Saturday, October 10, 2009

ACORN Thugs Throw Out Republican Registrations

ACORN activists are famous for using your tax dollar to register characters like Mickey Mouse. But what would happen if they did something really weird — like register Republicans? As reported by Pam Geller, Black Republican Fathiyyah Muhammad of Jacksonville discovered the answer when she signed up to register voters for ACORN at $3/head.

In stark contrast to typical ACORN operatives, Muhammad is an entrepreneur who grasps the concept of economic liberty. As she puts it: "America is the place you can live your dreams if you work at it."

When potential voters didn't have a preference, she signed them up as Republicans. An apparatchik back at the ACORN office was not pleased. "I showed what I had, and he said, "No, no, you a fraud, there can't be any black Republicans,' and oh, he just kind of hung me out to dry.… But of course their main aim was to register only Democrats. They're not interested in registering Republicans."

As for the Republican registrations she collected… "They just discarded those, they weren't valid. All of the registrations… they just threw those out."

To top it off, ACORN stiffed her for the $3 per registration she'd been promised. "Everyone else got paid, all the other people got paid, but I didn't. And I didn't make a big deal about it, I just figured that it was another one of life's experiences."

Let's hope the whole country learns from its recent experiences with ACORN — and with the community activist it helped place in the White House.



Problem Bigger Than Just ACORN

ACORN's scandals hit a nerve with conservatives. It's likely no one in the media would understand why even if they were to try. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, however, gets right what so many people have missed, which is that the real problem with ACORN is that it's not just ACORN.

She is quoted in The Hill saying there needs to be "a ‘strong investigation' into a variety of nonprofits in the wake of political corruption allegations at ACORN," and that, "a broader investigation of other nonprofit organizations is needed because they could be using federal funds to influence the outcome of elections, like ACORN did." "No political party should be funded through a quote ‘nonprofit,'" Mrs. Bachman added.

For years conservatives have been warning that taxpayer money going to nonprofits is being used to benefit the Democratic Party. Nonprofits that are, or as they become, dependent on taxpayer money, are invariably supporters of Big Government. There are thousands of nonprofits getting taxpayer money that not only couldn't care less if a conservative ever held office, but that support Democratic policies and politicians, and are actively working to defeat conservative principles.

The Republican Party has been a big enabler of Democrats' using taxpayer money to turn cities, counties and even states bluer. It's nice to see that someone in Congress understands the bigger picture and the more troubling aspects of how too many nonprofits use taxpayer money for partisan purposes.

This is not just one nonprofit breaking the law; it's downright theft from taxpayers for political purposes, and it's Democratic political corruption that stinks to high heaven.



Obama's anti-American blacks supporting one-another

Sometimes it's tough to tell who plays for America and who plays for ... well, the other guys. Take Mark Lloyd [above] -- the Federal Communications Commission "diversity czar" who has expressed starstruck support for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and yet utter contempt for the U.S. First Amendment. Amazingly, Lloyd received a ringing endorsement this week from recently-appointed FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Take a look at Clyburn sticking up for Lloyd in this exclusive interview granted to Ashley Hester of FITS News ...

As you can see in the video above, Clyburn was asked point blank if Lloyd's support of the Chavez regime and his efforts to regulate media content here in America were “in keeping with the mission of the FCC or any other U.S. government agency for that matter.”

“I will say to you that I did not read whatever his alleged statement is,” Clyburn said in a somewhat rambling response, later hinting that Lloyd may have said some things “that might have been misinterpreted.” “I know him to be a true American,” Clyburn said later in the interview. “I know him to be a lover of this country. I know him to be a committed employee. That’s the Mark Lloyd I know.”

Clearly, Clyburn doesn’t know Lloyd very well at all. While Lloyd’s love of America is dubious at best, his love of the Chavez regime in Venezuela is boundless.

“In Venezuela, with Chavez, (it) is really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution – to begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela,” Lloyd said at a 2008 media conference. “The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled – worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government – worked to oust (Chavez). But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.”

Indeed he did begin to “take very seriously” the media, actually shutting down a network that disagreed with him. Of course that was just one component of what Lloyd calls a “democratic” revolution that also saw the government seize private property and nationalize Venezuelan industry.

But it’s not just Lloyd’s support of Chavez that’s so disturbing – it is his radical views on the Fourth Estate here in America. “My focus here is not freedom of speech or the press,” Lloyd writes in his 2006 book, Prologue to a Farce. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

Uh, no. Freedom of speech and of the press is the only communications policy that matters. Or at least that’s the way it should be. Not to Lloyd, though. “[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance,” Lloyd writes later in his book.

Huh? Say what? The last time we checked, the purpose of free speech was to protect the democratic process from people who would seek to undermine it … people like Lloyd, quite frankly.

It gets worse, though. According to Lloyd, the best way to deal with media outlets that don’t subscribe to the government’s views is to threaten them, harass them, sue them and … if necessary … take away their licenses. He also supports forcing commercial owners who don’t tow the government line to pay fines and fee to support government broadcasting, basically replacing “dissenting” voices with government-sanctioned content.

Amazing, isn’t it? And this guy works for the American government … your government … in a position that was created especially for him by the administration of President Barack Obama. But according to Mignon Clyburn, whose job it is to regulate the marketplace of ideas in this country, we shouldn’t worry because Lloyd is a “true American” who “loves his country.” If that’s true, people, then this country is in serious, serious trouble …



Obama Administration Defiantly Defends Another Radical Appointee

I continue to be amazed at the naivete of people who keep giving President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt concerning his radical appointments, saying his administration isn't doing its job in vetting the appointees. When will they wake up to the reality that Obama is deliberately picking people, such as Kevin Jennings, who share his radical values?

When prescient commentators were warning of Obama's radical friends and colleagues, such as Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, during the campaign, his apologists diverted proper scrutiny, saying it's absurd to judge Obama by association. Even flawed cliches can work wonders when you have the entire mainstream media flacking for you.

Then when the radicalism of "green czar" Van Jones came to light, the left's reflexive reaction was that Jones was being victimized by an extremist element on the right and that the Internet itself had now been exposed as "an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information." It was only when Jones' own extremism became too obvious to deny that the left shifted its line of defense to: Obama's team let him down by failing to vet Jones.

As I wrote at the time, "It's not Obama who didn't vet Jones, but the MSM who have never vetted Obama. Had they vetted Obama, they would have realized that he is Van Jones." It seems that if you wait long enough, the Obama administration will get around to vindicating its legitimate critics, such as those of us who warned that Obama was insincere when he pretended that the public option was not an indispensable component of his health care scheme. (We hear that he's recently conducted a series of secret meetings with members of Congress, trying to cobble together a majority on a bill that includes the public option.)

Indeed, with his appointment of Kevin Jennings to head the Education Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Obama has vindicated those of us who said that the Jones selection wasn't a failure of vetting, but about Obama's appointing a like-minded radical.

Now that Jennings' radical homosexual activism has been exposed, the Obama administration hasn't said: "Oh, sorry, another one slipped through our relatively new vetting process. The president will fire him, and we'll pick someone who reflects the president's values."

The Washington Examiner's Byron York reports that Jennings seems to have the full backing of the White House. Press secretary Robert Gibbs defiantly referred Jennings' critics to the statement of Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- no centrist himself, by the way -- who stated: "Kevin Jennings has dedicated his professional career to promoting school safety. He is uniquely qualified for his job and I'm honored to have him on our team."

Well, America, are you honored to have yet another far leftist on your team and in a position to influence the education of your children, no less? Kevin Jennings' focus hasn't been safe and drug-free schools, but gay activism, which is why Rep. Steve King of Iowa has called on President Obama to fire him. According to York, King insists that Jennings has no experience in anti-drug work and that his background has not been school safety, but promoting homosexuality in public schools, including at the elementary level.

