Saturday, June 07, 2008

Worried About a Recession? Don't Blame Free Trade

Speculation is growing that the U.S. economy may have already slipped into recession. If the past is any guide, politicians on the campaign trail will be tempted to blame trade and globalization for the passing pain of the business cycle. But an analysis of previous recessions and expansions shows that international trade and investment are not to blame for downturns in the economy and may, in fact, be moderating the business cycle.

In recent decades, as foreign trade and investment have been rising as a share of the U.S. economy, recessions have actually become milder and less frequent. The softening of the business cycle has become so striking that economists now refer to it as "The Great Moderation." The more benign trend appears to date from the mid-1980s. If the U.S. economy does tip into recession this year, free trade and globalization will be among the likely scapegoats.

The Great Moderation means that Americans are spending more of their time earning a living in a growing economy and less in a contracting economy. Our economy has been in recession a total of 16 months in the past 25 years, or 5.3 percent of the time. In comparison, between 1945 and 1983, the nation suffered through nine recessions totaling 96 months, or 21.1 percent of that time period.

America's recent experience of a more globalized and less volatile economy has not been unique in the world. Other countries that have opened themselves to global markets have been less vulnerable to financial and economic shocks. Countries that put all their economic eggs in the domestic basket lack the diversification that a more globally integrated economy can fall back on to weather a slowdown. A country that increases trade as a share of its gross domestic product by 10 percentage points is actually about one-third less likely to suffer sudden economic slowdowns or other crises than if it were less open to trade. As the authors of this study concluded:

Some may find this counterintuitive: trade protectionism does not "shield" countries from the volatility of world markets as proponents might hope. On the contrary...economies that trade less with other countries are more prone to sudden stops and to currency crises.

Globalization is not the only possible cause behind the moderation of the business cycle. Improved monetary policy, fewer external shocks (what some economists call "good luck"), and other structural changes in the economy may have all played a role. For example, the decline in unionization and the resulting increase in labor-market flexibility have allowed wages and employment patterns to adjust more readily to changing market conditions, mitigating spikes in unemployment. Better inventory management through just-in-time delivery has reduced the cyclical overhangs that can disrupt production.

Combined with those other factors, expanding trade and globalization have helped to moderate swings in national output by blessing us with a more diversified and flexible economy. Exports can take up slack when domestic demand sags, and imports can satisfy demand when domestic productive capacity is reaching its short-term limits. Access to foreign capital markets can allow domestic producers and consumers alike to more easily borrow to tide themselves over during difficult times.

More here



Another Marine exonerated: "A Marine intelligence officer accused of trying to cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis appeared stunned at first when a jury acquitted him of the charges. For more than two years, 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson had been under suspicion, accused of ordering the destruction of evidence in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving Iraqi deaths to come out of the war... Grayson was the first of three Marines to be court-martialed in connection with killings of men, women and children on Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha. Investigators allege that after the bombing, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and a squad member shot five men by a car at the scene. Wuterich then allegedly ordered his men into several houses, where they cleared rooms with grenades and gunfire, killing more Iraqis in the process. Four enlisted Marines initially were charged with murder and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges were dropped against five of the Marines."

A wonderful triumph against great odds: "Finley Crampton really shouldn't be here. Although his parents would have loved another child, they knew their baby could inherit a life-threatening kidney condition - and they couldn't take the risk. After all, their first son had died of the condition and the second was born with serious kidney damage. So when Finley's mother, Jodie Percival, became pregnant while on the Pill, she and her fiance Billy Crampton, 35, made the agonising decision to abort this child... However, Finley had other ideas. And some time after the operation, Miss Percival felt a fluttering in her stomach.... The child had survived the abortion and thrived in the womb... But a week later, another scan confirmed that this baby had kidney problems too, like the couple's previous children.... Her first baby, Thane, had lived for only 20 minutes after she was forced to deliver him prematurely. Her second son, Lewis, now 20 months, was born with a similar condition. He survives on one kidney... And in November, Finley was born three weeks premature, at 6lb 3oz. He had minor kidney damage but is expected to lead a normal life."

Detroit caught flat-footed again: "The auto industry suffered whiplash during May, as sales plunged for big pickup trucks and SUVs as $4-per-gallon gas prompted consumers to ditch their gas guzzlers in favor of more economical passenger cars. The strong shift from trucks to cars reverses the trend of the past decade, and domestic automakers were caught with a huge surplus of unsold trucks. Industry analysts say that with gas prices expected to remain in $4 territory for the foreseeable future, the May truck-sales drop could signal the end of an era. In Detroit, Jim Farley, Ford's vice president for marketing and communications, said sales figures released Tuesday show that the ground rules have changed for good."

Officials OK jail time for failing to mow lawn: "City council members in Canton have approved a measure that's grabbed widespread attention in recent weeks. Homeowners in the northeast Ohio city who don't mow their grass now face stiffer penalties - including a possible 30-day jail term. The council on Monday night unanimously passed the proposal, which makes a second high-grass violation a fourth-degree misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail. The law is to take effect in 30 days. The proposal drew national attention, much of it negative, when it was unveiled last month. City officials have said the tougher penalties are meant to reduce city costs for mowing grass. The city cuts about 2,000 overgrown private lots a year."

Italy: Seizing cars from drunk drivers: "Italy has begun confiscating the cars of people driving under the effect of drugs or alcohol in the latest attempt to lower one of western Europe's highest rates of road casualties. Two drivers in their early 20s, a woman under the influence of alcohol and a man who had smoked a cannabis joint, have had their cars seized in northern Italy since the legislation came into effect at the end of last month. The new legislation states that any driver who tests positive for any illegal drug or has blood alcohol levels exceeding set limits can have their car confiscated, as well as toughening fines and jail sentences. The cars are to be auctioned off or used by the police, as is already the case for vehicles confiscated from mafia offenders and drug dealers."


