Friday, February 28, 2014

Obama Silences Complaining Employers With IRS

President Barack Obama is using the IRS to silence employers unhappy about Obamacare.

That's the hidden purpose behind the employer mandate delay announced on Feb. 10. The administration released 227 pages of mind-numbing regulations ridiculously billed as making "the compliance process simpler and easier" for employers. Hidden in the gobbledygook (on pages 125-126) is a requirement that employers sign a statement to the IRS - meaning under penalty of perjury - claiming they have not reduced the number of employees or cut hours to shield themselves from the costs of Obamacare.

Nine out of every 10 midsize employers already provide coverage, and for them, last Monday's announcement was about hush money, not delay. They are required to continue providing coverage, and worse, most will have to switch to the costlier Obamacare package of benefits because that's the only plan for sale. State insurance regulators and insurance companies have already said "no" to renewing noncompliant plans.

The only thing these employers get from last week's rule change is a "stop complaining" bribe. The Affordable Care Act says employers have to pay a whopping $3,000 each time a worker goes onto the Obama exchanges and gets a taxpayer-subsidized plan. Now the administration is offering to waive that penalty. Employers who want this deal must attest to the IRS that they haven't laid off workers or cut hours to squeeze under the 99-worker threshold.

In the first seven months of 2013, 77 percent of new hires were part-time. Obama rushed to stop the damaging news by announcing last July that he would delay the employer mandate until Jan. 1, 2015. Oops! That date is approaching.

 Democrats running for re-election this fall are desperate to avoid similar headlines. This time, instead of the president offering employers a delay, he is offering most of them a bribe to keep quiet. Once employers swear they have not cut hours due to Obamacare, how can they speak out about the law's harm to their businesses?

 Deceit is the primary motive behind the newly announced regulation. On page 36, it states that although employers are distressed that the law defines 30 hours a week as a full-time job requiring insurance, nothing can be done because the statute expressly states 30 hours. What? Is this the only part of the statute the administration won't change by fiat?

Obama's rule writers are lying and laughing as they concoct these regulations. None of this is being done to redress legitimate concerns of business. Obama is enlarging the powers of the IRS to silence critics, whether it's the tea party or businesses struggling to stay in the black. Say goodbye to fair elections.



Government Power is an Economic Inequality

The liberal defenders of government power attack concentrations of wealth, but in the true concentration of wealth is not found in the hands of a few billionaires, but in the hands of the government.

The editorialists talk about income inequality and the 1 percent, but they focus on individuals rather than institutions,  and it is the concentration of wealth and power in institutions that threaten civil liberties.

The top 10 wealthiest men and women in America barely have 250 billion dollars between them. Federal budgets run into the trillions of dollars, and the national debt approaches 15 trillion dollars. And that's not taking into account state budgets. Even Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, with a population of barely a million, has a multi-billion dollar budget.

As the 10th richest man in America, Michael Bloomberg wields a personal fortune of a mere 18 billion dollars, but as the Mayor of the City of New York, he disposed of an annual budget of 63 billion dollars that was three times his own net worth. Spending so much money would wipe out the net worth of any billionaire in America.

That is the difference between the wealth wielded by the 10th wealthiest man in America, and the mayor of a single city. And that is the real concentration of wealth. Not in the hands of individuals, but at every level of government, from the municipal to the state houses to the White House.

Monopolistic power in 20th century America lies not in the hands of a few industrialists, but in the massive monopolistic trust of government, and its network of unions, non-profits, lobbyists and SuperPAC's. The railroads are broken up, offshore drilling is banned, coal mining is in trouble and Ma Bell has a thousand quarreling stepchildren-- now government is the real big business.

The 2008 presidential campaign cost 5.3 billion dollars. Another 1.5 billion for the House and the Senate. And that's not counting another half a billion from the 527's and even shadier fundraising by shadowy political organizations. In 2012, the price tag went up to 6.3 billion with 1.7 billion for the House and Senate.

But that's a small investment considering that the political players and their union and corporate allies were spending billions to get their hands on trillions.

Do you know of any company in America where for a few billion, you could become the CEO, run up trillion dollar deficits and parcel out billions to your friends who will then pay the money back to you so you can take over the company again four years later without the shareholders being able to force you out or have you arrested?

This company will allow you to indulge yourself, travel anywhere at company expense, live the good life, and only work when you feel like it. It will legally indemnify you against all shareholder lawsuits, while allowing you to dispose not only of their investments, but of their personal property and that of their children while obligating them to a debt slavery that will run for generations?

There is only one such corporation. It's the United States Government.

Under an ideological cloak of darkness, politicians act as if they can do anything they want. Public outrage is met with alarmist news stories about the dangers of violence, as if this were the reign of the Bourbon kings,  not a democratic republic whose right of protest is as sacrosanct as its flag and its seal. Instead the republic is dominated by political trusts, party machines, media cartels, public sector unions and a million vermin who have sucked the cow dry and are starting in on its tender meat.

Consider that in 2008, Obama pulled in 20 million from the health care industry. (McCain took in 7 million). Afterward, he conspired to pass a law which mandated that every American be forced to buy health insurance from the industry. There is no definite figure for how much money the industry will make from this, but it will be a whole lot more than the mere 20 million they invested in him. During the days of the robber barons, the government never mandated that everyone must buy a product from them. Private companies might have contrived such control over the marketplace, but the IRS was never enlisted to collect their bills for them.

How much money has flowed from the Obama Administration to its friends in the private sector in just the last year alone and how much of it was used to secure jobs for its allied unions, which they then kicked back to liberal politicians running for office.

Entire states are going bankrupt because of political trusts formed by politicians and public sector unions which pass money back and forth to each other in the plain sight of the taxpayers they are robbing blind.

This is not merely a concentration of wealth, but a ruthless concentration of power. The real money isn't coming from that top 1 percent, it's coming from unions, lobbies and companies which use political power to extract public money.

And that money goes to the party which is so determined to keep on extracting that money no matter what it takes.

The big government left keeps playing the class warfare card, but even the worst company in the world isn't as larcenously extortionate as the worst politician. Some of the greediest and abusive companies were either created by the government or operate in close partnership with it.

HMO's were created by the government. Banks fed off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's subsidized mortgages like vultures. Do we really need to go into insurance companies, defense contractors or Sallie Mae. AT&T is considered one of the worst companies in America, and it's also one of the biggest political donors. Is there a connection there? Only that companies close to the government don't need to worry as much about what the public thinks of them.

Hate the airlines? They've both been overregulated and subsidized into incompetence. Airlines have been bailed out and protected from competition too many ways to count, because of the unions riding on their coattails.  And those unions are destroying airline after airline, while the non-union airlines prosper.

American business is looking a lot like Soviet business did, full of companies with contempt for their customers, and an unctuous smile for the government. They know where the money is coming from. And in an era of cut throat price competition, and high labor and regulation costs, it's just easier for them to extract the public's money by going over their heads to the politicians. Don't feel like paying for any of it? It's no longer a free market in which individuals make economic choices, but a collective economy with government fixing prices and then turning around and taking more of your money to pay back the companies to cover the difference. That's how ObamaCare works.

The new trusts operate out of Washington D.C. for the benefit of the public. Much like the food markets of Venezuela or the hospitals of Cuba. The money goes back and forth, lobbyists, unions, politicians, consultants, contractors, activists and lunatics huddling together and passing bills that no one has read.

And still the defenders of big government treat any calls for reform as a conspiracy of the rich. Yet the two richest men in America, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, were holding fundraisers for Obama. And the tenth richest man in America runs one of the biggest bastions of liberalism. And number 14 on the list, George Soros, is the left's sugar daddy.

This isn't a battle of billionaires. Mere money no longer means what it once did. The billionaire is a dinosaur. The wealthiest men in America can't wait to get rid of their holdings. In the free market, money made you king. But under socialism, money just buys you access and leverage. The leverage to force every man, woman and child to buy your product.

The real concentration of wealth is no longer among men, but among institutions. Like electricity passing along copper wire, it jumps among unions, political machines, companies, non-profits and back again. Its function is to provide the motive power for the great beast of government to grind on. And the American taxpayer is left lying flat in the street.



