Saturday, June 06, 2009

Obama's Cairo speech from an Israeli perspective

By Barry Rubin

Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo is one of the most bizarre orations ever made by a U.S. president, not a foreign policy statement but rather something invented by Obama, an international campaign speech, as if his main goal was to obtain votes in the next Egyptian primary. That approach defined Obama’s basic themes: Islam’s great. America is good. We’re sorry. Be moderate (not that you haven’t always been that way). Let’s be friends.

Here, Obama followed the idea that if you want someone to like you agree with almost everything he says. Obama also gave, albeit with some minor variations, the speech that the leader of a Third World Muslim country might give, justifying it in advance by claiming America is a big Muslim country, after all.

Of course, the speech had tremendous—though temporary—appeal combined with its counterproductive strategic impact. It will make him more popular. It may well make America somewhat less unpopular. But its effect on Middle East issues and U.S. interests is another matter entirely.

The first problem is that Obama said many things factually quite untrue, some ridiculously so. Pages would be required to list all these inaccuracies. The interesting question is whether Obama consciously lied or really believes it. I’d prefer him to be lying, because if he’s that ignorant then America and the world is in very deep trouble. If he really believes Islam’s social role is so perfect, radical Islamists are a tiny minority, Palestinians have suffered hugely through no fault of their own, and so on, then he’s living in a fantasy world. Unfortunately, we are not. The collision between reality and dream is going to be a terrible one.

The second problem is the speech’s unnecessarily extreme one-sidedness. Obama portrays the West as the guilty party. Despite a reference to September 11—even that presented as an American misdeed, unfair dislike of Islam resulting— he gave not a single example of Islamist or Muslim responsibility for anything wrong in the world.

Obama could easily have made the same points in a balanced way: you’ve made mistakes; we’ve made mistakes. You’ve done things to us; we’ve done things to you. And having established that I respect you, let me tell you how Americans feel and what’s needed. But that’s not how he chose to do it. So afraid was Obama of giving offense—and thus not maximizing his popularity-at-all–costs mission—he did the political equivalent of scoring an own-goal. President Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain.” In effect, Obama declared, “We’re your pain.”

So if Muslims are always the innocent victims, isn't Usama bin Ladin and others correct in saying that all the violence and terrorism to date has been just a "defensive Jihad" against external aggression and thus justifiable? Why should anything change simply because Obama has "admitted" this and asked to start over again? When he cited examples of oppression, Obama listed only Bosnia (where he didn’t even mention the U.S. role in helping Muslims), along with Israel, and also the Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Darfur. He didn’t mention terrorist violence and mistreatement of non-Muslims by Muslims in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Sudan, the Gaza Strip, against Israel, Europe or even Egypt itself.

This is a hallmark of the kind of thinking dominating much contemporary Western thought extending something that works in their own societies-- where self-criticism, apology, and unilateral concessions really can lead to the other side forgiving and compromising--to places where it doesn't work. In the Middle East if you say you’re to blame, that communicates to the other side that their cause is right and they're entitled to everything it wants. If you apologize, you’re weak. Sure, some relatively Westernized urban liberals will take what Obama said that way, I doubt whether radical states and political forces, as well as the masses, will do so.

The main ingredient in the Obama speech was flattery. There is a bumper sticker that says: Don’t apologize. Your friends don’t need to hear it and your enemies don’t care. Obama’s situation might be described as: Don’t grovel. It scares the hell out of your friends and convinces your enemies you owe them big time. As a result, the mainstream in the region will say, “We were right all the time. Obama admitted it!” While more extreme radicals say, “We’ve won and America’s surrendering.” But if Obama, as it appears, is running to be the region’s favorite politician, he’ll find he—not to mention America’s allies--has to give up many more things to win that dubious honor.

Third, Obama undermined the existing states. True, to Obama's credit, he did talk about reform, democracy, and equal rights for women. Yet the speech suggests to listeners is: democracy plus Islam equals solution. If Islam is so perfect and has such a great record—except for a tiny minority of extremists—why shouldn’t it rule? And since the extremists are presumably al-Qaida, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarians in the audience must have found a lot to applaud. How will this go over with the rulers Obama wants as allies?

Finally, Obama played into the stereotype that Israel is the central political issue in the region. Others, of course, are happy to find the usual scapegoat. An Associated Press headline reads, “Obama’s Islam Success Depends on Israel.” Is the entire “Muslim World” just waiting for Israel to stop building a few thousand apartment units a year before deciding that America is great, reform is needed, and moderation wise.

Obama’s phrases were carefully crafted. He called on Palestinians to stop violence, show their competence in administration, and accept a two-state solution, living in peace alongside Israel. Hamas was commanded to be moderate. Yet he in no way seemed to condition Palestinians getting a state on their record. His administration may think this way but he didn’t make that clear.

Middle Eastern ears won’t hear this aspect--which is part of the reason they may cheer the speech—in the way Washington policymakers intend. Inasmuch as the United States now has more credibility for them it’s because they hope it will just force Israel to give without them having to do much. When this doesn’t happen, anger will set in, intensified by the fact that the president “said” the Palestinians are in the right and should have a state right away.

Everything specific concerning Israel’s needs and demands--an end to incitement, security for Israel, end of terrorism, resettlement of refugees in Palestine—weren’t there. While Israel was specifically said to violate previous agreements on the construction within settlements issue—an assertion that’s flat-out wrong—there was no hint that the Palestinians had done so.

I can’t shake the image of Obama as the new kid in school, just moved into the neighborhood, fearful of bullies, who says anything to ingratiate himself and is ready to turn over his lunch money. There’s a famous line in “Citizen Kane” where one characters says that it’s very easy to make a lot of money….If all you want to do is make a lot of money. It’s also easy to make a lot of popularity, if that’s all one wants to do. An American president has to do more, a lot more.



Obama's Cairo speech from an American perspective

A WSJ editorial

One benefit of the Obama Presidency is that it is validating much of George W. Bush's security agenda and foreign policy merely by dint of autobiographical rebranding. That was clear enough yesterday in Cairo, where President Obama advertised "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." But what he mostly offered were artfully repackaged versions of themes President Bush sounded with his freedom agenda. We mean that as a compliment, albeit with a couple of large caveats.

So there was Mr. Obama, noting that rights such as "freedom to live as you choose" and "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed" were "not just American ideas, they are human rights." There he was insisting that "freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together," and citing Malaysia and Dubai as economic models for other Muslim countries while promising to host a summit on entrepreneurship.

There he was too, in Laura Bush-mode, talking about the need to expand opportunities for Muslim women, particularly in education. "I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles," he said. "But it should be their choice."

Mr. Obama also offered a robust defense of the war in Afghanistan, calling it "a war of necessity" and promising that "America's commitment will not weaken." That's an important note to sound when Mr. Obama's left flank and some Congressional Democrats are urging an exit strategy from that supposed quagmire. On Iraq, he acknowledged that "the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein" and pledged the U.S. to the "dual responsibility" of leaving Iraq while helping the country "forge a better future." The timeline he reiterated for U.S. withdrawal is the one Mr. Bush negotiated last year.

The President even went one better than his predecessor, with a series of implicit rebukes to much of the Muslim world. There would have been no need for him to specify that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis if Holocaust denial weren't rampant in the Middle East, including Egypt, just as there would have been no need to name al Qaeda as the perpetrator of 9/11 if that fact were not also commonly denied throughout the Muslim world. There also would have been no need to insist that "the Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems," if that were not the modus operandi of most Arab governments.

