Saturday, May 16, 2009

More on World Vision bigotry

My recent post about World Vision was sparked by the news that they have now gone into the business of promoting global warming. That really was the last straw. See my comment here. Up until that time I had kept my disquiet about them to myself as I think their model of uniting a particular donor with a particular recipient is one that probably does much good and I didn't want to knock that. I was myself a World Vision donor in the '90s but pulled out when they started making anti-Israel statements. So my enquiries to them in 2006, which I have recently posted, were really a probe to see how deeply their antisemitism went. And since I do already donate to Israeli causes, a favourable reply from them would have met with a favourable response from me. But, as Jesus said, "By their fruit shall ye know them" and at the end of their high-flown talk, the result was certainly antisemitic: A refusal to help Jews. Below is some history of their political bigotry. In typical Gramscian style, their leadership has obviously now been taken over by the Left.

The organization’s Brief History of the region repeats many of the standard Palestinian myths and distortions. For example: “In 1948 a war broke out resulting in the establishment of Israel on 77% of historic Palestine.” Pointedly, in using the passive tense, the authors of this summary fail to mention the Arab invasion that led to the war. Similarly, the profile offers no background or context to the 1967 Six Day War that led to Israel’s control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip simply stating: “In 1967 Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

The current Palestinian campaign of violence is blamed solely on Israeli policies leading to Palestinian ‘disillusionment’, Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount and the failure of Camp David. World Vision, strangely, quotes an Israeli death toll of 302 in the period September 2000 to March 2003, some hundreds less than the accurate figure for that time. By quoting a significantly higher Palestinian death toll and ignoring the terrorism that was responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians, World Vision promotes an amoral equivalence between perpetrators and victims of terror, and offering no context to the loss of life. Instead, Israeli security measures are described as “a policy of sealing entries and exits to cities, villages, and towns as a form of collective punishment of the Palestinian population.”

World Vision’s casual attitude towards Israeli security is demonstrated in a December 17, 2002 news article “Bethlehem has little to rejoice about at Christmas” which states: “Bethlehem's population of 120,000 is under collective punishment. The reason given by Israel for re-entering Bethlehem is because the last suicide bomber to blow up a bus in Jerusalem was from the Bethlehem area.” Other news archives demonstrate a lack of context behind events. For example, a January 5, 2004 news article “World Vision helps 245 homeless families in Rafah” claims that “One hundred homes were demolished and another 70 were severely damaged during an Israeli army incursion on October 10th,” failing to mention the terrorist activities and weapons smuggling tunnels that prompted the Israeli military operations.

World Vision’s response to Israel’s security barrier also displays almost no acknowledgement of this impact of this obstacle in preventing terror. For example, Tim Costello, Word Vision Australia’s Chief Executive described the barrier as “part of the problem, not part of the solution”, in a July 14, 2004 op-ed in The Age (Melbourne). Costello evokes the highly politicized and inappropriate claim that the barrier “is reminiscent of the Cold War and Eastern Bloc oppression.” (Costello’s comparison reflects the Palestinian propaganda effort to compare the Berlin Wall, designed to keep citizens from fleeing, with Israel’s security barrier, which saves the lives of its citizens.) These issues are noted in Colin Rubinstein’s response to Costello, who also points to reliance on the faulty advisory decision of the ICJ, in response to the highly politicized indictment from the UN General Assembly.

Analysis of World Vision International’s website also reflects the clear political agenda, with little attention to entirely legitimate Israeli security concerns, as well as a total disregard for the effects of Palestinian terrorism on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thus, World Vision’s activities in the region reflect a strong political bias, with a high level of misunderstanding and negative attitudes displayed towards Israel, while encouraging or at least condoning terrorism and incitement. This agenda is entirely inconsistent with the claimed emphasis on “economic development and promotion of justice”.

More here. See also a follow-up here


The Axis Of Liberal Media Bias

The Leftist substitution of abuse for rational consideration of the facts that is described below will be familiar to most conservatives. The facts are just too threatening to Leftists. Facts threaten the imaginary world that they rely on

Conservatives have suspected for years that traditional journalists take news cues from liberal bloggers. Stories about secret, online gatherings between said bloggers and journalists have fueled those suspicions.

Now a Brigham Young University political scientist has confirmed that the axis of liberal media bias runs straight from lefty blogs into the mainstream press. He surveyed journalists about their blog reading habits. Here's the summary (via Instapundit):

[Professor Richard] Davis also queried more than 200 journalists to learn how they use blog content in their coverage of political news. Most journalists were aware of influential blogs on both sides of the political spectrum, such as Daily Kos and Talking Points on the left and Michelle Malkin and Instapundit on the right. Despite equal awareness, journalists spend more time reading posts in the liberal blogosphere.

For example, more journalists know about Michelle Malkin than Talking Points. Yet twice as many journalists actually read Talking Points than read Michelle Malkin.

"When journalists take story ideas from blogs, those ideas naturally will come from blogs they read," Davis said. "These reading patterns suggest journalists may be getting primarily one view of the blogosphere."

Lefty bloggers and liberal journalists undoubtedly will dismiss the finding because it does not, and cannot, prove cause and effect. But the hostile online encounter I had recently with a former co-worker is all the proof I need.

Our discussion started on Facebook when conservative friends of mine criticized Obama in the comment section of an article I had posted to my profile. My colleague took offense that people would mock the president. I agreed that some Obama-bashing has been shameful but wondered why he hadn't voiced the same concern during the eight years of vicious ridicule heaped upon President Bush.

His response: "Mean things were said about Bush, but they do not come close to some of the things that talk radio has said about Obama and his wife!!!" (Yes, he used three exclamation points.)

Doesn't that sound like something he might have read on a liberal blog -- the sweeping generalization about talk radio with no evidence to support it? I thought it did, so I suggested that he expand his information horizons by reading all about the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" documented so thoroughly by Malkin, Charles Krauthammer and others. I was sure my colleague wouldn't continue claiming that Obama has had it worse than Bush if he just saw the evidence.

I was wrong. He promptly cussed me and dumped me as a friend on Facebook.

I've worked with dozens of journalists inside the Beltway over the past 18 years, and I'm glad to report that most of them aren't that close-minded. But my former co-worker's hostility to the mere suggestion that he gather information from sources on both sides of the political spectrum speaks volumes about how willing some journalists are to parrot the talking points of the nation's left wing.



India hearts Israel

For a good reason. Indians have been fighting off Muslims for centuries

A study undertaken on behalf of Israel's foreign ministry by an international market research company found that India is the most pro-Israel country in the world, beating out the United States by two percentage points.

The study, undertaken as part of the "Branding Israel" project, looked at what it calls the world's 13 most important countries and included 5,215 interviewees. Asked a series of questions, participants graded their sympathy for Israel on a 1-to-10 scale. Some results, given in terms of percentage expressing sympathy to the Jewish State:

58% India
56% United States
52% Russia
52% Mexico
50% China
34% Great Britain
27% France
23% Spain

Comment: The Indian statistic is not the only striking one - note the continent of the countries clustered at the bottom and how much lower their numbers than those of Russia and China. Just as the U.S government should rethink its military alliances, so might Israelis take a fresh look at the globe.



1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart every hour of every day.

2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St.Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. And most speak English

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.

8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie)..

9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world..

10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)

12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart

Let Wal-Mart bail out Wall Street. Better yet . . . let them run the damn Government



Google bias again? As regular readers here will be well aware, I put up a weekly roundup of the posts on Brookes News. Gerry Jackson, editor of Brookes News, has just emailed me as follows: "You might find this interesting. For some time Google results for Brookesnews have been shrinking. I was once about 40,000-odd: I am now to about 1,740. At this rate Brookesnews will soon disappear from Google’s data base. Incidentally, a Yahoo search brings more than 47,000 results for Brookesnews". I have just checked that myself -- as Google results vary a lot from time to time -- and found over 5,000 hits via Google, but that is still way down on the 47,000 I found via Yahoo.