Separation of Government From Press

After much criticism from conservative quarters, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided, at least for now, to withdraw plans for its proposed study of how media organizations gather and report news. The expressed goal of the survey was to determine if the "critical information needs" of the public are being met. In making the announcement on Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated the survey would be "revised" and that the government agency had "no intention" of regulating political speech of journalists or other broadcasters.

You couldn't prove that from reading the initial study.

The obvious question is: Who gets to define my or your "information needs"? The answer begins with two universities commissioned by the FCC to conduct the study: the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Communication and Democracy and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Both associated with a liberal political philosophy.

The reasoning behind this proposed newsroom intrusion is that certain categories of the public ("underserved" consumers in multiple "media ecologies" in the bureaucratese of the study) may not be getting enough "balance" in its news diet.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, daughter of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), says the FCC "must emphatically insist that we leave no American behind when it comes to meeting the needs of those in varied and vibrant communities of our nation -- be they native born, immigrant, disabled, non-English speaking, low-income, or other." But not, apparently, political conservatives, regular churchgoers, or patriotic Americans who believe their beliefs are "underserved" by most journalists. Seemingly, no one at the FCC cares overmuch if this particular "constituency" is underserved.

That there has been little more than a low decibel outcry from mainstream media about the FCC study is instructive. It is difficult to imagine Ms. Clyburn and her minions storming into network newsrooms, demanding to know how many conservatives are reporting the news. I once asked Lesley Stahl of CBS News if she could name a single conservative colleague. She could not. Maybe those concerned with our supposed news malnutrition can start at CBS.

This "study" -- and possibly its revised edition -- is a form of intimidation designed to target not the broadcast networks (which is why they seem unconcerned), or even mainstream newspapers. "Fox News executives feared they were the ultimate target of this exercise, and who can blame them for this suspicion?" writes "From the beginning of the Obama presidency, White House communications officials and Obama political advisers have leveled attacks on Fox, even going so far as to proclaim that it is not 'a legitimate' news organization." Is it so far-fetched to think that the FCC would not try to monitor conservative news outlets?

There is a reason America's Founders selected only one profession -- the press -- for special protection in the Bill of Rights. As expressed by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Jay in 1786: "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."

Politicians throughout American history, including Jefferson, have been targets of press criticism, sometimes unfairly, even inaccurately, but still the press has remained free, or was allowed to regain its freedom after wartime censorship.

The organization Reporters Without Borders recently ranked the United States 46th in the world when it comes to press freedom, just one spot ahead of Haiti. Why the low ranking? The explains, "...the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundation during George W. Bush's two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials. There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. ... No fewer than eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush's two terms."

If the FCC moves forward with even a revised agenda that is intrusive and unconstitutional, that ranking is likely to decline even further.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leftists become incandescent when reminded of the socialist roots of the Nazis

People who have read much of my writings will be familiar with most of the points made by Daniel Hannan below.  We differ in one important respect, however:  Hannan says that most Leftists mean well and that their motives are different from the motives of the totalitarians.  I don't think that.  I see the same authoritarian mentality in all Leftists.  They all want to rule us

You can't accuse the NSDAP of downplaying the "Socialist" bit. On 16 June 1941, as Hitler readied his forces for Operation Barbarossa, Josef Goebbels looked forward to the new order that the Nazis would impose on a conquered Russia. There would be no come-back, he wrote, for capitalists nor priests nor Tsars.

Rather, in the place of debased, Jewish Bolshevism, the Wehrmacht would deliver “der echte Sozialismus”: real socialism.

Goebbels never doubted that he was a socialist. He understood Nazism to be a better and more plausible form of socialism than that propagated by Lenin. Instead of spreading itself across different nations, it would operate within the unit of the Volk.

So total is the cultural victory of the modern Left that the merely to recount this fact is jarring. But few at the time would have found it especially contentious. As George Watson put it in The Lost Literature of Socialism:

"It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too."

The clue is in the name. Subsequent generations of Leftists have tried to explain away the awkward nomenclature of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party as either a cynical PR stunt or an embarrassing coincidence. In fact, the name meant what it said.

Hitler told Hermann Rauschning, a Prussian who briefly worked for the Nazis before rejecting them and fleeing the country, that he had admired much of the thinking of the revolutionaries he had known as a young man; but he felt that they had been talkers, not doers. “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun,” he boasted, adding that “the whole of National Socialism” was “based on Marx”.

Marx’s error, Hitler believed, had been to foster class war instead of national unity – to set workers against industrialists instead of conscripting both groups into a corporatist order. His aim, he told his economic adviser, Otto Wagener, was to “convert the German Volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists” – by which he meant the bankers and factory owners who could, he thought, serve socialism better by generating revenue for the state. “What Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism failed to accomplish,” he told Wagener, “we shall be in a position to achieve.”

Leftist readers may by now be seething. Whenever I touch on this subject, it elicits an almost berserk reaction from people who think of themselves as progressives and see anti-fascism as part of their ideology. Well, chaps, maybe now you know how we conservatives feel when you loosely associate Nazism with “the Right”.

To be absolutely clear, I don’t believe that modern Leftists have subliminal Nazi leanings, or that their loathing of Hitler is in any way feigned. That’s not my argument. What I want to do, by holding up the mirror, is to take on the equally false idea that there is an ideological continuum between free-marketers and fascists.

The idea that Nazism is a more extreme form of conservatism has insinuated its way into popular culture. You hear it, not only when spotty students yell “fascist” at Tories, but when pundits talk of revolutionary anti-capitalist parties, such as the BNP and Golden Dawn, as “far Right”.

What is it based on, this connection? Little beyond a jejune sense that Left-wing means compassionate and Right-wing means nasty and fascists are nasty. When written down like that, the notion sounds idiotic, but think of the groups around the world that the BBC, for example, calls “Right-wing”: the Taliban, who want communal ownership of goods; the Iranian revolutionaries, who abolished the monarchy, seized industries and destroyed the middle class; Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who pined for Stalinism.

The “Nazis-were-far-Right” shtick is a symptom of the wider notion that “Right-wing” is a synonym for “baddie”.

One of my constituents once complained to the Beeb about a report on the repression of Mexico's indigenous peoples, in which the government was labelled Right-wing. The governing party, he pointed out, was a member of the Socialist International and, again, the give-away was in its name: Institutional Revolutionary Party. The BBC’s response was priceless. Yes, it accepted that the party was socialist, “but what our correspondent was trying to get across was that it is authoritarian”.

In fact, authoritarianism was the common feature of socialists of both National and Leninist varieties, who rushed to stick each other in prison camps or before firing squads. Each faction loathed the other as heretical, but both scorned free-market individualists as beyond redemption. Their battle was all the fiercer, as Hayek pointed out in 1944, because it was a battle between brothers.

Authoritarianism – or, to give it a less loaded name, the belief that state compulsion is justified in pursuit of a higher goal, such as scientific progress or greater equality – was traditionally a characteristic of the social democrats as much as of the revolutionaries.

Jonah Goldberg has chronicled the phenomenon at length in his magnum opus, Liberal Fascism. Lots of people take offence at his title, evidently without reading the book since, in the first few pages, Jonah reveals that the phrase is not his own. He is quoting that impeccable progressive H.G. Wells who, in 1932, told the Young Liberals that they must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis”.

In those days, most prominent Leftists intellectuals, including Wells, Jack London, Havelock Ellis and the Webbs, tended to favour eugenics, convinced that only religious hang-ups were holding back the development of a healthier species. The unapologetic way in which they spelt out the consequences have, like Hitler’s actual words, been largely edited from our discourse. Here, for example, is George Bernard Shaw in 1933:

"Extermination must be put on a scientific basis if it is ever to be carried out humanely and apologetically as well as thoroughly… If we desire a certain type of civilisation and culture we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it."

Eugenics, of course, topples easily into racism. Engels himself wrote of the “racial trash” – the groups who would necessarily be supplanted as scientific socialism came into its own. Season this outlook with a sprinkling of anti-capitalism and you often got Leftist anti-Semitism – something else we have edited from our memory, but which once went without saying. “How, as a socialist, can you not be an anti-Semite?” Hitler had asked his party members in 1920.

