Saturday, October 13, 2012


Today is my Sabbath but since the episode referred to below has attracted international attention,  I have decided that I should reproduce here a response that first appeared  on my   AUSTRALIAN POLITICS blog.

Australian Prime Minister's cheap shots in defence of a low-life

After the offensive statements about women from MP Peter Slipper came to light, PM Gillard defended him!  But she did so only by attacking past statements from the conservative leader (Tony Abbott) in which he expressed standard conservative views about the differing abilities of men and women.  She falsely equated such statements with misogyny in order to defend a real misogynist!

She is always verbally fluent so it was a good example of defence by attack but at the expense of revealing her own internal moral vacuum.  A prominent female Leftist defending a disgusting misogynist with no respect for women?  It not only happened in Australia but was admired by Leftists around the word  -- thus again exposing the fact that for the Left anger and abuse is far more admirable than principles or rational argument

It left her immediate audience confused however  -- confused about what the rules are according to her and her party.  Even her own party members -- who had been vocally condemning Slipper -- were left confused.  Is everything now permissible or is nothing permissible?  And can there ever be any more such a thing as a private remark?

Comments from a long-time Australian political observer below.  Jack Waterford AM is Editor-at-Large of the Canberra Times.

Julia Gillard went impressively ballistic on Coalition misogyny this week. Her words echoed around the world, someone even suggesting that Barack Obama adopt her "I'm not gonna cop this any more" style to his encounters with Mitt Romney.

But as the moment reverberated around Parliament, was played and replayed on radio, social media and television, including overseas, and became an international discussion point, her immediate audience was not impressed.

The press gallery, regularly accused of being anti-Abbott, may have some sympathy to charges of sexist campaigns, but could not miss the irony of the occasion. And her colleagues felt somewhat humiliated about having to climb down from the moral grandstand they had enjoyed for a week to defend (as Gillard herself, to a point was doing) crude and misogynist comments made privately by a Speaker [Peter Slipper] already a corpse obviously swinging in the breeze.

Perhaps Gillard's outburst took some attention away from her defence of what she had admitted to be indefensible. But the contradiction was underlined when the Speaker, told by independents if not Gillard that the jig was up, resigned within a few hours of Gillard's speech.

A new supposedly anti-sexist principle became established as a rule. A private remark with a sexist edge is no longer permissible anywhere, perhaps even in comedy. No jokes, if anyone could possibly take offence.

Slipper had sent a text to a staffer making a derisive comparison of the pudenda and women generally, to the appearance of an unshelled mussel. It was misogynist - if of an ilk heard mostly from an unusual subset of gay men who seemed threatened by women.

Lesbians, too, have a vocabulary of dismissal of men by reference to their genitalia, and also of heterosexual women, or "breeders", and their noisome children or "crotchfruit".

Public figures caught using such phrases, or who use any number of other profane combinations, can now expect little mercy. But there is the world of difference between saying it in a conversation with one other person and saying it to an audience of young Liberals, or middle-aged builders labourers.

Slipper was stupid for committing his view of the world to writing, and to one of his employees. No one should be called to defend such remarks by others. But for the Alan Jones affair, it might have seemed that it was Abbott, rather than Gillard, who was seeking to create the new standard, by which the audience was irrelevant.

John Howard, I fancy, would have said, grumpily but effectively, that all sorts of people said all sorts of deplorable things, but that he did not feel himself obliged to deliver running rebukes.

The new rule has nothing much to do with preventing misogyny or disrespectful words or manners. It will bite people on all sides - Labor particularly I expect - before it is abandoned as unworkable. One hopes that this abandonment does not lead to an immediate outbreak of epic misogynist nastiness, simply so as to celebrate what some writers of the authoritarian right will call the demise of political correctness.

It all reminds of the publicity once given to a consciously teasing talk to law students by eminent Tory judge Roddy Meagher. He commented that in this politically correct age, one was no longer able to use the word "nigger". He personally had never used it and would not dream of doing so, since it seemed a bit hurtful, but he would like to feel that he could if he wanted. He much enjoyed the entirely predictable screams from what Howard might have called the usual suspects.

Close-quarter criticism of Gillard did not come from her complaints of sexism, or her putting some of it at the door of Abbott. It was because Slipper was her own own goal - a piece of cheap and nasty political cleverness at the expense of political principle, that had done Labor and her more harm than good. Another of her chickens home to roost. This was not just because Slipper had proven to be a rogue - although that had been predictable enough

It was clever, up to a point. And it did give her a bit of political leeway - in effect by increasing her majority to two. She used this to betray Andrew Wilkie, made pledges she no longer had the courage to keep - a point that further damaged her credibility. Like so many political tricks and coups, it also excited a degree of political admiration - not least for its poke in the eye of Abbott.

But it also linked Slipper's fate to her own, Slipper's reputation (known and unknown) to her own, and made her look grubby and unprincipled. In this respect, indeed, perhaps it rather more resembled Gough Whitlam's seduction of Vince Gair in 1974, than it did Howard's of Colston.

Gillard has over-egged the pudding in claiming to be a victim of sexism in politics. Certainly she is subjected to sexist abuse - particularly in social media - but it is hardly at the root of her political problems with voters. Yet one cannot blame her for making a big deal of her annoyance, refusing to take it any longer, or the professionalism with which she whacked Abbott between the eyes when he gave her the opportunity.

But even as women generally, or Labor women in particular, rejoice that she is standing up to sexism, they should be careful not to think that she has suddenly found judgment or now knows what she is doing, where she is going or how she will get there.

As Saint John Henry Newman might put it, the night is dark and she is far from home.


Abbott's response

TONY Abbott has refused to take a backward step in the pitched political battle now being called "the gender wars"

FIRING his own broadside at Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who had branded him a serial misogynist during a devastating parliamentary smack-down on Tuesday, Mr Abbott accused her of playing the sexism card to intimidate those wanting to criticise her.

Ms Gillard was unmoved and vowed to continue calling out sexism wherever she encountered it.

Her 15-minute parliamentary speech, ostensibly defending former speaker Peter Slipper, but which wound up as a barrage of rhetoric against Tony Abbott's alleged sexism, yesterday went viral.

Well-known mastheads such as the London Daily Telegraph, and The New Yorker carried positive stories of the feisty Aussie PM slamming sexism, while editorials and opinion writers cast her as a hero to women.

A feminist website praised her as a "bad-ass motherf . . . . .", while a more mainstream journal suggested President Barack Obama should adopt her straight-talking style.

But in Australia - where voters know the background of the issues in play, including the disgusting nature of the Slipper text messages - Ms Gillard's defence of Mr Slipper is seen differently.

Voters here viewed it as just more self-serving vitriol from a political culture that has become long on personal argument and short of substantive policy debate.

Tony Abbott called on people to simply move on from the sexism row and - rightly or wrongly - many voters are likely to agree.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Cooking the Books – The Liberal Way

Dick McDonald

In 2007 the workforce in America was 147 million and today that figure has dropped to 143 million its lowest level since 1981 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s “Industrial Survey” of 400,000 businesses). That decline by itself doesn’t give us the whole story because approximately 150,000 new workers have to be added monthly to the workforce to account for population growth. That means without considering retirements the workforce today should total 156 million or 13 million more than today’s total (60 months times 150,000). So who is cooking the books?

The government tells us the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% of the workforce to 7.8% in the last two months. That means .5% of 143 million or 7.1 million new jobs were added to the workforce in July and August. But according to the same government agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 163,000 were added in July and a pathetic 120,000 were added in August. So who is cooking the books?

The question is how do Obama and the Democrats pull off lies like these just before an election. Well folks I hope it isn’t news to you but the bureaucrats in the BLS are Democrats and they make up the team that calls and visits 60,000 Americans every month to determine the unemployment rate (the “Household Survey”). If a person surveyed has worked one day out of the month he is considered “employed” for the whole month including a one-day stint babysitting for a neighbor.

Let’s see. Do you believe the 7.8% figure now? Do you think the bureaucrats were unbiased in asking the Household Survey questions? If you do you are just another one of the fools the “unbiased” media calls their useful idiots. You’ll believe anything they say – or don’t say..