Jennings not only ran the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network but also founded it, in 1990. Sure, GLSEN purports to be primarily interested in preventing discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians in schools. But promoting homosexuality and demonizing those who don't embrace its values more fairly describes its mission. Karen Holgate of the Capitol Resource Institute put her finger on the MO of such groups when she said: "This whole movement is not about tolerance. It's about redirecting the hate towards anyone who does not agree that homosexuality is a normal, positive and healthy lifestyle."

In 2000, GLSEN, along with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, co-hosted a "Teach Out" at Tufts University, in Boston, where organizers instructed public-school teachers how to incorporate positive messages about homosexuality into their curricula. At this conference, GLSEN also led a youth workshop, "What They Didn't Tell You about Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class," which was advertised to "youth only, ages 14 to 21."

During the session, one instructor explained the process of "fisting" to the students. Fisting is the consensual insertion by one person of his hand and arm into another person's anal cavity. How is this instruction helpful in preventing bullying?

I'm not sure how the Obama administration will attempt to explain away Kevin Jennings' sordid associations, any more than it can rationalize his admitted failure, as a high-school teacher, to notify the parents of a 15-year-old boy who told him he had had relations with an older man, instead telling the boy, "I hope you used a condom." How much longer can Obama partisans deny who Obama really is?




Obama joins Yassir Arafat: "President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation. The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president." [A great victory for hot air]

Officials: ACORN won't get grant: "Obama administration officials said Wednesday there is no chance that ACORN will get a Homeland Security grant it was awarded last month because of a provision in a bill signed into law last week prohibiting any federal funding to the controversial group. Several members of Congress said they were pleased that ACORN will not get the money, which would have come from funding typically earmarked for fire departments across the country, but they questioned why it had been awarded to ACORN in the first place. At least one also still wants official assurance of a permanent withdrawal of the $997,402 fire safety grant. "We are perplexed as to how this organization would even be considered for a first-responder grant," said a letter sent Wednesday to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano by Rep. Darrell Issa of California, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee."

Hate crime laws may extend to homosexuals: "Congress is poised to expand federal hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation, attaching it to a defense bill that could still run into trouble because it tests President Obama's will to cut spending. The House on Thursday voted 281-146 to pass the 2010 defense bill, which lays out Pentagon priorities for the next year and sets the rules for thorny issues such as treatment of suspected terrorists. The Senate still needs to act, though passage is expected. "It's a very exciting day for us," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called expanding hate-crimes laws to include sexual orientation a long-standing goal of hers. But Republican leaders said the bill criminalized "thought crimes" and complained bitterly that Democrats forced the provision through as part of the defense bill."

Why the US will survive this recession: "Over the course of two months, New York State alone lost more than $100 million. Of 850 banks in America, 343 closed. The unemployment rate for blue-collar jobs skyrocketed to 30 percent. Most agree that this incredible collapse was due in large part to banks and a system that encouraged wild speculation and extended credit beyond what could be supported. Sound familiar? This is not a description of what happened last year. Rather, it occurred during the abject and catastrophic ‘Panic of 1837.’ (New York’s losses then would be about $1.9 billion in today’s dollars.) While there is much to learn from the collapse itself, the recovery process through 1844 offers important lessons to America in 2009.”

The cost of corporate communism: "Lack of choice, lazy, unresponsive customer service, a culture of exploitation and a small powerbase formed by cronyism and nepotism are the hallmarks of a communist system that steals from its citizenry, and a major reason why America spent half a century fighting a Cold War with the U.S.S.R. And yet today we find ourselves as a country in two distinctly different categories: those who are forced to compete tooth and nail each day to provide value to society in return for income for ourselves and our families and those who would instead use our lawmaking apparatus to help themselves to our tax money and/or to protect themselves from true competition. If you allow weak, outdated players to take control of the government and change the rules so they are protected from the natural competition and reward systems that have created so many innovations in our country, you not only steal from the citizens on behalf of the least worthy but you also doom them by trapping the capital that would be used to generate new innovation and, most tangibly in our current situation, jobs.”


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, October 09, 2009

Elites and Tyrants

by Walter E. Williams

Rep. Diane Watson said, in praising Cuba's health care system, "You can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met." W.E.B. Dubois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. ... But also -- and this was the highest proof of his greatness -- he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman . . . a quiet, unobtrusive man." George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin.

John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. Gunther Stein of the Christian Science Monitor admired Mao Tsetung and declared ecstatically that "the men and women pioneers of Yenan are truly new humans in spirit, thought and action," and that Yenan itself constituted "a brand new well integrated society, that has never been seen before anywhere." Michel Oksenberg, President Carter's China expert, complained that "America (is) doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.

Even Harvard's late Professor John K. Fairbank, by no means the worst tyrant worshipper, believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, "Americans may find in China's collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one's neighbor that has a lesson for us all." Keep in mind that estimates of the number of Chinese deaths during China's Cultural Revolution range from 2 to 7 million people. Mao Tsetung was admired by many academics and leftists across our country. Just think back to the campus demonstrations of the '60s and '70s when campus radicals, often accompanied by their professors, marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving Mao's little red book, "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung." Forty years later some of these campus radicals are tenured professors and administrators at today's universities and colleges, as well as schoolteachers and principals indoctrinating our youth.

The most authoritative tally of history's most murderous regimes is in a book by University of Hawaii's Professor Rudolph J. Rummel, "Death by Government." Statistics are provided at his website. The Nazis murdered 20 million of their own people and those in nations they captured. Between 1917 and 1987, Stalin and his successors murdered, or were otherwise responsible for the deaths of, 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, Mao Tsetung and his successors were responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese.

Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from Nazism. However, there's little or no distinction between Nazism and socialism. Even the word Nazi is short for National Socialist German Workers Party. The origins of the unspeakable horrors of Nazism, Stalinism and Maoism did not begin in the '20s, '30s and '40s. Those horrors were simply the end result of long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for "social justice." It was decent but misguided earlier generations of Germans, like many of today's Americans, who would have cringed at the thought of genocide, who built the Trojan horse for Hitler to take over.

Few Americans have the stomach or ruthlessness to do what is necessary to make their governmental wishes come true. They are willing to abandon constitutional principles and rule of law so that the nation's elite, who believe they are morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, can have the tools to implement "social justice." Those tools are massive centralized government power. It just turns out last century's notables in acquiring powerful central government, in the name of social justice, were Hitler, Stalin, Mao, but the struggle for social justice isn't over yet, and other suitors of this dubious distinction are waiting in the wings.



The Consolidators: A Western by Mark Lloyd

There can be little doubt about who wears the black hats in the new, myopically focused, socialistically inspired drama of the Old West by, and starring, FCC Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd.

The villains in Lloyd’s saga are the commercial owners of radio stations, like Clear Channel Communications, who typically have “stations in multiple markets or more than three stations in a single market.” Portrayed by him as being analogous to the cattle barons of the Old West, who greedily come into town and gobble up scarce resources and leave the local population in the lurch, these corporate station owners are represented as doing the same with the limited broadcast resources throughout the land.

And it just so happens, Lloyd’s research tells him, that the stations in the possession of these group owners “were statistically more likely to air conservative talk.” Furthermore, he claims that, in markets where there is “a clear demand and proven success of progressive talk” these dastardly bullies “still elect to stack the airwaves with one-sided broadcasting.” In short, the game plan of these feckless capitalists is to go broke. These are just some of the inane conclusions reached in Mr. Lloyd’s much discussed article, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.”

Elsewhere, Lloyd claims to take the side of his much maligned townsfolk in a piece called “Local Media Diversity Matters.” Ostensibly defending their “Constitutional rights of free speech” he claims, “Americans’ ability to learn about and debate local, state and national issues and to monitor our representatives depends upon our exposure to news and discussion that is not controlled by a small group of mostly like-minded corporations.”

Leaving aside that he somehow forgot to add the obligatory word “evil” before “corporations,” it seemingly never occurs to him that this “small group” may, in fact, express the free-market friendly views of the many ordinary Americans who choose to listen to their radio programming. He seems to ascribe to the Marxist illusion that views supportive of free-markets can’t be the real beliefs of ordinary people.