Are contemporary Leftist critics of Israel secretly anti-Semitic? No, not in the vast majority of cases. Are modern socialists inwardly yearning to put global warming sceptics in prison camps? Nope. Do Keynesians want the whole apparatus of corporatism, expressed by Mussolini as “everything in the state, nothing outside the state”? Again, no. There are idiots who discredit every cause, of course, but most people on the Left are sincere in their stated commitment to human rights, personal dignity and pluralism.

My beef with many (not all) Leftists is a simpler one. By refusing to return the compliment, by assuming a moral superiority, they make political dialogue almost impossible. Using the soubriquet “Right-wing” to mean “something undesirable” is a small but important example.

Next time you hear Leftists use the word fascist as a general insult, gently point out the difference between what they like to imagine the NSDAP stood for and what it actually proclaimed.


Hannan has a number of interesting Nazi posters with his article but not all are translated or translated well.  I therefore reproduce them with translations:

Workers of the mind and the fist choose the frontline soldier, Hitler.  Against hunger and desperation, choose Hitler

This poster is a bit hard to read but its text is all rendered clearly  here.  The body of the poster reads:  "Wir Arbeiter sind erwacht – wir wählen Liste 2 Nationalsozialisten"  -- which translates as:  "We workers are awoken.  We choose List 2, National Socialists"


Same Prosecutor Who Let David Gregory Go Is Destroying the Life of a DC Businessman Over an Empty Shotgun Shell

Remember this? When NBC's David Gregory brandished and waved around a 30-round magazine on Meet the Press during an interview with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre about gun control? The incident occurred inside the District of Columbia where magazines with a capacity of more than 10-rounds, and even fake magazines, are illegal. Not only did he violate D.C. gun laws, but according to D.C. police, he knowingly violated the law after being denied the use of the illegal magazine on the show. A review of the law:

"No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term large capacity ammunition feeding device means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition."

Regardless a well connected, pro-gun control Gregory escaped without charges for illegal possession of the magazine, which would land a regular person in jail for up to a year with a $1000 fine. After D.C. police completed their investigation into the incident, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier turned the case over to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General [OAG], headed by Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, to determine whether prosecution would be appropriate. The ruling from the OAG on Gregory's prosecution? No charges, no trial, no jail time and no fines.

"Having carefully reviewed all of the facts and circumstances of this matter, as it does in every case involving firearms-related offenses or any other potential violation of D.C. law within our criminal jurisdiction, OAG has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated with the December 23, 2012 broadcast."

Now the same Attorney General, Irvin B. Nathan, who failed to bring charges against Gregory, is doing everything he can to make the life of D.C. business and family man Mark Witaschek (who, like Gregory, doesn't have a criminal record) a living hell. Why? Cops in full SWAT gear raided Witaschek's Georgetown home on July 7, 2012 looking for "firearms and ammunition … gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts."

Police found a single empty shotgun shell and muzzleloader sabots (lead balls), no guns. Witaschek is facing jail time as a result of those finds and prosecutors are arguing Witaschek was in illegal possession of "ammunition" even though neither the empty shotgun shell casing or the sabots can be fired without other components. Emily Miller explains:

 "The District of Columbia has finished presenting its case on why Mark Witaschek is a danger to society for possessing a single shotgun shell and muzzleloader sabots in his home. This outrageous legal battle shows how far unelected, anti-gun liberals will go to attempt to destroy a man’s life."

When Attorney General Irvin Nathan’s prosecutors rested on Tuesday, they established simply that Mr. Witaschek did not have a registered gun in the city, so he violated the firearms laws by having ammunition.

Mr. Witaschek has never denied these charges, but has said that he didn’t know that inoperable ammunition was illegal. He also insists that his constitutional rights have been violated.

“The police and attorney general obviously have infringed upon my Second Amendment right to keep arms, or ammunition, or even the muzzleloaders borne by our Founding Fathers,” the father of three told me. “And they trampled on almost every other amendment to the Bill of Rights not only for me, but my entire family.”

Right before the trial began, Mr. Nathan’s office dropped the charge from possession of unregistered ammunition to attempted possession.

It’s unclear how Mr. Witaschek could attempt to possess something that was in his home, but the facts aren’t the reason for the shift. The lesser charge carries a penalty of six months in jail, which means Mr. Witaschek was not eligible for the jury trial he wanted.

Judge Robert Morin has listened almost impassively as the government put police officers on the stand to explain how they raided the business man’s house twice looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek is a gun owner and hunter, but has always kept his firearms at his sister’s home in Virginia.

Miller pressed OAG spokesman Ted Gest about the clear double standard and difference in prosecution for Gregory and Witaschek. Gest told her, "Mr. Nathan and our prosecutors believe this is in the interest of public safety" while attempting to smear Witaschek with an allegation of domestic violence that has never been investigated or proven by police. “Accusations that are unproven in court factor into prosecution decisions," Gest told her.

Equal treatment under the law? Not in Washington D.C.  Witaschek's trial resumes in March when the defense will make its case.



Fox's Varney to CNN's Piers Morgan: 'Bugger Off'

Fox News business talk show host and native Brit Stuart Varney bid CNN host Piers Morgan adieu, unceremoniously telling him to "bugger off," after the announcement that the "Piers Morgan Live" show would end in March.

"Piers, go away. Don't come back. And there are two g's in bugger off," Varney said Monday on Fox Business Channel's "Varney & Co."

Morgan, a fellow Brit, announced Sunday that his show would end after a three-year run and disappointing ratings. CNN said his future with the network was undetermined. Varney said Morgan had misjudged his audience by regularly talking down to them.

"He has this upper-class accent and uses it to talk down to his audience. That's one of the dumbest things you can do in television news. You think you will win with an audience with your oh-so-superior attitude?" Varney asked.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The 'Fairness' Fraud

Thomas Sowell

It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is a sharp difference between upward "mobility," defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.

That distinction is seldom even mentioned in most of the studies. It is as if everybody is chomping at the bit to get ahead, and the ones that don't rise have been stopped by "barriers" created by "society."

When statistics show that sons of high school dropouts don't become doctors or scientists nearly as often as the sons of Ph.D.s, that is taken as a sign that American society is not "fair."

If equal probabilities of achieving some goal is your definition of fairness, then we should all get together -- people of every race, color, creed, national origin, political ideology and sexual preference -- and stipulate that life has never been fair, anywhere or any time in all the millennia of recorded history.

Then we can begin at last to talk sense.

I know that I never had an equal chance to become a great ballet dancer like Rudolph Nureyev. The thought of becoming a ballet dancer never once crossed my mind in all the years when I was growing up in Harlem. I suspect that the same thought never crossed the minds of most of the guys growing up on New York's lower east side.

Does that mean that there were unfair barriers keeping us from following in the footsteps of Rudolph Nureyev?

A very distinguished scholar once mentioned at a social gathering that, as a young man, he was not thinking of going to college until someone else, who recognized his ability, urged him to do so.

Another very distinguished scholar told me that, although his parents were anti-Semitic, it was the fact that he went to a school with many Jewish children that got him interested in intellectual matters and led him into an academic career.

All groups, families and cultures are not even trying to do the same things, so the fact that they do not all end up equally represented everywhere can hardly be automatically attributed to "barriers" created by "society."

Barriers are external obstacles, as distinguished from internal values and aspirations -- unless you are going to play the kind of word games that redefine achievements as "privileges" and treat an absence of evidence of discrimination as only proof of how diabolically clever and covert the discrimination is.

The front page of a local newspaper in northern California featured the headline "The Promise Denied," lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering. The continuation of this long article on an inside page had the headline, "Who is to blame for this?"

In other words, the fact that reality does not match the preconceptions of the intelligentsia shows that there is something wrong with reality, for which somebody must be blamed. Apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.

Women, like so many other groups, seem not to be dedicated to fulfilling the prevailing fetish among the intelligentsia that every demographic group should be equally represented in all sorts of places.

Women have their own agendas, and if these agendas do not usually include computer engineering, what is to be done? Draft women into engineering schools to satisfy the preconceptions of our self-anointed saviors? Or will a propaganda campaign be sufficient to satisfy those who think that they should be making other people's choices for them?