Received via email


An editorial from Nevada

After the debate

"[T]he president's top-down interventions have virtually paralyzed our economy -- and [Mitt Romney has] presented a solution. ... The answer is pro-growth tax and regulatory reform. The answer is tax and regulatory certainty for businesses. The answer is growing our way out of the budget deficit with a broader, simpler tax base and reduced rates and deductions for all -- especially the risk-taker, the job creator and the entrepreneur. ...

Mr. Obama has a much different recipe for lifting the middle class: higher taxes on investors, job creators and small businesses; borrowing money to fund more public-sector jobs and government construction projects; borrowing money to fund more green energy enterprises and projects...; and pushing more young people to seek a debt-funded college education when they have little hope of landing a job upon graduation.

The suggestion that tax increases and higher energy prices will lift the middle class defies logic. But it's not terribly surprising coming from an administration that's completely lacking in business experience and openly hostile to free-market capitalism. ...

Mr. Obama has never been the uniting agent of change he promised to be. His two biggest initiatives, the economic stimulus and his health care reform law, were rushed through a Democratic Congress without a single Republican vote, and the electorate responded in 2010 by giving Republicans control of the House. ...

Mr. Romney, however, is a Republican who was elected governor of heavily Democratic Massachusetts. He had to work with Democrats to get things done. His leadership and ability to bring people together saved the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. As a businessman, his management skills turned failing companies into profitable ones. Mr. Romney vows to do that, again, in Washington.

If we are to avoid a lost decade and a future calamity created by inaction on entitlements and government growth, this nation needs a team of turnaround experts. ...

Mr. Romney is a fine family man who donates millions of dollars to his church and charity every year. There is not a whiff of scandal about him. This is why his opponents have tried to turn his very successes against him. ...

The choice is clear. Only Mitt Romney has the principles and experience needed to put America back on the road to prosperity."



The Monument Society Versus the Free Society

Ben Shapiro

Last week, after the first presidential debate, I spoke at an architecture school in downtown Los Angeles. One of the questions the moderator asked was about American exceptionalism. The foam flecked to his lips at the very phrase. What, pray tell, was American exceptionalism, he asked?

I answered by referencing the Founding Fathers and the freedoms they guaranteed us via the American Constitutional System of checks and balances. What makes us unique guardians of liberty, I said, is that our system is designed to counterbalance interest against interest -- we only act together with the full power of unity when we're actually unified. We prize the individual over the collective.

He scoffed at that suggestion. He derided the founders and the Constitution -- "a 200-year-old document written by dead white slave owners!" -- and suggested an alternative vision of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism, he said, was characterized by "the things we do together." When he thought of an exceptional America, he thought of certain images: American footprints on the moon, the interstate highway system, Hoover Dam, nationalized health care.

The moderator's perspective was that of President Obama, too. He prizes reliance on the collective because no man can alone build roads or bridges or skyscrapers. As President Obama said, "You didn't build that." Government, says Obama, is the only thing we all belong to. We're "stronger together."

These are two fundamentally different ways of viewing the world. One is based on the value of freedom. The other is based on the value of monuments.

The monument society looks at the Chinese high-speed rail and says: "Let's build one of those." The freedom society looks at the Chinese high-speed rail and says: "At what cost to individual freedom?" Sometimes, collective projects do outweigh the needs of the individual -- see, for example, World War II, in which we mobilized collectively to preserve individual freedom. But the monument society always errs on the side of building the monument, of activating the collective; the freedom society always errs on the side of individual liberty.

We are now at the tipping point in America between these two visions. We must make a choice. Do we want to give our children monuments -- tremendous buildings, vast bureaucracies, bulwarks of human collectivism? Or do we want to give them freedom? Do we want to build pyramids? Or do we want to build families?

These two visions are in opposition now because we have moved too far in the direction of the monument society. And that diminishes human happiness.

It is remarkable how little the monument society left talks about human happiness and fulfillment. Instead, they prefer to talk about a "better tomorrow."

They talk about moving "forward." They imply that we must be miserable today to be happy tomorrow -- or, alternatively, that our children must be miserable tomorrow so that we can be happy today.

That's what the monument society is all about. Jewish Midrash teaches about the Biblical Tower of Babel, the monument society. The tower became so tall and so grand that it supposedly took a year to shuttle bricks from the bottom of the tower to the top. People wept when a brick fell, but did not care if a man died. There were always more workers. But bricks were invaluable.

The builders of that tower would have given their children a magnificent site. But those children would have been slaves to the monument. There would have been no happiness. Just a vast tower, crumbling to dust over generations.

The founders recognized that Americans, given freedom to pursue their own goals, made self-reliant, are happy. The power of the collective is magnificent, but only when the people agree on utilizing it. That is the balance the founders drew, and that is why they were so wise. Our liberties must be preserved from the collective, but in times of crisis, we must all come together. The collective must not be hijacked for particular interests, forcing men to labor for the selfish benefit of powerful interests. The collective must only be activated when absolutely necessary. Anything less destroys human freedom, and turns us into the monument society.

Only a society that prizes individual freedom over collective mobilization can hand that freedom to its children. It can make monuments -- living monuments. Children who grow up free. Who inhabit those great skyscrapers. Who visit Mount Rushmore, not as a relic of an ancient civilization, but as a tribute to the values of those whose faces are carved into it.

That is American exceptionalism. That's what we seek to give to the world. We are the monument. Our families are the monument: a monument to God and to liberty. Because, in the end, all towers crumble to dust. All that matters is the living. Monuments mean nothing if there are no free people to honor them



Ending the War on Kidneys

Government authoritarianism is condemning thousands to needless death

It’s an oft told tale how drug prohibition has led to the promotion of organized crime, skyrocketing violence here and abroad, and a simultaneous increase in potency and decrease in safety. (See here and here for examples.) The solution to these perhaps unintended but predictable negative consequences is legalization. So it is, too, with the sale of organs–kidneys in particular.

Meanwhile in Iran…

Since 1984, under the leadership of Senator Al Gore, the United States government has made it illegal to buy or sell kidneys and in so doing has effectively launched a “war on kidneys.” Again, the consequences, unintended but predictable, are mostly if not wholly bad.

According to the Human Resources and Services Administration there are currently over 93,000 persons in the United States on the waiting list for a donated kidney. Another source estimates that the list grows by 3,000 to 4,000 candidates a year. Between 1988 and 2008 yet another source reports that the number of kidney transplants performed in the United States has ranged from 8,873 (in 1988) to a high of 17,091 (in 2006) for an average of about 13,847 per year. While that may indicate a dwindling list of candidates, the reality is that the number who die each year still runs into the thousands.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, claims that 18 people die each day waiting for a kidney donor. That’s 6,570 deaths a year, and though their figure for the waiting list is considerably higher than the HRSA’s, they are in the same ballpark.

Kidney sales are legal in Iran, which offers a mix of private and government financing for kidney transplants. Not surprisingly, waiting lists there are practically nonexistent (because of a larger supply), and so is the number of people dying while waiting for one.

Moreover, the incidence of black markets and of “medical tourism”—in which relatively wealthy foreigners travel to relatively poor countries to buy local kidneys or have other procedures performed at lower cost than in the United States—would probably fall, much as legalization of alcohol after Prohibition saw the downfall of speakeasies and bathtub booze.

What’s the Downside?

And although some estimate that the cost of a kidney may be as high as $100,000—which would make the total cost of the transplant procedure around $350,000—keep in mind that in addition to the value of the lives saved, the savings from unnecessary kidney dialysis is about $70,000 per person per year. (See also this article from The Economist.)

Some argue that only the rich would get organs and only the poor would die giving them up. Existing black markets and medical tourism already reinforce any such tendency by keeping prices high. Would a free market in organs mean that the relatively poor would supply the relatively rich? Perhaps. More generally, would abuses occur? Yes, they would, just as they do in other aspects of organ transplantation—such as in shabby hospitals or lousy medical care. Nobody suggests banning hospitals or doctors because some hospitals and some doctors occasionally screw up. The cure lies largely in greater competition, the prerequisite of which is making organ sales legal.

