Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lessons from John Galt

Recent headlines seem lifted directly out of an Ayn Rand novel. President Obama decries the “fat cat bankers on Wall Street”. Harry Reid attacks insurance companies for making too much profit. House Democrat leaders call Tea Partiers “Racist, Nazi, Gun Nuts”. How about this nauseating statement made by Army General George Casey after the Muslim terrorist attack on Ft. Hood? -- "As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well"

Each of these headlines might well have been uttered by an Ayn Rand character. Rand, whose father’s pharmacy was confiscated by the Soviets during the communist revolution of 1917, and who came to America in 1926, seems uniquely able to speak to us about the inverted morality of our times. Virtue is to be apologized for. Depravity commands respect. Success is cast as evil and punished while failure is blamed on others and rewarded. Rand’s insights into the psychological state of collectivists—those who demand that we sacrifice our individual freedom and happiness for the sake of the state—explain what often seems incomprehensible to thinking people.

An epic demonstration of the inverted morality that Rand described was on display in Copenhagen last week as the world’s worst most evil dictators—Mugabe and Chavez—partnered with the world’s most visible and misguided progressives—Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Barack Obama—in an orgy of depravity. Sadly, even the Pope lent his moral support to the lunacy, saying, “Industrialized nations must recognize their responsibility for the environmental crisis, shed their consumerism and embrace more sober lifestyles.”

John Galt, the industrialist hero of Rand’s 1957 masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, refers to those in power who stripped men of their minds, wealth and freedom, as mystics. The mystics of spirit were the religious leaders of centuries past who proclaimed that faith is superior to reason. Galt is no fan of these mystics but it is the mystics of muscle—the progressives who force us to submit to their version of the common good—that Galt despises.

And Barack Obama is a mystic of muscle in its purest form, able to corral the worshipping media, the always superficial Hollywood elites, America hating academics, state-sponsored capitalists (e.g., Goldman Sachs), and grant hungry “scientists” & environmentalists hoping to cash in on a trillion dollar loot of the American people called global warming. These are the pillars of deceit Obama used to get elected. This was how he convinced enough of us to give up our minds for the the mystical concept that Rand called the collective. True to form, Barack, master of the mystics of muscle, has used his power mightily to loot from the producers, and hand it to the parasites, crooks and undeserving (read; SEIU, ACORN, UN Climate Fund, General Motors).

John Galt leads a revolt by the productive class and outlines Rand’s philosophy in his 60-page radio address. Here, he explains how human beings—alone among life forms—can choose to be mindless: "A living entity that regarded its means of survival as evil, would not survive. A plant that struggled to mangle its roots, a bird that fought to break its wings would not remain for long in the existence they affronted. But the history of man has been a struggle to deny and destroy the mind."

Sad to say, for a movement powered by the mindlessness, there is plenty of fuel to sustain “hope and change”:

* Who but the mindless can believe that government run health care will reduce costs and improve care while covering more people?

* Who but the mindless can believe that this President is now serious about reducing the deficit after shattering spending records during his first year?

* Who but the mindless can take seriously the sham “jobs summit” held by a President whose every policy is a lesson in job destruction?

* Who but the mindless can believe Obama’s lie that “Cash for Clunkers” which cost taxpayers $24,000 per car was successful?

* Who but the mindless would not outraged that our government has reneged on its promise pay back the unused TARP fund to taxpayers?

* Who but the mindless would not question the morality that the world’s finest health care, which has extended and improved human life in unimaginable ways—conceived and produced by countless unsung heroes in the private sector—should magically be transformed by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi into a “human right”, taken over by the state and rationed out as they please?

The assault on reason by our President and Congress goes on ad infinitum. It is mindlessness that elected “hope and change” and mindlessness that sustains it. Ayn Rand recognized that the greatest struggle on earth is that between the individual and the collective, and to submit to the collective, the individual must lose his ability to think for himself. Howard Roark, hero of The Fountainhead explains: "The mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain."

The last thing a mystic of muscle wants is for us to start using our minds to uncover their fraud. Galt gets to the heart of the evil of progressive demand that we all serve the state when he says: "By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose."



The Socialist Revolution Has Come to America

The socialist revolution has come to America. It has been a long time coming. On Christmas Day 1991, the Soviet flag flying over the Kremlin came down — the Cold War was over. In the United States, the political left, dismayed from the collapse of its great patron, retrenched and transmogrified with the times, choosing for their president a free-trading, welfare-reforming moderate.

But this was but a feint; the era of big government was not over. The left had not learned its lesson, had not abandoned its dreams of absolute control. It seethed and stewed … and waited.

The new century dawned in fire when the twin towers came down. America lashed out, sending large armies into Asia and Arabia. Like all wars, fortunes waxed and waned. But the iPod generation has not the capacity to endure the waning. By the time Mesopotamia was stabilizing, it was too late; the American public had abandoned the war it had once supported. The commander-in-chief who took America into battle with Congress and the people behind him left office ridiculed and reviled.

Many will tell you that it was the financial crisis that led to the election of Obama in 2008. It is certainly true that John McCain’s erratic response to that meltdown did nothing to enhance his chances. But the Republican goose was cooked long before Lehman by years of war, seemingly endless reports of our soldiers struggling valiantly to hold back chaos in faraway lands for reasons that were growing less clear by the day, and a Republican president who seemed frighteningly inarticulate and uncomprehending throughout. The public had simply had enough.

Into this breech stepped a charming, charismatic, seemingly moderate Democrat (he even promised tax cuts!). Barack Obama made everyone feel good — about him, about themselves, about themselves for supporting him. And America wanted, needed to feel good again; they had spilled too much blood, had too much of their own blood spilled, in the preceding eight years.

A Republican Party in tatters, a nation exhausted and desperate. Are there any other conditions under which the American people could have turned to a man like Barack Obama? For just under the smooth, smiling facade lurked a man of deep allegiance to the radical left, counting among his associates both an avowed terrorist and a raving, racialist preacher.

But Americans didn’t want to hear it and the media obliged them. The ideologue was soon ensconced in the White House, where he acted swiftly to upend the entirety of American society through a comprehensive, two-pronged assault:

1. The government moved to take greater control of medical care and thus one-sixth of our entire economy. The excuse? Some people don’t have insurance, don’t you know? What are the details? Good question: specifics hatched in back rooms behind closed doors, utterly incomprehensible bills that may as well be carved in hieroglyphics. What will it mean for you? Why, whatever they want it to mean, of course.

2. Efforts to criminalize a particular naturally occurring compound, CO2, picked up pace. Why have they so singled out this substance? Because it is a byproduct of work and, indeed, life itself — every time you turn on your heater, every time you drive to work, every time you sit down to eat: don’t you know these sinful behaviors must be curbed, because you are “poisoning the planet” with your every move?

Success in this double strategy would amount to nothing less than a socialist revolution. A revolution of legislative opacity and bureaucratic fiat, to be sure, but a revolution just the same, for there is literally no part of your existence they couldn’t justify controlling under the cover of “health care” and “emissions” reform. Resistance would be met at first with peaceable punishments, fines and such. But the history of such revolutions shows that, sooner or later, they enforce their dictates with bars and boots.

Think it can’t happen here? History is littered with the wreckage of free states that gave way, sometimes with a scream, often with a whimper, to autocracy and absolutism. The city that gave birth to the world’s first and greatest republic was also home to Caesar and Mussolini.

America is not immune to these forces. The tides of history are inexorable and sooner or later pull every edifice into the sea.




