Saturday, September 04, 2010

The authoritarian nature of the political Left never changes

Sorry, but I can't allow Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' statement that "we have a lot of re-education to do" slip by without comment. It's amusing when avowed leftists don't even recognize the Marxist buzzwords they're sputtering.

Sebelius is attributing the public's vehement opposition to Obamacare to "misinformation given on a 24/7 basis. ... Unfortunately," she said, "there still is a great deal of confusion about what is in (the Obamacare law) and what isn't." She is especially peeved about the vulnerability of seniors, who "have been a target of a lot of the misinformation." (The target of Obama's misinformation, perhaps.)

The most remarkable thing is that Sebelius didn't actually use the term "re-education" accidentally or out of school. Perhaps unwittingly, she's quite comfortable using a term long associated with tyrannical regimes. As one of Obama's chief lieutenants, she obviously believes this administration knows better than the public what is good for them.

Indeed, one of the ongoing ironies of liberalism is that it holds itself out as open-minded, democratic and representative of the common man, when it is more comfortable dictating to and indoctrinating the masses. Just look at our universities alone if you need quick, verifiable proof. But let's consider a few other examples of this administration's employing that mindset.

When an audience member at a forum at the Kennedy School of Government told Obama adviser and close confidant Valerie Jarrett that Obama's ideas are too complex to be digested by the unwashed, she didn't protest. The participant affectionately proposed that the White House express its ideas in an easier-to-comprehend form, such as printing simple booklets -- I assume replete with large print and colorful pictures.

Unflinching, Jarrett agreed it was a jolly idea. "Everyone understood hope and change," she said (NO, THEY DIDN'T), because "they were simple. ... Part of our challenge is to find a very simple way of communicating. ... When I first got here, people kept talking about 'cloture' and 'reconciliation' and 'people don't know what that's talking about.'" Then, the kicker, "There's nobody more self-critical than President Obama. Part of the burden of being so bright is that he sees his error immediately." How lonely it must be for these people at their perch high above the masses.

Then there's Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who, in gloating that he is part of a "transformational administration," intends to "coerce people out of their cars." Does it bother him that he's basically using government to dictate to people how they should behave? Are you kidding? When asked about such unseemly government intrusion, he cavalierly replied, "About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people's lives." He continued, "I think we can change people's behavior."

Then there is the president himself. After his policy agenda was soundly repudiated with the victory of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race, instead of showing contrition or promising to modify Obamacare to more closely align with the people's will, he became further entrenched. He said, "I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed." He also said he just hadn't talked enough about his plan, which left me wondering where "Saturday Night Live's" writers were.

With this administration, what we're seeing is not just an arrogant contempt for the cognitive ability and will of the American people but also a cynical determination to manipulate its will through indoctrination, selective suppression of speech, and trickery.

Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, wrote a Harvard Law Review article advocating "cognitive infiltration," which amounts to the government's use of phony websites and 501(c)(3) groups to masquerade as independent supporters of government policies and trolling opposing websites to pepper them with pro-administration posts. In this way, the government can manipulate public opinion surreptitiously, all for the greater societal good, as defined by Obama/Sunstein liberals. Even certain fellow liberal journalists have described this suggestion as "truly pernicious."

And let's not forget recent Obama Supreme Court appointee Elena Kagan's advocating the government's "unskewing" of speech that she and her fellow liberals believe harmful, i.e., conservative speech.

I truly hope people understand that Kathleen Sebelius' comment was neither offhanded nor out of line with the administration's MO; it was right in line with the administration's Orwellian approach to top-down, autocratic governance.



Low-grade abuse of Sarah Palin offends even some liberal feminists

Yesterday, Vanity Fair released yet another long hatchet job piece about Sarah Palin. But what this piece has generated — well, besides incredulity that a magazine of Vanity Fair’s caliber would run a character assassination piece almost entirely based on anonymous sources — is a bipartisan backlash. Not against Palin, but against Vanity Fair.

Politico’s Ben Smith has already debunked two of the stories told in the piece. Clara Jeffery, editor of Mother Jones, tweeted that she was “annoyed by [Palin] being called to task things normal for any male pol. Like using cute kids as props.” Later, in response to Roger Ebert’s approving tweet, Jeffery sarcastically tweeted back: “Also bumming me out: That @ebertchicago would think Palin profile is ‘devastating.’ Uh, yeah, to journalistic standards.”

Fellow Mother Jones editor Monika Bauerlein was also annoyed, tweeting, “‘Sarah, these aides say, seemed comforted by having the children around, and she seemed lonely when they were gone.’ Truly a monster.”

And, via Ben Smith, former John Edwards aide and feminist/progressive blogger Melissa McEwan wrote:
"Gross’ article, however, amounts to very little but “Sarah Palin is the worst because she’s in politics…and is A WOMAN.”

Sure, it’s covert sexism. Gross doesn’t talk about her boobs or use identifiable misogynist epithets to describe her, but it’s sexism nevertheless, as the (frequently dislikable) habits of many major politicians, of both parties, are used to build the case that Palin is remarkably awful. But there is nothing particularly remarkable about a politician who requires family members get permission to grant interviews. Nor about a politician who ambitiously trades favors and ruthlessly gets people fired who cross [him]. Nor about a politician who acts like an entitled a**.

What makes this article the worst thing I’ve read all day is the fact that most of what’s in it is the sort of s*** that is considered (rightly or wrongly) the mundane business of doing politics, and yet is somehow ZOMG SHOCKING when done by Sarah Palin. …

I will continue to defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because I endorse her or her politics, but because that’s how feminism works. But I’d prefer not to be obliged in the first place.

For those who weren’t satisfied by 10,000-plus word screed against Palin, VF also published an online-only bonus article going over (again!) how much the McCain campaign spent on clothes for the Palin family. But when you’ve got even Meghan McCain — who’s admitted to being “conflicted” over what she thinks about Palin — taking Palin’s side on the wardrobe malfunction, that says something about how way overblown the hysteria is. From Jay Newton-Small, blogging for Time about McCain’s new book:
But McCain also sympathizes with the wardrobe debacle. “That’s what it costs to outfit seven or eight people in designer clothes,” McCain wrote. “Other candidates had spent just as much, or more, but kept those kinds of expenses under wraps – sunk into promotion and advertising costs. What surprised me was that our campaign couldn’t do the same.”

The debate over Palin’s policies and role in the Republican party will no doubt continue. But when you’ve got liberal feminists defending her, it’s clear that the level of vitriol toward her is long past acceptable boundaries.

UPDATE: Over at Slate, blogger David Weigel just posted an e-mail from Shannyn Moore (described by VF as “a green-eyed blonde who, like Palin, was once an Alaska beauty queen, albeit a few stripes more self-aware,”) regretting that she trusted the piece’s writer, Michael Joseph Gross.

In the e-mail directed to Gross, Moore wrote that his depiction of her thoughts was “so completely wrong, and put me in such a completely inaccurate and unfavorable light.” She concluded with a harsh reprimand: “Shame on you. You’re not a writer … you’re a climber.”



Some very recent history

Most Americans welcomed the announcement that US-led combat operations in Iraq were over, and that the last combat unit was to be sent home. Last night, when President Obama addressed the nation via live television, he obviously counted on the short memories of the American people in his attempt to garner credit.

At the same time, officials at the public-interest group Move America Forward congratulated these brave troops and greeted them as heroes. They also also called on the Obama Administration to do the right thing, and give credit where it is due.

"He [Obama] should thank George W. Bush for enabling victory in Iraq, in addition to the troops who and won the war, despite Obama's opposition to the successful war strategy," stated a press release from the group.

"In 2007, the War on Terror was raging worse than ever in Iraq, the outlook for the American public was grim, and too many of our precious troops were hurt or being killed in battle. Politicians on the left began piling on their attacks on both President Bush and the mission, putting their own political gain ahead of the lives of our troops," their statement said.