Some are put off by the very idea of a market in kidneys, and many who aren’t might have some reservations about extending the list to other parts of our bodies. Some of this can be attributed to a socio-ethical resistance to “commoditizing the human body.” Perhaps this is a valid concern. Interestingly, there is a legal market for cadavers, so it seems to be OK to pay for bodies but not for organs.

What about other organs or body parts? The thing about kidneys—or eyes, ears, hands, and feet—is that removing them from our bodies does not entail death or, in the case of kidneys, any significant decline in the quality of life to the donor. But what about selling something vital such as a heart, which would spell certain death? That’s a difficult question that we may not have to settle just yet. Let’s start with kidneys.

The Moral Alternative

I confess to being uncomfortable with the thought of selling off body parts. In the same way, I would never recommend to anyone, including myself, taking cocaine for fun. But I would stop short of banning cocaine, and my qualms about selling body parts doesn’t keep me from staunchly supporting legalization, especially when a strong case can be made (as in this video by Professor James Stacey Taylor) that banning it would itself be immoral. Selling body parts for money should be no more illegal than letting people make a living fishing for crabs on the high seas or give up their lives for a cause they believe in. I may disapprove of a practice that harms the practitioner, but that by itself doesn’t give me the right to stop it, especially if it harms no one else.

Finally, today it’s considered perfectly legal and moral to allow husband A to give up his kidney to his wife B without compensation. Or, if A’s kidney is not a match for B, it’s okay for A to donate to C, whose husband D could then donate to B. That is like trading a goat to Jack to get a pile of bricks to trade to Jill for a sack of grain, which is what you wanted for your goat in the first place. While the Internet and creative websites have made organ bartering of this kind easier than in the past, humans long ago developed another institution that gets the job done much more easily: buying and selling for money.

Crimalizing activities—whether drugs, prostitution, or organ sales—typically generates consequences that are usually unintended but, with the aid of some basic economic knowledge, mostly predictable. After decades and over a trillion dollars spent and countless lives ruined, a summit of Latin-American politicians earlier this year declared that “the war on drugs has failed,” a sentiment echoed around the world.

It’s time that our government ended the war on kidneys, too.




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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)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nude photos that look very much like Obama's mother

In late 2008, there were some offensive speculations being made by Leftists about Sarah Palin's family (claims that Trig was really her daughter's baby etc., etc.) so, being something of an Old Testament type, I thought it fair for me to return fire by speculating about Obama's family.  I put online links to some nude pictures that had already appeared on American internet porn sites.  I was alerted to the pictures by an American correspondent.  The pictures bear a striking resemblance to Obama's mother.  In the run up to the election this year, the pictures are again getting a lot of attention so I thought I might offer some further comment here on them.

I note that, although the pictures have subsequently been widely circulated, the person in the best position to identify them  -- President Obama -- has never denied that they were of his mother.

Ann Dunham had a distinctively long face and the woman in the pictures I linked to did also.  Below is a Bowderlized copy of one of the the pictures that I made more accessible, followed by the Wikipedia picture of the young Ann Dunham

Leftists such as Snopes have of course disputed the identification and suggested certain models as the person in the pictures.  Snopes suggested Marcy Moore. I see, however, little similarity between the pictures I put up and the pictures of Moore.  Amusingly, Snopes no longer have an article on the subject.  They seem to have pulled it.  Rather a clear confession of failure, I think.

Snopes does however have a successor.  We see here an attempt that has popped up this year.  Unlike Snopes it is an outright fraud.  It claims that my original post has been taken down when it has not.  See here.  See also here and here for two other posts on the subject by me at that time.

The fraud also makes much of some reference numbers appearing at the bottom of one of the pictures.  He claims that the reference numbers include the initials of the model, and the initials given are YA rather than AD.  That a woman posing nude  might have used a pseudonym and not her real name has obviously not occurred to him.

He also reproduces two copies of one photo, from one of which the identifying code has been erased.  He implies that he has "discovered" the one with the codes and that the previously circulated photos had the codes erased in order to deceive.  The truth is that the photos I put up DID have the identifying codes.  He has probably erased them himself.

And slurs against me were of course predictable.  For instance, One writer claimed that  "Ray was formerly associated with Majority Rights, a large pro-Nazi White Supremacist site".  It is indeed true that I did for a while contribute to that site but characterizing it as "pro-Nazi" is wrong.  It covers a variety of views but NOT explicitly pro-Nazi ones.  It does/did include antisemitic posts but I put up with that for the sake of reaching the more reasonable part of its large audience.  More to the point, however, I was eventually kicked off the site because I MOCKED and disparaged antisemitism.

A matter that does  not directly concern me but which I thought I might note:  I originally put up three photos that were unmistakeably of the same woman.  At the moment, however, there seem to be about a dozen nude photos circulating that are alleged to be of Obama's mother.  To my eye, none of the additional photos are persuasive. They look like quite different women to me.

I finally note that the photos I put up were clearly an amateur job.  They were just snaps taken in someone's living room.  Had the photos been of a model, we would have expected a more professional job.


Tom Sowell gets it right again

He's been doing so for decades


Obama Flunks Economics 101, Turns Desperate and Dishonest

Finally, a pollster asked voters the one question that matters in this presidential election: Does Barack Obama know how to fix the economy?

When the Pew Research Center asked that question in the days following Mitt Romney's strong performance in last week's presidential debate, a majority of the voters answered, no.

The central failure of Obama's presidency centers on his demonstrated inability to restore the economy to full health and vigor after trillions of dollars in job stimulus spending that created few jobs but added $5 trillion to the federal debt.

Pew put the question to likely voters this way: Do you agree or disagree with the criticism that "Obama doesn't know how to turn the economy around?"

A 54 percent majority agreed that he didn't know how to rebuild our economy while 44 percent diehard supporters disagreed.

While Romney voters were nearly unanimous with this dim view of Obama's questionable capabilities, 11 percent of Obama voters "share this view," Pew reported Monday.

Notably, a sizable share of swing voters, by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, agreed Obama does not know how to strengthen the economy and get it back on track.

The Pew poll, and other post-debate surveys, found that Romney's performance in the debate erased Obama's lead and dramatically changed the way voters perceived his Republican challenger.

A whopping 66 percent of voters said Romney turned in a far better performance than Obama in Wednesday's debate, compared to 20 percent who said that about Obama.

Romney "is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September," Pew said. He "is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit."

If there was any question of Obama's incompetence on economic policy, it was reconfirmed in Friday's weak jobs report. The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, fewer than the 142,000 jobs in August, and fewer still than the jobs created in July.

While the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, it did not indicate the economy was suddenly getting stronger or growing at a faster rate. A chief reason behind the rate's decline was the number of self-employed jumped dramatically, says business economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland.

"With the economy growing so slowly, many of these [newly self- employed Americans] are likely workers laid off during the economic collapse who have established home-based businesses," Morici writes in his latest analysis.

The paramount reason the unemployment rate has fallen from its 10 percent peak in October 2009 "has been accomplished through a significant drop in the percentage of adults participating in the labor force -- either working or looking for work," Morici said.

If the labor participation rate were the same today, as it was four years ago, the real unemployment rate would be 10 percent.

The truth is the economy has dramatically slowed down in the past year and Obama doesn't have a plan at present to turn it around anytime soon. The jobs plan he proposed earlier this year was a rehash of his 2009 plan to spend more money on public works infrastructure and temporary tax credits. The plan was dismissed even by his own party in the Senate.

Obama is running on the fictitious claim the economy is moving "forward," when our chief economic measurement -- the gross domestic product -- shows GDP's been falling backward since January.

GDP grew at 2.0 percent in the first quarter of this year, then declined to 1.7 percent in the second quarter which was revised down to 1.3 percent at the end of September as consumers pulled back on spending, and factory orders fell. The third quarter growth rate is likely to be somewhere north of 1 percent.

Obama is still telling voters in his stump speeches that factory jobs are coming back under his economic policies, but manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs last month after falling by 22,000 jobs in August.

Who's being dishonest now?

