster, and they will not be able to admit to themselves or anybody else that their system is what produced the disaster. So, they will not make fundamental changes. They will not restructure the system, by decentralizing power, and by drastically reducing government spending. They will be forced to decentralize by the collapsed capital markets.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, academics in the West could not explain why. They could not explain what inherently forced the complete collapse of the Soviet economy, nor could they explain why nobody in their camp had seen it coming. Judy Shelton did, but very late: in 1989. Nobody else had seen it coming, because the non-Austrian academic world rejected Mises's theory of socialist economic calculation. Everything in their system was against acknowledging the truth of Mises's criticisms, because he was equally critical about central banking, Keynesian economics, and the welfare state. They could not accept his criticism of Communism precisely because he used the same arguments against them.

The West could not take advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union, precisely because it had gone Keynesian rather than Austrian. The West was as compromised with Keynesian mixed economic planning, both in theory and in practice, as the Soviets had been compromised with Marx. So, there was great praise of the West's welfare state and democracy as the victorious system, when there should have been praise of Austrian economics. There was no realization that the West's fiat-money economy is heading down the same bumpy road that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The present value of the unfunded liabilities of the American welfare state, totaling over $200 trillion today, shows where this nation's Keynesian government is headed: to default. It is also trapped in the quagmire of Afghanistan. The government will pull out at some point in this decade. This will not have the same psychological effect that it did on the Soviet Union, because we are not a total military state. But it will still be a defeat.

The welfare-warfare state, Keynesian economics, and the Council on Foreign Relations are going to suffer major defeats when the economic system finally goes down. The system will go down. It is not clear what will pull the trigger, but it is obvious that the banking system is fragile, and the only thing capable of bailing it out is fiat money. The system is sapping the productivity of the nation, because the Federal Reserve's purchases of debt are siphoning productivity and capital out of the private sector and into those sectors subsidized by the federal government.

After the Crash

There will be a great scramble ideologically among economists and social theorist as to why the system went down, and what ought to replace it. On campus, there will be no coherent answers whatsoever. The suppression of the truth has gone on so systematically on campus for half a century, as manifested by the universal praise of the Federal Reserve System, that the reputation of campus will not recover. It shouldn't recover. The entire academic community has been in favor of the welfare-warfare state, so it will not survive the collapse of that system. It will become a laughingstock.

It is not clear who is going to come out the victors in all this. That could take a generation to begin to sort out. There will be many claimants, all pitching their solutions, all insisting that they saw the crisis coming. But that will be hard to prove for anybody except the Austrians.

The analysts with the best arguments are the Austrians. As to whether they are going to be able to multiply fast enough, or recruit students fast enough, or train them fast enough, with some of them going into positions of authority, is problematical. But we do know this: there has been no systematic criticism of Keynesian theory and its policies except by the Austrians over the past 70 years.


I offer this optimistic assessment: the bad guys are going to lose. Their statist policies will bring destruction that they will not be able to explain away. Their plea will be rejected. "Give us more time. We just need a little more time. We can fix this if you let us get deeper into your wallets."

In the very long run, the good guys are going to win, but in the interim, there is going to be a lot of competition to see which group gets to dance on the grave of the Keynesian system.


I have savagely simplified both Keynesian and Austrian thinking in my headings above but for those not familiar with the ideas concerned it should be a useful guide


Democrat Senate Hopeful Warren Exposed As Complete Fraud

Democrat Elizabeth Warren has framed her race in Massachusetts against Sen. Scott Brown around integrity and intellect, as if she's a cut above other pols. In fact, she's beneath even the sleaziest.

On top of fraudulently claiming minority Indian status without any documented ancestry, the Harvard law professor has now been busted practicing law in Massachusetts without a state license.

Worse, her client list includes the type of corporations that Ms. Populist has demonized on the campaign trail as greedy polluters and exploiters of the "little guy."

Turns out working-class champion Warren in 1995 hired herself out as a legal gun for LTV Steel to help the conglomerate fight thousands of retired coal miners who wanted more health and pension benefits, the Boston Herald says. She pocketed a cool $10,000 in the case. Records show in 2009 she also defended insurance giant Travelers against asbestos victims.

She's also written scholarly papers on health care and bankruptcy without showing her data, and crafted federal health and banking regulations without a brain. Warren is the intellectual architect of the massively unpopular Dodd-Frank Act and ObamaCare, both of which are dragging down the U.S. recovery.

She's been accused by several law professors of "repeated instances of scientific misconduct" in authoring papers that have provided the academic underpinnings for financial and health reforms. Peer reviews have dismissed her research as "deeply flawed."




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


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


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tribe of Liberty

 Jonah Goldberg
We like tribalism for the same reason we like to eat fatty foods: We evolved that way.

Homo sapiens didn't survive long on the African savannas as rugged individualists. Alone, they couldn't scare away the scarier animals and, for the most part, they couldn't catch or kill the tastier ones. But in groups, humans rose to the top of the food chain thousands of years ago and have been passing down their tribe-loving genes ever since.