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


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


Friday, June 06, 2008

ACLU Defends Rent Control and Property Seizures, Defining Them as Civil Liberties

There are few policies more counterproductive and stupid than rent control

The ACLU claims to exist to protect the civil liberties and constitutional rights of all Americans, but it's really just an unprincipled left-wing lobbying group. Recently, the ACLU of Southern California opposed Proposition 98, a California initiative that would have reinforced state constitutional protections against seizures of private property, by preventing private property from being taken for commercial development, and ending rent control. The ACLU attacked Prop. 98 for seeking to "eliminate rent control," and "restricting the government's power." Imagine that! Restricting the government's power! That's what most civil liberties guarantees do, after all: restrict government power. But the American Civil Liberties Union doesn't have much to do with civil liberties, anymore, unless the beneficiaries are left-wing constituencies, like alleged terrorists.

While the ACLU was busy claiming that banning rent control is somehow a threat to civil liberties, it was also fabricating many new rights out of thin air: an alleged "right" to make sexual advances and have sex in public restrooms; an alleged "right" for swastika-wearing neo-Nazis to force restaurants like the Alpine Village Inn to serve them; an alleged "right" for illegal alien employees to demand that their citizen co-workers not say derogatory things about them, even outside their presence; and an alleged "right" for one Massachusetts man to perform oral sex on another man while on a public stage.

The ACLU in California is a "vigorous proponent of hate speech regulations," and its Massachusetts chapter supports campus speech codes, ignoring that pesky First Amendment (which was, after all, written by dead white males - the ACLU is a big supporter of racial quotas, unsuccessfully arguing in Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson (1997), that minorities have a constitutional right to racial preferences that overrides state constitutional equal-protection provisions banning all racial discrimination). A prominent ACLU lawyer in Massachusetts argued that rape law should be redefined so that mere consent to sex is not enough, claiming that sex should only be allowed after express, explicit permission of the sort that precedes a medical operation.



Chesterton & Lewis warn against tyranny

G. K. Chesterton's helpful assessment of fundamental liberty. By his measure, our liberty is indeed threatened.
"The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog." - Broadcast talk 6-11-35

Jay at STACLU has a great quote on a similar theme:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences." -C.S. Lewis"

Two Christ-professing Englishmen warning us from the early 20th Century, that to give up our freedom "for our own good," is not freedom. It is acquiescing to tyranny with thumb in the mouth, iPod buds in the ear and the tv set on an endless loop of Sex and the City reruns.

More here



Democrats losing control of women voters: "The woman who shouted "McCain in '08" at the Democratic rules committee was speaking for a multitude. After mounting for months, female anger over the choreographed dumping on Hillary Clinton and her supporters has exploded - and party loyalty be damned. That the women are beginning to have a good time is an especially bad sign for Barack Obama's campaign. "Obama will NOT get my vote, and one step more," Ellen Thorp, a 59-year-old flight attendant from Houston told me. "I have been a Democrat for 38 years. As of today, I am registering as an independent. Yee Haw!"

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Gaza picks up steam : "On Saturday, May 31, terrorists attacked the guards at the Al Manara school in Gaza, stole a vehicle belonging to the Baptist Holy Book Society, which operates the school, and threatened the society's director. This is just the latest in a series of attacks on Christians and their institutions (and other 'instruments of western culture') in Gaza".

Temple site "Islamic": "Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong to the Muslims and any Israeli action that "offends" the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims, declared the chief of staff for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "Jerusalem is Muslim. The blessed Al Aqsa mosque and Harem Al Sharif (Temple Mount) is 100 percent Muslim. The Israelis are playing with fire when they threaten Al Aqsa with digging that is taking place," said Abbas' chief of staff Rafiq Al Husseini. The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site."

Democrats for McCain!: "We've seen poll after poll telling us that Hillary's supporters would vote for John McCain, and not Obama, if she doesn't get the nomination. Well, that prediction is already starting to come true.... What's much more fun to see happen is how the GOP Convention office is getting calls from Hillary supporters asking how they can help with his campaign."


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


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, June 05, 2008

The Leftist hatred of business again

Something that thrives by giving people what they want is deeply offensive to the Left. Coercion is what gets their rocks off. Comment on a NYT article below

In a May 28 column, Thomas Friedman wrote: "But as soon as oil prices started falling in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we let Detroit get us re-addicted to gas guzzlers, and the price steadily crept back up to where it is today."

Ah yes, the power of corporations to mesmerize the poor American consumer. This malarkey has been a pillar of liberal thought since Karl Marx was a pup. This shows a disdain for the intelligence of the average American by a tiny group of people who think they are our moral and intellectual superiors. You stupid humans are easily manipulated, the Kang and Kodos of the left say before they board their Gulfstream to head for the latest world conference on global warming.

What is remarkable is that if Detroit had all this power over th American people, why would it let Honda, Toyota, Subaru and dozens of other brands of automobiles take such a bite out of the American market? A story today in Friedman's own newspaper said: "Responding to a consumer shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles, General Motors said Tuesday that it would stop making pickup trucks and big S.U.V.s at four North American assembly plants and would consider selling its Hummer brand."

Re-addicted? My eye.

The problem is consumers dictated SUVs. Everyone complied. When gas shot up, consumers changed their minds and now GM has to shift production. Sorta like what newspapers are doing.