Mr. Obama also noted that "among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's," a recognition of the supremacist strain in Islamist thinking. He also included a pointed defense of democracy, including "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed" and "confidence in the rule of law." We doubt the point was lost on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, now in his 29th year in office. All of this will do some good if it leads to broader acceptance among Muslims of the principles of Mr. Bush's freedom agenda without the taint of its author's name.

As for the caveats, Mr. Obama missed a chance to remind his audience that no country has done more than the U.S. to liberate Muslims from oppression -- in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and above all in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than 50 million people were freed by American arms from two of the most extreme tyrannies in modern history. His insistence on calling Iraq a "war of choice" is a needless insult to Mr. Bush that diminishes the cause for which more than 4,000 Americans have died.

He also couldn't resist his by now familiar moral self-indulgence by asserting that he has "unequivocally prohibited the use of torture" and ordered Guantanamo closed. Aside from the fact that the U.S. wasn't torturing anyone before Mr. Obama came into office, his Arab hosts can see through his claims. They know the Obama Administration is "rendering" al Qaeda detainees to other countries, some of them Arab, where their rights and well-being are far less secure than at Gitmo.

The President also stooped to easy, but false, moral equivalence, most egregiously in comparing the U.S. role in an Iranian coup during the Cold War with revolutionary Iran's 30-year hostility toward the U.S. He also compared Israel's right to exist with Palestinian statehood. But while denouncing Israeli settlements was an easy applause line, removal of those settlements will do nothing to ease Israeli-Palestinian tensions if the result is similar to what happened when Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza. We too favor a two-state solution -- as did President Bush -- but that solution depends on Palestinians showing the capacity to build domestic institutions that reject and punish terror against other Palestinians and their neighbors.

Hanging over all of this is the question of Iran. In his formal remarks, Mr. Obama promised only diplomacy without preconditions and warned about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Yet surely Iran was at the top of his agenda in private with Mr. Mubarak and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, both of whom would quietly exult if the U.S. removed that regional threat. They were no doubt trying to assess if Mr. Obama is serious about stopping Tehran, or if he is the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

It is in those conversations, and in the hard calls the President will soon have to make, that his Middle East policy will stand or fall.


I think that the WSJ is right as far as it goes but overlooks what Rubin stresses: The Middle East is a different culture that will hear things very differently from the way Americans do. And it is how people in the Arab world hear it that matters. Obama is a novice; Prof. Rubin speaks from vast close-up experience



Stimulate economy through deregulation: "The economy is contracting at a rate of more than 6 percent this year to date. This is hurting the country and especially Michigan, whose 12.9 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s highest. America’s troubled economy needs a boost, but politicians are taking the wrong approach. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act works — or rather, doesn’t work — by taking money out of the economy, wasting some of it on bureaucracy and then putting it back in. The $787 billion in new debt it is creating will have to be paid back with higher future taxes, which will hurt growth down the road.”

Yet more government regulation coming: "The Internal Revenue Service is considering for the first time requiring income tax preparers to be licensed by the federal government as a way to root out fraud and raise compliance with increasingly complex tax law. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman revealed the seismic shift in congressional testimony Thursday. He said erroneous tax returns were such a large problem that the United States could shrink the so-called tax gap - the difference between what the government receives and what it should collect - by making sure the nation's tax preparers do their job correctly.

Ex-Countrywide CEO Mozilo charged with fraud: “The Securities & Exchange Commission announced today it will charge former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo and two others with civil fraud and insider trading, making Mozilo the most high-profile individual to face federal charges in the wake of the financial crisis. Countrywide, once the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, was blamed by many for its role in the subprime mortgage meltdown that kicked off the ongoing financial crisis. The company collapsed last year and was acquired by Bank of America.”

Sotomayor: No friend of the little guy: "“Those who are of the badge worshipping and law enforcement bootlicking persuasion might assume that Judge Sonia Sotomayor may not have much to offer them as a Supreme Court Justice until they take a look at her record on the 2nd Circuit. As it turns out, Sotomayor has quite an authoritarian streak. It seems that when the powers that be are challenged by an ordinary individual, Sotomayor’s empathy seems to be with those who are employed by the government (and the facts of the circumstance be damned!).”

The Puritan legacy: “Concerns over binge drinking — the habit of drinking large quantities of alcohol with the intention of getting drunk, usually in company but without the benefit of conversation of any kind — have brought into focus the great difference that exists between virtuous and vicious drinking. Our puritan legacy, which sees pleasure as the doorway to vice, makes it difficult for many people to understand this difference. If alcohol causes drunkenness, they think, then the sole moral question concerns whether you should drink it at all, and if so how much. The idea that the moral question concerns how you drink it, in what company and in what state of mind, is one that is entirely foreign to their way of understanding the human condition.”

Energy freedom isn’t blowing in the wind or basking in the sun — It’s drilling now: “Miguel Cervantes created one of the most memorable characters of literature with Don Quixote, a delusional old man who jousted with windmills he thought were giants. Now the Obama Administration and Congress are quixotically raising their lances against another hypothetical menace: fossil fuels. In this instance, it’s not a just an elderly Spaniard who’ll be tossed to the ground, but an already staggering U.S. economy.”


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


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


Friday, June 05, 2009

Burke and Obama

By Thomas Sowell

Edmund Burke (1729–1797) had a lot to say about the Obama administration

The other day I sought a respite from current events by rereading some of the writings of the 18th-century British statesman Edmund Burke. But it was not nearly as big an escape as I had thought it would be. When Burke wrote of his apprehension about “new power in new persons,” I could not help thinking of the new powers that have been created by which a new president of the United States — a man with zero experience in business — can fire the head of General Motors and tell banks how to run their businesses. Not only is Barack Obama new to the presidency, he is new to running any organization. One of Burke’s fears was that “we may place our confidence in the virtue of those who have never been tried.”

Neither eloquence nor zeal is a substitute for experience, according to Burke. He said, “eloquence may exist without a proportionate degree of wisdom.” As for zeal, Burke said: “It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance that it is directed by insolent passion.”

The Obama administration’s back-and-forth on the question whether American intelligence agents who forced information out of captured terrorist leaders will be subject to legal jeopardy — even though they were told at the time that what they were doing was not only legal but a service to the nation — came to mind when reading Burke’s warning about the dangers of continuing to change the rules and values by which people lived. Burke asked how we could expect a sense of honor to exist when “no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin”?

The current drive to take from “the rich” for the benefit of others came to mind when reading Burke’s warning against creating a situation where “any one description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey.” He also warned that “those who attempt to level, never equalise.” What they end up doing is concentrating power in their own hands — and Burke saw such new powers as dangerous, even if they were used only sparingly at first.

He said, “the true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts.” He also said: “It is by lying dormant a long time, or being at first very rarely exercised, that arbitrary power steals upon a people.” People who don't like “the rich” or “big business” or the banks may be happy that President Obama is sticking it to them. But such arbitrary powers can be turned on anybody. As John Donne said: “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

The Constitution of the United States set out to limit the powers of the federal government, but judges have greatly eroded those limitations over the years, and the dispensing of bailout money has allowed the Obama administration to exercise powers that the Constitution never bestowed.

Edmund Burke understood that, no matter what form of government you have, in the end the character of those who wield the powers of government is crucial. He said: “Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state.”

He also said, “of all things, we ought to be the most concerned who and what sort of men they are that hold the trust of everything that is dear to us.” He feared particularly the kind of man “whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it” — the kind of man “who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends.” Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

The biggest challenge to America — and to the world — today is the danger of Iran with nuclear weapons. President Obama is acting as if this is something he can finesse with talks or deals. Worse yet, he may think it is something we can live with. Burke had something to say about things like that as well: “There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief.” Acting — not talking.