In his re-election campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping Nevada voters forget that he personally surrendered to the terrorists and gave a huge morale boost and symbolic victory to the enemy when he said, "I believe this war is lost. The surge is not accomplishing anything."

Then-Senator Barack Obama himself predicted that the surge would not help in Iraq. “In fact, I think it will do the opposite” he said, predicting that our troops would make matters worse! Later he would say "The surge is not working" and believed our efforts in Iraq would fail.

Officials at Move America Forward are doing what the lap-dancing news media won't do: Point to the politicians -- like Harry Reid -- who hope Americans forget their foolish statements, as they now join President Obama in taking credit for the victory that was made possible through the sheer determination of President George W. Bush, along with the courage and dedication of our brave troops who called him Commander-in-Chief.

What has become clear is that politicians stand ready to denounce the troops the moment things get tough, and then rush in to claim victory after the shooting stops and the battle is won.

"I recall Senator Dick Durbin calling our troops 'stormtroopers' and terrorist detention centers 'gulags.' And Senator John Kerry accused our military of terrorizing women and children in the dark of night. But I'm not expecting Katie Couric and the rest of the Obama water-carriers to remind Americans of this outrageous duplicity," said former intelligence officer and police detective Mike Snopes.

"Now our great Lecturer-in-Chief Obama is trying to claim victory for a mission he actively opposed, and many in his administration now have attempted to take credit for victory in Iraq," added officials from Move America Forward.

What is angering many is Americans is Vice President Joe Biden calling the outcome of the Iraq war “one of the great achievements of this administration.” trying to argue that Obama and his administration deserve more credit than President Bush or even the troops who fought the war!

Yet when Bush was making the hard decisions to stay the course in Iraq, it was Biden who said "The whole notion that the surge is working is fantasy."

The truth is that if Obama and Biden had been in charge, America would have already lost the Iraq war, and suffered dearly the consequences.




I rarely post to my Scripture blog these days but I have just put up a study of Ecclesiastes 10:2 which might be of some interest. It asks whether the text is an endorsement of the political Right.

U.S. Economy Lost 54,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.6%: "Job losses continued to mount in the U.S. economy last month, though at a more modest pace than expected, putting further pressure on policy makers to take action to spur growth and employment. A separate report indicated the U.S. nonmanufacturing sector expanded at a much slower pace last month. The U.S. economy shed jobs for a third straight month, losing 54,000 non-farm jobs, but the losses were half as bad as expected. The unemployment rate rose to 9.6%."

The Revolt of the Bourgeois: "The much-analyzed speeches at the Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally weren't as notable as what the estimated 300,000 attendees did: follow instructions, listen quietly to hours of speeches, and throw out their trash. Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society."


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, September 03, 2010

The left wins… rhetorically

The article by Melanie Phillips excerpted below gets it pretty right but doesn't quite get back to the basics. There is a very clear reason why Leftist oratory tends to sound good: Sounding good is all that the Leftist aims for. His own personal self interest is all that he really cares about so if the policies he advocates sound good now, but lead to ruin and destruction in the future, he shows a psychopathic disregard for such future consequences; While the poor old conservative is left in the position of pointing out all the negatives

Both Obama and Hitler are prize examples of sounding good to their chosen audiences. Hitler's oratory and eloquence led Germans down a path that killed millions of them (and others) whereas Obama so far has simply signed a law that will eventually make healthcare more costly and less available to most Americans -- but the lack of caution about the future is the same --JR

Someone I met recently posed what I thought was an interesting question.

Like me, he had read and admired the moving interview in last Sunday’s Observer with the Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose son Uri was killed when his IDF tank was hit by a rocket in the final hours of the aborted war with Hizbollah in 2006.

Grossman, whose new novel apparently owes much to that terrible experience, talked simply and poignantly about its effect on him. One does not have to agree with his politics to be touched by his refusal to give in to despair and even to find ways to grow from such a tragedy.

My acquaintance, however, asked why it was that the most articulate voices tended to be found on the left. Why was there no equivalent to the soaring voice of David Grossman on the right?

One possible reason is that the left and the intelligentsia are more or less synonymous: or as the left so offensively puts it, that the ‘right’ — ie everyone who is not the left — is stupid.

On that basis, the left seems to have a monopoly of eloquence simply because of its dominance of the chattering classes.

But there may be another reason. I think it boils down to a matter of perception; and perception, as so often, is influenced by ideology.

What, after all, does eloquence do? It moves us. It provokes an emotional identification and sympathy with the speaker or author. Today’s left privileges emotion over reason, in direct contrast to the non- or anti-left which champions objectivity over subjectivity. And emotion and eloquence go together.

Prose that gives expression to personal grief or yearning for peace is thus almost inevitably bound to soar far more eloquently than stolid attempts to present objective factual evidence and arguments for law and morality against their antithesis.



Simplistic pacifism won't help Afghans

Andrew Riddle (a retired soldier in the Australian Regular Army and a political moderate) points out what a Nazi-like regime the Taliban were and how they have not gone away

As I sat through another politics lecture the other day, I felt a slow rage building inside me. "Counter-insurgency," this particular lecturer declared, "is all about winning hearts and minds. We've heard all this before – in Vietnam!"

It's always easy to oppose war. War is awful. Awful, however, is not the same as simple. Simple is what the anti-war movement wants; it wants the war to be about American imperialism and stealing Third World resources, crowded with war crimes and founded on lies. It wants Afghanistan, in short, to be Iraq.

But Afghanistan is not Iraq, and never was. Long-forgotten is that terrible period of hand-wringing concern over the horrific abuses of the late '90s. Back then, we were all shocked by the brutality of the new jihadist rulers of Afghanistan. When the Taliban took almost complete control of Afghanistan in 1996, it massacred surrendered enemies and the minority Hazaras, stripped women of education and healthcare, and publicly executed civilians for a vast array of crimes, real and imagined.

The Revolutionary Association of the Woman of Afghanistan went to great lengths to smuggle out footage of these atrocities, while Physicians for Human Rights said in their 1998 report, "no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of physical punishment from showing their faces, seeking medical care without a male escort, or attending school".

The Taliban were one of the most horrific regimes in recent history. They were worth overthrowing, and they are worth fighting.

There were serious mistakes in Afghanistan, the most important of which was abandoning it in favour of the Iraq war. While the half-baked neo-conservative adventure in Mesopotamia unfolded, the scattered Taliban reformed, the fragile new government faltered and fell into corruption and vice, and the initial respect in the region for America's white-hot rage was replaced with contempt. Most discouraging, however, was watching Afghanistan's role in the antiwar narrative gradually expand from an afterthought to the main event.

Certainly the case for Afghanistan has been done no favours by the right-wing commentariat. "Clash of civilisations" rhetoric about "global Islamofascism" and sound-bite arguments about "safe havens for terror" serve to tarnish all support for the Afghanistan campaign.

Sadly, however, just because an argument is made by priggish partisans does not necessarily make it wrong. Afghanistan really was a safe haven for terrorists; it was used to build a global network of anti-American jihadists, which resulted in the most devastating terrorist attack in history.

We should fear terrorism, not least because of the consequences for democracy. After 2001, Western governments explored torture, indefinite detention without trial, and "extraordinary rendition", and any questioning or opposition was coloured as collaboration and appeasement. We had almost leapt head-first into the trap al-Qaeda had created. And as Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen fall into chaotic lawlessness, it could happen again.

Opponents of the Afghanistan war suffer from a most acute form of confirmation bias. Every soldier or civilian killed, every misdirected bomb, becomes yet more indisputable, conclusive proof that the military effort is an atrocity. Hair-splitting arguments, such as the distinction between al-Qaeda and the Taliban (because the two were merely very closely interwoven, rather than identical), become mantras supposedly proving poor faith, and the big picture vanishes.

War is an incredibly complex business, and the war in Afghanistan one of the most complex. Brilliant men like Stanley McChrystal and David Kilcullen spend their entire lives seeking to understand it, yet every armchair chardonnay-swiller thinks they know better.