Brookes News Update

Consumer spending won't save the US economy: America's export boom means that more production is being directed to foreign markets. However, growth is capital accumulation - not exports. If a country is not accumulating capital it is not growing, no matter how much it exports
Why wages are not an inflationary danger: he only way a wage push could succeed without raising the unemployment rate is if the central bank expands the money supply to accommodate the new wage rates. How else could aggregate money incomes rise in such circumstances?
US living standards and productivity: Productivity is linked to real wages and not the volume of employment. So long as there is sufficient capital and land available there will always be jobs for those able and willing to work
Che Guevara on the silver screen - courtesy of Hollywood: Steven Soderbergh, a well-known Hollywood director, has just released his four-and-a-half-hour film that glorifies Che Guevara, a cowardly sadistic mass murderer. This savage blew out the brains of 14-year-old boy who had the guts to stand up to him. Could it be that Guevara's crimes are what turns on the Hollywood likes of Soderbergh and Robert Redford? Is this how they gets their kicks? It certainly looks that way
Obama pledges unilateral disarmament: he historically illiterate Obama promises to fulfill the left's dream of disarming America. To Obama's friends and limousine socialists capitalist America is the problem not tyranny. Destroy capitalism and we can all live in harmony and peace
Carbon credit markets open for business, and there is big money to be made: The carbon credit scam is in full advance around the world and that means there are trillions of dollars to be made. Finally the real reason for the new religion founded by Al Gore is becoming apparent even to those who have refused to see the truth and follow blindly into the man-made global warming abyss
American workers will pay for climate change redistribution of wealth laws: Despite 31,000 scientists debunking the idea that you and I are responsible for climate change on the planet, politicians are going forward with enactment of laws that will have disastrous effects on our economy and way of life
The largest tax increase in history is looming: Despite the fact that the Bush tax cuts reduced the marginal effective tax rate on new investment while encouraging additional investment that would raise living standards for workers, the Democrats intend to impose highest tax hike in American history. This would result in less new investment and slower growth
Israel and the asymmetrical propaganda war: Modern communications has allowed Jew-haters to run rampant with impunity. For some years emergence of anti-Semitism is making itself felt YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia and a mass of leftist blogs. The supporters of Israel need to co-ordinate their efforts to effectively refute anti-Semitic propaganda



More brilliant British bureaucracy: "The Ministry of Defence has spent more than 500 million pounds [a billion dollars] on eight Chinook helicopters that have never been flown as a result of "one of the most incompetent procurements of all time", an audit has concluded. The helicopters have been sitting in a special air-conditioned shelter for the past seven years because of a "gold-standard cockup" that meant the machines' software could not be accessed. While commanders in Afghanistan have been crying out for extra helicopters, the Chinooks - which were supposed to fly missions for Special Forces - have been lying idle in hangars in the Wiltshire countryside".

Another privileged class in Britain -- cyclists: "A traffic-dodging dash the wrong way up a one-way street may be the tempting risk for many a frustrated cyclist. But it will no longer be against the law under an experiment designed to encourage more people to switch from four wheels to two. The change - which will simply legitimise what many cyclists, including David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, do already - will be welcomed by thousands of law-abiding riders who have to take long diversions around one-way systems. Motorists, however, might be taken by surprise after failing to spot new signs at entry points and could find themselves being held liable for a collision with a bicycle." [And a homosexual Muslim cyclist can do no wrong at all, of course]

Pinning the blame for 9/11: "Less than a mile from the mournful place in Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center came crashing to the ground, in a hushed federal courthouse, a small band of Philadelphia lawyers is prying loose secrets of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. It is here that the Cozen O'Connor law firm has filed an 812-page lawsuit on behalf of U.S. and global insurance companies alleging that Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed Islamist charities nurtured and financed al-Qaeda, the author of those deadly attacks. Led by its flinty chairman and founder, Stephen Cozen, the firm has invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars to scour the world for witnesses, documents and other evidence in its attempt to hold the oil-rich desert kingdom liable for more than $5 billion in damages."


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


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, June 04, 2008

Conservatives more honest than liberals?

Leftists constantly tell us that there is no such thing as right and wrong. We should accept that they mean it

The headline may seem like a trick question - even a dangerous one - to ask during an election year. And notice, please, that I didn't ask whether certain politicians are more honest than others. (Politicians are a different species altogether.) Yet there is a striking gap between the manner in which liberals and conservatives address the issue of honesty. Consider these results:

Is it OK to cheat on your taxes? A total of 57 percent of those who described themselves as "very liberal" said yes in response to the World Values Survey, compared with only 20 percent of those who are "very conservative." When Pew Research asked whether it was "morally wrong" to cheat Uncle Sam, 86 percent of conservatives agreed, compared with only 68 percent of liberals.

Ponder this scenario, offered by the National Cultural Values Survey: "You lose your job. Your friend's company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do?" Almost half, or 49 percent, of self-described progressives would go along with the scheme, but only 21 percent of conservatives said they would. When the World Values Survey asked a similar question, the results were largely the same: Those who were very liberal were much more likely to say it was all right to get welfare benefits you didn't deserve.

The World Values Survey found that those on the left were also much more likely to say it is OK to buy goods that you know are stolen. Studies have also found that those on the left were more likely to say it was OK to drink a can of soda in a store without paying for it and to avoid the truth while negotiating the price of a car.

Another survey by Barna Research found that political liberals were two and a half times more likely to say that they illegally download or trade music for free on the Internet.

A study by professors published in the American Taxation Association's Journal of Legal Tax Research found conservative students took the issue of accounting scandals and tax evasion more seriously than their fellow liberal students. Those with a "liberal outlook" who "reject the idea of absolute truth" were more accepting of cheating at school, according to another study, involving 291 students and published in the Journal of Education for Business.