Customs and practices that ensured the survival of the species were worked out through trial and error and passed from one generation to another. Over time, and with many setbacks, the knowledge accumulated until we hit the critical mass required for modernity.

Indeed, the story of modernity is the story of how we moved away from traditional, non-voluntary, forms of tribalism based on familial, ethnic or even nationalistic lines and toward voluntary forms of tribalism.

The American founding was revolutionary in its embrace of the universality of human rights (even as it fell so short of its own ideals with the institution of slavery). Since then, the West has fought several civil wars to break away from various tribal ideologies, including not just monarchism and imperialism but Nazism (racial tribalism), Communism (economic tribalism) and fascism (national tribalism).

In fits and starts, we've moved toward ever greater voluntarism, which is a fancy way of saying we've moved toward greater individual liberty. According to the American creed, no one, and no thing, is the boss of me unless I agree to it. To a certain extent, that's even true -- at least in theory -- about the government, which is a representative institution created solely by and for the people, who are sovereign.

But the instinctive attraction of tribalism endures. The same drives that once pushed tribes to kill the villagers downriver still reside in us. We've just learned to channel and check them better. Bowling leagues, football franchises, high school rivalries, motorcycle clubs, Goth clubs: you name it, these free associations -- what Edmund Burke called "little platoons" -- satisfy our innate desire to belong to "something larger than ourselves," as so many politicians like to say.

Now, in the context of American politics, I would (and often do) argue that the left has grown confused about all this. They've tried to turn government itself into tribal enterprise of some kind. Democratic politicians tell us "government is just the word we use for those things we do together." "We're all in it together!" has become at once a rationalization and battle cry for larger government and higher taxes.

At their recent convention, the Democrats rolled out a video proclaiming that government is "the one thing we all belong to." This, to me, is pernicious nonsense. The government belongs to us, not the other way around.

But that is an argument for another time.

What got me thinking about all of this is the recent effort from various Muslim leaders at the United Nations lecturing us about free expression. Leaders who abuse and torture their own citizens for expressing their ideas or faith seem to think they have standing to lecture us about the limits of freedom.

Well, the tribe of barbarism doesn't get to lecture the tribe of liberty about what freedom means. A few years ago, Dinesh D'Souza wrote a book, "The Enemy at Home," in which he argued that American conservatives and Muslim conservatives should find common cause against liberals and leftists. The book was predictably denounced by liberals, but it was also rejected by conservatives.

Why? One reason, I think, is that whatever our differences with American liberals may be, conservatives understand that our argument with them is still within the family. The fighting is intense, but we're all trying to figure out what it means to live in the country bequeathed to us by the American Revolution and the Enlightenment.

Well, the thugs haranguing us about the proper limits of free expression aren't members of that tribe. They haven't paid the dues.

Because the moral superiority of liberty is irrefutable, totalitarians often feel the need to wrap barbarism in the language of freedom. (For example, North Korea calls itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.) Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood stooge running Egypt doesn't care about free speech or tolerance; he cares about his own theocratic will to power -- and making Americans grovel.

There are more practical reasons not to hold our liberties hostage to the bloodlust of a foreign mob, but underneath them all is the instinctual tribal refusal to let marauders tear down what we've built.



Economic Conservatives and Traditional Conservatives Are – or Should Be – Natural Allies in the Fight against a Bloated Federal Government

Daniel J. Mitchell

It’s not uncommon for there to be debate and discussion about the degree to which libertarians and social conservatives are allies and enemies.

I think they’re mostly allies, in part because there is wide and deep agreement on the principle of individual responsibility. They may focus on different ill effects, but both camps understand that big government is a threat to a virtuous and productive citizenry.

That being said, I also realize that a libertarian who thinks drug legalization is the most important issue in the world is probably not going to feel much kinship with a social conservative who focuses on spiritual treatment of drug addiction (even though I would argue they should share policy views).

I’m contemplating this topic because of a recent New York Times column by David Brooks. He is concerned that traditional conservatives (which I think would overlap with, but not be identical to, social conservatives) have lost influence in the conservative movement and Republican Party. Let’s start with this excerpt.
…the conservative movement…was a fusion of two different mentalities. On the one side, there were the economic conservatives. …there was another sort of conservative, who would be less familiar now. This was the traditional conservative, intellectual heir to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, Clinton Rossiter and Catholic social teaching. This sort of conservative didn’t see society as a battleground between government and the private sector. Instead, the traditionalist wanted to preserve a society that functioned as a harmonious ecosystem, in which the different layers were nestled upon each other: individual, family, company, neighborhood, religion, city government and national government. …they were intensely interested in creating the sort of social, economic and political order that would encourage people to work hard, finish school and postpone childbearing until marriage.

So far, so good. As a self-described libertarian, I like these concepts. Indeed, I support liberty in part because I think it will both enable and encourage people to experience good lives in the kind of ecosystem David describes.

But then he has a sentence that rubs me the wrong way.
Ronald Reagan embodied both sides of this fusion, and George W. Bush tried to recreate it with his compassionate conservatism.

