Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kristof of the NYT thinks he has made a great discovery

He thinks he has found a book that undermines the heritability of IQ. As I said a couple of weeks ago:

"There are always books and articles coming out that purport to show that IQ is unimportant, not hereditary and uniform across races. The research findings show the opposite but that offends against the "all men are equal" credo of the Left so the facts have to be got rid of somehow. Another such treatise has just arrived. I have not read the book and nothing in the review encourages me to do so but I assume that some of my colleagues who specialize in IQ studies will read it and dissect it in due course. Meanwhile, I just offer a few comments (In italics) that occur to me. The book is INTELLIGENCE AND HOW TO GET IT. Why Schools and Culture Count by Richard E. Nisbett. The book is actually better than most in that it is largely research-based so concedes the two major facts that always stick in Leftist craws: That IQ is important and is largely hereditary"

A point to note is that NOBODY denies that environment has SOME influence on final measured adult IQ but environment can only work within the limits set by heredity. No environment in all the world will make everybody into an Einstein. So there SHOULD be various things you can do which will raise that final adult IQ substantially. They seem very hard to find, however -- which suggests that we tend to UNDERestimate the limits set by genetics.

See my previous comments on the Nisbett work but I also do a bit of fisking of Kristoff's article below
Poor people have I.Q.’s significantly lower than those of rich people, and the awkward conventional wisdom has been that this is in large part a function of genetics. After all, a series of studies seemed to indicate that I.Q. is largely inherited. Identical twins raised apart, for example, have I.Q.’s that are remarkably similar. They are even closer on average than those of fraternal twins who grow up together.

If intelligence were deeply encoded in our genes, that would lead to the depressing conclusion that neither schooling nor antipoverty programs can accomplish much. Yet while this view of I.Q. as overwhelmingly inherited has been widely held, the evidence is growing that it is, at a practical level, profoundly wrong. Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has just demolished this view in a superb new book, “Intelligence and How to Get It,” which also offers terrific advice for addressing poverty and inequality in America.

Professor Nisbett provides suggestions for transforming your own urchins into geniuses — praise effort more than achievement, teach delayed gratification, limit reprimands and use praise to stimulate curiosity — but focuses on how to raise America’s collective I.Q. That’s important, because while I.Q. doesn’t measure pure intellect — we’re not certain exactly what it does measure [There is not the slightest mystery about what it measures. It measures general problem-solving ability] — differences do matter, and a higher I.Q. correlates to greater success in life.

Intelligence does seem to be highly inherited in middle-class households, and that’s the reason for the findings of the twins studies: very few impoverished kids were included in those studies. But Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia has conducted further research demonstrating that in poor and chaotic [black] households, I.Q. is minimally the result of genetics — because everybody is held back. [Possibly true and not unreasonable but comparable British studies do not confirm that conclusion]. “Bad environments suppress children’s [measured] I.Q.’s,” Professor Turkheimer said.

One gauge of that is that when poor children are adopted into upper-middle-class households, their I.Q.’s rise by 12 to 18 points, depending on the study. For example, a French study showed that children from poor households adopted into upper-middle-class homes averaged an I.Q. of 107 by one test and 111 by another. Their siblings who were not adopted averaged 95 on both tests. [Adoption studies suffer from the problem that only the most attractive children tend to be adopted and I doubt that the French study included many blacks. Even so, the Minnesota adoption study, which DID feature blacks, found a continuing long-term IQ deficit in black children adopted into white households]

Another indication of malleability is that I.Q. has risen sharply over time. Indeed, the average I.Q. of a person in 1917 would amount to only 73 on today’s I.Q. test. Half the population of 1917 would be considered mentally retarded by today’s measurements, Professor Nisbett says. [An old chestnut. This is the "Flynn effect". The short point to note is that BOTH black and white IQs rose. The gap did not close]

Good schooling correlates particularly closely to higher I.Q.’s. One indication of the importance of school is that children’s I.Q.’s drop or stagnate over the summer months when they are on vacation (particularly for kids whose parents don’t inflict books or summer programs on them). [mainly a motivational deficit]

Professor Nisbett strongly advocates intensive early childhood education because of its proven ability to raise I.Q. and improve long-term outcomes. The Milwaukee Project, for example, took African-American children considered at risk for mental retardation and assigned them randomly either to a control group that received no help or to a group that enjoyed intensive day care and education from 6 months of age until they left to enter first grade. By age 5, the children in the program averaged an I.Q. of 110, compared with 83 for children in the control group. Even years later in adolescence, those children were still 10 points ahead in I.Q. [I don't know that study but gains from programs like that do not last into adulthood -- as even the post below this one admits]

Professor Nisbett suggests putting less money into Head Start, which has a mixed record [to put it kindly], and more into these intensive childhood programs. He also notes that schools in the Knowledge Is Power Program (better known as KIPP) have tested exceptionally well and favors experiments to see if they can be scaled up. [KIPP is undoubtedly good at getting the best out of what potential is there]

Another proven intervention is to tell junior-high-school students that I.Q. is expandable, and that their intelligence is something they can help shape. Students exposed to that idea work harder and get better grades. That’s particularly true of girls and math, apparently because some girls assume that they are genetically disadvantaged at numbers; deprived of an excuse for failure, they excel. [Yes. Motivation is a factor -- a small one] “Some of the things that work are very cheap,” Professor Nisbett noted. “Convincing junior-high kids that intelligence is under their control — you could argue that that should be in the junior-high curriculum right now.”

The implication of this new research on intelligence is that the economic-stimulus package should also be an intellectual-stimulus program. By my calculation, if we were to push early childhood education [There is now quite a lot of evidence that early childhood education is harmful to most children in institutional settings such as kindergarten and preschool] and bolster schools in poor neighborhoods, we just might be able to raise the United States collective I.Q. by as much as one billion points. That should be a no-brainer.



More optimistic psychology from the NYT

Some seventh graders who were struggling in class did significantly better after performing a series of brief confidence-building writing exercises, and the improvements continued through eighth grade, researchers reported Thursday. The students who benefited most were blacks who were doing poorly, the study found; the exercises made no difference for white students, or for black ones who were already doing well. Experts cautioned that the writing was hardly transforming. Those who benefited were still barely getting C’s, on average, by the end of middle school.

Yet the results were surprising, because interventions to improve school performance tend to have short-term benefits, and the writing assignments were simple 15-minute efforts. By the end of eighth grade, the students who benefited had nearly a half-point higher grade point average than struggling peers who completed a different writing exercise. The study was published in the journal Science.

“A difference of a third or more on G.P.A. is a large effect, and what’s surprising is that there was apparently no fadeout of the effect,” said Greg Duncan, an economist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the research. “Fadeout is the coin of the realm in school intervention studies.” [Nisbett, take note!]