Perhaps the Afghanistan campaign is not worthy of unqualified support. Indeed, the tenacious culture of Pashtun resistance may make a staged withdrawal the best possible solution. Military strategists are already gearing their efforts towards salvaging the best result from a truncated mission, in the knowledge that public tolerance for the war is draining away.

However, with the break in the bipartisan grip on power, and more than half of the electorate now opposing our contribution to Afghanistan, it's important to take the debate seriously, rather than choosing the feel-good option of simplistic pacifism. All I ask is that, before adopting a position, people seriously consider the moral, political, and historical implications of abandoning Afghanistan.

The decision to leave 38 million Afghans to sort it out themselves should not be easy or simple. It seems that at some point it's going to happen, but when it does it should not be done lightly.



The Dragon & the Elephant: Five myths about China versus India

By Dr John Lee

Myth 1: China’s authoritarian system sacrifices rights for social order

In fact, there is far more chaos and unrest in China than there is in India. According to the latest available official figures, there were 124,000 instances of ‘mass unrest’ (defined as 15 or more people protesting against officials) in 2008 in China. India has fewer than 5,000 such instances. Beijing spends more on ‘internal security,’ which does not include the normal police forces, than it does on the People’s Liberation Army.

Myth 2: India enjoys more freedom but at the price of economic inequality

In fact, using the commonly accepted standard of the GINI coefficient, China’s score is around 0.55–0.60, while India’s is around 0.33–0.36 (‘0’ is perfect income equality and ‘1’ is perfect income inequality. This makes China the most unequal society in all of Asia and the trend is worsening.

Myth 3: Given China’s spectacular rise, its private sector multinationals are due to dominate Asia, and then the world

True, there are 34 Chinese companies in the Fortune 500 list – all state-controlled except for one – compared to India’s eight. Size is one thing. But by ‘return on assets’ (to measure profitability) and ‘number of patents filed’ (to assess innovation), Indian firms do significantly better. Tellingly, the Indian firms spend about 5% of revenues on R&D on average while Chinese firms spend about 1% of revenue.

Myth 4: China is leaving India behind in the urbanisation stakes

China is definitely ahead of India: about 48% versus 35%. But the rate of urbanisation in India is actually neck-and-neck with China at about 1.5% per year.

Myth 5: China and India are making Western models of political-economy obsolete

There is a saying in both countries about their own respective developmental approach: Western knowhow with Chinese/Indian essence. But even Beijing and New Delhi admit that they are still speculating what this actually means. China and India are still outside the world’s top 100 for GDP per capita. The jury is well and truly still out on this one.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Sept. 3. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


"Openness" about political donations may serve to entrench power -- by inhibiting donations to out-of-power parties

The comment below by Andrew Norton refers to the Australian situation but the principle is the same in any democracy

With the Greens and independent MPs both pushing political donations reform, this looks like one certain outcome of an inconclusive election.

There are many proposals for change, but most observers support more disclosure of political donations. A $1,000 threshold for donations disclosure is commonly suggested, including in the Green-Labor pact signed this week. Under the current system, donations below $11,500 need not be disclosed.

It is widely assumed that more disclosure increases the integrity of the political process. But it is not at all clear that this is the case.

If we assume that politicians are inclined to favour their financial supporters, it follows that they will also be inclined to disfavour the financial supporters of their opponents, by denying them access to ministers, appointments to government bodies, funding for their associations, and contracts with government agencies.

Disfavouring is much easier to hide than overt favours. Whether there is a donations trail or not, favours are usually easily detected. We know who receives government appointments, and which organisations benefit from government grants and contracts. But silently overlooked people, requests and applications generate no public evidence.

What donations disclosure does is give governments a convenient list of people who support their opponents. The disclosure regime doesn’t just apply to political parties but also non-government organisations that comment on political matters. So spending just $1,000 opposing the government on only one issue could put your name on a ‘do not assist’ list.

If we had a small government that confined itself to a few core services, this may not matter much. But when we have a big government that spends more than a third of national income, and which cannot resist meddling in almost every activity, it creates real risks. So many people need to interact with government that numerous potential political donors may be deterred by the fear of future political disfavour.

The secret ballot was a great Australian democratic innovation, designed to let people express their views free of political intimidation. We should reject any law that gives the federal government more scope to inhibit its opponents.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Sept. 3. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


Tony Blair speaks highly of GWB in his memoirs

I have always had a similar view of GWB so it is rather pleasing to have it confirmed by someone who came to know him well -- JR

Former U.S. President George W. Bush was a "true idealist" who displayed "genuine integrity and political courage," former British prime minister Tony Blair reveals in his memoirs.

Detailing the close professional and personal relationship which developed between the two leaders in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. and during the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003, Blair writes that Bush was "very smart" while having "immense simplicity in how he saw the world."

"Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership... he sincerely believed in spreading freedom and democracy," he writes in "A Journey;" which hit book stores in the UK on Wednesday....

Blair said the key to Bush's political success was his "appeal as a normal guy." "You might not agree with him, but if you're a voter, you would never think you would be uncomfortable or feel inadequate if you met him socially; you would think he'd be nice and easy with you," he writes.

Bush had also displayed the most integrity of almost anyone he had met in politics, Blair says. "I was asked recently which of the political leaders I had met had most integrity. I listed George near the top. He had genuine integrity and as much political courage as any leader I ever met," he writes.



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, September 02, 2010

Crimes Against Liberty

“Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” and that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” That, of course, was Barack Obama upon securing his party’s nomination for president.

It didn’t take generations but only a couple of years for a majority of Americans to begin to realize that instead of messianic healing, Barack Obama is inflicting unprecedented injuries on America and the liberties of its citizens. Now there is a book that documents this alarming news in a very comprehensive yet readable way. My friend David Limbaugh’s Crimes Against Liberty is the one book all Americans should read before November.

Before you dismiss Crimes Against Liberty because it is written by a Limbaugh (after all, you’re not a bigot, right?), realize that people can present evidence objectively even if they personally are not neutral. First, neutral people rarely have the interest or expertise to write books!

But more importantly, you can’t dismiss what Limbaugh says simply because he might have a conservative agenda. That’s a fallacy that cuts both ways—you’d have to dismiss everything Obama says because he has a liberal agenda. The truth is, everyone has an agenda. The issue is not the agenda, but the evidence one presents!

Like the good attorney he is, Limbaugh presents a wealth of irrefutable evidence for his thesis quoting several liberals along the way. His meticulously researched indictment of Barack Obama and his Administration lays out fact after fact that will educate even political junkies who mistakenly thought they knew it all. I follow politics closely, but I didn’t know the extent to which those currently in power are dismantling our liberties and security until I read this book.

More here


Tea partiers swinging the GOP towards greater conservatism?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski's apparent defeat in Alaska's Republican primary isn't just a defeat for the Republican establishment and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which -- in keeping with standard practice -- backed her renomination.

The Alaska result is above all a blow to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As with the primary defeat of Utah's Bob Bennett in the spring, challenger Joe Miller's likely win replaces a close McConnell confidant with an unaccommodating conservative.

McConnell, since becoming minority leader in 2007, has built his own "kitchen Cabinet," consisting of two or three official "counsels" -- senators, handpicked by him, who attend GOP leadership meetings along with the elected party leadership. Both Bennett and Murkowski are in this inner circle. And both lost their primaries this year to conservatives running against Washington.

Murkowski was one of McConnell's rising stars. He tapped her for his inner circle in her first term, and she also got a spot on the Appropriations Committee. The darling of Alaska's former senior senator, Ted Stevens, Murkowski rocketed through the ranks. This year, she was elected secretary of the Senate Republican Conference, one of the top six leadership roles. After Stevens lost re-election in 2008, McConnell took her under his wing. "Lisa is the new powerhouse in Alaska," he told Roll Call. "She will fill the vacuum left by Ted."

