Saturday, May 09, 2009

Britain shows the fraud of socialism

They are purely destructive. They do no good even by their own criteria. They have been running Britain since 1997

The gap between rich and poor grew to record levels last year, official figures have disclosed. The number of children living in poverty rose by 100,000, the data showed, confirming Labour's failure to meet a promise to cut child poverty. The Department of Work and Pensions yesterday released income data for 2007/08, the last full financial year before the UK economy went into recession.

The data showed that while incomes for the better-off grew only slowly, they still increased more quickly than those of the poorest. Inflation also hit the incomes of the poorest disproportionately, eroding the value of their welfare payments. People are commonly defined as being in poverty when their income is only 60 per cent of the median salary in Britain. By that measure, the number of children, working-age adults and pensioners in poverty rose by 300,000 to 11.0 million in 2007/08 before housing costs are considered. After housing costs, the number in poverty rose by 200,000 to 13.5 million.

According to economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the figures mean that the Gini Coefficient, a measure of income inequality, is now at its highest level since they began compiling figures in 1961. Alastair Muriel, an IFS economist said: "Since the election, average incomes across the population have grown slowly, whilst they have fallen for the poorest." He added that the recession may see poorer households regain some ground if benefits grow more rapidly than the pay of the better off. Many companies are imposing pay freezes and even cuts on staff to cope with the downturn.

The data also dealt a heavy blow to Labour's claims on child poverty. Before housing costs are considered, the number of children in poverty remained unchanged at 2.9 million in 2007/08. After housing costs, the total increased by 100,000 to 4.0 million. In 2004/05, the figure hit a low of 3.6 million.

According to the DWP, the median weekly income in 2007/08 for a couple with two children was £601 before housing costs and £533 after housing costs. Such a couple would be considered poor if their monthly income pre-housing was £361, or £322 after housing.

The child poverty figures represent a political embarrasment for the Government and the Prime Minister. Labour in 1999 made a political pledge to eradicate child poverty, and reduce the "before housing costs" total to 1.7 billion by 2010. In 2001 Gordon Brown said to child poverty is a "scar on Britain's soul."

Ministers have already admitted that the 2010 target will be missed by around 1 million. Beverley Hughes, the Children's Minister, again admitted the target will be missed and hinted that child poverty could worsen. She said: "It is very difficult to model the impact of the recession on child poverty."

Last year's Queen's Speech promised a new legal obligation on ministers to end child poverty by 2020. Ms Hughes insisted that the government remains "absolutely committed" to that goal.

Colette Marshall, UK Director of Save the Children, said: "The Government has clearly broken its promise to lift up to three million children out of poverty in the UK. It is outrageous that so many children continue to miss out on the basic necessities most children take for granted."

Theresa May, the Conservative shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "Gordon Brown's pledge to halve child poverty by 2010 is just one of countless Labour promises that lies in tatters."




By Neal Boortz

Yesterday I gave you a Boortz economic lesson in an attempt to explain what the Barack Obama administration is trying to pull in this Chrysler bankruptcy. The latest on this story ... Thomas Lauria, a lawyer for top creditors, has officially filed a motion to stop the Chrysler bankruptcy. Lauria claims that the Obama administration has violated the Constitution by trying to devalue the senior creditors' holdings on behalf of junior creditors. What does Lauria base this on? Something called the 5th Amendment. Maybe you have heard of it. Just in case, here is a little reminder:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

But wait ... as they say ... there's more! Lauria, who represents the group referred to as the non-TARP lenders, is going to ask that the bankruptcy court keep the names of his client confidential. Why would that be? Because they have been receiving threats. You can bet that some of the threats are coming from union members. These union goons like the idea of their pension debts being given priority to Chrysler's secured lenders, and I think we all know what union goons do when something happens they don't like. There was a time not too long ago when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms noted that the number one illegal use of explosives in the United States came at the hands of union members engaged in work actions.

But there's another group threatening the secured non-TARP creditors. That would be the White House. Lauria and others have claimed that people within the Obama administration have made it clear that if any of these secured lenders get in the way of Obama's gift to the unions the White House will work to destroy their reputation. Now the White House denies this. What would you expect? But listen to the language ... Obama has attacked these people in public as being "vultures" and has painted them as evil capitalists who don't want to stand by the families of Chrysler workers. If he'll do this in public, what do you think his attack dogs will do in private?

Even if you think Obama hung the moon; even if you're now calling him the best president this country ever had; you just have to recognize the danger in the precedent that's been set here. The United Auto Workers are getting priority for their unsecured Chrysler debt simply because they are political powerful. Now just how is that going to work out for us in the future? Do you want to live in a financial world where lenders base lending decision in part on the political prominence of the borrower?

Giving unsecured creditors priority over secured lenders in bankruptcy proceedings .. now that's change you can believe in.




Obama budget cuts target military funding: "President Obama has targeted the Department of Defense to absorb more than 80 percent of the cuts he has proposed in next year's budget for discretionary programs. In its "Terminations, Reductions and Savings" booklet, which the administration released Thursday, the White House highlighted the results of the president's line-by-line scrubbing of the federal budget. The administration identified $11.5 billion in discretionary program terminations and reductions for next year. The Defense Department will take a $9.4 billion hit, constituting 82 percent of the cuts. Defense accounts for 49 percent of spending on discretionary programs, which Congress must fund each year... The $17 billion in total cuts represents less than one-half of 1 percent of the $3.6 trillion 2010 budget the president proposed in February, and it is less than 1 percent of this year's budget deficit."

Britain still printing money: "The Bank of England yesterday stepped up its aggressive campaign to end Britain’s economic slump by ordering a surprise £50 billion expansion of its radical scheme to jump-start growth by “printing money”. Much of the City was wrong-footed as the Bank announced that it would immediately increase the size of its drive to pump extra cash through the economy by buying government and corporate bonds. The unexpected move will add to the Bank’s purchases so far of £46 billion of government bonds, or gilts, and corporate debt using newly created money under the £75 billion first phase of its radical “quantitative easing” scheme. It said that it would now raise the total to be spent under the plan to £125 billion. The Bank added that the measures would run for a further three months, beyond the first phase that was due to end at the end of this month, extending the unprecedented action until the end of August."

GM draws closer to bankruptcy in first quarter: “General Motors drew closer to bankruptcy Thursday, acknowledging that its revenue fell by nearly half as car buyers worldwide steered away from showrooms for fear that the auto giant would not be around to honor its warranties. The company lost $6 billion in the first three months of the year.”

The usual Illinois corruption: “Illinois State Police troopers seized a high-performance muscle car and set it aside for the personal use of an influential police official. The Associated Press reported that a suspected drunk driver in a 2006 Dodge Charger was pulled over in January 2007. The troopers used a state seizure law to confiscate the vehicle. Once the paperwork was complete, the 425-horsepower vehicle — which had an as-new base price of $38,000 — was handed over for the personal use of Ron Cooley, 56, the Executive Director of the Illinois State Police Merit Board. Taxpayers also pick up the fuel tab for gas-guzzling 6.1 liter V-8 as he drives to and from work each day and on various business trips.”

Moving toward drug legalization: “I think we’ve got a real shot at knocking out the drug war in the near future. Ten years ago, the average person would never even consider the idea, despite the fact that such notable figures as Milton Friedman (Nobel Prize winner), Bill Buckley (noted conservative), Kurt Schmoke (mayor of Baltimore), and others were calling for an end to the drug war. Today, even though there are a still plenty of people who won’t let go of the drug war, despite its manifest failure and destructiveness, everyone would concede that drug legalization is now a credible position, one that is being debated all across the country.”

Insolvent banks should feel market discipline: “Joseph Schumpeter famously argued that the essence of capitalism was creative destruction, by which new economic structures are born from the rubble of older ones. The government stress tests on the 19 largest US banks … could have facilitated this process. The opportunity looks likely to be missed. The tests, which measure how viable banks are under adverse economic conditions, have no ‘failed’ category, even if as many as 10 are reported to need additional capital. … Once again, the question will be how the near-insolvent banks can be kept afloat, to avoid systemic risk. But the question we really should be asking is: why keep insolvent banks afloat?”

Socking stocks: “Just as the economy begins showing glimmers of a turnaround, here comes President Obama with a ‘tax-reform’ effort that’s sure to sock the stock prices and after-tax profits of many of the biggest US employers. Obama’s $190 billion business-tax hike will hit Americans whose jobs and pensions depend on these companies doing well, and will increase pressure on already struggling colleges and hospitals. Why? Because millions of individual investors hold the companies’ stocks in their portfolios, mutual funds and pension funds, as do many colleges, hospitals, museums and other institutions in their endowments.”


