Saturday, September 05, 2009

Democrats in trouble

Frightened congressmen, who will be returning to Washington all shook up from facing the music of angry and resentful voters back home, are desperate to find a little reassurance. But there is none. Their mantra for September is "slippage," as in, "my prospects for re-election may be slipping away." Going home to look for a job is the congressional fate worse than death.

President Obama, reveling in his reputation as Mr. Cool, is pursued by angry demons of his own, demons mostly called "independents." Everybody's public-opinion polls show the Obama approval numbers among independents -- the crucial percentage in every election -- slipping for the first time below 50 percent. Rasmussen puts it under 40. The dilemma for both the president and his Democrats is that whatever the president does to help himself hurts his congressional allies, whatever the congressmen do to help themselves damages the president.

The president must get something from Congress that he can call "health-care reform," even if it's only a bottle of aspirin for every third family in America. Asking Congress to enact a step toward full government takeover of American medicine is asking congressmen to commit suicide. As popular as this might be with their constituents, it's not likely. The discontent of summer becomes the focused rage of autumn.

When the going gets tough the president always lays a bet on his teleprompter, and Mr. Obama will spend the weekend clearing his throat at Camp David while his aides tune the teleprompter's chips and diodes for the big speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night. Such invitations by Congress are usually reserved for declarations of war or a welcome back from an assassination attempt; the last such speech to a joint session was George W. Bush's reassurance to the nation just after 9/11.

This Congress is happy to oblige. Maybe the president and his teleprompter at last have something to say about a rescue. What could be more solemn, more grave and more important than saving a few congressional hides?

With his sinking approval numbers, the president has little standing to ask Congress for much if the members feel the ground slipping away. Most of them, particularly the freshmen, still don't understand what happened. They arrived in town in January with enormous majorities, ready for a cakewalk with a president widely believed capable of delivering "change." No one seemed to care what that "change" actually was. When his critics mocked him as "the messiah" many of his awed admirers in press and tube took the accolade seriously. Maybe he really was divine, sent from heaven or at least from Olympus. How could anyone or anything stop the unstoppable Democratic tide?

How indeed? The Republicans were lost in the swamp, with neither a hero nor a white horse in sight. There was no one there to pick up a falling flag, to sound a message and find a way to make it sing. What happened next was scariest of all for the Democrats. With Republicans looking for the fainting couch and the smelling salts, the public took charge of the debate over health care and started banging hard heads together.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi looked over the landscape and, where others saw democracy at work in all its messy glory, saw only hoodlums, brownshirts and swastikas. The more the media derided the protests, the stronger and louder they grew.

Congressmen at bay have always retreated for cover at home. This time they will scramble into Washington looking for relief, like that banged-up Union army racing for cover after a congressional picnic at Manassas. This is the audience waiting for Barack Obama, and the angry public will be listening along with Congress for something new.

The president, still in love with the sound of his voice even if nobody else thrills to it in the same old way, follows a tough act after the smoke and noise of the town halls. Will he get the wingnuts on his left in campaign mode by telling the Republicans to drop dead, as many of his wingnuts demand he do? Will he concede to sanity and common sense, and drop, at least for now, the scheme for government takeover of health care? The days dwindle down to a precious few, and so do his options.



He's Not Jimmy Carter

Conservatives are taking too much solace in the precipitous drop in Barack Obama's approval ratings, and too many of us are overconfident that his administration is merely a replay of the hapless presidency of Jimmy Carter that was easily swept out in a landslide election.

Today's situation is far different, far more conducive to our political adversary's political power, than that which faced Carter. And Obama is an entirely different breed of cat. He's more ruthless, more tactically savvy, and has far more dangerous objectives. A drop in his poll ratings isn't as serious a setback for him as similar occurrences were for the peanut farmer from Plains.

In short, conservatives should beware. The political battle we're in is far more difficult than any the conservative movement has ever faced. It will take all our energy and all our smarts to win it.

First, consider the differences in political circumstances between Obama and Carter. Unlike Carter, Obama does not face a Kennedy-led left wing of his party that despises him. Unlike Carter, Obama did not take office by an incredibly slim majority vote so close that a few thousands votes in two states would have swung the whole election. Unlike Carter, Obama took office in the middle of a crisis he could blame on his predecessor and coming off an unpopular war that he could blame almost entirely on the Republican Party. On the right, Carter faced a conservative movement (even if not a Republican Party) unified and energized by an inspirational leader -- but no similar, single spokesman today galvanizes conservatives like Ronald Reagan did then. Carter also did not have a nationwide movement kept together by a tool like the Internet, and did not have billionaires behind his general aims the way Obama has George Soros.

Finally, Obama has the advantage of a more ethnically diverse nation that has far less of a common culture and less of a common appreciation of shared socio-political history and values. Why is that an advantage? Because it gives him more leeway to make outlandish claims, and still have huge pluralities believe him, than Carter could ever hope for.



Radio Free Rush

If Mark Lloyd has his way, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Marr and Ron Smith may have to broadcast from an offshore Island. Mark Lloyd is the newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the Federal Communications Commission. His writings make it clear that he wants to tax and regulate “right wing” radio out of existence.

Liberals understand that talk radio is the major source of conservative grassroots networking and information sharing. It encourages and empowers individuals to have a voice and to use it. When the Congressional switchboards light up it is often because talk radio has admonished their listeners to “call your member of Congress and tell them how you feel”.

With virtually all of the major network and print media parroting the same liberal message, talk radio remains the only powerful obstacle to the passage of the leftist agenda. Case in point, the effort to jam a dismantling of the U.S. health delivery system through, unread and undiscussed. The strategy has foundered because Rush, Hannity, and a litany of local hosts have revealed on a daily basis new outrageous provisions found buried in the House health care bill. They were equally vocal about Cap and Trade and the budget busting deficits. Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has complained that talk radio is drowning out their message.

The left knows that a frontal assault on talk radio, re-implementing the Fairness Doctrine would set off a firestorm in the United States. So while there are some members of Congress who are calling for it to be revived, the President said during his campaign that he is not in favor of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Administration has created a diversity officer position that has never before existed at the FCC and appointed Mark Lloyd, whose stated goals would tax and regulate conservative and Christian radio into bankruptcy and give the proceeds to public radio.

As a senior fellow of the Soros funded Center for American Progress, Lloyd co-authored a report titled “The structural imbalance of political talk radio”. The conclusion is that there is too much conservative programming and not enough liberal talk. It matters not to the authors that radio station owners air Rush and Hannity and Mark Levin because that’s what the public supports and want to listen to, or that Air America could not attract enough listeners to succeed in the marketplace. The report suggests remedies to fix the “imbalance” that would put local and national caps on commercial radio station ownership and ensure greater “accountability” over radio licensing.

Most astonishingly, Mark Lloyd is calling for each private radio station every year to pay a fee (tax) for their broadcast license, equal to their gross operating budget, with the monies going to the liberal public stations, with whom they compete for listeners. This is a clear formula for driving private radio out of business. And just in case any survived, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities....

People equal policy. In appointing a radical “Diversity Czar”, the Obama administration has placed a leftist into a position to promote policy that will squelch conservative speech.




The attack on the CIA: ""Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about 'upholding the law' but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law. There was a time when everybody understood this. German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot -- and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel."

You can't make this stuff up: “The Agriculture Department, in a bid to help the ailing pork industry, said Thursday it will buy an additional $30 million of pork in an effort to boost prices. The USDA already has pledged to purchase $121 million of pork this year for government food-assistance programs, but producers continue to struggle.”

How government investment in business failed to create jobs: "A central belief in Washington and most state capitals nowadays is that government should "invest" in certain businesses—"clean tech," say, or manufacturing—to drive job creation. We hope it all turns out better than it has in Michigan. For the past 14 years, Lansing politicians have offered $3.3 billion in tax credits through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and spent another $1.6 billion in outlays to create and retain jobs. The subsidies have ranged from tax breaks for Hollywood, to money for new industrial plants, to millions for TV ads starring Jeff Daniels and Tim Allen talking about business and tourism in the state. It's one of the largest experiments in smokestack chasing in American history, but one thing it hasn't done is create jobs. An exhaustive new 100-page study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, has reviewed where all the money has gone and what came of it. The study finds that for every 100 jobs that were promised with these tax credits over 14 years, only 29 arrived. Dare we call this cash for clunkers?"