That kind of thinking is how we got ObamaCare.

At least one of the recent celebrated statistical studies of social mobility leaves out Asian Americans. Immigrants from Asia are among a number of groups, including American-born Mormons, whose achievements totally undermine the notion that upward mobility can seldom be realized in America.

Those who preach this counterproductive message will probably never think that the envy, resentment and hopelessness they preach, and the welfare state they promote, are among the factors keeping people down.



A good parable

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the books of Ayn Rand. After escaping from the Soviet Union in the 1920s, Rand became a famous American playwright, philosopher, and novelist. She has written many books – three of which I would urge everyone to read. The first, Anthem, is a lot like Orwell’s 1984. The second, The Fountainhead, is a longer novel expounding on her philosophy, which is known as objectivism. The third, Atlas Shrugged, is her most famous work and includes the most complete explanation of her views on economics and morality.

For those interested in Rand, I also recommend a song that was inspired by a rock musician who reads her work. His name is Neil Peart – a member of the band “Rush.” Neil is the greatest rock and roll drummer who ever lived. He is also one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, Peart wrote “The Trees,” which fast became one of my favorite songs. I didn’t know at the time that the song was a stinging indictment of socialism and communism inspired by Neil’s reading of Ayn Rand novels. I’ve reprinted the verses below with some brief comments in between most verses.

There is unrest in the forest,
there is trouble with the trees,
for the maples want more sunlight
and the oaks ignore their pleas.

When I look back on it, I am somewhat embarrassed that it took me so long to figure out the symbolism behind the oak versus maple contrast. This is a classic Marxist over-simplification, which is intentional on Peart’s behalf. There were only two classes of people according to Marx - the “haves” and the “have nots” or, as he called them, the “bourgeoisie” and the “proletariat.” Here, the oaks are the “haves” or the “bourgeoisie” and the maples are the “have nots” or the “proletariat.”

The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
they say the oaks are just too lofty
and they grab up all the light.

This verse is interesting because it raises the issue of absolute versus relative poverty. When the maples claim that the oak trees grab up all the light they are exaggerating – actually, the author of the song, Neil Peart, is exaggerating for effect. Oaks are big trees, to be sure. In my own yard, there is an oak that is 100 feet tall that will eventually grow to be about 125 feet tall. But maples are big trees, too. I have a sugar maple that is about 60 feet tall that will eventually grow to be about 80 feet tall.

Peart, quite ingeniously, shows that the “have nots” would be more accurately characterized as simply “having less than others.” Their problem is not that they do not have enough to get by. The problem is that, in their view, the oaks are just “too lofty.” In other words, others have too much. That is the key phrase in this paragraph because it reveals that covetousness, rather than true need, is what motivates the maples. In reality, that is always the motive of the collectivist.

But the oaks can't help their feelings
if they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
can’t be happy in their shade.

It is funny to me that the lyrics to this song were written just a few years before Ronald Reagan became President of the United States. After he took office, there was no small amount of controversy about his ideas concerning “trickle down” economics. Here, the oaks seem to reference the idea that their loftiness benefits others, too – this time, in the form of shade. This is a classic “trickle down” economic argument.

There is trouble in the forest,

And the creatures all have fled,
as the maples scream "Oppression!"
And the oaks just shake their heads.

So the maples formed a union
and demanded equal rights.
"The oaks are just too greedy;
we will make them give us light."

This is classic Ayn Rand. She focuses on unjustly taking from someone that which he has earned – noting that this always involves a violent struggle. The maples begin by screaming, and then they start demanding. Finally, they settle upon force, not reason, in order to obtain what they want. The results are always predictable.

Now there's no more oak oppression,
for they passed a noble law,
and the trees are all kept equal
by hatchet, axe, and saw.

This last verse is chilling because it reveals two truths about progressivism:

1) Progressivism is not progressive. Oppression is ended and equality is achieved not by advancing anyone but by retarding the achievements of some.

2) Social justice is punitive, not restorative. No one is restored under a progressive system, but people are often punished in order to guarantee equal outcome. That is another reason why Rand prefers to use the term “collectivism” rather than “progressivism.”

Ayn Rand was not a Christian. Nor was she one who professed belief in the Ten Commandments. Nonetheless, she understood that what is often packaged as compassion is really covetousness in disguise. We would do well to familiarize ourselves with her work in an age of “collective” historical amnesia. Screams of oppression and cries for revolution are never more than a generation away.



Not a Damn Thing

Entitlement is a destructive mentality. It blinds people to the responsibilities that they have to themselves, to their lives and their happiness, which causes laziness and sloth. It makes people believe that the lives and labor of others are theirs by right, as if others live to serve them. If there's one lesson that I could impart to every child in the world, it's this: no one else owes you, and you owe no one else, a damn thing.

No One Else Owes You

At appropriate times I've counseled my children that no one owed them anything. They came into this world with nothing, including any debts owed. Nobody else, in the entire world, including mom and dad, owe them a single thing, like time, money, food, clothing, shelter, anything. Anything and everything they want in life, they must find a peaceful way to get it. Their lives are their own, and the lives of others belong to those others, not to my children, nor to me, nor to you.

What they have they've either received as a gift from someone who loves them, found, or earned. Because I love my children, I gift to them enough to meet their basic needs, and more to make sure their lives are rich with learning opportunities and excitement. I give these things freely, and at least right now, only conditional to the level of love and respect they show me, within reasonable expectations of their age. They don't owe me anything for my sharing of my abundance with them. As the time has come that they've desired more than what I offer, I've proposed trading value for value. When they want something more from me, they're shown how they can earn it, and they have.

You Owe No One Else

As important as the above principle is, it would be incomplete without this counterpart. No on owes you anything, and you don't owe anything to anyone else. Your life is yours to live, to do with whatever you decide. Nobody but you is entitled to your life and the fruits of your labor. Anybody claiming otherwise better have an explicit agreement from you. If they don't, if their claim has been pulled out of the air, they are attempting to take your life, to enslave you to them. They want something, and instead of recognizing the fact that no one owes them anything, they are choosing to take it without regard to right or the will of those they take it from. They demand from others their lives, and for that they are the enemies of reason. They show with their actions their unwillingness to live in peace with others, to live civilly. They are a threat to you and to your loved ones. If they are not removed from society, either through banishment or death, their choice, then you and society have decided to value their lives, the lives of thugs and criminals, above your own.


The implication that no one owes you anything is that you must earn everything you want in life. To do that, you must create value for others, something that they want more than what they currently have. You have no right to take what you want from others, because it is neither owed to you nor do you have a right to it. Value must be traded for value.

And the implication that you owe no one else, but yet others claim that you do, in effect enslaving you, means that you have a choice to make. You can rightfully resist them, and there are many violent and nonviolent ways of doing that, or you can submit to them. Resisting may or may not be foolish, and submitting may or may not be wise. Different political climates, as well as one's self-imposed obligations to those he loves, determine the prudence in either resistance or submission. Either way, the fact remains you don't owe anything to anyone, and no one owes anything to you.

Final Thoughts

These considerations have been empowering for me as an individual. To know where I stand in regards to my responsibilities to myself, and my obligations to others, has also been very liberating. I am my own master. I know it and have internalized it. Every child and every adult in the entire world, the entire universe even, should likewise know it and make it the bedrock principle of their lives. You won't have liberty, peace, and ultimately happiness without it.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nazism prefigured the modern world

Of all the myriad myths spread at light speed by the enemies of Christianity and astonishingly believed without much critical thought by vast numbers of people, one of the most surreal must be the idea that Nazism was Christian.

This is part of an email I received from Tony, a supporter of my party Liberty GB, who sent me a long list of sharp attacks against Christianity after watching my video: What Is Uniquely Good about Western Civilisation Derives from Christianity.

    "For example Adolf Hitler was a Catholic and included proclamations of his beliefs in his writings, e.g. "We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession."

What is totally missed by Tony and, unfortunately, many others is that "positive Christianity" is not Christianity at all, but a way of "restoring the old pagan Nordic values and 'substitute the spirit of the hero for that of the Crucifixion'."