BrookesNews Update

Obama led the US economy into a fiscal trap containing a monetary time bomb : Obama and his brilliant economic advisors have led driven the US economy into a fiscal trap containing a monetary time bomb. And the markets are taking notice. Money supply is out of the control as is the Democrats' mania for spending and borrowing. The US could find itself with galloping inflation and rising unemployment
Americans now owe $64 trillion, and still counting: Each American household now owes $546,668, four times what they owe for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt. Looking long term is where it really gets scary. Recently, we learned the U.S. had $101 trillion in retirement and health care obligations over the next 75 years. The only problem is, at current tax rates we'll have only $53 trillion to pay for it all. That leaves a gaping hole of $48 trillion. Guess what? President Obama and Democrats think that's too small so they are going to make it bigger — a lot bigger
Carbon capture and burial — a stupid answer to a silly question : To extract the 2.6 tonnes of CO2 from every 9 tonnes of exhaust gases, compress it, pump it hundreds of kilometres in specially constructed pipelines and then bury it in carbon cemeteries is environmental and economic lunacy. It would break the economy. Nevertheless, this is what some of our politicians are proposing
The Obama revolution: Liberals have been working to replace our democracy with a dictatorship, and our free-market economy with a command economy controlled by the government. The liberals couldn't say this aloud, because if they did the American people would have tossed them out of office on their ears. So liberals worked covertly, feigning support for democracy and for the free market while working diligently to undermine both
You may be surprised who will knock on the door in an Obama world : Ever since Obama called for a new domestic army many people waited for the next shoe to drop after his election as president but who would have expected the jackbooted knocker on your door to come from the Federal Communication Commission — 'I'm from the FCC and I'm here to confiscate your computer
The Obama administration at work : The Obama administration was hard at work last week issuing more petty while merrily bankrupting the country. In the meantime, its 'foreign affairs policy' of appeasing tyrants is rapidly falling apart with the thugs in Iran and North Korea thumbing their noses at the civilised world and openly threatening nuclear war. Obama will be a disaster in more ways than one



The public oppose automaker bailouts: "By Thanksgiving as the bailout request dominated headlines, opposition to taxpayer-backed loans for GM and equally troubled Chrysler rose to 55%. But in December, President Bush, convinced that the automakers were essential to the economy, went ahead with a $17.4-billion auto bailout package anyway. Since then, the story has remained largely the same. By February when the automakers returned to Congress and President Obama for more help, opposition to additional taxpayer-backed loans had risen to 64%. That number was virtually unchanged even after Obama’s new auto task force dumped Wagoner as head of GM and gave the company 90 days to come up with a radical reorganization plan or else go into bankruptcy. The plan wasn’t good enough, and today GM declared bankruptcy, although it’s part of a structured plan that gives the government a majority say in the company. But 67% of voters are opposed to the plan that would provide GM with billions in federal funding and give the government a majority ownership interest."

Top secret clearances flawed at Pentagon: "The Pentagon may have issued top-secret clearances last year to as many as one-in-four applicants who had "significant derogatory information" in their backgrounds, including a record of foreign influence or criminal conduct, a little- noticed government audit says. Flaws in the system for granting clearances to Defense Department staff and contractors pose a risk to national security, and the right tools to measure how well the process works are essential, said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat and chairman of a House intelligence subcommittee that oversees personnel and management issues. "At present, we're basically operating on faith"

Who’s dismantling GM? “Call me crazy, but I don’t find this cute. As the news was breaking of General Motors going bankrupt, The New York Times business section ran a front page article about the 31-year-old in charge of ‘dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism.’ The 31-year-old in question, one Brian Deese it turns out, was, for the first few months of Barack Obama’s administration the only full time member of the auto task force. Now he’s risen to become ‘one of the most influential voices in what may become President Obama’s biggest experiment in federal intervention.’”

Police state is wrong venue for Obama’s speech, says Robert Fisk!: “Maybe Barack Obama chose Egypt for his ‘great message’ to Muslims tomorrow because it contains a quarter of the world’s Arab population, but he is also coming to one of the region’s most repressed, undemocratic and ruthless police states. Egyptian human rights groups — when they are not themselves being harassed or closed down by the authorities — have recorded a breathtaking list of police torture, extra-judicial killings, political imprisonments and state-sanctioned assaults on opposition figures that continues to this day.” [Fisk is Britain's most one-eyed Leftist journalist]

As the dollar falls off the cliff : "“Economic news remains focused on banks and housing, while the threat mounts to the US dollar from massive federal budget deficits in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Earlier this year the dollar’s exchange value rose against currencies, such as the euro. UK pound, and Swiss franc, against which the dollar had been steadily falling. The dollar’s rise made US policymakers complacent, even though the rise was due to flight from over-leveraged financial instruments and falling stock markets into ’safe’ Treasuries. Since April, however, the dollar has steadily declined as investors and foreign central banks realize that the massive federal budget deficits are likely to be monetized. What happens to the dollar will be the key driver of what lies ahead. The likely scenario could be nasty.”

The fallacy of economics by coercion: “Some months ago I wrote a series highlighting Lawrence Reed’s classic 1981 article, ‘7 Fallacies of Economics,’ and my last article dealt with what he called ‘the fallacy of economics by coercion.’ One would think that a government can coerce people into creating economic prosperity, but think again. We now have a government that openly holds to that view.”

Save the Motherland: Buy GM!: “For those of you who carefully have avoided piddling away your hard-earned dollars on a General Motors vehicle, resistance is futile. You’re a majority ‘investor’ now. Rejoice. Taxpayers, our president has decreed, are impelled to preserve a prehistoric, poorly run, unprofitable private corporation. Now the only question becomes: What does all this sacrifice mean?”


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


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


Thursday, June 04, 2009

U.S. to Respond to North Korea with ‘Strongest Possible Adjectives' ....

Obama: We are Prepared to Consult Thesaurus ....

One day after North Korea launched a successful test of a nuclear weapon, President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with "the strongest possible adjectives."

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Mr. Obama said that North Korea should fear the "full force and might of the United States' arsenal of adjectives" and called the missile test "reckless, reprehensible, objectionable, senseless, egregious and condemnable."

Standing at the President's side, Vice President Joseph Biden weighed in with some tough adjectives of his own, branding North Korean President Kim Jong-Il "totally wack and illin'."

Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test "supercilious and jejune," leading some in diplomatic circles to worry that the U.S. might be running out of appropriate adjectives with which to craft its response.

But President Obama attempted to calm those fears, saying that the United States was prepared to "scour the thesaurus" to come up with additional adjectives and was "prepared to use adverbs" if necessary.

"Let's be clear: we are not taking adverbs off the table," Mr. Obama said. "If the need arises, we will use them forcefully, aggressively, swiftly, overwhelmingly and commandingly."


Wise words that tail off into foolishness

by Amitai Etzioni

Much of the debate over how to address the economic crisis has focused on a single word: regulation. And it's easy to understand why. Bad behavior by a variety of businesses landed us in this mess--so it seems rather obvious that the way to avoid future economic meltdowns is to create, and vigorously enforce, new rules proscribing such behavior. But the truth is quite a bit more complicated. The world economy consists of billions of transactions every day. There can never be enough inspectors, accountants, customs officers, and police to ensure that all or even most of these transactions are properly carried out. Moreover, those charged with enforcing regulations are themselves not immune to corruption, and, hence, they too must be supervised and held accountable to others--who also have to be somehow regulated. The upshot is that regulation cannot be the linchpin of attempts to reform our economy. What is needed instead is something far more sweeping: for people to internalize a different sense of how one ought to behave, and act on it because they believe it is right.