Obama's red-hot printing presses spark a flight away from the dollar and into gold: "Gold's rally on safe-haven and alternative-currency buying this week has catapulted the metal out of its range and poised it within inches of $US1000 an ounce. But if gold can't sustain the upward momentum above that psychological benchmark, it would be vulnerable to a fall if participants decide to book profits from the strong rally. Today, most-active December gold futures rose as high as $US999.50 an ounce, taking out the $US993.60 peak set in June and establishing the contract's strongest point since February 24, its last time above $US1000. The December contract settled at $US997.70. More thinly traded contracts into next year breached the $US1000 mark, as longer-dated futures tend to be more expensive because of carrying costs. Gold is often bought as a hedge against economic uncertainty, US dollar weakness and inflation. Although equities were near steady today, recent declines have supported gold."

More Forest Service bungling: "U.S. Forest Service executives were starkly warned just weeks before the California wildfires ignited that they risked losing the ability to fight future blazes by air because they had been unable to devise a politically acceptable plan to replace half-century-old aerial tankers that soon will be unworthy for flight. "If [Forest Service] does not make a convincing case, Congress and [White House Office of Management and Budget] may not give funding support for replacing aging aircraft, which may weaken future firefighting effectiveness and firefighter safety," the Agriculture Department's inspector general told the agency in a July report, which was reviewed by The Washington Times. For decades, the massive aerial tankers have been one of the government's iconic weapons against forest fires, soaring past mountains and though plumes of smoke to drop thousands of gallons of retardant chemicals that suppress the brush-consuming flames. But more than half of the agency's fleet was grounded in 2004 for safety reasons and the remaining 19 tankers are between 40 and 60 years old" [I am guessing that the Forest Service is under heavy Greenie influence]

Stimulus work sends cash flowing out of US: "After winning $2.3 million in federal stimulus money for a sewer project, officials in Auburn, Maine, wrangled another prize from Washington: permission to forgo American-made manhole covers for a design made only at a Canadian foundry. As local governments race to spend stimulus money, many are seeking exemptions from the law’s “Buy American’’ restrictions, which were intended to prevent taxpayer money from ending up in foreign pockets. The administration has granted waivers for goods as varied as steel for public housing projects, high-speed Internet equipment, and Auburn’s manhole covers, which have heavy-duty hinges to help withstand the town’s heavy truck traffic. The Obama administration could not provide a list or amount of waivers granted - which potentially could total billions of dollars - and Vice President Joe Biden’s office, which has responsibility for overseeing the stimulus, did not respond to requests for comment. Local officials and trade groups said that the drive to finish stimulus projects quickly, and the paucity of some American-made products, made the waivers inevitable."

CT: Hartford mayor arrested again; three others charged: “Mayor Eddie Perez on Wednesday surrendered to state police for the second time this year to face corruption charges, this time on allegations he and a former state lawmaker took part in a crooked parking lot deal. Perez, who was charged in January with taking a bribe from a city contractor, and former state Rep. Abraham Giles turned themselves in at the Hartford state police barracks and were charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy. … Two other people, a city councilwoman and a businessman, were also charged Wednesday in connection with the corruption probe that began nearly two years ago.”

Secret US spontaneous human combustion beam tested: “American death-tech goliath Boeing has announced a long-delayed in-flight firing for the smaller of its two aeroplane raygun-cannon prototypes, the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). The ATL blaster, mounted in a Hercules transport aircraft, apparently ‘defeated’ an unoccupied stationary vehicle.”

Whole Foods: Boycott or buycott?: "John MacKey is that rarest of rare breeds in modern America. Not only is he a purveyor of health foods but a capitalist, and not only a capitalist but a self-described ‘businessman and a free market libertarian.’ … So even as health food fanatics excommunicated him for his heresy his free market capitalist and libertarian acolytes rallied to his defense. Spearheaded by the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition and backed by free speech supporters and local Libertarian Party affiliates, counter boycotts, called ‘buycotts,’ were staged at Whole Food outlets from Connecticut to D.C. to Pittsburg to St. Louis to San Diego to Dallas/Ft. worth.”

Labor’s love lost: “Organized labor has all but given up on what was once its top priority. No, I’m not referring to card check. It’s section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act that’s no longer being targeted by the AFL-CIO. If that provision sounds arcane, it’s not. It allows states to enact right-to-work laws that are the bane of union organizers. They protect the right of workers not to join a union. In effect, these statutes outlaw the ‘closed shop,’ which forces all workers to sign up where a union exists, and the ‘union shop,’ requiring them to pay dues even if they aren’t union members. Repealing 14(b) was labor’s paramount goal for decades. But Rich Trumka, who is slated to become AFL-CIO president later this month, said Wednesday: ‘There’s no active effort right now.’”


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


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


Friday, September 04, 2009

People have become too comfortable with government

When average everyday American citizens come home from work, they almost invariably drive on a congested highway owned and maintained by the government, often on the way to an overcrowded government school to pick up their children. And before they pull into the garage, they check on their mail from the government-run bankrupt post office.

Simply put: American citizens cannot avoid the pernicious intrusion of government into virtually every facet of their lives. It is pervasive. And it is invasive. Yet, very few people fully understand the long-term consequences of constant government intervention. It is clear that the side effects of ubiquitous government control often causes people to make what many free market advocates might consider irrational decisions about current government programs.

For example, when one economist asked MIT Nobel laureate Robert Solow why he was opposed to school choice he said, “It isn’t for any economic reason; all the economic reasons favor school vouchers. It is because what made me an American is the United States Army and the public school system.” That economist was Dr. Daniel Klein and Solow’s reaction is what he calls “The People’s Romance.”

“The People’s Romance” is a phenomenon that draws people to government in a way that allows government to do things to which most people would object were they to step back and take a closer look at the deleterious effects of government usurpation. Through a myriad of common government-owned “focal points” (i.e. roads, postal service, schools), government solidifies its power, which Klein calls “encompassing sentiment coordination.”

Once government gains the passive acceptance of a large portion of the population under “The People’s Romance,” it can do almost anything it wants. One common historical example was Josef Stalin’s reign over the Soviet Union. It is clear that he had the subjugated people under one of the strongest “People Romances” in recorded history.

Obviously, “The People’s Romance” is very dangerous for a functioning free society and is at the heart of authoritarian thinking. Karl Marx believed that workers were alienated through capitalism and the division of labor, and that they should be brought together as a “union into one single productive body.” That meant that every individual was now working towards a communal end.

And it is now clear that “The People’s Romance” is becoming an established fixture in the United States. For example, most Americans cannot even fathom the elimination of the Department of Education – even though the quality of education has plummeted since the establishment of that union-controlled monolithic bureaucracy. And rarely will one ever hear a Washington politician or mainstream media pundit discuss a true free-market solution to the nation’s health care problems – even though it would cut costs and improve quality just as it has in almost every other industry.

Unfortunately, because of “The People’s Romance” indoctrination, the words privatization or deregulation are now considered taboo. And all of the while the nation goes bankrupt as government continues grabbing up and running down one sector of the economy after another.

So now, sadly, the solutions to many of the current problems facing the United States are being ignored simply due to people’s blind trust in the powers that be. And patched-over roads with massive traffic jams leading to costly government schools where children’s heads are filled with mush have become an acceptable norm, along with the inefficiencies of an government monopolized postal system.

In short, they are all part and parcel of a once less obtrusive, arms-length relationship the American people once had with their government that has long-since devolved into an oppressive “People’s Romance” gone horribly awry.



Parents rebel against Obama TV speech to schools

'President doesn't get to speak to my children unchallenged'

Parents across the country are rebelling against plans by President Barack Obama to speak directly to their children through the classrooms of the nation's public schools without their presence, participation and approval. The plans announced by Obama also have been cited as raising the specter of the Civilian National Security Force, to which he's referred several times since his election campaign began, but never fully explained. "He's recruiting his civilian army. His 'Hitler' youth brigade," wrote one participant in a forum at Free Republic.