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, May 08, 2009

That famous journalistic "fact-checking" that makes newspapers so superior to blogs

AN Irish student's fake quote on the Wikipedia online encyclopedia has been used in newspaper obituaries around the world, the Irish Times reports. The quote was attributed to French composer Maurice Jarre who died in March. Shane Fitzgerald, 22, a final-year student studying sociology and economics at University College Dublin, told the newspaper he placed the quote on the website as an experiment when doing research on globalisation.

He quoted Oscar-winning composer Jarre as saying, "One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. "When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear."

The quote was posted on Wikipedia shortly after Jarre's death and later appeared in obituaries in major British, Indian and Australian newspapers.

Mr Fitzgerald told the newspaper he picked Wikipedia because it was something a lot of journalists look at and it can be edited by anyone.

While he was wary about the ethical implications of using someone's death as a social experiment, he had carefully generated the quote so as not to distort or taint Jarre's life, he said.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was shocked by the result of his experiment. "I didn't expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs and sites, but on mainstream quality papers? I was very surprised about," he said. He said the hoax remained undiscovered for weeks until he emailed the newspapers that had been deceived to tell them that they had published an inaccurate quote.

The Irish Times said that despite some newspapers removing the quote from their websites or carrying a correction and the fact that it had been dropped by Wikipedia, it remained intact on dozens of blogs, websites and newspapers.



Israel savages UN report on Gaza attacks

And the UN has gone very wobbly on it

ISRAELI officials lashed out yesterday at a UN report accusing the Jewish state of "negligence or recklessness" in attacks on UN facilities in the Gaza Strip during its war with Hamas in January. "The spirit of the report and its language are tendentious and entirely unbalanced," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who reportedly accused Israel of lying about the damage it caused to UN facilities in the three-week conflict, nevertheless rejected the report's call for a full and impartial investigation into the war. He tempered the report's findings by telling a press conference that Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip "faced and continue to face indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other militant groups".

The five-man inquiry commission was led by Ian Martin, a Briton who is a former head of Amnesty International. Its brief was to investigate casualties or damage involving UN facilities in Gaza but its conclusions touch on broader humanitarian issues regarding Israel's use of massive firepower in the densely populated strip.

Mr Ban refused to publish the complete 184-page report but released his own summary of it. The report accused Israel of "varying degrees of negligence or recklessness" towards UN facilities in its Gaza operation and said the deaths of civilians should be investigated under international humanitarian law...

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the report ignored the fact that Hamas and other militants had fired about 4000 rockets and mortar shells at Israel. "After eight years, we said 'enough'. We have the most moral army in the world. Responsibility lies solely with Hamas."

A central issue in the UN inquiry was a much-publicised incident at the Jabaliya refugee camp, where more than 40 civilians were reported killed inside a UN school compound by Israeli mortar fire, according to the Palestinians. UN officials in the area initially lent credence to the report. In response, Israeli officials said the army was responding to Hamas mortar fire from the compound. It eventually emerged that no Hamas fire had come from the compound and that no Israeli shells had hit the compound...

The first of the commission's 11 recommendations was that the UN seek "formal acknowledgment by the Government of Israel that its public statements alleging Palestinians fired" from within the UN school compound "were untrue and regretted". The report, however, apparently made no mention of the initial claims that Israeli shells had hit the school, causing more than 40 civilian casualties - a claim supported at the time by a UN agency - which were also untrue...

"When we saw the summary of the report, we were appalled," said an Israeli official to the news agency YNet. "It was written as if they didn't listen, didn't understand, maybe didn't want to understand."



Nigel Farage, the Leader of the UK Independence Party, gets the European Parliament right

This is one of the best political speeches I have heard for a long time. Do American politicians ever speak so frankly and forcefully? I think the GOP should recruit him, myself. He is referring to the Fascistic decision by the EU parliament to act as if their huge new "constitution" had been approved by the voters when in fact majorities in France, Ireland and Nederland (Holland) have rejected it at the ballot box

He points out that abuse is all they have to offer when he points out the impropriety of their actions. Sound familiar?

"A complete shower" is British slang meaning a group of completely incompetent and useless failures. It originated in the British armed forces where its unabbreviated version was "A complete shower of sh*t". I wonder how the EU translators translated it? It probably stumped them. All of the Anglospheric countries have rich slang vocabularies that are not usually in the dictionaries and which are not fully understood even in other Anglospheric countries. If I had been giving the speech above, I might well have called the EU parliament "a mob of drongoes", which is a rough translation into Australian English of Farage's remark.

Farage's UKIP is a minor British conservative party because the mainstream Tories include a substantial number of Europe-lovers. UKIP wants Britain out of the EU. I personally think that membership of NAFTA would suit Britain better than membership of the EU.



Klaus vetoes Czech approval of Lisbon Treaty: “The Czech President Vaclav Klaus said he would not ratify the Lisbon Treaty after it was approved by the senate yesterday, raising a new obstacle to plans to reform the EU. Mr Klaus explained that he would not sign the treaty because of its rejection by Irish voters last year and an expected court challenge in the Czech Republic.”

Pentagon to add 20,000 more bureaucrats: “Under pressure to overhaul its troubled weapons-buying process, the U.S. Defense Department is planning to add 20,000 new federal jobs over five years to reinforce its ability to handle contracts, cost estimates and oversight, the deputy defense secretary said Wednesday. William Lynn told the Senate Armed Services Committee that as the department increases personnel, it also will move toward more fixed-price contracts, scrutinize programs more closely and link incentive payments to contractors’ performance.”

Report: FBI slow to update terror watchlist: "The FBI has been slow to update the national terror suspect watchlist — and the lapses pose real risks to U.S. security, a Justice Department audit has found. A report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Glenn Fine, found that 12 terror suspects who were either not watchlisted or were slow to be added to the list may have traveled into or out of the United States during the period when they were not placed on the list.”

Trickle-down corruption: “The White House, as a matter of policy, is rewriting legal contracts, picking winners (mostly labor unions and mortgage defaulters) and singling out losers (evil ’speculators’), while much of the media continue to ponder whether Obama is already a greater president than FDR. If a Republican administration, staffed with cronies from Goldman Sachs and Citibank, were cutting special deals for its political allies, I suspect we’d be hearing fewer FDR analogies and more nouns ending with the suffix ‘gate.’”

Britain got there first: "General Motors is now co-owned by the American taxpayer and labor unions. As a Briton, I find this development astonishing. It repeats the mistakes of the 1970s Labor government, which essentially killed off the British auto industry. America should avoid the same mistake. By the late 1960s, most of Britain’s famous motor industry names—including Rover, Austin, Morris, Triumph and Jaguar—had consolidated into a “Big Two”: British Motor Holdings (BMH) and Leyland Motor Corporation (LMC). LMC was profitable; BMH was not. BMH was trying to sell cars that reflected the tastes of a bygone era—its Morris Minor, for example, had been designed in 1948. Foreign-owned companies were making cars in the UK that were more to the buying public’s taste, like the famous Ford Cortina, which gave much better performance and fuel economy. Sound familiar? In 1968, the Labor government encouraged the merger of BMH and LMC into British Leyland Motor Company (BL). This company maintained production of a variety of brands that competed against each other, and engaged in a research and development crash program to develop new cars that people would actually want to buy. The results were the Morris Marina, a car that my family happily bought and even more happily discarded, and the Austin Allegro. Both models sold strongly, on the basis that they were British (huzzah!), but in the end their shoddy design destroyed the reputation of British automaking.... All these struggles bought was time. The company was simply not viable. Ironically, today the most productive car plant in Europe is in my home town of Sunderland, where 5,000 workers build 330,000 Nissan cars a year. There are still around 250,000 people employed in the design and manufacture of vehicles in the UK, more than BL employed in Mrs. Thatcher’s time.

Increase trade with Korea, check China: “The People’s Republic of China is ever more confident, challenging U.S. naval ships in the South China Sea and the U.S. dollar in international forums. China has displaced America as the No. 1 trading partner with leading East Asian states. How do the Obama administration and Democratic Congress respond? By retreating economically from the region. Barack Obama called the U.S.-South Korean free trade agreement ‘badly flawed’ and urged the Bush administration not to even submit it for ratification. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk calls the agreement ‘unacceptable.’ Although increased trade with South Korea is ‘one of the biggest opportunities we have,’ he affirms that the administration ‘will step away from that if we don’t get it right.’ This policy represents economic and geostrategic folly. Washington should be expanding American investment and trade opportunities in East Asia. The starting point should be to ratify the South Korean trade agreement.”