Motivation does have some effect for both good and ill but studies wherein blacks have been highly motivated to do well on tests have shown very little difference in final scores


BrookesNews Update

Can Bernanke's loose monetary policy save the US economy? : Assuming that the American economy is following the usual path of recovery this cannot last. Not just because a great number of financial imbalances have not been liquidated but because it is entirely monetary driven. The Kennedy, Reagan and Bush tax cuts added real savings to the monetary mix which deepened recovery. Now this can only end with accelerating inflation, current account problems and a depreciating dollar
Obama's union policy is poison for the US economy : Obama's defence of union demands is based an appalling ignorance of basic economics and economic history. "Any properly informed person would know that giving in to union demands is the equivalent of economic hemlock. But it's becoming clear that the Democrats' prime directive is to hang on to power whatever the cost to the economy. And if that means caving in to unions - so be it A Castro-supporting
Spanish goes after Bush administration officials with the corrupt media's tacit support : A Spanish socialist judge goes on a witch-hunt - with the encouragement of garbage like Senator Leahy - while the media carry the pitchforks. But the same judge and media went out of their way to protect Castro against prosecution for his crimes
Much Ado (Undue) about the Palins of Alaska : Elements of an elitist, leftist, mostly Eastern-based MSM fear and loathe Governor Sarah Palin - all 5' 7, 125 pounds of her traditional values, anathema to them. She threatens their collectivist goals, shared by most serious liberal Dems. And that is why these political bigots launched their hate machine against her in one of the most crooked and disgusting election campaigns in living memory. But what else does one expect from Democrats
Obama ready to give away the store, meaning the country : Obama apologized to the world for the role America played in the international financial crisis because of inadequate regulation so in his best sack cloth and ashes costume Obama has deliberately subverted our countries interests to a group of countries who don't give a whit about us and that include many that would like to take America down to their level. This is one way Obama can achieve his goal of establishing European Socialism in the United States
CNN is still libelling Israel : The anti-Semitic CNN is at it again. Israelis exercise the right to march in their own town and CNN bigots call them thugs. Why does the CNN hate Jews but loves Islamic terrorists?
Obama's alternate reality : Obama's latest complete disregard of reality is not an isolated incident. The left are adept at crafting their own reality. And any challenge to their reality is met with immediate deflection and scorn for the one who is so utterly naive that they haven't recognized that the rules, along with words, have changed


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, April 17, 2009

Obama's recipe for change not my cup of tea

Excerpt from Ann Coulter

I had no idea how important this week's nationwide anti-tax tea parties were until hearing liberals denounce them with such ferocity. The New York Times' Paul Krugman wrote a column attacking the tea parties, apologizing for making fun of "crazy people." It's OK, Paul, you're allowed to do that for the same reason Jews can make fun of Jews.

The point of the tea parties is to note the fact that the Democrats' modus operandi is to lead voters to believe they are no more likely to raise taxes than Republicans, get elected and immediately raise taxes. Apparently, the people who actually pay taxes consider this a bad idea.

Obama's biggest shortcoming is that he believes the things believed by all Democrats, which have had devastating consequences every time they are put into effect. Among these is the Democrats' admiration for raising taxes on the productive. All Democrats for the last 30 years have tried to stimulate the economy by giving "tax cuts" to people who don't pay taxes. Evidently, offering to expand welfare payments isn't a big vote-getter.

Even Bush had a "stimulus" bill that sent government checks to lots of people last year. Guess what happened? It didn't stimulate the economy. Obama's stimulus bill is the mother of all pork bills for friends of O and of Congressional Democrats. ("O" stands for Obama, not Oprah, but there's probably a lot of overlap.)

The lie at the heart of liberals' mantra on taxes – "tax increases only for the rich" – is the ineluctable fact that unless taxes are raised across the board, the government won't get its money to fund layers and layers of useless government bureaucrats, none of whom can possibly be laid off.

How much would you have to raise taxes before any of Obama's constituents noticed? They don't pay taxes, they engage in "tax-reduction" strategies, they work for the government, or they're too rich to care. (Or they have offshore tax shelters, like George Soros.)

California tried the Obama soak-the-productive "stimulus" plan years ago and was hailed as the perfect exemplar of Democratic governance. In June 2002, the liberal American Prospect magazine called California a "laboratory" for Democratic policies, noting that "California is the only one of the nation's 10 largest states that is uniformly under Democratic control." They said this, mind you, as if it were a good thing. In California, the article proclaimed, "the next new deal is in tryouts." As they say in show biz: "Thanks, we'll call you. Next!"

In just a few years, Democrats had turned California into a state – or as it's now known, a "job-free zone" – with a $41 billion deficit, a credit rating that was slashed to junk-bond status and a middle class now located in Arizona.

Democrats governed California the way Democrats always govern. They bought the votes of government workers with taxpayer-funded jobs, salaries and benefits – and then turned around and accused the productive class of "greed" for wanting not to have their taxes raised through the roof.



Huge flood of newly-created "bailout" money undermines democracy

The wise men of Washington keep finding more core beliefs that we have to give up. First it was free markets. Now it’s democracy. The financial rescue may be the least popular big-ticket government program in history. If the U.S. Treasury decides it needs more money to keep the bailout going, it is anybody’s guess whether Congress would provide it. As a result, Treasury and the Federal Reserve have been running what feels to this lifelong student of fiscal policy like a scam.

Many economists believe that helping financial institutions turn their less liquid assets into hard cash is a key step toward returning them to good footing. The best way to achieve that in a democracy would be for Congress to appropriate the funds to acquire the assets and for Treasury to borrow the money that it needs. But Congress is unwilling to appropriate enough money, so Treasury and the Fed have cooked up a work-around: the Fed buys the assets instead. Since the Fed exists outside of the normal budget process, no permission from elected officials is required.

Here’s a sketch of how it works. Many financial institutions have reserve accounts with the Fed. If one of them shows up with an asset it wants to ditch, the Fed takes it and ratchets up the balance in the reserve account. This means that the Fed is effectively summoning cash out of thin air to purchase the assets. In isolation, such a move might be inconsequential. But the scale of this end-around is enormous. The Fed’s balance sheet is closing in on $2 trillion and stands ready to skyrocket above that. Last month, for example, the Fed committed to buy more than $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities.

This means that the Fed is printing cash at a rate that, while not threatening historic records set in Weimar Germany, promises to create substantial inflationary pressures once the economy revives. Therein lies the problem. At some point, when the economy begins to pick up again, the Fed will have to withdraw some of those reserves from the system before they ignite an inflation bonfire.

Traditionally, the Fed might withdraw reserves by selling some of the Treasuries it owns. But the scale of the money creation is so grand this time that the Fed might not be able to sell enough Treasuries to meaningfully affect inflation without running up against the debt limit that Congress sets when it gives Treasury the authority to borrow money. The Fed could, in principle, sell some of the assets it has been buying -- but if these assets were liquid, the Fed wouldn’t have been buying them in the first place. Which means it may be extremely difficult to get the cash out of the economy before it is too late.

The Fed has cooked up a solution, though. Vice Chairman Donald Kohn, told an audience at the College of Wooster in Ohio that a possible solution would be for the Fed to issue its own securities, which might be called “Fed bills.” Kohn argued that a key attraction of these bills is that they wouldn’t be subject to the debt ceiling set by Congress. In other words, the Fed wants to have unbounded authority to borrow money and buy assets without the inconvenience of having to explain itself on Capitol Hill.

The actions that have been taken already may indeed necessitate granting the Fed that authority. The cash is out the door, and at some point, the Fed will have to rake it back in. Congress may have to choose between giving the Fed the authority it wants, or having the mother of all inflation episodes.

While fully legal, the steps that have been taken by Treasury and the Fed have clearly been designed to insulate those institutions from the will of Americans’ elected representatives. In that regard, the damage from these actions probably exceeds the benefits. If we accept the view that we can be democratic in some areas but not others, then democracy will wither and die.




French navy capture Somali pirate 'mother ship', US just talks: "The French navy on Wednesday intercepted a pirate "mother ship" in the Gulf of Aden and detained 11 fighters, officials said as the United States called for tougher global action against sea bandits. After Somali pirates attacked an American freighter with rocket grenades, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a four-point plan that targets pirate assets and more prosecutions in countries that have been the victims of sea hijackings. A French warship caught a "mother ship" 500 nautical miles (925 kilometres) off the Kenyan coast after tracking them from a failed attack on a Liberian-registered vessel, a French Defence Ministry spokesman said. The 10-metre (33-foot) mother ship was carrying two assault skiffs for attacks, the spokesman said, adding that the captives were being held on the warship, the Nivose. "The frigate spotted the pirates on the evening of April 14 when its helicopter intervened to thwart an attack on the merchant ship Safmarine Asia. It followed their boats overnight and intervened at dawn,'' he said. The Nivose is part of an eight-ship anti-piracy task force from France, Germany, Spain and Italy sailing under the EU banner." [Shameful to be shown up by the French. Who are the cheese-eating surrender monkeys now?]