And her Senate record resembled Stevens' -- while she had a long climb to match the porking prowess of Stevens, her $704 million in earmarks over the past three fiscal years puts her in the same league as the biggest earmarkers. She has a moderate voting record, but she isn't at the left end of the GOP. Ultimately, she is a loyal Republican who isn't terribly ideological. This was the profile for McConnell's "counsels."

But Joe Miller, the former judge and Army veteran who appears to have beaten her in the primary, pending counting of all absentee ballots, is of a different stripe. Miller is not merely conservative, he's unyielding, supremely self-confident, and self-reliant. He will come to Washington seeing the whole town and its customs -- quite possibly including collegiality and tradition of the Senate -- as the enemy.

It's the same story in the Utah Senate seat.

Bennett, like Murkowski, is an ideal McConnell lieutenant because he is ideologically flexible -- neither a staunch conservative nor one of the party's card-carrying moderates like Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. A profile of Bennett in the Capitol Hill publication the Hill said Bennett was respected for "his persuasive levelheadedness and his lack of a personal political agenda." The profile described his role as McConnell's first mate: "Bennett usually seconded McConnell's opinion in Republican leadership meetings and was often dispatched to cajole balky Republican senators into taking tough votes."

Bennett's replacement -- former gubernatorial aide Mike Lee -- promises to be something beyond just a "balky Republican senator." Lee's stump speech sounds like a lecture on the Constitution, and how nearly everything Washington does is outside of its legitimate authority. He takes pretty seriously the oath of office to defend the Constitution, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him filibuster a harmless Republican measure that isn't explicitly authorized by Article I, Section 8.

So on one level, trading Bennett for Lee is trading a senator with a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 84 percent for one who will be above 98 percent. But more importantly for Capitol Hill dynamics, it's trading a quintessential team player for an inflexible conservative stalwart. Put Miller and Lee in the same chamber, and the legislative calendar could back up worse than the Washington Beltway at rush hour. One Republican operative, comparing these future senators with the upper chamber's current gadflies, said Lee and Miller will make Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn look like lapdogs.

If Miller and Lee set the tone of the incoming freshman class, that could ensure that Colorado's Ken Buck, Nevada's Sharron Angle, and Kentucky's Rand Paul -- if they win -- never fully assimilate to the Old Boys (and Girls) Club.

Beyond the job difficulties these freshmen could cause for McConnell, this year's Tea Party uprising has left McConnell looking politically weak. His two consiglieres, Murkowski and Bennett, lost primaries, as did Trey Grayson in McConnell's home state of Kentucky. McConnell had groomed Grayson to replace retiring curmudgeon Jim Bunning.

McConnell's office says the leader isn't worried -- a larger minority (or possibly a majority) will inevitably mean a tougher lot to wrangle. He'd rather have an unruly 48 seats than a well-behaved 41 seats. We'll see what McConnell says once DeMint has two to five senators to his right.



Securing America's interests, and Iraq’s

For now, we have transformed Iraq from a hostile, terrorist-supporting dictatorship destabilizing the region into a ramshackle democracy that is an ally in the war on terror. To get Iraq to this point, in January 2007 President Bush had to order tens of thousands of additional troops into a failing war, in the teeth of gale-force opposition from the political establishment, public opinion, and the balance of the military brass. To capitalize on the opportunity we have bought in Iraq with blood and treasure, President Obama has to do something much easier: resist a strategically witless urge to turn his back on Iraq as being merely the site of “Bush’s war.”

The president’s Oval Office address wasn’t confidence-inducing. Appropriately, he saluted the troops for “completing every mission they were given in Iraq,” and he promised Iraqis they will “have a strong partner in the United States.” But he spoke particularly forcefully of removing 100,000 troops from Iraq, closing or transferring hundreds of bases, and moving millions of pieces of equipment out of the country — indices of ending a war, not necessarily winning it. He talked up the growing capabilities of the Iraqis, but in the spirit of declaring victory — or, more precisely, the end of combat operations — and coming home. He exhorted us to “turn the page,” before arguing that we must honor the troops by uniting around his domestic agenda.

In its failure to credit explicitly Bush’s surge for turning around the war, the speech was graceless; in its cursory treatment of Iraq, it lacked strategic vision; and in its attempt to hijack the troops for Obama’s domestic priorities (“we must tackle . . . challenges at home with as much energy and grit, and sense of common purpose, as our men and women in uniform”), it was shameless. Altogether a poor performance.

Forging a long-term strategic partnership with Iraq needn’t take exorbitant resources, or anything like what we’ve had to devote to the war to get it to this point. Absent a disastrous deterioration of conditions on the ground, we should over time be able to do it with less than we spend annually in aid to Pakistan ($1.5 billion), and with fewer troops than we keep in Germany (54,000) or Japan (36,000). There’s no need to stint on it for the sake of wind power, as President Obama vaguely implied last night.



Moonbat Professor Calls for Forced Sterilization

Sounds like something straight out of the 1920s and 30s

After Germans got carried away applying progressive ideology to the Jewish Question, the movement has backed away from eugenics, limiting its genocidal proclivities to the aggressive promotion of abortion. But to this day, if you scratch a liberal (as progressives now call themselves), you will often find a Nazi. For example, Professor David Marsland wants to save the children by preventing them from existing:
Marsland, Emeritus Scholar of Sociology and Health Sciences at Brunel University, London and Professorial Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Buckingham, told the BBC that "permanent sterilization" is the solution to child neglect and abuse.

"Children are abused or grossly neglected by a very small minority of inadequate parents." Such parents, he said, are not distinguished by "disadvantage, poverty or exploitation," he said, but by "a number or moral and mental inadequacies" caused by "serious mental defect," "chronic mental illness" and drug addiction and alcoholism.

"Short of lifetime incarceration," he said, the solution is "permanent sterilization."

As for the tiresome topic of basic rights:
He dismissed possible objections based on human rights, saying that "Rights is a grossly overused and fundamentally incoherent concept … Neither philosophers nor political activists can agree on the nature of human rights or on their extent."

To put it more succinctly, "To hell with human rights."

Marsland's views are not exactly novel among the liberal elite.
Brian Clowes, director of research for Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews that in his view Professor Marsland is just one more in a long line of eugenicists who want to solve human problems by erasing the humans who have them. Clowes compared Marsland to Lothrop Stoddard and Margaret Sanger, prominent early 20th century eugenicists who promoted contraception and sterilization for blacks, Catholics, the poor and the mentally ill and disabled whom they classified as "human weeds."

Sanger maintains a prominent role in the liberal pantheon to this day. Shrillary Clinton is the proud recent recipient of the Margaret Sanger Award. Elsewhere in our progressive government, Obama's Science Czar John Holdren has advocated coercive sterilization.

Marland rests his case against the sanctity of human life with an argument beloved by environmentalists, averring that "there are too many people anyway."

As their sneering contempt for life and liberty makes obvious, what they have been doing to our economy is only the beginning of the evil liberals will inflict if they are not dislodged from power.




Food Prices Are Actually Rising, It's Just That Retailers Haven't Passed It On...: "Despite rising input costs . . . meat remains a promotional category. We believe that, despite increasing meat procurement costs, food retailers have more/less continued to follow an offensive pricing strategy. Said differently, most are not opting to pass 100% of inflationary price increases forward to customers."

Lincoln's war: "If antebellum northerners had consistently and sincerely welcomed blacks to the northern states and protected them from pursuit, that the slave states could have been “drained” of slaves and a horrible war could have been avoided. I think this didn’t happen because northerners were racists and authority-worshippers, and had other reasons to conquer the south. Slavery (though not oppression) died in the Civil War, and that was a good thing as far as it went. What was not so good was the death of the idea of peaceful secession. Divorce, after all, can and does prevent murder."