A study in the Journal of Business Ethics involving 392 college students found that stronger beliefs toward "conservatism" translated into "higher levels of ethical values." And academics concluded in the Journal of Psychology that there was a link between "political liberalism" and "lying in your own self-interest," based on a study involving 156 adults.

Liberals were more willing to "let others take the blame" for their own ethical lapses, "copy a published article" and pass it off as their own, and were more accepting of "cheating on an exam," according to still another study in the Journal of Business Ethics.

Now, I'm not suggesting that all conservatives are honest and all liberals are untrustworthy. But clearly a gap exists in the data. Why? The quick answer might be that liberals are simply being more honest about their dishonesty. However attractive this explanation might be for some, there is simply no basis for accepting this explanation. Validation studies, which attempt to figure out who misreports on academic surveys and why, has found no evidence that conservatives are less honest. Indeed, validation research indicates that Democrats tend to be less forthcoming than other groups.

The honesty gap is also not a result of "bad people" becoming liberals and "good people" becoming conservatives. In my mind, a more likely explanation is bad ideas. Modern liberalism is infused with idea that truth is relative. Surveys consistently show this. And if truth is relative, it also must follow that honesty is subjective.

Sixties organizer Saul Alinsky, who both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say inspired and influenced them, once said the effective political advocate "doesn't have a fixed truth; truth to him is relative and changing, everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist." During this political season, honesty is often in short supply. But at least we can improve things by accepting the idea that truth and honesty exist. As the late scholar Sidney Hook put it, "the easiest rationalization for the refusal to seek the truth is the denial that truth exists."



McCain threat to starve Iran of fuel

Sounds a good solution

REPUBLICAN White House candidate John McCain has threatened tough new sanctions on Iran if it fails to halt its nuclear program, advocating a bid to starve the US foe of fuel. The Arizona senator, in a speech to the powerful US-Israel lobby, also said his potential Democratic opponent Barack Obama's offer to hold presidential-level talks with Tehran was a "serious misreading of history." Senator McCain's warning came hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired off a new round of fiery rhetoric, saying he was convinced Israel would soon disappear.

The Arizona senator, who drew a standing ovation from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference, said Iran's "continued pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an unacceptable risk, a danger we cannot allow". "Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope we can talk some sense into them, we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully, effectively change the path they are on," he said.

McCain called for new international sanctions against Iran, in addition to current United Nations and unilateral measures. Iran would face curbs on its capacity to import refined gasoline, sanctions on the Bank of Iran and worldwide visa bans and asset freezes that Senator McCain said would cause a rethink by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and Mr Ahmadinejad. "A severe limit on Iranian imports of gasoline would create immediate pressure on Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to change course and to cease in the pursuit of nuclear weapons," Senator McCain said....

Earlier, Mr Ahmadinejad launched a new attack against Israel and its US ally. "I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal, is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," he said.

Senator McCain also hammered Obama on Iraq, seizing on US and Iraqi reports of the lowest monthly death toll in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003, to decry those still fighting over "yesterday's" options. "It's worth recalling that America's progress in Iraq is the direct result of the new strategy that Senator Obama opposed," said Senator McCain, a strong backer of the troop surge plan introduced last year. Senator McCain said Senator Obama's plan for a gradual withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq would cause a "catastrophe".

More here


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


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, June 03, 2008

Posting problems has been playing up. Don't forget my Mirror Sites


Learning to love McCain


Perhaps because I'm a neocon, and not a dyed-in-the-wool, native-born conservative, I look at John McCain, with all his flaws, and still think that he's a pretty darn good candidate for our time. More importantly, I think that Obama is a very dangerous candidate precisely because of the time in which we live. I therefore find disturbing the number of conservative purists who insist that they're going to teach John McCain -- and everyone else, dammit! -- a lesson, either by sitting out the election or by throwing their vote away on a third party candidate. This is a kind of political game that may be fun to play in uninteresting eras, but I think it's suicidal given the pivotal existential issues we now face.

It's easy to target John McCain's flaws. Most recently, he's managed to buy into the whole green machine just as it's becoming clear that the greenies probably rushed their fences, and leapt into hysteria well in advance of their facts. Still, whether because you view the world through green colored glasses, or because you really hate funding totalitarian governments that are hostile to America, there is a lot to be said for exploring energy alternatives. McCain's free market approach should help that effort. Also, by the time he becomes President, there should be a sufficient aggregation of rationally based information about the climate to allow McCain a graceful retreat from a foolish campaign promise.

McCain also seems to be unresponsive to the feeling ordinary Americans have that illegal immigration is a big problem. This feeling arises, not because we're all xenophobic nutcases, but because we recognize a few fundamental truths: (a) American law starts at American borders, and it is deeply destructive to society's fabric to have an immigrant's first act in this country be an illegal one; (b) a country's fundamental sovereign right is the ability to control its own borders; (c) unchecked immigration provides a perfect pathway, not merely for the field worker, but for the bomb-maker; and (d) immigrants who come here should be committed to this country and its values, and shouldn't just by moseying over to grab some illegal bucks to send to the folks back home. Nevertheless, while illegal immigrants are irritating, they're not an existential threat that can bring America to its knees within the next four years. They are a problem, but not an imminent one.

McCain may also never be absolved of the sin he committed with the McCain-Feingold Act, a legislative bit of bungling that has George Soros singing daily Hosannas. However, that's done. There is no doubt that it reflects badly on McCain's judgment, but I think it's a sin that needs to be ignored, if not forgiven, in light of the person facing McCain on the other side of the ballot box.