Sarko disses the hot-air man: "France has been cooing along with everyone else over the arrival of Bo Obama at the White House, but the master of America's new First Dog is no longer in good odour with President Sarkozy. Mr Sarkozy is pouring cold water on President Obama's efforts to recast American leadership on the world stage, depicting them as unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated. Behind leaks and briefings from the Elys̩e Palace lies Mr Sarkozy's irritation at the rock-star welcome that Europe gave Mr Obama on his Europan tour earlier this month. The American President's call "to free the world of the menace of a nuclear nightmare" was hot air, Mr Sarkozy's diplomatic staff told him in a report. "It was rhetoric Рnot a speech on American security policy but an export model aimed at improving the image of the United States," they said. Most of Mr Obama's proposals had already been made by the Bush administration and Washington was dragging its feet on disarmament and treaties against nuclear proliferation, the leaked report said".

America’s red sea : “America is diving into a Marianas Trench of red ink. There is barely a digit of black anywhere on the balance sheet, and spendthrift lawmakers are closing off numerous sources of positive revenue. On the spending side of the ledger, the White House and Congress enacted a $700-billion financial bailout, followed by an earmark-laden $787-billion ’stimulus’ law and plans to ladle out $1.6 billion in federal government bonuses in 2009. Then came a $3.5 trillion ‘red sea’ FY 2010 budget, and the prospect of $9.3 trillion in total indebtedness over the coming decade. A March 31 Bloomberg study found that the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, FDIC and HUD have thus far obligated generations of Americans to $12.8 TRILLION in debt.”

Batty Britain: Teachers told to use TV show tactics in class : “Teachers should liven up their lessons by bringing game shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? into the classroom to stop children being disruptive, according to the Government’s behaviour ‘tsar.’ Games based on shows like ITV’s Blockbuster and the Radio 4 panel game Just A Minute could be used to make learning more interesting, Sir Alan Steer says in the final report of a four-year government inquiry into behaviour. Other suggestions include introducing bingo sessions, where pupils mark their cards when the teacher speaks a particular word, and Taboo, which involves describing a word or concept without mentioning certain forbidden words.”

Bishop: Demonstrate but don't disrupt: "Bishop John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, whose diocese includes the University of Notre Dame, has issued a statement urging pro-life protesters to host only peaceful and respectful demonstrations against the school's honoring of President Obama. Obama is scheduled to give the university's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate of law May 17. A spokesman from the diocese told LifeSiteNews that, contrary to news reports that misinterpreted the bishop's statement by saying that the bishop was discouraging all public protests, the bishop has no problem with peaceful and prayerful protests against the Notre Dame scandal. "I urge all Catholics and others of good will to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations against our nation's president or Notre Dame or Father John I. Jenkins, CSC," said the bishop in the April 10 statement. Bishop D'Arcy has repeatedly condemned the honor, saying that Notre Dame "has alienated itself from the Catholic community." He has said that he will boycott the ceremony."

Drunken Nation: Russia’s Depopulation Bomb: "A specter is haunting Russia today. It is not the specter of Communism—that ghost has been chained in the attic of the past—but rather of depopulation—a relentless, unremitting, and perhaps unstoppable depopulation. The mass deaths associated with the Communist era may be history, but another sort of mass death may have only just begun, as Russians practice what amounts to an ethnic self-cleansing. Since 1992, Russia’s human numbers have been progressively dwindling.... The current Russian depopulation—which began in 1992 and shows no signs of abating—was, like the previous episodes, also precipitated by events of momentous political significance: the final dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of Communist Party rule... Unlike drinking patterns prevalent in, say, Mediterranean regions—where wine is regarded as an elixir for enhancing conversation over meals and other social gatherings, and where public drunkenness carries an embarrassing stigma—mind-numbing, stupefying binge drinking of hard spirits is an accepted norm in Russia and greatly increases the danger of fatal injury through falls, traffic accidents, violent confrontations, homicide, suicide, and so on. Further, extreme binge drinking (especially of hard spirits) is associated with stress on the cardiovascular system and heightened risk of CVD [heart disease] mortality".


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, April 16, 2009


The usual attitude of contempt that Leftists have for members of the military (See e.g. here) fills me with disgust. The risks and sacrifices that are routine for the military mean nothing to sneering Leftists. I guess the military remind the Leftist of his own weakness and cowardice. The ego of a Leftist is too big to admit that the Leftist depends on the hated normal people for his safety. He has to disparage what he cannot emulate.



Shortly after class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?" The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.

At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool. They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed. The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told. The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool.

The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?" The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper. The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough. However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad.

The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!" The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill."


So much for IE8

In bright-eyed hopefulness, I have just tried to install Microsoft's IE8 browser. What a clunker! I didn't even get past the install. I have a Hewlett Packard printer/scanner/copier and the IE8 program is not compatible with it! You can see that Bill Gates is no longer in charge. Anyone with half a brain would have provided a patch to the HP software that the IE8 install program could have downloaded and applied. Since 3-in-1 machines are getting pretty common, Microsoft is for no obvious reason locking itself out of a big market. How come Firefox and Chrome have no such problems? IE8 is actually worse than IE7! Since Vista has also been a failure, I think we might be seeing the beginning of the end of Microsoft's dominance. Will Microsoft be another GM?


Obama's DHS Targets Tea Parties? Really!?!

Seriously? The Department of Homeland Security? The guys with the multi-billion dollar budget who are supposed to protect us from terrorists and other bad people are targeting the conservative grassroots tea parties? Really!?! They have nothing better to do? Really!?!

So when you think terror, you think Edmund Burke admiring, tea wasting, tax hike loathing, free speech upholding, constitution loving protestors who took the day to symbolize their opposition to the current statist agenda. Really DHS? Really?!

They even commissioned a study: The "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." No seriously, this is real, really real! So our tax dollars aren't just going to bankruptcy bound auto companies and irresponsibile banks, they're going to fight the principles America was founded on! Really DHS? Really?!

Don't you have some pirates or something to worry about...




Obama's tax reckoning coming: "The Obama administration will be hard-pressed to avoid raising taxes on the middle class, according to economists crunching federal budget numbers in the lead-up to tax return day - today, April 15. In coming years, almost all households will receive hundreds of dollars in tax cuts under proposals highlighted in Obama's first budget, but the top 0.1 percent of the population would see an average increased tax burden of $371,675, according to calculations by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Much of that revenue would pay for the tax cuts going to others. Many economists, including some who voted for Obama, do not believe that he can indefinitely avoid imposing tax increases much further down the income scale - on the middle class. "You just simply can't tax the rich enough to make this all up," said Martin A. Sullivan, a former economic aide in the Reagan administration who said he backed Obama last fall. "Especially just for getting the budget to a sustainable level, there needs to be a broad-based tax increase," said Sullivan, now a contributing editor at Tax Analysts publications. "If you want to do healthcare on top of that, almost certainly, it just makes [a middle-class tax increase] all the more certain."

Bank bailouts: Necessary? Effective? : "Call it bailout remorse. With economic signs beginning to point upward and banks returning federal rescue funds, analysts are now debating whether the government's $700 billion bailout program, known as the troubled assets relief program, or TARP, was ever necessary. Some say a normal business cycle and Federal Reserve policy, not TARP, accounts for the strong profit forecast from Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, a drop in unemployment benefit filings and several retailers predicting solid April sales. `I think there's little evidence that the TARP money that has been disbursed so far has had any measurable effect on the economy, especially when you talk about what the Fed has been doing,' said Josh Bivens, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute."