Bad acid and weird boobs: "For anyone unfamiliar with Burning Man, it’s a weeklong event dedicated to self-expression, community reliance and sexual contact under the guise of spirituality. I know this because I went last year for the first and last time. I went seeking a utopian enclave of open-minded and accepting brothers and sisters, I followed rumors of a culture rising from the desert clay and supporting itself for seven days on nothing but love, understanding, and a little pharmaceutically induced introspection. Instead I found misguided, fat men in tie-died t-shirts with exposed genitals caked in dust. Suffice it to say, Burning Man let me down.”


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, September 01, 2010

The Party of Know-Nothings

"Ideas may be cut loose from experience in two senses: either they have no roots in experience, or they are not submitted to the test of experience. Either way, they are free to be foolish." So wrote Jeane Kirkpatrick in the Introduction to her landmark book, Dictatorships and Double Standards (New York, 1982, p. 10).

Kirkpatrick's statement applies perfectly to the band of naïve idealists now in change of our government. The youthful dreamers guiding the Obama administration have almost no private-sector experience. Like Obama himself, the Cabinet and host of czars who direct policy have spent their lives in politics or academia, be it as Democratic political consultants, professors, nonprofit directors, or community organizers.

Lack of real-world experience may actually be the primary criterion for employment in the Obama White House. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, for example, has no work experience outside government. He joined the Department of Treasury in 1988, three years after graduating from college and traveling about Asia, and he has continued in government service ever since. Lawrence Summers, Geithner's invisible twin on the economic team, has no more experience than Geithner. His entire work experience can be summed up in a few words: professor, World Bank advisor, government employee. Even more limited is the experience of Cass Sunstein, regulatory czar and close friend of the president. His résumé can be inscribed on a postage stamp: professor, 1981 to present.

Then there are the hardcore politicos whose relation to the private sector is not just distant, but hostile. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Chief of Staff, worked on the Illinois U.S. senate campaign of Paul Simon even before completing his university education. From there he moved to the Daley mayoral campaign in 1989 and the Clinton White House in 1993.

For his part, David Axelrod, Obama's closest political advisor, has spent his entire career in the world of Democratic politics. Beginning as a political writer for the Chicago Tribune, he soon established himself as an independent consultant, serving on the campaigns of such leftist luminaries as John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer, as well as on the U.S. Senate and presidential campaigns of Barack Obama. No one in Obama's inner circle has less experience or appreciation of the private sector than Axelrod.

Another key figure is Obama's long-time adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Ms. Jarrett (who, by the way, was born in Iran and from childhood spoke Persian as a first language) spent most of her career in Chicago politics before following Obama to the White House. She has become wealthy by consulting with government clients and maneuvering the politicized world of Chicago real estate development.

From Geithner to Jarrett, all of Obama's advisors have one thing in common: they have devoted their lives to the expansion of government. They believe -- quite "passionately," as Axelrod has put it -- that government is the solution to America's problems. Their political DNA is deeply antagonistic to the free market and to the assumption that monetary incentives spur productivity and growth. Professors and politicos, they know nothing of how to manage a business, and they certainly know nothing of how to balance a budget.

Most ordinary human beings know a great deal more than Obama's circle of advisors. They understand that it is the private sector, not government, that produces goods and services. Instinctively, they know there's something wrong with the idea that government "creates" jobs. They understand that subsidies for biofuel start-ups and failing banks are wasteful and wrong, and they know that more subsidy is only throwing good money after bad.

They also know that government revenue comes out of somebody's pocket. Only those who have spent their entire lives in government service or in academe don't understand this. The trillion dollars in stimulus of which Obama is so proud -- he still claims it created or saved millions of jobs even as the Labor Department reports that four million jobs disappeared since the stimulus was signed -- was confiscated from the paychecks of working Americans. It was spent to expand welfare payments to those who do not work, to preserve the jobs of inefficient unionized workers, and to fund favored projects of Democratic political contributors.

Americans who have to work for a living understand that Obama's stimulus spending is political payola on an epic scale. They also understand that it is capitalism that produces wealth and that the profit motive is the key to wealth creation.

Without the opportunity to earn a profit -- to be paid for their labor and rewarded for their investment -- workers would not work, and investors would not invest. For this reason, a society that disdains capitalism will soon find its standard of living faltering. Fewer goods will be produced, supply will be constrained, and prices will rise. With prices rising, goods will become less affordable, and less will be purchased. The result is a vicious cycle of declining production and rising prices.

What I am describing is the classic state of affairs within all socialist economies. Goods become scarce, and so, as government attempts to equalize supply, they are rationed. Since rationed goods are by definition sold at below-market prices, more and more goods find their way to the black market, where they are sold to the highest bidder. Instead of creating equality, socialism always produces a two-tiered system. On the black market, for those who can afford them, goods are plentiful. For the rest of the population, they are scarce.

It is this two-tiered system toward which we are heading. In only twenty months, Obama has succeeded in shifting one hundred million Americans into greater dependency on government. One hundred million Americans now receive unemployment benefits, expanded welfare payments and child credits, food stamps, housing subsidies, Medicaid, and (soon enough) ObamaCare. In essence, they are the recipients of rationed goods within a state-run economy. Over time, they will become less well-off as wealth continues to be sapped from the private sector and the production of goods is curtailed. They will be serving life sentences in the prison of socialism.

For the political elite, of course, no such prison exists. Once it becomes apparent that the economy is not coming back, those who have engineered the miracle of Obamanomics -- long-term unemployment rates of 17%, stagnant growth, and crushing deficits -- will obtain new political appointments, move on to lucrative consulting jobs, or simply return to their tenured university positions. Comfortable and well-fed, they will continue to prosper even as they have learned nothing from the failure of their policies.

As for the rest of us, we will pay for their lack of experience.



'Clunkers' was a classic government folly

by Jeff Jacoby

IN THE MARKET for a used car? Good luck finding a bargain: The price of "pre-owned" vehicles has climbed considerably over the past year. According to, a website for car-buyers, a 3-year-old automobile today will set you back, on average, close to $20,000 -- a spike of more than 10 percent since last summer. For some popular models, the increase has been much steeper. In July, a used Cadillac Escalade was going for around $35,000, or nearly 36 percent over last July's price.

Why are used-car prices rocketing? Part of the answer is that demand is up: With unemployment high and the economy uncertain, some car-buyers who might otherwise be looking for a new truck or SUV are instead shopping for a used vehicle as a way to save money.

But an even bigger part of the answer is that the supply of used cars is far lower than it would be if your Uncle Sam hadn't decided last year to destroy hundreds of thousands of perfectly good automobiles as part of its hare-brained Car Allowance Rebate System -- or, as most of us called it, Cash for Clunkers. That was the program under which the government paid consumers up to $4,500 when they traded in an old car and bought a new one with better gas mileage. The traded-in cars -- which had to be in drivable condition to qualify for the rebate -- were then demolished: Dealers were required to chemically wreck each car's engine, and send the car to be crushed or shredded.

Congress and the Obama administration trumpeted Cash for Clunkers as a triumph -- the president pronounced it "successful beyond anybody's imagination." Which it was, if you define success as getting people to take "free" money to make a purchase most of them are going to make anyway, while simultaneously wiping out productive assets that could provide value to many other consumers for years to come. By any rational standard, however, this program was sheer folly.

No great insight was needed to realize that Cash for Clunkers would work a hardship on people unable to afford a new car. "All this program did for them," I wrote last August, "was guarantee that used cars will become more expensive. Poorer drivers will be penalized to subsidize new cars for wealthier drivers." Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, predicted that used-car prices would surge by up to 10 percent. "It's going to drive prices up on some of the most affordable vehicles we have on the road," he told USA Today. In short, Washington spent nearly $3 billion to raise the price of mobility for drivers on a budget.

To be sure, Cash for Clunkers gave a powerful jolt to car sales in July and August of 2009. But it did so mostly by delaying sales that would otherwise have occurred in April, May, and June, or by accelerating those that would have taken place in September, October, or later. "Influencing the timing of consumers' durable purchases is easy," Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl commented a few days ago in a blog post looking back at the program. "Creating new purchases is not." Of the 700,000 cars purchased during the clunkers frenzy, the estimated net increase in sales was only 125,000. Each incremental sale thus ended up costing the taxpayers a profligate $24,000.