That may sound far-fetched. It is commonly believed that people conduct themselves in a moral manner mainly because they fear the punishment that will be meted out if they engage in anti-social behavior. But this position does not stand up to close inspection. Most areas of behavior are extralegal; we frequently do what is expected because we care or love. This is evident in the ways we attend to our children (beyond a very low requirement set by law), treat our spouses, do volunteer work, and participate in public life. What's more, in many of those areas that are covered by law, the likelihood of being caught is actually quite low, and the penalties are often surprisingly mild. For instance, only about one in 100 tax returns gets audited, and most cheaters are merely asked to pay back what they "missed," plus some interest. Nevertheless, most Americans pay the taxes due. Alan Lewis's classic study The Psychology of Taxation concluded that people don't just pay taxes because they fear the government; they do it because they consider the burden fairly shared and the monies legitimately spent. In short, the normative values of a culture matter. Regulation is needed when culture fails, but it cannot alone serve as the mainstay of good conduct.

So what kind of transformation in our normative culture is called for? What needs to be eradicated, or at least greatly tempered, is consumerism: the obsession with acquisition that has become the organizing principle of American life. This is not the same thing as capitalism, nor is it the same thing as consumption. To explain the difference, it is useful to draw on Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. At the bottom of this hierarchy are basic creature comforts; once these are sated, more satisfaction is drawn from affection, self-esteem, and, finally, self-actualization. As long as consumption is focused on satisfying basic human needs--safety, shelter, food, clothing, health care, education--it is not consumerism. But, when the acquisition of goods and services is used to satisfy the higher needs, consumption turns into consumerism--and consumerism becomes a social disease.


Condemning the things that other people find satisfaction in is so Leftist. I find a LOT of things that other people enjoy strange -- mashed potatoes, to take a trivial example -- but I accept that tastes differ and leave the matter at that. But Leftists want to remake the world according to THEIR tastes and Etzioni is one of those. If he has (say) a liking for Cumquat marmalade (which I highly recommend, by the way), that would simply be good taste but if other people spend time and money seeking it out, that is "consumerism". It is principally the vast egos, amorality and authoritarian predilections of the Left that are hobbling our society, not "consumerism"


The usual difficulty that Leftists have with reality

But what about Gaza? Philip Weiss of visited there recently. He takes a strongly anti-Israel position, complaining of "persecution, of the Palestinians, by the state of Israel," and making no mention of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis or Hamas's genocidal aspirations toward Israel's Jews. Yet the picture he paints of "persecution" in Gaza doesn't sound that bad at all;
"I think the most significant impression I can convey is my surprise at how vibrant and alive the place is. . . . Downtown Gaza city is vibrant, full of street life, and the traffic is now and then interrupted by a flatbed truck going by with a wedding band banging drums on it, and a Mercedes carrying the bride and groom in tow. . . .

We see piles of watermelons by the side of the road and trucks filled with potatoes, and donkeys going by hauling wagons of tomatoes. Now and then you see a gleaming motorcycle. . . .

I remember during the Gaza slaughter that some tried to stop commentators from comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Now I am here and I find the analogy helpful".

Yeah, the Warsaw ghetto teemed with watermelons!

Excerpt from Taranto


Climate of Hate, World of Double Standards

by Michelle Malkin

When a right-wing Christian vigilante kills, millions of fingers pull the trigger. When a left-wing Muslim vigilante kills, he kills alone. These are the instantly ossifying narratives in the Sunday shooting death of late-term abortion provider George Tiller of Kansas versus the Monday shootings of two Arkansas military recruiters.

Tiller's suspected murderer, Scott Roeder, is white, Christian, anti-government and anti-abortion. The gunman in the military recruitment center attack, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, is black, a Muslim convert, anti-military and anti-American.

Both crimes are despicable, cowardly acts of domestic terrorism. But the disparate treatment of the two brutal cases by both the White House and the media is striking.

President Obama issued a statement condemning "heinous acts of violence" within hours of Tiller's death. The Justice Department issued its own statement and sent federal marshals to protect abortion clinics. News anchors and headline writers abandoned all qualms about labeling the gunman a terrorist. An almost gleeful excess of mainstream commentary poured forth on the climate of hate and fear created by conservative talk radio, blogs and Fox News in reporting Tiller's activities.

By contrast, Obama was silent about the military recruiter attacks that left 24-year-old Pvt. William Long dead and 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula gravely wounded. On Tuesday afternoon -- more than 24 hours after the attack on the military recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark. -- Obama held a press conference to announce his pick for Army secretary. It would have been exactly the right moment to express condolences for the families of the targeted Army recruiters and to condemn heinous acts of violence against our troops.

But Obama said nothing. The Justice Department was mum. And so were the legions of finger-pointing pundits happily convicting the pro-life movement and every right-leaning writer on the planet of contributing to the murder of Tiller.




Gates: US may rethink cuts in anti-missile funds: "US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not ruled out pumping more funds into the nation’s anti-missile defense budget if North Korea threatens the United States. ‘If there were a launch from a rogue state such as North Korea, I have good confidence that we would be able to deal with it,’ Gates said Monday during a stopover in Alaska on his way home from a trip to Asia. Gates was visiting Fort Greely which houses parts of the US anti-missile defense shield — a land-based system with about 20 interceptors — and said of Pyongyang that its ‘behavior has certainly alarmed people.’ In the past Gates proposed slicing a billion dollars off the anti-missile system budget and freezing the development of interceptors at 30, instead of the 44 originally planned. But he indicated he might re-examine his proposal.”

US releases secret nuclear list accidentally: “The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked ‘highly confidential,’ that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That publicity set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document was made public.”

FL: Couple fought $21,600 water bill: “A Tampa, Fla., couple said it took them several months to resolve the issue of a monthly water bill for more than $21,000. Ralph and Diana Salgado said their water bill usually falls between $21 and $110 each month, but their July 2008 bill from the Tampa Water Department totaled $21,600, indicating that 3.5 million gallons of water were used by the couple during that month …. The couple said they soon determined that the erroneous amount was the result of a new water meter that had not been calibrated to match the old reading. However, they said the water department continued to demand the money for months after the problem was identified.” [This is par for the course when dealing with any bureaucracy. Nobody with decision-making power is listening]

China’s socialist road to misery: "It is 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China’s communist regime hasn’t budged an inch. The government has no reason to regret its murderous crackdown during ‘the political storm at the end of the 1980s,’ a foreign-ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters last month. ‘China has scored remarkable success in its social and economic development. Facts have proven that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that we pursue is in the fundamental interests of our people.’ As a euphemism for dictatorial savagery, ‘the socialist road with Chinese characteristics’ may not rise to the level of, say, ‘Great Leap Forward’ or ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.’”

More disillusioned Leftists: “Back in 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama minced no words when it came to Sudan. ‘When you see a genocide, whether it’s in Rwanda or Bosnia or in Darfur, that’s a stain on all of us,’ he said. ‘That’s a stain on our souls.’ Obama is now president, and Darfur is still a mess. … Since Obama is a pragmatist — and pragmatism is, by definition, what works — we should judge his policies in this area by a single standard: Are they accomplishing the goal of ending Darfur’s suffering? We are sad to say that the initial signs have not been encouraging. In fact, as Obama supporters, we are extraordinarily disappointed.”


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


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


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tiller: A hero of the left, taken so young..