Interesting that former members of the military whom the Left trot out as "antiwar" usually turn out to be fakes. Michelle Malkin has the lowdown on the latest such.

Pelosi admits waterboard briefing: "Under pressure to explain conflicting stories, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that in 2003 she was told waterboarding and other tough tactics were being used on suspected terrorists and did not object to them, even as she defiantly accused the CIA of lying to her and Congress about the use of such controversial techniques during 2002 briefings. The CIA said it stood by its record of the 2002 briefing that showed, based on recollections of agency employees, that Mrs. Pelosi was briefed that techniques had been used on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah. "It is not the policy of this agency to mislead the United States Congress," said George Little, a spokesman for the CIA.

Pelosi's got ants in her pants: "Nobody's having more fun watching Nancy Pelosi squirm than the ants in her pants. The dowager queen of Capitol Hill was shocked - shocked! - by what's been going on at Guantanamo, and reveled in telling everyone so. Now it turns out that maybe she wasn't so shocked after all. When she was told soon after 9/11 that some of the prisoners there had been deprived of sleep and "waterboarded" she did not object. Like everyone else back in the day, she was terrified that 9/11 was merely a prelude to something really, really bad. The speaker has told so many versions of what she knew about what was going on at Guantanamo, and when she knew it, that all we know now is that she can't keep her stories straight... None of the members who served with her on the House Intelligence Committee support Miz Pelosi's remarkable claim of brainwashing. Other congressional colleagues, trying to defend her, have had to clarify their clarifications about what they said about her imaginative stories. Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, attempted to defend the speaker with the argument that what someone said seven years ago must be measured against the temperature of the times in the wake of 9/11, when nearly everyone was terrified of a "second wave" of attacks. But Democrats have to be careful with this line of argument, lest they arouse speculation about just why there has been no "second wave." Could it be because someone named George did what was necessary, even introducing vicious terrorists to good bathing hygiene, to prevent that "second wave"?


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 15, 2009

Russia's Pravda Calls Obama a Communist

Pravda was once the mouthpiece of the old Soviet regime. Russia is now of course a Fascist State so are we seeing the old Fascist/Communist rivalry revived? Fascism sees a role for private business but Obama seems to tolerate it only

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descend into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheep. Excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared, on and off, for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds were conducted upon our Holy Russia...and bloody a test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds or a Burger King, than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blinds the foolish.

Then, their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more than Sunday circuses, and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more than happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money-printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst, Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, losses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. Those make our Russian oligarchs look little more than ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beaten our own thieves in sheer volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and, we can assume, other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go thither, the centurion commands his minions.

So, it should be no surprise that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantors of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair [Brown], not to follow the path to Marxism; it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing as foolish, drunken Russians; so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman's" whimper. So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratic-controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses?

Representative Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and, if taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left. The proud American will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world how free he thinks he is. The world will only snicker.



BrookesNews Update

Obama is taking the US economy down the disastrous UK road: The British Labour Government has driven the UK to the brink of bankruptcy. Taxes are rising, the public debt will 80 per cent of GDP this year and unemployment is inexorably rising. His solution is to flood the economy with money. What should unnerve Americans is that Obama's economic policies are basically the same: massive spending, massive borrowing and massive monetary expansion. The consequences will indeed be dire
Why the Fed is frustrated with low price inflation: The CPI is thwarting the Fed's attempts to bring about a regime of negative interest rates. Nevertheless the Fed's monetary pumping remains massive. The yearly rate of growth of the Fed's balance sheet stood at 139.2 per cent in April versus 122.6 per cent in the month before. The fallacious economics that is driving Fed policy will have dire consequences for the economy
Why a cap and trade carbon taxes will savage living standards: Americans should be warned that President Obama's energy policy of wasting astronomical amounts of capital on so-called alternative energy projects will — if fully implemented — savage American living standards and crush industry by dissipating capital on a colossal scale and sending energy prices through the roof
Unemployment and production: the Austrian approach : Unemployment, manufacturing, recession and the importance of the Austrian approach
Carbon capture and burial — a recipe for economic destruction: Carbon taxes in any form are weapons of mass economic destruction. If implemented they will devastate living standards by destroying masses of capital. Energy prices will soar, real wages will dive and unemployment will rocket. And for what? To gratify a bunch of lying green fanatics
American journalists stand condemned for outrageous media malfeasance: America's so-called mainstream media is thoroughly corrupt. It is dominated by politically bigoted activists posing as journalists. For these propagandists 'news' is what advances their leftwing agenda, meaning omissions, distortions and outrageous lying are the order of the day
Is Obama's policy of stripping Israel of its nuclear defences meant to favour Iran? : Obama has developed a brilliant strategy for Middle East peace. Strip Israel of its nuclear weapons while allowing Iran's Mad Mullahs to build a nuclear arsenal with a first strike capability. Obama's deep-seated hostility to Israel's existence is becoming more and more apparent. Does that explain why he supports a policy could result in Israel's outright destruction at the hands of Tehran's Islamofascists?
How to infiltrate American public access television to recruit terrorists: It is more than likely that Public Access TV shows put on by journalists from terrorist countries would be used to spread propaganda and recruit terrorists. Nevertheless, the US government is paving — and paying — the way for them to learn these skills
Obama's 'Hate Crimes' Bill is gull of swill that violates the First Amendment: According to Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama the First Amendment needs to butchered to save transvestites from hordes of inbred, homophobic, bat-wielding rednecks. Yep, the Democrats have discovered another crisis that requires the further curtailment of Americans' liberties



Senate rejects credit card interest limits: “Despite complaints that banks and credit card companies are gouging customers by charging outrageous interest rates, the Senate on Wednesday easily turned back an effort to cap interest rates at 15 percent. The effort by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, drew only 33 votes and needed 60, with a bipartisan group of 60 senators opposing it as the Senate pushed its credit card overhaul toward the finish line. Some Democrats and consumer groups have said that an interest cap is needed to put real teeth into an otherwise solid bill. Other backers of the measure calculated that an interest rate ceiling would doom the popular legislation.”

Report citing veteran extremism is pulled: "A contentious "Rightwing Extremism" report that warned of military veterans as possible recruits for terrorist attacks against the U.S. was not authorized, has been withdrawn and is being rewritten, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Capitol Hill lawmakers. "The wheels came off the wagon because the vetting process was not followed," Ms. Napolitano told the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. "The report is no longer out there," she said. "An employee sent it out without authorization." The report was shared with state and local law enforcement officials nationwide via the department's internal Web site on April 7, angering Republican lawmakers and military veterans who said it unfairly stereotyped veterans."

Liberals want to tax soda to pay for government-run health care: “During the presidential campaign of 2008, Barack Obama pledged that those making below $250,000 would not see their taxes go up one dime. He promised to cut taxes for the middle class and poor people. But if his friends in Congress get their way, President Obama will have a tough decision to make — whether to break his campaign pledge again in the form of higher taxes on soda and ’sugary drinks’ like sports and energy drinks. Some liberals in Congress have proposed paying for government-run health care by hiking taxes on soft drinks and other beverages.”