Meanwhile, back in town, some of the citizens, meeting at the local courthouse, are calling on Marshall Lloyd to save the day by making the FCC reinstitute the “Fairness Doctrine.” Lloyd declines, explaining that he does not believe that repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987 caused conservative radio to dominate the airwaves. So, simply reinstating it will not fix the “problem.”

What he thinks really caused the consolidation of ownership in radio stations, and the explosion in numbers of conservative talk radio stations nationwide, was an action by the FCC in 2003 “that substantially relaxed a wide range of media ownership regulations,” in part by the creation of a new Diversity Index.

Now Lloyd intends to rectify the situation by applying a newly developed, anti-free-enterprise formula for measuring media diversity in local communities. He holds that it will, “measure media diversity according to democratic values, not market values” (Exactly which democratic values are diametrically opposed to market values he doesn’t make clear.)

And exactly what anti-democratic values will his diversity formula overcome? Well, in an article entitled “Forget the Fairness Doctrine” he observes that, even in its heyday in the 1960s, it did not address the fact that the mainstream media was “middle-class, anti-communist, Protestant, male and white.”

His earlier research tells him, that “stations owned by women, minorities, or local owners are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows.” So, he wishes to use the power of government, as embodied in his new diversity formula as a tool for wresting the licenses, and station ownership, of groups now supporting conservative talk radio so that he may redistribute them to those he considers worthy of his largesse. What a fine example of the Marxist principle of the redistribution of wealth from someone who praised Chavez’ Communist takeover of Venezuela as an “incredible revolution” and who has voiced the view that Chavez had it right when he shrewdly took over 200 stations owned by land-owners who represented his political opposition. Mark Lloyd has, it seems, learned well from his de facto mentor.

And does anyone with one iota of common sense really think that Lloyd’s planned move to squelch the Left’s conservative talk radio opposition, no matter what its ostensible justification, is anything other than the same sort of stark political power grab that Chavez master-minded in Venezuela---under the guise, of course, of helping the people?

Conservative talk radio virtually saved the entire medium of AM radio from oblivion in the 1980s. If anything, its proponents are heroes for doing so. And I don’t therefore have a very good review to write of Lloyd’s western portraying them as the villains. I also don’t view him as wearing a white hat either. It is extremely alarming that someone whose core views are so obviously antagonistic to free-market capitalism has been given such a place of prominence in the increasingly bizarre Obama Administration.



Black "News Analyst" Labels Police as Racist Terrorists

Marc Lamont Hill, the far-left hip-hop professor and paid Fox News Channel analyst, has a record in support of cop-killers. And now we have learned that he went on "The O'Reilly Factor" to defend black militants who held a March vigil in honor of Lovelle Mixon, a suspected rapist with a lengthy criminal record, who murdered four Oakland police officers. Hill said on Fox News that the activists, many of them from a communist organization, were protesting "police terrorism."

Recall that Hill claims that cop-killer Assata Shakur, who fled to Communist Cuba after escaping from prison, is innocent. Hill has also declared his support for Mumia Abu-Jamal, another convicted cop-killer, who is on death row. Hill called him a "freedom fighter" and "political prisoner" devoted to "black liberation" and announced that the convicted killer would be contributing to Hill's website as a weekly contributor. "Welcome Brother Mumia!!!!" Hill said.

The defense of the protesters in the Mixon case adds to the growing concern about this Fox News contributor, who is paid handsomely by the channel to appear on various Fox News Channel shows and is supposed to provide the appearance of fairness and balance. But is cop-killing a matter that requires two sides of the issue?



Clunkers in Practice

One of Washington's all-time dumb ideas

Remember "cash for clunkers," the program that subsidized Americans to the tune of nearly $3 billion to buy a new car and destroy an old one? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared in August that, "This is the one stimulus program that seems to be working better than just about any other program."

If that's true, heaven help the other programs. Last week U.S. automakers reported that new car sales for September, the first month since the clunker program expired, sank by 25% from a year earlier. Sales at GM and Chrysler fell by 45% and 42%, respectively. Ford was down about 5%. Some 700,000 cars were sold in the summer under the program as buyers received up to $4,500 to buy a new car they would probably have purchased anyway, so all the program seems to have done is steal those sales from the future. Exactly as critics predicted.

Cash for clunkers had two objectives: help the environment by increasing fuel efficiency, and boost car sales to help Detroit and the economy. It achieved neither. According to Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer, at best "the reduction in gasoline consumption will cut our oil consumption by 0.2 percent per year, or less than a single day's gasoline use." Burton Abrams and George Parsons of the University of Delaware added up the total benefits from reduced gas consumption, environmental improvements and the benefit to car buyers and companies, minus the overall cost of cash for clunkers, and found a net cost of roughly $2,000 per vehicle. Rather than stimulating the economy, the program made the nation as a whole $1.4 billion poorer.

The basic fallacy of cash for clunkers is that you can somehow create wealth by destroying existing assets that are still productive, in this case cars that still work. Under the program, auto dealers were required to destroy the car engines of trade-ins with a sodium silicate solution, then smash them and send them to the junk yard. As the journalist Henry Hazlitt wrote in his classic, "Economics in One Lesson," you can't raise living standards by breaking windows so some people can get jobs repairing them.

In the category of all-time dumb ideas, cash for clunkers rivals the New Deal brainstorm to slaughter pigs to raise pork prices. The people who really belong in the junk yard are the wizards in Washington who peddled this economic malarkey.




MI: Detroiters turn out for “free government money”: "Thousands hoping to get applications for federal help on rent and utility bills turned Cobo Center into a chaotic scene today. They came by foot, wheelchair, bicycle and car. About six left by ambulance after tensions rose and people were trampled, according to a paramedic on the scene. One unfortunate soul got his car booted. Detroiters were trying to pick up 5,000 federal assistance applications from the city at Cobo because Detroit received nearly $15.2 million in federal dollars under the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which is for temporary financial assistance and housing services to individuals and families who are homeless, or who would be homeless without this help. … Outside Cobo on Wednesday, some people reportedly were going through the crowd, snatching the necessary applications from those who’d already obtained them. There also was a constant din of screams from people insisting they be let inside.”

Support Is Building for a Tax Credit to Help Hiring: "The idea of a tax credit for companies that create new jobs, something the federal government has not tried since the 1970s, is gaining support among economists and Washington officials grappling with the highest unemployment in a generation. The proposal has some bipartisan appeal among politicians eager both to help their unemployed constituents and to encourage small-business development. Legislators on Capitol Hill and President Obama’s economic team have been quietly researching the policy for several weeks. “There is a lot of traction for this kind of idea,” said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican whip. “If the White House will take the lead on this, I’m fairly positive it would be welcomed in a bipartisan fashion.” [This is what should have been done with the "stimulus" money]

Mobs, violent criminals turn to Medicare fraud: "Lured by easier money and shorter prison sentences, Mafia figures and other violent criminals increasingly are moving into Medicare fraud and spilling blood over what was once a white-collar crime. Around the nation, federal investigators have been threatened, an informant’s body was found riddled with bullets, and a woman was discovered dead in a pharmacy under investigation, her throat slit with a piece of broken toilet seat. For criminals, Medicare schemes offer a greater payoff and carry much shorter prison sentences than offenses such as drug trafficking or robbery.”

Arguing with the left: Some recent examples: "One man argued with me that the State must take care of everyone. I was pretty much unable to say anything in response since he tended to shout me down the moment I started to speak. I would say: ‘If you aren’t going to let me say anything then the conversation is over.’ He would insist that he’d let me speak and then halfway through my first sentence start shouting again. He finally stormed off. Now and then he’d pass by me and couldn’t resist flinging an insult each time. The oddest one was he walked past and shouted to an oncoming individual, who had no part of the previous ‘discussion,’ that: ‘Libertarians are just people who refuse to grow up.’ Considering how strenuously he was arguing that the State must care for us, due to our own inabilities to take care of ourselves, I found the argument a bit odd.”