I am amazed that this lowlife had the gall to show his face in a Christian church. He specialized in killing perfectly viable but defenceless human beings. Comment below by an Australian blogger -- JR

Fox News:
Many anti-abortion groups condemned the killing of Tiller, a prominent abortion provider who was shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kansas. But they expressed concern that abortion-rights activists would use the occasion to brand the entire anti-abortion movement as extremist. ......Tiller, one the few American doctors specializing in late-term abortions, had been the target of repeated protests and harassment for many years, and he was wounded by gunfire from an anti-abortion activist in 1993.

So let me get this straight, if you have no problem with having an unborn baby sliced up, sucked out of the womb and tossed in the trash, you're ok. You're what one would class, a real stand-up person, mainstream, nice sort of person you know. But if you oppose the slicing up and tossing-in-the-trash of the aforementioned unborn baby, oh you're an extremist, @#%ing hell a terrorist even, call some sort of hotline and tell them all about the baby-coddling bastard out in the parking lot.

Some are even saying this is why that clown Napolitano was tarring all Conservatives as would-be terrorists. Thousands upon thousands have been murdered by muslims in the name of Islam, but you'll never get a leftist tarring them all as terrorists. They'd fight tooth and nail if you dared to suggest that maybe someone ought to 'wire-tap' the jihadis. Heck as far as leftists are concerned not even those found guilty of terrorism are actual terrorists, no, no, it's not all muslims, just a few who don't understand the Koran, Islam is peace, give Jihad a chance. But no such luxury is afforded to Conservatives, hell no, get the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the XYZ and the ABC to monitor and analyze their every fart. Dangerous national security threat, them pro-lifers with their nasty save-the-unborn and all that.
......Abortion rights leaders reacted to the killing with shock and determination. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the murder would "send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers" offering abortion to American women.

Oh yes, those bwave, bwave heroes, bless the likes of Tiller, oh let the wailing and mourning begin for these bwave, bwave, bwave [have I said it enough times?] folks! These couwageous heroes, heading out there each day into the war zone, dodging bullets, bombs, fire, pestilence etc so that they can offer American women the option to fornicate, then slice & dice the consequences away. Oh my godless, where would the world be without the hero of the human race, Dr. George Tiller.
......Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said Tiller was aware of the dangers he faced, "yet he continued to protect his patients and provide safe and legal abortions to women in often-desperate circumstances." She and other activists urged that Monday be observed as a national day of mourning for Tiller, as well as a day of commitment to the cause of abortion rights.

Oh my godless, why only monday, why not tuesday too, why not the whole week, maybe even the month, don't you love the man enough you ungrateful witch. Dare you anger the leftist gods of gaia and satan with your paltry one day of mourning? Think about it you heartless bastards, the bwave, bwave Tiller, went out each day, bwaving, bullets, snipers, bombs, fire, missiles, pestilence, earthquakes, tsunamis even, to offer American women the option to fornicate, then slice & dice the consequences away! How can just one lousy day be enough?

Put that hero of the American people up for sainthood, for @#$sakes, a national monument ought to be set up where the masses can gather to lay wreaths, wail and sing songs to their bwave hero, the larger than life Dr George Tiller! Put up a golden statue for him, the wonderful soul that he is. Bloody hell (excuse the pun), put that fellow on Mount Rushmore, if there's no space knock off those other blokes. The freedom to punish the unborn for the sins of anyone else are at stake.

On a side note, if any of you are confronted by some angry leftist over the slaying of their lord and savior, can you ask them if they'd now support the death penalty for killers, like the one that took the life of their lord and savior? Please take note of their choked reaction and let us know. If they insist that the fellow be put to death, ask them why a gang-rapist, cop-killer or mass murderer of small children should not. Otherwise, join me as I pour another glass of fine Tennesse whiskey to you know, drown my sorrows.



The Obama flip-flops you don't know about

Since winning the election, President Barack Obama has famously flip-flopped on many of the major issues that he championed on the campaign trail. But did you know he’s also flip-flopped on a myriad of less publicized issues? This much everybody knows: Even before taking office, Obama broke his promise to not appoint lobbyists to his administration. Since then, he’s abandoned his promises to pay for every dollar of new government spending and bring home all combat troops from Iraq within 18 months. And in recent days, he’s outraged his political base by reversing his earlier commitments to eliminate military tribunals and release photos depicting prisoner abuse. All those well-publicized reversals have overshadowed the administration’s flip-flops on a host of additional positions. Here are just some of the biggest flip-flops that you may not have noticed:

Osama bin Laden: During the presidential debates last year, Obama declared that capturing or killing Osama bin Laden “has to be our biggest national security priority.” In his first TV interview after winning the election, he said the terrorist leader was “not just a symbol. He’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets,” and that the additional troops being sent to Afghanistan would hunt him down because “capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out Al Qaeda.” Bin Laden’s significance to Obama dissipated during the transition. By the time Obama gave another interview in early January, he said killing or capturing bin Laden was not necessary to “meet our goal of protecting America.” A few months later, when he announced his Afghanistan troop surge, he made no reference to the hunt for bin Laden.

On human space exploration: Early in his presidential campaign, Obama had great reservations about the costs and risks of human space flight. He said he would delay NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars and, instead, spend that money on education. But, as Florida, Ohio and Texas became more politically important, Obama began to walk back his proposed NASA cuts, promising to fund unmanned space exploration and some other scientific missions. Now that he’s in office, Obama’s reversal is complete: The White House budget, released earlier this month, provides a healthy increase in NASA funding and explicitly endorses the “goal of returning Americans to the moon and exploring other destinations.”

On the Armenian genocide: In the U.S. Senate and on the campaign trail, Obama firmly declared that the death of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I was “genocide” — a touchy topic between Turks and Armenians and a political priority for Armenian-Americans — and promised that “as president, I will recognize the Armenian genocide. Nonetheless, during his recent trip to Turkey as president, Obama broke his promise. Instead, he tried to muddy the waters, announcing that “my views are on the record and I have not changed views” but refusing to state what those views actually are.

On business tax cuts: Even though he unapologetically promised to raise taxes on entrepreneurs (and everybody else) making more than $250,000 per year, Obama offered small businesses some solace by promising several specific tax cuts. One, which became a cornerstone of his campaign’s jobs plan, would eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses. Another, which he proposed as the economy crashed in the waning days of the campaign, would offer businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every employee they hired. The economy has not improved since Obama’s election, but he nevertheless shelved both proposals: His budget puts off the capital gains tax cut until after his term in office ends and makes no mention of his new-job tax credit.

These four examples only scratch the surface of Obama’s reversals since taking office. Other flip-flops include everything from federally funding needle-exchange programs (which he supported in the campaign but his budget does not), allowing five days of public review before bill signings (he broke the promise with his first bill signing) and ordering the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, recently told POLITICO that “Obama’s governing is completely consistent with the way he campaigned.” A cursory comparison between his campaign promises and administration policies shows that’s not true.




I did my usual test of new search engines. I searched for the topic I know most about: myself. Using the search term "John Ray", on Microsoft's new, I didn't get a mention until the third PAGE. On Google, I am the third ENTRY. So I think I will stick with Google. I think I owe them. I suspect that Google give more weight to blogs than the others do.