Rich Businessman Sinks Bucks Into Attacking Obama Over Flyover Snafu: "A wealthy Obama donor who turned on the president is launching an attack on Obama over the Air Force One flyover screw-up, linking it to his big spending policies, an assault that may involve radio and TV ads in a preview of what to expect in the 2010 midterm elections. The donor, businessman Fred Tausch of New Hampshire, announced in February he’d be sinking some $100,000 into assaults on Obama. Now he’s adding the flyover snafu to his list of grievances, tying it to “wasteful spending” in a direct mail piece sent out to his state’s voters"

The tentacles of Taxachusetts: “Last week, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments in Town Fair Tire v. Massachusetts. In the coming months, the Supreme Judicial Court will decide the issue at hand: whether Massachusetts has the right to force businesses in New Hampshire to collect Bay State sales taxes when selling items to Massachusetts residents. Given the recent vote in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to increase sales taxes by 25 percent, the impulse to dam the flood of Massachusetts shoppers into sales-tax-free New Hampshire grows stronger among Bay State officials perpetually frustrated with potential tax dollars flowing north across the border.”

Global democracy over a barrel: “Everyone knows that business isn’t good these days, and now we can add the business of democracy promotion to the list. The world may have woken up to a global economic recession in the past year, but a global political recession has been underway for at least three years. According to Freedom House, 2008 was the third consecutive year in which there was a decline in freedom worldwide, the first three-year setback in the past 15 years. Moreover, the Obama administration hasn’t offered much comfort. No senior officials seem to have democracy promotion as part of their portfolio. So, in these tough economic times, many civil-society advocates have turned to one of the economic crises’ silver linings for hope: the fall in the price of oil. … For those looking for the democratic tide to turn, the conventional wisdom is that collapsing oil prices will make it much harder for some of the world’s oil autocracies like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela — the so-called axis of oil — to maintain their hold on power.”

“Suddenly,” Social Security is in trouble: “As it turns out Medicare/Medicaid is in much worse shape than Social Security, and deserves some discussion as well — but the Social Security question is instructive. This isn’t some ’sudden’ problem brought on by the recession. This is one that was identified years ago and ignored by the very same people who are now trying to lay blame elsewhere.”


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 14, 2009

World Vision will not sponsor poor Jewish children

Most people are unaware of it but there are quite a lot of poor Israeli Jews. So in August 2006, I sent the following email to World Vision:

"I was thinking of helping a poor Jewish child in Israel. Do you have a facility for that?"

On 8.23.2006 I got the following reply:

"Thank you very much for contacting World Vision! I appreciate the time you took to communicate with us, and I am happy to respond. On behalf of World Vision, I want you to know how grateful we are for your interest in our organization.

World Vision always serves the most needy children in a community. We never choose to sponsor children on the basis of race or religion, but rather on poverty indices alone. We do have programs in Israel, including sponsorship which has been funded by World Vision Canada, but the worst poverty is in Palestinian areas. In this region, those areas are found in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem and are mostly occupied by Palestinian families.

World Vision United States funds sponsorship programs in other countries that include children from different religious backgrounds, including Jewish children. However, it is important to note that every child in our program has the same needs (they lack the basic essentials of life); a child's religion is not a criteria that is included when enrolled in our sponsorship program; therefore, we do not have a process or system in place to select a child for sponsorship based on race, religion, or political background.

Persons living outside the U.S. may sponsor a child through the World Vision office in the United States only with an international credit card. Unfortunately, due to shipping costs/constraints, international donors are not eligible to receive any premiums (for example, a free CD or stuffed animal). Currently monthly sponsorship rates are US$30.00 and Hope Children are $35.00.


Michael D. Restivo, Donor Contact Services, World Vision U.S.

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. Motivated by our faith in Jesus, we serve the poor--regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, or gender--as a demonstration of God's unconditional love for all people."

I wrote back saying: "Sorry you don't want my money"

On 8.29.2006 I received the following reply:

"Thank you for your return email. Yes, you are correct, it is not possible to choose a sponsored child through our organization based on his/her religion. However, in the future, you may be able to sponsor a child from our sponsorship projects located in Jerusalem/Westbank/Gaza. This option is not currently available due to the impact of the recent Middle East crisis. After this situation settles down, sponsored children from these projects may be available for sponsorship. Once again, it is important to note that we cannot and do not guarantee that sponsored children from these projects are of the Jewish faith."


Michael Restivo"

I dropped the matter at that time but I am putting the emails up now as an illustration of how "non-discrimination" can be used as an insidious mask for discrimination -- refusing to help a needy group because of their religion. If they really were a charity solely concerned with the welfare of poor children, they would be delighted to receive all donations, regardless of the religion of the intended recipients. It would have cost them nothing to honour the wishes of a donor in this matter but they would rather lose the donation than direct it to Jews. They are modern-day Pharisees: "Whited sepulchres", as Jesus called them.


Afghan-bound GIs Surge Ahead of Gear

Thousands of U.S. troops are being rushed to Afghanistan without the equipment they will need to fight an emboldened Taliban, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and military officials said Thursday. The equipment delay is "a considerable concern," Gates said as he toured a dusty forward base in south Afghanistan where some 200 newly deployed Marines and sailors are arriving each day as part of the buildup of 21,000 new U.S. troops.

Marines who arrived in southern Afghanistan this week mark the vanguard of the expansion Obama has ordered to reverse a war his commanders say they are not winning. Pentagon officials said the initial Marine units are small advance parties, to be followed by much larger waves of forces in the coming weeks. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe troop movements. "I heard this on several occasions today, that the equipment is coming in behind the troops and is not here and available for them when they arrive," Gates said at a news conference Thursday night in Kabul before a fly-around through bases in Afghanistan.

Gates attributed the delays to "the amount of equipment that has to be brought in and, frankly, the relatively limited infrastructure in terms of airfields and so on of how to get it in here." Despite concerns about pressing U.S. military needs in Iraq and insurgents' interference with supply lines, the real problem has been "more a logistical challenge than it is anything else," Gates said. He promised to pursue the problem after he returns to Washington on Saturday.

The scope of the equipment shortage was not immediately clear. One Marine corporal at Camp Leatherneck told Gates during a 15-minute town-hall meeting in sweltering heat that he needed more communications equipment. The Pentagon has already been grappling with how to beef up mine-resistant patrol trucks that have shown success in Iraq but are not resilient enough to withstand Afghanistan's hilly and rugged terrain.

The equipment shortage leaves U.S. troops vulnerable as the Taliban and other extremist groups are ramping up attacks with Afghanistan national elections approaching. In a chilling reminder of the risks U.S. troops face, Gates said casualties among American, Afghanistan and other international security forces are up 75 percent since the beginning of the year.

Brig. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of military forces in Afghanistan's southern region, predicted a surge of violence through the Aug. 20 elections. But Nicholson said he expects the attacks will cease once the Taliban understands that they cannot drive away U.S. and international forces. "There will be an increase in violence, initially, because the enemy will not easily give up their hold on the population," Nicholson told reporters at Camp Leatherneck. "But this will be a spike, not a continuous upwards slope." The United States is sending 21,000 troops to add to the 38,000 already in place.

Taliban forces show few signs of backing down as the U.S. ramps up its forces - underscored by the confrontation with American troops this week in the western Farah Province that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians. The incident, still under investigation by U.S. and Afghan authorities, came just days before Gates flew to Afghanistan, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai met in Washington with President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials as well as Pakistani leaders.

At Leatherneck, a Marine asked Gates if U.S. troops in Afghanistan might be sent into Pakistan for peacekeeping missions. Hours later, in Kabul, an Afghan reporter asked a similar question. In both cases, Gates said no. "I do not anticipate at all there will be American troops going into Pakistan from Afghanistan to deal with this problem," Gates said.