"Even at 7.8 percent, the joblessness rate remains high by any historical standard. And it could be years before the economy returns to full employment," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The economy's precipitous decline has shaken Obama's high command and there's a tone of desperation and even dishonesty in the president's speeches and TV ads.

"Now Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he'd double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place," says a new Obama TV spot.

But the notion that the Bush tax cuts "led" to the 2008 financial crisis doesn't hold water. When the Post's Fact Checker Glenn Kessler sought the source for this claim, the Obama campaign pointed to a column by the Post's liberal economic writer Ezra Klein who told Kessler, "I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there's no evidence of that."

Kessler gave the Obama ad three Pinocchios, saying "the president really stretches the limits here."

But dishonesty permeates Obama's economic claims from beginning to end. While he touts last month's 114,000 jobs, as he has previous small job gains, the truth is these are very weak gains and nowhere near turnaround levels.

The economy would have to produce over 375,000 jobs a month for three years to reduce the employment rate to a more normal range of about 6 percent. That's not going to happen under his anti-job policies.

"This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney said after the unemployment report came out. He should know because turnarounds were what he did for a living throughout his successful business investment career.

This is what failure looks like when the president doesn't know what he's doing.



Basic freedoms being eroded

Our first freedoms—those freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment—are being recklessly discarded by the ruling class in favor of government ideology. It seems that America’s citizenry has become so numb to outrageous political acts that even trampling our constitutional rights barely raises an eyebrow.

If we remember back to when schools actually taught such things, the linchpin of the American Constitution is the Bill of Rights. Those were the rights the founding fathers of this great nation felt were necessary to spell out in the Constitution in order to safeguard us and our democracy from intrusive government. Thomas Jefferson and others would not ratify the document without the 10 Amendments that specified specific rights of citizens in order to limit for all time the power of the central government.

Some, like Alexander Hamilton, worried that actually specifying rights could be dangerous. In Federalist Paper No. 84, Hamilton wrote, “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?” Today, living in a country without First Amendment rights—freedom of speech, assembly, religion, the press, and the right to petition the government for redress—would seem horrifying.

But that is the dangerous path we are on: Hamilton now seems naïve and Jefferson a visionary.

The executive branch has taken to picking and choosing which laws duly enacted by Congress will be enforced or ignored. Immigration and customs agents are directed not to enforce all immigration laws. The president has “evolved” in his opinion of homosexuality, so the Department of Justice will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton.

When it comes to Planned Parenthood tax funding, we are told it would be better to shut down the government than cut one penny from the federal budget earmarked for Planned Parenthood. All this is done under a legislative maneuver called continuing resolutions since Congress has not actually fulfilled its constitutional duty and passed a budget in three years.

This is the same abortion giant that lobbied for Obamacare to mandate that employers and employees must have health insurance that pays for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Failure to comply means potentially crippling financial tax penalties—even if your faith or conscience bars you from helping kill preborn babies by helping to fund abortions.

Unknown to most citizens, Obamacare also funnels an estimated $1 billion in insurance premiums each year to an abortion superfund. As the largest provider of abortions in America responsible for over 332,000 babies terminated, Planned Parenthood stands to gain another $250 million.

The unelected Secretary Sebelius of HHS has imposed rules that redefine religious freedom to the point that, as Cardinal Wuerl explained, “HHS’s conception of what constitutes the practice of religion is so narrow that even Mother Teresa would not have qualified.” That’s why over 30 lawsuits have been filed based on religious freedom rights.

But all this was only made possible by our own Supreme Court. While Congress told citizens that this penalty was not a tax, they argued differently in court. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “And Congress’s choice of language—stating that individuals ‘shall’ obtain insurance or pay a ‘penalty’—does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct. It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance.”

Although the word tax never appeared in the individual mandate, the Roberts’ majority substituted the word “tax” for the word “penalty” 18 times and ruled that Congress has the power to tax not just income—but also lawful activities.

How ironic: In 1819, Chief Justice Marshall, reportedly Roberts’ hero, agreed with Daniel Webster in writing for the majority in the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland: “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

History tragically teaches us that if our government can abrogate or penalize one constitutional right, then all constitutional rights are put in jeopardy. So no, it’s not just the economy. We are not stupid.



Obama Stimulus Jobs Created/Saved: 76% In Government

More than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by President Obama's economic stimulus in the first year were in government, according to a new study.

In early 2009, Obama economic adviser Jared Bernstein and the Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer stated, "More than 90% of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector."

That hasn't borne out, according to an analysis by Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor.

Under the $821 billion stimulus any entity, public and private, receiving grants, loans or contracts from the stimulus had to report back to the federal government the number of full-time equivalent jobs that were created or saved.

The data were all posted at Dupor found that of the roughly 682,000 jobs saved or created in the first year of the program, only 166,000, or 24%, were in the private sector.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, October 10, 2012

Phony in Chief

Thomas Sowell

When President Barack Obama and others on the left are not busy admonishing the rest of us to be "civil" in our discussions of political issues, they are busy letting loose insults, accusations and smears against those who dare to disagree with them.

Like so many people who have been beaten in a verbal encounter, and who can think of clever things to say the next day, after it is all over, President Obama, after his clear loss in his debate with Mitt Romney, called Governor Romney a "phony."

Innumerable facts, however, show that it is our Commander in Chief who is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. That date is important, as we shall see.

In his speech -- delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn't use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience -- he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.

Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.

Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be "part of the American family." But the people in New Orleans -- predominantly black -- "they don't care about as much," according to Barack Obama.

If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it -- rub people's emotions raw to hype their resentments. And this was Barack Obama in his old community organizer role, a role that should have warned those who thought that he was someone who would bring us together, when he was all too well practiced in the arts of polarizing us apart.

Why is the date of this speech important? Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.

Truth is not a job requirement for a community organizer. Nor can Barack Obama claim that he wasn't present the day of that Senate vote, as he claimed he wasn't there when Jeremiah Wright unleashed his obscene attacks on America from the pulpit of the church that Obama attended for 20 years.

Unlike Jeremiah Wright's church, the U.S. Senate keeps a record of who was there on a given day. The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against -- repeat, AGAINST -- the legislation which included the waiver.

When he gave that demagogic speech, in a feigned accent and style, it was world class chutzpah and a rhetorical triumph. He truly deserves the title Phony in Chief.

If you know any true believers in Obama, show them the transcript of his June 5, 2007 speech at Hampton University (available from the Federal News Service) and then show them page S6823 of the Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, which lists which Senators voted which way on the waiver of the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans.

Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama's real character that have belatedly come to light as "old news." But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama's character -- or lack of character.

Obama's true believers may not want to know the truth. But there are millions of other people who have simply projected their own desires for a post-racial America onto Barack Obama. These are the ones who need to be confronted with the truth, before they repeat the mistake they made when they voted four years ago.



Scary: Obama Appointed the Jobs Number Cruncher; Scarier: Her Resume

That unemployment rate number on Friday was a total farce, but even if it was completely honest, 7.8% is way too high for an economy that supposedly turned the corner a long time ago.

The number doesn't jibe, with an economy growing at 1.3%. The only honest aspect of the report was that more people were entering the work force, but I guarantee a new line of questioning accompanied the Household Survey. Few people know that President Obama placed a former contract negotiator and union steward to run the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Erica Groshen taught Statistical Methods for Economists, Trade Unions, Collective Bargaining, and Public Policy at Harvard. Although she calls herself "nonpartisan," rumblings about sending her children to a communist summer camp coupled with her left-leaning teachings have many worried. Of course, the Left uses the victim-race card, saying Nixon pushed all the Jews out of BLS, so it's about time. This is scary stuff.

What was real in the Friday number was private sector job creation at 104,000, below consensus and less than half where it was a year ago.

Manufacturing continues to shed jobs, and temp work is exploding. This is a shadow of what America is really all about. But, this is how nations morph when the focus is on squeezing the gap between rich (and the so-called rich) and poor, by browbeating the former, while spreading crumbs to the latter.



Obama’s Bible Issue

So why isn’t a publisher of Bibles eligible for a religious exemption from HHS?