Another thing that anti-Christians don't consider: in Nazi times Germans were overwhelmingly Christian -- even despite Nazism's comprehensive attempts to erase Christianity from Germany and replace it with a neo-pagan religion based on pre-Christian Germanic legends -- and so Hitler had to pay some lip service in public to Christianity. But both what he and the Nazis in power did and what he was recorded as saying in private tell another story, much closer to the truth.

Hitler said, as reported in Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: His Private Conversations:

    "Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things...

    The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death... When understanding of the universe has become widespread... Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity... Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity... And that's why someday its structure will collapse... The only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little...

    Christianity is an invention of sick brains...

    I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch in the next 200 years will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity."

Very modern, with references to the theory of evolution -- in which the Fuhrer was an ardent believer -- and the scientific "understanding of the universe" replacing Christianity.

According to the book Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity by Michael Coren, a program listing the main dogmas of the National Reich Church -- a Nazi institution intended to eliminate Christianity from Germany and establishing a new pagan religion -- published in 1942 by The New York Times, ended with:

    "On the day of the foundation of the National Reich Church the Christian cross shall be removed from all churches, cathedrals, and chapels inside the frontiers of the Reich and its colonies and will be replaced by the symbol of invincible Germany -- the swastika."

Another lie dear to the Left that has managed to enter the collective mind is that the Popes wanted to get rid of the Jews. Countless rabbis, Jewish leaders, and Israeli authorities have recognised the crucial role played by the Catholic Church in helping the Jews. In fact the Church did more than any other institution to help and rescue Jews from Nazism.  From the Jewish Library website:

    "The vindication of Pius XII has been established principally by Jewish writers and from Israeli archives. It is now established that the Pope supervised a rescue network which saved 860,000 Jewish lives -- more than all the international agencies put together."

The power of propaganda and how easy it is to smear a political or ideological opponent is terrifying.

The danger of a return to values and ideas espoused by the Nazis, that we hear so much about, is real, but doesn't come so much from the direction of the usual suspects, "Islamophobic", neo-Nazi groups, as from a far more mainstream, Leftist direction.

The threat has two sources. One is the rise of Islam in the West -- aided and abetted by the Left -- with its well-known ideological and historical links to Nazism and anti-Semitism. The second source is less well-known. Recent in-depth and groundbreaking historical research, thanks to the opening of national archives (previously closed to the public) after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, has thrown an entirely new light on what nurtured Nazi ideology. We already knew that Hitler and Nazism were neo-pagan and anti-Christian (despite what the Left says), but books like Karla Poewe's New Religions and the Nazis, Gene Edward Veith's Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judaeo-Christian Worldview and others, go much further than that.

They reveal a worrisome, sinister similarity between Nazism and current trends, both sharing hostility for the Judaeo-Christian tradition and its ethics and increasingly embracing neo-pagan views. In many way, Nazis were pioneers of what's happening today. About Nazis, Poewe says:

    "They also rejected Christian morality. They couldn't stand the Ten Commandments. They were totally against any categorical or timeless morality. They wanted something opportunistic, something that changed with the human circumstances."

These days' moral relativism in a nutshell.

American historian Veith has a definition for fascism that is undistinguishable from our time's prevailing ethos: "Fascism is the modern world's nostalgia for paganism. It is a sophisticated culture's revolt against God."

As the 10 years of historical research by Karla Poewe document, Nazism was ushered in by new religions, chiefly the German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung or DGB), mixing pagan Nordic and Hindu religions.

Mirroring present-day's environmentalism and its pantheism were Heinrich Himmler's proclamations of the sacred status of German lands. SS symbols, oaths and rituals were derived from ancient German and Nordic mythology. The rooms of their secret meetings were decorated with runes, prehistoric signs supposed to give the power of prophecy to anyone who could read them.

Himmler and Hitler wanted to abolish the "criminal institution of the Christian Church known as marriage", although gave up this goal as unacceptable to contemporary Germans. They'd be delighted to see how much their ideas are being vindicated nowadays.

There was a "secular christening" for illegitimate children, called "SS name-giving", created by Himmler, complete with swastikas and runes.

About homosexuality, Poewe wrote:

    "Hauer's DGB bunde shared with National Socialism a tendency toward homoerotism. Hauer himself was permissibly heterosexual, but "homosexuality was very tolerated in these youth movements, and a high percentage of the SA and SS were homosexual or bisexual. People like to think that because Adolf Hitler murdered (SA leader) Ernst Rohm, who was homosexual, he was repressive of homosexuality. But that wasn't the case. It's a myth to think the Nazi movement was against homosexuality. Far from it; it wasn't sexually repressive at all."

So, here we have it: the Nazis paved the way, and now we can follow in their futuristic, progressive path: marriages are in decline, Christianity is dying, illegitimacy is on the rise, paganism seems the way forward, and homosexuality is making great advances towards normal status.



Progressives’ Rules Of Outrage

Answering all accusations of hate speech or incivility with the simple phrase "Bush = Hitler" would deflate a lot of pomposity

The thing I like about most sports are the rules and how the winner is determined are pretty unambiguous. Score more points, cross the finish line first, jump higher, whatever, and you win. Should there be any foul play or skirting of the rules, there’s an official or referee there to cry foul. It’s simple and, to borrow a word from President Obama, fair.

Politics, on the other hand, is quite different. Truth used to be the most potent weapon in the game of politics. It was the best tool with which to garner the most votes, and whoever got the most votes won. Whoever gets the most votes still wins, but getting to that finish line is no longer even remotely restrained by rules of the truth.

Politicians always have lied, to be sure. But the media was there to, if not serve as an impartial referee, at least hold the players to some sort of standard. No more.

Putting aside the 2008 election, when Barack Obama was vetted with all the gusto guys use to vet pretty girls at the singles bar, the media has been a co-conspirator with Democrats in an unprecedented way the last five years.

It started with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The White House and Democrats laid out specific promises should the bill become law. We were told the unemployment rate would not go above 8 percent and the economy would be boosted by the hundreds of thousands of “shovel-ready jobs” the bill would create. None came close to happening.

The White House was nervous. This was early on, when the administration was not quite sure how supportive the media would be. Their political friends and donors were cashing their stimulus checks, but nothing was happening. What if the stimulus did not stimulate?

Turns out they needn’t have worried. To this day, progressives and their handmaidens in the media believe either that the stimulus saved the country or would’ve been more effective if it had been larger.

But non-believers were looking at the numbers and getting suspicious. Democrats had to act quickly. They had move the goalposts for “success.”

The professional obfuscators on the public payroll, also known as the president’s advisors, cooked up a new unit of measure – jobs saved or created. The beauty of this number was it couldn’t be proven, but it couldn’t be disproven either. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best they could do under such obvious failure.

But it’s one thing to fool average people. They have lives and don’t pay close attention to these things. But the watchdogs of democracy should have known better. They should have blown this new unit of measure out of the water. But they didn’t. They reported it like it was the plan all along.

It was then the White House, Democrats and progressives in general knew beyond a doubt that the old rules were gone. Truth was no longer something written in pen, or even pencil, it was written in sand and could be rewritten on a whim whenever needed. And they rewrote.

After all, if you can create a new unit of measure every time you’re in trouble, you can’t lose. Especially when you have the referees on your team.

We’ve since been inundated with unprovable declarations of success, such as “It would have been worse if we hadn’t…(insert any economic claim here).” The media referees played along as though they had seen this alternate future and determined the president was right – it could have been worse.

It is shameless. The only thing worse is Republicans’ inability to recognize the futility of complaining to those media referees and do an end-run around them directly to the people.

Now we come to this week, and another example of a malleable rulebook written in sand when it comes to how progressives and conservatives are treated by the media.

Ted Nugent, someone I grew up with on the radio in Detroit, called the president a “subhuman mongrel” at an event for Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott of Texas. The offended class in the media sprang into action, drooling like heroin junkies when they hear that flame hit the bottom of the spoon.

It was deemed one of the worst things ever said, by people who make their living declaring things said by others awful – one of the few growth industries in Obama’s economy.

CNN dedicated hour upon hour of coverage to the words of a man whose actions for charity they’ve ignored for decades. Current Texas Gov. Rick Perry went on with Wolf Blitzer and was badgered for 2 1/2 minutes to denounce these words, then denounce them in stronger terms, and again, as if Perry has said them himself. Republicans were nearly trampled by “journalists” demanding they react to and answer for something said in an entirely different time zone.