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, May 07, 2009

Jesus on Property Rights and Resource Preservation

Perhaps the most important proposition in the economics of property rights is that people will not care for a resource they do not own as well as they will care for a resource they do own. It is amazing how much fashionable economic belief — for example, nearly everything ever advanced in support of socialism, as well as the bulk of what passes for environmentalist policy proposals — fails to take adequate account of this virtually axiomatic proposition.

But don’t take my word for it — or even the word of any of my illustrious former collegues at the University of Washington. Take the word of Jesus of Nazareth.

In the tenth chapter of the Gospel According to John, Jesus is trying to make a point, but his listeners are not getting it, so he finally gives them a parable he can be sure they will understand (verses 11-13):
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away — and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.

Hired hands must be monitored closely if the owner is to prevent them from diminishing or destroying the value of the capital he has provided for them to work with. In postbellum southern agriculture, for example, plantation owners monitored sharecroppers, to whom they furnished mules, more closely than they monitored tenants who furnished their own mules.



Don't Confuse Justice and Charity

by Michael Medved

I was very pleased to read the article below as it largely echoes a point I made in 2006. The text I used was, however, Exodus 23:3. But to find it repeated in the "Second Law" (Deuteronomy) is of course no surprise -- JR

The core mistake of liberalism involves the confusion of charity and justice. How do we know it’s a disastrous error to blur the distinction between these two timeless virtues? Because the Bible specifically warns us against it.

Last Saturday, Jewish people around the world read Leviticus 19:15 as part of the weekly “Torah Portion” – the specific segment of the Five Books of Moses assigned since ancient times for synagogue recitation on this particular Sabbath of the calendar. The text declares (in the best modern translation): “You shall not commit a perversion of justice; you shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor the great; with righteousness shall you judge your fellow.”

The unmistakable commandment to avoid favoring the poor comes as something of a shock: doesn’t the Bible, and especially the New Testament, repeatedly remind us to deal generously with the less fortunate, and to care for widows, orphans and paupers in general?

The truth is that the Bible – both Old and New Testament—views compassion as a personal obligation rather than a public priority for governmental or judicial policy. The all important warning against tilting the scales of justice toward the poor appears just three verses before the most famous single injunction in all of Scripture: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus, 19:18).The juxtaposition of God’s directives makes it clear that not even love for your neighbor can allow “perversion of justice.” Justice and charity must remain distinct—not just separate, but in some ways opposite polarities.

The importance of this distinction particularly concerned the great Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Ytizchaki, 1040-1105), considered the most authoritative expositor of millennia-old oral traditions on the Biblical text. More than 900 years ago, Rashi addressed the verse in question and faced the puzzle of why the Bible forbids bias on behalf of the poor even before it forbids favoritism for the rich. “You shall not say, ‘This man is poor, and the rich man is obliged to support him,” the eminent Rabbi wrote. A judge is strictly prohibited from saying “I shall favor the poor man in this suit, and thus he will make a respectable living.” As a 20th Century rabbi (Nosson Scherman) succinctly summarized the point: “The Torah insists that justice be rendered honestly; charity may not interfere with it.”

Ironically, the Jewish world focused on this point this year in precisely the same week (the first Sabbath in May) in which President Obama faced his first opportunity to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court of the United States. In some of his campaign comments about criteria for such an appointment, the future president specifically indicated he wanted a judge with a “heart” for the poor and downtrodden, and who would concentrate on their specific interests and needs—in other words, precisely the sort of jurist prohibited by Leviticus.

Allowing justice to be twisted by emotions of sympathy for the unfortunate is no less corrupting than bending toward the rich and powerful out of a sense of awe or admiration, or in hopes of personal advancement. In both cases, feelings block the scrupulous application of rules of logic and fairness. In both cases, Jewish tradition suggests that the judge (or any other government official) has been, in effect, bribed.

On this point, leaders of the liberal Jewish establishment would no doubt object to the whole line of scripture-based reasoning, making the point that the Hebrew word for justice – “tzedek” – is directly related to the colloquial term for charity – “tzedaka.” This linguistic point has allowed many generations of Jewish fundraisers to make the pitch that for us, charitable giving isn’t a matter of special kindness or generosity, but an obligation of simple justice. As the Book of Deuteronomy (16:20) famously and resonantly declares: “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.”

Actually, the better translation for this celebrated phrase (“Tzedek, tzedek teerdof” in Hebrew) would be “Righteousness, righteousness you should pursue.” When the book of Leviticus bans bias toward the poor as a “perversion of justice” the word used isn’t “tzedek” (best rendered as “righteousness”) but rather “Mishpat” (best rendered as “law” or “judgment”). Righteousness constitutes a personal goal for each individual – and very much includes charitable giving, and acts of loving-kindness for the impoverished and powerless. “Law” (or “judgment”) on the other hand describes an expression of organized society or governmental authority, which should treat all society’s members, rich and poor alike, in a non-prejudicial and neutral manner.

This distinction between personal obligations and official policy brings important implications for current controversies. As individuals, we should never try to look on Bill Gates and a homeless beggar as equally deserving of our sympathy or generosity. At the same time, twisting the law or administrative policy to favor the beggar in a dispute with Bill Gates would require the same abandonment of impartiality as privileging the Software Sultan over the pauper.

Does this mean that a system of progressive taxation constitutes the blurring of justice and charity that the Bible decries? The answer is almost certainly yes, and helps explain why so many conservatives yearn for a system of flat taxes or consumption taxes to replace the current nightmare of the IRS. This doesn’t mean that Mr. Gates would ever pay the same tax bill as our imaginary homeless gent--- if they both paid 10%, Mr. Microsoft would still pay vastly more in precisely the same ratio that he earned vastly more. But a system under which top earners get slammed with a 39.6% rate (as they will if Obama lets Bush tax cuts lapse, as promised) and struggling householders pay nothing, but actually get checks from the government totaling thousands of dollars (through the Earned Income Tax Credit and other scams), very clearly represents a society organized to favor the poor in a way that violates unbiased justice.

At a time when the outspoken religious left wants to claim scriptural sanction for its redistributionist schemes, when President Obama searches for a judge who will follow her compassionate heart rather than the Constitution, it’s appropriate to recall the timeless and necessary Biblical separation between public justice and private compassion.




"Torture" lawyers not likely to be charged: “Bush administration lawyers who approved harsh interrogation techniques of terror suspects should not face criminal charges, Justice Department investigators say in a draft report that recommends two of the three attorneys face possible professional sanctions. The recommendations come after an Obama administration decision last month to make public legal memos authorizing the use of harsh interrogation methods but not to prosecute CIA interrogators who followed advice outlined in the memos.”

DHS: “Lexicon” source a “maverick office”: “The Department of Homeland Security is reining in a ‘maverick’ division of the agency following criticism of a report it issued that details domestic ‘extremists’ ranging from anti-tax movements to pro-environment groups, a DHS official told FOX News on Tuesday. The report, released in March and recalled within hours, was on top of a controversial document the same office produced last month that said U.S. veterans were ripe for recruitment by terrorist groups. The quickly withdrawn report, titled the ‘Domestic Extremism Lexicon,’ comes from the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the same unit that produced the report on right-wing extremists recruiting vets. The document, first uncovered by The Washington Times, uses a broad brush to define terms used when analyzing dozens of supposedly extremist ideologies inside the United States.”

Obama is exactly wrong: "In the Austrian view, depressions come about because expansion of bank credit results in malinvestments. Because these need to be liquidated, the government should follow a "do nothing" policy that allows the market to return to normal conditions. When this policy was followed, recovery from depression took no more than a few years, in the 1873 depression, in contrast to the total failure to recover during the New Deal. The results were even better in the 1920–1921 depression, when both Wilson and Harding slashed government spending: "the 1920–1921 depression was so short-lived that most Americans today are unaware of its existence."

Can Obama be called an economic fascist? : “It is dangerous in this day and age to use the word ‘fascism’ lightly. Liberals sling around the term ‘fascism’ without regard to its meaning — for the left, ‘fascism’ applies to everything from religious social perspectives to conservative tax cut prescriptions. But economic fascism has a precise, defined meaning. And Barack Obama’s economic policy fulfills that meaning in every conceivable way.”

Overeducated redneck: “I’m generally certain that I’m considerably more intelligent, educated, and informed than those calling me ignorant (and for that matter, they are almost certainly racists whether they realize it or not; and I am definitely not; but that’s another post entirely); but that doesn’t address the point I want to make here. To these people, redneck is an insult. So is ‘cowboy’ for that matter, or really anything to do with rural America or ‘country.’ This is of course another form of class warfare, and identity politics. By calling me a redneck, they believe they are dismissing me, my ideas, my opinions, and the facts I present; as not credible, irrelevant, or below them. Well … to me, call me a redneck, and that’s a compliment. They didn’t intend it that way, but it is.”