You see, from my point of view, this election isn't really about John McCain at all. It's about Barack Obama. Of course, it shouldn't be about Barack Obama. During a time of war and economic insecurity, one of the two presidential candidates should not be a man who has no life history, beyond a remarkable ability at self-aggrandizement, and no legislative history, despite a few years paddling about in the Illinois State Legislature and three years (count `em, three) doing absolutely nothing in the United States Senate.

That Obama is a man of no accomplishments or experience, though, doesn't mean that he hasn't managed to acquire some bad friends and bad ideas. The friends are easy to identify: Comrade . . . I mean Rev. Wright; Michelle "the Termagant" Obama; the explosive Ayers and Dohrn duo; Samantha "Hillary is a Monster" Power; Robert "Hamas" Malley; Zbigniew "the Jews are out to get me" Brzezinski; etc. Over the years, he's sought out, paid homage to, and been advised by a chilling collection of people who dislike America and are ready to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who talks the Marxist talk and walks the Marxist walk.

Obama's ideas are as unnerving as his friends. To my mind, the Jihad that Islamists have declared against us is the fundamental issue of our time. Thanks to the nature of modern asymmetrical warfare, the fact that these Jihadists number in the tens of thousands, rather than the millions, and that they're often free operators, not formal armies, does nothing to lessen the serious threat they pose to American freedoms. We've seen with our own eyes the fact that, using our own instruments of civilization, 19 determined men can kill almost 3,000 people in a matter of hours.

Nor was 9/11 an aberration, committed by the only 19 Islamic zealots on planet Earth. Whether they're using the hard sell of bloody deaths, or the soft sell of co-opting a nation's institutions and preying on its well-meant deference to other cultures and its own self-loathing, the Jihadists have a clearly defined goal -- an Islamic world - and they're very committed to effectuating that goal. And while it's true that, of the world's one billion Muslims, most are not Jihadists, the fanatic minority can still constitute a critical mass when the passive majority either cheers on the proposed revolution from the sidelines or does nothing at all. As Norman Podhoretz has already explained, this is World War IV.

I understand this. You understand this. McCain understands this. Obama, however, does not understand this. He envisions cozy chit-chats with Ahmadinejad and loving hand-holding with Hamas. There's every indication that, given his world view, he'll take Clinton's "Ah feel your pain" approach one step further, and engage in a self-abasing "I -- or, rather, America -- caused your pain." That approach failed when Carter tried it, and it's only going to fare worse the second time around.

Obama is also bound and determined to withdraw instantly from Iraq, even though the momentum has shifted completely to the American side. Even though another famous Illinois politician spoke scathingly of General McClellan for "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" at Appomattox, Obama has not learned from that painful lesson. He is adamant that he will repeat McClellan's errors and enshrine the snatching method as national policy. Every five year old understands that you don't leave the fight when it's going your way; Obama, however, does not. That is scary in and of itself.

There is one thing, though, that Obama understands with perfect clarity: the role of Supreme Court judges. He knows that they should apply compassion and empathy, without the restrictive hindrance of the outdated United States Constitution. I'm not making this up. He's said so: "I want people on the bench who have enough empathy, enough feeling, for what ordinary people are going through."

As someone unfortunate enough to litigate in a jurisdiction filled to overflowing with these empathic judicial actors, I can tell you that this approach is disastrous. First, it's unfair within the confines of a single case when the judge can ignore the law and, instead, decide a case based on the color of his underpants on any given day. Second, and more importantly, judicial activism (for that is what Obama describes) also destroys the stability necessary for a safe, strong society. It becomes impossible for people and entities to make reasoned calculations about future behavior, since they cannot rely on cases or statutes as guides. They simply have to hope that, if things go wrong, the judge before whom they appear likes them better than he likes the other guy. This is no way to run a courtroom, let alone a country.

What should concern all of us is the power a President Obama will have to effect an almost permanent change on the Supreme Court, one that will last far beyond his presidency. Those with gambling instincts point to the fact that, if anyone leaves the Court during an Obama presidency, it will be the existing liberal justices. In other words, they say, Obama, by replacing the departing liberal justices with equally liberal incoming justices, will simply be maintaining the status quo. I'm not so sanguine.

Although I preface the thought with a "God forbid," it is possible that conservative justices might leave the Court too, whether through death, illness, incapacity, or personal choice. If that's the case, Obama, backed by a compliant Democratic Congress, will be able to appoint anyone he pleases to the Court. With a solid activist majority, you can bet that, in your lifetime (as well as your children's and grandchildren's lifetimes), the Supreme Court will become the second Legislative branch, with the sole difference being that it will be completely unhindered by having to woo or be answerable to any pesky voters back home.

It's these last two points -- the War and the judiciary -- that make me feel very strongly that we have to accept John McCain as president, warts and all. While he is far from perfect, he is rock solid on the two issues that can't just be massaged away in four years. He will continue to wage war, both on the field and in the realm of ideas, against the Jihadists, and he will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices.

More here



Iranian regime again calls on Muslims to erase Israel: "Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki yesterday called on the world's Muslims to work to "erase" Israel, in the latest verbal attack by Tehran against the Jewish state. "As the Imam Khomeini said, if each Muslim even throws a bucket of water on Israel, Israel will be erased," said Mottaki in Tehran, recalling a saying by Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked international outrage when called for Israel to be "wiped from the map". While Ahmadinejad and top military commanders regularly predict the demise of Israel, such virulent attacks from the foreign ministry are relatively unusual."

Bad news for the Defeatocrats: "May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."