More Irish Bishops quit over child abuse scandal (about time): "Two more Catholic bishops have resigned in Ireland in the wake of a devastating clerical child abuse inquiry. Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field bowed to weeks of criticism and pressure, Sky News reported. They announced during Christmas Eve midnight Mass services across Dublin that they planned to quit their posts as auxiliaries in the archdiocese. They are the latest senior clerics to stand down after Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty and Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray resigned over the damning Murphy report. It exposed the Catholic hierarchy's shocking inaction and cover-up of paedophile priests over decades. Bishops Walsh and Field announced their resignations in a statement as church services took place around the country. "As we celebrate the Feast of Christmas, the Birth of our Saviour, the Prince of Peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse," they said. "We again apologize to them." The bishops added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have so bravely spoken out and those who continue to suffer in silence." The Murphy inquiry, based on a sample 46 priests, revealed a catalogue of paedophilia and subsequent cover-ups over three decades because the Catholic hierarchy was obsessed with secrecy and was effectively granted immunity by the police."

U.S. job market still not improving for 2010: "The prospects for significant job growth in 2010 are dim and the unemployment rate could still be in the 10 per cent range this time next year, economists say. Growth of three per cent would be far slower than is usual after a steep recession, but it would be slightly stronger than the 2.8 per cent average of the past 20 years. Above-trend growth "never felt so bad," wrote economists at JP Morgan Chase. "Growth will not be boomy. And growth will not go far in returning the economy to healthy levels of activity." According to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Blue Chip Economics, about 1.1 million nonfarm payroll jobs will be created next year. The consensus expects the unemployment rate to be 9.9 per cent a year from now in the US. Typically, after such a steep recession, job growth would snap back quickly as firms ramp up production to meet the desires that were repressed during the downturn. This time, however, the lingering impact of the financial crisis will mean less consumption, less investment, and less hiring than normal. Economists at Goldman Sachs figure the unemployment rate won't peak until the middle of 2011 and will drop back to 10.5 per cent by the end of 2011. That's at least two more years of remarkably high unemployment."

Canadian court increases libel protections: "The Supreme Court of Canada strengthened protections for journalists and bloggers in a pair of rulings, hailed as a victory for press freedom in a country with especially stringent libel laws. Tuesday’s rulings involving the Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen newspapers, created a new responsible journalism defense giving reporters more leeway to pursue controversial stories as long as they are deemed to be in the public interest.”


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, December 25, 2009

More progress

Just back from an excellent lunch with ham, large prawn kebabs, calamari etc. cooked on the BBQ by our host Russell, husband of my stepdaughter Susan. Russell is a genial soul but I don't know him all that well as yet so I did at one stage ask him a question that I thought would get at least an untroublesome answer. I asked him: "Do you like steam trains?". He replied "I LOVE steam trains". So we had a good chat about that for a while. I am something of a steam fanatic too. I wonder if it's only conservatives who like steam trains? Could be something in that.

I also had a bit of a chat with Joe about 5-dimensional matrices and such things. I am very pleased to have a son who is also a born academic. His Christmas present to me was a very academic one: A modern verse translation of Beowulf. He knows I take an interest in Beowulf and have even been known to recite bits of it in the original Anglo-Saxon. But only an academic would do that.

Speaking of the Anglo-Saxons, as I sit amid the great Gothic stone cavern of St John's cathedral, it does give me some feeling of unity with my Anglo-Saxon ancestors. I realize that Gothic architecture is Norman rather than Anglo-Saxon but Gothic churches were originally built to recreate the awe of being amid the great forests of primeval Europe so my impression is an accurate one in its way. The Gothic architects have successfully transmitted their message to me.

I still have the order of service for Christmas in front of me and I wonder how many people noticed how discordant it was in a way. We went straight from the aggressive Hebrew triumphalism of Psalm 97 to the humble "justified by grace" of Titus chapter 3. But people are so used to the accepting the message of both the Old Testament and the New that few would notice any discordance, I think.

Anne is at her family Christmas dinner at the moment but will be back this evening for a late -- and light -- evening meal. I will now do a bit of reading for possible posting on my other blogs later on.

Progress report

Well! I am having a rather good Christmas day. Anne gave me a blue-striped shirt as a present, which I quite like. I wore it to the service at the Metropolitical Cathedral of St John the Divine. We got there rather early but there was already little seating left in the nave. I however have a particular spot just off the nave which I like -- on some plastic chairs (which are much more comfortable than the pews) so Anne and I had a good view of the proceedings. And they definitely kept the show on the road with lots of things happening one after another.

The censer was energetically deployed but no bells! Very slack. They had a rather good-looking beadle, though: A young blonde woman. Rather a change from the usual elderly gents. The sermon was given by a woman, which was of course repugnant to my fundamentalist background. But I am rather deaf these days so I didn't understand a word she said, which I found satisfactory. I just sat admiring the stained glass. And the hymns were good of course.

Anne was less impressed by the service than I was. Her Presbyterian rejection of "Popery" is probably stronger than mine. I am now off to a small family lunch. The big family do was last night, which was very lively.


I have a full offering on all my blogs today (mostly put together yesterday) but I will probably not be putting up as much as usual for the next day or two. As Australia is in a much earlier time-zone than the USA, many readers will in any case be reading this on their Christmas Eve. As I write this, I have just been to a big family celebration on my Christmas Eve. It is swelteringly hot here at the moment so a Christmas Eve celebration makes sense. Later today (on Christmas day) I will be attending a sung eucharist at the Cathedral followed by a smaller family Christmas lunch. I don't take the tokens at the Cathedral but I enjoy the music and the show. The Church of England is good for that, though not much else

I hope all my readers do as well as the guy below:


Where Did These Guys Come From?

The Origins of Obamism

I do not think it will be easy to delay Obamism. It is not just that both houses of Congress are under liberal leadership with ample majorities, with a White House and captive media egging them on. The problem is that now the entire engine of the federal government is harnessed in the most unapologetic way to pushing through a far left agenda. There is no shame, no hesitancy in using the full powers of the state.

How does that work out? Without qualification (remember we are in a new age of transparency and ethical reform) votes are bought with hundred-million-dollar earmarks; the attorney general predicates judicial action on the political ramifications of indicting or not indicting; federal bureaucracies (watch the EPA if cap and trade stalls) are devoted to the new Caesar rather than the letter of the law.

Such a strange scenario we have found ourselves in—a clear majority of Americans is opposed to almost everything Obama has to offer; congressional representatives know they are acting against the will of the people, but know too that they are offered all sorts of borrowed money for their districts to compensate for their unpopular actions. And a charismatic commander in chief believes that he can charm even the angriest of critics, and that anything he promises (Iran’s deadlines, closing of Guantanamo, new transparency, no more lobbyists, etc) means zilch and can be contextualized by another “let me be perfectly clear” speech spiced with a couple of the usual “it would have been impossible for someone as unlikely as me to have become President just (fill in the blanks) years ago”

No, I would not count Obama out. So what drives his agenda? What are its origins? Here are the three most prominent catalysts.

Equality of Result

What Barack Obama advocates is as old as Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, the agenda of the classical dêmos and Roman turba.

It is why the French Revolution emphasized égalité and fraternité, while the Founding Fathers instead championed the freedom of the individual from the despotism of the state. In short, equality of result doctrine ignores the role of markets, of skills, of tragedy itself that renders some of us ill, others in perfect health, some born gifted, others less so, some evil by nature, others good, and instead promises that the state can even us all out through its power of material redistribution. Give us all the same amount of money and perks at the end of the day, and then utopia reigns under the benevolent watch of Ivy-League professors and organizers.

It is a given that what we make is not our own, but predicated on the liberality of society. Thus, for those who were too greedy, too conniving, or even too lucky, the state must step in to ensure that we end up the same.

In its most benign form, we know this as progressivism or communitarianism, a big government, high tax philosophy that co-exists within democracy. Its more pernicious strains are socialist, in which the state ensures, through bureaucratic fiat and a labyrinth of laws that curb free expression, that redistribution is institutionalized. And the virulent form (thankfully with the fall of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China not so global-threatening any more) is, of course, a murderous communism, in which any means necessary are justified to ensure the desire ends and the rule of anointed apparat. Remember, history’s greatest killers (Stalin and Mao) do it all “for the people.”