Sibling rivalry: As far as I can see, both TNR and The Puffington Host seem to belong to the "moderate" Left. So it is interesting to see in TNR what can only be described as an attack on Arianna Stassinopoulos/Huffington, the guiding spirit of the Puffington Host. It is a sort of more genteel version of the ice-pick in the head that Trotsky got from Stalin. Arianna certainly is an unusual figure, having migrated from Right to Left. The normal life course is a migration from Left to Right, as people find out from experience that the world is a lot more complex than they once thought it was. The TNR writer attributes her move to opportunism, which is plausible enough, but I think that the basic tone-deafness towards religion that characterizes the Left causes him to miss the significance of something that is very prominent in her writings: A spiritual yearning. It sounds to me that, as Billy Graham often put it, she has a "God-shaped void" in her. Perhaps because of something in her family background, she has sought satisfaction in secular creeds instead, but that is a vain hope. I think that turning to God will be her final transition and one that will still the restlessness and hunger for fulfilment that she so obviously has in herself.

That charming Muslim respect for women again: "A teenage model has returned to her family in Indonesia with tales of abuse, rape and torture at the hands of a Malaysian prince, after a dramatic escape. Manohara Odelia Pinot, 17, told reporters she was treated like a sex slave after her marriage last year to Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry, the prince of Malaysia's Kelantan state. Her mother, Daisy Fajarina, said she would press charges against the 31-year-old prince, and accused the Malaysian and Indonesian governments of trying to cover up the alleged abuse. The young woman -- a well-known socialite in Jakarta -- said her life at the royal palace involved a "daily routine" of rape, abuse, torture and occasional drug injections that made her vomit blood. "I am still traumatised by all that happened and it has left an impact on me," she said in Jakarta after escaping during a trip to Singapore over the weekend. "Sexual abuse and sexual harassment were like a daily routine for me, and he did that every time I did not want to have sexual intercourse," she was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Globe. "I could never think a normal man could do such things. "Some parts of my body were cut by a razor."

Cornyn doesn’t rule out Sotomayor filibuster: "Texas Sen. John Cornyn declined Sunday to rule out a Republican filibuster of President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, but he urged the Senate and public to ‘calm down’ long enough to evaluate whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is capable of meting out colorblind justice. ‘We need to know … whether she’s going to be a justice for all of us or a justice for a few of us,’ Cornyn said on ABC’s This Week. ‘Let’s review those 17 years of federal judicial history, and let’s ask the nominee some questions.’”

Maine: Cops raid charity poker game: “Buxton police raided a building where people were trying to raise money to give free food to the needy. It happened at the Narragansett Pythian Sisters Temple on Route 22 where people were playing the card game Texas Hold’em to benefit the Buxton Community Food Co-op. But state police said the game was illegal. That’s because whenever a gambling tournament is held to raise money for a group and takes place at its headquarters, a permit is needed and the co-op didn’t have one. So, state police seized cards, poker chips and $500 in cash — money the food co-op desperately needed.”

Security theater in three airports: “Returning recently from a trip to Turkey, my wife and I had the distinct displeasure of passing repeatedly through ’security’ checkpoints, not to mention waiting in long queues in order to arrive at these unpleasant passages. Although every country’s airport security boasts its own unique idiocies, all have much in common. It’s a waste of time to fret about swine flu; the more pressing danger to the world is obviously fool flu — although I am not sure who are the greater fools, the politicians and their flunkies who put these stupid procedures in place or the masses who put up with them in the wholly mistaken belief that their security is thereby enhanced. But let us not dwell on generalities when specifics lie so close at hand.” [An amusing story. Worth reading in full]

O’Reilly killed the abortionist?: “Did Fox News host Bill O’Reilly kill abortion provider Dr. George Tiller? Reading some of today’s outraged commentary by pro-choice writers in both America and Britain, you could be forgiven for thinking so. Scott Roeder might be suspected of actually pulling the trigger, but O’Reilly — and other loudmouth, right-wing anti-abortionists — have already been found guilty of egging him on in the kangaroo court of liberal opinion. Tiller was savagely shot dead while attending a church service with his wife in Kansas on Sunday. His ‘crime,’ as his alleged killer undoubtedly sees it, was to run a clinic that provided women with perfectly legal late-term abortions. Yet rather than seeing this dreadful killing as the action of a probably crazed individual, too many liberal commentators are discussing it as the logical outcome of the ‘dangerous’ words and images propagated by O’Reilly and others.”

North Korea, the dead land : “I was nine when I saw my first execution. The man had been condemned to death for stealing copper wire to sell in China, crossing the border under the cover of darkness. He was dragged to the foot of the mountain near a railway track. A train that happened to pass stopped to let passengers watch the scene. Executions were a frequent occurrence in our small city, but the inhabitants never tired of them. Primary and secondary school pupils skipped classes to join the audience, which always consisted of hundreds, even thousands, of people.”

Voting still insecure: “About 8 years elapsed from John F. Kennedy’s proposal to put a man on the Moon to the Apollo 11 mission. And on July 20, 1969, Man set foot on another world. Setting that foot involved an enormous amount of engineering and technology, much of which didn’t exist when the project began. About 8 years have elapsed since the debacle of the 2000 election. But can we really have confidence in our elections? Can the government actually prove what the correct lawful vote counts were in Decision 2008? More to the point, can the state of Minnesota demonstrate what the correct vote counts are in its on-going U.S. Senate contest? Since CHANGE is in the air, what’s changed in 8 years?”


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


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


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Obama promises Arabs Jerusalem will be theirs

President Obama and his administration told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting last week the U.S. foresees the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, according to a top PA official speaking to WND. "The American administration was very friendly to the position of the PA," said Nimer Hamad, Abbas' senior political adviser. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) heard from Obama and his administration in a very categorical way that a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is in the American national and security interest," Hamad said.

Another PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND today that Obama informed Abbas he would not let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "get in the way" of normalizing U.S. relations with the Arab and greater Muslim world. "We were told from this new administration they will not allow a Netanyahu government to hurt their efforts of rehabilitating U.S. relations with the Arab and Islamic world, which is a high priority of Obama," the official said, speaking during a visit to Cairo.

Also in Cairo today, Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, where the Palestinian leader briefed Egypt's president on his recent trip to Washington, saying the U.S. was committed to bringing about an end to Israeli construction in the West Bank.




If you don't read anything else today, read Byron York's searing account of what happened last time a brilliant Hispanic jurist was nominated to a high-profile appellate post:
Born in Honduras, [Miguel] Estrada came to the United States at 17, not knowing a word of English. He learned the language almost instantly, and within a few years was graduating with honors from Columbia University and heading off to Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a prosecutor in New York, and worked at the Justice Department in Washington before entering private practice.

Estrada's nomination for a federal judgeship set off alarm bells among Democrats. There is a group of left-leaning organizations -- People for the American Way, NARAL, the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and others -- that work closely with Senate Democrats to promote Democratic judicial nominations and kill Republican ones. They were particularly concerned about Estrada.
In November, 2001, representatives of those groups met with Democratic Senate staff. One of those staffers then wrote a memo to Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, informing Durbin that the groups wanted to stall Bush nominees, particularly three they had identified as good targets. "They also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous," the staffer added, "because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible."

It was precisely the fact that Estrada was Hispanic that made Democrats and their activist allies want to kill his nomination. They were determined to deny a Republican White House credit, political and otherwise, for putting a first-rate Hispanic nominee on the bench.

They succeeded, too. They filibustered Estrada for years and he never made it onto the bench. So, when you see Barack Obama--who voted to filibuster Sam Alito!--piously denouncing "the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process" in the past, remember Miguel Estrada. Somewhere on this earth, there is a worse hypocrite than Barack Obama. I just can't think who he is offhand....