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, May 06, 2009

Capitalism Mafia style is now the system

Listening to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, we get a sense of the "new capitalism" that our new Democratic leadership tells us America needs.

Frank recently praised Bank of America chairman (now ex-chairman) Ken Lewis for acting in "the public interest" for caving in to bribes and threats from former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke regarding B of A's takeover of Merrill Lynch. Lewis wanted to back out the deal last year when he discovered the massive scope of Merrill's losses. But Paulson and Bernanke decided that Merrill shouldn't fail, so they bribed Lewis with $20 billion of taxpayer funds, instructed him to conceal the agreement from his shareholders, and told him his job would be on the line if he didn't play ball -- which he did.

These sordid details have come to light in an investigation being conducted by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. So if such behavior is what Barney Frank calls economic patriotism, what might constitute subversive behavior?

When Congress moved last year to politically engineer changes in terms of existing mortgages in the name of bailing out distressed homeowners, Bill Frey, who manages a fund that holds mortgage-backed securities, protested. Frey told the New York Times, "Any investor in mortgage-backed securities has a right to insist that their contract be enforced."

Contracts? Private property? That's the old capitalism. Frank fired off a letter to Frey saying he was "outraged...that you are actively opposing our efforts to achieve diminution in foreclosures by voluntary efforts." Frank then clarified his idea of "voluntary" by summoning Frey to testify in Washington, noting that "if this cannot be arranged on a voluntary basis, then we will pursue further steps."

The House has passed legislation, which is now in the Senate, containing Frank's idea of "diminution in foreclosures by voluntary efforts." It amounts to -- what a surprise -- taxpayer funded bribes to abrogate existing mortgage contracts and provisions for legal protection for doing so. Frey and others managing funds for investors holding billions in mortgage-backed securities are fighting back. We're not talking Bernie Madoff here. We're talking about funds that have invested in these securities on behalf of pension funds and 401Ks.

Financial institutions -- banks like B of A and Wells Fargo -- originate mortgages and then sell them off to be sliced and diced up into bonds that individual investors can purchase. This financial innovation has been a boon for providing capital and liquidity to our mortgage markets. The originating bank, however, stays in the picture to service the loan, collecting and processing the payments. Contractual agreements exist between the bank and the bondholders that this will be done in good faith, according to the terms of the original mortgage.

For a host of reasons, mostly massive government meddling and social engineering, the mortgage market exploded and thus, we've got homeowners who can't make payments. The House passed bill proposes to bail these folks out by paying banks servicing the mortgages $1000 for each one they re-finance, cutting interest rates and payments. Those who actually own the loans -- the bondholders -- are left out to pasture. And, the bill protects servicing banks from lawsuits to which they would normally be exposed for breaking their contracts.

So taxpayers will subsidize banks to refinance the bad loans they originated but no longer own, homeowners who borrowed beyond their means get bailed out, and investors -- the bondholders -- are left to bear the costs. On top of this, many of these same banks originated second mortgages on these same homes. The second mortgages, which the banks still own, bear even higher interest rates because they are allegedly more risky. Yet, they will be left secure and undisturbed.

Aside from the costs that our society will bear as law and contracts no longer have meaning, Frey rightly points out that it all will just make future mortgage borrowing more expensive. Who will take risks to lend when politicians can change contracts at the drop of a hat?

Welcome to the new capitalism. Where politicians rule, irresponsible behavior is rewarded, and theft is legal.



Shipping Jobs Overseas?

A common refrain among protectionists, economic nationalists and other advocates of strong government intervention in the economy is that so-called “big corporations” are “shipping jobs overseas.” This charge is used particularly often with regards to manufacturing jobs, where the specter of jobs fleeing en masse to China, India and Mexico is described in breathless terms.

Whether the goal is “renegotiating” (or ending altogether) free trade agreements like NAFTA, bailouts of domestic industries or some sort of tax code manipulation to “reward” companies who “create American jobs,” the bogeyman of choice is what Ross Perot dubbed the “giant sucking sound” in the 1990s—particularly when a politician is campaigning in former manufacturing centers in Rust Belt areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Along with the loss of jobs themselves, the so-called “trade deficit” is often mentioned, noting that it is at record highs and that it somehow signifies loss of American jobs and a manufacturing base; foreign capital investment is often also a target of political derision.

The facts, however, continue to show otherwise. As documented by the pro-trade Center for Trade Policy Studies, foreign investment by multi-national companies tends to be focused on opening up new markets to goods and services—to making these companies more profitable by reaching new customers—rather than a method for shipping out American jobs and moving capital out of the United States.

One by one, Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies Dan Griswold’s research punctures the myths promulgated by the anti-trade crowd. Worried about the U.S. manufacturing base moving factories to China, India and Mexico? Then consider this: “Between 2003 and 2007, U.S. manufacturing companies sent an average of $2 billion a year in direct investment to China and $1.9 billion to Mexico”; meanwhile, U.S. corporations were investing $165 billion per year in the USA. An additional $15 billion per year was being invested in manufacturing in the United States by foreign corporations during this time. These data show that while, yes, American companies were spreading their manufacturing wings overseas, they were investing more than 80 times as much here at home.

But what about the loss of manufacturing jobs? True, the U.S. workforce employed in manufacturing shrank by 3 million in the years 2000-2006. But as shown above, corporations were making capital investments in the United States; those investments, rather than workers, were in technology and automation. Those jobs weren’t being shipped overseas, they were being replaced with more efficient technology, creating other high-tech jobs elsewhere in the labor market. Meanwhile, “an increase in 172,000 jobs at U.S.-owned affiliates in China was partially offset by an actual decline of almost 100,000 jobs at affiliates in Mexico.”

One by one, the justifications for increased government intrusion in the marketplace fall by the wayside when examined more closely, when facts are employed rather than innuendo. A free market and free trade, unencumbered by government interference, management or directives is still the best way to promote prosperity.




Rather silly PC guesswork: Fragments of bone from Europe of around 40,000 years ago have been used to "reconstruct" what ancient Europeans looked like. The reconstructor has given his reconstruction brown skin even though modern Europeans are all pale-skinned and he admits that there is no way of determining the skin colour from the bone fragments.

I have put up a few things on my Paralipomena blog in the last few weeks -- for anybody who fancies a bit of offbeat reading.

Some charming Muslim on Muslim action: "At least 41 people have been killed in an attack on a wedding party in a village in southeast Turkey, an official from the governor's office said. At least three others were wounded in the shooting in the village of Bilge, the official, who requested anonymity, said. In Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was briefed about the incident by Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Anatolia news agency reported. There was no official word on who might be behind the shooting. Separatist Kurdish rebels are active in southeast Turkey, where they have waged a 24-year campaign for self-rule. Blood feuds are also frequent in the region." [It's all Israel's fault, of course]

Communists lose one in Nepal: "Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda announced his resignation yesterday, plunging the country into a political crisis triggered by a stand-off between his ex-rebels and the army chief. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Prachanda said he was stepping down in response to an "unconstitutional and undemocratic" move by Nepal's President to stop the elected Maoist Government from sacking the head of the army. He also warned that the impoverished nation's 2006 peace deal, which ended a decade of civil war, was at risk. The Maoist Government on Sunday fired the army chief, General Rookmangud Katawal, for refusing to integrate 19,000 former Maoist rebel soldiers into the regular army, as stipulated by the peace accord. But President Ram Baran Yadav, a member of the main opposition party, yesterday told the head of the army - traditionally a bastion of Nepal's elite and the former monarchy - to stay put. "The move by the President is an attack on this infant democracy and the peace process," said Mr Prachanda, a former school teacher who led the insurgency before signing up for peace. Since the elections, the Maoists have managed to carry through with their pledge to abolish the monarchy but complain Nepal's traditional ruling elite is blocking other key reforms. Centrist parties, meanwhile, appear to have sided with the army against what they see as an attempt by the Maoists to assume dictatorial powers."

House Democrats leave Gitmo closing money out of bill: “Amid fears that terror suspects could be brought to the U.S., House Democrats on Monday rebuffed the Obama administration’s request for $50 million to relocate prisoners from the detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., dropped the request from a $94.2 billion measure funding military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan through the fall.”

ACORN charged in voter fraud case: “Nevada authorities filed criminal charges Monday against the political advocacy group ACORN and two former employees, alleging they illegally paid canvassers to sign up new voters during last year’s presidential campaign. ACORN denied the charges and said it would defend itself in court. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had a handbook and policies requiring employees in Las Vegas to sign up 20 new voters per day to keep their $8- to $9-per-hour jobs.”