But there is another element to Barack Obama besides progressive statism. A number of contemporary –isms and –ologies (multiculturalism, moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, post-modernism) also help to explain Obamism, especially in cultural terms. Our universities subscribe to race/class/gender theory of exploitation, in which much of the unhappiness of today’s women, of today’s nonwhite, and of today’s poor originates with the privileges of the white Christian Western male that are predicated on oppression.

It works like this: The ghetto resident, the denizen of the barrio, the abandoned and divorced waitress with three young children, can all chart their poverty and unhappiness not to accident, fate, bad luck, bad decisions, poor judgment, illegality or drug use, or simple tragedy, but rather exclusively to a system that is rigged to ensure oppression on the basis of race, class, and gender—often insidious and unfathomable except to the sensitive and gifted academic or community organizer.

So Obama combines the age-old belief that the state is there to level the playing field (rather than protect the rights of the individual and secure the safety of the people from foreign threats), with the postmodern notion that government must recompensate those by fiat on the basis on their race or class or gender. Remember all that, and everything from the Professor Gates incident, to the dutiful attendance at the foot of Rev. Wright to Van Jones become logical rather than aberrant. Michelle Obama could make $300,000 and she will always be more a victim than the Appalachian coal miner who earns $30,000, by virtue of her race and gender.

The Chicago Way

A third and final ingredient to Obamism is the Chicago way. Here we see an interesting updated version of the old big-city, Daley thuggery. Rahm Emanuel threatens recalcitrant congressmen with reminders of the long Obama memory. The Axelrod/Jarrett clique ensures that the government channels stimuli to blue-states, that key Congress people are bought off with tens of millions of government largess, that every campaign promise—from no lobbyists and airing on C-span health care debates to posting impending legislation on the Internet for set durations and “reaching across the aisle”—is simply cynical fluff that no sane person would take seriously.

So? In short, we have a traditional statist bent on redistribution (Obama’s words, not mine), updated with the postmodern belief that race/class/gender oppressions require government affirmative reactions (which also abroad explains why we reach out to enemies and shun allies), all energized by an ends justify the means Chicago bare-knuckles apparat.

And? These true believers, then, don’t really care that the Blue Dogs (if such really exist) bite the dust in 2010, if Harry Reid goes up in smoke, or indeed, if Barack Obama is reelected. Instead, they will institutionalize an agenda that will affect America for generations, move it sharply to the left, and earn a spot in the academic pantheon of American heroes.

Asking why would Obama & Co. be so self-destructive to push through an array of proposals that have no more than 45% of the public’s support is like asking whether the English Prof who teaches incomprehensible Foucauldian theory worries whether he has only 2 students, or whether the well-off union boss is all that upset that membership has sunk to 30% of the workforce, or multimillion-dollar-earning Sarah Palin-interviewing Katie Couric is worried about her sinking ratings, or whether the New York Times columnists are upset that their mother paper is broke with subscription and readership down, and laying off thousands of blue-collar employees.

Instead, for the true believer, it is all about the self, and the sense of the self—and damn all other considerations. (We saw that with Jimmy Carter as well; that he destroyed liberal Democrat politics for a generation meant nothing; that he won prizes and jet-setted the world for thirty years meant everything. For these people, it is always about them—all the time. Let us eat cake as they end up liberal icons for the duration).

What Are We Left With?

The most blatant cynicism in recent American political history—a man who ran as a bipartisan who is the most partisan we’ve seen, a healer whose even flippant comments are designed to offend, a statist who assumes that the sheared sheep cannot stampede somewhere else, a reformer who trusts his honey-laced rhetoric can disguise Daley style-corruption.

On that happy note.

Everything, as my dear late mother lectured me, happens for a reason, or at least presents a sort of logic—irony, paradox, karma, and nemesis being the best ways of interpreting our unfathomable existences. It took messianic narcissistic Barack Obama to expose the full extent of the mess that a once noble tradition of 19th-century liberalism had devolved into. Only he could have rammed it down the throats of the American people, and when he is done, we will suffer, but also sicken of it for quite a while.

Otherwise, Merry Christmas! And thanks again to the most informed, articulate, and outspoken commentators in the blogosphere!



Critical statement on ACORN Report

Statement of Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli on Congressional Research Service ACORN report requested by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, which absolves ACORN of allegations of misusing taxpayer money received over the past five years:

"Anyone who saw the video of undercover filmmakers being advised by several different ACORN offices on how to break tax laws and set up brothels can figure that taxpayer money is likely being misspent somewhere by this radical group. Representative Conyers' refusal to conduct an investigation of ACORN, and ignoring the pleas of his colleagues in the process, is appalling.

"Now, it seems as if he is going to try to hide behind a report he commissioned from a research service controlled by the congressional leadership of which he is a member. This doesn't pass the smell test. There are plenty of things suspect about ACORN. Just watch the video. Or talk to prosecutors in several cities currently conducting investigations of ACORN-related vote fraud. Or read about how former a ACORN bookkeeper may have embezzled as much as $5 million from the group.

"Americans are appalled that taxpayers' funds are supporting the work of ACORN. The fact that ACORN receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants is reason enough for a formal Congressional investigation even without the allegations of wrongdoing.

"For Conyers to question the need for a bipartisan oversight hearing on ACORN is akin to his questioning of the need to read the health care bill earlier this year. It raises the question: What exactly are his responsibilities in his mind? Why are taxpayers paying his salary?"



BrookesNews Update

Why the US economy is facing a very unhappy New Year: All in all, future prospects are pretty grim for the US economy. Right now economic indicators are not healthy. What is more, the economy could be paradoxically heading for a monetary crunch
Wondering why young people spout Marxist claptrap? Look no further than the universities : If Copenhagen reveals anything at all - apart from the stupidity of politicians - it is that the cult of socialism is alive and is as intolerant and as ignorant as ever. So where do young people get this socialist drivel from?
Activists use backdoor socialism to con and bludgeon corporations : Socialism is a power cult that will not die, a fact that the current political shenanigans in Copenhagen amply support. No matter how many times reason and history refute socialist fantasies its adherents always manage to dress it up in new garb
Obama's Afghan pickle and Bill Ayers : Is the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers threatening to blow the whistle on his old mate Obama? The US-hating Ayres has been deeply angered by Obama's failure to surrender outright to Islamic terrorism
Uncle Obama's extortion racket : Uncle Obama has gotten a hold of your credit card. And he's amassing charges on it that you - not he - are liable for. You can call the fraud line, you can call the police, you can call any politician or government agency, and they will all tell you the same thing. Shut up and pay up. Since misery loves company, you might feel better knowing that you're not the only one being extorted



Britain to print more new money: "Sterling remained mired at two-month lows yesterday as Bank of England rate-setters refused to close the door on more quantitative easing. The minutes from this month’s meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) showed that, while all nine members voted unanimously to keep rates at 0.5 per cent and to maintain the quantitative easing (QE) limit at £200 billion, more QE next year was not ruled out. Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said: “While it seems likely that the MPC is nearing the end of its measures to support the economy, further action is certainly possible if the recovery disappoints.” Sterling remained under $1.60 yesterday, hitting a low of $1.5924 amid fears that interest rates would remain at historic lows for some time yet, before closing the day up 0.2 per cent at $1.5971. The pound hit a trough of $1.5923 on Tuesday, the lowest since mid-October, as investors digested figures showing that the British economy had shrunk by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, worse than expected."

British local authority couldn't afford enough salt (But you can bet that they are paying a heap of useless bureaucrats): "Cornwall County Council has said it failed to grit 80 per cent of its roads, including the stretch near Hayle where a Christmas tour coach crashed, killing two women. Irene Spencer, 78, and Patricia Pryor, 70, both from Camborne, Cornwall, died when their coach skidded off the road near Hayle and rolled on to its side. Emergency services said the roads in the area were “sheets of ice”. A police car responding to the 999 call skidded off the road and crashed into the upturned coach, which still had passengers trapped inside. Emergency crews could not get close to the crash site because of the icy roads and had to make their way on foot. The coach’s owner, Williams Travel, has accused the county council of failing to ensure roads were properly gritted despite warnings of severe weather. “The coach was unable to stop once it had come into contact with the black ice and then turned over on to its side and ended up in a ditch,” said operations manager Garry Williams on the company’s website. “All were amazed that this road was not gritted."