Obama kowtows to labor unions: "Last year as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama told the Building Trades National Legislative Conference that ‘we need to make sure the government uses project labor agreements to encourage completion of projects on time and on budget.’ He complained that project labor agreements had been banned by the Bush administration. PLAs require construction firms to follow union work rules and to hire their workers through a union hiring hall. Workers hired under PLAs have to pay union dues whether they belong to the union or not. Candidate Obama’s audience knew perfectly well that his speech had more to do with their wallets than with any high-minded concern for the public interest. The real purpose of PLAs is to discourage nonunion contractors from bidding on public projects. It’s a matter of the 16 percent of construction workers who belong to unions protecting their jobs and perks from the other 84 percent.”


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, October 08, 2009

Why are webhosts so ill-mannered?

The internet and books have opposite vices and virtues. Books are highly permanent (we have some copies from a couple of thousand years ago) but are not readily accessible. You generally have to take a trip to a library if you want to access one. The net on the other hand is instantly and very conveniently accessible but it is also evanescent. A file of writings or a picture on the net can disappear in an instant and maybe never be found again. And the vanishing act is often the fault of the webhost rather than anything that the writer or photographer concerned has done. Many newspaper sites, for instance, seem to have a policy of deleting their own articles after quite short periods of time.

But I like to keep all the files of my writings publicly available regardless of what any individual webhoster or bloghoster might do. So I try to address the big weakness of the net by following the systems theory axiom that redundancy is the path to systems reliability. In other words, I keep multiple copies of my files up -- so that if one copy disappears, there will be others to be found. As a result, I have had a lot of dealings with the various webhosts where I place copies of my files/writings. And it is truly amazing how many webhosts I have gone through over time. Whether "free" or paid, there are at least a dozen (maybe 20) locations where my files were once found which no longer host my files. Some webhosts have simply gone bust and disappeared altogether and others have decided that my files are "incorrect" in some way and have deleted or blocked them.

And I am not complaining about that. It is precisely because I expect such impermanence that I keep multiple copies of my files online. What I DO object to, however, is that NOT ONCE have the webhosts concerned had the manners to email me in advance and warn me or consult me about what is going to happen. It is always a case of "shoot first; ask questions later".

It is actually a rather common event for webhosts to be "down" for various periods -- sometimes for a week or more. One would think that on such occasions, they would email their users and say something like: "We are having problems. Don't go away. We expect to be back up in a couple of days". But that never happens. The site eventually comes back online with no explanation or apology. Even sites that boast that they talk to their users are the same. And some sites of course NEVER come back up and you are left to figure that situation out. Even if you email them to ask if the cessation of service is temporary or permanent, you never get a reply.

And the Blogspot subsidiary of Google (which hosts this blog) is as bad as any of them. You would think that a big company like Google would be conscious of PR but it is not so. They too act first and ask questions later. I have lost track of how many times my blog sites have been blocked by them -- and never after any advance warning. Usually, I can fill out a form, the form gets acted on, and the site is unblocked but NEVER have I received an explanation as to why the block was put on. And sometimes the block lasts for over a week: At which point I tend to move to another bloghost, which is part of the reason why I now have two blogs hosted on Wordpress and two on That comes at some cost as I lose my old page ranking, so if anyone reading this has a site of their own it would help if they put up a link to my new POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH site.

And sometimes filling out the Google/Blogspot form does you no good at all. The obstruction is permanent and repeated requests for review of the block are ignored -- again without explanation. No manners or anything else much there.

I have become VERY wary about such shenanigans over the years, however. I don't blame anybody for thinking that I have gone overboard but at the moment I have my files spread over ELEVEN different webhosts. None have all my files but between them all there are usually three copies of any file available. I realize that I must sound slightly mad but I think that if you had had my experiences with webhosts you might be nearly as bad or mad. The way I have it set up, if one host goes down, I have to reload only a subset of my files, not the whole lot. Even that can be pretty pesky, though. And I have various pages -- including this one -- which have sufficent links to lead you to ALL my files (writings), regardless of where they are hosted.

So what is the answer to the question I ask in the heading above? I can only see the answer as lying with the general lack of civility these days. Under the influence of the prevailing Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as right and wrong", people who can hide behind anonymity see no reason for civility. Maybe there is a Christian webhost somewhere who has higher standards than that but I have yet to find one.


McChrystal Slams DoD Bureaucracy

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan bitterly complained in an interview Sunday about the Pentagon bureaucracy that he said was hampering his efforts to fight insurgents. In a profile on CBS television's "60 minutes," Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he faced pressure to move quickly from Defense Secretary Robert Gates while the Pentagon had moved slowly to get officers assigned to his staff.

"The secretary talks in terms of 12 to 18 months to show a significant change and then we eat up two or three months just on sort of getting the tools out of the tool box," McChrystal said, according to a transcript of the show to air later Sunday. "That really hurts," said McChrystal, shown in a video conference with the Pentagon.

The four-star army general, who was appointed to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in June after the previous commander was sacked, demanded the Defense Department had to move with more urgency. "The average organization when someone asks when you want something, they pull out a calendar," he said. "But in a good organization, they look at their watch and we really got to get that way."

McChrystal said he was slightly surprised by the strength of the insurgency when he took over his post. "I think that in some areas that the breadth of violence, the geographic spread of violence -- places to the north and to the west -- are a little more than I would have gathered," he said.

He also repeated his warning that if the NATO-led mission was perceived as an occupier that posed a threat to civilians, the war would be lost. "If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can't be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically," he said. McChrystal said 265 civilians had been killed by U.S. or allied forces in the past 12 months.

In a quarterly report released Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 1,500 civilians had died between January and August, with August the deadliest month so far this year.

Military officials have credited McChrystal with reducing civilian casualties in recent months by ordering a change in tactics, including scaling back the use of air strikes and artillery fire, as well as requiring soldiers to exercise more caution when driving on Afghan roads.



Obama and the General

The White House finds a four-star scapegoat for its Afghan jitters

Democrats have found someone worth fighting in Afghanistan. His name is Stan McChrystal. The other night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went after the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, "with all due respect," for supposedly disrespecting the chain of command. Around the Congressional Democratic Caucus, we're told Members refer to General McChrystal as "General MacArthur," after the commander in Korea sacked by Harry Truman.

White House aides have fanned these flames with recent leaks to the media that "officials are challenging" his assessment asking for more troops. In the last two days, the White House National Security Adviser and the Secretary of Defense have both suggested that the general should keep his mouth shut. President Obama called him in Friday for a talking-to on the tarmac at Copenhagen airport.

Though a decorated Army four-star officer, the General's introduction to Beltway warfare is proving to be brutal. To be fair, Gen. McChrystal couldn't know that his Commander in Chief would go wobbly so soon on his commitment to him as well as to his own Afghan strategy when he was tapped for the job in April. We're told by people who know him that Gen. McChrystal "feels terrible" and "had no intention whatsoever of trying to lobby and influence" the Administration. His sense of bewilderment makes perfect sense anywhere but in the political battlefield of Washington. He was, after all, following orders.

Recall that in March Mr. Obama unveiled his "comprehensive new strategy . . . to reverse the Taliban's gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government." The Commander in Chief pledged to properly resource this "war of necessity," which he also called during the 2008 campaign "the central front on terror." The President then sacked his war commander, who had been chosen by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in favor of Gen. McChrystal, an expert in counterinsurgency.

Upon arriving in June, Gen. McChrystal launched his assessment of the forces required to execute the Obama strategy. His confidential study was completed in August and sent to the Pentagon. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen told Congress that more troops would be needed, and a figure of 30,000-40,000 was bandied about. The figure has clearly spooked the Administration".