Tax Increases Could Kill the Recovery: "The barrage of tax increases proposed in President Barack Obama's budget could, if enacted by Congress, kill any chance of an early and sustained recovery. Historians and economists who've studied the 1930s conclude that the tax increases passed during that decade derailed the recovery and slowed the decline in unemployment. That was true of the 1935 tax on corporate earnings and of the 1937 introduction of the payroll tax. Japan did the same destructive thing by raising its value-added tax rate in 1997. The current outlook for an economic recovery remains precarious. Although the stimulus package will give a temporary boost to growth in the current quarter, it will not be enough to offset the combined effect of lower consumer spending, the decline in residential construction, the weakness of exports, the limited availability of bank credit and the downward spiral of house prices. A sustained economic upturn is far from a sure thing. This is no time for tax increases that will reduce spending by households and businesses. Even if the proposed tax increases are not scheduled to take effect until 2011, households will recognize the permanent reduction in their future incomes and will reduce current spending accordingly. Higher future tax rates on capital gains and dividends will depress share prices immediately and the resulting fall in wealth will cut consumer spending further. Lower share prices will also raise the cost of equity capital, depressing business investment in plant and equipment."

The budget cuts charade: “There are plenty of empty and annoying rituals in official Washington: the pompous playing of ‘Hail to the Chief’ when the president materializes; tiresome standing ovations during the annual State of the Union address; the State of the Union address itself. But among the most silly, at least in modern Washington, is the ritualistic axing of wasteful and superfluous federal programs in the president’s budget. Every president in recent memory, no matter the party, proposed bringing the hatchet down on wasteful, duplicative, anachronistic programs. And each president, when he did so, knew full well that none of the targeted programs would be eliminated or even cut, once Congress intervened.”

Britain's minimum wage rises by 7 pennies!: Britain's minimum wage is to increase to £5.80 an hour. The 7p rise was far less than unions had asked for. But yesterday's move, which will take effect in October, has angered business leaders who wanted a freeze on the rate to help companies cope with the economic downturn. The increase means adults working a 40-hour week will receive at least £232. From October next year, this adult minimum rate will apply to 21-year-olds as well. Their minimum wage is currently set at a lower rate - together with that of workers aged 18, 19 and 20. The Government said almost one million people will benefit from this year's increase after it approved recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission.

Financial health of SSI, Medicare worsens: “The financial health of Social Security and Medicare, the government’s two biggest benefit programs, has worsened because of the severe recession, and Medicare is now paying out more than it receives. Trustees of the programs said Tuesday that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, one year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner. Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year and will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year’s report.”

UK: "Gorbals Mick" is a disgrace to his high office: "Ministers have told Gordon Brown that the Speaker of the House of Commons must go, amid growing concern within the Labour Party that it is unable to regain the initiative on expenses from David Cameron. Downing Street said that the Prime Minister thought Michael Martin was “doing a good job”. But within hours the Speaker was embroiled in his second spat with backbench MPs in 24 hours. The Speaker’s latest outburst was directed at David Winnick, the Labour MP, who asked Mr Martin to apologise for the way he had attacked two MPs in the chamber on Monday. Mr Martin replied that if any MP was unhappy with him, “then he knows what he must do” — a taunt that his critics should put up or shut up. Some ministers said privately that Mr Brown must meet David Cameron and Nick Clegg as soon as possible to decide how to oust Mr Martin. “He must be handed the pearl-handled revolver,” a senior member of the Government said. “He has to go. He has shown an astonishing lack of judgment.” The comments are an indication of the depth of anger at Mr Martin on the government benches. Many MPs believe that the rehabilitation of Parliament’s reputation cannot begin until he is removed, since the Speaker oversees the system of allowances, which is now discredited widely."

Stopping the snooping of police databases: “Information is power and law enforcement seems hungry for both. A recent report that police in Massachusetts pried into personal information about movie stars and sports heroes by trolling the Criminal Offender Record Information system is the latest example of the abuse that occurs when police and other government agencies have unchecked power to collect, use, and even share personal data about citizens. This kind of abuse doesn’t stop with the stars, and it doesn’t stop with CORI. The misuse of law enforcement databases, as reported by the state auditor, can have serious consequences for ordinary residents as well as celebrities. Unmonitored access to poorly regulated databases gives power to local law enforcement to pry into and share information about innocent people and potential criminals alike.”

Transportation alternatives: How others manage : “Transportation is the most important service function in the community. Unfortunately in America the transportation marketplace in most cities has been closed to private non government entities for a number of years. There are a few exceptions. Were we to open the transportation market to private mom and pop operations, or corporation we might find we have a powerful tool to put a significant dent in poverty. The government’s own research notes that certain groups in our society have poor access to transit services.”

Democrat wipeout planned for the 2010 mid-terms? "Senate's top tax writer said Tuesday that taxing employer-provided health benefits is a possibility as lawmakers search for ways to pay for overhauling the nation's health care system and to insure 50 million Americans who lack coverage - a stance that riles both business and union leaders and is at odds with some leading Democrats. At the last in a series of public forums on health care reform, Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said scaling back the tax-free status of employer-provided health care benefits must be considered."

Moral-values groups hail tax ruling: "In a move cheered by conservatives, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that ministers and pastors do not risk losing their tax-exempt status for engaging in political acts on behalf of issues such as traditional-values advocacy. The IRS said in a letter to the Niemoller Foundation that the Houston-based nonprofit organization did not violate its tax-exempt status when it brought together pastors and politicians to champion moral issues during Republican Gov. Rick Perry's 2006 re-election campaign. Short of endorsing a particular candidate or spending substantial portions of their nonprofit budgets on legislative lobbying, ministers and their churches are free to engage in political acts on behalf of moral values, the IRS said. Clergy are also free to encourage their congregations' members to get out the vote based on those issues and values. The long-awaited IRS decision benefits Republicans, since religious conservatives constitute a large and influential bloc in the party's electoral coalition. Many political analysts in both parties have maintained that but for the active support of Christian ministers who spoke out for the same moral values that the Republican presidential candidate espoused, George W. Bush would not have won Ohio and, therefore, would not have been re-elected in 2004."

Extortionist lawyers: "Court cases get dismissed all the time, but rarely are dismissals as significant as the two lawsuits against Dole Food and other companies that were tossed recently by a California judge. Among other good things, the ruling is a setback for tort lawyers who troll abroad seeking dubious claims to bring in U.S. courts. The allegations against Dole, the world's largest fruit and vegetable producer, involved banana plantation workers in Nicaragua who alleged that exposure to the pesticide DBPC in the 1970s left them sterile. The only problem is that most of the plaintiffs had not worked at plantations and weren't sterile. In fact, there's no evidence that farm workers at Dole facilities were exposed to harmful levels of the chemical -- which was legal and widely used at the time -- or that the level of exposure they did experience even causes sterility. "What has occurred here is not just a fraud on the court, but it is a blatant extortion of the defendants," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney in her oral ruling. More than 40 related cases involving thousands of plaintiffs from Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Ivory Coast are pending in her court. And the ruling puts in doubt some $2 billion in judgments that plaintiffs lawyers have already obtained in Nicaragua."


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


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A small grumble

There are times when I wish I could leave politics alone and concentrate on something more intelligent -- such as medieval theology. Medieval theology was brilliant. The name of Aquinas still resounds in the Christian world and the name of Rashi still resounds in the Jewish world. By comparison current politics seem utterly juvenile, with Nancy Pelosi denying that she heard what she was told about waterboarding and Al Gore refusing to debate anybody who knows anything about climate.

But I cannot leave politics alone. I first realized the importance of politics in my teens, when I read in Thucydides about how the demagoguery of Alcibiades led Athens into the disastrous Sicilian expedition -- which greatly weakened Athens and sowed the seeds for its decline.