"I am not going to compare President Obama to Hitler. We'll leave that to others and you can form your own opinions about them and their analogies. ... However, we can learn a lot from the spread of propaganda in Europe that led to Hitler's power. A key ingredient in that spread of propaganda was through the youth," wrote a blogger at the blog, where the subject of the day was a national "Keep-Your-Child-at-Home-Day."

"Totalitarian regimes around the world have sought to spread their propaganda and entrench their power by brainwashing the children. I guess it's easier to indoctrinate a six-year-old instead of fighting a 26-year-old or being challenged by a 46-year-old in the voting booth," the blogger wrote.

At issue was an announcement that Obama plans to deliver a message directly to students via the Internet into public school classrooms across the nation on Sept. 8. According to announcement posted on, Obama will address students "about the importance of persisting and succeeding in school" at 1 p.m. Eastern at the website. The announcement said the federal Department of Education "is encouraging educators, students and parents to use this opportunity to help students get focused and begin the school year strong."

The government also is publicizing a list of suggestions for students and teachers to do in preparation for the speech, including studying Barack Obama's writings and presidency.

Obama had announced the speech during a child reporter's visiting the White House. During the interview, Obama said, "On September 8, when young people around the country are … will have just started or are about to go back to school, I'm going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country…"

But opposition is assembling quickly, similar to the concerns expressed on the AmericanElephant blog: "Now the former community organizer and current president of the United States is making an unprecedented speech to the school children of our nation. I'd like to believe his motives were pure and politics didn't play into this. But viewing this administration's track record doesn’t afford such benefit of the doubt.

"When the president browbeats property owners who want to protect their legal rights… when the president admits he doesn't know the facts but impugns the integrity of a police force… when the president calls me a liar for reporting what is actually in the health care bills and encourages my neighbors to report me to some enemies list… when the president apologizes to nations around the world and bows to a Saudi king… he loses the benefit of the doubt," the blogger wrote. "Without benefit of the doubt, the president doesn't get to speak to my children unchallenged," the writer said.

The education department's suggestions include building background knowledge for students about Obama, and then asking, "What do you think he'll say to you?" During the speech, students should be instructed to "think about the following: What is the president trying to tell me? What is the president asking me to do?" Another exercise would be to have students write letters to themselves about "what they can do to help the president." "These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals," the recommendations suggest.

At the Docstoc website where the announcement about the speech was drawing negative reaction, one forum participant confirmed that his grandchildren would not be in school that day. "What's he going to do, tell the kids to report their parents to the Thought Police if they don't support Obamacare?" added another. "I don't care what the heck he's going to talk about, unless he holds a teaching degree for every state, and he plans on actually TEACHING a lesson, this SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!!!" added another....

Duane Lester, writing at All American Blogger, has verbalized opponents' worst fears.

"Hitler knew that if you control the youth, you control the future. I wrote about him in 'The Threats to Homeschooling: From Hitler to the NEA.' As I noted in that article, Hitler said: 'The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of innoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled,'" he wrote.



There has now been a big backdown on the "lessons" to go with the speech.


BrookesNews Update

Is excess capacity dragging the world economy down?: Excess capacity is a effect, not a cause. The belief that can generate a 'deflationary spiral' is a myth. There is only one way avoid mass layoffs and to prevent masses of capital from being rendered idle and that is for central banks to adopt sound economics. Unfortunately this will never happen while economists like Bernanke and Lin insist on practising 'macromancy'
The idea that consumer confidence drives an economy is a gross economic fallacy :The idea that consumer confidence is needed to drive an economy is complete nonsense. Focusing on consumption instead of production is a grave error that has enormous consequences. It is because of this error that we now find ourselves in the current economic mess
Thanks to our incompetent self-appointed guardians of the free market protectionism is on the rise :Once we take the phenomenon of overvalued currencies into account protectionist arguments that blame free trade for the decline in manufacturing fall to the ground. However, the overvalued-currency approach helps explains the fall in manufacturing as a proportion of GDP and thereby fingers monetary mismanagement as the real culprit
Barnaby Joyce is now the real leader of the Australian Opposition :Is the Liberal Party finished? Turnbull has betrayed the Party and the country to Big banks, national law firms, transnational accounting firms, Wall Street traders and the merchant bank millionaires are not the real industry of Australia. They are the froth floating on the real rivers of productive industry, the rivers that Turnbull wants dam. It's time for Turnbull and his rich pals got the royal boot
Don Hewitt and the CBS covered for Castro's tyranny : Don Hewitt's death brought forth an avalanche of encomiums from his media comrades, praising him for his integrity, courage and fearless defence of the truth. In fact, Hewitt deserves not praise but utter condemnation. He spent years covering for the sadistic Castro and his crimes. He nothing less than a totalitarian fellow traveller who was deeply complicit in the torture and murder of thousands of Cubans
Oil is NOT a fossil fuel, and CO2 is an innocent victim of green hysteria :Man-made global warming argument is a myth and the idea that Co2 is a pollutant is a lie. It is in fact a nutrient and is absolutely vital to life. Without it the planet would be literally lifeless. Furthermore, scientific evidence is mounting that far from being organic oil is an infinite resource that is being continuously produced within the bowels of the earth
US dollars and the tyranny of oil : "The realities of the market, and probably the expectation of inflation caused by the printing of money in the United States and the rest of the world during the current recession, virtually guarantee that oil tyrannies in the Middle East, Eurasia and Latin America will continue to enjoy big revenues
The law of supply and demand applies to health care too : "Despite the fact that Massachusetts' mandated health insurance has turned into a medical and financial nightmare Obama is fanatically determined to impose a similar scheme on the country, a scheme that he and his fellow Democrats intend to exempt themselves from. In addition, Obama's contempt for the beliefs of others could close down scores of catholic hospitals
Obama's czars: who's really minding the store?: A number of Obama's czars share several unsavoury characteristics: they don't like America, they want to turn the country into a socialist state, they are opposed to the First Amendment, they want America emasculated and they want the Democrats to control broadcasting. And they were all chosen by Obama because he shares their leftwing beliefs



Fire service at fault in big CA fires: "Months before it dispatched its famed firefighters to California's historic inferno, the U.S. Forest Service was warned by its internal watchdog that it could not reliably decide which forests were most vulnerable to wildfires or take pre-emptive actions because it had failed to follow through on reforms it promised to make in 2006. The April 3 warning from the Agriculture Department's inspector general about a continued shortcoming in the Forest Service's fire prevention program called "hazardous fuels reduction production" surfaced Wednesday as Forest Service officials acknowledged that the government agency failed to clear more than 1,500 acres of Angeles National Forest underbrush that it had been authorized to clear. The U.S. Forest Service obtained permits to burn away undergrowth and brush on more than 1,700 acres, but had done so on just 193 acres, Forest Service resource officer Steve Bear told the Associated Press." [This is typical of Greenie influence. Greenies HATE preventive burns]

Rogue black college president: "Maricopa County sheriff's detectives want to talk with embattled Montgomery [MD] College President Brian K. Johnson about an outstanding warrant that would land him in jail if he returned to Arizona. Capt. Larry Farnsworth said the department is looking at Mr. Johnson, who is accused of owing at least $12,000 in child support in Maricopa County, Ariz., and confirmed the warrant is still active in that state. "I'd love to convince him to come back," Capt. Farnsworth told The Washington Times. "I'm happy to make him a resident of our jail." The Montgomery College Board of Trustees is expected on Thursday to decide the fate of Mr. Johnson, who has been accused of mismanagement and excessive spending. College officials have said Mr. Johnson is regularly absent from the office and has not attended meetings with key politicians, including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley."

I think I know who the real A**hole is here: "In a video linked on Drudge Report, Obama Czar Van Jones calls Republicans A** Holes for not siding with Obama on legislation such as the Stimulus bill."

The destruction of the mass print media will help save freedom in America: "The invention of the Internet, just like the invention of the printing press in the 16th century, has reshuffled the deck when it comes to who controls the news and information to which ordinary people have access. The mass media is losing its power to control the news. It’s that simple! A new type of journalism, a citizen journalism in which all sides of a story are written about from every conceivable angle, is taking hold. It may be a bit chaotic right now, but better a little chaos than the controlled flow of information.”