‘Tyndale was left with no alternative but to go to court,”  explains Mark D. Taylor, president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers. On the day before the first presidential debate, the company, which Taylor’s parents started when he was eleven years old, filed the 31st lawsuit over the Department of Health and Human Services’ abortion-drug, sterilization, and contraception mandate.

Tyndale publishes Bibles. But that doesn’t make it a religious endeavor. Not in the federal government’s book. Not as of August 1, anyway. That was the day that the HHS mandate — a regulation further defining the health-care legislation that then–Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was right to tell us Congress would be passing before anyone knew what it actually contained — went into effect. Family businesses like Tyndale — which happen to be run by religious folk who want to live their lives true to what they believe — don’t qualify for any kind of “accommodation” or exemption.

“The law does not give any religious-freedom exemption to faith-based operations like Tyndale,” Taylor, who is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, points out. “Instead, it imposes crushing fines on employers who are doing nothing more than following their consciences against abortion-inducing pills.

The government is supposed to promote conscience protection, not attack it. The best solution is for Congress or the administration to respect the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by eliminating the abortion-pill mandate. But if they refuse to do their duty, we hope the courts will rule that the mandate is unlawful.”

Tyndale, Taylor says, has always existed “for an explicitly religious purpose — to publish the Bible and other Christian publications, and direct the proceeds to ministry and charity.” And this is quite evident from a visit to Tyndale’ s website or to the religion section of most bookstores.

“The government’s policy that publishing the Bible is not a religious activity is disconnected from reality,” he says, echoing conversations I’ve had with other plaintiffs in recent months, including the president of the evangelical Wheaton College, who — like most Americans — wasn’t particularly animated on the issue of religious liberty until he realized how fragile our liberties are if we’re not vigilant. “Never before has the federal government had the nerve to insist that all for-profit businesses are purely secular and cannot have a religious purpose,” Taylor continues. “Americans today clearly agree with America’s founders: The federal government is not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”

The mandate became a practical issue for Tyndale on October 1, the first day of the plan year for the company’s health insurance. (Most companies’ plans start in January, or we’d be seeing right now more injunction requests like the ones filed by Tyndale and by the Hercules HVAC company in Denver, a business run by a Catholic family.) “Out of our religious conscience we have chosen not to comply with aspects of the mandate that promote abortion-inducing pills,” Taylor explains. “But no organization could deal with the crippling, draconian financial and legal penalties on faith that this mandate imposes” — fines of $100 per day per employee. “That is why Tyndale was left with no alternative but to go to court.”

Despite the cogent explanations of people like Taylor, the Department of Justice has been arguing (for example, in pushing back against Hercules in court) that Americans surrender their religious liberty when they choose to participate in “the marketplace of commerce” as employers. And a judge in Missouri has announced in the case of another Catholic business owner, Frank O’Brien, that the HHS mandate is not a religious-liberty violation because O’Brien “is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath, from providing a religious upbringing for his children, or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion.” That’s a pretty restrictive view of religious liberty.

Taylor is not deterred by the Missouri ruling or the administration’s posture. “The Obama administration is simply wrong to argue that one’s faith may be exercised only in private or in churches. We are confident that courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, will uphold and affirm our God-given religious freedom,” Taylor says.

When, in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked what his idea of the role of government was, he replied: “The role of government: Look behind us. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents. First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people.” These are not new ideas for Romney. He has brought up religious liberty many times over the years — on the campaign trail, in speeches, and in campaign commercials. When he first ran in the 2008 Republican primaries, he addressed the issue of “Faith in America” in depth, remembering that our first president considered religion the “indispensable support” for the health of the republic, and pointing out our obligation to protect religious freedom as the first freedom, provided by God, not the government.

The Tyndale case is a reminder of why this is not just talk. The current administration has taken steps that are eroding Americans’ religious freedom. And that ought to be a concern for all of us, regardless of whether or not we’re Bible readers.

“According to the Declaration of Independence,” Taylor reminds us, echoing the Republican presidential candidate, “the role of government is to secure for the people those freedoms endowed to us by our Creator. The Bill of Rights enumerates many of those freedoms, including religious liberty. I would hope voters would evaluate whether the present administration is defending freedom or trampling on it.” If they do, their electoral choice will be clear. This is about more than party politics. It’s about foundations: Tyndale’s, and ours as citizen stewards of liberty.



The $5 trillion tax-cut myth

After 47 percent, the presidential campaign’s most incendiary number is $5 trillion. That’s the tax cut planned by Mitt Romney with most benefits going to the wealthy, according to President Obama and his campaign. The president has used the figure repeatedly, as have his surrogates and ads. In Wednesday’s debate, Romney vehemently denied that there ever was a $5 trillion tax cut for the rich. He’s right. The figure is a partisan construct that, somehow, has been given a pass by most of the media as one plausible version of the truth. It isn’t.

To be sure, the Obama campaign’s enthusiasm for the $5 trillion figure is easily understood. It perfectly fits its spoken and unspoken narratives about Romney. He’s not just wealthy and indifferent to the needs of average Americans; he’s also an eager tool of the wealthy. He’d use his office to cut their taxes and advance their interests at everyone else’s expense. He’s not running for president so much as Leader of the Filthy Rich.

Here’s Obama at one rally:  “My opponent, he believes in top-down economics, thinks that if you spend another $5 trillion on a tax cut skewed towards the wealthy, that prosperity will rain down on everyone else.”

It’s a powerful argument, marred only by the fact that the $5 trillion tax cut is a fiction.  Let’s see how this happened.

Some blame belongs to Romney. He has made many vague, inconsistent and contradictory promises. He would cut all individual income tax rates by 20 percent and then offset lost revenue by eliminating tax breaks — but he doesn’t say which ones. He would reduce government spending from today’s 23 percent of gross domestic product to 20 percent, a $450 billion annual cut — but he doesn’t say how. He would balance the budget and raise defense spending. And so on.

On taxes, uncertainties abound. If you cut everyone’s tax rates by 20 percent, the rich — with the highest rates and the biggest tax bills — get the biggest breaks. The present top rate of 35 percent drops to 28 percent; the lowest rate falls only from 10 percent to 8 percent. (Each reduction is one-fifth, or 20 percent.) If that were all, Romney’s plan would indeed represent a windfall for the wealthy. Those with annual incomes exceeding $1 million would save an average of $175,000, estimates the Tax Policy Center (TPC), a research group. (By the TPC’s estimates, the 0.8 percent of taxpayers with incomes of more than $500,000 currently pay 28 percent of federal taxes.)

But there’s also Romney’s pledge to recoup losses by trimming tax deductions, credits and other tax breaks. The package would be “revenue neutral.” The tax system would then end up with lower rates, which would arguably spur faster economic growth. Workers and companies would keep more of any increased earnings; they’d have stronger incentives to work and invest. Although it’s contestable, that’s the theory of “tax reform.”

The trouble is that there’s a major snag, the TPC said in an August report. In practice, the tax breaks affecting the rich (generally, those with incomes exceeding $200,000) aren’t sufficient to offset all of their tax savings from lower rates. Achieving revenue neutrality would compel Romney to raise taxes on the middle class — something he has also vowed not to do.

To justify its $5 trillion figure — the estimated tax loss over a decade — the Obama campaign had to cherry-pick Romney’s proposal and the TPC analysis. It had to ignore any revenue raised by reducing tax breaks and assume that, faced with a conflict between the rich and the middle class, Romney would automatically side with the rich — as opposed to shielding the middle class from any tax increase. On Wednesday, Romney promised to protect the middle class.

The TPC report was widely interpreted as saying Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class. It didn’t, says the TPC’s Howard Gleckman. It simply pointed out that he couldn’t keep all “his ambitious campaign promises.” He’d have to make choices and modifications. So what else is new?

Politicians exaggerate and simplify. They make more promises than can be kept. They take inconsistent positions. Romney is guilty of this, but so is Obama. Obama says he favors tax reform but would also raise the top income tax rate from 35 to 39.6 percent. That’s the opposite of what most economists consider reform: cutting rates and broadening the tax base. Similarly, Obama has said he would maintain a strong military while rapidly reducing defense spending.