Let me first stipulate that it’s unfair to equate “compassionate conservatism” with “big government conservatism.” That may have been the end result, but the goal – as was explained to me on several occasions – was to reform the way government did things, not to make it bigger.

But even if we accept that goal, I think Reagan and Bush represented different strains of conservatism. Reagan wanted to shrink the federal government because he viewed Washington as a threat to David’s “harmonious ecosystem.” In other words, Reagan-style conservatism is (was?) based on the notion that Washington could only make things worse, not better.

The Bush people, by contrast, had a more optimistic view of the federal government’s capabilities.

Indeed, Brooks is explicitly willing to make government bigger in hopes of achieving certain goals.
There are few people on the conservative side who’d be willing to raise taxes on the affluent to fund mobility programs for the working class. There are very few willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods, even when 40 percent of American kids are born out of wedlock. There are very few Republicans who protest against a House Republican budget proposal that cuts domestic discretionary spending to absurdly low levels. The results have been unfortunate. Since they no longer speak in the language of social order, Republicans have very little to offer the less educated half of this country. …The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.

Here’s where I think he lets hope triumph over experience. What makes him think that the federal government is capable of successfully creating and operating “mobility programs”? It’s been operating dozens of such programs and they’ve all failed.

Or why does he think the federal government can reduce out-of-wedlock births when the evidence suggests that the welfare state has played a non-trivial role in enabling such misguided behavior?

Brooks also makes a ridiculous claim about what’s happened to domestic discretionary outlays. Here’s the data, adjusted for inflation, from the Historical Tables of the Budget.

Granted, David is talking about the plans in the Republican budget, not what’s actually happened. But the most the GOP wants to achieve is to put domestic discretionary spending back at 2008 levels. That’s not exactly an “absurdly low level,” particularly compared to existing post-stimulus outlays.

The more relevant question is why he thinks federal spending is associated with good results. There’s certainly no positive evidence from Obama’s stimulus. We also know the War on Poverty backfired. And entitlements are a ticking time bomb in the absence of reform.

By the way, this doesn’t negate what Brooks says about the GOP’s inability to articulate a message that resonates with (as he calls them) the “less educated half of this country.”

All I’m arguing is that results should matter. If we care about making life better for these people and we want the “harmonious ecosystem” David mentions, then we should be making government smaller rather than larger.



 Obama and the Power of Propaganda

Those who study propaganda know that propagandists cannot dictate what we think, but they can strongly influence what we think about.

In other words, propagandists can get you to think about baseball or golf rather than about health care or the economy, but they cannot really alter your views about baseball, golf, health care or the economy.

When President Obama fails in his predictions and forecasts on the economy or on foreign affairs, good propagandists can get us to focus instead on Obama’s picks for the NCAA basketball tournament or his appearance on a late-night comedy show.

Obama’s health care plan looks like it will cost much more than expected and may drive many doctors to quit practice. So, let us change focus from the hard numbers into a debate about Republicans stealing the birth control methods used by women.

From Sixth Avenue to Hollywood, and from Wolf Blitzer to Jay Leno, our TV hosts parrot the Obama party line about “the war on women.”

We have a similarly skewed view on the “war on terror:” Obama says there is no terror and no war, while the media assure us Obama won the war. Both are wrong. There were more actual and abortive terror attacks in the U.S. in the last three years than in the previous eight.

There were 30 assaults or plots on army bases, transportation hubs, and synagogues: from Little Rock to Seattle, from Riverdale to a New York air base, from Fort Hood Texas (the massacre and a later copy-cat plot), to New York’s subways, from a plane over Detroit to a Times Square car bomb.

Most plots are not on the scale of 9-11, but there is a pattern of growing danger, not a diminishing threat. Most media prefer to show Obama as the sheriff who got Bin-Laden and ended the threat. They do not want to examine how the terror threat has grown with new generations of Islamic terrorists who were born here or converted here

Team Obama prefers to make or encourage “documentary” films using sensitive information. This makes Obama look good, but it makes all of us a little less safe.

President Barack Obama is an able and attractive politician commanding government and Democratic Party public relations machines. He enjoys a pliant press steering focus away from the bad economy to the personal portfolio of Mitt Romney.

Obama’s foreign record is as bad as his economic one. He bet he would find common ground with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, selling out U.S. friends in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. We lost those bets, but the media pretend that Romney “really blew it” with a remark about the Olympics inLondon.

Obama and Joe Biden made Israel their personal punching bag from 2009-2011. They forced an Israeli building freeze inJerusalemand theWest Bankthat led to a freeze in Arab-Israeli talks for the first time in 20 years.

President Obama undermined Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a strong U.S. friend, while boosting the Muslim Brotherhood—a group that spawned Al-Qaeda. Our media did not really examine how much the U.S. lost on those bets or Obama’s support of Bashar Assad in Syria, sending an ambassador there against the express wishes of Congress.

Obama and Hillary Clinton ignored Iranian dissidents’ pleas for help during Iran’s rigged 2009 elections. They delayed dealing withIran’s atom bomb plans. That is a quite a resume for the people who promised hope and change at home and abroad.