Government bonds and the inflation bomb: "China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. government bonds. But, instead of buying more of those bonds as our skyrocketing national debt leads to more bonds being issued, China has been selling some of its U.S. government bonds this year. The Chinese are no fools. They know that all this unbridled spending - even when it is called `investment' - means that inflation is coming. That in turn means that the dollars with which U.S. government bonds will be paid off will be worth a lot less than the dollars with which the bonds were bought."

Auto accidents, AIDS, contraception and the Pope: "Suppose you make cars safer by requiring seat belts, collapsible stearing columns, and other changes that make it less likely that an auto accident will kill the car's occupants. The obvious conclusion, and the one many people reach, is that the highway death rate will go down. Sam Peltzman, in a classic article, pointed out that there was no good theoretical reason to expect that to happen. Auto accidents do not simply happen; they are the result of decisions made by drivers, such as how fast to drive, how much attention to pay to driving and how much to conversations with your passengers or listening to the radio, whether to drive home or take a cab after drinking a little too much. Making cars safer lowers the cost of dangerous driving; on the margin, drivers are more willing to risk accidents the less likely accidents are to kill them. So making cars safer results in fewer deaths per accident but more accidents."

TARP the life insurers? This is nuts: "Is bailout nation about to strike again? Sure looks like it. According to a bunch of front-page news stories, life-insurance companies are about to get TARPed. This is nuts. The public is clamoring for an end to TARP and bailout nation. That's a key message coming from the heartland tea parties that are cropping up spontaneously around the country. This is turning into a real populist uprising against rising taxes (especially state, local, and property taxes), TARP, and all the federal bailouts - and the trillions of dollars of deficits and debt being used for financing. If Team Obama ignores this uprising, it has a political tin ear."

U.N. spent U.S. funds on shoddy projects: "Two United Nations agencies spent millions in U.S. money on substandard Afghanistan construction projects, including a central bank without electricity and a bridge at risk of "life threatening" collapse, according to an investigation by U.S. federal agents. The U.N. ran a "quick impact" infrastructure program from 2003 to 2006 under a $25 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.N. delivered shoddy work, diverted money to other countries and then stonewalled U.S. efforts to figure out what happened, according to a report by USAID's inspector general obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act".


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, April 15, 2009

Tax revolt a recipe for tea parties

Jenny Beth Martin remembers the day she became a protester. Her husband's business had gone under, and the two were cleaning houses in Atlanta to stay afloat. That was when they heard about a tirade against President Obama's mortgage bailout scheme by a financial news analyst calling for a modern-day Boston Tea Party revolt. "We had just lost our house and had ... moved into the rental house," says Martin, 38, whose husband Lee's temporary-employee firm had 5,000 workers before it went down in the recession. "I didn't want other people paying for my mortgage, and I wanted to prevent that in other places," she says.

What started out as a handful of people blogging about their anger over federal spending — the bailouts, the $787 billion stimulus package and Obama's budget — has grown into scores of so-called tea parties across the country. The biggest demonstration so far drew 6,000 people in Cincinnati. A nationwide protest in 500 cities and towns is scheduled for Wednesday, the deadline for filing federal income tax returns. The goal is to pressure Congress and states to reject government spending as a way out of the recession and build an anti-spending coalition around regular taxpayers. "The tea parties are a means, not an end," says lawyer Mark Meckler of Grass Valley, Calif.

The events have largely been gatherings of people venting frustration over a variety of tax issues, carrying signs such as "Tar and feather Washington" and "Spread my work ethic, not my wealth."

Reuven Avi-Yonah, a tax historian at the University of Michigan, notes that the United States was born out of a tax revolt by British colonists, but little happened in the two centuries that followed until the California property-tax revolts of the 1970s. "I don't know how much this represents popular sentiment," he says of today's tea parties. "I'm not sure that the majority of the middle class agrees or that this is going to be politically effective."

Where the tea-party protesters see irresponsible borrowers and politicians heedless of the growing federal budget deficit, others see downtrodden homeowners and public officials making tough choices. Brendan Daly, spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, says concern over the deficit is justified, but "we need to have this budget bill ... to grow our economy."

The inspiration for the tea parties was an on-air rant Feb. 19 by Rick Santelli of CNBC, who complained that Obama's $75 billion bailout of mortgage defaulters "rewarded bad behavior." As traders at the Chicago Board of Trade behind him cheered, Santelli said it was time for a new Tea Party, referring to the tax protest in 1773 by colonists who dumped chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The remarks spread quickly through e-mail and websites such as Facebook and YouTube, which has recorded more than a million views of the Santelli video clip. Organized parties soon popped up in Atlanta, Denver and St. Louis. Some attracted no more than a few dozen people. Others drew thousands.

Organizers say they were not pleased by former president George W. Bush's performance on spending, either, but what moved them from yelling at the TV to rallying in the streets was Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget, a package the Congressional Budget Office says would produce record-breaking deficits of $9.3 trillion over 10 years.

Bridgett Wagner, director of coalition relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation, sees a possible reprise of the tax revolt of the 1970s and '80s, when a California movement to slash and cap property taxes led to successful ballot measures from the West Coast to Michigan and Massachusetts. "These movements in the past have shown that when people have finally had enough, even the politicians at some point have to listen," says Wagner, calling it a "bottom-up" phenomenon.

The Information Age has given people the ability to network as never before, she says. In that sense, the Tea Party movement resembles the early days of, which began in 1998 as a small, tech-savvy liberal group and became a behemoth in Internet fundraising and rallying. "They're catching up on the tools," says Ilyse Hogue,'s spokeswoman. Hogue was dismissive of the several hundred events the Tea Party organizers plan for Wednesday, saying her group routinely mobilizes many more.

Nevertheless, Jenny Beth Martin, a former paid consultant for local Republican candidates, says the strength of the Tea Party movement is the emergence of people not known for street action. "It's not your hippie protesters," she says. "It's people who are working hard for their families and they don't want their money taken away from them to be given to people who aren't working hard."

Meckler agrees. He says, "They're supposed to energize a group of new activists, show them there are people much like themselves." Dawn Wildman of San Diego, who is organizing four tea parties, says lawmakers should not be dismissive. "We're seeing how you vote," she says. "You're not paying attention to your constituency. We put you there, and we can take you out."


Info here for those who wish to take part



Google wins one and loses one. Some hours ago, Google blocked my AUSTRALIAN POLITICS blog, allegedly for violating their "Terms of Service". But it unblocked the blog only about an hour later. That is surprisingly fast. They have blocked most of my blogs over the years and it usually takes a couple of days to lift the blocking. The economic downturn must have made them more eager to please their "customers".

But I have just noticed that Google's "Chrome" browser truncates my side column in this blog. Firefox does too, but at a different point. IE7 truncates nothing. It confirms what I have always found: That IE7 is the best browser for just reading stuff. For other things Chrome is best and for different things again Firefox is best. It's rather tedious to have to use 3 browsers to get the best results so I think I will upgrade to IE8 as soon as I get the time. Hopefully, it has the good features of all the other three browsers all in one. I can dream, can't I?

Curiously, I have in recent times been posting an extra copy of this blog using a more modern template here. It's partly paranoia about Google blocking this blog and partly the fact that it takes me only a few seconds extra to do so. And THAT copy of this blog is correctly read by all 3 browsers! Strange are the ways of the internet!



Muslim daughter killed over mini-skirt: "An Azeri immigrant in Russia's northern city of Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a mini-skirt, police said today. The man's arrest follows the detention last week of two other citizens of Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim state in the Caucasus, who confessed to murdering the girl, a university medical student. “They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles ($4140) by the girl's father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a mini-skirt,” a police source told said today. The girl was abducted on the street in Russia's second city on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and then shot twice in the head, the source said."