Meanwhile, taking a break from calling Republicans all manner of potty-mouth names, Bill Maher has made the rounds of cable television as if he knows anything about this beyond what he read on Daily Kos. Imagine the feigned outrage if Maher talked about progressives – any progressives – the way he has talked about Sarah Palin and her children.

This misogynistic bigot gives $1 million to President Obama’s reelection PAC, yet he is greeted as an insightful and unbiased commentator by Blitzer and others. And no progressives – not him nor any of the others – ever is demanded to denounce his attacks. When it comes to progressive racism, misogyny, hatred and violent rhetoric, the referees swallow their whistles, as they say in basketball.

Greg Abbott and Rick Perry are no more responsible for the words of Ted Nugent than progressives are for the words of Bill Maher. But although Abbott and Perry were forced to answer for Nugent, President Obama cashes Maher’s check and his cabinet secretaries, advisors and elected Democrats from Nancy Pelosi on down beat a path to the stage of the man who calls conservative women “c@nt” without question or repercussion.

That’s what happens when you are the one who gets to choose what is offensive. As Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be the king.”

Republicans need to recognize this and do more than complain about it. They need to refuse to play by these rigged rules. They should start by calling out the gatekeepers of outrage when forced to answer for others. Newt Gingrich scared the hell out of moderators in the 2012 primaries by simply calling a garbage question what it was. If you don’t play the progressives’ game, their rules don’t matter. No matter how often they change them.

A simple, “Did you invite me here to talk about something I had nothing to do with? It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there. I’ll answer for something I had nothing to do with when you answer for Dan Rather. Until then, how about we talk about jobs?” would go a long way toward shutting up these arbiters of offense.

The new rules are there are no rules. The other side is making them up as they go along. Conservatives can’t control the questions they’re asked, but they can control the answers they give. Quick thinking and preparation can turn the tables on the outraged media class, turn the tables on their inquisitors and expose them for the frauds they are.

Of course, it also would be nice if people would stop saying stupid things.


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


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Monday, February 24, 2014

Does dislike of homosexuality give you heart attacks?

An academic study has just emerged which says that it does. "Homophobia is bad for your health" is the intended message.  And the study itself is a refreshing piece of work that uses representative data, extensive controls, careful analysis and cautious wording.  It is far better than most academic journal articles I read.  So its conclusions should settle the matter?

Sadly, No.  The study is a correlational one so warrants no conclusions about cause.  Whether attitudes to homosexuals CAUSED the heart attacks or whether something associated with such attitudes caused the attacks is not known.  And the authors acknowledged that.  They suggest that certain health variables could be the "guilty" third factor.

And the elephant in the room there (I seem to be a master elephant detector) is of course IQ.  Unless they are motivated by fundamentalist religious convictions, anybody who admits to anti-homosexual attitudes these days has to be either dumb or very brave.  And bravery in the matter seems very rare. Homosexuals are sacred these days.  And low IQ people do have worse health.

And the correlation between health and attitudes is weak anyway so other factors could very well be involved.

And there are some signs that all is not well with the results anyway.  Both religiosity and conservatism showed negligible  correlations with "antigay" attitudes  --  where we would expect both of those to be strong predictors.  So the conclusions of the study are very dubious indeed.  I suspect that the underlying data was not robust enough to support the weight that the authors put on it.

The study is: Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Anna Bellatorre, and Peter Muennig.  "Anti-Gay Prejudice and All-Cause Mortality Among Heterosexuals in the United States". American Journal of Public Health: February 2014, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. 332-337.

Despite its inconclusiveness, it will no doubt be quoted joyously and uncritically for many years to come.  People who can believe that women and men are really the same will believe anything.


A Dutch police State?

I have just heard that Toine Manders, Head of of the Dutch Libertarian Party, was arrested at the end of January. He has apparently not been charged with any offence, but is being held in isolation, and his detention has been extended to or by a further 90 days.

The reason informally given for his arrest is his involvement in a company that helps Dutch entrepreneurs avoid their local corporation taxes by registering in England.

I have no further information. I am, of course, very disturbed by this news. Whatever a government does to one libertarian may be taken as an attack on all libertarians. I will follow this case to the best of my ability, and will follow up this post with further information.



The first Fuehrer

He was even MORE brutal than Hitler... so why do we still romanticise Napoleon?

BOOK REVIEW of: "Napoleon: Soldier Of Destiny", by Michael Broers

Review By Roger Lewis

Because the 18th century is far in the past - ships were under sail not steam; there were few paved roads and no railways yet; troops rode or marched - people can romanticise Napoleon in ways they can’t when it comes to Hitler, who is likely to remain our Number One bogeyman for some time yet.

Chaplin and Kubrick planned to make admiring films about Napoleon. Cagney wanted to play him. Brando did play him - as a brave and brooding hero with, as Michael Broers describes his subject, ‘seething impatience and energy lurking under the cool, authoritative exterior’.

Napoleon’s thoughts and emotions were set to music by Beethoven in the Eroica Symphony. Hazlitt and Sir Walter Scott wrote admiring portraits.

As Broers outlines in this judicious and magisterial biography, however, Napoleon, who died 70 years before Hitler was born, was a kind of proto-Fuhrer, his public pronouncements having a ‘messianic tone’ that was ‘spine-chilling’.

Declaiming before the vanquished citizens of Egypt, for example, Napoleon said: ‘It is well you should know that all human efforts against me are useless, for all I undertake must succeed.’ You can easily imagine that translated into German and being yelled over the loudspeakers of the Reich.

Napoleon, like Hitler, also knew that occupied territories could only be retained ‘by brute force’. His policy, when arriving in a new spot, was ‘to burn a village’. Massacring a local population was an unequivocal ‘manifestation of his will’.

Napoleon encouraged the brutality of his soldiers, as this was ‘a clear sign of their devotion to duty’. Defeated towns and cities were turned over to his men in reward, ‘for a 24-hour spree of rape, looting and murder ... He did little to curb the desecration of churches, monasteries or even convents’.

Venice was stripped of its treasures, for instance, and ‘wagonloads of Renaissance masterpieces flooded into France’, including the bronze horses from St Mark’s Square.

Like Hitler, who rose from the confusions of Weimar and the ashes of World War I, Napoleon, born in 1769, was a child of the French Revolution, seizing ‘every chance that came his way in the midst of the most dangerous, uncertain times the western world had ever known’.

Having been raised in Ajaccio, Corsica, he was a model pupil at a military academy, which ‘inculcated in him his frugality, his aversion to ease and his iron self-discipline’. As a junior artillery officer at Toulon, he ‘displayed exceptional ability’, firing on British ships in the harbour. Admiral Hood had to order an evacuation.

Promoted to brigadier-general, ‘Napoleon was forced to be menacing and authoritative by circumstances’, says the ever-objective Broers, who then finds his subject in the Vendée, hunting down peasant and royalist rebels.

Napoleon rose to his new responsibilities ‘and quite obviously relished them’, particularly when he was despatched to command ‘the under-fed, virtually unpaid’ mob that constituted the French army in Italy.

Napoleon ordered supplies and reinforcements. Though he was always guilty of plundering and extortion, so too did he desire a reformation of military efficiency - and he was rewarded with victories against the Austrians on the plains of northern Italy. Indeed, after the Battle of Arcola, ‘I believed myself to be a superior man’, Napoleon, allegedly just 5ft 2in, said modestly.

His next posting was to the Middle East. Though ‘Nelson made short work of the French fleet’ at the mouth of the Nile, Napoleon’s land army took Cairo and Jaffa. The spoils of war included a giraffe, which unfortunately died on the way to Paris. Napoleon, however, returned to France as First Consul - prior to crowning himself Emperor in 1804 at a three-hour ceremony in Notre Dame.

Napoleon wasn’t only a military tactician, he had a genius for manipulating committees and running bureaucracies. Though surrounded by the ‘dark culture of mutual denunciation and suspicion’ that marked the Terror, he outwitted enemies who wanted to send him to the guillotine, created the Bank of France, thus stabilising the economy, had coins minted embossed with his own face in profile, and busily and single-handedly ‘initiated all legislation and appointed and dismissed ministers’.