Have the media probed the gap between Obama promises and his results—from Cairo to Istanbul, from Libya to Syria? They report how Romney criticizes Arab culture, for being anti-peace and tribal—all of which is absolutely correct.

Our media scoff at Romney for being “clumsy.” That angle suits the propaganda line that Obama-Biden-Clinton are deep thinkers and doers on foreign policy. Better to have us consider Romney’s tone than to examine Obama’s foreign policy record.

The media agenda is to lacerate Romney rather than doing real journalism: checking how Obama-Clinton were criminally negligent to leave U.S. diplomats unguarded on the anniversary of 9-11.

Have we noticed how the sophisticated terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya disappeared from the front page of The New York Times, and have we noticed how the Associated Press gave us a half-cocked “timeline” to show Romney was hasty?

Maybe the propaganda will distract us long enough for Obama to get re-elected, but then again, maybe not. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln will be proved right again when he said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”


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



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Monday, October 01, 2012

A Jew thinks the unthinkable

In addition to the history outlined below,  see the scenario I  have suggested here

There is a sense of déjà vu, a parallelism between America’s ten years and counting policy “containing” Iran, and America having ignored Germany’s emergence as a military power; Hitler’s graduated policy of isolating, then murdering the Jews.

All agree that antisemitism in 1933 was intense in both Germany and the United States. What lessons have we taken away from the fact that in the course of less than a decade Germany transformed from “merely” racist to homicidal so, while the United States remained “traditionally” antisemitic? Is 2012 safer for the Jewish people than we were in 1932, the year Germany voted for a Nazi-led government, and Hitler became the country’s chancellor?

There is, of course, no simple answer. First, we already know that ten years after that election Auschwitz was operational and had adapted 20th century technology to assembly-line mass murder. So, while we can know what occurred in the past, we cannot predict definitively the future. But we can, based on history, make an educated guess.

Holocaust Denial is typically assumed to be a product of non-Jews, its motive somewhere between serving as defense of Christianity, to inciting anti-Jewish violence. But Holocaust denial also takes a Jewishform. According to this narrative the Holocaust happened “over there” and not “here.” Reasons proffered are both social acceptance and our system of legal protections. For more than a century Jews have considered America our Diaspora’s long-sought Exception, our Goldene Medina.

But this posits the United States as “exceptional.” On what do we base this assumption; how do we come by our faith that the colonial description of America as the “city on the hill,” the “New Jerusalem” extends also to ourselves? Just how secure, how accepted are Jews in the United States?

For three hundred years Jew, Muslim and Christian participated in Spain’s Golden Age: before Islam was forced back across the Straight of Gibraltar. Five hundred years later King Boleslav of Poland invited Jewish settlement, guaranteed their security resulting on the next Golden Age for Jews. And even Lithuania rose to that description as Vilnius was called the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.”

On the eve of the Shoah the Jewish community of Vilna [Vilnius] was the spiritual centre of Eastern European Jewry, the centre of enlightenment and Jewish political life, of Jewish creativity and the experience of daily Jewish life…”  On 24 June, 1941 Germany, until 1933 also considered “exceptional” by its Jews, arrived at Vilna.

Since there were so many past “exceptions” in the history of our experience in the Diaspora, some spanning several centuries, American Jewry’s claims regarding our homeland deserve closer examination.

One clear argument is the number of Jews who achieved high government office. As far back as the Civil War a Jew was appointed Attorney General for the Confederacy; during the Vietnam war Richard Nixon, whose White House tapes demonstrate strong antipathy towards Jew, appointed a Jew as his Secretary of State. Since 1916 eight Jews were appointed to the US Supreme Court. And in 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore selected a Jew for his running mate. These and other such facts inspire pride, reassure of our acceptance as “Americans.”

And our sense of comfort and acceptance is reflected in our high rate of intermarriage. In 2001 the rate was 47%; today the rate is higher. And while many factors determine choice of a mate, I suggest that one of the most salient and perhaps least acknowledged (at least by ourselves) is our long history of persecution in the Diaspora: we yearn for acceptance, to belong. According to Alan Dershowitz,

American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality.”

The German comparison: I wrote above that Germany, at least until 1933, was also considered “exceptional” by that Jewish community. How does the American model compare to pre-Holocaust Germany?

For me the comparison is very uncomfortable. In Germany as in the US Jews were over-represented among the elites, also rose to high levels of government and politics. A Jew wrote the constitution for Germany’s first venture into democracy; another Jew served as foreign minister in the Weimar government. Jews were prominent in the arts and the sciences: numbering fewer than .08% of the population, Jews represented 24% of Germany’s Nobel recipients.

In an effort to explain, to comprehend how their beloved fatherland, their German identity evaporated so quickly, women survivors almost mantra-like repeatedly told interviewers, “We were so German… so assimilated!”

During the Weimar Republic, strictly religious education and practices were on the decline and mixed marriages on the rise. In the large cities, marriage to Christians was becoming so common – especially among Jewish men – that some Jewish leaders actually feared the complete fusion of their community into German society by the end of the twentieth century.”