Congress leery of Obama’s plan on tax loopholes: “President Barack Obama promised sternly on Monday to crack down on companies ‘that ship jobs overseas’ and duck U.S. taxes with offshore havens. It won’t be easy. Democrats have been fighting — and losing — this battle since John F. Kennedy made a similar proposal in 1961. Obama’s proposal to close tax loopholes was a reliable applause line during the presidential campaign, but it got a lukewarm response Monday from Capitol Hill.” [Any guesses about how much money Congressmen have got offshore? You've got to put bribes SOMEWHERE! Only William Jefferson was silly enough to put it in his freezer]

Obama’s empathetic judicial poison: “Barack Obama’s statement that ‘empathy’ would be a key qualification he’d look for in a nominee to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court is not simply soft liberal thinking, it’s a direct attack on the rule of law, an abrogation of Obama’s oath of office — and entirely consistent with Obama’s prior statements.”

White House Council on Men and Boys: The right thing to do: “One of the greatest failings of the Great Society programs of the 1960s was the devastating blow they dealt to low-income African-American families. And it’s no secret how all this happened. Thanks to President Johnson’s signature legislation, newly-minted social welfare programs provided an array of services and benefits that were designed to help single moms. But these programs proved to afford powerful incentives for women to become pregnant, and then make sure the dad didn’t hang around too long. The effects were devastating as they were dramatic.”

High-speed rail is no solution: “The facts do not bear out several aspects of President Barack Obama’s desire to push high-speed rail projects with federal resources ($8 billion in the economic stimulus package, another $5 billion in his 2010 budget) — chiefly, that the rail projects are more efficient and more environmentally friendly than modes of travel now widely in use. Saving energy and reducing pollution are worthy goals, and if high-speed trains could achieve these goals, the president’s plan might be a good one. But since they cannot, it isn’t.”


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, May 05, 2009

Civil Rights Commission Members Urge “NO” Vote on Federal Hate Crimes Bill

There is little doubt that this bill will soon become law. As the article below points out, however, the implications are alarming

Four members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission urged Congress not to pass the federal hate crimes bill (H.R. 1913). In an April 29 letter to Congressional leaders, they point out that it would circumvent Constitutional protections against double jeopardy, giving the federal government the power to reprosecute people in federal court even after they have been found innocent of rape and other “hate crimes” in state court:

“We believe that LLEHCPA will do little good and a great deal of harm. Its most important effect will be to allow federal authorities to re-prosecute a broad category of defendants who have already been acquitted by state juries–as in the Rodney King and Crown Heights cases more than a decade ago.”

“We regard the broad federalization of crime as a menace to civil liberties. There is no better place to draw the line on that process than with a bill that purports to protect civil rights.”

“While the title of LLEHCPA suggests that it will apply only to “hate crimes,” the actual criminal prohibitions contained in it do not require that the defendant be inspired by hatred or ill will in order to convict. It is sufficient if he acts “because of” someone’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Consider:

*Rapists are seldom indifferent to the gender of their victims. They are virtually always chosen “because of” their gender.

*A robber might well steal only from women or the disabled because, in general, they are less able to defend themselves. Literally, they are chosen “because of” their gender or disability.”

“If all rape and many other crimes that do not rise to the level of a “hate crime” in the minds of ordinary Americans are covered by LLEHCPA, then prosecutors will have “two bites at the apple” for a very large number of crimes.”

We wrote earlier about how backers of the federal hate-crimes bill want to use it to reprosecute people who have already been found innocent, and to prosecute people whom state prosecutors decline to charge because the evidence against them is so weak. Supporters of the bill have given only lame rationalizations for why state not-guilty verdicts should not be respected. (Some have even made the strange claim that the defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case, whom the North Carolina attorney general later admitted were actually innocent, should have been reprosecuted in federal court).

Such reprosecutions fall within a loophole in Constitutional protections against double jeopardy known as the “dual sovereignty” doctrine. But ironically, they violate Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — a treaty that many of the bill’s backers harp on to push liberal causes, such as restrictions on the death penalty and antiterrorism measures. Article 14’s ban on double jeopardy has no “dual sovereignty” loophole, unlike the U.S. Constitution. That is an additional reason to be skeptical of the hate-crimes bill, which is known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (LLEHCPA).



The Next Housing Bust

Everyone knows how loose mortgage underwriting led to the go-go days of multitrillion-dollar subprime lending. What isn't well known is that a parallel subprime market has emerged over the past year -- all made possible by the Federal Housing Administration. This also won't end happily for taxpayers or the housing market.

Last year banks issued $180 billion of new mortgages insured by the FHA, which means they carry a 100% taxpayer guarantee. Many of these have the same characteristics as subprime loans: low downpayment requirements, high-risk borrowers, and in many cases shady mortgage originators. FHA now insures nearly one of every three new mortgages, up from 2% in 2006.

The financial results so far are not as dire as those created by the subprime frenzy of 2004-2007, but taxpayer losses are mounting on its $562 billion portfolio. According to Mortgage Bankers Association data, more than one in eight FHA loans is now delinquent -- nearly triple the rate on conventional, nonsubprime loan portfolios. Another 7.5% of recent FHA loans are in "serious delinquency," which means at least three months overdue.

The FHA is almost certainly going to need a taxpayer bailout in the months ahead. The only debate is how much it will cost. By law FHA must carry a 2% reserve (or a 50 to 1 leverage rate), and it is now 3% and falling. Some experts see bailout costs from $50 billion to $100 billion or more, depending on how long the recession lasts.

How did this happen? The FHA was created during the Depression to help moderate-income and first time homebuyers obtain a mortgage. However, as subprime lending took off, banks fled from the FHA and its business fell by almost 80%. Under the Bush Administration, the FHA then began a bizarre initiative to "regain its market share." And beginning in 2007, the Bush FHA, Congress, the homebuilders and Realtors teamed up to expand the agency's role.

The bill that passed last summer more than doubled the maximum loan amount that FHA can insure -- to $719,000 from $362,500 in high-priced markets. Congress evidently believes that a moderate-income buyer can afford a $700,000 house. This increase in the loan amount was supposed to boost the housing market as subprime crashed and demand for homes plummeted. But FHA's expansion has hardly arrested the housing market decline. The higher FHA loan ceiling was also supposed to be temporary, but this year Congress made it permanent.

Even more foolish has been the campaign to lower FHA downpayment requirements. When FHA opened in the 1930s, the downpayment minimum was 20%; it fell to 10% in the 1960s, and then 3% in 1978. Last year the Senate wisely insisted on raising the downpayment to 3.5%, but that is still far too low to reduce delinquencies in a falling market.

Because FHA also allows borrowers to finance closing costs and other fees as part of the mortgage, the purchaser's equity can be very close to zero. With even a small drop in prices, many homeowners soon have mortgages larger than their home's value -- which is one reason FHA's defaults are rising. Every study shows that by far the best way to reduce defaults and foreclosures is to increase downpayments. Banks know this and have returned to a 10% minimum downpayment on their non-FHA loans.

In a rational world, Congress and the White House would tighten FHA underwriting standards, in particular by eliminating the 100% guarantee. That guarantee means banks and mortgage lenders have no skin in the game; lenders collect the 2% to 3% origination fees on as many FHA loans as they can push out the door regardless of whether the borrower has a likelihood of repaying the mortgage. The Washington Post reported in March a near-tripling in the past year in the number of loans in which a borrower failed to make more than a single payment. One Florida bank, Great Country Mortgage of Coral Gables, had a 64% default rate on its FHA properties.

The Veterans Affairs housing program has a default rate about half that of FHA loans, mainly because the VA provides only a 50% maximum guarantee. If banks won't take half the risk of nonpayment, this is a market test that the loan shouldn't be made.

These reforms have long been blocked by the powerful housing lobby -- Realtors, homebuilders and mortgage bankers, backed by their friends in Congress. They claim FHA makes money for taxpayers through the premiums it collects from homebuyers. But keep in mind these are the same folks who said taxpayers weren't at risk with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A major lesson of Fan and Fred and the subprime fiasco is that no one benefits when we push families into homes they can't afford. Yet that's what Congress is doing once again as it relentlessly expands FHA lending with minimal oversight or taxpayer safeguards.



All the News Not Fit to Print

It's no wonder that newspapers are going out of business when it's become obvious for anyone with a scintilla of honesty that, too often, their "reporting" -- intentionally or not -- is entirely informed by liberal group think. Columnist Andrew Smith, writing in the Nova Scotia News, lists the most dramatic examples of Barack Obama's failures in his first 100 days that you're not likely to hear about anywhere except Fox News. Here's a sample:

•Obama’s first two major bills alone, the "stimulus" and "omnibus," cost nearly twice as much as was spent on Iraq over six years – $1.2 trillion vs. $650 billion.

•Obama abandoned his campaign promise of "a net spending cut," his first annual deficit – not counting bailouts – being three times the worst deficit under President George W. Bush.