But the importance of politics was most brought home to me when I took a vacation in California in the '70s. At one stage I decided to visit Tijuana in Mexico just to see what it was like. I drove down the big 8-lane concrete highway from Los Angeles to San Diego and thence to the border. As soon as I got through the border control, I found myself in Mexico -- not on 8-lane concrete highway but on a barrel-lined dirt track. The transition was shocking. I assume the road on the Mexican side of the border has improved since then but to me at the time it told me how important politics is. The landscape on both sides of the border was much the same. What differed was the politics. In the USA politics were governed at that time by Anglo-Saxon values of individual liberty; in Mexico there was typical Latin-American Fascism. The consequences of that political difference were huge and omnipresent.

So that is why I still write about the vast politial follies that I see about me.


Another pathetic attempt to explain away the black/white gap in academic achievement

An excerpt from another skeptic:
Today’s New York Times column by David Brooks touts a new study by Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Promise Academy charter schools, two celebrated schools in Harlem. Fryer and Dobbie’s finding that the typical eighth-grader was in the 74th percentile among New York City students in mathematics leads Brooks to state that HCZ Promise Academy eliminated the black-white achievement gap. He’s so dumbstruck by this that he says it twice. Brooks takes this evidence as support for the “no excuses” model of charter schools, and, claiming that “the approach works,” challenges all cities to adopt this “remedy for the achievement gap.”

Coming on the heels of yesterday’s release of the 2009 New York State English Language Arts (ELA) results, in which the HCZ schools outperformed the citywide white average in grade 3, but were well behind the white average in grades 4, 5 and 8, skoolboy decided to drink a bit more deeply from the datastream....

It’s true that eighth-graders in 2008 scored .20 standard deviations above the citywide average for white students. But it may also be apparent that this is a very unusual pattern relative to the other data represented in this figure, all of which show continuing and sizeable advantages for white students in New York City over HCZ students. The fact that HCZ seventh-graders in 2008 were only .3 standard deviations behind white students citywide in math is a real accomplishment, and represents a shrinkage of the gap of .42 standard deviations for these students in the preceding year. However, Fryer and Dobbie, and Brooks in turn, are putting an awful lot of faith in a single data point — the remarkable increase in math scores between seventh and eighth grade for the students at HCZ who entered sixth grade in 2006. If what HCZ is doing can routinely produce a .67 standard deviation shift in math test scores in the eighth grade, that would be great. But we’re certainly not seeing an effect of that magnitude in the seventh grade. And, of course, none of this speaks to the continuing large gaps in English performance.

But here’s the kicker. In the HCZ Annual Report for the 2007-08 school year submitted to the State Education Department, data are presented on not just the state ELA and math assessments, but also the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Those eighth-graders who kicked ass on the state math test? They didn’t do so well on the low-stakes Iowa Tests. Curiously, only 2 of the 77 eighth-graders were absent on the ITBS reading test day in June, 2008, but 20 of these 77 were absent for the ITBS math test. For the 57 students who did take the ITBS math test, HCZ reported an average Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) score of 41, which failed to meet the school’s objective of an average NCE of 50 for a cohort of students who have completed at least two consecutive years at HCZ Promise Academy. In fact, this same cohort had a slightly higher average NCE of 42 in June, 2007.

So what we have is a truly laughable attempt to generalize from a single aberrant instance. The first thing you learn in Statistics 101 is that you CANNOT generalize from a single instance. That the unusual result was "fudged" in some way would be the most rational conclusion. Teachers "helping" students do tests in various ways is reported from time to time.


The elite versus the people

Who says socialists and liberals can’t learn? With just a bit over 100 days of the Obama regime behind us, the Hard Left is realizing one of the great truths of American politics; a hard fact that conservatives have known and suffered under for quite a long time.

When all is said and done, there are no “Democrats” or “Republicans” or “liberals” or “conservatives” in Washington, D.C. There are only those “in” and those “not in.” The establishment structure is no more concerned with petty differences of ideology or party labels than they are with adhering to the Constitution. For them, such considerations are plebian and only useful to keep the rabble confused and diverted.

The Left is getting a full taste of this truth. By now, everyone knows that Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania “switched” from being a Republican to being a Democrat. It means absolutely nothing. The fact is Republicans were ready to draw and quarter Specter. He had zero chance of keeping power with the GOP label. So, he changed labels. Nothing more to it.

Within days of his big switch, Specter had voted against his new Party on two big issues. He is still what he has always been; a shill for the establishment. He represents established interests, not the People of Pennsylvania and never has.

The Left sees clearly that Specter brings nothing to their side of the debate. In fact, he is now the same problem and distraction for them that he has been for conservatives for the last 30 years. And, as conservatives tried to rid themselves of the pest through primaries, so too do leftists want to primary Specter for the Democratic nomination.

And just like when he was a Republican, Specter has the White House coming to his aid to defend him and get him passed a primary challenge. What is it about this guy? We all know he was the fool who came up with the magic bullet theory in the Kennedy assassination investigation. Did he keep a copy of the pictures? Does he know something that those in power just can’t allow to become public knowledge? We’ll leave such questions to Oliver Stone to explore.

But the fact remains. Honest people who embrace ideological positions out of deep commitment—leftists embracing socialism and conservatives advocating the Constitution and individual liberty under the rule of law—are blocked at every turn from getting honest representation by an establishment that stacks the deck, blocks primary challenges and denies real choice to the voters.

David Sirota of Open Left calls this an entitlement mentality on the part of the D.C. insider elite. He is getting closer to the truth but he is not there yet. Scott Rasmussen has been showing graphically for more than a month the stark difference between the governing class and the People. His polls on a range of issues have shown that those in power, those that actually run the country are radically different from what most people think and believe.

Want to bet whose views prevail—the positions of the overwhelming majority of Americans or the views of the insider elite? The safest bet in town is to bet on the establishment. They don’t care what the public thinks or wants. And worse still, they cynically use the public’s own desires and positions to divide and divert the voters from making truly radical change.

It is encouraging for those of us who are pledged to the restoration of the Constitution to see people like Sirota start to realize the truth of the situation. I would be hard pressed to find anything on which I agree with him. But on this fundamental process point, we are in complete and total agreement. The politicians and those that control them feel they are entitled to their office and their perks. They become angry and confused and hostile if their “right” is challenged in any way.

And that is exactly why it is so vital that they be challenged at every turn. We need a real debate in America, not the phony stacked deck we have suffered for far too long. Obama vs. McCain a real contest between competing views of government? Please! Give me a break. That deck was stacked from the get-go. And when it looked like the American people might not go for the Obama scam, McCain did everything in his power to throw the race, to ensure his own defeat.

What Sirota and others on the Hard Left are starting to realize is that the entitlement mentality is destructive and harmful to the political process, just as it is in the economic or social realm. It needs to be attacked, debunked and overturned. Once we can get agreement on that fact, we can turn to a real debate on the role of government and whether the government rules the People or the People rule the government.




Liberty creates order: "David Brooks, the New York Times’s resident neoconservative, delights in peddling a false alternative: freedom or social order. His latest column hawking this snake oil comes in the form of advice to the struggling Republican Party: ‘If the Republicans are going to rebound, they will have to reestablish themselves as the party of civic order.’ In other words, give up freedom.”

Seeking empathy on the court: “We might as well start with the handicapping and explain the reasons later. Barack Obama could easily surprise us, but if I were laying odds today I would say the leading candidates to be the next Supreme Court justice are Judge Diane P. Wood, 58, of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago; Sonia Sotomayor, 54, of the 2nd Circuit court in New York; and Elena Kagan, 49, currently solicitor general and formerly dean of the Harvard Law School. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, 50, a Harvard law graduate and former assistant U.S. attorney, and Kim McLane Wardlaw, 54, of the 9th Circuit court in San Francisco figure as long shots. You probably noticed that all those named are women and all relatively young.