Misanthropy revisited: "It seems to me that among too many scientists and champions of science there is a pointless misanthropy afoot, as if somehow to defend proper science against its pseudo variety one needed to take humanity a notch or two. It seems to be doubtless that human beings have special (enough) capacities, attributes, and so forth that classifying them as quite unlike all other animals known to us makes eminently good sense. Just take a few examples of what makes them so: it is human beings who do science, not dogs or orangutans or crows. It is they who build museums, produce movies, write novels, teach courses in anthropology and biology, etc., etc. Yes, people also are known to be quite destructive and, as Aristotle said some 2500 years ago, ‘If there is anyone who holds that the study of the animal is an unworthy pursuit, he ought to go farther and hold the same opinion about the study of himself.’ But while we are all animals, there is a lot that is quite different about people, different from other animals, and much of it is quite beneficial, even admirable at times.”

Whole Foods has guts: "For too long the left has had a monopoly on ‘business ethics.’ Executives who push the communitarian vision, or who are intimidated by progressive pundits, allow ’social justice’ activists to set the agenda and do all the talking. Those who do not agree are often cowed into silence. Business leaders who are turned off by leftist politics are likely to remain uninvolved and avoid getting into controversies. The Mackey article is a visible, concrete example that it is possible to be courageous, to stand up for principle, and to survive the disfavor of statist partisans. If Mr. Mackey can publicly defy those who want a government take over, so can you. There is something satisfying about putting leftist commentators on notice that they no longer control the discussion.”


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, September 03, 2009

Sanctions Won't Work Against Iran

The mullahs are addressing their vulnerability to a gasoline shortage


Last week, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed elBaradei attempted to whitewash Iran's nuclear weapons program by issuing a report ignoring substantial information about weaponization activities and downplaying continued noncooperation.

Even the Obama administration apparently now understands that resuming the long-stalled "Permanent-Five plus-one" negotiations (the U.N. Security Council's permanent members plus Germany) with Iran is highly unlikely to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Accordingly, President Obama is readying two alternatives. One is to characterize "freezing" Iran's nuclear program at existing levels as a "success." However, this less than complete termination of Iran's nuclear program would run contrary to years of determined clandestine efforts. Such a freeze is utterly unverifiable and amounts to surrender. This will result in a nuclear-armed Iran.

The other Obama administration ploy is "strong sanctions" imposed by the United States and other countries. This will also be a "success" only in the sense that it will allow the administration to claim a win. It won't actually prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

One idea for robust sanctions now before Congress is to prohibit exports of refined petroleum products—such as gasoline—to Iran. Today, Iran imports 40% of its daily refined petroleum consumption. Other proposals include international financial and insurance-related sanctions.

These ideas are well-intentioned and worth pursuing. If imposed, they will create shortages that will likely increase internal dissatisfaction with Iran's regime, thereby hopefully contributing to its ultimate demise. But no one should believe that tighter sanctions will, in the foreseeable future, have any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Six years ago more stringent measures against Iran might have worked, but today they are an idea whose time has come and gone. Their inadequacy stems from several causes.

First, the U.N. Security Council is no more likely now to approve strict sanctions against Iran than in the past. The prospects for Russian and Chinese support are between slim and none, since endorsing sanctions would harm their own economic and political interests in Iran. The most to expect from the council is a fourth sanctions resolution, as weak and ineffective as its predecessors, and only after weeks or months of agonizing negotiations.

Second, for those who understand the Security Council reality, most talk of enhanced sanctions envisages a coalition of the willing, consisting essentially of America, Japan and the European Union. But the EU's record to date, and Japan's likely policy under its new government (soon to be run by the Democratic Party of Japan), are hardly likely to produce a stiff, serious and sustained effort. Iran itself will offer countless reasons why sanctions should be suspended, reduced or ignored, and a disquieting amalgam of Western governments, businesses and commentators will agree at every step. It is very likely that EU resolve will fracture and Japan will follow suit. Moreover, many other countries will use the lack of a Security Council imprimatur to conduct business with Tehran, shredding the coalition's sanctions, and thereby weakening EU resolve still further.

Third, Iran is hardly standing idly by while sanctions that target its refined petroleum products are debated by the U.S. and other countries. Tehran's leaders are acutely aware of their vulnerability and are moving to address it. Iran, with extensive Chinese involvement, has already begun building new refineries and expanding existing facilities with the aim of approximately doubling domestic capacity by 2012. This will more than compensate for its current refining shortfall. Whether Iran can complete these projects on schedule remains to be seen, but the level of effort is intense and serious.

Tehran is also eliminating government subsidies that make retail gasoline cheaper than it otherwise would be. This will raise prices and thereby reduce consumption. Slashing consumer benefits is rarely popular, but this step alone will substantially reduce the pressure on Iran's refineries to produce. One can also be sure that the Revolutionary Guards' access to gasoline will not be diminished. Iran claims to have substantially increased its strategic gasoline reserves over the past year (though that increase has not been confirmed).

Most significantly, Iran's estimated natural gas reserves (948 trillion cubic feet in 2008) are second only to Russia's, and more than quadruple the U.S.'s. Here is "energy independence" for Iran that would make T. Boone Pickens envious, since relatively small capital expenditures can refit large motor-vehicle fleets (such as Iran's military and security services) to run on compressed natural gas. Iran also plans to increase subsidies for natural gas, thus diminishing consumer anger over lost gasoline subsidies.

For Washington, the question should not be whether "strict sanctions" will cause some economic harm despite Iran's multifarious, accelerating efforts to mitigate them. Instead, we must ask whether that harm will be sufficient to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Objectively, there is no reason to believe that it will.

Adopting tougher economic sanctions is simply another detour away from hard decisions on whether to accept a nuclear Iran or support using force to prevent it.



The "Animal Rights Czar" spells potential trouble for American farmers

One of the most effective ways a President influences public policy and law in a lasting manner is through regulatory actions taken by the federal government. It's not an area that typically garners substantial media attention because regulatory work is generally a highly technical matter performed by policy wonks largely unknown to the public.

Yet, despite their general obscurity, federal regulations have a substantial impact on virtually every facet of society. And the personnel who oversee the regulatory process have far greater influence than most would imagine.

Chief among the personnel who oversee the regulatory process is the administrator of an unheralded office within the White House's Office of Management and Budget called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The administrator is also known as the "Regulatory Czar." Earlier this year the President nominated Cass Sunstein to run this office. Sunstein's nomination is now pending before the full Senate. A vote on his nomination is expected next week....

Some of Mr. Sunstein's views are troubling to say the least. He is on record supporting rights for animals including giving standing to private persons to sue on behalf of animals under existing laws. He has also stated that he believes there should be more regulation in the area of animal rights.

This is slippery slope to say the least. What will happen if he is presented with a regulatory situation where he is free to “follow the law” as well as advance his own personal views at the same time? And what if he uses the power of this office to influence the law he then eagerly follows?

In my own past work experience, I’ve had substantial firsthand experience with OIRA. The office can be a bear to deal with since it has life and death power over regulatory actions. And I have seen how the personal views of OIRA staff can become dangerously problematic, as the regulators attempt to push the law in one way or another because they are in a position to affect (or even craft) law, not just follow it.




I have just put up a couple of "off the beaten track" posts on my Paralipomena blog -- which may particularly interest readers who take an interest in history.

Mike Adams has up a sampling of his hate mail -- together with his mocking replies. Rather fun. I receive very similar outbursts of ignorance from the Left myself. Are there any Leftists who can spell?

In his usual articulate way, Buchanan argues persuasively that Britain and France should not have interfered with Hitler's Drang nach Osten and that Hitler's aims fell well short of world conquest. He certainly was not prepared for the war he provoked. But in the end I still think Churchill was right and that Hitler would have used "salami tactics" to slice off the rest of the world bit by bit and that he had to be stopped before he grew powerful enough to do that.

Hoyer has rowdy Townhall: "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told cheering and jeering constituents Tuesday he still supports a public health insurance option as part of a health care overhaul. Previously he's said there's room for compromise. At a packed high school gym, Hoyer, D-Md., was shouted down repeatedly during a town hall meeting where a crowd of 1,500 appeared to be evenly split between supporters and opponents of the health care overhaul effort. One woman pressed the Democratic leader on whether he'd give in on the public option if Republicans refused to compromise. "If the question is do I plan to vote for a public option with or without Republican support, the answer is yes," Hoyer said."