“[I]n 1927, 54% of all marriages of Jews were contracted with non-Jews,” a statistic even greater than the American 47% in 2001! If, as I suggest, intermarriage correlates to “level of comfort” in our respective communities, German Jewry in the years immediately before the rise of Hitler were more comfortable, more assimilated than are we in America today.

There is no evidence to suggest that either president, Obama or Roosevelt, pursue(d) policies intentionally intended to harm the Jews. Yet by the passivity of their responses to global challenges Jewish lives were placed at risk and lost. Obama’s failure to date to more assertively block Iranian hegemonic ambitions, including its nuclear weapons program, has placed America’s interests in the Middle East (the oil monarchies, the Suez Canal, etc) at risk; it also placed at risk the security of our traditional dependencies and allies, including Israel.

By failing to stand by Israel in face of Turkey’s support of the Mavi Marmara provocation Obama allowed to fester a rupture in relations between two of America’s most important allies protecting American interests in the Middle East.

The president’s intervention to remove Hosni Mubarak as president of Egypt as well as numerous other policy decisions, whether intended or not, contributed to regional instability, harmed America’s standing in the region and in the world and, most importantly for this discussion, materially contributed to Israel’s present state of isolation and threat.

There is a sense of déjà vu, a parallelism between America’s ten years and counting policy towards containing Iranian ambitions, and Roosevelt passively standing by as the Third Reich publicly and determinedly grew its armed forces in violation of Versailles; failed to forcefully respond to Germany’s hegemonic ambitions, its emergence as a military power. His failure also to confront Hitler’s graduated policy of isolating, then murdering the Jews.

Like Obama, there is no evidence that Roosevelt pursued a “policy” tointentionally harm Jews. But neither does his response to the escalating persecution indicate any intention to materially interfere with that persecution. This detached attitude is evident in his unwavering adherence to the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act as “response” to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws; to the 1938 Krystallnacht pogrom; even to early and persistent reports of einsatsgruppen massacres two years before the US entered the war.

Before 1941 Roosevelt insisted the US does not interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation; after that date the excuse was that the victims were citizens of an “enemy” nation! Each of these situations were given extensive coverage in the US press, so the president could not claim absence of intelligence.

While America’s response to each of these may not rise to the level of apolicy of antisemitism, neither did they demonstrate concern for the fate of the Jews, or America’s claim to be haven to the oppressed. Even today Roosevelt apologists insist he was no antisemite, that the president’s “hands were tied” by the 1924 Law!

Whatever the reason, clearly his hands were not tied when, with daily newspaper headlines reporting on the unfolding Final Solution the president steadfastly refused to halt or even slow the slaughter of the still living dead by ordering a few bombs be dropped on killing centers as American aircraft overflew them en route to industrial targets. And were his “hands tied” when he denied refuge to Jewish children made homeless by the Krystallnacht pogrom? He even defended not doing so in a radio address, “that [refuge] is not in contemplation, we have the [1924] quota system.” But when Britain appealed for refuge for London children facing the Battle of Britain, children who could as well have found refuge in the countryside, they were immediately welcomed. Even London’s “threatened” dogs were more acceptable for refuge than Jews!  In fact in no year during this horrible period did Roosevelt’s State Department even fill allowable quotas for Jews.

If American policy in general was passively complicit in the Holocaust, Roosevelt’s State Department was actively supportive in the murder of Europe’s Jews.

With this background to the question (and I’ve limited the discussion to government policy, not popular antisemitism) how secure are America’s Jews today, how likely that the Holocaust was just the single and unique occurrence we like to believe, that such recurring is rarely even considered, at least not, “over here”? Is Never Again more than just a rhetorical flourish, a palliative the sole purpose of which is our desire for self-reassurance?

Put another way, will Denial preserve us if we are living but a reassuring lie?



Benghazi-gate – Obama Knew

In the days following the assassination attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three aides dead it was appalling to watch the Obama Administration's painstaking efforts to deny any connection to radical Islamic terror.   A week later, the White House was forced to admit a connection to al Qaeda after the Director of the National Counterterrrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, testified to a Senate Committee that Benghazi was indeed a "terrorist attack on our embassy" with likely "connections to al Qaeda."

The week long contortions and denials by the Administration became even more befuddling when Eli Lake at the Daily Beast raised the stakes with this bombshell disclosure on September 26:

"Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya."

Anderson Cooper at CNN disclosed on September 23 that Ambassador Steven's journal indicated he believed he was targeted by al Qaeda, yet apparently the State Department took no steps to protect his safety.  That added to the questions….why?

Instead of coming clean, the State Department attacked CNN calling the disclosure "disgusting" and "not a proud moment in CNN's history."  Again, raising more questions.

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) was the first to mention the "c" word -  cover up.  "There has to be something they're trying to hide or cover up," he said.  "We just want answers."

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) gave the growing scandal a name; Benghazi-gate.

Lake's newest revelation raises the stakes yet again.  Jennifer Rubin in her "Right Turn" column in the Washington Post today asks the newest most obvious question – "Did Obama lie?"