Even on environmental grounds, Cash for Clunkers was an exorbitant dud. Researchers at the University of California-Davis calculated that the reduction of carbon dioxide attributable to the program (under best-case assumptions) cost at least $237 per ton. That is more than 10 times the going rate on the international market, where carbon emissions credits currently cost about $20 per ton.

Using Department of Transportation figures, meanwhile, the Associated Press calculated that replacing low-mpg "clunkers" with new cars getting higher mileage would reduce CO2 emissions by around 700,000 tons a year -- less than Americans emit in a single hour. Likewise, the projected reduction in gasoline use amounted to about as much as Americans go through in 4½ hours. (And that's only if you assume -- contrary to historical experience -- that fuel consumption decreases when fuel efficiency rises.)

When all is said and done, Cash for Clunkers was a deplorable exercise in budgetary wastefulness, asset destruction, environmental irrelevance, and economic idiocy. Other than that, it was a screaming success.



Obama's Stimulus Fails across the board

June, July and August were supposed to be the months. Democrats clinging to re-election hopes just knew that between the artificial job gains from Census Department hiring, the impact of their almost $900 billion in “stimulus” spending, and the tens of billions spent in other programs, that the economy would be roaring, people would be working, and the path to November would be made easier. Their so-called “Recovery Summer” was going to save the day.

Now, as we approach Labor Day, the results are in. Big Government has failed. Gross Domestic Product, which is the standard measure of economic growth in the country, was revised downward in the second quarter of the year from 2.4% to an estimated 1.6% as private sector employers are opting against expansion in favor of a cautious course.

It’s no wonder. Companies are staring in the face of a basic cost of business increases anticipated in 2011 due to the passage of the health care law.

Unemployment remains at 9.5 percent, with 45 percent of the unemployed having been out of work for 27 weeks or more. To put these numbers in real terms, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 6.6 million Americans or the entire population of Indiana have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

Americans for Limited Government’s Adam Bitely has been tracking state by state “Recovery Summer” data releasing a daily report on a different state with California, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Delaware being already covered. South Carolina and Ohio are slated to covered this week before Labor Day.

The startling results show the economy in virtual free fall over the past 18 months, as Obama, Pelosi and Reid have opted for propping up state and local government spending instead of engaging in private sector job creation measures.




US stocks have worst August since 2001: "The US stock market ended its worst August since 2001 with meagre gains overnight after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed officials' increasing concern about the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.99 points (0.05 per cent) at 10,014.72 when markets settled, after teetering below the 10,000 point threshold in the final hours of trading. The broader S&P 500 index gained 0.41 point (0.04 per cent) at 1049.33, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite index shed 5.94 points (0.28 per cent) to 2114.03, plunging below the flatline after making modest gains.".... But the week's most tensely-awaited economic data will be Friday's employment report, with most analysts forecasting non-farm payrolls to fall by 118,000 in August and unemployment to edge up to 9.6 per cent.

Official sexual assaults courtesy of Obama's TSA: "US officials are using "invasive and aggressive" searches for those who refuse to go through their controversial full body "naked" X-ray scanners. The “front-of-the-hand, slide-down technique” amounts to an indecent assault in any other context and shows an alarming disregard for privacy by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), civil libertarians say... While the TSA says it has received “very few” formal complaints about the new search techniques, Mr Vines called for a halt to the procedure until they could reveal why it was needed. “The actions of the US TSA would amount to indecent assault if performed by anyone else in the community," he said."

Modern-day “capital strike” : "Pundits have been speculating for months that the United States is undergoing a ‘capital strike’ of the sort that occurred during the Great Depression — that is, frightened and confused by government policies and the (often contradictory) directions in which they tug the economy, investors are sitting on their money rather than putting it into new and existing ventures that might generate jobs and prosperity. That speculation appears to be firming up into reality, as new reports indicate both disenchantment with the Big O among his well-heeled backers and (likely related) widespread unwillingness to invest in the U.S. economy.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (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, August 31, 2010

Are conservatism and racism indistinguishable?

That question will no doubt amuse most readers here but that they are indistinguishable is the burden of a recent Leftist book -- called Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same (Part of the SUNY Series in African American Studies). From the blurb:
In this provocative, wide-ranging study, Robert C. Smith contends that ideological conservatism and racism are and always have been equivalent in the United States. In this carefully constructed and thoroughly documented philosophical, historical, and empirical inquiry, Smith analyzes conservative ideas from John Locke to William F. Buckley Jr., as well as the parallels between the rise and decline of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1970s and the ascendancy of the conservative movement to national power in 1980. Using archival material from the Reagan library, the book includes detailed analysis of the Reagan presidency and race, focusing on affirmative action, the Voting Rights act, the Grove City case, welfare reform, South Africa policy, and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They are the Same goes beyond a focus on the right wing, concluding with an analysis of the enduring impact of the conservative movement and the Reagan presidency on liberalism, race, and the Democratic Party.


It seems to be mainly a belated bit of Reagan hatred and consists of the author's own angry interpretation of various historical events.

One wonders what he makes of the fact that Hitler was a socialist, that it was Democrat politicians (George Wallace, Orval Faubus etc.) who were the chief opponents of racial integration in the South, that the KKK was almost entirely composed of Democrats and that a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I might also note that I did some actual psychological research into the question during my academic career. I did a random population survey and found that racist attitudes were equally likely to be found among Leftist and Rightist voters in Australia. And Australia is about as similar to the USA as you can get.


Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life

Terence P. Jeffrey is the author of Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life. The former campaign manager for Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign now writes a column for Creators Syndicate and serves as editor-in-chief of and editor at large of Human Events. Excerpts from an interview with him below

* What is the problem with the Fairness Doctrine and why are many liberals pushing it?

The opaque FCC ruling that became known as the “Fairness Doctrine” technically told broadcasters they had to air multiple sides of any controversial issue discussed on their air. The FCC imposed it in the 1940s, directly contradicting the intentions of Congress, which created the FCC to regulate the technical aspects of radio while denying it the power to censor radio speech. In practical terms, the Fairness Doctrine inhibited the development of programs like those of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. In the 1980s, an FCC dominated by Reagan appointees repealed the Fairness Doctrine. That is when the modern era of political talk radio began.

Liberal politicians used to being coddled by the liberal establishment would like to shut up Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin — and others. That is why, for example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she supports re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine. Fortunately, she has never had the votes to do it legislatively. However, that does not mean an Obama-dominated FCC won’t find some new regulatory means to strike back at conservative talk radio — perhaps by forcing conservative broadcast licensees to surrender their licenses to new owners who will broadcast the type of speech the liberals like.

* Tell me about how liberals want to control how many children Americans have?

During his 2009 Senate confirmation hearing to become director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, John P. Holdren was asked, “What would your number for the right population in the U.S. be today?” He said: “I no longer think it’s productive, senator, to focus on the optimum population for the United States.”

Back in 1973, however, Holdren co-authored “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions” with Paul and Anne Ehrlich. In “Human Ecology,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs said: “Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population. Once growth is halted, the government should undertake to influence the birth rate so that the population is reduced to an optimum size and maintained there.” This conclusion was driven by their perception that increasing population was a threat to global ecology.

In a 1995 essay published by the World Bank, Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily of the Center for Conservation Biology in stating that one of the things they “know for certain” is: “No form of material growth (including population growth) other than asymptotic growth is sustainable.” Holdren, Ehrlich and Daily went on to say, “This is enough to say quite a lot about what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material consumption, slow down population growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person).”

Holdren, as he told the Senate at his confirmation hearing, may no longer believe it is “productive … to focus on the optimum population for the United States,” but committed environmentalists who accept the argument that increasing population is a threat to the planet may be more inclined to agree with his earlier statements.

* You write that liberals want to even get control over what books you read. How so?