Obama's Shameless 'Torture' Prosecution Reversal: "President Barack Obama is either extraordinarily politically tone-deaf or arrogant beyond bounds, as indicated by his relentless pursuit of policies strongly rejected by the American people. His decision or acquiescence in the Department of Justice's decision to reinvestigate CIA terrorist interrogators is the latest outrage. Obama's approval ratings have cratered even further since my most recent column, and he's either Mr. Magoo, driving along in blissful oblivion, or Fearless Leader, who will do what he wants, American people be damned. Based on Obama's oft-articulated mindset -- "I won, so the other side should just quit talking" -- I think it's safe to say he's closer to dictator than to Magoo. Besides, Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to begin a new investigation of the CIA interrogators has Obama's national security-emasculating fingerprints all over it".

Obama praises barbaric 7th century ignorance at Ramadan dinner: "US President Barack Obama praised Islam as an integral part of America, as he feted prominent US Muslims at an Iftar dinner marking the holy fasting month of Ramadan. "For well over a billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection," Mr Obama said, in remarks welcoming his guests in the State Dining Room of the White House. "Tonight's Iftar is a ritual that is being carried out this Ramadan at kitchen tables and mosques in all 50 states," he said. "Islam as we know is part of America. Like the broader American citizenry, the American Muslim community is one of extraordinary dynamism and diversity. "On this occasion, we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and we also celebrate how much Muslims have enriched America and its culture in ways both large and small,'' he said."

Obama pleases nobody some of the time: A president is going to be smacked around from the moment he takes office and the uplifting rhetoric of campaign rallies meets the gritty reality of governing. But the criticism of Barack Obama has turned strikingly personal as some of his liberal media allies have gone wobbly on him. After playing a cheerleading role during the campaign, some are bluntly questioning whether he's up to the job. If Obama is losing Paul Krugman, can the rest of the left be far behind? "I'm concerned as to whether, in trying to reach out to the middle, he is selling out his base," says Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. "I find myself saying, 'Where's that well-oiled Obama machine we saw last year?' . . . Maybe he's being a little too cool at this point." David Corn, a blogger for Politics Daily, says that despite a reservoir of support for the president, some of his policies "have caused concern, if not outright anger, among certain liberal commentators and bloggers. It's been a more conventional White House than many people expected or desired. . . . He's made compromises that have some people concerned about his adherence to principle." Perhaps that's why a recent Frank Rich column in the New York Times was headlined, "Is Obama Punking Us?"

Rasmussen poll: "Looking back, after the initial euphoria of inauguration day, the President’s ratings slipped a bit but remained steady and positive from February thru May. In June, the numbers began to move down a bit, still remained generally positive. July and August were less positive months for the President. Overall, the number who Strongly Approve has fallen from 43% in January to 30% in August. During that same time frame, the number who Strongly Disapprove has grown from 20% to 39%. Those numbers translate to a Presidential Approval Index that has declined from +23 in January to -9 in August. Also in August, the President’s total approval fell below 50% for the first time. While opposition to the President’s proposed health care reform is partly responsible for the declining approval ratings, the numbers reflect a broader level of frustration. Last fall, during the Bush Administration, voters overwhelmingly opposed the bailout plans for banks but the bailout went ahead. Earlier this year, voters overwhelmingly opposed the federal takeover of General Motors and Chrysler, but they went ahead as well. Two-thirds of American voters (64%) support a law requiring the federal government to sell its interest in GM within one year. Currently, Republicans have a modest lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot."

Two deadly truck bombers were recently freed by Obama admin.: Two truck bombers who killed 95 people in devastating attacks on the Iraqi finance and foreign ministries were recently released from US custody, a senior interior ministry official said on Sunday. "The suicide bomber who blew himself up at the ministry of foreign affairs was released three months ago from Camp Bucca," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to the US jail near Basra. "The suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the ministry of finance was also released a few months ago from the same jail." The August 19 attacks in Baghdad also wounded 600 people in the worst day of violence to hit the country for 18 months."

French coverup: "Air France pilots yesterday accused accident investigators of trying to cover up the cause of the Airbus crash off the coast of Brazil in June that killed 228 people after officials appeared to blame the crew for the disaster... Mr Arnoux, an Airbus captain, said that the BEA was trying to overcome its previous failure to act on known faults with speed sensors, known as pitot tubes, on Airbus aircraft. “The architecture of the Airbus systems is in question,” he said. The families have accused Air France and the BEA of dishonesty. Christophe Guillot-Noël, who heads an association of victims’ families, said that Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the airline boss, was privately blaming the pilots. The BEA report was shaped by politics, he said. A new deep-sea search is to start this month for the flight recorders, but data sent in the moments before the aircraft disappeared has offered an outline of the chain of events. Faulty speed readings, apparently caused by ice, prompted erratic behaviour by the automated flight system. Flying by hand, and without key data, the two pilots were unable to keep control. In a preliminary report in July, the BEA said that the speed sensors were “a factor, but not the cause” of the crash. In late July, the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered replacement of the French-made pitots with American ones on all long-range Airbuses. Suspicion has fallen on the highly automated design of the Airbus flight systems."

Freedom Communications enters bankruptcy protection: "Freedom Communications Inc., the owner of more than 30 daily newspapers including the Orange County Register in California, sought bankruptcy protection after print advertising revenue declined. Freedom, the owner of eight television stations, has assets of as much as $1 billion and debt of more than $1 billion, it said today in Chapter 11 papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The Irvine, California-based company said it filed after a majority of Freedom’s lenders agreed to support a plan to restructure its debt.”


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, September 02, 2009

Iranian Nuclear Threat Targets U.S. as well as Israel

And they don't need missiles to deliver it. Put the bomb on a ship manned by "martyrs" and sail it into New York harbour and Bingo! That way you will have shown "The Great Satan" a thing or two! And think how many Jews you would pop off at the same time! Any NY Jew who supported Obama is an imbecile. New York is the obvious target of first choice for the mad mullahs. Wasn't 9/11 warning enough?

The Islamic republic has test-fired missiles capable of reaching Israel, southeastern Europe, and U.S. bases in the Mideast — and published reports say Iran is within a year of developing its own nuclear bomb. Security experts warn that even one nuclear device in the hands of a rogue nation could be used against the United States in a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack, an intense burst of energy from an exploding nuclear warhead high above the Earth.

So why isn't the Obama administration doing more to prevent a nuclear nightmare? “I get very, very nervous about it,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., told Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter. “I think Iran will have a nuclear weapon. I think now it's only a question of when.”

The United States is caught in the middle of a Mideast faceoff between one of its strongest allies, Israel, and Iran. Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and Israel refuses to rule out a preemptive strike against its adversary, while insisting that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. If the United States tries to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has vowed a campaign of bloody revenge.

Iran's hatred of Israel “is rooted in ideology,” said Walid Phares of Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The Iranian regime is jihadist, and they do not acknowledge nor accept the idea that a non-Islamic, non-jihadist state could exist in the region.”

Although Iran is thousands of miles from America's shores, its belligerent actions could have far-reaching repercussions. A regional war or nuclear attack could cause an already shaky U.S. economy to collapse.

Even scarier is the growing threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack, security analysts say. Such an attack could destroy all electronic devices over a massive area, from cell phones to computers to America's electrical grid, experts say. “Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can't support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. “That would be a world without America, as a practical matter. And that is exactly what I believe the Iranians are working towards.”

President Barack Obama has committed the U.S. government to a diplomatic approach for resolving the high-stakes nuclear dispute, but Iran has rebuffed Obama's overtures. Meanwhile, Congress is working on legislation to grant Obama the power to impose crippling sanctions on Iran if the talk-first approach doesn't work.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., says such sanctions are long overdue. “A nuclear Iran is a threat to the Iranian people, to Israel, to the Middle East, to the national security of the United States. And what is Congress doing about it? Nothing. We have proposed legislation time and time again to have real, substantial sanctions leveled against Iran. Now, we like to point fingers and say the U.N. has not done enough, but really we should be pointing the fingers at ourselves.”...