More here



It's Official! Iran Publicly Says it Fooled U.S. and Europeans in Geneva, Offered Nothing: "And now it's official! Iran's Supreme National Security Council has announced that the main "concession" it supposedly made in the Geneva meeting with the United States never happened. It has no intention of sending off its enriched uranium to Russia to be turned into someting fit only for medical research at all. This supposed pledge made by Iran was the alleged big development that set off so much optimism after Iran met with the United States along with China, France, Germany, Russia, and England). No, says the Iranian government. This is merely an old idea--Tehran offered the same plan back in 2007 and then, after using it to stall for months, rejected it-- which it has been planning to discuss on October 18 in yet another meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Not only did it not offer anything new in Geneva, the Iranian government maintains it offered nothing at all."

Senate passes Pentagon budget, war funding: "The Senate has passed a $626 billion Pentagon funding bill that would bring the tab for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to more than $1 trillion. The measure passed by a 93-7 vote. It would also ban outright any transfer of accused enemy combatants from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility into the United States. Current law permits transfer of detainees to face trial or go to prison.”

Firefighters lose large FEMA grant to ACORN: "Nearly $1 million in Homeland Security funding typically earmarked for fire departments has been awarded to ACORN, despite a clear signal from Congress that it intends to cut off federal funding to the embattled group. The grant to ACORN's Louisiana office became public on Oct. 2, less than three weeks after the House and Senate voted to cut off ACORN funding after employees were caught on video advising a fake prostitute and pimp on scams. It was one of only three such grants issued to the state and made up almost 80 percent of the firefighting money earmarked for Louisiana, prompting one of the U.S. senators from the state to demand that the funds be taken back. "I request that you rescind this grant based on a history of abuse of federal dollars by ACORN and their clear lack of expertise in this area," said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican. Mr. Vitter, who was routinely notified of the grant before it became public, sent his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Sept. 22, saying the money should be given "to a more deserving group of first responders." One such group might have been the St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 3, which applied for a $120,000 grant to purchase smoke alarms for low-income families after a January fire killed four children in a home that had no working detectors."

The NYT "Ethicist" is a comedy writer!: "Randy Cohen has written humor articles, essays and stories for numerous newspapers and magazines. His first television work was writing for "Late Night With David Letterman," for which he won three Emmy Awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on "TV Nation." He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. For two years, he wrote and edited News Quiz for Slate, the online magazine. Currently he writes The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine. Each week, in Moral of the Story, he will examine a news story from an ethical perspective."

WI: “Prayer death” parents sentenced to probation, jail time: "A judge sentenced a Wisconsin couple to 10 years probation and 30 days a year in jail for the next six years [stayed pending appeals] for praying instead of seeking medical care for their dying 11-year-old daughter. … The girl died of complications from undiagnosed diabetes on the floor of the family’s home while people around her prayed. Someone called an ambulance after she stopped breathing.”

Pepsi, the homosexual drink: "God hates Diet Pepsi!’ A group advocating ‘traditional family values’ claims it has the signatures of 500,000 people who have pledged to boycott Pepsi over what it says are the company’s activities promoting gay rights. The American Family Association (which boasts ‘2.5 million online supporters’) ‘asked PepsiCo to be neutral in the culture war and not support the homosexual agenda,’ it said in a press release Tuesday. ‘PepsiCo refused. The company continues to give financial support to homosexual organizations.’ The AFA launched its boycott campaign in January over PepsiCo’s ‘continued support of same-sex marriage and homosexual advocacy.’”

Consensus. Margaret Thatcher in a 1981 speech: "For me, pragmatism is not enough. Nor is that fashionable word "consensus."... To me consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects—the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner "I stand for consensus"?

“Death tax” destroys wealth: "The politicians in Washington impose double taxation on interest, dividends and capital gains, but the ‘death tax’ wins the prize for being the most self-destructive part of the internal revenue code. Adding an extra layer of tax when someone dies is an unsavory combination of bad economics and immoral grave robbing. The current policy is especially foolish since every economic theory — even Marxism — agrees that saving and investment are the keys to long-run growth and higher living standards.”

Fascism: Why can’t it happen here?: "Recently I saw Ed Schultz on MSNBC, in the context of a story on the murdered census worker in Kentucky, running a clip of Michelle Bachmann’s comments. She claimed that census data had been used by the government in the past to round up American citizens (namely the Japanese-American Nisei on the West coast in early 1942). ‘The government rounding up American citizens?’ Schultz asked incredulously. ‘That goes beyond psycho talk.’ Now, I’ll be the first to stipulate that Michelle Bachmann goes beyond psycho. But Schultz acted as though the idea of the U.S. government rounding citizens up was so ludicrous, on its very face, as not to deserve refutation. Why? Because the U.S. government is run by the kinds of angels that James Madison wrote of? Because the American people are uniquely predisposed to resist authoritarianism? Or just because there’s something ‘different’ about the American genetic makeup, or maybe something different in the water here? The idea of the U.S. government as an object of fear, that its growing police state powers might be used against the American people for the wholesale suppression of dissent, is hardly a right-wing preserve, as Schultz seems to suggest.”

Why Chile is more free than the United States: "In the 2009 Economic Freedom of the World Report, Chile is now #5, one place ahead of the United States. In 1975, of 72 countries, Chile was No 71. How did this happen? The explanation lies in what I call the ‘Chilean Revolution,’ because it was as important and transformative to my country as the celebrated American Revolution that gave birth to the United States. The exceptional political circumstances of this period have obscured the fact that from 1975 to 1989 a true revolution took place in Chile, involving a radical, comprehensive, and sustained move toward economic and political freedom (from a starting point where there was neither one nor the other).” [It was a great start for Chile when Pinochet cut the bureaucacy in half]

NYC: Big Brother Bloomberg is watching you (even more closely): "On the heels of breaking up an alleged bomb terror plot, New York is planning to place high-tech security cameras, license plate readers, and ‘weapons sensors’ in midtown Manhattan. Office workers and tourists — and possible terrorists — will have cameras watching their every move as they visit Macy’s, shop for diamonds at Tiffany & Co., or gawk in Times Square. … Sensors will try to detect chemical, biological, and radiological threats. But some terrorism experts have questioned whether a camera network will deter terrorists. They also say that sensors are known to give off ‘false positives.’ Meanwhile, civil rights organizations are concerned that the project will be another encroachment on civil liberties.”


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, October 07, 2009


I imagine that there must be a few people who read this blog who share my love of Baroque music. So for them some news: I have just discovered the music of Zelenka, a Czech contemporary of Bach whom Bach thought highly of. I am listening to one of his Kyrie Eleisons as I write this. It is marvellous. What a wonder that the Baroque period is still yielding up forgotten treasures for us! I have also just heard on the radio one of his oratorios: "Penitents at the tomb of the Redeemer". It grabbed me immediately.


A Poisonous Cocktail: Expanding the Community Reinvestment Act

The White House and Congress want to expand a 30-year-old law--the Community Reinvestment Act--that helped to fuel the mortgage meltdown. What the CRA does, in effect, is compel banks to seek the permission of community activists to get regulatory approval for bank expansions and mergers. Often this means striking a deal with activist groups such as ACORN or unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and agreeing to allocate credit to poor and minority areas that are underserved.

In short, the CRA encourages banks to make loans they would not ordinarily make. What's more, these agreements often require that banks offer no-money-down mortgages and remove caps on how much debt a borrower can take on. All of this is done in the name of "financial democracy."

Liberals pooh-pooh the idea that a 30-year-old law could have contributed to the current subprime crisis and credit crunch. But what they ignore is the massive expansion of CRA-commitments forced on banks in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, in the first 20 years of the act, up to 1997, commitments totaled approximately $200 billion. But from 1997 to 2007, commitments exploded to more than $4.2 trillion. (Keep in mind this is more than four times the size of the current health bill being debated in Congress.) The burdens on individual banks can be enormous. Washington Mutual, for example, pledged $1 trillion in mortgages to those with credit histories that "fall outside typical credit, income or debt constraints," and was awarded the 2003 CRA Community Impact Award for its Community Access program. Four years later it was taken over by the Office of Thrift Supervision. In 2004 Bank of America agreed to provide $750 billion in CRA loans to applicants with poor credit who had previous difficulty obtaining a mortgage. By 2008 Bank of America was reporting that CRA loans represented only 7% of its portfolio but 29% of its losses. Numerous large banks are now in the middle of enormous CRA commitments. In 2004 J.P. Morgan Chase agreed to provide $800 billion of such loans over the course of 10 years.