The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” In “Control Freaks,” I point out that in the first round of oral arguments in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, the Obama administration argued that the Constitution allowed the government to ban a corporation from publishing a book that mentioned a candidate for federal office.

In the second round of oral arguments, then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan retreated from that declaration a little bit, but stood her ground in telling the court that the Obama administration did believe it could prohibit a corporation from publishing a pamphlet — or other media — that mentioned a candidate for federal office. In his concurring opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts accurately said: “The government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech.”

Fortunately, the court did not — by a 5-4 margin.



Democrat thinking on the Iranian bomb

Excerpt from Caroline Glick in Israel

It is worth considering where "the Americans" stand on Iran as it declares itself a nuclear power and tests new, advanced weapons systems on a daily basis.

The answer to this question was provided in large part in an article in the National Interest by former Clinton administration National Security Council member Bruce Riedel. Titled, "If Israel Attacks," Riedel - who reportedly has close ties to the current administration - asserts that an Israeli military strike against Iran will be a disaster for the US. In his view, the US is better served by allowing Iran to become a nuclear power than by supporting an Israeli attack against Iran.

He writes, "The United States needs to send a clear red light to Israel. There's no option but to actively discourage an Israeli attack."

Riedel explains that to induce Israel to accept the unacceptable specter of a nuclear armed mullocracy, the US should pay it off. Riedel recommends plying Israel's leaders with F-22 Stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, a mutual defense treaty and perhaps even NATO membership.

Riedel's reason for deeming an Israeli strike unacceptable is his conviction that such an operation will be met by an Iranian counter-strike against US forces and interests in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. While there is no reason to doubt he is correct, Riedel studiously ignores the other certainty: A nuclear-armed Iran would threaten those same troops and interests far more.

Riedel would have us believe that the Iranian regime will be a rational nuclear actor. That's the regime that has outlawed music, stones women, and deploys terror proxies throughout the region and the world. That's the same regime whose "supreme leader" just published a fatwa claiming he has the same religious stature as Muhammad.

Riedel bases this view on the actions Iran took when it was weak.

Since Iran didn't place its American hostages on trial in 1980, it can be trusted with nuclear weapons in 2010. Since Iran didn't go to war against the US in 1988 during the Kuwaiti tanker crisis, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can be trusted with nuclear bombs in 2010. And so on and so forth.

Moreover, Riedel ignores what any casual newspaper reader now recognizes: Iran's nuclear weapons program has spurred a regional nuclear arms race. Riedel imagines a bipolar nuclear Middle East, with Israel on the one side and Iran on the other. He fails to notice that already today Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan and Turkey have all initiated nuclear programs.

And if Iran is allowed to go nuclear, these countries will beat a path to any number of nuclear bomb stores.

Some argue that a multipolar nuclear Middle East will adhere to the rules of mutual assured destruction. Assuming this is true, the fact remains that the violent Iranian response to an Israeli strike against its nuclear installations will look like a minor skirmish in comparison to the conventional wars that will break out in a Middle East in which everyone has the bomb.

And in truth, there is no reason to believe that a Middle East in which everyone has nuclear weapons is a Middle East that adheres to the rules of MAD. A recent Zogby/University of Maryland poll of Arab public opinion taken for the Brookings Institute in US-allied Arab states Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE shows that the Arab world is populated by jihadists.

As Herb London from the Hudson Institute pointed out in an analysis of the poll, nearly 70 percent of those polled said the leader they most admire is either a jihadist or a supporter of jihad.

The most popular leaders were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar Assad and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

So if popular revolutions bring down any of the teetering despotic regimes now occupying the seats of power in the Arab world, they will likely be replaced by jihadists. Moreover, since an Iranian nuclear bomb would empower the most radical, destabilizing forces in pan-Arab society, the likelihood that a despot would resort to a nuclear strike on a Western or Israeli target in order to stay in power would similarly rise.

All of this should not be beyond the grasp of an experienced strategic thinker like Riedel. And yet, obviously, it is. Moreover, as an alumnus of the Clinton administration, Riedel's positions in general are more realistic than those of the Obama administration. As Israeli officials acknowledge, the Obama administration is only now coming to terms with the fact that its engagement policy towards Iran has failed.

Moreover, throughout the US government, the White House is the most stubborn defender of the notion that the Iranian nuclear threat is not as serious a threat as the absence of a Palestinian state. That is, President Barack Obama himself is the most strident advocate of a US Middle East policy that ignores all the dangers the US faces in the region and turns American guns against the only country that doesn't threaten any US interest.




'Israel ready to destroy LAF in 4 hours': "The US warned Lebanon that if it did not prevent any recurrence of the border-fire incident that occurred earlier this month, the IDF would destroy the Lebanese Armed Forces within four hours, Israel Radio cited a report by Lebanese newspaper A-Liwaa on Friday. According to the report, Frederick Hoff, assistant to US Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell, told Lebanese Army chief of staff Jean Kahwaji that Israel was ready to implement a plan to destroy within four hours all Lebanese military infrastructure, including army bases and offices, should a similar confrontation occur in the future."

Asset forfeiture: Big government turns cops into robbers: "The ‘civil asset forfeiture’ laws are inherently corrupt. They empower law enforcement officers to take and keep your property, even if they haven’t charged you with a crime. It gets worse. It’s your property that’s actually charged with a crime, and your property is considered guilty until proven innocent. This makes it virtually impossible for you to regain your possessions once they’re seized. But it gets even worse …”

Capital gains taxes: "The current capital gains tax rate of 15 percent is set to increase substantially at the end of the year as the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts sunset. The current rate is lower than rates in only nine of the 25 major economies in the world, according to a report by Ernst & Young. If the capital gains tax rate is allowed to increase from 15 to 20 percent, the United States will have a lower tax than only six of those countries. This 33 percent tax hike will further hurt the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and discourage domestic investment.”


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)


Monday, August 30, 2010

Psychologists preaching feminism again

I had a bit to do with this in my own research career. I found huge holes in the feminism-supporting "research" of my fellow psychologists at the time. So the latest bit of nonsense does not surprise me. It says that feminized boys are psychologically healthier, just as lots of other psychologists repeatedly claim (by ignoring a lot of evidence) that leftists are psychologically healthier.

The report below has not yet passed peer review and been published in an academic journal so is a bit difficult to evaluate but it clearly depends on a questionnaire called the Children's Depression Inventory, and they almost certainly used it inappropriately. Note here for instance, that it should not be used alone as a diagnostic tool. It is too weakly predictive for that. It is supposed to be used only in conjunction with a diagnostic interview. There is no mention of such a precaution below.

Additionally, a standard warning with the test is that is is very open to the respondents "faking good" yet there is no mention below of that being controlled for or examined in any way. Use of a Lie scale might have been considered, for instance.

And since teaching is so feminized these days, more feminine boys are probably more aware of teacher expectations and are therefore both better at faking good and more motivated to do it. So their "healthier" scores could well be simple fakery.

The findings below are then readily explained as the product of sloppy and biased research rather than reflecting anything real
Being a mama's boy, new research suggests, may be good for your mental health. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association by Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University's School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Santos recently conducted a study that followed 426 boys through middle school to investigate the extent to which the boys favor stereotypically male qualities such as emotional stoicism and physical toughness over stereotypically feminine qualities such as emotional openness and communication, and whether that has any influence on their mental well-being. His main finding was that the further along the boys got in their adolescence, the more they tended to embrace hypermasculine stereotypes. But boys who remained close to their mothers did not act as tough and were more emotionally available. Closeness to fathers did not have the same effect, his research found.

Using a mental-health measure called the Children's Depression Inventory, he also found that boys who shunned masculine stereotypes and remained more emotionally available had, on average, better rates of mental health through middle school. "If you look at the effect size of my findings, mother support and closeness was the most predictive of boys' ability to resist [hypermasculine] stereotypes and therefore predictive of better mental health," Santos says. He adds that his research did not examine why a close mother-son relationship differed in its effect from a close father-son bond, but he suspects that fathers use stereotypically male behaviors to guide their sons into adulthood. "It could be, men see close relationships with their sons as an opportunity to reinforce traditional gender roles," he says. (See a story on mothers who opt for breast milk, not breast-feeding.)