“Eventually the Iranian regime, if not reformed from the inside, is going to get the nukes, is going to use them in a deterrence fashion, and eventually if there is a confrontation it may use them for real,” Phares said. “This revolt of Tehran may well become another Iranian revolution. Now its success is conditioned by how far the United States and the international community go in assisting this democratic movement.”

The more time Obama devotes to the diplomatic approach, critics warn, the more time Iran has to realize its nuclear ambitions and even sell its technology to other nations or terrorists. “I think the president's learning a lesson,” Hoekstra said. “I mean, the president was brutal on the previous administration on foreign policy, saying, you know, 'Your policy on North Korea is bad; your policy on Iran is bad.' Everywhere and anything the former president did in foreign policy was terrible [according to Obama], and he was going to come in and fix it. I think he's finding out that foreign policy is hard.”

More here


FDR is an unfortunate model for today's Leftists

As another example of our creative powers of memory, take the controversy around the federal government's frantic, improvised responses to the global financial crisis. Since most of those who experienced the Depression are dead, we're free to invoke the imagined spirit of the dole queue, or Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, without fear of contradiction. Yet even a casual student of the 1930s would have to admit, if they put their hand upon their heart, that the legislative response to the Depression in the US was at least as arbitrary, opportunistic and ill thought through as anything our own would-be FDRs could possible envision.

Roosevelt, who nowadays has come in some circles to assume the character of a saint, was in life as crafty and temporising a politician as was ever born. His economic policies (what his earliest and most un-illusioned biographer, James MacGregor Burns, described as the economics of the "broker state") required endless doses of improvisation, along with "a host of energetic and ill-assorted government programs and economic betterment without real recovery". And his governing style involved balancing the interests of the strongest interest groups at the expense of the weaker ones, in the process buying "short-term political gains at the expense of long-term strategic advance". None of this is exactly unfamiliar.

Like the democratic cynics of our own day, FDR happily pursued at all times, with almost geometrical precision, a path calculated to secure the maximum political advantage for every dollar of economic stimulus spent, all the while harmonising the electoral cycle to the fiscal one.

But then, what should we expect? As the era's sage, J.M. Keynes, happily pointed out, the good fortune of the slump was to have made economic expansion and political expediency into siblings.

In one sense, the chief economic legacy of the Depression to us is merely that hard times can be made to license a species of policy exuberance that might in other times be labelled as carelessness.

It was FDR's great advantage over our would-be FDRs that his programs really were nation building, in a practical and material sense. Then there were roads where roads had never been, while dams brought electricity to candle-burners.

Our would-be FDRs, by adopting the mantle of nation-building without really comprehending its original purpose, have in effect played a joke upon themselves and us.

No school is going to turn down a learning centre (whatever exactly that may be) or a technology hall. But they would probably rather have teachers who were once the stars of their own schools, and literature set texts that have some standing as works of literature. And in that regard, sad to say, the generation of the 30s do seem somehow to have stolen a march on us.

More here


Wackjob science czar to appear on David Letterman

According David Letterman’s website, wackjob science czar Dr. John Holdren is scheduled to appear Wednesday night, September 2. Holdren has been a guest on Letterman before. He visited in April 2008 to ply global warming scare propaganda. Not a peep from Letterman about Holdren’s spectacularly wrong predictions and irresponsible alarmism.

And we certainly won’t expect a peep from Letterman about Holdren’s extremist musings on forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and undesirables. Wouldn’t want to be accused of “defamation” by the left-wing blogs, eh, Dave?

Holdren’s office has gotten away with stonewalling questions about the science czar’s promotion of his colleague and mentor, eugenicist Harrison Brown. These are the questions I asked last month — and which many readers also asked of Holdren’s office to no avail:

1) Does Dr. Holdren disavow the population control extremism of his intellectual mentor and colleague, Harrison Brown or not?

2) Does Dr. Holdren also view the world population as a “pulsating mass of maggots?”

3) Was Dr. Holdren unaware of Harrison Brown’s views when he paid homage to him at the AAAS keynote address in 2007?

Internet investigative blogger Zombie spotlighted copious passages from one of Holdren’s favorite books by Harrison Brown, The Challenge of Man’s Future, which openly advocates a “broad eugenics program” — and also featured Holdren’s own praise for the book:




Zogby Interactive: Loss of Democrats' Support Helps Bring Obama Job Approval Down to 42%‏: "President Barack Obama's job approval rating is down to 42%, with a decline in approval from Democrats the leading factor. The latest Zogby Interactive poll of 4,518 likely voters conducted from August 28-31 found 48% disapprove and 42% approve of the job Obama is doing. The poll found 75% of Democrats approve of Obama's performance, a drop of 13 points among Democrats from an interactive poll done July 21-24 of this year. That same poll found 48% of all likely voters approving of Obama's job performance, and 49% disapproving. In the most recent poll, 8% of Republicans and 37% of Independents approve of Obama's job performance. Both are down slightly from six weeks ago; two points among Republicans and three among Independents".

A Democrat royal succession?: "With Massachusetts having paid its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the politics of succession begins in earnest this week — candidates will emerge, a race will take shape, and the Kennedy clan will have to reveal whether it wants to keep the seat in the family. All eyes now are on Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former US representative, with family members and political allies expecting him to make a decision very shortly on whether to enter the Democratic primary. No other Kennedy of his generation with the political stature to step into the role has signaled interest in it, according to Democratic insiders and people close to the family. And Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the senator’s widow, who many expected would be a likely candidate, so far has indicated she is not interested in succeeding her husband.”

Equal treatment for Congresscritters: "What this country needs, in addition to the good five-cent cigar, is a simple amendment to the Constitution decreeing that every law enacted by Congress will apply to members of Congress in the way it applies to everyone else. No more platinum-plated retirement plans for members of Congress, no more cut-rate haircuts and shoeshines, and most important of all, no more health-care plans specifically for the men and women who get to tell the rest of us what's good for us: "Just give us what you get." If Congress keeps its cut-rate haircuts, then every visiting Toyota mechanic just off the bus from Topeka, with his locks curling over his collar, is entitled to visit the congressional barber shop for a cut-rate cut, too. And a manicure. He wouldn't want dirt under his fingernails when dining at the Palm or the Jockey Club".

Band-Aids for the recession: “A recent poll shows that most economists now believe that the recession, which began in December 2007, will end in the third quarter of 2009. There’s been an uptick in manufacturing and consumer confidence, and the decline in housing prices appears to be flattening out. Unfortunately, the return to positive GDP will likely be short-lived. The current surge in production is mainly the result of President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and the rebuilding of inventories that were slashed after Lehman Bros defaulted in September, 2008. These factors should boost GDP for two or perhaps three quarters before the economy lapses back into recession. The most serious problems facing the economy have not yet been addressed or resolved. Consumer spending and bank lending are still contracting, and the banks are buried beneath $1.5 trillion in toxic assets and non-performing loans. Also, the wholesale credit system, (securitization) which provided up to 40 per cent of the credit flowing into the economy, is barely operating. No one really knows whether the system is salvageable or not. On a fundamental level, the financial system is broken and neither the Fed’s zero percent interest rates nor Obama’s gigantic fiscal stimulus has reversed the prevailing downward trend. Capital has stopped moving; the velocity of money has slowed to a crawl. It’s true, things are getting worse slower, but the signs of ‘recovery’ are as faint and irregular as a dying man’s breath.”

A path to fiscal sanity: "Estimates from the Social Security and Medicare trustees and the Congressional Budget Office, academic studies, and other reports suggest that the total federal fiscal imbalance amounts to 8 percent of future U.S. productive capacity. Since only about one-half of the nation’s total income is subject to taxes, Americans would have to immediately and permanently devote another 16 percent of their taxable incomes toward resolving it. Is this a feasible solution? Probably not. It’s unlikely that Americans are willing to bear the additional tax burden. Also, tax increases tend not to increase government savings; Congress quickly dissipated post–Cold War budget savings through tax cuts and rapid growth in government spending. And higher taxes would significantly erode individuals’ incentives to work and save, start and expand businesses, hire workers, and so on. If tax increases aren’t the answer, reduced government spending has to be.”