"Obviously the report (Eli Lake's in the Daily Beast), if true, suggests that the White House lied to the American people by insisting for over a week that this was a spontaneous attack. It is one thing for the president to be so benighted as to think a video sets off multiple attacks on Sept. 11. It is quite another to send out his advisers, including his own spokesman, to mislead voters."



Obama's snub of Netanyahu speaks louder than words

    Thomas Sowell

During the same week when the American ambassador to Libya was murdered and his dead body dragged through the streets by celebrating mobs, the President of the United States found time to go on the David Letterman show to demonstrate his sense of humor and how cool he is.

But Barack Obama did not have time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a nation repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iranian leaders, who are working feverishly toward the creation of nuclear bombs.

This was an extraordinary thing in itself, something that probably no other President of the United States could have gotten away with, without raising a firestorm of criticisms and denunciations. But much of the media sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Barack Obama -- especially during an election year.

Nor was this public rebuff of a publicly requested meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu unique in its expression of disrespect, if not contempt, for both the man and his country. Despite his glowing assertions of his commitment to Israel, especially in speeches to American Jewish groups, Barack Obama has been working against Israel's interests from his first day in the White House. As in many other contexts, Barack Obama 1 speaks but Barack Obama 2 acts -- often in the opposite direction.

The vision in which Obama has been steeped is one in which white Western nations have oppressed and exploited non-white, non-Western nations, becoming rich and arrogant at other people's expense. It is a vision that calls out, not for justice, but for payback.

When Jeremiah Wright said, "white folks' greed runs a world in need" -- and Obama, by his own account, was moved to tears -- this captured in a few melodramatic words what a whole series of Obama's mentors and allies had been saying for decades. No wonder it resonated with him.

Despite hopes that Barack Obama's election as President of the United States would mark the beginning of a post-racial era in America, no hope was ever so completely doomed from the outset. Anyone who looks beyond Obama's soothing words about race to his record, from his joining self-segregated black students in college to his appointing Al Sharpton as a White House adviser, can see the contrast between rhetoric and reality.

Barack Obama is not the first leader of a nation whose actions reflected some half-baked vision, enveloped in lofty rhetoric and spiced with a huge dose of ego. Nor would he be the first such leader to steer his nation into a historic catastrophe.

In Barack Obama's case, the potential for catastrophe is international in scope, and perhaps irretrievable in its consequences, as he stalls with feckless gestures as terrorist-sponsoring Iran moves toward the production of nuclear bombs.

The rhetoric of Obama 1 says that he will protect Israel but the actions of Obama 2 have in fact protected Iran from an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities -- until now it is questionable whether Iran's deeply buried nuclear facilities can be destroyed by the Israelis.

Those deeply buried facilities took time to build, and Obama's policies gave them that time, with his lackadaisical approach of seeking United Nations resolutions and international sanctions that never had any serious chance of stopping Iran's movement toward becoming a nuclear power. And Barack Obama had to know that.

In March, "Foreign Policy" magazine reported that "several high-level sources" in the Obama administration had revealed Israel's secret relationship with Azerbaijan, where Israeli planes could refuel to or from an air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The administration feared "the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran," according to these "high-level sources." Apparently the risks of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel are not so much feared.

This leak was one of the historic and unconscionable betrayals of an ally whose very existence is threatened. But the media still saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil.

The only question now is whether the American voters will wake up before it is too late -- not just for Israel, but for America.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Obama planning to bypass Congress again

The White House is preparing to direct federal agencies to develop voluntary cybersecurity guidelines for owners of power, water and other critical infrastructure facilities, according to people who said they had seen recent drafts of an executive order.

The prospective order would give the agencies 90 days to propose new regulations and create a new cybersecurity council at the Department of Homeland Security with representatives from the Defense Department, Justice Department, Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Commerce, a former government cyber-security official told Reuters.

"It tells those who have the ability to regulate to go forth and do so," said the person, who is currently outside the government and spoke on condition of anonymity in order to preserve access to government officials.

The draft executive order includes elements of what had been the leading cybersecurity overhaul bill in the Senate, which was defeated this summer amid opposition from industries opposed to increased regulation.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, an independent and one of the principal authors of that bill, on Monday urged the White House to issue such an order.

"The Department of Homeland Security has clear authority, if directed by you, to conduct risk assessments of critical infrastructure, identify those systems or assets that are most vulnerable to cyber attack and issue voluntary standards for those critical systems or assets to maintain adequate cybersecurity," Lieberman wrote to President Barack Obama.

The document has been circulating among the agencies and might go to top officials for their comments as soon as this week, another person involved in the process said.

A spokeswoman for the administration's National Security Council, Caitlin Hayden, confirmed that an order was being considered but would not provide details. "We're not commenting on the elements," Hayden said.


Former White House cybersecurity policy coordinator Howard Schmidt said the proposed order would also ask DHS to confer with independent agencies, such as electric regulators and others that don't answer to the president, to see who would take responsibility on cybersecurity.

The hope, said Schmidt, who has seen a recent draft, is that if those agencies won't let DHS act they would do it themselves, as the Securities and Exchange Commission did in October when it issued guidance on when companies should disclose cyber attacks.