The media are rightly hounding Romney about how he’d offset revenue losses from his proposed cuts in tax rates. But the hounding ought to be evenhanded. Obama needs to be pressed on the many inconsistencies of his promises and policies.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, October 09, 2012

Apology to commenters

Most of my blogs are set up to require a word-matching task before a comment is accepted.  There is too much automated comment spam otherwise.  The character matching task is however run by Google and is presumably the same on all blogspot blogs.

I tried today however to leave a comment on a hate-filled rant from libertarian Timothy Taylor and found that no matter how many attempts I made my character matching was rejected.  As Taylor's blog is also a blogspot blog, that suggests to me that the whole system is faulty at the moment and may affect this blog too.

Neither I nor Taylor can do anything about it but I do (unlike Taylor) give my email address  at the foot of each post so if the comment system has bugged you, feel free to email me.


Will Big Bird ever leave the government nest?

If Sesame Street is not commercially viable, then nothing is, and we should just cut to the chase and bail out everything


Apparently, Frank Sinatra served as Mitt Romney's debate coach. As he put it about halfway through "That's Life":

"I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly ... ."

That's what Mitt did in Denver. Ten minutes in, he jumped right on Big Bird, and then he took off – and never looked back, while the other fellow, whose name escapes me, never got out of the gate. It takes a certain panache to clobber not just your opponent but also the moderator. Yet that's what the killer Mormon did when he declared that he wasn't going to borrow money from China to pay for Jim Lehrer and Big Bird on PBS. It was a terrific alpha-male moment, not just in that it rattled Lehrer, who seemed too preoccupied contemplating a future reading the hog prices on the WZZZ Farm Report to regain his grip on the usual absurd format, but in the sense that it indicated a man entirely at ease with himself – in contrast to wossname, the listless sourpuss staring at his shoes

Yet, amidst the otherwise total wreckage of their guy's performance, the Democrats seemed to think that Mitt's assault on Sesame Street was a misstep from whose tattered and ruined puppet-stuffing some hay is to be made. "WOW!!! No PBS!!! WTF how about cutting congress's stuff leave big bird alone," tweeted Whoopi Goldberg. Even the president mocked Romney for "finally getting tough on Big Bird" – not in the debate, of course, where such dazzling twinkle-toed repartee might have helped, but a mere 24 hours later, once the rapid-response team had directed his speechwriters to craft a line, fly it out to a campaign rally and load it into the prompter, he did deliver it without mishap.

Unlike Mitt, I loathe Sesame Street. It bears primary responsibility for what the Canadian blogger Binky calls the de-monsterization of childhood – the idea that there are no evil monsters out there at the edges of the map, just shaggy creatures who look a little funny and can sometimes be a bit grouchy about it because people prejudge them until they learn to celebrate diversity and help Cranky the Friendly Monster go recycling. That is not unrelated to the infantilization of our society. Marinate three generations of Americans in that pabulum, and it's no surprise you wind up with unprotected diplomats dragged to their deaths from their "safe house" in Benghazi. Or as J. Scott Gration, the president's Special Envoy to Sudan, said in 2009, in the most explicit Sesamization of American foreign policy: "We've got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries – they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes." The butchers of Darfur aren't blood-drenched machete-wielding genocidal killers but just Cookie Monsters whom we haven't given enough cookies. I'm not saying there's a direct line between Bert & Ernie and Barack & Hillary ... well, actually, I am.

Okay, I may be taking this further than Mitt intended. So let's go back to his central thrust. The Corporation of Public Broadcasting receives nearly half-a-billion dollars a year from taxpayers, which it disburses to PBS stations, who, in turn, disburse it to Big Bird and Jim Lehrer. I don't know what Big Bird gets, but, according to Sen. Jim DeMint, the President of Sesame Workshop, Gary Knell, received in 2008 a salary of $956,513. In that sense, Big Bird and Sen. Harry Reid embody the same mystifying phenomenon: they've been in "public service" their entire lives and have somehow wound up as multimillionaires.

Mitt's decision to strap Big Bird to the roof of his station wagon and drive him to Canada has prompted two counter-arguments from Democrats: 1) half a billion dollars is a mere rounding error in the great sucking maw of the federal budget, so why bother? 2) everybody loves Sesame Street, so Mitt is making a catastrophic strategic error. On the latter point, whether or not everybody loves Sesame Street, everybody has seen it, and every American under 50 has been weaned on it. So far this century it's sold nigh on a billion bucks' worth of merchandising sales (that's popular toys such as the Subsidize-Me-Elmo doll). If Sesame Street is not commercially viable, then nothing is, and we should just cut to the chase and bail out everything.

Conversely, if this supposed "public" broadcasting brand is capable on standing on its own, then so should it. As for the rest of PBS's output – the eternal replays of the Peter, Paul & Mary reunion concert, twee Brit sitcoms, Lawrence Welk reruns and therapeutic infomercials – whatever their charms, it is difficult to see why the Brokest Nation in History should be borrowing money from the Chinese Politburo to pay for it. A system by which a Communist Party official in Beijing enriches British comedy producers by charging it to American taxpayers with interest is not the most obvious economic model. Yet, as Obama would say, the government did build that.

(Full disclosure: Some years ago, I hosted a lavish BBC special, and, at the meeting intended to sell it to PBS, the executive from "Great Performances" said he could only sign off on the deal if I were digitally edited out and replaced by Angela Lansbury. Murder, he shrieked. Lest I sound bitter, I should say I am in favor of this as a more general operating principle for public broadcasting: for example, "A Prairie Home Companion" would be greatly improved by having Garrison Keillor digitally replaced by Paul Ryan.)

The small things are not unimportant – and not just because, when "small" is defined as anything under 11 figures, "small" is a big part of the problem. If Americans can't muster the will to make Big Bird leave the government nest, they certainly will never reform Medicare. Just before the debate in Denver, in the general backstage melée, a commentator pointed out Valerie Jarrett, who is officially "Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs," a vital position which certainly stimulates the luxury-length business-card industry. Not one in 100,000 Americans knows what she looks like, but she declines to take the risk of passing among the rude peasantry without the protection of a Secret Service detail. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a private jet to fly him home from Washington every weekend.

The Queen of the Netherlands flies commercial, so does the Queen of Denmark. Prince William and his lovely bride, whom at least as many people want to get a piece of as Valerie Jarrett or Leon Panetta, flew to Los Angeles on a Royal Canadian Air Force boneshaker. It is profoundly unrepublican when minor public officials assume that private planes and entourages to hold the masses at bay are a standard perk of office. And it is even more disturbing that tens of millions of Americans are accepting of this. The entitlements are complicated, and will take some years and much negotiation. But, in a Romney administration, rolling back the nickel'n'dime stuff – ie, the million'n'billion stuff – should start on Day One.

Mitt made much of his bipartisan credentials in Denver. So, in that reach-across-the-aisle spirit, if we cannot abolish entirely frivolous spending, might we not at least attempt some economies of scale? Could Elmo, Grover, Oscar and Cookie Monster not be redeployed as Intergovernmental Engagement Assistant Jarrett's security detail? Could Leon Panetta not fly home on Big Bird every weekend?

And for the next debate, instead of a candidate slumped at the lectern like a muppet whose puppeteer has gone out for a smoke, maybe Elmo's guy could shove his arm up the back of the presidential suit.



Some profound Leftist ignorance

 Tim Worstall

A very puzzling call contained in the latest little pamphlet from Compass. You know the sort of thing, the call to arms about what we must do to make this a more caring, sharing and wondrous society. And yes, I read these things so you don't have to.

They insist that there should be a European minimum wage: "Europe should therefore move towards a continent wide minimum wage, based on the respective average income."

There's an awful lot of weight that rests upon that word "respective". There are two possibilities. One is that there should indeed be a European minimum wage. One single rate that applies to all jobs in the EU. Which would be either irrelevant or entirely crazed. If it's based on some sort of average of European wages then just about every job in the poorer countries would disappear overnight. Insisting on, say, 50% of German wages in Romania when that's some multiple of average wages in Romania would indeed be crazed. Insisting that Germany meet the Romanian minimum wage would simply be irrelevant.