A triumph for steam in Britain: "Passengers stranded when modern-day trains fell victim to the freezing weather have been rescued by the crew of a steam engine. About 100 passengers climbed aboard the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost half a century at London Victoria when electric trains were delayed. The 1940s technology used to power Tornado, a £3million Peppercorn class A1 Pacific, was able to withstand the snow and ice that brought much of the South East to a standstill on Monday night. The locomotive's 'Cathedrals Express' service was offering festive trips in the region when staff on board heard about the stranded passengers. The travellers were offered free seats and were dropped off at stations as it chuffed through Kent, said Mark Allatt, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the charity which built Tornado. Mr Allatt said they were pleased to be able to help some of London's stranded commuters 'get home in style' and joked that rail operators could learn lessons from them. 'It's amusing because this engine is predominantly made up of 1940s' technology and we were able to keep running despite modern trains not being able to,' he said. 'If any of the rail operators would like to use this technology for themselves, we would be more than happy to build them an engine.' Built partly by volunteers with donations collected over 19 years, the apple-green locomotive can reach a top speed of 100mph and is designed for long-distance express journeys."


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, December 24, 2009

Are Republicans More Principled Than Democrats?

Ordinarily I’d say that commitment to principle, or its absence, is bi-partisan, that Republicans are neither more virtuous nor more concerned with the public interest than Democrats (or, obviously, vice versa), but a glaringly obvious yet under-remarked aspect of Harry Reid’s recent “Cash for Cloture” auction for health care votes calls that assumption into question: all of the bribes financial inducements were taken by Democrats.

First there was the “Louisiana Purchase,” $100 million in extra Medicaid money for the Bayou State, requested by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Then came the “Cornhusker Kickback,” another $100 million in extra Medicaid money, this time for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). This was followed by word that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) had written into the legislation $100 million meant for a medical center in his state. This one was quickly dubbed the “U Con.”

Earlier, when GOP staff member mistakenly thought the medical center was destined for Indiana rather than Connecticut, they named it the “Bayh Off” for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). For Democratic leaders, this created an appearance problem

Only “appearance”? Oh well. The list goes on: Indeed, the proliferation of deals has outpaced the ability of Capitol Hill cynics to name them. Gator Aid: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) inserted a grandfather clause that would allow Floridians to preserve their pricey Medicare Advantage program. Handout Montana: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) secured Medicare coverage for anybody exposed to asbestos -- as long as they worked in a mine in Libby, Mont.

Iowa Pork and Omaha Prime Cuts: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) won more Medicare money for low-volume hospitals of the sort commonly found in Iowa, while Nebraska’s Nelson won a “carve out” provision that would reduce fees for Mutual of Omaha and other Nebraska insurers. Meanwhile, Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, both North Dakota Democrats, would enjoy a provision bringing higher Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors in “frontier counties” of states such as -- let’s see here -- North Dakota!

Hawaii, with two Democratic senators, would get richer payments to hospitals that treat many uninsured people. Michigan, home of two other Democrats, would earn higher Medicare payments and some reduced fees for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) held out for larger Medicaid payments for his state (neighboring Massachusetts would get some, too).

There are probably even more bribes deal sweeteners that we don’t know about, yet, or that haven’t been made yet but will. Indeed, Fox News reports this morning that Sen. Cornhusker Kickback Nelson: said Tuesday that three other senators have told him they want to bargain for the same kind of special treatment. “Three senators came up to me just now on the (Senate) floor, and said, ‘Now we understand what you did. We’ll be seeking this funding too’,” Nelson said.

All the known (and presumably these three unknown future) bribes deals involve Democrats. But it defies belief that Obama and Reid did not offer equally generous bribes concessions to Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and even Lindsey Graham and other Republicans. Remember, Reid needed 60 votes to ram his partisan bill through the Senate, but they didn’t every one have to be Democratic votes.

According to Harry Reid, every Senator who was worth his or her salt got something. “I don’t know if there is a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that was important to them,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reasoned when asked at a news conference Monday about the cash-for-cloture accusation. “And if they don’t have something in it important to them, then it doesn’t speak well of them.”

Presumably Reid means every Democratic Senator, since no Republicans voted for cloture. As a Virginian, I wonder what my Senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, got. Does their silence about the bribes goodies for Virginia they secured mean they are embarrassed because they gave their votes away for free, meaning they liked the Reid bill so much they didn’t have to be bribed induced to vote for it? Or are they embarrassed to admit their votes were for sale? Or perhaps they are embarrassed for having sold too cheaply? I assume we’ll find out.

But, to return to my initial questions, why did no Republican succumb to the temptations that surely were offered? It can’t be simple political self-interest, since Snowe, Collins, and perhaps some other Republicans would have benefitted politically by a show of bi-partisanship. I hesitate even to suggest it, but could it be that devotion to principle is not randomly distributed between the parties after all?


Iowa Senator Tom Harkin calls the bribes “catering to self-interest” of wavering Democratic Senators no big deal. "Harkin dismissed deals dubbed vote-buying by GOP senators as “small stuff” that distracted Americans from the primary focus of the overhaul bill. We have to keep our eyes on what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to cross a demarcation line,” Harkin told “Early Show” co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez. “On one side is health care as a privilege, on the other side is health care as a right. With these votes, with the vote that we’ll take before Christmas, we will cross that line finally and say that health care is a right of all Americans.”

I actually agree with Harkin: the Democrats did cross the line.



Obama Has Failed His Words

by Jonah Goldberg

On his own terms, President Obama is a failure. During the presidential campaign, he fought hammer and tongs with Hillary Clinton over the best way to govern. Clinton, casting herself as a battle-scarred political veteran, argued that diligence, dedicated detail work and working the system were essential for success. Obama, donning the mantle of a redeemer descending from divine heights, argued that his soaring rhetoric was more than "just words"; it was a way out of the poisonous, partisan gridlock of yesteryear. Early on, in New Hampshire, he proclaimed that his "rival in this race is not other candidates. It's cynicism."

Occasionally the Obama-Clinton argument was explicit (such as when they sparred over who was more important to the Civil Rights Act -- Martin Luther King Jr. or Lyndon Johnson), but it was always there, implicit in everything from their body language and stagecraft to position papers and platforms.

The great irony of it all is that it seems they were both wrong. Obama's rhetoric in fact looks to be the best way to achieve a Clintonian agenda. But a Clintonian agenda is the worst possible way to live up to Obama's rhetoric.

From his 2004 DNC keynote speech onward, Obama rejected the partisan divide. He earned points by insisting that invidious descriptions of political opponents were deleterious to civic health and distracted us from the fact that "we are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."

In a speech following a June primary victory, Obama said he was "absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children ... this was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation."

So, does anyone feel like Americans are coming together? Obama the outsider hasn't changed the way Washington works; he's worked Washington in a way that only an outsider with no respect for the place would dare.

Consider his signature domestic priority: health care reform. After a year of working on it, his progressive base is either profoundly disappointed with him or seethingly angry. His Republican and conservative opponents are not only furious, they are emboldened. And independents -- who've been deserting the Democrats in polls and off-year elections -- are simply disgusted with the whole spectacle. Most important, an administration that once preened over its people-power roots can't even claim that Americans like what he's doing.

The bill does have its supporters: inside-the-Beltway pundits and Capitol Hill deal-makers, the pharmaceutical industry and the supposedly rapacious insurance companies (don't take my word for it, just ask Howard Dean -- or your stockbroker).