Alternative history

I am something of an alternative history buff. Alternative history features quite a lot in Sci Fi and I used to read a lot of Sci Fi once so maybe that is why.

It seems to me that there were two great turning points in the 20th century which would have left us with a very different world today if they had been decided differently.

The first is the distinctly odd decision of Britain to enter what became WWI in support of their old enemy: France. It led to a slaughter of Britain's young men to rival the American North/South War and what did it achieve? Had Britain stayed neutral, the outcome of the war would surely have been similar to the Franco Prussian war of the 1870s: A flag-waving German withdrawl with a few small bits of German-speaking France hacked off and returned to German rule -- and a resumption of Edwardinan calm by all.

OK. I know why Britain did not go down that road. They were rightly spooked by Tirpitz's Luxusflotte. And in the one big naval engagement of the war -- the battle of Jutland -- those fears were amply confirmed -- with admiral Scheer running rings around admiral Jellicoe.

The second big turning point was Hitler's decision to make himself Oberkommando des Heeres (army chief). If he had given that job to the man who most deserved it -- Von Manstein (the conqueror of France) -- Russia would have been conquered, no doubt about it (Von Manstein destroyed two Russian armies even AFTER the Stalingrad debacle). And what a different world that would have been! How different goes beyond even my alternative history imagination.


The Market as a Redistributor of Wealth

One of the primary arguments employed by statists to justify the welfare state is the necessity to equalize incomes. The rich just get richer and richer, and the poor just get poorer and poorer, in a free-market economy, say the statists. To balance things out, they say, the state must take from the rich and give to the poor.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, a free market is a tremendous engine for the redistribution of wealth, one in which the poor become rich and rich become poor.

In other words, you don’t need the state to confiscate and redistribute wealth through income taxes, estate taxes, or any other taxes. The market does a fine job in redistributing wealth.

In fact, the market is the most just vehicle for redistributing wealth because it’s based on voluntary choices, not the coercive action employed by the state. In the marketplace, consumers are ultimately sovereign. Through their buying decisions, they decide which businesses are going to stay in business and which ones are not. If a business fails to satisfy consumers, it will lose market share and possibly go out of business. New, upstart businesses have the opportunity to become wealthy by providing goods and services that consumers want.

By the same token, a rich person must make decisions as to how to manage his money. Nothing is guaranteed. If he makes the right choices, he keeps his wealth and even expands it. But if he makes the wrong choices, he stands to lose part of it or even all of it.

Consider, for example, the Wyly brothers of Dallas, Texas, who were the subject of a recent New York Times article.

The Wylys are billionaires. So, they’re rich, right? Well, yes, but it’s really not that simple because they actually were poor before they were rich. According to the Times, “Depression-era babies, they were raised in rural Louisiana by a well-educated mother and father who fell on hard times by failing to hedge a cotton crop. For a time, the family moved into a shack without electricity or plumbing.”

So, here were two poor brothers. But the state didn’t take money from the rich and give it to the Wyly brothers. Instead, these poor people became rich entirely through their own efforts by buying and selling businesses in the marketplace.

And there were no guarantees. In the 1970s, they lost almost $100 million of their and their shareholders’ money in the purchase of a company that went bad. As Sam Wyly put it, “It’s a game. You win some, you lose some. Some are sort of a tie.”

Or consider the case of Larry Dean, who became a multi-millionaire through a software company he founded in the 1970s, who was also recently featured in the New York Times.

Dean used $25 million of his money to build a 32,000 square feet, “Xanadu-like” mansion in Atlanta that included $17,500 leaded glass and mahogany double front doors.

Dean, however, has fallen on hard times. Now on his third divorce, he recently sold the house for $7 million, after having it on the market for 17 years. The Times stated “The estate sale brought down the curtain on a particular kind of spectacle, a rags-to-riches tale that somewhere along the way slipped into reverse and played itself out in the unforgiving glare of the real estate market.”

You don’t need the welfare state to redistribute wealth. The free market does that. Moreover, since the market is based on voluntary choices rather than coercion, it’s a better and more just method of deciding the allocation of wealth in a free society.




Google Maps Misplaces Lincoln Memorial: "A curious thing has been happening on Google Maps -- the Lincoln Memorial is being misplaced in favor of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, which is a good half a mile south of the more famous memorial. According to the Geographic Travels blog, this "misplacement" has been happening for about two days now. Typing "Lincoln Memorial" into the regular Google search bar brings up a number of listings related to the Lincoln Memorial, yet shows a map of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Is this a Google Maps glitch, or could this have anything to do with the fact that conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck is holding a controversial "non-political" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday?"

US birth rate hits new record low: "America’s birth rate was lower in 2009 than at any other time in the past century, the AP reports — and many experts feel that the economic downturn is to blame. In 2009, the total number of births across the country fell for the second year in a row — from 4,247,000 in 2008 to 4,136,000, according to provisional data released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.”

US bureaucrats wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq: "A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets. As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted - more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.”

$1.9 million in computers for kids missing in Iraq: "The U.S. military is demanding to know what happened to $1.9 million worth of computers purchased by American taxpayers and intended for Iraqi schoolchildren that have instead been auctioned off by Iraqi officials for less than $50,000, the military said Friday. The U.S. press release was a rare public admission by the military of the loss of American taxpayer money in Iraq and an equally rare criticism of Iraqi officials with whom the Americans are trying to partner as the military hands over more and more responsibility and withdraws troops from the country.”

More "war on drugs" madness: "In the space of a few hours, on bomb-clearing patrol near Balad, Iraq, US Army Corporal Eric Small and his unit were rocked by three separate roadside explosions. He sustained serious injuries to his head, back, neck, and hip. Small’s combat days were over. It was the summer of 2008, and Small spent 10 months convalescing in military hospitals. He came home to Massachusetts with two lasting wartime souvenirs: a Purple Heart medal and a painkiller addiction. But in a bitter irony for Small and his family, the same government that sent him to war balked for months before agreeing to pay for the treatment his doctors feel best addresses his drug addiction.”

Alaska’s Miller: Let state control its resources: "The federal government is driving the nation into bankruptcy, and Alaska’s resources should be turned out of federal hands to save the state and the nation, Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller said Sunday. ‘In this state, two thirds of it is owned by the federal government,’ Miller said. ‘The government is going bankrupt. … It’s our position that as the money is restricted, the lands are transferred.’ Miller was speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation.”

Most Americans just don’t get it: "It bothers me to no end that millions of Americans simply don’t get just how dangerous this current administration’s views are, especially about the nature of our basic rights. I suppose I should not be surprised, given the utterly perverted primary and secondary education most people receive now in their government run schools. After all, those very schools and everyone with a job in the system, depend upon the flat out rejection of the idea of our basic, natural rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.”

Government Insurance: Guaranteed to fail: "Few observers were shocked when the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) asked for a nearly $20 billion bailout of its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For years groups and individuals have warned that NFIP was underfunded and increasing its liability each year by not encouraging consumers to move or alter their homes in a way that would limit future losses.”

You call this a “recovery?”: "So this is the economic growth that by far the largest Keynesian stimulus in American history produces? President Obama’s $814 billion in stimulus, a more than $1.3 trillion annual deficit for the second year in a row, has produced what the administration has declared is the long awaited ‘Summer of Recovery.’ Last fall the economy grew at a reasonable 5 percent annual rate, though even that was not particularly fast for a ‘recovery.’ Yet, it has dropped since then: during January through March, the growth rate dropped to 3.7 percent and April through June, 1.6 percent. … Since April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey has shown that 1.7 million Americans have left the labor force and simply given up looking for work. The total number of people employed has dropped by nearly half a million.”

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


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