For all the talk of unsold condos in Miami and foreclosed McMansions in California, the epicenters of the mortgage crisis are inner-city urban areas--precisely those areas where the CRA was most applicable. As the Boston Federal Reserve put it in a massive 2008 study, "In the current housing crisis foreclosures are highly concentrated in [urban] minority neighborhoods." The study found that borrowers in these areas were seven times more likely to be foreclosed on than the general population. Analysis by the Pew Research Center and another by The New York Times found that mortgage holders in these areas had foreclosure rates four times higher than the national average. In short, the CRA is compelling banks to make trillions in loans to individuals who have poor credit and who often can't or won't make their payments.

Now comes Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and 50 other co-sponsors (all Democrats) of H.R. 1479 the "Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009," who want to expand the CRA to include not just banks but also credit unions, insurance companies and mortgage lenders. Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has supported the idea in the past. The SEIU and ACORN, along with a host of other activist groups, are also behind the effort.



Stimulating Our Way to Depression

In 1932, FDR had an opportunity to change the conventional way that governments deal with a recession. His predecessor, Herbert Hoover, who also had a tendency towards central planning, had started the process. Instead of allowing markets to correct themselves as they had in all the previous panics, as depressions were then called, both men instituted programs of government intervention.

Hoover signed the Smoot Hawley tariff even after many of the leading economists of the time personally implored him not to sign it. A tariff would help improve farm prices, which was a cornerstone of the progressive movement. He asked businesses not to lower wages, as had been done in previous panics. Wages remained high but unemployment soared.

Although Roosevelt had campaigned on a platform of balanced budgets, once in office things changed. Many of his advisors were college professors and writers from within the progressive movement. Very few were trained economists, but several had been to Russia and seen Stalin’s central planning first hand. Others had an admiration of Benito Mussolini’s nationalization of industry in Italy. Once FDR was in office they were determined to apply what they had seen in America.

The utility industry had been one of the most highly leveraged industries to be affected by the Stock Market Crash, and was essential to industrial production. The newly developed utilities were grossly overvalued similar to the internet companies of the 1990’s or the housing industry of early last year. By 1932, utility stocks were worth a mere fraction of their 1929 value. FDR began to plan how the government would replace private utilities as a large scale electrical power producer. This would also enable him to take credit for providing thousands of construction jobs and control energy production. The first government utility was the Tennessee Valley Authority. It would provide power in the Appalachian region rather then allow private industry to electrify the area.

To prevent wages from going down in response to the demand for labor, FDR instituted the National Industrial Recovery Act, which allowed large business to form cartels in exchange for allowing unionization of their plants. This helped large businesses that had lower costs absorb the additional costs of unionization but was very damaging to small businesses. Wage rates were 25% higher than they should have been, but so was unemployment. Prices for goods were also 25% higher then they should have been.

When unemployment failed to go down as the result of the NIRA programs and the associated unionization, FDR instituted numerous make work programs through out America. These programs employed not only construction workers but also actors, artists and writers. These programs also greatly increased government expenditures and the national debt.

FDR and his progressive advisors generally resented those people that earn more then their college professor salaries, especially industrialists. They blamed industrialists for not hiring more people to reduce unemployment. This gave progressives justification to raise the marginal tax rates on the wealthy from 26% to above 90%. The wealthy responded by investing in other types of investments and their share of the total tax revenue actually fell during the Depression.

Even though the ideas and programs that FDR and the progressives instituted were not effective in preventing the stock market crash of 1929 from turning into the Great Depression, they were effective in creating a loyal voting base. By demonizing the wealthy, FDR was able to take credit for the government jobs his programs created at the expense of jobs in private industry that the provisions of the NIRA took away. FDR learned by 1935 that a crisis should never go to waste.

If this narrative sounds familiar, it should. The progressives of the 1920’s that had been shut out of politics since Wilson’s administration needed a crisis to return to power and institute their ideas of central planning in America. Today liberals are trying to do the same. Progressives of the 1930’s stifled industrial production with regulation and unionization and today they want to do the same. During the Depression, progressives wanted to control the production of energy, today they propose cap and trade to do the same thing.

Socialists then and now rely on the writings of the economist, John Maynard Keynes to justify large government spending programs to stimulate the economy. However, Keynes himself wrote to FDR in 1938 questioning his spending programs and why FDR would use only one aspect of his economic theories. The answer is very simple: government programs create the illusion of improving the economy. People only see the jobs created by government programs, never the jobs that are lost in the private sector to create them. Programs focus on the benefits that will be provided to a particular segment of society, never to who pays for those benefits. Progressive solutions buy votes but not economic prosperity.



McChrystal’s critics are wrong — very wrong — to suggest he has gone PC

By Frederick W. Kagan

The politicization of the analysis of American generalship is one of the worst consequences of the partisan excesses of the past several years. Whether it was Gen. David Petraeus in 2007 or Gen. Stanley McChrystal today, far too many commentators on both sides of the aisle have become comfortable saying that commanders who offer recommendations the critics don’t like are doing so because they have become captive of some ideology. Petraeus was charged with carrying water for the Bush administration’s supposed crusade to spread democracy throughout the world. Now McChrystal is accused of committing the soldiers under his command to needless death and maiming out of a misplaced sense of political correctness inspired by Barack Obama.

The reality is that America’s commanders over the last eight years have consistently given their best professional military advice, making the recommendations they thought would achieve the goals set for them by their political masters. That includes all of our commanders: Tommy Franks, Ricardo Sanchez, John Abizaid, George Casey, David Barno, Karl Eikenberry, Dan McNeill, David McKiernan, David Petraeus, Ray Odierno, and now Stan McChrystal. Some of them were right, some were tragically wrong. But not a single one of them made a recommendation to his superiors or gave an order to his soldiers that he did not think would lead to the success of his mission. American commanders simply do not do such things, and it is time to stop trying to avoid serious discussions of strategy by claiming that they do.

General McChrystal and the team that drafted his assessment and policy recommendations (full disclosure: I was a member of that team in June and July) may be wrong, of course. War is extremely complex, and no one is infallible. But before consigning the McChrystal assessment to the dust-bin of history, we owe it to such a commander to consider carefully the possibility that the sophistication in the document is not simply pseudo-intellectual code for political correctness. It may in fact represent an attempt to grapple with the real complexities of the situation on the ground as seen by officers who have spent years of their lives operating in Afghanistan against our enemies — something that none of their defenders or critics among the chattering classes (myself included) can say.

Andy McCarthy’s attack on McChrystal in this regard is particularly odd. McChrystal should be Andy’s hero: As commander of U.S. special-forces efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than four straight years, McChrystal is responsible for killing and capturing thousands of Islamist terrorists. As the recent 60 Minutes interview revealed, McChrystal has personally accompanied his soldiers on some of those raids. He’s met the enemy fighters Andy so rightly wants to target — met some of them rather personally. This war has not been a clinical or theoretical exercise for McChrystal, nor has it been the stuff of Foreign Affairs essays. It has been as dirty and bloody as anything Andy McCarthy or Ralph Peters could desire. One thing no one can say about McChrystal is that he has a problem killing the enemy.

More here



Obama's big money-printing splurge has destroyed confidence in the value of the dollar: "In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading. Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar. Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars. The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years."