Under the Clintonian paradigm of governance, Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson's parlaying of his pro-life objections to the Senate bill into a windfall for his state and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' leveraging of his socialist principles for billions in special deals would be dramatic twists in a conventional story of LBJ-style arm-twisting.

But Clintonian means cannot further Obamaian ends. For the last year, Obama's party has made a mockery of everything Obama was supposed to represent. The tone has gotten worse as his communications staff spent the year demonizing Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called opponents of their health proposals "un-American." Over the weekend, Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse insisted that Senate opposition is being driven in part by "Aryan support groups."

Everywhere you look, the sizzle doesn't match the steak. He won the Nobel Peace Prize as he (rightly) sent even more men off to war. He promised that the oceans would stop rising but delivered a nonbinding something-or-other in Copenhagen.

In his special health care address to Congress in September, he said, "I am not the first president to take up (the cause of health care reform), but I am determined to be the last." Those were just words, and everyone, including Obama, knew it. Indeed, the only grounds for supporting the bill, according to progressives, is that it is a "first step" or a "starter house" that they'll build on for years, even generations, to come. In other words, the health care debate is not only not going to end, it's going to get uglier for as far as the eye can see.

But here's the point: Obama's rhetorical audacity breeds cynicism, because utopianism always comes up short. Obama has many victories ahead of him, but his cause is already lost.



"Shut up" is a favorite Democrat talking point

"This is not an administration that takes bad news well," Jennifer Rubin wrote on Commentary's blog, referring to Robert Gibbs' fit when asked to explain the Gallup poll showing the president taking on water, sinking into the high-to-mid 40s, and losing ground fast. Neither apparently does much of the left, which, faced with cratering numbers for both the health care proposals and for global warming, responded with all of the rational discourse and respect for debate and dissenting opinion that has made them so widely beloved.

First, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who emerged in the health care debate as the leading Republican anti-bill spokesman, was widely portrayed as sorry old coot acting from "bitterness," and who squandered his chance to establish a legacy by opposing the bill out of spite. He was a maverick, not an ex-Democrat, and his ally Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., fared even worse.

He was described as a "putz" by Jonathan Alter, as "the L-word" and as "Joe the Bummer" by Chris Matthews. He was also described as a traitor to Judaism by various bloggers -- by Jonathan Chait as the one Jew in the world too clueless to know what he's doing, and by Ezra Klein as a potential mass murderer, "willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score." Paul Krugman wanted him "hung in effigy," and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., urged he be "recalled" from office, though by whom was uncertain. Unfortunately, there is no provision in Connecticut law for recalls (much less for lynching) so they will have to wait for their chances in 2012.

In related news, Rep. Alan Grayson, Lunatic-Fla., known mainly for saying the Republicans' health plans called for asking the sick to "die quickly" and for telling former Vice President Cheney to "shut the f--k up," sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to investigate, fine, and perhaps send to jail for five years a Florida activist who reacted to his behavior by setting up a fundraising Web site called "" He complained that the blogger was "senseless and juvenile." "Just five years?" queried blogger Ed Morrissey. "Why doesn't Grayson just demand that Holder chop off her head?"

Then there was global warming, or the First Church of Al, where Al Gore sought refuge after the Florida recount and rapidly built a cult following. This was largely by warning that the Earth was in such danger from fossil fuel usage that in order to fight it he was compelled to jet all over the world spreading the message, and run up monstrous utility bills in his three or more homes.

When this cause was imperiled by e-mails showing that the global warming police had doctored the data -- and film showing Obama flying into a snowstorm on his trip to the summit at Copenhagen, Denmark, and then flying back into an even more extravagant blizzard in Washington -- certain members of the pundit-industrial complex responded by asking that news that impugned their consensus should be -- you guessed it -- suppressed.

ThinkProgress blogger Matt Yglesias complained that CNN ran a show called "Global Warming: Fact or Fiction" without taking sides on the side of the "Goracle," or saying that what he called the global warming "deniers" were totally out of their minds. He then said the news media -- along with the rest of what he called the elite of the country -- had a moral duty to the rest of humanity to censor their output, so that opinion contesting the "global climate-warming consensus" would never again see the light of the day.

At the New Republic, Ed Kilgore was in total agreement, blaming the mainstream press for being browbeaten by right-wing fanatics into thinking they ought to air different opinions, and even cover all of the news. Morals in this case seem to equal suppression. "Yglesias is right," he concluded. "This is one area of public policy where 'respect for contrary views' and 'editorial balance' are misplaced."

What a good thing Democrats are the party of logic and reason. They might tell their critics to "Shut the f--k up."




Ala. Dem defects to GOP over health care, policy: "A U.S. House Democrat who opposes the health care overhaul announced Tuesday he is defecting to the GOP, another blow to Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith spoke to reporters at his home in northern Alabama, a region that relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs. ‘I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt,’ Griffith said as his wife Virginia stood by his side.”

Griffith party switch: Will other Dems follow suit?: "Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith’s surprise switch of parties on Tuesday shows how quickly electoral dynamics are shifting under the weight of massive social and economic policy gambits in Washington. In fact, Mr. Griffith’s defection could put pressure on other conservative and even moderate Democrats, especially in the Deep South, to jump ship to save their seats. They’ve been encountering backlash from the public against a Democrat-controlled progressive agenda in Washington. Griffith took over the seat of retiring congressman Robert ‘Bud’ Cramer (D) last year. Now, the freshman lawmaker is angry about being marginalized in the Democratic power structure. An oncologist, Griffith voted against healthcare reform, as well as against the stimulus package and cap-and-trade legislation.”

Obama, left behind: "Boy, this ‘Obama Derangement Syndrome’ really has gotten out of hand. Why, just this past week the decreasingly popular president has been called a ‘bald-faced liar,’ ‘an executive who can’t bring himself to lead,’ and even an ‘Uncle Tom.’ And that’s just by liberals. The progressive crack-up, before Obama even reaches the end of his first year, has been an awesome and occasionally humorous sight to see.”


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, December 23, 2009

Nearly 60 percent Say President Obama’s Decisions ‘Bad for America’

A majority of Americans believe an increased government role in health care would lead to more government corruption, while a plurality of Americans think that scientific data supporting man-made global warming is “mostly falsified.” That is what a new poll by Survey USA reveals. The poll also shows that 58 percent of Americans believe that decisions by the Obama administration have been “bad for America,” as opposed to 37 percent who think Obama’s decisions have been “good for America.”

These poll numbers come at a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for international agreement to address apparent global warming and is also advocating for a major overhaul of health care in America.

The poll of 1,450 adults by Survey USA was conducted Dec. 11-14, and was commissioned by the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch. The poll asked questions on several topics, including government corruption, transparency, illegal immigration and the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Specifically, the poll asked, “Do you think data suggesting global warming is the result of human activity is mostly genuine? Or mostly falsified?” A plurality of 49 percent answered “mostly falsified,” while 41 percent answered “mostly genuine” and 10 percent were unsure.

Evidence about global warming has come under fire in recent weeks after hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit apparently revealed that contrary evidence was suppressed while organized efforts apparently were made to discredit critics.

The health care overhaul proposal supported by Obama and congressional Democrats has been unpopular in most polls. This poll, however, asked, “Would an increased government role in the health care system lead to more corruption? Less corruption? Or will it make no difference?”

An overwhelming 62 percent said “more corruption,” just 14 percent said “less corruption” and 21 percent said it would “make no difference.” Four percent were unsure.

While other polls have showed Obama’s approval rating slipping below 50 percent, this poll asked, “As a whole, are the decisions being made by the Obama administration good for America? Or bad for America?” To that, 58 percent answered “bad for America,” 37 percent said good and 6 percent were not sure.

“On virtually every single issue polled, the Obama administration appears to be completely out of step with the prevailing views of the American people,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It ought to be an especially troubling sign for President Obama that the majority of likely voters believe his decisions have been bad for the country. Frankly, these poll results suggest that President Obama and many other politicians ought to rethink their approach to government.”