Trust in the individual: The Fundamental Divide between Left and Right

By Bjaffe

As a recovering liberal for the last 13 years, I sometimes lose sight of the thought processes that led me to the beliefs I used to hold. Fortunately, I still have many Democratic and liberal friends to remind me what the fundamental difference is between the left and the right. That difference can be summed up in one small but powerful word – trust.

The fact is, liberals have no trust at all in anyone except elected liberal officials and the government when run by liberals. They do not trust the American people to do the right thing unless the government forces them into it. Hence the push for hate crimes legislation, gun bans, forced charitable giving in the form of taxes that pay for entitlement programs, mandatory participation in Social (in)Security and so on. Liberals just do not believe most Americans will do the right thing left to their own devices. The same is true of businesses. Liberals believe that, in the absence of government regulation and oversight, business will always do the wrong thing and engage in bad business practices. Fortunately, in their worldview, we have them to guide us in the right direction and to steer the nation as a whole toward the proper destination.

The conservative, on the other hand, believes in the inherent greatness each person possesses. We believe that everyone in this nation has it within themselves to succeed at anything they put their minds to. We also believe that the individual is responsible for their own success or failure. Sure, life is unpredictable, and stuff happens that we have no control over, but ultimately, it is how we handle ourselves in those situations and what we learn from them that determines where we end up. Most importantly, we believe most individuals, when left to their own devices, will not only do the right thing, but will do it far better than under government “guidance.” We also know the free market, left to its own devices, would weed out those businesses that engage in poor practice while well-run businesses succeeded. Additionally, we know that when old businesses fail, if there is a market for the goods or services that business provided, new ones with sound business practices will rise up to replace them.

This cuts to the very core of what defines liberals and conservatives. Belief in the greatness of government or belief in the greatness of the individual. I was reminded of this just recently, when having the following exchange with a very honest Democrat I have been friends with most of my life. We were discussing the new credit card regulations, which he supports, when he said this: “…as much as I hate the government stepping into anything... I have no faith in people these days to have self control, and ultimately banks will just continue this practice if controls aren't in place.”

Many Democrats I know, and most liberals, share this lack of faith in people. This is what leads them to craft the policies I mentioned above, aimed at regulating behavior. They do not feel that people can be trusted with any responsibility, and will ultimately fail without government to save them. We see this not just in the credit card reforms recently passed, but in all of the recent bailouts. Banks cannot be trusted to run effectively or efficiently, so rather than failing and paying the price for poor business decisions, they need to be propped up and run by the government. Imagine, the government, the largest debtor in the entire country, with a debt larger than every bank in the nation combined, telling these businesses how to run themselves effectively. Is this a joke? This is like asking a chronically homeless person for advice on how to build wealth! The government is itself a failed business venture, and would have collapsed decades ago if it had to run itself by the rules it foists upon other businesses. But the banks failed, and the liberal thinking is that the government has to step in and do something. So we get bailouts that even financially healthy institutions were coerced into accepting – presumably because even the well-run banks could not be trusted to keep doing the right thing. And this does not even begin to cover the auto industry bailouts or the homeowner bailouts – which ironically saw more than half of the bailed out homeowners back in default within six months. Way to go government!

What is missed in this equation is the fact that failure is necessary and healthy. People fail, businesses fail, and that is part of the natural order of things. It is not success that creates prosperity and success, it is failure, and the lessons it brings. Maybe most people will not do the right thing if left to their own devices, but if they are allowed to fail, they will learn from the experience, and will eventually change the behaviors causing them to fail. This is the only way to ever achieve true success – to overcome failure and adversity. This is what gives a foundation for success, and the process by which people learn what works, and what does not work. A great example of this is Thomas Edison, who failed hundreds upon hundreds of times to create a working, practical light bulb. Had he been propped up by the government after his first dozen failures, and simply given up, would we ever have developed the light bulb? When the government forces people to behave in certain ways to do “the right thing,” it does no favors for anyone.

The liberal mindset that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing, and that the government must take action to prevent people and businesses from failing, while very well intentioned, is ultimately debilitating and will lead to the exact opposite of what its intent is. Rather than helping things run smoothly and effectively, this lack of trust and enforced guidance will perpetuate a system that does not work while preventing new and innovative systems that will work from coming into existence. Only by allowing people to have the maximum amount of freedom possible, including the freedom to fail, can progress be made and ineffective/inefficient systems and behaviors be purged and replaced with ones that work. And this is what conservatives believe in.




When the law is one-sided, people will seek balance in other ways: "US President Barack Obama has expressed outrage at the fatal shooting of a controversial Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions. "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr George Tiller as he attended church services this morning,'' Mr Obama said. "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.'' Tiller was shot dead in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. A suspect was arrested three hours later, police said. Over the years Tiller had been picketed, bombed and shot in both of his arms by anti-abortion protesters. The shooting occurred just two weeks after Mr Obama sought "common ground'' over the divisive abortion debate in a controversial speech at one of the top Catholic universities in the United States."

Barack Bush: "“The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released. Justice Department lawyers, in a response Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government over its refusal to turn over the document.”

Ireland set to go bust, says economic historian: “A dire warning that the Republic is a prime candidate to go bust has come from one of the world’s leading economic historians. ‘The idea that countries don’t go bust is a joke,’ said Niall Ferguson, Harvard professor and author of The Ascent of Money. ‘The debt trap may be about to spring’ he said, ‘for countries that have created large stimulus packages in order to stimulate their economies.’ His chosen prime candidate to go bust is ‘Ireland, followed by Italy and Belgium, and UK is not too far behind.’ Argentina is top of his list of shaky countries but ‘the argument that it can’t happen in major western economies is nonsense.’ Professor Ferguson believes the economists are ill qualified to analyse the current economic situation since they lack the overview of historians such as himself.”

Sotomayor and the Last of the WASPs: “If Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed, the US Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics, two Jews and precisely one white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the form of Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 88 years old and boasts of two important WASP insignia: inherited wealth and a bow tie. He also thinks that Shakespeare’s plays were written by the Earl of Oxford. But then, so does Antonin Scalia. The other WASP among the nine, until he announced his retirement — thus paving the way for Sotomayor’s nomination — is David Souter. The two WASPS have been the most liberal members of the court.”

Legalize it: "“City pushcart vendors could legally prepare food with a type of license that already exists in the parks. Why not let them? … [Miguel] Sanchez makes about $100 a day at the cart; working nearly every afternoon and evening, and picking up some painting and carpentry jobs on the side, he supports his family of six. But he lives under the near-constant threat of being fined by the city. What he’s doing is illegal in Chicago, and as demand for his food grows in the spring, so does the likelihood that he’ll be slapped with tickets for anywhere from $200 to $1,000.”

The unpersuasive orator: “Let’s stipulate that President Obama is a wonderful speaker, vigorous in promoting his policies and even eloquent at times. But there’s a problem: He’s not persuasive. Obama is effective at marketing himself. His 64 percent job approval (Gallup poll) is a reflection of this. But in building public support for his policies, Obama has been largely unsuccessful. You’d never guess this from the laudatory press coverage of Obama. With every major speech or press conference, the media and a sizable chunk of the political community — including many Republicans — assume Obama has carried the day. Actually, he rarely has.”

The “unseen” deserve empathy, too: “As important as compassion and empathy are, one can have these feelings only for people that exist and that one knows about — that is, for those who are ’seen.’ One can have compassion for workers who lose their jobs when a plant closes. They can be seen. One cannot have compassion for unknown persons in other industries who do not receive job offers when a compassionate government subsidizes an unprofitable plant. The potential employees not hired are unseen. One can empathize with innocent children born with birth defects. Such children and the adversity they face can be seen. One cannot empathize with as-yet-unborn children in rural communities who may not have access to pediatricians if a judicial decision based on compassion raises the cost of medical malpractice insurance.”