Clever lawyers could not get this garbage off: Music producer Phil Spector was today found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of an actress at his Hollywood mansion in 2003. A Los Angeles jury returned the verdict against Spector, 69, after a five-month retrial. Spector could spend the rest of his life behind bars after he is sentenced on May 29. The first trial ended in a jury deadlock in September 2007. Lana Clarkson, 40, a B-movie actress, died from a shot through the mouth fired from Spector's gun in the foyer of the his fake castle home on February 3, 2003 in the Alhambra community of Los Angeles. The two had met only hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub. In the second trial, the jury was given the option of finding Spector guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter. Under California law, a decision to convict or acquit must be unanimous". [But they'll probably keep appealing it until the day he dies]

A criminally stupid war on drugs : “How much misery can a policy cause before it is acknowledged as a failure and reversed? The US ‘war on drugs’ suggests there is no upper limit. The country’s implacable blend of prohibition and punitive criminal justice is wrong-headed in every way: immoral in principle, since it prosecutes victimless crimes, and in practice a disaster of remarkable proportions. Yet for a US politician to suggest wholesale reform of this brainless regime is still seen as an act of reckless self-harm.”

A new leaf? “Back in the 1980s, I pored through hundreds of pages of microfiche, the compact storage method for written material before the digital age, to research the Register’s opinions about drug laws through the decades. I found any number of editorials and columns written during the 1970s that confidently predicted that the laws against marijuana possession, cultivation and use would be repealed within a matter of years. This was in the years, remember, immediately following public release of the 1972 Shafer Commission report, headed by the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, that found that the dangers of marijuana were vastly overestimated and that attempts to prohibit its use had not only failed but had inflicted serious social harms on the country — harms far greater than the use of marijuana itself, including financing of criminal gangs and widespread disrespect for laws that were obviously unenforceable. It didn’t exactly turn out that way, did it? That’s something to remember in a period when serious discussion of the possibility of repealing or reforming America’s drug laws is at a level higher than almost anybody can remember.”

Politicians’ false health care promises: “Washington politicians are gearing up again to bring us health care reform. But as has happened so often before, the debate will be truncated and no really tough choices will be made, in order to hold together a political coalition to get a law enacted. For the politicians, passing a law is the goal. They don’t worry themselves with whether it can actually be implemented or achieve what they have promised. Most likely, they won’t even read it before voting on it.”

FDR’s anti-business crusade : “In 1938, after having spent many New Deal years signing laws that banned discounting and established cartels, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt denounced ‘the concentration of economic control’ that many of his laws promoted. He went on the attack against big employers, even though, with unemployment still in double digits, surely the top priority should have been to encourage the creation of private-sector jobs.”

Are you ruled by your cultural rulebook? : “If you’re a good Catholic you don’t eat meat on Friday. If you’re a practicing Pentecostal you might speak in tongues. If you’re a regulation issue American woman you don’t like spiders and snakes. If you’re a traditional John Wayne manly man you don’t say ‘That’s fabulous’ or wear bright pink shirts. If you really are a libertarian you don’t advocate initiation of force or the threat of force or fraud against others. These things are in the rulebooks. Once you settle on your identity you also adopt the rulebook, knowingly or not, that comes packaged with that identity. Some of these rules are perfectly reasonable. Some of these rules are merely arbitrary. Some of these rules are outright irrational. So the surmising of the rational layman comes down to this: Marxist socialist left liberal progressives fear and hate guns because the Marxist socialist left liberal progressive rulebook says they should. There is a word for people who harbor an irrational fear of guns. The word is hoplophobe. The problem here is that nobody forces Friday fish-eating on others, or arrests Glossolalia speakers, or outlaws spiders and snakes, or dictates what manly men may say or wear, or conscripts anyone into the libertarian movement. The exception to all of this is the Marxist socialist left liberal progressive, who insists that everyone must be forced to abide by the Marxist socialist left liberal progressive rulebook.”

When jurors talk back: “Jurors occupy an unusual position: They are expected to make vital decisions without being allowed to ask questions. While a trial is going on, courtroom spectators may hear from lawyers, judges, witnesses, aggrieved parties, defendants, and even court stenographers. But the people in the jury box, who hold the final power over the outcome, are required to sit as mute as the furniture. In the past few years, some courts have tried a novel idea: letting jurors actively participate instead of serving as courtroom ornamentation. The federal courts in the 7th Circuit, encompassing Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, conducted an experiment in which members of the jury sitting in civil trials were allowed to submit questions for anyone testifying. From all the evidence, justice was well served.”

What is fascism? : “Fascism, as I tell my students in my political philosophy classes, endorses absolute and arbitrary rule by a charismatic figure — Eva Peron comes to mind as the female of the species. And what these rulers promote differs, although quite a few capitalize on nationalist and racists sentiments so as to gather support from the local population. The United States of America is what is best described a mixed system, with democratic, fascist, socialist and other elements — not surprisingly, considering the incredible diverse citizenry who send representatives of a great variety of viewpoints to centers of power. Just now the fascist element is strong in Washington, especially where government’s relationship to economic affairs across the country is concerned. The signs are not difficult to spot.”


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, April 14, 2009

Obama Did Not Order the Kill That Freed Capt. Phillips

Sorry libs. Obama did not give the direct order to kill the Somali pirates. You'll have to wait another day for the cut-and-runner to earn his hero badge.
Blackfive has the real story:
I just finished listening to the press conference w/ ADM Gortney about the rescue of Captain Phillips. At the time it happened the USS Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat to calmer waters as the sea state was deteriorating. One of the pirates was on board the Bainbridge as the talks about obtaining Phillip's release continued. The lifeboat was approx. 25 m behind the Bainbridge when snipers on the fantail observed one of the pirates in the pilot house of the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 at the back of a tied up Phillips and the other two pirates on board were visible (at least shoulders and heads). The standing authority gave them clearance to engage the pirates if the life of the captain was in imminent danger. The on scene commander deemed this to be true and gave the order to fire. All three bad guys were taken out and then a rigid inflatable boat went to the lifeboat to retrieve Phillips. It is unknown at this point whether the shooters were SEALs or Marine Scout Snipers as both would have been available.

This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.

The AP is reporting that President Obama gave the order to use military force to rescue the hostage, that is misleading.
They want so desperately for the community organizer to become a real hero.



Obama's welcome in Iraq was staged

"Cheered wildly by U.S. troops", begins Jennifer Democratic Operative Loven’s AP report on Obama’s surprise visit to Iraq on Tuesday.

Quite a contrast to the silent treatment Marines gave Obama at his Camp LeJeune speech in late February. Just how did Obama manage to fix that little problem? According to a sergeant in Iraq :
We were pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up. [Via Macsmind.]

As supporting evidence for the digital-cameras part of the story, the sergeant (or Mac, can’t tell which), suggests that the identical cameras can be verified in the AP photos. Looks right:

Charles Dharapak/associated press

So will the press cover this evidence of a staged and unrepresentative show of military affection for our anti-military president? The reporters were there. Did they actually see the troops being sorted by whether they voted for Obama, which the sergeant describes as happening on the spot?

Stephen Hurst’s AP report is upfront about Obama’s fervent desire for a hero’s welcome:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama went for the defining television shot by capping his first extended foreign tour with a surprise visit to Iraq.
He got it – pictures of hundreds of U.S. troops cheering wildly as he told them it was time for the Iraqis to take charge of their own future.

Just no mention of HOW Obama managed to fake this response: Obama lovers to the front!



US government statistics about the economy are "fiddled"

All economic indicators since the Depression era—many developed using Keynes' models—have been modified over the years. Like Ptolemy's retrograde “loops” of centuries' past, the net effect is to obfuscate—the ill, real economic consequences of errant, Keynesian government policies. The rationale for these modifications has ranged from academic to economic to political. But without question, the impact of economic phenomena has increasingly been made to look “less bad” over the years.