The poll further showed that 64 percent of voters think the government is too big and that 62 percent think that bigger government leads to more corruption. Also, 72 percent think political corruption play a “major role” in the financial crisis last year.

The poll also found that 56 percent think the federal government is operating “out of line” with the U.S. Constitution.

In regards to the scandal-plagued ACORN, just 8 percent have a favorable view of the liberal activist group currently under investigation in several states for alleged voter registration fraud. A clear majority of 56 percent have a negative view of ACORN.

Obama also supports a comprehensive immigration reform package, which opponents believe is “amnesty” for illegal aliens. The poll showed an unfavorable rating here too, as 59 percent disapprove of the way the administration is handling illegal immigration.

Among those polled, 1,020 said they were likely to vote in the 2010 elections for U.S. Congress. The margin of error for the poll ranged from 2.6 percent to 3.1 percent.



Eurabia vs. Israel on Jerusalem

The recent Swiss vote to ban minarets was seen by many as a further indication that European populations are waking up to the threat of Europe’s Islamization and the need to stop the trend. If so, the European Union—the centralized bureaucracy that, as documented in Bat Ye’or’s important book Eurabia, went “over the heads” of European publics to meld the European and Arab/Muslim civilizations in the first place—still hasn’t caught up and remains locked in a pro-Arab/Muslim disposition.

At least, the EU’s stance on Jerusalem would suggest so. Last week the new EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, “came down hard on the Israeli government” in her maiden speech to the European Parliament and said: “East Jerusalem is occupied territory together with the West Bank. The EU is opposed to the destruction of homes, the eviction of Arab residents and the construction of the separation barrier.”

Her words prompted Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon to reply: “Just as the Romans did not succeed in cutting off Jerusalem from Israel, so too will diplomats from the UN and the EU be unsuccessful as well.”

Ashton, previously the EU’s trade commissioner and expected to be given considerable authority as a new sort of EU foreign minister, also called Israel’s recently launched ten-month moratorium on settlement construction a “first step”—representing, as the EUobserver comments, “a cooler tone than EU foreign ministers who last week took ‘positive note’ of the move.”

The EUobserver also pointed out that the speech was: “significant for what it left out: Ms Ashton did not say that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, that it faces a security threat from Palestinian ‘terrorists’ or that Palestinians should immediately return to formal peace talks—the classic tenets of Israeli supporters.”

Ashton’s statements also come hard on the heels of an EU-Israel spat over Jerusalem in which the EU explicitly called for East Jerusalem to become the capital of a Palestinian state. That demand was later only partially toned-down under intense Israeli objections.

In other words, even at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly accepted the call for a Palestinian state and enraged part of his right-wing base with the settlement moratorium, the EU keeps reflexively embracing Arab/Muslim positions. As always, the EU’s stance on Jerusalem ignores several facts.

Jerusalem was unified under Israeli sovereignty in 1967, after nineteen years in which Jordan illegally occupied the city and finally used it to attack Israel despite being implored by Israel to keep out of the fighting.

Under Israeli rule, Muslims and all other groups (except Jews—on the Temple Mount itself) have enjoyed full freedom of worship—a stark contrast to the nineteen years of Jordanian rule when Jews and Christians were denied access to Jerusalem’s holy places and Jewish synagogues and gravestones were destroyed and desecrated.

Muslims already have full control over Mecca, Medina, and countless sacred locales and shrines throughout the vast Muslim world, and their demand for Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem and the redivision of Israel’s capital can reasonably be regarded as excessive – especially when, as noted, Israel gives Muslims full access to their Jerusalem shrines and full rights in the city.

Indeed, Jerusalem is full of minarets, and any visitor to its Old City or its Arab neighborhoods can attest to the vibrancy of Muslim religious life there. The EU should be more concerned with Islamization on the continent than with taking harsh stances against Israel as it struggles to survive and to find the right mix of accommodation and steadfastness in an Arab/Muslim environment hostile its very existence.

But for the EU, after decades of forsaking its Judeo-Christian roots for pro-Arabism, that may be too much to expect. Even if European populations are starting to grasp the consequences of this civilizational self-abnegation, Europe’s Brussels-based bureaucracy remains willfully ignorant of the stakes



Who is more respected by the people, Sarah Palin or Al Gore?

One is a former vice presidential candidate who has been vilified in much of the press. The other is a former two-term vice president who has been celebrated in much of the press. So which is more respected by the public at large?

In the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released a few days ago, pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff asked, "I'm going to mention some people who have served in public life at some point in the past decade. Please tell me which one or two of these people, if any, you have the most regard and respect for." The list was filled with the predictable answers. The president was on top, named by 28 percent of respondents. Colin Powell was also way up there. But the striking thing is that Sarah Palin, after all the criticism that has been directed at her, finished tied for sixth place, respected by 13 percent of respondents, and Al Gore, after all the praise that has been directed at him, was in eighth place, respected by eight percent. (The poll was taken just before the global warming fiasco in Copenhagen, which seems unlikely to have a positive effect Gore's ratings.)

Hart and McInturff also posed the question the other way around, asking respondents who they have "the least regard and respect for." Gore tied for third place on that list, with 19 percent, while Palin was in fourth place, with 16 percent.

The poll also found that Palin's positive ratings have ticked up a bit, while her negatives have ticked downward. Fourteen percent of respondents say they have very positive feelings toward Palin; 18 percent have somewhat positive feelings; 23 percent are neutral; 14 percent are somewhat negative; and 26 percent are very negative. Her very positive and somewhat positive ratings are up a combined five points since October, while her very negative and somewhat negative ratings are down a combined six points.

One interesting thing about Palin's rating in the new poll is that the percentage of people who don't like her has not much changed from October, 2008, the moment when she was most popular. Back then, a combined 37 percent of respondents had very or somewhat negative feelings toward her. Now, the combined number is 40 percent. If you didn't like her then, you don't like her now. But the ranks of the Palin dislikers have not actually grown very much.




Oinking at the Trough: "Democrats in Washington have become completely oblivious to the fact that our money is not their money. They're like a bunch of fat, greedy kids in a candy store, charging their gluttony to someone else -- that would be us, the American taxpayers. Over at NRO, Daniel Foster totes up the expensive goodies that Democrats inserted into the health care bill. And Donald Lambro details more fat larded into the appropriations bill, also passed by Democrats largely on a party line vote. Remarkably, there is a 12% spending increase -- even as regular Americans remain unemployed and those not supping at the government trough continue to cut back. It may be that "love means never having to say you're sorry," but it's certain that working for the government means never having to live within your means."

The "Nazi Pope" myth lives on -- among people who should know better: "The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center voiced dismay and disappointment Monday at weekend Vatican moves to raise controversial wartime pope Pius XII to sainthood. The Vatican sparked anger in Jewish communities worldwide with moves to nudge Pius — whose beatification process was launched in 1967 — closer to sainthood, its ultimate honor. The Catholic Church argues that Pius saved many Jews who were hidden away in religious institutions, and that his silence during the Holocaust — when millions of Jews were exterminated by Germany’s Nazi regime — was born out of a wish to avoid aggravating their situation. But others believe Pius’s inaction when it mattered to the lives of so many was appallingly wrong.” [There is still a lot of hatred for ALL Christians among Jews. More on Pius XII here and here]

Government imposes three-hour limit on tarmac strandings: "Stinky toilets, crying babies, airless cabins — the Obama administration said Monday passengers don’t have to take it any more. It ordered airlines to let people get off planes delayed on the ground after three hours. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the three-hour limit and other new regulations are meant to send an unequivocal message to airlines not to hold passengers hostage on stuck planes. Coming on the eve of the busy holiday travel season, the announcement was hailed by consumer advocates as ‘a Christmas miracle.’”