What’s $2 trillion among friends?: "$2,000,000,000,000. That’s the amount by which the Obama administration raised its ten-year estimate of the nation’s budget deficit from the one it made only a few months ago. Now, $2 trillion is a lot of money. But even more significant is the fact that this revision represents almost a 30 percent increase — no tiny percentage of the earlier $7 trillion figure. It seems that expenses are higher — up 24 percent this year, the largest increase since the height of the Korean War — than originally estimated, and revenues are lower. The resulting deficit, says Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, is ‘higher than desirable.’ He might have added that the administration’s critics had it right when they claimed that the earlier estimate represented a turn around the dance floor with that old seductress, Rosy Scenario.”

Student loan fix will prove costly: "America is teetering on the edge of an $11.6-trillion abyss called the ‘national debt,’ a financial chasm that threatens to swallow our economic future whole. And what are our leaders doing about it? If a bill working its way through Congress is any indication, they’re insisting that they’re pulling us away from doom, while they quietly expand the monstrous hole. The bill is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), the focal point of which is elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan program — which uses federal bucks to back student loans from private lenders — and replacement with lending straight from Uncle Sam. But that’s hardly all it would do.”

WA: Domestic partnership referendum makes ballot: "A referendum that could overturn Washington state’s ‘everything but marriage’ domestic partnership law has qualified for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office said Monday that sponsors of Referendum 71 had 121,486 valid petition signatures — enough to put the newly expanded domestic partnership law to a public vote. A secondary check of rejected signatures was not complete, so the number could increase. The new law was supposed to take effect July 26 but was delayed until the signature count was complete. Now, it won’t take effect unless it is approved in the Nov. 3 election. The measure would expand existing domestic partnerships to give gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided benefits that married heterosexual couples have.”

Britain: New “booze Asbos” come under fire: “New powers to impose Drinking Banning Orders — dubbed ‘booze Asbos’ — on people who behave anti-socially while drunk have come under fire. From Monday, police and councils in England and Wales can seek such an order on anyone aged 16 and over. Offenders must stay away from pubs, bars, off-licences and named areas for up to two years or face a £2,500 fine. However, the Magistrates Association said trying to ban people from all licensed premises was ‘nonsense.’”

Germany: Hoarding "energy-guzzling" bulbs ahead of EU ban: “Germans, who sometimes see themselves as guardians of the environment, are hoarding energy-guzzling incandescent light bulbs ahead of a looming European Union-wide ban, the GfK market research agency said. The Nuremberg-based GfK reported sales of incandescent bulbs had soared about 35 percent in the first half of the year ahead of a ban that starts Tuesday — even though it was proposed by German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel in 2007. Some German retailers said they have seen sales of 100-watt incandescent bulbs soar 600 percent since the end of July.”


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, September 01, 2009

America once had two constructive political parties

HIS NAME WAS KENNEDY. He was the pre-eminent figure in the Democratic Party. And he was a resolute supply-side tax-cutter. "It is a paradoxical truth," he once told the Economic Club of New York, "that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." What he had in mind, he said, was not "a 'quickie' or a temporary tax cut." He wanted nothing less than "an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes."

Would he be a Democrat today? Those were not the words of Senator Edward Kennedy. The speaker – in December 1962 -- was President John F. Kennedy, and his ringing call for tax cuts was no anomaly. In a televised address from the Oval Office four months earlier, JFK had called high tax rates a danger to "the very essence of the progress of a free society: the incentive of additional return for additional effort." In his 1963 State of the Union message, he said his first priority was "the enactment this year of a substantial reduction and revision in federal income taxes." In the speech he was scheduled to deliver to the Texas Democratic State Committee on Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy planned to report proudly: "We have proposed a massive tax reduction, with particular benefits for small business."

In recent days, Ted Kennedy has been justly acclaimed as a lion of the Democratic Party. But how different the party mourning Kennedy today is from the one that first nominated him in 1962!

The reversal on taxes is one vivid example. When Ted Kennedy entered the Senate in 1963, JFK was leading a campaign for sweeping tax relief that would eventually slash the top marginal rate by a huge 21 percentage points, from 91 to 70. But Democrats have long since become the party that resists lower taxes. In our era, it has been Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush who have championed JFK-style rate cuts -- cuts that Democrats now condemn as "tax breaks for the wealthy."

On civil rights, too, there has been a sea change.

Liberal Democrats in the 1960s upheld the colorblind ideal -- the conviction that Americans should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Far from supporting racial quotas and preferences, civil-rights Democrats of that generation flatly rejected them. Senator Hubert Humphrey famously vowed that if anyone could find anything in the 1964 Civil Rights Bill that would compel employers to hire on the basis of race or national origin, "I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there." In a 1963 press conference, President Kennedy explicitly opposed racial preferences: "We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color."

But in the years that followed, as such preferences became entrenched in hiring and education, liberal Democrats became their doughtiest supporters. Senator Kennedy was "a leader in congressional efforts to preserve federal affirmative action," his Senate website notes. When the Supreme Court ruled against the racial classification of schoolchildren in a 2007 case -- "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," the court frankly advised -- Kennedy blasted the decision as one that "turns back the clock on equality."

Especially dramatic has been the Democratic Party's metamorphosis on foreign affairs.

"There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future: Let them come to Berlin," declared President Kennedy, a staunch Cold Warrior, in his great Berlin Wall speech in 1963. "There are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists: Let them come to Berlin." But by 1987, when another American president journeyed to Berlin to challenge Moscow to "tear down this wall," such muscular anti-Communism had all but vanished from Democratic Party thinking.

JFK likewise spoke for mainstream Democrats when he asserted that America would "pay any price, bear any burden" to spread freedom and democracy in the world. He was a hawk who pressed for higher defense spending and American military superiority. The Democratic Party of more recent years -- the party of "come home, America" and a nuclear freeze -- was one he wouldn't have recognized.

All political parties alter over time, of course. Today's Republican Party is not a carbon-copy of Eisenhower's: It is more internationalist, more religious, more Southern. But a resurrected Eisenhower would still recognize the GOP, and still command its esteem.

The Democrats' transformation has been much more profound. Over the course of Ted Kennedy's long Senate career, his party's ideological center shifted hard to the left. It goes without saying that a JFK today could never be the Democrats' candidate for president. The question is, would he still be a Democrat?


And why have the Democrats drifted so far Left? Because they no longer need the support of mainstream Americans. They are now the party of the minorities and the haters -- and with their unwavering support for illegal immigration, they hope to entrench that -- JR]


His monument stands all around us


The most revealing moment in Edward "Ted" Kennedy's political life came Nov. 4, 1979, just three days before he would officially launch his challenge to a sitting president of his own party, Jimmy Carter. In a televised interview, CBS News correspondent Roger Mudd asked the already stout Massachusetts senator a "giveaway" question, a question about as tough as a quiz show host trying to help break the ice with a nervous contestant by asking, "What color is grass?" Roger Mudd asked: "Why do you want to be president?"

Ted Kennedy, 47, was about to challenge an incumbent president of his own party, with whom his ideological differences were minimal. Why not wait just four years more? Dividing one's own party in such a way must always weaken the party, creating an opening for the other party's challenger in the general election (Ronald Reagan, in this case) no matter who wins the primary.

Any mature politician considering such a move -- any thoughtful man who had seen two elder brothers assassinated for their trouble in seeking that office -- would have asked himself, not once or twice, but a hundred times, "Do I really want to do this? Is seeking the White House -- heck, even winning the White House -- the best thing for my family, my country, my party, for me? What can I accomplish that Jimmy Carter cannot, and how important is it?"

Instead, Ted Kennedy was caught flat-footed when Mudd asked him why he wanted to be president. This was not merely a "bad moment." His rambling, directionless answer -- vague bromides about the European nations doing better on energy policy and on fighting inflation -- made it clear he was merely being swept along by those who wanted to benefit from installing him in the seat of power. He was running because it was "his turn" ... or something.