The other meaning possible is that they think that there should be a minimum wage in each country, based on the relevant wages for that country. The problem with this is the following:
Germany, Cyprus and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have statutory minimum wages that do not apply to all or the large majority of employees but are restricted to specific groups which are defined e.g. by sectors or by professions. These are excluded from the data collection. Also excluded are countries where there are no statutory national minimum wages: Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In these countries, wages are either determined by negotiations between the social partners, at company level or at the level of each individual contract. Typically, sectoral level agreements are widely applied and have erga omnes applicability, thus constituting de facto minimum wages.

Insisting on a statutory minimum wage in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland.....what effect does anyone think this will have in any manner at all?

Which leaves me really rather puzzled. I'm not sure which box to put Neal Lawson and his band of merry social democrats in. It could be that they're simply ignorant, in that they don't know that there are already minimum wages in most EU countries. It could be that they're stupid in that they don't realise that having them where they do not already exist isn't going to make a damn bit of difference as the same end is achieved in other ways.

Or it could be that they really are crazed loons and that they want to impose a minimum wage based on some average of European wages. Which would immediately close down large parts of the economies of the poorer countries.

Which leaves me even more puzzled. Given that these are the only three boxes that they can be put in as a result of this call then why is it that anyone pays any attention to them at all?



Twitter Explodes After Black Actress Endorses Romney as the ‘Only Choice for Your Future’‏

Actress Stacey Dash, who has starred in everything from the 90′s hit Clueless to CSI, prompted a firestorm on Twitter after publicly endorsing Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and then standing by her opinion.

“Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney,” Dash wrote on her official Twitter page, accompanied by a photo of herself with an American flag.

Not long after, presumed Obama supporters began insulting Dash for her opinion, saying she isn’t “black” enough, several even asking if the actress would just “kill herself.”

One man wrote: “This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u @REALStaceyDash.”

But Dash was apparently undeterred by the cruel reaction, and sent a number of sarcastic responses to the worst offenders, wrote a tweet reminding that she is entitled to her own opinion, and– to top it off– re-tweeted a Romney campaign message.

“Women have had enough of @BarackObama’s disappointment. We need new leadership to get our economy growing again…” the re-tweeted message reads.

More HERE (Including tweets)


The inverted racism of Elizabeth Warren draws attention to the enduring racism of "affirmative action"

For months [Massachusetts] Republicans have had a field day with Warren's claim to be Cherokee on the strength of unverified "family lore" about her great-great-great grandmother. Brown's TV spot milks the "Fauxcahontas" angle with clips of news stories reporting on the story. "Warren admitted to identifying herself as Native American to employers," one broadcast journalist says. "Something genealogists said they have zero evidence of," intones another.

None of this would matter if it weren't for the fact that nearly half a century after the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, racial discrimination – in the form of affirmative action – is entrenched in American society.

Warren insists that she "never got any benefit because of my heritage," and that the only reason she listed herself as an American Indian in professional law-school directories was to be invited to lunches "with people who are like I am." Her explanations provoked so much ridicule because they were ridiculous. Everyone knows that minority status can confer serious advantages when employers place a premium on "diversity," and use racial preferences and set-asides to achieve it.

Martin Luther King memorably dreamed of a nation in which people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and in much of American life his dream has become a reality.

But not within the contemporary diversity industry, where individual men and women are first and foremost members of categories, to be grouped by race, by ethnicity, by color. That's the logic behind a directory of "minority law teachers." It was also the mindset behind Jim Crow and "separate but equal."

The real significance of Warren's supposed Native American heritage isn't that she lacks proof that one of her 32 great-great-great grandparents was a Cherokee. It isn't that she believes the stories she was told as a girl. It isn't that by identifying herself as a racial minority she may, in Brown's words, have seized "an advantage that others were entitled to."

It is that in 21st-century America, no such advantage should exist. Racial preferences should by now be artifacts of history, not tools for hiring law professors. Two generations ago Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP declared that "classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society."


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



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, October 08, 2012

Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference

His most infamous statement was during a radio interview on September 11, 2001, accusing Israel of the attack on the WTC

Great teeth

For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world's largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.  Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year's meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week.  Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.

The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 - 1999.

There are three public members of the U.S. delegation.  Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of  international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.

Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S.  at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.

The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

While two out of three of the U.S. representatives are scholars whose fields suggest expertise in human rights and democratization, and are entirely consistent with the themes of the OSCE and, specifically, human rights and democracy, Al-Marayati's appointment raises serious questions.

Counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson told The Jewish Press that
Al-Marayati's appointment is not just scandalous but also does incalculable damage to our values as a nation whose core principles categorically reject the legitimization of a racist supporter of terrorism, and an incendiary proponent of paranoid conspiracies that provides the motivation for radical Muslims to carry out terrorism.

Al-Marayati is not a scholar.  His only graduate degree is in business and his undergraduate degree is in science.  He has been involved with MPAC since its founding in 1986.  Without any scholarly article to his credit, his expertise is in matters concerning the role of Islam and Muslims in America and elsewhere.


Jobs, Taxes, Oil, Investment and Debt

This week Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post writes that cutting taxes has no effect on economic growth. Hit the rich she says. Larry Kudlow of National Review writes that cutting taxes expands economic growth and creates jobs through private investment. Who is right?

Kudlow. Hands down. Slam dunk.  Ms. Marcus fails to examine a simple proposition: when did the past four recoveries begin, when did tax rate cuts kick in, and how many jobs were thus created by new private investment.

Mr. Kudlow connects the job growth with the tax rate cuts and makes the case.  Let's look it up.

In 1983, Reagan's tax rate cuts fully kicked in. Private investment soared to $177 billion or by 33%, and exceeded the previous four years by a factor of ten. 4.9 million Jobs were created over the next year. 11 million over 3 years. Government spending was kept at 20% of GDP. Reagan eliminated price controls on oil and prices dropped $17 a barrel.

In 1997, the Clinton administration cut taxes on capital gains, increased the child tax credit, reformed welfare and adopted a plan to cut government spending to 18% of GDP and balance the budget. In 1997, private investment increased by $148 billion, the largest amount in the eight years of the Clinton administration. 3.3 million jobs were created that year. Oil production increased and oil prices averaged $16 a barrel.

In 2003, President Bush secured a cut in tax rates, with 80% of the cuts occurring in that year. Private investment into the economy soared to $250 billion, a record, and next year 2.3 million jobs were created. By 2009, spending was 21% of GDP, at the historical average.

But oil prices reached $145 a barrel in 2008 and as Secretary of the Treasury Geithner explains, that killed the US economy. Fracking technology was just beginning to take hold but not soon enough to rescue the US economy.

In 2009-10, private investment into the US economy increased only a combined $100 billion. Government spending soared to 25% of GDP, far above the historical average. Since the June 2009 recovery began, a paltry 100,000 jobs a month have been created over three years. If one combined 1983, 1997 and 2004, job creation hit 11.5 million, more than three times faster than 2009-12.

Oil production on Federal lands declined 40%. Yet state and private lands-using American fracking technology-- have doubled gas production.

But the regulators want to kill fracking. And fracking is banned on Federal lands. Trillions of barrels of oil remain right beneath our feet and we cannot touch it. And oil tops $100 a barrel, an increase of $70 since January 2009.

The n Senator Obama campaigned in 2008 in Ohio and charged the Bush administration was immoral to have increased our debt by $4 trillion and cut household income $2000. He said we were buying too much oil from overseas. And thus no Republican deserved to be elected to the White House.

Since the 2009 recovery began, US household income is down 8% or over $4000. The national debt has climbed nearly $6 trillion. Oil has averaged near $100 a barrel, nearly triple what it was in 2009, and we are sending $300 billion overseas to buy it. While OPEC is getting rich, we are going broke.

The administration's policies are driving spending up to trillions of new debt. Today's spending of $3.8 trillion is projected to rise to $5.5 trillion in ten years. This is driven in part by Obama Care, which will cost $2.7 trillion, with only $500 billion in new taxes to pay for it. Yet 30 million will remain uninsured.