CDC: 2/3 of cocaine being cut with dangerous drug: "If you’re doing cocaine, chances are this story will not make you quit. But it may make you think twice about your supplier. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control follows 21 cases of the otherwise rare disorder known as agranulocytosis, which is hallmarked by a severe weakening of immune function. The condition is brought on by the drug levamisole, which used to be given to colon cancer patients. It is also widely used to deworm cattle. Citing the Drug Enforcement Agency, the CDC report claimed that 69 percent of all cocaine seized at US borders contains levamisole. The average concentration was near 10 percent. Tainted cocaine was also seized in New Mexico and Washington.”

Fallacious Political psychology: "Even before the Senate voted on cloture, the Democrats’ health-care legislation was already delivering benefits in the form of a free mental-health screening delivered by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: If you oppose this bill, you’re a dangerous nut. Such was the essence of Sunday’s floor speech in which the junior senator from Rhode Island quoted at length from Richard Hofstadter’s 1965 classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics and offered it as a diagnosis of the health bill’s opponents.” [Some more rejoinders to such comments here, here and here]

The reprehensible Murtha "cleared": "While everyone is understandably obsessed with whether or not the Senate will pass this monstrosity of a health care bill, Congress decided they wouldn't find a better time to announce this news: "The Office of Congressional Ethics has closed its investigation into Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) and their relationships to the lobbying firm PMA Group, and the OCE advised against a formal House ethics investigation, the lawmakers’ offices said Friday. George Behan, Dicks’ chief of staff, said the OCE, which reviews potential rules violations and refers investigations to the House ethics committee, informed the Washington lawmaker on Dec. 2 that it had recommended the inquiry be dismissed."

Chris Brand's Christmas greetings to readers are now up --in his usual "incorrect" style.


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, December 22, 2009

One year after Gaza invasion, Israel proved right

On my understanding, there WERE a few rockets fired into Israel after the IDF withdrew from Gaza but the bombardment did stop shortly thereafter -- JR

It's something that has largely gone unnoticed but, with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech winning praise for his defense of war in the name of peace, it is a good time to point out, that in the year since Israel invaded Gaza, they accomplished what they had to do. There has not been one single rocket attack launched into Israel from Gaza. None.

It's important to remember this not only in light of Obama's speech and his defense of war in Afghanistan, but to remember the criticism of Israel's invasion of Gaza from around the world, mostly from people who were thousands of miles away from the rocket attacks and were not, nor their families, at risk.

At the time, many of them criticized Israel's invasion to defend its citizens against Hamas' rocket attacks and many criticized Israel for a "disproportionate" use of force, an argument that is both practically,intellectually and morally bankrupt ( if a criminal comes at you with a knife you are not obligated to make it an equal fight and come back at him with a knife -- if you have a gun, you shoot him in self-defense).

This reminder is also timely in light of the absurdity of a British magistrate issuing an arrest warrant for war crimes for Tzipi Livni, Israeli foreign minister during the Gaza invasion and one of three Israeli officials who were overseers of the invasion.

There were countless complaints of civilian casualties and what was called human rights violations. But the charges were baseless. There was no intention of the IDF to kill civilians but since Hamas used civilian structures to make their bombs and rockets destroying those facilities were necessary. If anyone was guilty of war crimes it was Hamas.

The fact is war is war. And that was a war started by Hamas as has all the wars in that region been started by those who sought to destroy Israel. And in war innocent people unfortunately become victims. Hamas should know. They have waged war for years by attacking unarmed civilians and using their own civilian populations as shields, hoping the Israelis had more respect for the lives of their own people than they did.

Israel ignored these complaints from the international community, doing what it thought was best for their own country and they have been proved right once again. There have been no more attacks. What's more, Hamas knows Israel will do it again with devastating effects on the Gaza infrastructure, economy, and Hamas itself, if any other such attacks are launched. And it is that deterrence that has kept the peace. Not the absurdity of the British government issuing warrants for war crimes.



Stockholm syndrome? Jews who won't support their allies

Why don't Jews support those who support them? Last week, on December 13, Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) held a protest rally in what can only be described as an Islamic fortress in the heart of Harrow, England. I strongly urged Jews to attend. Islamic anti-Semitism is more poisonous and more dangerous than even Nazism was to the Jews. The promise of Jewish genocide is made "sacred" by Islamic texts such as the one in which Muhammad says that the end times will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews, and the Jews hide behind trees, which then cry out, "O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him."

The SIOE demonstration was against the building of a mosque there, and the larger issues of the advance of Sharia and Islamization in the United Kingdom. SIOE pointed out the words of the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and Muslims our soldiers..."

Political parties, racist chanting, banners and placards, and totalitarian symbols such as Nazi swastikas, communist hammer and sickles, and the Islamic star and crescent were banned. The initial announcement of the demonstration asked those attending to bring one thousand Israeli flags, and said: "SIOE supports Israel's right to defend itself against Islamist attempts to annihilate Jews." SIOE called on Jews living in London or within travelling distance of London to attend the demonstration, saying that "vile anti-Semitism is being preached in mosques across the world and almost certainly the one in your neighbourhood....Non-Jews are demonstrating on 13th December against the anti-Semitism being taught in mosques which goes unchallenged by politicians, the media and so-called ‘moderate' Muslims. Jews cannot, in all conscience, leave it to non-Jews to protest on the behalf of Jews who are once again the world's whipping boy."

But they did. The Community Security Trust, a leading Jewish group in Britain, urged the Jewish community there not to support the demonstration. The CST said in a statement that it "has drawn attention to the Islamaphobic comments on SIOE's website, and compared the group to the English Defence League, and the BNP's Nick Griffin, who have attempted to gain support from Jews through pro-Israel and anti-Muslim statements.... A demonstration against Harrow mosque under the banner ‘Stop the Islamisation of Europe', is as stupid and offensive as a demonstration against Harrow synagogue, under the banner ‘Stop the Zionisation of Europe.'"

Once again leftist Jews were lying and deceiving to advance the aims of the enemies of Jews and Jewish life. Stephen Gash of SIOE responded: "I have stood several times in elections against the BNP and what they stand for. Equating synagogues to mosques is reprehensible in my view. When terrorists leave synagogues to blow up planes and tube trains then we at SIOE might reconsider our position. Until that happens we will continue to support Israel and the right of Jews to exist and to defend themselves."

Rabbis attacked the campaign also. They said that SIOE's "only purpose" was "to spread hatred and fear," and wrote: "We share the desire of the Muslim community of Harrow to respect our mutual traditions, to learn from each other's cultures and ways of life, and to live together in peace." Even the Rabbis abandon Israel when the going gets rough. These morally ill rabbis have lost their basic instinct of self-preservation.

The Jewish Chronicle even went so far as to gloat when attendance was small. Did the Chronicle ask why so few people attended this demonstration in a town where the majority does not want this mosque? The majority knows what's happening in their country and fear it. But the Chronicle did not restate the obvious -- that people did not attend out of fear.

Did the Jewish Chronicle cover the Death to the Jews protests back in January? Does the Jewish Chronicle cover the ongoing jihad against the Jews?

Much like the Jewish councils of World War II Germany that helped assist in what would become the extermination of the Jews, we are witnessing Jewish groups like the CST aiding and abetting Islamic jihad and Islamic anti-Semitism. I see the Muslim community doing nothing to expunge their texts and their teachings of the virulent Jew hatred that fills the Koran and Hadith.

Jewish history is littered with these traitors. The failure of the Jews stand up and fight this century's Philistines after thousands of years of persecution is difficult to swallow. The death wish of the is to break the heart. When has the Muslim community ever stood against ‘divisive' anti-Jewish protesters? I ask you. Where were Muslims during the death to Jews marches across the UK during the defensive in Gaza? Where are the Muslim groups and Jewish groups demanding that Jew hatred be expunged from the Koran and Islamic teachings?

Jews should have stood with SIOE. These cowards put all Jews at risk. If you are too scared to stand up, then shut up!