Sanctions are a stupid idea: "President Obama has vowed to keep the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program after last week’s meeting in Geneva, and his advisers said the United States was intensively recruiting other nations to join in a harsher economic embargo against Tehran should diplomacy fail. But as the focus on sanctions intensifies, a review of the United States’ experiences in enforcing its own longstanding restrictions on trade with Iran suggests it would be difficult to truly quarantine the Iranian economy. Black market networks have sprouted up all over the globe to circumvent the sanctions. A typical embargo-busting scheme was detailed in a plea agreement filed in federal court here on Sept. 24, the day before Mr. Obama and European allies announced the existence of a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear enrichment facility near Qum. In the court filings, a Dutch aviation services company and its owner admitted that they had illegally funneled American aircraft and electronics components to Iran from 2005 to 2007..."

Lawmaker calls on Obama to fire official in gay sex ed controversy: "Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is calling on President Obama to fire gay activist Kevin Jennings, the controversial head of the Education Department's Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools. Although Jennings has come under heavy criticism from social conservatives in recent months, King is the first member of Congress to call for his ouster. King says Jennings has no background in anti-drug work, and his experience in education has focused not on the issue of school safety but on introducing the topic of homosexuality into the classroom, including in elementary schools. "The totality of his life has been the promotion of homosexuality, and much of it within education," says King. "He has focused on nothing else during the last two decades, and that is not the focus that our schools need to be on."

The Republican revival: "Ignore anyone who says Republicans have no chance of winning 40 seats in next year’s midterm elections and grabbing control of the House of Representatives. A landslide of that dimension is quite possible. All it would take is for current political trends to continue. If that happens, Republicans will win the House in a landslide. The Senate is another story. The deep trouble that’s beginning to engulf Democrats is now an inescapable fact of political life. With the congressional election 13 months away, Democrats have time to halt their decline and prevent a Republican surge. But they’ve shown no signs of reversing their slide. In 2006 and 2008, they were on offense. Today they’re stuck on defense.”

Irwin Stelzer on the revival of the right: "A funny thing happened on the way to the collapse of market capitalism in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It didn't. Indeed, in Germany voters relieved Chancellor Angela Merkel of the necessity of cohabiting with a left-wing party, allowing her to form a coalition with a party favouring lower taxes and free markets. And in Pittsburgh leaders representing more than 90% of the world's GDP convened to figure out how to make markets work better, rather than to hoist the red flag. The workers are to be relieved, not of their chains, but of credit-card terms that are excessively onerous, and helped to retain their private property—their homes. All of this is contrary to expectations. The communist spectre that Karl Marx confidently predicted would be haunting Europe is instead haunting Europe's left-wing parties, with even Vladimir Putin seeking to attract investment by re-privatising the firms he snatched. Which raises an interesting question: why haven't the economic turmoil and rising unemployment led workers to the barricades, instead of to their bankers to renegotiate their mortgages? All of those factors contribute to the unexpected strength of the right in a world in which a record number of families are being tossed out of their homes, and jobs have been disappearing by the million."

GOP to gain many seats in '10: "Following major setbacks in 2008, the national political landscape for Republicans has improved so dramatically in recent months that election analysts say the only remaining question is how deep the Democrats' losses will be in the 2010 congressional midterm races. President Obama's approval rating has fallen to 51 percent in the Gallup tracking survey. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that voters were nearly evenly divided on which party should control Congress, with Democrats edging Republicans by just three points, down from a seven-point lead in July, and election analysts have moved nearly two dozen Democratic House seats into "competitive" rating columns benefiting the Republican Party... Longtime elections handicapper Charlie Cook agrees that the national political movement has turned decidedly away from the Democrats at this point in the two-year election cycle. "As the political environment for Democrats has turned ugly, it is widely assumed the party will sustain losses in next year's midterm elections. The operative question is: How bad will those losses be?" he said in a recent analysis for Congress Daily".


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, October 06, 2009


THE future of top-rating TV comedian David Letterman is uncertain as the CBS Network that airs his Late Show contemplates investigating his past relationships with female staff, following a bizarre extortion plot. Letterman stunned his audience last week when he revealed on his nightly program that he was the victim of a $2million blackmail attempt.

Stephanie Birkitt [above], a personal assistant to Letterman, has emerged as the woman at the centre of Robert Halderman's blackmail attempt. Halderman lived with her briefly and allegedly used some photos and correspondence involving Letterman to set up the extortion, saying he planned to write a damning screenplay unless the star paid him.

A second woman who was previously an intern on the Letterman show, Holly Hester, has came forward as another former fling. She told The New York Daily News she had been madly in love with Letterman and would have married him. "He was hilarious," she said.

After making fun of other people's wacky sex lives for years, Letterman last week said that a man had threatened to expose his past relationships with women who worked for him on the Late Show. The television comedian went out of his way to be seen to do the right thing by going straight to police and co-operating in a sting that led to the arrest of Halderman, a disgruntled network producer. Halderman, an Emmy-award winning producer for the CBS series 48 Hours, faces up to 15 years' jail after demanding money in return for keeping quiet about evidence he had of Letterman's past dalliances.

While Letterman is not accused of any wrongdoing by police, the issue has presented CBS with a conundrum. So far the network is standing by Letterman, who is enjoying a ratings resurgence since the rival Tonight Show was taken over by Conan O'Brien. Under the terms of his contract, Letterman's quaintly named company Worldwide Pants leases airtime on CBS, so he is not an employee. The network is believed to be concerned about some sections of its audience with puritanical views.

More here

Another comment on the wandering trousers: "As one of America’s most successful television comedians, David Letterman built an entertainment empire on jokes about sex — notably involving former President Bill Clinton’s trousers. Yesterday the joke was on Letterman as his own complicated sex life dominated US tabloid headlines and provided his late-night comic rivals with an irresistible source of new material including a shapely blonde, a salacious diary, mystery photographs and a peculiarly inept blackmail plot. “If you came here tonight for sex with a talk show host,” said Jay Leno, Letterman’s most formidable late-night rival, “you’ve come to the wrong studio.” For Bill and Hillary Clinton and countless other victims of Letterman’s rancid barbs — notably Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska to whom he recently apologised for off-colour jokes about her family — there may have been a certain grim satisfaction in seeing the perennially cocky comedian admitting to “creepy” behaviour."


Barack Obama furious at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan

The relationship between President Barack Obama and the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan has been put under severe strain by Gen Stanley McChrystal's comments on strategy for the war. According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.

Gen James Jones, the national security adviser, yesterday did little to allay the impression the meeting had been awkward. Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, he told CBS: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views." An adviser to the administration said: "People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."

In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda. He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan". When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No." He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support." The remarks have been seen by some in the Obama administration as a barbed reference to the slow pace of debate within the White House.

Gen McChrystal delivered a report on Afghanistan requested by the president on Aug 31, but Mr Obama held only his second "principals meeting" on the issue last week. He will hold at least one more this week, but a decision on how far to follow Gen McChrystal's recommendation to send 40,000 more US troops will not be made for several weeks. A military expert said: "They still have working relationship but all in all it's not great for now." Some commentators regarded the general's London comments as verging on insubordination.



Brain-dead conservatives? No, it’s the elitist critics at room temperature

“Is Conservatism Dead?” screamed the headline on page one of the Washington Post’s Outlook section Sunday. Behind that headline is the photo of a nude white male body being medically resuscitated, seemingly without success, along with small black letters: “Nope. Maybe Just Brain Dead.” The article was by Steven F. Hayward, described as the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Just a couple of days before, the New York Times’s David Brooks was flailing at conservative radio “talk jocks” Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck whose intellectual shortcomings, he charged, are the real reason behind the decline of the Republican Party. About the only place in America where there is not an unemployment problem is in the ranks of one-time conservative elitists getting checks from the liberal media —to attack conservatives. How else could Kathleen Parker be on a legitimate payroll?

What is the real sin of Limbaugh and Beck in the eyes of these liberal media darlings? Is it their ability to communicate with the American people? Is that why “tea baggers” so offend the learned Fellow Mr. Hayward?