•Obama’s objective in his first G20 summit – commitments to spend our way to prosperity with massive stimulus boondoggles across the G20 – was rejected out of hand.

•Obama’s objective in his first NATO summit – commitments to combat troops for Afghanistan from "our European allies," which Obama and his party imagined were ready and willing to fight if only someone "enlightened" like him were running things – was predictably refused, with some more European non-combat contingents offered as a token.

•Obama’s Defence Department announced cuts of $1.4 billion to missile defence, the day after North Korea test-fired its long-range, multi-stage ballistic missile.

•Obama’s economics were criticized by Warren Buffet, whose endorsement had been candidate Obama’s highest economic credential.

•Obama reversed the free trade Bush policy that had allowed about 100 Mexican tractor-trailers into the United States, which the Mexican government immediately used as an excuse to levy tariffs on 90 American goods amounting to $2.4 billion in U.S. exports.

•Obama’s "tax cuts for 95 per cent" turned out to mean $13 a week from June to December, to be clawed back to $8 a week in January – as compared with President Bush’s 2008 tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 plus $300 per child, which were notably scoffed at during the election campaign by Michelle Obama.

This piece is a must-read. And its contents should be memorized by every Republican in Washington and repeated ad nauseam.




The authoritarian mindset: “When encountering those who have a desire to tell others what to do, to dictate to them, one can try to classify them into different categories. C. S. Lewis did so by discussing the difference between the dictator who dictates out of greed and the one who dictates out of a desire to help others. The former, he said, was preferable because his greed could sometimes be sated.”

Alternative voting methods needed?: “The reasons to change the way we vote are numerous. A fundamental reason to change it is that Americans tend to vote AGAINST candidates rather than FOR them. We have shaped the idea of democracy into an expression of our personal fears. We seem to feel stronger about candidate’s who we DON’T want in an office than we do about those we support. Usually this is perfectly understandable, as the candidates we have to choose from are often not that good, so it is often easier to identify candidates who are LEAST in line with what we want than it is to identity ones whom we can wholeheartedly support. One obvious problem with this method is that when people are primarily voting AGAINST a candidate, they are afraid to ‘waste’ their vote by casting it for someone who they might approve of but who has no actual chance of winning.”

Nudging revisited: “Ideas do have consequences and this is quite evident with the current administration’s adoption of what has been labeled — or mislabeled — ‘libertarian paternalism.’ It was two political economists, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, who proposed the notion that what government should do is not intervene in the market forcefully, the way champions of the New Deal would advocate, but by establishing numerous incentives that would nudge people to do the right thing. … The approach favored by Thaler and Sunstein is one that is gaining much respect from center-left liberals because it avoids the failed and not too popular policies of aggressive interventionism, the sort that in fact had a lot to do with America’s current economic mess.”

FDR’s Social Security paradox: “If Social Security is so wonderful, why were people forced to participate, why was it set up as a monopoly, and why did it dump ever-larger costs onto the backs of future generations? There never was a popular demand for Social Security, even during the Great Depression. Few Americans were interested in the kind of government-run program that the German politician Otto von Bismarck had introduced in Europe.”


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, May 04, 2009

The big tent

Although, as a libertarian conservative, I have some fairly extreme views on the importance of free speech and minimum government, I extend great tolerance towards people whom I partly disagree with. I doubt that I have ever written anything critical of a fellow conservative or libertarian. Many conservatives, for instance, regard Christianity as central to conservatism and I certainly do not. I nonetheless always write supportively of Christians.

Factionalism is however very common on the Left -- witness the icepick in the head that Trotsky got courtesy of Stalin. Very few of the old Bolsheviks lived for long after the revolution, in fact. And Lenin was just as bad as Stalin. In a 1920 pamphlet you find a contempt for some of his fellow Leftists that is probably greater than anything he ever wrote about the Tsar. It is in describing his fellow revolutionaries (Kautsky and others) that Lenin spoke swingeingly of "the full depth of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests".

But Leftism is founded on hate and I think we conservatives should be able to rise above that. And I think we mostly do. The concept of the big tent has long been basic to GOP strategy. I actually think the tent could be broader than it is, even. I myself am certainly outside the tent because I sometimes mention certain psychometric facts about race. Given the Leftist dominance of public discourse, however, I can well understand why I am outside the tent under those circumstances. Conservatives do have to bow down to the Left in many ways if they are to get any hearing at all.

Currying favour with the Left is however in my view contemptible and that seems to me to be the motivation of many RINOs. Though whether Arlen Specter ever had any convictions about anything at all is in my view questionable. I was appalled when GWB endorsed him.

But currying favour with the Left now seems to have seeped into the blogosphere. Charles Johnson of LGF seems to think that he can win favour if he balances his criticisms of Islam with condemnations of other critics of Islam -- such as the heroic Geert Wilders -- as "Fascist". He is particularly critical of the small and desperate band of Europeans who criticize Islam and he regularly quotes unbalanced European Leftist attacks on them. He is really quite pathetic and one conservative of European origin has recently told him that at length.

Being my big-tent self, however, I wonder if CJ's problem may be more benign than at first appears. Maybe he just doesn't understand European conservatism. I barely understand it myself. It is certainly different from conservatism as we know it in the Anglosphere. From what I have seen of the European Right, it is much more in favour of a powerful State, largely Catholic and and more antisemitic. Jacques Chirac was after all a conservative in French terms. What the European Right seems to have in common with Anglo-Saxon conservatism seems mainly to be a high degree of realism, which leads in turn to a rejection of revolutionary change and a respect for private property and what has worked in the past.

And if a failure to comprehend that difference is CJ's problem he is not alone. It confuses other American bloggers too. "Rusty" of The Jawa Report also finds Fascist tendencies in Geert Wilders. Jewish Odysseus however has replied to Rusty and supplied some of the necessary perspective and Rusty has updated his post in what largely amounts to a backdown.

The problem for Americans is that Wilders believes in free speech in general but opposes free speech for Muslims. He rightly says that the Koran is worse than Mein Kampf in what it says and wants it banned. Jewish Odysseus rightly points out however that if you had suffered the immense harm and suffering that Nazism inflicted on Europe (including Germany itself), you would want Nazism banned too -- and it is therefore consistent to want a ban on a present-day ideology that is just as dangerous as Nazism.

And the essence of conservatism is that it is not rigid and doctinaire. It is always ready to make compromises with the realities of its day. In that it differs from libertarianism, which has rules that libertarians believe to be universal and immutable. And I am a conservative rather than a libertarian in this matter even though I am pretty fanatical about free speech. I even believe that a man who shouts "Fire!" in a crowded theatre is to be commended (any libertarian can tell you why). But I nonetheless recognize that all rules have exceptions and it gives me little heartburn (though I disagree with it) that Europeans want to ban all expressions of Nazism and related ideologies. The big problem is getting them to acknowledge that Islam and Nazism are related ideologies.

So I hope that CJ is not just pandering to the Left for the sake of popularity and approval but is in fact genuinely caught in a misunderstanding of European conservatism. Tolerance of difference would become him.


BrookesNews Update

Will a tidal wave of red ink sink the American economy?: Obama and his economics advisors — all of whom are Keynesians — are concocting a witches' brew that will wreak havoc with the economy if not countered. Unfortunately there is no way of stopping it. At the moment America is basically one-party state under the Democrats and they are enthusiastically supported by a viciously corrupt media
The Australian economy tanks while our 'free marketeers' flounder: The Australian economy is in recession and manufacturing continues to contract. And all that our so-called free marketeers can do is throw bricks at Rudd. These are the same people who failed to predict the recession, failed to grasp its cause and failed dismally to defend free market principles against its critics
Obama's historical illiteracy is a grave danger to national security: Decades years of 'progressive' ideology has left in its wake the insidious belief that capitalist societies do not deserve to survive — especially the America, the greatest capitalist nation of all. This odious belief is shared by the Democrats' leftwing and America’s treasonous media whose outrageous political bigotry and ingrained mendacity is becoming more and more self-evident by the day
Legally non-binding resolutions and Israel's existence : People's political views are based predominantly on their emotional attachments to their personal upbringing and life experiences and have almost nothing to do with the facts of history, be it ancient or modern, and legality of the issues. And this is certainly the case with Israel
'I told you so!' Obama's a card carrying Muslim! You will see!: We are. As promised, having a great change. We are no longer Judeo-Christian country; our leader is now chasing and pandering to our greatest foe — Islam. It was lovely how he became the first president to criticize America on foreign soil. But worse of all, our 'brother is in the White House is apologizing to the world for who we are because he wants us to change — but to what?
Dems using 'hate crimes' legislation to abolish the Fourteenth Amendment: The Democrats' attacks on the Constitution are relentless. They are now targeting the 14th amendment as well as the 1st amendment. The entire push for federal 'hate crimes' legislation is rooted in fraud
America's Red Sea: a flood of debt and taxes : Obama is driving America into a Marianas Trench of red ink. Cap-and-tax will also clobber manufacturing and heavy-industry jobs. Twenty states get 60-98 per cent of their electricity from coal. They form our manufacturing heartland, and every increase in energy prices will result in more businesses laying off workers. This destructive policy would utterly devastate American industry. And our corrupt mainstream media call this guy smart
The President's Audacity of Hope is that labor unions control the workplace: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of association. The Democratic Administration is working to destroy this protection in order to strengthen unionocracy and ensure an even greater flow of funds to the Democrats
Obama's Blame America First mindset: The 62 million Americans who didn't vote for Obama believe, based on history, that kowtowing to dictators is interpreted as a sign of weakness. They believe, based on reality, that all the carrots in the world will not change the minds of enemies dedicated to America's downfall