Exceptional ability: Napoleon Bonaparte as a young artillery officer

Exceptional ability: Napoleon Bonaparte as a young artillery officer

He devised the Legion of Honour (still in existence) because even Republicans love medals and ribbons, set up schools (still in existence) favouring science and technology, and his Civil Code (still in existence) abolished primogeniture and reformed inheritance laws.

Meanwhile, the Austrians and Italians were re-mustering, and it took the Battle of Marengo for France to become master of Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

Though no Tolstoy, Broers describes it well: ‘The big horses ridden by big men, wielding sabres at close quarters, wreaked carnage on the fragmented Austrian infantry ... Blood and dust mingled on the fields.’

Guns got so hot, they couldn’t be handled for re-loading ‘for fear of igniting the cartridges. There was nothing for it but to piss in the barrels to cool them’.

Napoleon, again like Hitler, knew he could never be master of Europe without defeating the British. He began to make preparations to cross the Channel, but his invasion failed because of his ignorance of the sea.

He had ‘no grasp of the inherent problems of tide, wind and bad weather’. He was such a megalomaniac, he believed he could control the waves.

Also, Nelson, though he lost his own life doing so, defeated the French fleet again, at Trafalgar. Not only that, the Russians were mobilising in the east, in alliance with Austria, and Napoleon had to get his army away from Boulogne and to the Rhine.



Principle and Power:  Conservatives versus Republicans

According to recent polling, a majority of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 regret voting for him. That does not mean they wish, instead, that they had voted for Mitt Romney. They just regret voting for Barack Obama.

With Democrats convincing themselves the only way to win 2014 is to accuse Republicans of fostering domestic violence because of their opposition to Obamacare, the Republican Party looks set for another wave election year. From sea to sea, the GOP will probably pick up seats. The Democrats are largely resigned to having no chance to take the House of Representatives. The Senate remains in play, but only barely.

Republicans will, when November comes, most likely control both houses of Congress and will most likely keep their hold on the majority of states, too. All this raises a question -- what does the Republican Party stand for?

Those who say the Republicans stand for limited government should cast an eye toward the Ryan-Murray spending plan. Authored in bipartisan fashion, the plan broke the sequestration spending limits Congress had put in place and raised taxes. Cast another eye toward the recent vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Republicans in Washington gave President Obama a blank check to increase the nation's debt until March of 2015. Republicans in the Senate, led by Sens. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, shut down Sen. Ted Cruz's effort to block the debt ceiling increase.

For those who say the Republicans stand for local control and states' rights, cast your eye to Congressman Eric Cantor, the House Republican leader. He has given a series of speeches and suggested a number of policies premised on Washington helping the middle class. The whole of the Republican Party seems convinced that Washington, instead of leaving America alone, can rock us till we fall asleep, place bandaids on our scraped-up knees, and spoon feed us in high chairs.

In fact, the party of limited government, individual responsibility and traditional values listens more and more to billionaire and multimillionaire donors who are convinced what is good for Wall Street is good for Main Street. Consequently, the GOP's uniting principles seem to be that it can control the government leviathan better than the Democrats. Republicans have decided to settle for campaign claims of technocratic proficiency with subsidies for Wall Street.

Most Americans hold Washington in contempt. They do not want to vote for a party that believes the problem is not government itself, but just Democrats in charge of it. Americans want Washington to leave them alone. They are as tired of our black-robed judicial masters decreeing one-size-fits-all amorality as they are of elected officials finding new ways to reward their large donors with the middle-class tax dollars.

Americans also do not want to just be anti-Obama. Right now, the Republican Party, when not collaborating to grow the size and scope of the federal leviathan, runs on anti-Obama rhetoric. Conservatives like Mike Lee, the Republican Senator from Utah, have put forward tax reform packages and other legislation that favors the middle class. Republican leaders have ignored him, choosing to pound their chests about Barack Obama, the socialist, while giving him a blank check to increase the national debt.

Conservatism remains about limited government, taking responsibility for yourself and stabilizing values. Republicans in Washington and their talking-head friends in the media talk about these things. They talk about getting Washington out of our lives. But the Republican proposals pushed by the Republican leaders differ greatly from their rhetoric.

Is it any wonder Americans hate Washington and conservatives hate their own Republican Party? The Republicans look like they are on course to win big this November. But if they do not put to practice their conservative preaching, voters will again reject them. On the other hand, if Republican voters fight in primaries and replace the existing Republican faces in Washington with fresh faces and fresh ideas, perhaps they can reconcile their principles with the power of a party finally ready to lead again.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Coming soon


BDS shows its antisemitic face again

Yossela [an Israeli] researched on the net for months as to which set of professional music string orchestral software he should purchase. After investigating, exploring, examining and inquiring, he decided that one particular product, Cinematic Strings 2, best suited his needs. He wrote to the company, complimenting them on their great music (Alex Wallbank, the head of the company himself is a composer).

Alex responded, and he and my husband shared a very pleasant, friendly, and warm email exchange. Yossela wrote to him that he would like to purchase their music library but, being a student, he would greatly appreciate a discount. Alex replied that they do provide “educational discounts,” and put him in touch with a marketing representative.

Jack, the CS2 info and marketing representative, responded promptly. He thanked him for his interest in the company and his kind words about Alex’s music. He confirmed that they “certainly do have a student discount… 50% off…” Naturally, my husband, was thrilled! Fifty percent off! Half-price! I am sure that any one of us values a discount, but when you are a student, a father of five, and the sole income earner of the family, this kind of mark down is a major advantage, to say the least.

Jack ended his email by asking for some sort of documentation, like a scan of a student ID card, or a class schedule, free receipt, or even an email exchange, verifying that my husband is actually a student. A fair request.

My husband scanned his student ID. As he was about to send it over to the company via email, he turned to me and said, “This company is based in Australia. I hope that they aren’t anti-semitic. What if they see that I’m from Israel, and because of that take away the discount?” He concluded that it shouldn’t stop him. All was for the best. He sent it, waited, and hoped.

Less than seven hours later, Alex had sent a response. His email reads as follows:

“Hi Yossela,

I am very, very sorry but I will not be able to provide you with a student discount. We support the BDS movement worldwide and the cultural boycott against Israel until Israel ceases its illegal settlement activities in the West Bank and ceases its discrimination against the Palestinian people.

Please understand that this is not in any way directed at you personally and we have heard from many Israeli students who have been very sympathetic towards the Palestinian people. However we are fairly powerless here in Australia to act on behalf of the victims of oppression and so the BDS is the only way we can have a voice.

We wish you all the best in your future musical endeavours.

Kindest regards, Alex and the CS team.”

More here

After publicity, the company backed down


ObamaCare: The Terrifying Consequences To Healthcare

Conservatives can only warn  -- and later say:  "I told you so"

As the ObamaCare debate rages, we hear much about insurance companies, costs, and people's ability to pay. We hear the policy defended as proponents tell us it will provide healthcare to those who never had it. Of course, these proponents never seem to explain how those who couldn't afford healthcare when it was a choice can now afford an even more expensive cost now that government mandates it.

However, these debates about the pros and cons of ObamaCare basically focus on money. What about the real issue - healthcare? What will ObamaCare do to our medical system? How will it affect the quality of our care? How will it affect doctor's decisions as they attempt to take care of our health needs? And, ultimately, in a system controlled by government bureaucrats and government-written manuals - who will really be making the decisions that determine our quality of life? These are the real questions that need to be the center of the debate. And the answers are terrifying.

I recently received a report from an oncologist, Dr. John Conroy, who is fighting the desperate battle to treat cancer. All of those concerned Americans who wear their pink ribbons and dash for miles in their stop-cancer marathons should take a long hard look at what Dr. Conroy reports to be the future of all American medicine. They may want to start running straight at Congress to save their own lives.

Obviously, Oncology is a very detailed science, difficult for the layman to understand. That's why American healthcare has always promoted specialists. Let's begin with a patient who has discovered a lump on her breast. She takes a mammogram, undergoes a biopsy, and is found to have adenocarcinoma. She is seen by an oncologist and certain questions need to be addressed.