How Ford restructured without federal help: “While General Motors and Chrysler will emerge from the government restructuring wringer with significantly reduced debt, Ford will still likely be obliged to repay its lenders. This could put Ford at a competitive disadvantage — an unfortunate irony for the one Detroit car company that has gotten the decisions mostly right in the last few years. … Ford is like a homeowner who planned prudently and can pay his mortgage, while his spendthrift neighbors get their mortgage reduced by some new federal program.”

Beyond the paleos: "There is a flavor of conservatism that has not been discredited by the events of the past eight years. If anything, its criticisms of loose monetary policies, overconsumption, reckless private and public borrowing, uncontrolled immigration, and foreign adventurism now seem prescient. It is a conservatism unburdened by the Iraq War, the ‘heckuva job’ response to Hurricane Katrina, and the financial meltdown, which are really the biggest contributors to the GOP’s decline. Most of all, it is a conservatism that does not need to rehabilitate the Bush legacy since its leading exponents were never full-time Bush apologists. An objection is likely to enter even the minds of sympathetic readers. This sounds a lot like paleoconservatism, whose adherents are too quirky, too cantankerous, and too small in number to put together an effective political movement. But we needn’t call it ‘paleo’ anything. It’s the ideas that matter. Not so long ago a platform along these lines — limited government, decentralism, a national interest-based foreign policy, and resistance to multiculturalism — would have been considered conservatism without the prefix. And is it really that outlandish compared to the leading alternatives?”


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


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama's dangerous African values

What anthropologists call "tribal values" are very widespread in the world: in Africa, the Middle East, Melanesia etc. They dictate ethical relativism. You have different standards of justice and morality towards people according to whom that other person is. Members of your tribe are treated much differently from non-members, for instance. Such morality is wholly antithetical to Western society, however, as Jeff Jacoby explains below.

It could be argued that Mr Obama's elevation of emotion over law is not, as I suggest, African but simply Leftist. It could be argued that what we see in him is the moral "flexibility" that characterizes Leftists generally. But I know of no previous Democrat President who has argued that the rule of law should be subordinated to emotional considerations. And there is a good reason for that. Any such advocacy could cause laws favoured by the Left to be disregarded too. It seems that only Mr Obama is so dumb as not to have figured that out yet -- despite his alleged qualifications as a lawyer. His law degree may be purely an "affirmative action" one

JUDICIAL DISPASSION -- the ability to decide cases without being influenced by personal feelings or political preferences -- is indispensable to the rule of law. So indispensable, in fact, that the one-sentence judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice contains no fewer than three expressions of it: "I . . . do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God."

There are biblical echoes in the wording of that oath -- a reminder that the judge's obligation to decide cases on the basis of fact and law, without regard to the litigants' wealth or fame or social status, is a venerable moral principle.

"You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike," says Moses in Deuteronomy, instructing the Israelite judges. "You shall not distort justice; you shall not respect persons, and you shall not take a bribe." Elsewhere they are reminded that it is not only the rich they are forbidden to favor. "Neither shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute," Exodus firmly warns. Judges may not bend the law, not even to help the underprivileged.

Without judicial restraint there is no rule of law. We live under "a government of laws and not of men," to quote John Adams's resonant phrase, only so long as judges stick to neutrally resolving the disputes before them, applying the law and upholding the Constitution even when doing so leads to results they personally dislike. That is why the judicial oath is so adamant about impartiality. That is why Lady Justice is so frequently depicted -- as on the sculpted lampposts outside the US Supreme Court -- wearing a blindfold and carrying balanced scales.

And that is why President Obama's "empathy" standard is so disturbing, and has generated so much comment.

Time and again, Obama has called for judges who do not put their private political views aside when deciding cases. In choosing a replacement for Justice David Souter, the president says, he will seek not just "excellence and integrity," but a justice whose "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles," would be "an essential ingredient" in his jurisprudence. In an interview last year, he said he would look for judges "sympathetic" to those "on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless."

When he voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005, Obama declared that the "truly difficult" cases that come before the Supreme Court can be decided only with reference to "the depth and breadth of one's empathy," and that "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart."

But such cardiac justice is precisely what judges "do solemnly swear" to renounce. Sympathy for others is an admirable virtue, but a judge's private commiserations are not relevant to the law he is expected to apply.

If Obama means what he says, he wants judges who can be counted on to violate their oath of office.

"We need somebody who's got the heart -- the empathy -- to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom," he told a Planned Parenthood conference in 2007. "The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."

With such criteria, what would remain of the rule of law? What would happen to "Equal Justice Under Law," which is carved above the Supreme Court's entrance? What would be left of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws" to every citizen?

Lady Justice wears a blindfold not because she has no empathy for certain litigants or groups of people, but because there is no role for such empathy in a courtroom. "Our constitution is color-blind," wrote Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, in his great dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, "and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens." Harlan had supported slavery; he believed whites were superior to nonwhites. He had his empathies, but he confined his judging to the law.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)



AT LEAST 378 CIVILIANS" KILLED OVERNIGHT--NO JOOOOOOS INVOLVED, SO NO PROTEST MARCHES. What the AP story below carefully omits is that the Tamil Tigers are extraordinarily brutal Communist terrorists who make HAMAS look like amateurs and whose chief victims are other Tamils. They have repeatedly undermined all offers of peace. An indication of their mentality: India has a large Tamil population and the Tigers thought that India should support them. They conveyed that message by assassinating the Prime Minister of India. The result was of course the opposite of what they sought. None of that would of course undermine Leftist support for them if it were opportunistic to do so. Witness the past Leftist support for the Soviet regime or their present support for the Palestinian terrorists. Though it must be admitted that Leftists have never seemed much interested in dark-skinned people being ghastly to one another. Their obvious but unspoken attitude is that dark-skinned people are an inferior race from whom not much good can be expected

A massive barrage of artillery in Sri Lanka's northern war zone killed at least 378 civilians and wounded 1,100 overnight, a government doctor said Sunday, calling it the bloodiest day he had seen in the government's offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

V. Shanmugarajah, a physician working in the war zone, said he feared many more may have been killed since some bodies were being buried on the spot without being brought to the makeshift hospital he runs. "We are doing what is possible. The situation is overwhelming; nothing is within our control," he said. Mr. Shanmugarajah described seeing shells fly through the air, with some falling close to the hospital, sending many to take shelter in bunkers.

The rebel-linked TamilNet Web site accused Sri Lankan forces of launching the attack, a charge the military denied. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said it was only using small arms in its effort to wipe out the Tamil Tiger rebel group and that there "is no shelling taking place."

The government vowed two weeks ago to cease firing heavy weapons into the tiny coastal strip that remained under rebel control in an effort to avoid civilian casualties. However, medical officials in the area have reported that airstrikes and artillery attacks have continued unabated, despite the presence of an estimated 50,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the tiny conflict zone.

Reports of the fighting are difficult to verify because the government bars journalists and aid workers from the war zone. U.N. figures compiled last month showed that nearly 6,500 civilians had been killed early this year as the government renewed its efforts to end its 25-year civil war with the rebels.

The government has brushed off international calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, saying the beleaguered rebels would use any pause in fighting to regroup. It has accused the rebels of using civilians in the north as human shields, and Brig. Nanayakkara said the insurgents shot families who tried to escape the war zone Saturday, killing nine people.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, who have suffered decades of marginalization at the hands of governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.