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


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, June 02, 2008


Science has a good reputation in our society and it has that for a good reason: It gets results. Lots of opportunistic people look on that reputation with jealous eyes, however. They want that reputation for themselves and to prop up their own beliefs. So they go into a scientific career with that somewhere in mind. And those who wish to USE science for their own ends are, sadly, very much the majority. Seekers after objective truth are an eccentric minority among scientists.

That is of course a bold statement and a sweeping accusation but, in saying that, I am speaking as an insider. In my own field of psychology, it became evident to me very early on that most of what as accepted as good psychological research was glaringly defective. So I wrote critiques of the research that I saw as defective and submitted the critiques for publication in the academic journals. Journal editors greatly dislike publishing critiques. They see critiques as "negative" rather than interesting. The points I made were so clearly right, however, that about 50% of my critiques were accepted and eventually appeared in print. See here

I was however of the view that bad research is driven out not by critiques but rather by better research. So I did a LOT of new research of my own. And that was almost all published. And it was not hard to do better research than what was generally being done. My lackasdaisical colleagues who were not really interested in truth would, for instance, hand out a bunch of questionnaires to their students and use the answers they got from that to generalize about all mankind. And they were the good guys. Lots of other psychologists would play tricks on white rats and use the results of that to generalize about all mankind.

So all I had to do to obtain more useful data than that was to use the accepted assumptions and procedures but gather my data from a properly randomized sample of the population of a major metropolitican city, such as Sydney, London or Los Angeles. And I did a lot of that. See here. That was in fact the reason my research usually got published: Because my data was so obviously better than almost anything else in the field.

But the results I got from doing the research properly were almost always greatly at variance with what was the accepted wisdom in the field. So my results, being better based, should have had considerable influence on what was believed? Right? No way! My results were, as far as I can tell, totally ignored. My colleagues just went on believing what they wanted to believe as before. My endeavour to influence their thinking by the use of facts was pissing into the wind.

So after 20 years of doing that (1970-1990), I gave up. I concentrated on my business interests and bringing up kids instead. About 5 years ago, however, I started to take an interest in the global warming theory and what I found there was very much what I was familiar with. Facts and reason did not matter. Distortion, bias and ignoring the evidence was the order of the day. Speculation was treated as fact. Climate science was no better than psychological science. And my blog GREENIE WATCH presents findings to that effect on a daily basis.

More recently, I have also taken an interest in medical science. One would hope that something as important as medical science would be pursued with high-minded objectivity and concern for truth. To expect that is however to ignore the great prestige attached to medical research. That prestige attracts egotists and knowalls as flies are attracted to honey and the result, I am sad to say, is that medical science is even worse than psychological science. I used often to accuse my colleagues in psychology of making mountains out of molehills. In medical research they make mountains out of pimples. Most of it is utter crap and dietary science is the crappiest of the crap. Logic and proper caution about inferences regularly fly out the window. There is of course good research done but the good stuff is swamped by trash. Finding the truth amid it all is a Herculean task. And I document all that daily on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog.

But the corruption in science is not random. It has a direction. Scientists tend to be pretty pleased with thermselves. They see themselves as an elite who are entitled to tell others what to do. And their conclusions in their research -- particularly in medical research and climate research -- tend to be highly prescriptive. They are constantly saying what people SHOULD do with their lives, diet etc. Sadly for them, however, most people dislike being told what to do by others and ignore the many prescriptions hurled at them.

So scientists make common cause with those people in society who want to FORCE people to do their bidding. That very often means that they become Leftists. And the direction in which scientific beliefs tend is almost invariably Leftist in some way. Leftists don't care very much about evidence nor do most scientists. What they care about is changing the behaviour of other people -- and lies and deception in that cause are just fine.

As I say, I have detailed up-close knowledge of the unscientific nature of most science in three fields: Psychology, climate science and medicine. But I have every reason to believe that other scientific disciplines are just as bad. I am already too overstretched to go into it but what I see in astrophysics is amazingly wrongheaded at times too.

But for sheer and constant dishonesty, the prizewinner has to be feminist "science". I have yet to find anything at all good in it. I have had papers published that show feminist dogma to be the reverse of the truth (e.g. here) but one is so obviously arguing with hormonal disturbance rather than with reason in that field that I generally don't waste my time on it. I can however show what I mean by way of example. Read the article immediately below and decide what you think of it. Disregard the fact that its conclusions fly in the face of 100 years of results from good psychometric research and consider it on its own merits. I think you will find that it makes a reasonable case -- though one of its conclusions -- that shootemup computer games are good for your brain -- must be seen as upsetting a few applecarts!

Then read the complete demolition of it that immediately follows it. Sad, isn't it? There is more that I could add to what appears below but what's the point? I cannot resist noting however that the surname of the feminist ninny concerned means "wisdom" in Italian. In her dreams!

Gender math gap erasable, studies suggest

It's been a long, sometimes vicious controversy: are boys better at math than girls? Some say they are, because boys tend to outscore girls in math. Opponents blame that on sexist upbringing.

New studies may be shedding light on the issue. In a nutshell, some of the latest research points to three conclusions that offer something to satisfy both sidesbut overall paint a bright picture for those eager to see more women enter mathematics and sciences. The key findings: Girls are as good at math as boys given the proper environment.

Males may have an edge in spatial thinking abilities, which are useful in mathand this advantage may be very ancient, evolutionarily speaking.

Deeprooted though this difference may be, females can surmount it with just a little work. "The socalled gender gap in math skills seems to be at least partially correlated to environmental factors," said Paola Sapienza of The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois. "The gap doesn't exist in countries in which men and women have access to similar resources and opportunities," added Sapienza, summarizing the results of a new study published in the May 30 issue of the research journal Science.