What these elitists don’t seem to understand is that more and more people are turning to Glenn Beck because he is the best place to go for exposes on powerful forces like ACORN and Presidential Czar Van Jones. The facts speak for themselves. Day after day, Beck was reporting the facts about the corrupting political forces behind ACORN and the real Van Jones resume which should have made him unemployable to anyone outside Washington’s far left. There was nothing about ACORN or Jones in the Post or the Times whose ombudsman actually had to launch an investigation to explain how his news institution could miss the ACORN story.

But as soon as the truth behind ACORN and Jones was unearthed by Beck (with help from today’s version of Candid Camera) they overnight were as popular in Washington as a strain of swine flu. Before Beck’s reporting, ACORN had an automatic, Congressionally fueled pipeline into the federal budget —good for tens of millions. The Obama White House was pointing to Jones as a green-age prophet. After Beck’s reporting, Congress could not move fast enough to begin defunding ACORN—and Jones was run out of town in the middle of the night.

You can bet you didn’t get any reporting on these dubious characters from Brooks or the F.K. Weyerhaeuser couch at AEI. In fairness to Hayward, if you read him far enough you will find he does have some appreciation for Beck —when he is interviewing professors.

Now I am not so much of a populist as to be thrilled by Beck’s every show. Those focus groups with Mothers are too much for me, and as for Frank Luntz’s regular appearances, I can only figure he has pictures.

Sometimes when Rush has been out on golfing outings, his usually extraordinarily insightful shows don’t carry the informational punch as when he is in close touch with what is happening beyond the sunny paradise of south Florida. But in these times you can’t be in touch with what’s really happening without listening to Rush and watching Beck. That’s more than you can say about their elitist critics.




Olympic failure is Bush's fault!: "Some Chicago officials say anti-American resentment likely played a role in Chicago's Olympic bid dying in the first round Friday. President Obama could not undo in one year the resentment against America that President Bush and others built up for years, they said. "There must be" resentment against America, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, near the stage where he had hoped to give a victory speech in Daley Center Plaza. "The way we [refused to sign] the Kyoto Treaty, we misled the world into Iraq. The world had a very bad taste in its mouth about us. But there was such a turnaround after last November. The world now feels better about America and about Americans. That's why I thought the president's going was the deal-maker."

This mission is not McChrystal clear: "Deep down, national-security conservatives know President Obama will not wage a decisive war against America’s enemies in Afghanistan. They also know that the young men and women we already have there are sitting ducks. Ralph Peters notes that our commanders, obsessed with avoiding civilian casualties, have imposed mind-boggling rules of engagement (ROE) on our forces, compelling them to retreat from contact with the enemy and denying them resort to overwhelming force — including the denial of artillery and air cover when they are under siege. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York recently reported, even some Afghans are telling our commanders to ’stop being so fussy … and kill the enemy.’ Yet the national-security Right is urging that we up the ante and put another 40,000 American lives at risk in this hostile theater, under this commander in chief and the same military leadership that dreamed up the ROE. Why? To attempt, under the rubric of ‘counterinsurgency,’ the unlikeliest of social-engineering experiments: bringing big, modern, collectivist, secular government to a segmented, corrupt, tribal Islamic society — a society that has been at war with itself for three dozen years, which is to say, since the first futile effort to impose big, modern, collectivist, secular government ran smack into Afghanistan’s tribal Islamic ways.”

Now will Congress investigate ACORN?: "Evidence continues to accumulate from far and wide that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is lousy with corruption. The latest revelations come from Louisiana and Oklahoma. In the former, the local ACORN Housing Corp. office received contracts worth a combined $625,000 from the City of New Orleans for repairing existing low-income housing and developing new units in poor neighborhoods. The contracts were paid for with funds from federal Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An investigation by the Pelican Institute think tank of New Orleans, however, found that no work was actually performed to fulfill the contracts. Worse, Pelican couldn't talk to the ACORN official managing the contracts because he had left the organization months ago. One more thing: The office address listed on the contracts for ACORN turned out to be a vacant lot, although new plumbing connections indicated a trailer had recently been located on the site."

The recovery that isn’t: "For those market boosters who are prattling on about the possibility of a ‘jobless recovery,’ I offer an invitation to join me for a breakfast of ‘fat-free bacon,’ ‘eggless omelets,’ and ‘no-carb bread.’ As unappetizing as such a meal may sound, it would nevertheless offer more substance than the oxymoronic concept of an economic resurgence without job creation. Those who do cling to the absurd belief that, absent exponential productivity gains, the economy can expand while workers are being laid off will undergo a massive test of their convictions now that it’s clear the employment picture is bleak.”

Revolutionary Anti-Semitism: "Meet one of Honduras's most vocal advocates for the return of deposed president Manuel Zelaya to office. He's not your average radio jock. He started in Honduran politics as a radical activist and was one of the founders of the hard-left People's Revolutionary Union, which had links to Honduran terrorists in 1980s. A few years ago he was convicted and served time in prison for raping his own daughter. Today Mr. Romero Ellner is pure zelayista, hungry for power and not ashamed to say so. This explains why he has joined Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Mr. Zelaya in targeting Jews. Mr. Chávez has allied himself with Iran to further his ability to rule unchecked in the hemisphere. He hosts Hezbollah terrorists and seeks Iranian help to become a nuclear power. He and his acolytes cement their ties to Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by echoing his anti-Semitic rants. Mr. Zelaya, recall, was arrested, deposed and deported on June 28 because he violated the Honduran Constitution. He snuck back into the country on Sept. 21 and found refuge at the Brazilian Embassy in the capital. Mr. Romero Ellner's calumny against Jews was a follow-up to Mr. Zelaya's claim that he was being "subjected to high-frequency radiation" from outside the embassy and that he thought "Israeli mercenaries" were behind it. The verbal attack on Jews from a zelayista is consistent with a pattern emerging in the region."

Iran's Big Victory in Geneva: "The most widely touted outcome of last week's Geneva talks with Iran was the "agreement in principle" to send approximately one nuclear-weapon's worth of Iran's low enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for enrichment to 19.75% and fabrication into fuel rods for Tehran's research reactor. President Barack Obama says the deal represents progress, a significant confidence-building measure. In fact, the agreement constitutes another in the long string of Iranian negotiating victories over the West. Any momentum toward stricter sanctions has been dissipated, and Iran's fraudulent, repressive regime again hobnobs with the U.N. Security Council's permanent members."

Test of laser from C-130H melts hood of car: "New video released by the Air Force and Boeing Co. show what happens when a C-130H Hercules aims the Advanced Tactical Laser at the hood of car. In the video recorded Aug. 30 during a test flight at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the laser melts the hood and sparks a fire. A press statement from Boeing said the laser ‘killed the vehicle.’ The weapon uses a chemical laser that fills the cargo hold of C-130 to produce a laser beam fired from a turret mounted in the belly of a C-130.”

Pakistan: Billions in US aid never reached Pak army: "The United States has long suspected that much of the billions of dollars it has sent Pakistan to battle militants has been diverted to the domestic economy and other causes, such as fighting India. Now the scope and longevity of the misuse is becoming clear: Between 2002 and 2008, while Al Qaeda regrouped, only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military, two army generals tell The Associated Press. The account of the generals, who asked to remain anonymous because military rules forbid them from speaking publicly, was backed up by other retired and active generals, former bureaucrats and government ministers.”

Oppressive airport security again: "Those who do not deal with border crossings — either personally or through the movement of goods and/or services — do not understand what the establishment of Fortress America is doing to the reputation, economic well being and character of the U.S. By Fortress America, I mean the wall of aggressive bureaucratic obstruction and control over everyone and everything that enters the U.S. The most obvious examples are the U.S. airports which, from personal experience, I can attest are more totalitarian, dehumanizing and time-consuming by far than those in Communist China. One of the most common requests foreigners (that is, non-Americans) now make to travel agents is for flights that do not transfer or touchdown in the States; indeed, foreign airlines are advertising this ‘feature’ as a selling point and sometimes charge 100s more for the ’service.’”


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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)