The Weasel animal (Wieseltier) does give me a laugh. I have outlined his odious character on Feb. 25 but he still seems to have a perch as "Washingtom Diarist" at TNR. He has literary pretentions so I was amused to note in reading his latest effusion that he seemed to feel a need for an excursion into a foreign language. But rather than Latin, French or Greek, all he could come up with (for no obvious reason) was the Spanish word for "opening": abertura. Poor weasel! The funniest thing about his article was however his condemnation of Hillary Cliton and Obama on the grounds that their policies have no grounding in morality or principle! That the accusation was an example of the pot calling the kettle Afro-American was shown by the fact that the weasel made no attempt to specify what those morals and principles should be! He is as morally bankrupt as they are.

When emotions take over, logic flies out the window: “Here is a paradox in the position being championed by several commentators on a prominent anti-vivisectionist website: If other animals may kill and maim fellow animals, and if human beings aren’t significantly different from other animals, why are human beings derided for killing and maiming other animals just as those kill and maim other animals? All those pictures of animals that have been hurt by people could be matched by pictures of animals that have been hurt by non-human animals. Nature is replete with cases of that kind. Some defenders of non-human animals claim that humans are not all that different from other animals; if this is so, why do they demand that humans treat non-humans so differently from how non-humans treat other non-humans? This paradox is a serious one and it requires an answer from those who condemn human beings for treating non-human animals hurtfully! But there are others, too, that are worth mentioning.”

China recovering: "It is now clear that Beijing was right and global markets were wrong on China's ability to quickly overcome its extraordinary economic collapse in the second half of last year. Last week the closely watched CLSA purchasing managers index, a gauge of manufacturing activity, catapulted into expansion territory, matching an earlier jump in the official purchasing managers Index. While inventory adjustments continue to be wild (electricity generation, a proxy for heavy industries like steel, fell 3 per cent from March to April) the latest official and anecdotal reports are mostly strong. "April was another record for us," the China representative for an international car company told me at the weekend. "Our wealthy car clients are back - they never really went away but they were waiting for the economy to turn - and the new thing is that truck sales are soaring." [And they did it by going all out to encourage business. Obama take note]

The fruit of Leftist moral relativism: "A "decade of yobbery" under Labour has seen the number of persistent young offenders plaguing Britain's streets increase by 60 per cent while the number of crimes they commit has almost doubled. In one police force they account for one in seven offences brought to justice while another saw the number of problem offenders more than treble. A persistent young offender is anyone aged 10 to 17 who is guilty of at least one offence on four or more separate occasions within a set number of years. The figures show the problem is growing suggesting a new generation of serial criminals committing more and more crime. David Ruffley, the Conservative police reform minister, said: "These new figures show that Labour Ministers have presided over a decade of yobbery, fuelled by massive increases in the number of repeat young offenders. "These figures make a mockery of Labour's promises to tackle youth crime. There have been 46 Labour strategies since 1997 to try and tackle youth crime and it's now clear they have failed."

British Labour party response to fraud revelations? A coverup: "A Labour plot to suppress the future release of MPs’ expenses has been uncovered by The Times. As the frenzy over MPs’ claims continues into a fourth day, senior figures from all parties will meet this morning to discuss how to salvage Parliament’s battered reputation and it emerged that the tax authorities are expected to investigate whether MPs have breached the law. Plans to bring in a private-sector company to run the expenses department have raised fears, however, that the move is being used as a smokescreen to suppress future embarrassing revelations."

Gangster government gave Chrysler to the UAW: “So reads the Washington Examiner’s editorial today about how Obama effectively gave ownership of Chrysler to the United Auto Workers Union (which spent millions electing Obama), rather than taxpayers (who have spent billions to bail out Chrysler) or the institutions that lent money to Chrysler based on the legal right and expectation that they would receive its assets before the UAW union would. Veteran political commentator Michael Barone also calls it ‘gangster government.’”

Libertarian accusations: “Libertarians say ‘we have no desire to take from you what is yours’ and are called ‘greedy.’ Libertarians say ‘we have no desire to run your life for you’ and are called ‘arrogant.’ Orwell would be proud of modern political debate because it so closely mirror the doublespeak he wrote about in 1984. Libertarians are constantly accused of saying the exact opposite of what libertarians actually are saying.”

Obama hearts Big Labor: “The Obama administration has delivered a strong message to crooked union bosses everywhere: happy days are here again. On Thursday President Obama, who has pledged to usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility, touted $17 billion in proposed cuts to his $3.4 trillion budget. The media noted that about half of the reductions came out of the defense budget, but lost in most reports is the fact that the administration also slashed funding for the only entity in government tasked with policing unions.”


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 11, 2009

Presidential Sleight of Hand

A journalist tells her boss how hard it is to keep up with Obama

I planned to write more about Obama's search for housing for Guantanamo detainees. But, before I could get my computer booted up, Obama changed his mind and decided, rather than simply releasing them as he had said in his campaigning days, he would instead allow military tribunals for them and see how that goes. Ok, so I switched gears and started to write about that. He said one thing when campaigning; he does another when he gets to the White House.

Then Monday morning, Obama dropped another bomb – he proposed a $190 billion tax increase on American companies. You're aware that Coke has bottling facilities everywhere but on the moon and that may yet happen, if we decide to develop a program of some sort there. Anyhoo, Coke has plants all over the world and they are run by citizens of the countries they are in. For instance, the companies operate as local businesses in local communities across Japan. The workers are Japanese, the managers and owners are Japanese. The profits are, mainly, Japanese.

Obama and his cronies want to tax Coke for the money made in the Japanese market. That's 'taxes' as in 'extra taxes' as in 'we-want-more-of-your-profits taxes.' Coca-Cola already pays taxes in Japan for a product made in Japan, delivered to stores in Japan and sold to the people of Japan. Obama wants Coke to pay US taxes on top of the Japanese taxes, which will make the price of Coke more expensive in Japan and they will sell less.

Also on Monday, Iran threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Well, that's nothing that hasn't happened many times in the last few months but, this time, they went even farther and admitted that their nuclear program is designed for that purpose – to wipe Israel off the map. Israel, concerned over heightened threats from Iran, recently issued a deadline to Palestinians to leave their houses. On Sunday, Ahmadinejad reiterated his call for the end of Israel. As usual, Obama said nothing and the press all but ignored the story.

I looked around the 'tubes on that one for a while and found somebody saying that Obama wants to have Turkey, Syria and Lebanon side with us in dealing with Iran. Several sites emphasized how Israel will work to get around needing America's help in dealing with Iran. It seems that Israel takes Ahmadinejad at his word and fully expects him to deliver on his promise. President Bush backed Israel. I can't find any comment by Obama indicating he feels the same. However, I did see where Rahm Emanuel met secretly with Israeli leaders to reassure them of our continued support. At least, we will support them if the Jews stop dodging Palestinian rockets long enough to go back into peace talks with the Palestinians. If they will do that, Emanuel promised that Obama would do his part to stop Iran's march to achieve their very own nuclear weapons.

Knowing that Iran has been gunning (pardon the pun) for Israel for over 30 years, and knowing that, if the Jews come out of hiding, the Palestinians will just lob more rockets straight at them, maybe it seems logical that Israel would warn the Palestinian people to leave their homes under the possibility of war if something doesn't happen for the better – and soon. Politics is all about 'tit for tat' you do this for me and I'll do this for you. This was no tit nor was it tat. Emanuel threatened the tiny little country of Israel. Now the question is, who does that tiny little country fear more - Iran or Obama?

Why did the press ignore that story? Because, on Sunday evening, Barack and Michelle held hands and walked around the White House. Sorry Boss, but I didn't pick up on that quick enough to get an exclusive for The Observer.