As Dr. Conroy explains the process, first, doctors must determine the "Stage" or extent of the disease. The most common system for determining classification of malignant tumors and the extent of a person's cancer is called the TNM system. "T" measures the size of the tumor and if it's invaded nearby tissue. "N" determines regional lymph nodes that are involved. "M" measures the distance the cancer has spread from one part of the body to another. These measurements are critical in determining how sick the patient may be.

In fact, there are four stages, classified under the TNM system, with multiple possible results determined by a large variable of TNM data. With an adenocarcinoma cell type under the microscope, there are about 40 pathological (histology) types which could lead to as many as 36,000 possible variable combinations of the cancer.

The grade or aggressiveness of the cancer is measured in 10 grades. So, 10×36,000 = 360,000 possibilities. Next, hormone sensitive status = eight possibilities. So, 360,000 x 8 = 2,880,000 and with menopausal status = 5,760,000 possible computer input combinations. These are the possible combinations on just one page of data in staging. So the computer system has to evaluate these combinations.

Whew! That's a lot of data to determine how sick a patient may be, with what kind of cancer, at what stage. It's all necessary data to determine the most effective course for treatment. Again, that's why we have specialists who focus entirely on certain diseases and other maladies that affect our bodies. No one individual could possibly be knowledgeable in all aspects of the human body.

But now, with the growing control by government over healthcare decisions, things are changing. Over the past several years, a growing number of bureaucrats from insurance companies have been armed with manuals, guidebooks, and calculators to step in to the decision making process to decide what treatment procedures are allowed. And it's going to get far worse under ObamaCare, as a new layer of government bureaucrats is added to affect what doctors can do to save your life.

As Dr. Conroy explains, to look into the body and make a determination on where to start planning treatment, he uses X-rays and CAT-scans (CTs). "I generally cat-scan head to toe and look for metastasis and get a baseline." However, such decisions for care by the doctors are now being decided by others. Says Dr. Conroy, "In the past, it was ok (to X-Ray and CT), not now. Over the last few years all the X-rays have to be approved, so there are companies now that have algorithms to evaluate your request (for a CAT-scan or X- ray)." He explains that these companies, which work in partnership with hospitals and insurance companies, "process thousands of requests a day." They decide who gets to use the machines for what purposes. "So," he explains, "if there's no headache, then there is no cat-scan of the brain. If a normal chest x-ray is taken, then no cat-scan of the chest."

Here's where these rules and regulations start to really get scary. If he, as the doctor, wants to challenge the decision by the company as to whether he can get both a CAT-scan and X-ray, he will call them to do so. "I have to discuss this with the ‘medical director' who will say yes - if I use certain ‘key' words" Or the medical director will say "no," the procedure does not fit the guidelines. Without having the medical background of the doctor or all of the data he has been trained to read, the company medical director can make the call - all based on a manual written to one size fits all!

Meanwhile, the doctor is responsible for the health of his patient, tasked with the job of making the right decision as he is forced to move forward blindly. He's unable to get the complete information he needs to make an educated evaluation, because a bureaucrat rejected his request for the proper testing. Yet, if the doctor makes the wrong decision and the patient suffers or dies, he is liable for legal action by the patient's family. He has no legal protection if he missed a lesion in the brain. Says Dr. Conroy, "I am liable, let alone the damage to patient."

How "Red Tape" Strangles Treatment

The most important detail to expose here is that, while the doctor has had years of training and experience in the field, the medical director does not have to be qualified.

He's an employee! Dr. Conroy provided a resulting horror story that is certain to be repeated over and over again once ObamaCare gets control of the medical system. He reported, "I had a young patient with Hodgkin's disease and I needed a follow-up cat-scan of the chest. It was refused (by the company medical director). I challenged the decision (I challenge all of them) and called the company. The medical director was a retired General Practitioner, playing golf in Florida." Says Dr. Conroy, "the review companies intentionally have out of state physicians as medical directors so they do not have a state license that can be challenged."

Then there is the massive mountain of paperwork required for each patient and each procedure. The official guideline for treatment paths for patients with malignancy is called "Pathways," found at There are over 30 medical issue paths to choose. A doctor needs to match a pathway with his data, as described above.

As mentioned, that can be a huge number of possible combinations. The insurance companies are already restricting treatment options by forcing doctors to accept their approval for therapy, or they won't pay for it.

Now, follow the bureaucratic ball created by this mass of rules. Explains Dr. Conroy, "We are still on the first visit by the patient, (or second visit if something was challenged). It now takes 45-60 minutes to register a new patient. I get an hour for the history, exam discussion of treatment plan and then we have to load everything into the computer and fill out the required forms. With each patient visit we review all the data for accuracy, and again report it."

All this for one patient on the first visit. And with each visit it all has to be continually rechecked and reported. If the doctor makes an error on a Medicare bill submission, the fine is $5,000 PER LINE. A typical chemotherapy visit may have 20 or more lines of code per visit. Says Dr. Conroy, "one year we used 250 cc bags of IV fluids for chemotherapy. It was more than enough fluid for treatment, but Medicare retroactively decided not to pay for 250 cc bags so, we had to repay Medicare Reimbursement for all the 250cc bags for an entire YEAR! We then changed to 1000 cc bag, charged more, threw out most of it but got paid."

So, now the patient has had surgery, some radiation treatment, and chemotherapy and the cancer is in remission. All of those procedures would have had to go through the bureaucratic review process.

Are There "Death Panels" in ObamaCare?

Let's say, after treatment, unfortunately, the patient goes into relapse - the cancer returns. In the past, the doctor would start again, repeat treatment, and keep the patient alive over multiple cycles of chemotherapy. But things are changing.

Reports Dr. Conroy, "enter the ‘death panels.' I actually read the ACA law. They are not death panels per se, but panels appointed by the President, NOT reporting to Congress, that establish the funding and treatment for patients." Those on the appointed panels are not physicians.

And what are the potential results of the decisions of such panels? Dr. Conroy explains what happens through the example of a pediatric lung transplant case, involving a young boy who needed the treatment. According to Dr. Conroy, the case required official approval from Kathleen Sebelius, now the nation's top healthcare official and in charge of ObamaCare. Sebelius refused to approve the transplant and the family had to go to a federal court. She followed the official guidelines as outlined in Pathways. According to its rules, the transplant was not approved for a child of that age, so "the kid was out of luck."

These panels can decide whether care can be provided or refused based on age, finances, and the treatment required. That brings us back to the whole debate based on money. This time it becomes the "government's money." And, suddenly, when the government decides it doesn't want to spend "its" money, it can become very stingy.

It saves money by not providing care for the elderly, which it says are a burden to society. Or, in the case of the lung transplant victim, too young. The result is the same if care cannot be provided - death of the patient. Death panels? Perhaps not in name - but in practice. The panels do not report to Congress, but to higher bureaucratic panels. As Dr. Conroy describes it, "more like a central committee in the Soviet System."

Another example provided by Dr. Conroy is the NCCN Guidelines (National Comprehensive Cancer Network). There are a comprehensive set of guidelines detailing the sequential management decisions and interventions for the malignant cancers that affect 97 percent of all patients living with cancer in the United States. In addition, separate guidelines provide recommendations for some of the key cancer prevention and screening topics as well as supportive care considerations.

Explains Dr. Conroy, "they are fantastic for guidance in treatment plans, but imagine writing a program for any of the guidelines and then constantly changing them to meet new changes in care." He goes on with another example, "Check out the Palliative Care guidelines, there is a section explaining how to order an IV infusion to sedate a terminal patient, the plan is for them to not wake up. The guidelines recommend that nurses who feel uncomfortable ethically with this order should be assigned elsewhere. This is a concern because Hospice is recommended over and over in the guidelines more than ever before."

This is the real cost savings in ObamaCare - as money runs out, you change the parameters for treatment. Age, stage, and diagnosis care exclude aggressive therapy. In the past, this was a decision of a patient, minister, and family; now you have an insurance company/government agent making an "impartial" decision of no further treatment.

In a progressive secular society, ethics are not based on God or morality or individual wants and needs, but on the "common good" of the state. Concludes Dr. Conroy, "Obamacare is not about medical care but rather social and government control of the population."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)