On the Collapsing US Dollar

While I am normally not much of a fan of The New York Times, one of their articles in November 2009 about the ballooning US national debt is worth quoting. The White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the national debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion in 2009, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher. Although other industrialized countries have heavy debt loads, too, the United States is a special case because of its sheer size.

Put simple, had the United States been a private person he would have been declared bankrupt by now and put under administration by the bank. But the United States is not a private person; it is still the world’s largest economy and with huge armed forces. It is worth quoting Takuan Seiyo in one of the installments of his brilliant From Meccania to Atlantis series:

“The strongest, most admired country in the world until just a few years ago is now a cautionary tale of the wages of sin and stupidity told to Chinese schoolchildren. A nation that works for a living can weather perhaps even such great storms. But the jobs of the American lower class have been outsourced to imported Mexicans. The jobs of the American middle class have been exported to China and India. The jobs of the American upper-middle class have been taken from the white males who held them by merit, and given to resentful identity groups that hold them by the fiat of the government’s preferred skin colors and favored genitalia. And thejobs of the American upper class have been reprogrammed from leadership and service, to ripping off the less clever via lawyering, banksterism, and padding one’s golden CEO parachute, and then expiation via funding and leading socialist NGOs. A freefalling dollar cannot help by increasing exports, when you have off-shored your manufacturing, and your main industries are predatory lawsuits, selling shoddy American housing to Salvadorians with faked mortgages, and marketing financial weapons of mass destruction worldwide. And a falling dollar is not a good inducement for the world to keep buying dollar-denominated U.S. debt. The cessation of that buying has such dire consequences tothe United States that Chinese strategists have named them ‘the nuclear option.’”

I have sometimes encountered Americans online who are convinced that they will face an armed conflict with a rising China in the future. Perhaps. But they often seem to take it for granted that such a conflict will be triggered by Chinese aggression against “foreign devils.” I’m not so sure about that. Right now I don’t see what interest the Chinese should have in provoking a war. They are currently behaving smarter than the Americans in many respects. I suspect that the Chinese are quite happy with selling cheap toasters tothe United States while their presidents are bankrupting the country by making the world safe for sharia, their businesses are outsourcing jobs to Asia and their universities are educating Asian students.

The USA, on the other hand, is a country with a massive national debt and large armed forces, a potent combination which has facilitated wars in the past. I don’t rule out the possibility that Chinese nationalists could create trouble at some point but frankly, if there is a war between China and the United States in the near future it may well be triggered by the USA, not China.

Whether the Americans, whose armed forces are infiltrated by Muslim Jihadists and Mexican gang members, would win a conventional war is a different matter. After the Muslim Nidal Hasan killed many of his fellow soldiers the US military intensified its efforts to recruit more Muslims to the military. Recruiting people from hostile cultures to protect your country is the behavior of nations that want to die, and apparently, that is what the West now wants to do.

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for “saving” the global economy. Man of the Year, as the award was called before our gender neutral age, has earlier been awarded to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin (twice), the Ayatollah Khomeini and other distinguished gentlemen, so Mr. Bernanke is in good company.

Yet as the insightful financial observer Karl Denninger states, “Bernanke’s actions have singularly done more damage to the American economy - and America - than anyone in the history of this nation. He clearly eclipses Nixon in his dissembling, while making a mockery of the free market.” This is because “By encouraging the bubble economy during Greenspan's time in The Fed (Bernanke was the chief agitator for 1% interest rates - and holding them too low during the early part of the 2000s) and trying to restart the bubble economy this time around through both ZIRP and intentional distortions through the credit markets, shielding those who made bad decisions while cramming the inflationary pressures down the throat of trading partners, Bernanke has guaranteed the loss of global reserve currency status for The Dollar. Our Senate is too stupid to recognize this and stop his re-nomination.”

Regarding the financial crisis of 2008, Denninger comments that “We have fixed nothing in the last two years.” In his view, “…the root problem is an excessive level of debt in the system at all levels, a level of debt that exceeds capacity to pay, and as a consequence any and all attempts to restart the credit-driven consumption economy would fail, and if pressed too far the government will fail. The evidence strongly suggests that you are getting awfully close to your last chance to stop being stupid before the market hands you a lesson that has the potential to destroy both our economy and government.”

In case Europeans believe that the EU is in a much better shape, the same man also claims that the Eurozone is “an absolute train wreck” which is “dancing with jugs of nitroglycerine.”

The price of gold will probably continue to rise. Investors buy precious metals because they no longer trust many currencies, above all the US dollar, and they are right to distrust the dollar. Although the price of gold has already risen significantly, the expatriate American investor Jim Rogers believes this is not a bubble since virtually nobody still owns gold. As a friend of mine comments, “I think gold is going to hold the level for a while now, for some months bordering to half a year. Then, due to the money-printing, the sky will be the limit.”

I have heard several people who are into precious metals state that silver is currently preferable to gold, and platinum may be a good bet as well. Exactly which precious metal is better I will leave to the experts, but a combination of all three might be sensible, in addition to property or other assets. This could be one of the few cases where “diversity” really is a good thing. An ancient and time-tested advice is to never put all of your eggs in one basket.

According to blogger Dennis Mangan, “While predictions are difficult to make, especially about the future, Williams marshals the facts that support his analysis. Runaway government spending, aided and abetted by massive printing of dollars by the Federal reserve, have doomed the dollar. It is only a matter of timing. A hyperinflation will be accompanied by political upheaval and, in my opinion, could see the end of the U.S. as we know it. What shape that upheaval would take is anyone's guess.”

Not all observers agree that the USA is facing a hyperinflation; there are those who believe the result will rather be a serious deflation. Whatever will be the end result it is quite evident thatthe United States is now headed for turbulent times, financially and politically. Since ethnic diversity is rapidly increasing and national cohesion is decreasing correspondingly, a Second American Civil War could be considered one of several possible outcomes.

Frankly, I suspect that more or less the entire Western world is heading for serious financial instability and Multicultural tribalistic violence in the coming generation. The most important thing that the common man can do in such turbulent times is to be mentally and physically prepared to protect the life and property of his family as best as he can until the dust settles. This includes having guns and ammunition as well as money. All things considered I believe that Americans and Westerners in general would be smart to invest some of their savings in metals as soon as possible, starting with gold, silver and lead, not necessarily in that order.




Judge mulls key issues in US murder trial: "A judge is weighing a critical legal question in the case of a man who confessed to killing one of the few late-term abortion providers in the U.S.: Can the man claim at his trial that the slaying was justified to save the lives of unborn children? Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, man, is charged with one count of premeditated, first-degree murder in Dr. George Tiller’s death and two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two ushers during the May 31 melee in the foyer of the doctor’s Wichita church.”

Dodd slips $100 million for hospital into “reform” bill: "A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night. The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut.”

More homosexual aggression: "A Memphis attorney is being sued in connection with biting off a portion of a man’s nose at a Midtown restaurant. In a lawsuit filed this week by Greg Herbers, 48, local trial attorney Mark Lambert is accused of biting off part of Herbers’ nose during a fight last June at Dish in Cooper Young. The dispute started when Herbers, a self-employed hairstylist, entered the restroom around 9 p.m. and noticed the one stall was occupied by two men ‘performing some activity other than going to the bathroom.’ Herbers claims that when he told the men he needed to use the toilet, Lambert, who was standing at the urinal but appeared to know the men in the stall, became aggressive.”

In praise of Sweden: "We’re all familiar with the idea that Sweden is a social democratic hellhole where you cannot keep even an extra penny or krone for yourself but it gets taxed off you and used for the benefit of ’society.’ But as our Danish correspondent has been pointing out here those Nordic social democracies are not quite as they seem. High tax rates, yes, high levels of redistribution, yes, but underneath that social democratic bonnet there’s (to use the phrase of one commentator here) a surprisingly liberal capitalist economy purring along.” [See also some of my comments on Sweden here -- JR]


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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)