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


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


Monday, June 01, 2009

Michael Savage sues brainless British Leftist politician

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith faces a claim for £100,000 damages by the American radio ‘shock jock’ she banned from entering Britain. Broadcaster Michael Savage has employed top UK law firm Olswang to sue Ms Smith for libel after she put him on the Home Office’s 16 ‘least wanted’ list.

Mr Savage said he was ‘outraged’ the Government had put him in the same category as Islamic hate preachers and terrorists.

The letter from Olswang, due to land on Ms Smith’s desk tomorrow, accuses her of making ‘serious and damaging defamatory allegations’ against him. It says Mr Savage, whose show The Savage Nation has eight million listeners in America, has asked for ‘substantial damages’. The Mail on Sunday has been told he is demanding £100,000.

Mr Savage says ‘lunatic’ Ms Smith had no right to put him on the same list as a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, a skinhead gang leader and a Hezbollah militant who served 30 years in prison.

The lawyers’ letter states: ‘Our client requires the payment of a substantial sum in damages to be agreed and retraction of the allegations. He also requires a personal apology from you and an acknowledgement that the Home Office has agreed to pay a substantial sum in libel damages.’ The letter says Ms Smith must also provide a ‘written undertaking from you and the Home Office not to repeat the allegations complained of and the payment of our client’s legal costs’. It continues: ‘This matter is extremely urgent as the false and defamatory material concerning our client has had enormous circulation both inside and outside the UK.’

Mr Savage said last night he will not give up his battle to make Ms Smith pay damages and say sorry. ‘I am living in fear and have had to employ security guards after being outrageously named on this list of terrorists and killers. ‘The first I knew about it was when it was issued as a Press release and I was absolutely shocked. ‘Why me? I’m not a terrorist. I’m one of America’s most popular radio hosts and a happily married father of two. ‘Maybe Jacqui Smith just plucked my name out of the hat because I’m controversial and white – to counter-balance all the Arabs named on her list. ‘It is totally preposterous but it’s deadly serious because she has made me a target. ‘My lawyers have told me I have a very strong case for defamation.’



The Real Sotomayor Issue is NOT her race

By Wendy Long

The Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination got a quick start out of the gate, focusing debate about something very important: How are judges supposed to decide cases? Are they, as Judge Sotomayor says, supposed to rule based upon identity politics, using their own personal views and biases in making decisions? Or is it to put aside all personal experiences and policy desires and apply the Constitution and laws as written?

Somehow, this important debate is turning into an argument about race and identity politics.

Many of us in the conservative movement believe that Judge Sotomayor is intelligent, and that, at least on paper, she has professional qualifications that are certainly sufficient for occupying a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But what needs deeper examination, because it is very troubling, is her overarching judicial philosophy one that, judging from her public remarks and law review articles, she has thought about seriously and embraced only after much reflection. It's the judicial philosophy shared by President Obama a philosophy with which most Americans, who support judicial restraint, vehemently disagree.

It is only this President Obama's and Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy that drives us to raise serious concerns about Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve on the nation's highest court.

At its core, the thrust of most conservatives' concerns from the past several days centered around three items all of which, by the way, the White House press operation has tried mightily to brush aside: First, a video clip of Judge Sotomayor from a 2005 appearance at Duke Law School, where she stated that appellate courts make policy.

Second, a 2002 law review article in which Judge Sotomayor says that race, gender, and ethnicity necessarily affect the way judges decide cases and that's a good thing.

Third, a 1996 law review article challenging the belief that law needs to be knowable and predictable, in which she borrowed from the philosophy of early 20th century Legal Realists who rejected the idea that judging involves the impartial application of neutral principles. This body of work is not the product of stupidity, or reverse racism, or a bad temper. Rather, it appears to be a view of the courts as engines of social and political change in short, wrought out of a devotion to judicial activism.

We need to move forward with a confirmation process that focuses on what really matters: Does Judge Sotomayor embrace a view of judging that is constrained by the text, history, and principles of the Constitution and our laws? Or does she favor an interpretive enterprise in which a judge's personal feelings, views, background, and politics drive the outcome of cases?


The Democratic Underground is doing its best to dig dirt on the author above but is not having much success. The comment section of the post is however dripping with hate. The comment that amused me most was "Have you ever noticed how many of these RW women are "blonde & blue eyed"?". Blonde hair and blue eyes are incorrect? To the gas ovens with them!


Could Obama’s Left Wing Flap him to Death?

Naturally from our vantage point, Barack Obama is a left-wing terror as president. To name just a few things, he is turning our system from one of capitalism to one of socialism, he is attempting to undermine the Constitution by placing an activist on the Supreme Court, he is weakening our national security by frittering away the gains of the previous administration and by bending over backwards for our enemies while constantly flipping off our allies, he is looking to destroy our national healthcare system by introducing a disastrous single payer system, and he is attempting to give anti-business unions the power to destroy what is left of the business community that he himself hasn’t gotten around to crushing as of yet. We on the right are alarmed by his trip down the ruinous road that Europe has already well traveled to rueful results.

One would think that the American left (or the anti-American left as the case may be) would be thrilled that their most fantasized about social, political, and economic sledgehammers were being wielded by their Obammessiah. But, one might be surprised to see that the extremists on the left are beginning to rumble in seething anger over the fact that, to date, Obama hasn’t gone fast enough or far enough to the extreme left to suit them. One of these wild-eyed, bomb-throwers has even just called for his resignation.

So, are we beginning to see waning the far left’s love affair with The One? Might this disappointment turn into the sort of lefty outrage that it did with Lyndon Baines Johnson? Will Barack Obama’s left wing flap him to death?

It is too early to tell, of course, but there are rumblings that seem to be revealing a great disappointment in Barack Franklin Fitzgerald Abraham Hussein Obama.




China: All blogspot blogs are once again blocked in China. But my mirror sites are all still accessible there. So if you know anyone in China, give them the link.

Keith Burgess Jackson has an interesting attack on militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins, although Keith is not religious himself. I think he does a better job of refuting atheistic arguments than many Christians do. I too am always surprised when atheists issue virulent attacks on religion. They sound just like the religious fundamentalists whom they criticize. They must be insecure in their atheism. I am the most complete atheist imaginable. I don't even think the word "God" is meaningful. But I never attack Christianity and believe that I am in good company among Christians. All religions are not the same, however, and I certainly do attack the socialist, global warming and anti-obesity religions. Rather amusingly, I suspect that Richard Dawkins would support those three religions.

Zoellick Warns Stimulus ‘Sugar High’ Won’t Stem Unemployment: "World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned policy makers that fiscal-stimulus plans are insufficient to turn around the “real economy” and rising joblessness threatens to set off political unrest across the globe. “While the stimulus has given an impulse, it’s like a sugar high unless you eventually get the credit system working,” Zoellick said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” “When unemployment increases, that’s probably the most political combustible issue.”

What Sotomayor said about Latina superiority was NOT simply "poor word choice": "Heaven knows, we all say things in impromtu speeches or on TV or in blog posts that we wish we could take back. But how are you the victim of poor word choice in a speech, as Ed Whelan pointed out the other day, that was apparently delivered from a prepared text and that was then turned into a law review article months later? (Ed refers to it as the "unscripted" law review article.) The problem wasn't the word choice; the problem was quite obviously what Sotomayor meant to say and said several times in several different ways very clearly."

There is British blog here for those who are concerned at the increasing authoritarianism of the British State

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)