The Commerce Department and the Pentagon declined to comment. Spokespeople for Lieberman and for Senator John Rockefeller, another Democratic leader on the issue who has asked for an executive order, said their offices had not been given copies of the draft.

Cybersecurity has become a major issue in Congress and for the White House, with intelligence officials warning of constant exploration of protected computer systems by hackers and both past incursions and the likelihood of more damaging future attacks on electric plants, banks and stock exchanges.

As of two weeks ago, the planned order did not include any penalties for companies that fail to adhere to the standards. or rewards for those who do. "There are no carrots or sticks," one person with a recent copy said.

If the order emerges before the election in November, it could become an issue in the campaign. Leading Republicans faulted the Lieberman bill as too onerous. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which also criticized that bill, declined to comment on Monday on the merits of a prospective order.

But Lieberman said his bill had been watered down in pursuit of a compromise and asked in his letter Monday that Obama explore means for making the standards mandatory.

Both Lieberman and administration officials have said they will still seek legislation, which could go further in many ways. It might, for example, provide liability protection for companies that share information with government officials or that meet the standards but still get hacked.



Media Bias, Elections and Economics

The would-be president continues to complain bitterly about media favoritism. His advisors, according to an article in yesterday's FT, criticize media "fawning" as interfering with official duties. The article sites media advantage coupled with opaque campaign financing as a threat to an otherwise "reliable" voting system. Because the president has the media in his pocket, control of government purse strings and threat of retribution against those that vote against him, a key adviser calls the upcoming election "David against Goliath."

The article I'm referring to was written about the upcoming election in Venezuela and about the heavy-handed tactics, including a fawning media at the disposal of Hugo Chavez.

Of course it would be easy to see why those comments in the first paragraph could be attributed to Mitt Romney's campaign, which hasn't mentioned just how bias media coverage has been, but it's as obvious as that controversial touchdown call on Monday night. The thing is, with so much rah-rah from mainstream media outlets that find the silver lining in all the news, it seems to have caught on in polling (also mostly biased) and yesterday's consumer confidence survey. But that faux sense that all's well wasn't enough to keep the market elevated.

Everyday this European crisis is like A Christmas Carol in that we get the benefit of seeing how our future could be if we remain on this current path. This current path is mostly about fiscal irresponsibly, fading demands for rigor in education, manners, and the embrace of a mindset that we are less able to care for ourselves so government should step up to the plate. Riots broke out in Spain as that nation gets closer to instituting austerity that means less welfare and more responsibility. This nation is in the midst of healing decades of socialistic policies that have diminished past glory and erased future glory unless a lot of pain can be tolerated.

I'm not sure if it can, and this is why Americans must pay attention. Do we have the guts to suck it up? At some point, that test will be upon the nation. All prior generations faced down challenges that could have destroyed the country. Our current generation is enthralled with television shows spawned from young men punching women in the face and children being exploited. I still think it's in America's DNA to do the right thing at the moment of truth. My worry is that that moment could come soon, making the challenge less difficult. I didn't say easy, but consider what's happening in Europe. It feels like we're jumping off a five-story building if we really tackle our problems or waiting for it to become a ten-story fall.

Americans have been able to put their heads in the sand for so long, but those people in Spain stumbling around the streets were doing that a couple years ago with a bottle of wine and joy rather than with Molotov cocktails and blind rage. Yesterday, I think the reality of it all hit the stock market, which reverted back to its historic role of harbinger of the future rather than another tool to celebrate mediocrity. But, I don't know that it was Spain that spooked the market as much as its neighbor-Portugal

Portugal has a center-right government that came up with a plan that asked workers to contribute more to their own social security while allowing businesses to contribute less to the general welfare fund. The plan is designed to spark job creation in the nation with 15.6% official unemployment rate (US is the same).

After succumbing to the riots and in order to hit debt targets of its 78.0 billion bailout, Portugal's leaders will now raise taxes on income, investments (cap gains), assets and even gas emissions. The masses might be appeased but the nation moves a giant step closer to economic doom. Those postponed riots will reemerge in greater force when government can no longer pay for the welfare state and businesses have been sucked dry. From a competitive point of view this means the best and brightest will leave for Brazil and other countries but don't underestimate many working poor looking for opportunities and not handouts, they will leave as well.

The gift for Americans not too busy watching Big Ang is we see how hard it is to do the right thing even when it's clear any other choice is a short term pain reliever at best. This is a center-right government; what happens when they vote back in the socialists? What happens when Spain votes back in the socialists?

What happens when America votes back in the socialists?  Spooked Stocks

I think this is what the stock market saw yesterday. How ironic is it that on a day when a couple of key (second tier) economic reports came in well above consensus the market suffers one of its worst sessions of the year. This is how the stock market works. The rest of the world is slowing although growing at pace we dream about and the domestic economy isn't ready to carry the world. Heck, the domestic economy can't even create 200,000 jobs a month and the stock market is worried. Of course the happy news yesterday on all the media outlets from radio to newspapers is the possibility of 700,000 temp hires for the holidays. Last year it was 670,000.