In it, Sapienza and colleagues analyzed data from more than 276,000 children in 40 countries who took an internationally standardized test of math, reading, science and problemsolving. The data came from the 2003 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Programme for International Student Assessment.

The researchers found that globally, boys outperformed girls in math by 10.5 points on average on this test. But this advantage vanished in some of the most progressive and genderequal countries such as Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

Now that the apparent good news is out, does this mean anyone who dared suggest the existence of natural gender differences in math was being sexist?

Not necessarily, if one believes other studies suggesting sexism isn't the only reason for the math gap. Some research has attributed that gap to a deeper discrepancy in spatial reasoning abilities. One new study even suggests an evolutionary reason: better spatial reasoning in males might be related to larger range size in their ancestral environment.

This discrepancy may extend all the way down the evolutionary tree to invertebrates, according to the research, which focused on cuttlefish and appears in the May 27 online issue of the research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Evidence of sex differences in spatial cognition have been reported in a wide range of vertebrate species," but never the simpler invetebrates, the authors wrote. The investigators found that male cuttlefish both range over a larger area, and have better orienting abilities than female cuttlefish. "The data conform to the predictions of the range size hypothesis," they wrote.

Nevertheless, differences in spatial cognition are easily surmountable, if one believes yet a third study, which might help explain why ultimately girls and boys can perform equally in math. Published in last October's issue of the journal Psychological Science, this study found that malefemale differences in some tasks requiring spatial skills are largely eliminated after both groups play a video game for 10 hours.

"On average, women are not quite as good at rapidly switching attention among different objects and this may be one reason why women do not do as well on spatial tasks," said the lead author, University of Toronto psychology doctoral student Jing Feng. But "both men and women can improve their spatial skills by playing a video game," he added, and "the women catch up to the men. Moreover, the improved performance of both sexes was maintained when we assessed them again after five months." The game used was a first-person shootemup game, "Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault."

The game "may cause the expression of previously inactive genes which control the development of neural [brain] connections that are necessary for spatial attention," said Ian Spence, director of the university's engineering psychology laboratory. "Clearly, something dramatic is happening in the brain" thanks to the playing.

"One important application of this research could be in helping to attract more women to the mathematical sciences and engineering," he added. "Since spatial skills play an important role in these professions, bringing the spatial skills of young women up to the level of their male counterparts could help to change the gender balance in these fields that are so important to our economic health."


And now for the demolition:

Economist says girls actually better than boys at maths. Shows no sign of it herself however...

An economist in America has published research stating that girls have at least as much innate mathematical ability as boys. Paola Sapienza contends that the fact of girls almost always doing worse in maths exams results mainly from sexual discrimination. "The math gender gap can be eliminated, and it is indeed eliminated in some countries," says Sapienza. "Our research indicates that in more gender equal societies, girls will gain an absolute advantage relative to boys."

Sapienza and her co-authors reached their conclusion by looking at boy-vs-girl maths performance in different countries, and checking this against various measures which indicate how sexually equal each country is believed to be. The maths test figures used were from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), set up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The PISA data included standardised test results from some 276,000 children in forty countries.

As for equality, various figures were used, most notably the Gender Gap Index from the World Economic Forum. This is worked out according to various measures, such as the support given to working mums, proportion of women who work, females in politcs etc. A value of zero GGI indicates "inequality" (males totally dominating; women do no work, earn no money, don't appear at all in politics etc). A GGI of 1 equals "equality" (women just the same as men in these areas).

Presumably there could exist a condition where the GGI approached infinity, in which the zero state was reversed and men were totally crushed. However, no country has even achieved a rating of 1 yet; in every nation on Earth, according to the GGI, women are disadvantaged to some degree.

Sapienza and her colleagues noted that in Iceland, girls actually beat boys by a small margin on the PISA maths tests. Iceland scores high on womens' lib, at GGI 0.78. By contrast, Turkey - where the men keep their women firmly under the thumb (GGI 0.59) - showed girls lagging. The top four countries for gender equality are all in northern Europe: Sweden, Norway and Finland are the only ones which beat Iceland. (You can see the latest rankings here (PDF)

"As a European, I'm not surprised that the top countries are the northern European," said Sapienza - who comes from Italy herself. QED, then. In the northern-Euro countries, where the human race is most nearly approaching gender equality - though not by any means there yet - girls are already outstripping boys at maths, as they often do in non-mathematical subjects. In the gender-equal society of the future, girls really could be expected to trounce the chaps on all suits. Men just aren't as intelligent as women.

Steady on, though. You can download the PISA 2006 figures here (xls spreadsheet, table 6.2c). As far as we can make out, Turkish girls aren't doing nearly as badly as Sapienza says (6 points down on the boys, not 23). Perhaps there's a typo somewhere. But there are other problems: the Icelander girls' 4-point lead is there, as noted, but it's a statistically insignificant result. That means it's within the variation you could expect from the sample with no bias present.

There is, however, one country where the girls thumped the boys at maths in a statistically significant fashion. But it's not in progressive northern Europe - it's Qatar, lying 109th in the gender-equality rankings with a GGI of 0.6 - almost as male-chauvinist as Turkey.

And what of so-progressive Finland, actually ahead of Iceland in gender equality? Boys ahead in maths by a statistically-significant 12 points. Ouch. Boys are significantly ahead in Norway, too, the second-most-gender-equal country in the world. In Germany - seventh best worldwide at gender equality - the girls are simply nowhere, a shocking 20 points down on the chaps. Indeed, very few girls anywhere lag as far behind their male contemporaries as those of progressive Germany. (Those of Austria and Colombia do, though. Both countries score higher than the USA on gender equality.)