Take for example the manner in which Consumer Price Index inflation has been modified over the years: in 1983, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' measurement was changed to exclude the cost of owning a house; in 1995, it was changed per the Boskin Commission's recommendations to remove what the body viewed as “biases” inherent in prior indicators; in 2006 the Federal Reserve Board of Governors stop measuring M3 because the figure was no longer deemed relevant.

The net result is that inflation as reported today bears little resemblance to inflation as it was reported in the rightly maligned Carter era, when inflation was in the double digits. But as reported by Joshua Holland in Dollars and Sense, under the older metrics, CPI inflation has actually averaged about 9.5 percent from 2001-2008, much higher than the 2.4 percent average reported.

Other objections to today's manufactured figures include the fact that food, energy and other commodities—deemed too volatile to accurately plot inflation trends—are excluded from “core” inflation numbers reported by the government, and thus the media. To settle all of these theoretical arguments is not the purpose of this piece, rather it is to consider the real-world implications of the manipulators' contentions.

What if the data was flawed? What would that mean, for the economy, for the government, for the markets, and for the American people? The trouble here is that government data carries with it a weight of authenticity that other data do not. If it were flawed, either somewhat or severely, the consequences would ripple economy-wide, wreaking havoc and causing distortions. Like bubbles.

Economic analyses are based on that data. Financial decisions are made based on that data. Certainly, monetary policy judgments have been made based upon that data, as noted by Gjerstad and Smith in their Wall Street Journal piece describing how manipulation of the interest rates accommodated and perpetuated the housing bubble to critical levels.

All of which affects—and harms—the American people, who just watched the value of their retirements wiped out because of that bubble, watched energy and other commodities soar last year to unaffordable levels, and watched the very solvency of the financial and credit systems tested. All as a direct result of monetary, fiscal, and other policies pursued by government.

Americans were hurt badly in the process: with their investments, at the gas pump, and by the ability of their employers to hold on to them as employees, or to even stay in business....

Modifications to economic data as reported by the government are not contained to the CPI, unfortunately. Take for example the measure of unemployment: today, unemployment (U3) as reported by the government is 8.5 percent; but under older reporting methods, the actual unemployment figures ranges anywhere from 15.6 percent to 19.8 percent depending on the method.

As noted by Dr. Martin Weiss, unemployment during the Great Depression reached 25 percent. But if current methods for reporting were used then, it would have appeared to be far less. So, it would be grossly inaccurate for anybody to suggest that today's unemployment is not nearly as bad as the Great Depression, when today's reporting method in no way resembles reporting back then.

Now, due to the—very likely deliberate—distortion the manipulators have built into the system, comparing today's data to that of years past is an apples-to-oranges contrast. For example, comparing today's inflation to Carter-era hyperinflation. The public may believe that so long as inflation is single-digit, that inflation is not a problem. Meanwhile, an apples-to-apples comparison would show something far worse than is reported.

The numbers therefore also have a propaganda value, and are often used politically to help or damage presidential administrations. And they do indeed have an impact. If inflation and unemployment are “low,” if the budget is “balanced”, or if the Gross Domestic Product “increases”, the incumbents have an advantage. In the very least, there is an incentive for the numbers to be skewed.

But now, with unemployment spiraling upward and the inflation bug almost ready to bite again, the fatal cracks in the actual economy will soon be so apparent that no amount of hiding the numbers by bureaucrats will prevent the stark realization that a catastrophe has occurred. And no amount of the orthodox Keynesian punditry declaring the patriotism of government spending, investing, paying taxes, and “talking up” the economy will be enough to convince the people that sun revolves around the Earth—or that the government creates any wealth at all.




MA: Ex-lawmaker scores state job AND full pension check : “They were just 84 words of dense, technical language buried deep in a 556-page budget bill. But each ‘pursuant,’ ’shall’ and ‘provided’ was pure gold for former state representative Timothy A. Bassett. The obscure provision passed by the Legislature in 1999 enabled Bassett to accept a high-paying job as the chairman and executive director of the Essex Regional Retirement Board without giving up a dime of his $41,000-a-year state pension from a previous job. In effect, lawmakers decreed Bassett could receive a retiree’s pension without being retired.”

Big government is the biggest business of all: “Of all the ‘big businesses’ you deal with, the federal government is the biggest. Unless you have an exceptionally large mortgage payment, your taxes (open and hidden, direct and indirect, immediate and deferred) are probably your single greatest annual personal expense. You are the ‘customer.’ Are you getting your money’s worth? Would you do business with these people at all if you had a choice? Are they offering you something you can’t live without … or just making you an offer you can’t refuse?”

Wrong to breed pedigree dogs?: “Criticizing other people who do nothing but exercise their own rights is something all of us have a right to do. But I’m becoming less and less reluctant to do so. My feeling is, if they are exercising their rights, why should I let their actions bother me? Don’t I have better things to do than be angry about what other people do with their own lives? It also seems to me we would have greater civility throughout society if people just respected each other’s rights rather than condemn and criticize each other all the time. From pointing out fashion disasters of celebrities, to mocking earnest and well-intentioned movies, to condemning people with odd lifestyles but who don’t harm anyone else, it seems to me all this negativity makes us more ill-mannered toward each other and more depressed internally. But when rights are violated, by either private criminals or State agents, I think it’s appropriate to stand up and condemn the guilty — such as death-threateners and government agents who harrass and steal from the innocent.”

The war on home-based businesses: “Many potential businesses are already forbidden to entrants without extensive resources due to prohibitive licensing requirements, a subject much examined by the Institute for Justice as they try to remedy the various laws that prohibit people from working their way out of poverty. But it is impossible to license every single field. It is impossible to prohibit home businesses. While certain fields can be forbidden or strictly regulated, the realm of human endeavor is too broad for piece-meal laws to restrict. In order to inhibit home based businesses it is necessary for there to be very broad laws to catch any endeavor not already covered by existing licensure laws. Two such bills have recently been in the congress. One has been signed into law and one is in committee.”

Get government out of the marriage business: “Polygamists have refused to acknowledge the state and its intrusion into their private affairs, and so they should. There’s no legitimate reason for the government to dispense morality edicts on what is properly the private sphere.”


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, April 13, 2009

Barack Obama: President Pantywaist - new surrender monkey on the block

President Barack Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. You name it, he blew it. What was his big deal economic programme that he was determined to drive through the G20 summit? Another massive stimulus package, globally funded and co-ordinated. Did he achieve it? Not so as you'd notice.

Barack is not the first New World ingenue to discover that European leaders will load him with praise, struggle sycophantically to be photographed with him and outdo him in Utopian rhetoric. But when it comes to the critical moment of opening their wallets - suddenly it is flag-day in Aberdeen. Okay, put the G20 down to inexperience, beginner's nerves, what you will.

On to Nato and the next big objective: to persuade the same European evasion experts that America, Britain and Canada should no longer bear the brunt of the Afghan struggle virtually unassisted. The Old World sucked through its teeth, said that was asking a lot - but, seeing it was Barack, to whom they could refuse nothing, they would graciously accede to his wishes.

So The One retired triumphant, having secured a massive contribution of 5,000 extra troops - all of them non-combatant, of course - which must really have put the wind up the Taliban, at the prospect of 5,000 more infidel cooks and bottle-washers swarming into the less hazardous regions of Afghanistan.

Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l'il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.

"Rules must be binding," declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. "Violations must be punished." (Sounds ominous.) "Words must mean something." (Why, Barack? They never did before, for you - as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show.)

President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America's missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.

Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride.



Bare-faced lies and sheer abuse from Leftists! How unsurprising

A senior British Leftist shows the form

DOWNING STREET e-mails setting out plans for a vicious smear campaign against the Tories, which last night forced the resignation of one of the prime minister’s most senior aides, are revealed today.