British government "charity" fraud: "Staff at a government-backed fund supposed to help some of the poorest people in the world have been awarded £65m in bonuses – equivalent to an annual £350,000 per employee. The bonuses have largely come from investments intended to tackle poverty in the developing world. The fund was part of the Department for International Development (DFID) until it was part-privatised in 2004. Charity workers say the government has allowed the fund, Actis, to skew Britain’s priorities overseas in its pursuit of high returns by depriving poor rural communities of investment. Actis manages funds for DFID’s investment body, CDC, tasked with reducing poverty, and has been praised for its success. But it has been awarding staff bonuses of up to £3m out of investments built up over years in developing countries. Average pay for employees in 2007 was on a par with those at Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank. “This is a travesty of CDC’s original mandate,” said John Hilary, head of the charity War on Want. “The bonuses at Actis simply do not square with the job of poverty reduction.”

Britain urged to slash 20% off public spending: "Savage cuts in public spending of more than £130 billion will be needed to solve the growing budget crisis, Tony Blair’s former chief policy adviser claims today. Writing in The Sunday Times, David Halpern, a former senior aide at No 10, says that Britain needs to follow the example of 1990s Canada, which slashed expenditure by 20% to combat a similarly severe deficit. Halpern warns that modest “efficiency gains” being proposed by both Labour and the Conservatives “just don’t deliver what is needed”. In order to control Britain’s £175 billion budget deficit, he argues that government needs to be “reinvented” and some basic services may need to be axed altogether".

Britain ends tank production after 93 years - and future models will have GERMAN guns: "They have fought alongside British soldiers for generations, playing heroic roles on historic battlefields such as the Somme, Cambrai and El Alamein. They have carried famous names such as Centurion, Churchill, Cromwell and Crusader. But now, nearly a century after inventing the first armoured warhorse - to storm through German lines in the First World War - Britain is to stop building its own tanks. BAe Systems, which makes the Army's Challenger 2 tanks, revealed it was closing its tank-making operation at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It is also shutting its armour business at Telford in Shropshire and at other locations because it sees no prospect of new Government orders. The closures could result in 500 job losses and means the Army is likely to go into battle in future with tanks using German guns and Swedish chassis. The last squadron of British Challengers began returning to the UK from Iraq this weekend, with little chance of them being sent to Afghanistan because of the difficult terrain there. Defence Secretary John Hutton has declared 'a rebalancing of investment in technology, equipment and people to meet the challenge of irregular warfare'. He said he planned to strengthen and enlarge Special Forces but gave no hint of even a medium-weight tank in the Army's future." [A British Challenger tank above]

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, May 03, 2009

The Obama effect: Have blacks in general suddenly become smarter?

The NYT said so last January and the academic study upon which that claim is based has recently become available online. So I suppose I should say a few words about the absurdity. The first thing to notice is that everybody else seems to think it is an absurdity too. They don't put it as bluntly as I do, though. What they say is "This finding will have to be repeated by others before we take it seriously" -- or words to that effect. And the reason why they say that is that Left-leaning social scientists have been labouring mightily for many decades at the task of getting black intellectual achievement up to white levels. And nothing that they try works. So to say that the election of Obama has suddenly closed that pesky gap is improbable to say the least.

I don't have access to the full academic article but what I see in the abstract immediately reminds me of "the dog that didn't bark" in the delightful Sherlock Holmes story The Silver Blaze. The research involved giving the same group of people the same test four times. Now that immediately puts into the mind of any psychometrician "The practice effect" and so one would expect some mention of how that problem was dealt with. But there is no such mention. When you give the same test to the same people on two different occasions, you find, for various reasons, that they get higher scores the second time around. That is the practice effect. And to give the same test to the same people not twice but four times sets all the alarm bells about the practice effect ringing.

So there are two ways in which the final (post-Obama-election) results reported could simply be an artifact (product) of the practice effect: 1) Everybody had got so good at the test by then that hardly anybody got anything wrong -- thus equalizing the scores for blacks and whites; 2). Maybe blacks worked harder than whites at figuring out where they went wrong on the first couple of occasions and for that reason alone got their scores up to white levels eventually.

The only way those two possibilities could be precluded would have been for the authors to use not the same test four times but four parallel forms of the same test, and there is no mention of that. Parallel forms have to be very carefully constructed to ensure that they DO give the same scores for the same people and that is so onerous that I have never seen more than two forms of any test made available.

So the entire study would seem to be methodologically naive and incapable of supporting its conclusions.

I might mention that the entire study is the latest variation in the absurd "stereotype threat" literature. The stereotype threat theory says that blacks do badly at tests because they think blacks do badly at tests. The initial "proof" of the theory arose from a study wherein psychologists made some black test-takers especially aware of their blackness while others did not have their blackness mentioned. The more aware blacks got worse results. But the unaware blacks still scored the usual amount below whites. So it showed, rather clearly, that awareness of blackness was NOT the cause of the black/white gap -- as the unaware blacks still did badly. Awareness of blackness can WORSEN black performance but unawareness cannot IMPROVE black performance. But to this day the theory is believed by most academics who refer to it. They still assert that awareness of being black is why blacks do badly. There are many other absurdities in the theory, one of which is that it seems to apply only to blacks and not to all minorities, but anybody who wants to look at the matter in detail should read here, here, here, here, here and here.

REFERENCE: David M. Marx, Sei Jin Kob and Ray A. Friedman (2009) "The “Obama Effect”: How a salient role model reduces race-based performance differences". Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Article in Press.


The Thatcher legacy 30 years later

Thirty years on from Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister, it is being suggested that we have come to the end of the Thatcher era. Don't believe it. Iron does not rust that easily.

There have been reversals of the direction that she set, with the partial nationalisation of banks and the increase in the higher rate of tax to 50 per cent. But the former is first aid to a tottering banking system rather than an ideologically motivated return to public ownership. The Government clearly wants out as soon as possible, recognising that it knows even less about banking than bankers, difficult as that is. We will not see Clause 4 exhumed.

The bonus classes largely have themselves to thank for the 50 per cent tax rate. Their excess made them an irresistible target. But the higher rate won't raise significant extra revenue. What it will do is deter effort, so Britain will lose out in tax competition with our market rivals, making it harder to restore the City's leading position in financial markets. The higher rate will have to be rolled back before long by whichever party is in government to avoid jeopardising economic recovery.

I don't see either of these measures - regrettable as they are - as a definitive rejection of Thatcherism. The real story is not that the Thatcher era is over but that it continues unabated. Nineteen years after she left office, no successor government has deliberately undone or reversed any of the main changes she brought about. Nor have they come up with anything better. The “Thatcher settlement” remains largely intact.

The best test of this is to imagine where Britain would be had her successors reverted to the political trajectory charted by both parties until 1979. It would be a case of hello there, Zimbabwe, can we join you? Serious as our present problems are, we would be in a very much worse state were it not for the strong foundations that Margaret Thatcher built.

She was asked some years ago what she had changed in Britain and replied “everything”. That is pretty well true, the exceptions being Parliament - to which she was too indulgent - the Armed Forces and the Post Office. Nationalised industries were privatised, tax rates dramatically lowered to encourage initiative and entrepreneurship, trade unions curbed, council housing sold to its tenants, the size of the Civil Service reduced and several of its functions hived off to executive agencies, the City opened up to competition, the professions compelled to adapt. I could go on and on, to quote a phrase. She also embarked on serious reform of education and the NHS but left them too late to complete in her term.

Her great and unusual strength as leader of the Conservative Party was natural empathy with the basic instincts of the electorate. The instincts may not necessarily be admired by Guardian readers or the politically correct, but they are none the worse for that. She understood that owning your own home, spending more of what you earn rather than have the Government spend it for you, dislike of the nanny state, support for our Armed Forces, independence from bossy Brussels and the aspiration to a middle-class lifestyle were not ambitions to sneer at but to be fulfilled. Platitudes about listening government are beside the point: she simply shared the instincts.