Meanwhile, girls appear to be somewhere near equal maths performance with boys - that is, the difference between the sexes falls within expected variation - in various other places. Jordan and Kyrgyzstan rather leap to the eye, actually. Girls do fine at maths in both nations, yet these places are way down (104th and 70th) in the equality rankings.

"What are these northern European countries doing so that there is no gap?" asks Sapienza. But Norway, Germany, Denmark and Finland do show a statistically significant gap in her own chosen data set, for goodness' sake. Unlike Qatar, Jordan and Kyrgyzstan. Even for an economist, this shows a poor grasp of mathematics.

In the end boys may or may not be innately better than girls at maths, but one thing's for sure: associate professor Sapienza hasn't added anything to the debate, perhaps because she herself doesn't seem to understand maths at all.

Her twaddle can be read in the new issue of Science, or there are summaries here and with more detail here.


We've already had a fair bit of angry mail on this one. Sample quote: "To you, one word only: Moron" [many more words then followed, and indeed another email from the same person]. However, two further points: the research apparently draws on the PISA 2003 survey rather than the 2006 one, presumably explaining the discrepancy in the Turkish maths scores. Also, another reader flags up the fact that Sapienza's co-authors are all male, which makes this article "an excellent example of discrimination against women". (Sapienza is the lead author, though, and none of the others have their picture at the top of the press releases.)


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 readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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, June 01, 2008

McCain puts forward a good idea

If this gets going, the disgusting UN might simply fade away

Gaining ground this political season is a proposed League of Democracies designed to strengthen support for the next president's overseas agenda and ensure a global leadership role for the United States. John McCain, the virtually certain Republican presidential nominee, has endorsed the concept of a new global compact of more than 100 democratic countries to advance shared views and has discussed the idea with French and British leaders. "It could act where the U.N. fails to act," he said last month, and pressure tyrants "with or without Moscow's and Beijing's approval." McCain said the League might impose sanctions on Iran, relieve suffering in the Darfur region of Sudan and deal with environmental problems.

Barack Obama, who has a lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, has not taken a stand. But Anthony Lake, one of Obama's policy advisers, has spoken in favor of the idea.

Analysts at think tanks in Washington and elsewhere envision a league focused on maintaining peace and limiting U.S. military intervention, such as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. But missing so far are specific, proposed steps to turn the idea into reality, such as where to have a headquarters, who would finance the league and how its membership would be decided. "Cooperation is an absolute essential," Ivo Daalder, a national security expert at the Brookings Institution, said Thursday at a seminar.

An originator of the idea, Daalder said it would give democracies a better opportunity to reform the United Nations. "If there had been a dialogue on Iraq there would have been more rigorous containment of Saddam Hussein," possibly averting war, said Tod Lindberg, a Hoover Institution research fellow, at the seminar held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

But not all foreign policy experts support the proposal. Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at Carnegie, said "the world has no appetite for a U.S.-led league and many countries do not want the U.S. going around the U.N." In fact, Carothers said, the United States cooperates often with non-democracies in its foreign policy. China's help in trying to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program is just one example, he said.

President Bush's Iraq war policy was bitterly opposed by two leading democracies, France and Germany, among others. But Bush went ahead despite their strong objections. "It is wishful thinking" that a league of democracies would any more readily approve U.S. military intervention in support of another U.S. president, Carothers said. And while "some people like Senator McCain imagine it might become a replacement for the U.N., that is not the initial intention," Carothers said in a telephone interview after the seminar.




Windfall-profit nonsense: "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to raise the price of oil, as well as most everything else, and lower the value of the pension and mutual funds that union members and retirees depend on. Of course, they don't describe their plan that way. Instead, they call for a windfall-profits tax on the oil companies. But it's the same thing. Taxing a 'windfall' sounds appealing, but stock prices are based on expected profits. Throw a new tax on profits, and retirement portfolios of regular people take a hit."

Cowboys the rage in Paris: "They turn out in their hundreds in Stetsons and boots as hits such as the Crazy Foot Mambo and the Cowboy Strut echo around their village halls. They are drawn by a love of American culture - although definitely not American politics - and a passion for line dancing, which enables them to swing but avoid all human contact. Now country and western has become so big in France that the country's bureaucrats have decided to bring the craze under state control. The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls".

Israel sets the example: "The corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has earned Israel tremendous respect throughout the Arab world, where many have called on their leaders to benefit from Israel's democratic system and independent judicial system. Words of praise for Israel are a rare phenomenon in the Arab media. But judging from the reactions of many Arabs to the corruption case in the past week, the trend appears to have changed. Even some Arabs who describe themselves as "sworn enemies of the Zionist entity" have begun singing praise for Israel. Over the past week, the corruption case against Olmert received wide coverage in the mainstream Arab media, prompting an outcry about the need for transparency and accountability in the Arab world."

George W. Bush - Walking Away a Winner?: "We went through similar times in the early 1990's. The Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union crumbled and we won the Cold War. Yet it was beyond the typical liberal's ability to acknowledge that Ronald Reagan had anything to do with these accomplishments... We're seeing something similar happen now. In the past couple of weeks, two extremely promising news stories have sprung from the War on Terror. The situation in Iraq is looking promising, and there is a real possibility and perhaps even a likelihood that the Iraq war will leave as its legacy a remarkably civilized and progressive country by the standards of the region. More importantly, the war may leave behind a stable and humane nation that will not be hostile to American interests, one that may serve as a beacon for it neighbors. Perhaps more noteworthy is the CIA's assessment that "portrays Al Qaeda as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world"


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


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)