The e-mails, seen by The Sunday Times, expose how Gordon Brown’s head of strategy and planning wrote to a Labour spin doctor proposing a campaign of unfounded personal slurs against senior Tories. The smears, many of a sexual nature, were planned as part of a strategy to “destabilise” the opposition in the run-up to the general election.

The operation was designed to target David Cameron, the Conservative leader, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, and three other Tory MPs. The messages from Damian McBride, a long-standing Labour aide, were sent from an official No 10 e-mail address. The unfounded smears suggested: “Putting the fear of God” into Osborne by spreading rumours that he took drugs and had sex with a prostitute. Spreading rumours about the mental health of Osborne’s wife. Challenging Cameron to reveal details of an “embarrassing illness”. Accusing a gay Tory MP of promoting his partner’s business interests in the Commons.

McBride’s e-mails were sent to Derek Draper, a former aide to Lord Mandelson and prominent Labour blogger. In an indication of how serious the plan was, McBride wrote about how to “sequence” the stories for maximum impact. The messages discuss “timing and technology” for placing the rumours on the web and contain suggested links to websites and photographs that could make the allegations appear more credible.

The contents of the e-mails, which fell into the hands of Paul Staines, a political blogger, shatter Labour claims yesterday that McBride and Draper were “knocking around ideas” that were merely “juvenile and inappropriate”. At least one of the e-mails was copied to other Labour activists, including Charlie Whelan, who used to work as Brown’s spin doctor.

McBride, who was paid a six-figure salary by the taxpayer, resigned from his post last night as the attempted smear campaign was condemned by politicians from all sides. Labour MPs accused him of disgracing the party. Charles Clarke, the former home secretary, said: “Damian McBride has no place in 10 Downing Street. His actions bring shame to the Labour party.”

The e-mails were sent on January 13. The proposed slurs about Cameron, Osborne, Osborne’s wife Frances and three other Tory MPs, were designed to appear on a website called Red Rag, which McBride suggested should be advertised on LabourList, a website officially backed by the party.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said the proposed smear campaign “beggared belief” and demanded an urgent explanation from the prime minister.



U.S. budget deficit triples to $957 billion for year

March deficit hits $192 billion has receipts drop 28%, outlays rise 41%

The U.S. federal budget deficit rose to a record $956.8 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year after the government stepped up spending to cope with a recession that has depressed tax receipts, the Treasury Department reported Friday.

The deficit is well on its way to the $1.75 trillion -- or 12.3% of gross domestic product -- that the White House has estimated for the full fiscal year, which ends in September.

The deficit through the first six months is more than three times higher than it was at this time last year. The government has borrowed $1 trillion from the public so far this fiscal year.

In March, the deficit widened to $192.3 billion from $48.2 billion in March 2008. Outlays rose 41% to $321.2 billion from $227 billion, while receipts dropped 28% to $129 billion from $178.8 billion.

Receipts from individual income taxes fell 27% in March, versus year-earlier figures. Individual refunds are up 14% so far this year. Compared with a year earlier, corporate income tax receipts fell 90% to $3.4 billion.

Much of the increase in outlays in March came from extraordinary investments by the government in banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, loans to credit unions, and increased spending from the stimulus package for unemployment insurance and Medicaid. Some of those investments should be repaid over time, but the government is booking them as cash expenses for now.

In March, Fannie Mae received $15.2 billion, Freddie Mac received $30.8 billion, and unemployment benefits totaled $10.6 billion.

Through the first six months of the fiscal year, outlays are up 33% to $1.95 trillion. Receipts are down 14% to $989.8 billion. Corporate income taxes are down 57% to $56.2 billion, while individual income taxes are down 15% to $429.7 billion. Payroll taxes are up 0.3% to $430 billion.




What the University of Notre Dame conveniently forgot: "Arizona State University has decided not to award President Barack Obama an honorary degree when he delivers the commencement address there on May 13, citing his lack of “lifetime achievement.” An honorary degree is “normally awarded to someone who has been in their field for some time,” university spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told Politico. “Considering that the president is at the beginning of his presidency, his body of work is just beginning.” Obama will receive an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame when he speaks at the Catholic school’s commencement on May 17. On April 5, hundreds of anti-abortion advocates protested on the Notre Dame campus against the school's decision to award the degree to Obama. Speakers at the rally called for the honorary degree to be rescinded because Obama's stances on abortion and stem cell research are counter to Roman Catholic teachings".

The American can-do spirit is still there: "There is a state park on Hawaii's Kauai island. And this Polihale State Park has been closed since December after suffering severe flooding. In fact, the flooding was so bad that it destroyed an access road to the park. So even if you wanted to get to the Polihale State Park, you couldn't. Local residents and business owners started to get nervous. Months went by and our wonderful, all-knowing, all-powerful government did not come to the rescue. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources estimated that it would cost $4 million to fix the damages, including the access road to the park. They also said it would take two years before it would be fixed. And that was if .. in these economic times .. there was money in the budget to do so. So rather than sit around and wait for the government to do something, the people of Kauai came together and did the repairs themselves. It only took them eight days to finish all the repairs. Eight days .. compared to two years. And it didn't cost the taxpayers a dime. One volunteer said, "We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part ... Just like everyone's sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn't wait anymore." Good for them! The truly amazing of this story is that the government didn't step in and prevent these people from handling the situation themselves."

CBC: Congressional Boot-Lickers for Castro: "Congressional Black Caucus Democrats went to Cuba to see what they wanted to see. Not since New York Times reporter Walter Duranty traipsed around Stalin’s Russia, filing cheery travelogues whitewashing Communist-engineered famine, has America witnessed such disgraceful propaganda tourism. Led around by the nose by the Castro brothers, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver declared “if there is repression in Cuba we didn’t see it.” Somehow, the gulags and slums got left off the itinerary. Go figure. The CBC members saw, instead, a land of milk and honey. Fresh air and freedom. Shiny, happy people cared for by a kindly, benevolent leader"

Internet surveillance is OK when the Left do it: "The terrorist surveillance program initiated by the Bush administration was limited to international communications that involved a terrorist on at least one end. As such, as I argued here, it was well within the President's constitutional powers as delineated by the federal courts. Nevertheless, disclosure of the program drew howls of protest from the Left. For some reason, however, the Obama administration's continuation of the program has drawn no similar protests. Now we have the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which goes far beyond anything ever contemplated by the Bush administration. The most controversial provisions are Sec. 18 (2), which gives the President authority to shut down all or any portions of the internet that he may designate as "critical infrastructure information systems and networks," and Sec. 14 (b)(1), which gives the Secretary of Commerce access to "all relevant data concerning such networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access." Critics have interpreted this clause as giving the Secretary the ability to access, without any sort of search warrant, any internet communication. That looks like a reasonable interpretation, as long as the President has designated the network "critical infrastructure," which he has unfettered (and unguided) discretion to do."

Gasp! The Episcopal church believes in something other than the wonders of homosexuality!: "The Episcopal Church has defrocked Ann Holmes Redding, the Seattle Episcopal priest who announced in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim. Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, who has disciplinary authority over Redding, informed the priest of her decision in a letter today. Wolf found Redding to be "a woman of utmost integrity and their conversations over the past two years have been open, honest and respectful," according to a press release from the Diocese of Rhode Island. "However, Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim." "I am very sad," Redding had said Tuesday. "I'm sad at the loss of this cherished honor of having served as a priest." She also said she was sad at what seems to her to be a narrow vision of what the church accepts."

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, April 12, 2009

The weakling who weakens America

As Obama bows in supplication before a Saudi King then tries to spin his way out of his own actions, America is being humiliated by whelps at sea. He was just leaning, we're told, not bowing. It was because the Saudi King is short or so goes the White House spin. But the Queen of England is even shorter than the Saudi King and there was no royal navel gazing from Obama in England! Obama failed that test, indeed.