The only moment when this empathy deserted her was over the poll tax. Intellectually the case was strong, and benefited many of “her” people. But it loaded costs on an even greater number of “her” people, which they refused to accept.

She was and remains scornful of conventional wisdom. Just because something has always been so in the past does not mean that it has to be so in the future. It made her healthily sceptical of much of the expert advice with which all prime ministers are flooded in an attempt to drown their political instincts. The best known example was the 364 economists who opposed her early Budget. I suspect that John Maynard Keynes would be getting short shrift if she were Prime Minister today.

The other secrets of her success are clear thinking, careful preparation, extraordinary energy and, above all, willpower. The energy was truly remarkable. She viewed holidays with distaste, as an unwelcome interruption in the tempo of work. She punctuated them with eager telephone calls to No10 seeking an excuse for an early return as soon as the obligatory photograph on a beach with Denis and a borrowed dog had been snapped.

I was asked recently how she would cope with the test of being awakened by a 3am telephone call announcing some disaster - which Hillary Clinton implied President Obama would flunk - and was able to say with certainty that it would not be a problem. The chances are she would be up and about at 3am anyway.

Whether this perpetuum mobile was the best way to run a government is something for historians and psychiatrists to argue over. But it was embedded in her character from early on as illustrated by the passage in her memoirs recording schoolgirl holidays occupied with “PT exercises in the public gardens [of Skegness]... rather than sitting around day-dreaming”.

Her ability to focus remorselessly on the task in hand was another strength. She has never been inclined to see two sides to any question or work for consensus because that would imply doubt and indecision. She believed in backing her judgment and was reinforced in that when the electorate backed her three times. Yes, she knew how to be pragmatic and when to retreat, making smoke. But the ratio of pragmatism to steely resolve was lower than in any government before or since.

Not everything in the garden was lovely. There were victims, though far outnumbered by beneficiaries. And the egregious bonus culture has taken some of the moral shine off Thatcherism. But overall the changes she made to Britain have given us more than two decades of unprecedented prosperity. They saw Britain reinstalled as the world's fourth- largest economy, losing our reputation as the sick man of Europe and taken seriously again as a leading world power.

The new generation of Conservatives who will be called on to cart away the rubble from new Labour's implosion will inherit stronger fundamentals than Margaret Thatcher herself was bequeathed in 1979. They will need years of discipline and thrift in public spending to overcome the consequences of the Government's reckless expansion of borrowing and the untrammelled growth of the public sector.

They must also maintain Britain's defence strength. A defence review is certainly needed, and a radical one at that. But the ability to field forces in distant conflicts and deploy an effective nuclear deterrent is what makes the US take us seriously and leverages our influence globally. That will be more not less important as China and India play a greater world role and as more nuclear weapons states emerge. For conservatives, defence must surely be a sacred trust. Most of all they will need to acknowledge the continued relevance of Margaret Thatcher's agenda and achievements, and recapture the momentum of change that Thatcherism created.

The legacy of someone who killed off socialism in Britain, changed the face of the country and rescued us from being a nation in retreat is the best inheritance that an incoming Conservative government will have.




British police respond to capitalistic incentives too: "There was a big fall in the number of speed-camera penalties after police and local authorities lost the right to keep the proceeds. The drop came in the same year that road deaths fell to their lowest level since records began, undermining claims that an increase in cameras improves road safety. In 2007, 1.26 million fixed penalties were issued — down 370,000, or 23 per cent, on the previous year. Over the same period, road deaths fell below 3,000 for the first time, down 226 to 2,946. Until April 1, 2007, camera partnerships operated by police and local authorities were allowed to keep a proportion of fines to pay for more cameras. Since then, they have received a fixed amount for all aspects of road safety. The drop in fines suggests that police chiefs decided to put fewer resources into speed enforcement when they stopped being able to recover the costs of installing and operating cameras. Many camera housings are being left empty and some forces have reduced their use of camera vans".

Yuk! Britain gets an angry feminist as a poet laureate: "Duffy, 53, who has been an advocate of women’s rights ever since she was shocked by sexism on the poetry —circuit in the 1970s, told The Times that she felt deeply that the post should go to a woman. She favoured Jackie Kay, her former partner, or Alice Oswald. “I have a sense of humility because there are so many poets who should take this role. To have refused it would have been a bit cowardly. She said that she hoped to be a controversial figure, a role that she fulfilled last year when one of her poems, Education for Leisure, was pulled from the GCSE curriculum because examiners feared that it promoted knife crime. Duffy responded with a reply in verse that pointed out the quantity of knife usage in Shakespeare’s plays. Duffy was considered a frontrunner for the post ten years ago but lost out amid rumours that senior politicians had reservations about how the popular press would respond to the appointment of a lesbian."

Fawlty Towers not dead: "At a recent “excellence awards” ceremony organised to celebrate the very best in domestic hotels and visitor attractions by Enjoy England — the English tourist board — the great and the good of hospitality were in a hopeful mood. “Boom times” lay ahead for holidays in these isles. Tough economic conditions meant that fewer people would be flying abroad. Airport security queues and higher flight taxes would put off travellers heading for the skies, tourism board grandees predicted. It all seemed win-win. But then one official dared to strike a note of discord. “This is going to be the year of the complaint,” he whispered. “Hotels and attractions have been making staff cutbacks. And you’ve got the Poles going home of their own accord.” Many places are unlikely to cope in the busy summer, he said. The expected swarms of tourists from Europe taking advantage of the weak pound will only add to the bustle. John Cleese, playing the hapless hotel owner Basil Fawlty, once declared: “A satisfied customer — we should have him stuffed!” How many British hoteliers will be saying the same by the end of August? We’ll just have to wait and see".

Traffic lights a hindrance or a help?: "What would happen if traffic lights were suddenly switched off? Would there be gridlock or would the queues of frustrated drivers miraculously disappear? People in London are about to find out the answer in Britain’s first test of the theory that removing lights will cure congestion. For six months, lights at up to seven junctions in Ealing will be concealed by bags and drivers will be left to negotiate their way across by establishing eye contact with pedestrians and other motorists. Ealing Council believes that, far from improving the flow of traffic, lights cause delays and may even increase road danger. Drivers race towards green lights to make it across before they turn red. Confidence that they have right of way lulls them into a false sense of security, meaning that they fail to anticipate hazards coming from the side. The council hopes that drivers will learn to co-operate, crossing junctions on a first-come first-served basis rather than obeying robotic signals that have no sense of where people are waiting. Ealing found evidence to support its theory when the lights failed one day at a busy junction and traffic flowed better than before." [There have been similar reports from South Africa and Holland]

Swine flu hype fading: "Scientists are coming to the conclusion that the new strain of swine flu that has killed at least ten people around the world may actually be less dangerous than the average annual flu season. The World Health Organisation is expected to move quickly to designate a full pandemic - at level 6 of its 6-point scale - within days to reflect the continuing spread of swine flu among people who have not been to Mexico, including in Europe. But, though some people have died, the most common complaint from sufferers infected with the virus has been diarrhoea - and, despite the hype, the rate of infection appears to be more of a trickle than a deluge. This morning the World Health Organisation said on its website that as of 6am GMT, swine flu had infected 331 people in 11 countries, killing ten of them. Other estimates of the infections and deaths are higher - for instance Mexico says up to 176 people have died there and the authorities have confirmed 12 deaths. However, despite the variations, the numbers are still relatively small - and they don't seem to be multiplying"

Federal prosecution of pro-Israel Jews dropped: "The Justice Department Friday ended the high-profile prosecution of two former pro-Israel lobbyists suspected of having sought and distributed classified information involving Iran and Iraq — a decision that could strengthen the rights of reporters, lobbyists and social activists to obtain and publicize government secrets. The decision to drop the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were dismissed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2005, was anticipated for several months. It came after the Justice Department lost a series of pretrial rulings on the classification of the evidence it wanted to bring to court and on the bar the prosecution would have to meet... The two purportedly talked to a reporter and an Israeli diplomat about policy options toward Iran then under review by the Bush administration and about threats to Israelis in Iraqi Kurdistan. While the counts fall under the 1917 Espionage Act, the prosecution explicitly stated that the two former AIPAC officials were not considered agents of a foreign power. The case aroused considerable controversy in Washington because of the Israel lobby's high profile and the fact that Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman were the first private citizens prosecuted under the Espionage Act for mishandling classified information obtained through conversation. The precedent, if upheld, could have made much national-security journalism and foreign-policy lobbying a federal crime".


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)