Media favoritism works wonders in politics and even the stock market to a certain point. I closed out a couple of losers yesterday and have been aggressively taking profits on trading ideas in part to raise funds. We are not panicking but paying attention to a wakeup call barely audible because of all the other noise.



Introducing The New Polling Firm of Madoff, Marist, Quinnipiac and Ponzi

 Hugh Hewitt

After a few weeks spent tracking down and questioning pollsters and the reporters of polls, I can assure the reader that pollsters are the modern-day alchemists. They promise to turn numbers into predictive gold. We'd all like to believe these magical powers exist, but we shouldn't. The pollsters of 2012 just don't know who is going to win in November any more than did the pollsters of 1980 know that Ronald Reagan was headed towards a landslide in that late-breaking year.

I'd like to believe Scott Rasmussen that the race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is tied. Democrats would like to believe Quinnipiac (used by the New York Times and CBS) or Marist (used by the Wall Street Journal and NBC) that Obama has surged to a lead in Ohio and other key battleground states. They'd also like to believe that Gallup's finding that the president has a six-point lead among registered voters means a six point win in five weeks.

But none of these beliefs are good journalistic practice.

(Gallup's tracking poll changes to a "likely voter screen" next week, and then it will make the most sense to average Rasmussen and Gallup and conclude that is the true "state of the race," though even that average is still subject to incredible volatility in the closing five weeks of the campaign.)

There are plenty of data points to encourage Republicans, and these are genuine data points as opposed to the junk food offered up by Quinnipiac and Marist, which derived their predictions from samples that included enormous Democratic voter margins in key states, pro-Democratic turnout margins that were even greater than those achieved in Obama's blowout year of 2008..

Two data points that warm GOP hearts and undermine the junk polls: (1) Absentee requests in Ohio by Democrats are trailing their 2008 totals --often by a lot in key Democratic counties like Cuyahoga County; and (2) overall voter registeration for Democrats in the Buckeye State is down dramatically from 2008.

These two bits of info undermine the credibility of the Obama booster polls, as did the interviews I conducted with key leadership from both polls and with other informed observers.

The data on absentees and registration point to a fall off in enthusiasm for the president from the highs of 2008, a result both of his epic failures as president and of the fact that the second time around isn't nearly as exciting as casting a vote for the first ever African-American president.

The conversations with the experts are the most revealing, however, and the Manhattan-Beltway media elite has really failed to do even minimal homework here, choosing instead to go with the conclusions of the people they have paid to give them data, thus outsourcing their work.

In this respect big media resembles nothing so much as investors in Bernie Madoff's funds. Madoff never got asked tough questions by his investors or the SEC, and thus he rampaged through his clients' cash.

Big news organizations that turn off their skepticism and write checks to polling firms are doing the same thing and for the same reason: They lack the skills to do their own analyses, and they don't want to be thought stupid for asking obvious questions.

I don't mind admitting I don't know why a sample should include 10% more Democrats than Republicans, so I ask --and ask and ask. This is what journalists do. Unless, apparently, they have paid for the product or want badly to believe it is true.

But don't believe me. Read the interviews.

Here's the transcript of the conversation I had with Quinnipiac's Peter Brown from early August.

Here's the transcript of the conversation I had with Marist's Lee Miringoff from mid-September..

I have talked polling with Michael Barone twice, on September 17 and onSeptember 26, and once with the Weekly Standard's Jay Cost, also onSeptember 26.

I also spent a lot of time with the National Journal's Director of Polling Reporting, Steven Shepard, on Septmeber 25, and that transcript is here.

Here are the key takeaways from all these conversations.

The pro-Obama pollsters don't have answers as to why their skewed samples are trustworthy beyond the fact that they think their approach to randomness is a guarantee of fairness, and they seem to resent greatly that the questions are even asked. Like Madoff would have resented questions about his stunning rate of return.

Barone notes that percentage turnout by party in a presidential year hasn't been much greater for the president's party than it was in the preceding off-year, which makes samples outstripping even the 2008 model of Democratic participation "inherently suspicious.".

Cost notes that Romney is winning the independent vote in every poll, which also makes big Obama leads suspect.

And my conversation with Mr. Shepard, whose employer National Journal has a reputation for the best non-partisan work inside the Beltway, didn't find any academic, disinterested support for the proposition that party identification cannot be weighted because of the inherent instability of the marker.

The biggest unanswered question of all: If party ID is so subject to change that it should not be weighted according to an estimate of turnout, why ask about it at all? And if it is for the purpose of detecting big moves, as Mr. Shepard argued, why not report that "big move" in the stories that depend upon the polling?

Over the next few weeks, the junk polls will start tweaking their samples and dancing around that fact in order to come closer to reality. Too late. The sample controversy has penetrated into the public's mind, and Quinnipiac and Marist are marked as either rubes or rogues unless the huge democratic turnout advantage materializes on November 6.

In the meantime, if you see a story on a poll that doesn't tell you the partisan make-up of the sample, note to yourself that the reporter is missing the most interesting bit of data to most readers.

Just as Bernie Madoff used to hide the real story.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)