So I kept watching the news and digging around and then I saw that Obama's folks were meeting with some of Chrysler's creditors and figured that was worth following. I thought Chrysler was going to declare bankruptcy and it would all be settled by an experienced bankruptcy judge in a courtroom. It looked to be heading that way until Obama's reps threatened the Chrysler creditors, telling them that he wanted the United Auto Workers Union to be given 55 % ownership of the restructured company. Any of Chrysler's creditors that hold secured loans will have to settle for about 29 cents on every dollar owed them. So, now the Union is set to own Chrysler. Gee, that President of ours sure is a jack of all trades. Who knew he knew so much about the financial workings of an auto manufacturer? He must have studied bankruptcy law when he was in college.

I started looking into Obama's college major but then I got sidetracked by a hot news story that Obama and VP Biden had zipped over to Arlington for burgers and they were yummy. Now I know why those reporters in DC get the big bucks; I sure hope someday I get a chance to report hot news like they do. Maybe Michelle will come to NC and I'll get to post a story about her and her shoes. Did you know she paid $540.00 for them? I think the store threw in the box for free.

Have you heard about this one? USCAP is an environmental group. They are helping democrats draw up the design of the cap and trade program. World Resources Institute is one of the founding members of USCAP. Guess who sits on the board of WRI? AL Gore! And, he's also a partner in Kleiner Perkins, at least since last year, anyway. KP will invest over $600 million in technologies that aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Sounds like standard business practice 'til you read further and see that, under cap and trade policy, businesses will have to pay for the amount of carbon dioxide that they release during their manufacturing process. AL Gore's money will come from companies that produce products that companies can use to reduce those emissions. Al Gore is part of the group suggesting ways that the cap and trade policy can be structured. He will benefit financially from that policy. What could possibly be wrong with that?

That's when my head started pounding …

So, I took some aspirin and moved on to today's news to see what the President was up to. Remember Tim Geithner, that guy that didn't choose to pay his taxes? The one that, rather than be sent to jail, was chosen to be Secretary of the US Treasury? (I admit, I still haven't figured out what Obama had in mind when he did that but I am certain that all will be revealed at the right time.) Well, Geithner came out and stood beside the President and announced that his office now plans "to end tax loopholes which allow well-off citizens to evade the rules that the rest of America lives by." Yep, he said that, Boss. The rich man who didn't pay his taxes is going after other rich folks who don't pay taxes.

Also, he said that Obama has plans to raise taxes on US companies by $190 billion. And there's when I quit, just gave up. If Obama raises corporate taxes, who does he think will pay them? Big companies don't pay taxes. They just add them to the product they manufacture and pass it on down the line, When Wal-Mart receives that product, they add on a bit for profit and an extra bit to cover the higher cost and then stack it on the shelves. Then Susie Shopper comes along and buys it, paying the accumulated taxes along with the store's profit. Or maybe Susie doesn't buy it 'cause the extra few cents make it too expensive for her budget.

When gas was so high last year, the price of Georgia peaches went up. The price went up because the price for the gas to run the truck to bring the peaches to the grocery store went up. I knew the reason - all of us shoppers knew it. Raising prices at one end of the process simply raises the cost of the product when it gets to the consumer. It doesn't take a math genius to realize that raising taxes on companies will raise the price of the end product and consumers will have to pay that price to get the product. Maybe the President just never shopped for groceries. Maybe the President just doesn't understand how things work after all.

Maybe if the President slowed down and actually paid attention to what he's doing, he might not lead this country off a cliff. And, if he did slow down, I might be able to get that story that I promised written and emailed to you. Things are just going too fast for me to keep up, Boss. I barely get one paragraph written and Mr. Speedy has moved on to a new line of attack. I can't keep up. How does Obama expect us to? Or is that his whole point?



NOT too big to fail

Washington regulators have justified several recent interventions in the financial realm by warning that firms like Bear Stearns and AIG are too big to fail. Allowing these firms to go bankrupt, the argument goes, would result in fire sales and a domino effect, which pose systematic risks to the entire economy. But Jean Helwege, associate professor of finance, writes that there is little to no evidence to support these too-big-to-fail threats of counterparty risk and fire sales.

In "Financial Firm Bankruptcy and Systematic Risk," which Helwege will present April 18 at the FDIC's annual Derivatives Securities and Risk Management Conference in Arlington, Va., she finds that cascading failures are unlikely to occur because of diversification, and that U.S. bankruptcy law allows for plenty of time to avoid fire sales and dispose of assets slowly.

When justifying bailouts or other government actions in the finance sector, regulators warn of a domino effect: One bank's failure triggers another bank's failure, which triggers other failures, and so on. But, Helwege says, this result is, at best, unlikely in reality.

"While the idea of a domino effect of one firm failing and starting a cascade of addition failures seems eminently plausible," she writes, "the empirical evidence to date suggest that no such domino effect would take place were regulators to abandon TBTF policies." Helwege cites prior research that shows that second firms rarely fail because of a first firm's failure and "that there is never a third firm involved, let alone a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or 10th."

"Cascades can only arise when firms' loans to other firms are very large as a fraction of their capital, a notion that is both at odds with bank regulations and good business practices regarding diversification," she writes.

Firms are more likely to be exposed to the same risk because they have made similar poor investment choices; such is the case with the current credit crisis and firms' common exposure to the subprime mortgage market. In this scenario, Helwege argues that "regulatory aid to one firm is of little use to the entire economy. Such assistance might bolster confidence, but clearly increasing confidence among all such firms is more productive than merely attempting to boost confidence in one particularly weak firm."

Helwege writes that the best policy oftentimes is to allow a portion of firms to fail without any assistance. Regulators warn that failures like this will result in fire sales, so they often force failing firms into mergers like the Federal Reserve-assisted takeover of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase. However, Helwege points out that bankruptcy law allows plenty of time for less desirable assets to be sold off slowly so that their true worth can be discerned. In fact, mergers like Bear and JPMorgan, which took place over the course of a weekend, actually allow less time for assets to be properly valued. "Mergers like the Bear/JP deal are examples of fire sales, not paths to avoiding them," Helwege writes.

She concludes that the best way to maintain stable, liquid, and orderly markets — the ultimate goal of financial regulators — is to allow individual firms to file for bankruptcy and slowly sell off their distressed assets while allowing Congress to find ways to provide more general assistance to the overall economy.



Marvellous news

The Israeli organization Efrat persuades women not to abort their babies -- in part by giving them financial assistance, something that I have long advocated, so it is good to hear that it is now getting increased funding for its lifesaving work

Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), a Druze Israeli, declared his intention to do whatever he could to assist the pro-life Efrat organization. He made the commitment following a personal tour of the organization's Jerusalem facilities on Sunday.

"I cannot believe what I see here," Kara enthusiastically said after hearing about Efrat and its activities combating what the organization sees as unnecessary abortions. "There is no other organization of this high caliber in the country. They are literally saving lives here and, in that, assisting the nation in confronting the demographic problem," he added.

"I will assist you in every possible way that I can," Kara told Efrat Chairman Dr. Eli Schussheim. "You will yet hear from me. The whole country needs to know about the great and unbelievable thing that you are doing. I am really moved by what I see here."

Efrat was established in 1977 by Dr. Schussheim, an Argentinian immigrant who served as senior surgeon in Jerusalem's Shaarei Tzedek Hospital during the Six Day War. The organization provides information on abortion that might not otherwise be seen by pregnant women, as well as financial and emotional assistance to expecting mothers who are considering terminating their pregnancies for reasons other than medical necessity.

In his presentation to Deputy Minister Kara, Dr. Shussheim discussed the database of over 4,000 Israeli women currently receiving financial aid from Efrat. The meaning of that figure, Shussheim said, is that the organization is saving the lives of over 4,000 children annually by means of economic assistance alone.


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)