To be sure, Barack Obama is being tested just like Joe Biden said he would. But those testing him are not the sort of big state actors that Biden imagined would task the new president. They are low-tech, low-rent, unorganized pirates, not heads of state of great and dangerous nations. And this fact, that it is mere pirates testing him, is an even bigger slap in the face than it would be if it were a powerful nation or two testing President Obama.

And worse, these skinny, underfed, unorganized and ill-equipped pirates are making a fool of what is ostensibly the most powerful man in the world. And it is about to get worse if Obama allows the U.S. Navy to stand idly by as more pirates come to the scene of the standoff to float in solidarity with the four fellows holding captain Philips in that disabled power boat.

Obama has already allowed the Navy to miss one opportunity to end this standoff. Captain Richard Phillips made an escape attempt by jumping overboard and trying to make a swim for the U.S. Navy ship floating nearby. This was an ideal time for the Navy to blast the boat to pieces while the captain was in the water. The Navy could then have scooped up all five with ease. But instead, the Navy sat and did nothing as the pirates jumped into the water and dragged the captain back aboard.

Now reports have it that another pirate ship is headed to the scene to aid their four stranded comrades. Word also has it that they have other hostages in the ship with them. As it stands right now, the U.S. Navy has one hostage under its watchful eye. But soon it may have dozens to worry about.

If Obama does not task the Navy to end this situation before more pirate ships filled with more hostages get to the scene, it will be a tangle impossible to end without the loss of many hostage's lives. The French already ended one such stand off and it did cost the life of one hostage, though others were freed. But end it they did, nonetheless.

But isn’t that the worst part of it? While Obama idly sits at the picnic table watching his kids play in the White House yard the French Navy has acted. Here we have what is supposed to be the most powerful man in the world doing nothing while the French... THE FRENCH... use proper military force against these criminal pirates.

Obama is being tested from the most unlikely of sources. He is failing that test and showing the world that his "America Sucks" tour of Europe was not mere glad-handing boilerplate. Obama is proving that he means to defang the most powerful nation in the world. Obama apparently intends to hobble the United States of America. If this is not the case, he'd better step up to the plate and end this pirate outrage quickly.



Peter Schiff: The man who saw the financial ruin ahead over 2 years ago


The banks are being slowly taken over by the Obama regime

If you think privately run banks are bad, wait until you get a government-run one. Several of Australia's State Banks went bust or got into big trouble in the '80s and '90s so don't kid yourself that state-run bans are safer

Didn't Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner say that it was not the administration's intent to control private companies? Then why is it reportedly reluctant to accept TARP repayments from some banks? If it has indeed declined to accept $340 million in payments from banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California, the administration is tacitly admitting that it wants to control those banks as well as others that will try to pay back the taxpayers' money they took in the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

By refusing repayment, the government can keep the leverage it bought with the bailouts. Banks that still "owe" would not be in position to reject the administration as a "partner." This reminds us of mobsters making a small "investment" in a family-owned shop, which is not always wanted by the owners, and then using it to justify taking over the business.

Joseph DePaolo, president and CEO of Signature Bank in New York, one of the four banks making TARP repayments last week, said his company wanted to return $120 million it received because, in part, it wasn't comfortable with legislation passed that would limit compensation for salespeople. Those limits, he explained, would make it hard to recruit top professionals.

And then there's the fact that the bank didn't actually need the money. But, as we have learned, need is not relevant in the era of the bailout. Andrew Napolitano reported last week on Fox News that he had spoken to the head of a $250-billion bank the night before who said Washington forced him to take TARP funds last September.

Napolitano said this bank "has no subprime loans, it has no bad debts, wasn't involved in credit default swaps. It didn't need any money. It didn't ask for the money and didn't want it. . . . officials from both the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Treasury said if you don't take this money, we will conduct a multi-year public audit of you." The Fox News analyst said the bank's "board was forced to issue a class of stock just for the federal government. The federal government owns 2% of this huge bank."

That was done under the Bush administration. Enter the Obama White House. Last month, Napolitano said, Treasury told the bank "we own 2%, we're going to tell you how to run the place." "As a result of that minority ownership, they now want to control salaries. They want to see his books, and they want to tell him who he can do business with," Napolitano reported.

Before his trip to Europe, President Obama, according to Politico, told a group of financial institution CEOs who were unhappy with the federal war on executive salaries and bonuses, "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." At the time, that sounded like nothing more than exaggeration.

An incident at the same meeting in which Geithner declined to take a fake $25 billion TARP repayment check from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon also seemed to be meaningful.

Later, says Politico, "Dimon also insisted that he'd like to give the government's TARP money back as soon as practical . . . But Obama didn't like that idea — arguing that the system still needs government capital."

Looking back, these are small signs that reveal the administration's desire to seize command of the nation's financial system. The bigger, unmistakable sign is the reluctance — or is it outright refusal? — to take $340 million from four banks trying to be responsible and operate on their own. This shouldn't be happening in this country. The private sector and the state are not to be mixed. The American financial system is best directed by markets, not politics. Prosperity and liberty suffer when the latter excludes the former.




Only politics can save GM: "Last week, in an unenthralled summary of GM's "viability" plan, Obama's administration said: "GM earns a large share of its profits from high-margin trucks and SUVs, which are vulnerable to a continuing shift in consumer preference to smaller vehicles. Additionally, while the Chevy Volt holds promise, it will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short term." The stunning shift in consumer preferences that should make the White House's freshly minted auto experts feel vulnerable has been reported under headlines such as "Like a Rock: Hybrid Car Sales Plummet" (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 9) and "Hybrid Car Sales Go from 60 to 0 at Breakneck Speed" (Los Angeles Times, March 17). Absent $4 gasoline, customers, those nuisances with their insufferable preferences, do not want the vehicles the politicians want them to want, even with manufacturers now offering large rebates and other incentives. The two best-selling vehicles in America this year are large pickup trucks (Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado). In February, Toyota sold 13,600 Tundra and Tacoma pickups and 7,232 Priuses. It sells the Prius at a loss, which it can afford to do because it makes pots of money selling pickups. Has the Car Designer in Chief, aka the president, considered the possibility that what he calls "the cars of tomorrow" will forever be that?"

A British Catch 22: "As the divide between a burgeoning public sector and struggling private sector widens, former private sector workers are being turned away from Civil Service roles without being granted an interview. One IT business analyst, who has worked for big corporations including IBM, said that he had spent months trying to find work in the public sector. Despite being told by employment agencies that he was suitable for roles, he was denied an interview because “the relevant [local or central government] department required someone with security clearance”. He said: “On asking what I had to do to secure that clearance, I was told I could only obtain it when I had been accepted for an appointment. In other words, until I have a public sector appointment I could not obtain clearance and yet was not able to obtain clearance until I had a public sector appointment."

Housing agencies faulted in audits to get $300M of stimulus: "The federal government will soon send more than $300 million in stimulus funds to 61 housing agencies that have been repeatedly faulted by auditors for mishandling government aid, a USA TODAY review has found. The money is part of a $4 billion effort to create jobs by fixing public housing projects that have fallen into disrepair. Recipients include housing authorities in 26 states that auditors have cited for problems ranging from poor bookkeeping to money that was spent improperly, according to the review of summaries the agencies must file with the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The government has promised to closely monitor how the agencies spend the money. Still, some watchdog groups are concerned. "I think taxpayers are going to have to steel themselves to hear that a lot of this money has gone down the tubes," says Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste."

Congress gave the Obama administration permission to withhold stimulus aid from housing authorities that the Department of Housing and Urban Development lists as "troubled" because of factors such as poor maintenance and financial management. But HUD decided to release the money to these authorities because they "should have the opportunity to improve their housing," spokeswoman Donna White said.


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)