By 2020, deficits remain over $1 trillion according to the administration's own budget numbers. Oil and energy costs are being deliberately increased, because this administration believes we consume too much energy. His Energy Secretary wants the US to have European gas prices-that's $10 bucks a gallon.

More people have been added to the welfare and poverty rolls since 2009 than have been put to work. 591,000 people left the work force last month, giving up looking for work, losing hope.

The President says the private sector is doing fine. He says the deficit is only a problem for the "long term". He says "shovel ready"" jobs really were never available.

Washington Post writer Bob Woodward says that we are in a period of maximum peril, that our debt is "beyond unsustainable", and the President remains ambivalent even though his Treasury Secretary warns him "You have to fix it".  There was a bipartisan deal on the table in 2011, but the President said no.

Under the President's own rules he used in the 2008 campaign, his policies have failed, they have not worked. Doing over the next four years what he has done in the past four years will not turn failure into success. As his Secretary of the Treasury said to Congress: "We have no plan but we do not like yours".


Government training , included exercise in which employees were told to chant "our forefathers were illegal immigrants."

The U.S. government paid a Chicago consultant hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on diversity training workshops that, according to one watchdog, included an exercise in which employees were told to chant "our forefathers were illegal immigrants." 

Conservative group Judicial Watch made the claim this week as it released a handful of documents pertaining to the program -- and alleged that the sessions held by the Department of Agriculture ended up enforcing political views more than promoting tolerance. 

"Instead of being diversity-oriented or tolerance-oriented, it's more about adopting a mindset," said Lisette Garcia, a senior investigator with the group. "It seemed to go so far as to encourage illegal immigration." 

But the USDA denied that the workshop was anything more than a training exercise to "examine stereotypes."

"Participants did not chant during these workshops," a department official said. "In one portion of the session, the presenter had participants repeat provocative and potentially offensive phrases as part of an exercise to examine stereotypes. The statements were not reflective of USDA or its policy."

Judicial Watch began to investigate the sessions earlier this year after being approached by a tipster at USDA who was "offended" by them, Garcia said. Judicial Watch claims it has identified at least $200,000 spent by the USDA over the last two years on the company Souder, Betances & Associates. 

The USDA later confirmed that amount.   

The tipster, Garcia said, described one session in which the speaker led workers in chanting "our forefathers were illegal immigrants" while pounding on the table and getting others in the room to join in.  "How does that fit into the USDA mission at all?" she said. "The price tag makes it more egregious." 

‘Mainstream’ Media Making A Desperate Last Stand?

In a particularly noxious September 30 article entitled "Tired Cries of Bias Don't Help Romney," New York Times columnist David Carr made a ludicrous effort to deflect conservative animosity towards the "mainstream" media. He contended that it is misplaced, and likely just an outgrowth of the frustration ostensibly felt by those on the right who want to see Barack Obama defeated in November. Carr attempts to make a case that the abundance of modern alternative media somehow negates the total lack of objectivity by "reporters" in the nation's major newspapers and on the nightly news. But by his very methodology in articulating his case, he proves the indictment of the decidedly liberal press.

Nor is Carr alone. On a PBS broadcast the following day, commentators Mark Shields and Nina Totenberg did their best to ridicule anyone who would dare contend that liberal bias exists among prominent media figures. Their scorn (embellished with forced laughter), represented a flailing version of the standard Alinsky tactic of mocking an argument that cannot be substantively refuted. This approach has often worked in the past. Act like it is an absurd point, and that those who ascribe to it are dim-witted, and hopefully others will be dissuaded from publicly agreeing with them.

Unfortunately for leftists, the ruse is no longer even remotely credible. Their attempts to execute a preemptive strike are becoming embarrassingly obvious. A pattern is emerging of media liberals seeking to bolster their integrity in the midst of a presidential campaign in which they have been anything but believable. Like the proverbial kid who cries out from the rear of the classroom with an unsolicited declaration of his total innocence, the rising fervor with which they try to exonerate themselves makes them look increasingly guilty. Indeed this is an old debate, but it is one that liberals are dredging up with a degree of coordination suggesting an agenda.

Even a cursory glance at the New York Times' evaporating circulation yields ample evidence that the numbers who find Carr, Shields, and their kind believable are dwindling. Yet this is a critical time for those on the left, who consider this November's elections to be game, set, and match. A loss by Barack Obama will represent an absolute repudiation of every aspect of the liberal/socialist utopia that society's most gullible have been eagerly anticipating since the days of Karl Marx. An electoral rout will put liberals in full retreat, not only on the political front, but in the ideological and philosophical realm as well. It is not surprising that, with so much at stake, they are making every effort to sway the outcome in their favor, and in particular, they are working overtime to thoroughly control the flow of information to the public.

Nevertheless, to their dismay, the conservative media flourishes. Though it takes more effort to root out information on the Internet or other alternative sources, for those who are sufficiently motivated, the avenues to truth exist. So it is incumbent upon the liberal/Democrat political propagandists to rail and accuse with sufficient volume to drown out all other information among those who still passively receive their daily news and accept it at face value.

That liberal "journalists" are able to engage in such behavior while professing, with totally straight faces, to embody objectivity and professionalism is a testament to their consuming devotion to their real cause, which is a wholly political one. They simply cannot be so pathologically naive or delusional to not recognize the bias that permeates every sentence they utter. So they must be deliberately and purposefully lying.

Entire organizations, such as Reed Irvine's "Accuracy In Media" and Dr. Brent Bozell's "Media Research Center" have been established for the purpose of calling the "mainstream news outlets" to account. And the incriminating evidence of their shady reporting exists in abundance. Yet they still cling tenaciously to their assertions of neutrality, and caterwaul with indignation at the merest suggestion that they might be less than such.

Though it may be stating the glaringly obvious to assert liberal media bias, their constant professions of angelic innocence must be countered. The many successes of the liberal propaganda onslaught during the last several decades  has inarguably proven that a lie incessantly repeated must be just as diligently refuted, or it will eventually be accepted as "self-evident" truth. So a few examples of their ongoing moral and ethical bankruptcy should serve to remind Americans of just who they are, and more importantly, what manner of leaders they consider worthy to govern the nation.

Imagine how devastating Barack Obama's "You didn't build that" comment would be to his reelection efforts, if the nightly news anchors had delivered it with even a fraction of the fervency and outrage with which they relentlessly excoriated Mitt Romney for his "Forty Seven Percent" remark. Yet the major networks were at first virtually silent on Obama's outlandish assertion, though later, upon realizing how severely Real America was outraged by it, they felt compelled to defend their dear leader on the standard grounds that he was "taken out of context."

Going all the way back to Nancy Reagan's tenure as First Lady, the press has kept a sharp eye on Republican Presidents' wives and children, gleefully informing the public of any supposed lapses in decorum. In Nancy Reagan's case, a huge and ongoing "controversy" was concocted after her decision to upgrade White House dinnerware, as if that episode constituted an unforgivable breach of the public trust. In contrast, the lavish and exorbitantly expensive lifestyle enjoyed by Michelle Obama, involving innumerable vacations with enormous supporting "staff," are rarely discussed by liberal "reporters."

What if the media were to pursue the truth of the "Fast and Furious" disaster and the obvious complicity of Attorney General Erik Holder with a determination similar to their efforts to indict George Bush advisor Karl Rove over the manufactured Valerie Plame ruckus? It is noteworthy that Rove was fully exonerated of any wrongdoing in the affair. Yet in the wake of his acquittal, those "unbiased" news reporters refused to accept such a verdict. In contrast Holder, and indeed the entire Obama Administration, have clearly stonewalled every effort to get to the bottom (or, more accurately, the "top") of Fast and Furious. This time however, the media yawns.

Only the constraints of space impose a limit on the number of other examples that could be given, though a cursory mention of the treasonous Benghazi cover-up, and its implications to national security, is definitely warranted. In short, an unbiased media, primarily concerned with honestly informing the American people, would long ago have declared Obama's tenure in office a dismal failure. Instead, they rally to him and in the process make his shortcomings their own.

The people of the Heartland are correct to recognize that the dangers posed to them by a deceitful press are no less grave than those of an unscrupulous and ideologically blinded leftist administration whose sedition is empowered by their media minions.



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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