The little boy who had always been overshadowed by his big brothers; the spoiled brat who was kicked out of Harvard for paying someone else to take his Spanish exam for him; the confused, panicked drunk who returned to the party and left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in his car as it sank into the waters off Chappaquiddick Island (unless we choose to give the event a more ominous interpretation -- Gene Frieh, the undertaker, told reporters death "was due to suffocation rather than drowning"; John Farrar, the diver who removed Kopechne from the car, claimed she was "too buoyant to be full of water"; there was never an autopsy) was finally on his own, asked a question that any thoughtful man would have been rehearsing in his own mind for months.

And the second-term senator was revealed to have the quality of intellect we'd expect from some babbling beauty contestant, a creature whose life and purpose and ambition were, to be as kind as possible, unexamined.

Oh, some will moan, you're just concentrating on the bad parts. The man's body is barely cold, for heaven's sake. Can't you talk about his achievements, all the good he did?

Read the paeans from the left, praising him as a "lion of the Senate." They speak of his endless concern for the "underprivileged," though they're woefully short on specifics.

The socialists and redistributionists always seek forgiveness for their errors and excesses -- the policies that have driven this country to the brink of bankruptcy and hyperinflation -- in terms of what they meant to accomplish for "the poor and the downtrodden." But who suffers worst in the hard times their policies have brought about? The hardworking poor, who find their jobs gone, their mortgages upside down, the once-proud currency in which their savings and investments are denominated increasingly worthless.

The welfare classes will do all right -- for a while. But what favor have the condescending handouts of the Ted Kennedys of Washington done them, by locking them into multiple generations of fatherless, spiritless, smoldering angry dependence, while gradually sapping and enervating the larger, entrepreneurial, once-vibrant free market economy that could have offered them real opportunity?



Another Democrat crook

Rep. Charles Rangel failed to report as much as $1.3 million in outside income -- including up to $1 million for a Harlem building sale -- on financial-disclosure forms he filed between 2002 and 2006, according to newly amended records. The documents also show the embattled chairman of the Ways and Means Committee -- who is being probed by the House Ethics Committee -- failed to reveal a staggering $3 million in various business transactions over the same period.

This week, Rangel filed drastically revised financial-disclosure forms reflecting new, higher amounts of outside income and numerous additional business deals that had not been reported when the reports were originally filed. In 2004, for instance, Rangel reported earning between $4,000 and $10,000 in outside earnings on top of his $158,100 congressional salary. But the amended filings show that after the sale of a property on West 132nd Street, his outside income that year was somewhere between $118,000 and $1.04 million. The forms filed by House members provide for a range of value on such transactions, so the precise number isn't publicly known. Rangel also lowballed his income by as much as $70,000 in 2002, $46,000 in 2003 and $117,000 in 2006, records show. Only in 2005 did Rangel reveal his total outside income.

Members of Congress are required to disclose all their assets and outside income in an effort to expose possible undue influences. Rangel's office insists the Harlem Democrat did not conceal any outside income from the IRS and is paid up on his taxes.

The Post revealed yesterday that Rangel is in arrears on New Jersey property taxes -- for property that for more than 15 years he failed to disclose to Congress and the public. Another area of wide discrepancy in his financial-disclosure forms is where he's required to list financial transactions. Every year between 2002 and 2007, Rangel failed to include all his deals for the year, according to records. On his 2002 and 2003 financial-disclosure statements, Rangel did not include any transactions whatsoever, according to papers on file with the House clerk. But the amended records filed this month show as much as $310,000 in business deals in 2002 and up to $80,000 in transactions in 2003.

In 2004, Rangel left off his disclosure form as much as $430,000 in stock transactions, amended records show. One of those deals he did include as a transaction on his original disclosure was the sale of the brownstone on West 132nd Street. But in the same report, Rangel failed to include proceeds from that sale as outside income. That has been revised in the amended report. Despite the reported sale, city records still show Rangel is the owner of that property. His nephew, Ralph, who appears to live in the building, wouldn't answer questions yesterday. Rangel's office declined numerous requests yesterday for explanation.

The problems with Rangel's 2004 disclosure report were so glaring that apparently they caught someone's attention, forcing Rangel to write a letter correcting his failure to fully disclose transactions that year. "I listed only the real-estate transactions in which we were involved in calendar year 2004 on the transactions schedule because I was not aware of such details as the date and magnitude of the transactions involving our securities holding in the Merrill Lynch account," he wrote in a May 2006 letter to House Clerk Karen Haas.




House will pass “audit the Fed” bill: "Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the most unabashed liberals in the U.S. House of Representatives, told a Massachusetts town hall recently that Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve will clear his chamber by October. Over half of the House members, most of them Republican, have signed on to the bill, H.R. 1207. Though Frank disagrees — as many proponents of the bill contend — that the Fed is the cause of the U.S. dollar’s shrinking value, he told a Massachusetts audience that he’s been a proponent of greater transparency at the nation’s central bank for some time.” [Anything to distract attention from the role of Congress itself]

Taiwan: Dalai Lama visits, Chicoms throw usual tantrum: “The Dalai Lama has arrived in Taiwan on a visit that has been denounced by China as being likely to destabalise improving ties with Taipei. The Tibetan Buddhist leader landed at Taoyuan International Airport on Monday for what he called a ‘purely humanitarian’ trip aimed at comforting victims of Typhoon Morakot. He has been exiled from Tibet for more than half a century following China’s invasion of the then-state and labelled a separatist by Beijing, for promoting initially independence and now autonomy for the region.”

NV: LVRJ “bullied” by Reid?: “The publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV], of ‘bullying’ his newspaper by telling an employee he wants the [paper] shut down. Sherman Frederick alleged in a column in his newspaper that the ‘full-on threat’ was made during a brief exchange between Reid and the newspaper’s advertising director Wednesday at a luncheon for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Frederick said that as Reid shook the employee’s hand, he said, ‘I hope you go out of business.’ … It’s unclear whether Reid’s comment was meant in jest.”

TN: Nashville parks enforce bicycle speed limit: “A clash between ‘Tour de France wannabes’ and ‘iPod-deaf roadblocks’ has park police warning cyclists to slow down and walkers to stay in the slow lane on Nashville’s greenways. Park police trained radar guns on cyclists on three greenways Saturday. They weren’t there to write speeding tickets, says Capt. Rich Foley, park police commander. The aim is to teach riders about the new 15 mph speed limit on the walk/bike paths and encourage riders and walkers to share the space. Conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians are a big issue and seem to be on the rise, Foley said.” [People have been killed by speeding cyclists]

Diversity Czar: End run around the Fairness Doctrine?: “The premise for ending the stranglehold on the talk radio genre by conservatives is that too much conservative talk and not enough liberal talk is bad for American democracy because it’s anti-diversity. Yet it’s diversity that gave rise to conservative talk radio in the first place. In a free society with free people freely tuning their freely purchased radios to freely sponsored programs and freely listening to whom they damn well pleased, free people voted with their ears to listen to conservative yak rather than liberal lip. But of course when progressives talk about diversity they don’t mean individual diversity, they mean politically correct ideologically-defined government-imposed ‘group diversity.’ They mean a diversity of people who believe exactly as they believe.”

Free the mails: “Yet another giant company has plunging sales, soaring debt, and is weighed down by massive labor costs. Will taxpayers have to pay for another federal bailout? Alas, it’s already in the cards because this company is the U.S. Postal Service, which has estimated losses of $7 billion this year. With email grabbing ever more market share from snail mail, USPS’s finances are steadily deteriorating. What should federal policymakers do? They can’t give USPS the General Motors treatment and nationalize it, because it’s already government-owned. And they can’t reform postal markets with a ‘public option’ because that’s what the USPS already is. Instead, Congress and President Obama should deregulate postal markets and privatize the USPS.”

Caving to trial lawyers: "We’ve always suspected that fear of angering trial lawyers was the only reason President Obama refused to embrace tort reform as a crucial part of achieving his goal of reduced health care costs. Now we know for sure. A moment of candor by Howard Dean, the former chairman of the DNC and an enthusiastic backer of Obama’s health reform initiative, confirmed our suspicions. ‘The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else they were taking on,’ Dean said at a town hall meeting in Virginia last week. So much for Obama’s insistence that cutting costs is dear to his heart. He’s rejected, for purely political reasons, one of the most effective tools for containing medical costs. It would upset a special interest group — well-heeled plaintiff’s lawyers — that is one of the biggest funders of the Democratic party.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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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)