Friday, March 14, 2014

Hitler and the socialist dream

Many socialists before Hitler advocated genocide

George Watson

In April 1945, when Adolf Hitler died by his own hand in the rubble of Berlin, nobody was much interested in what he had once believed. That was to be expected. War is no time for reflection, and what Hitler had done was so shattering, and so widely known through images of naked bodies piled high in mass graves, that little or no attention could readily be paid to National Socialism as an idea. It was hard to think of it as an idea at all. Hitler, who had once looked a crank or a clown, was exposed as the leader of a gang of thugs, and the world was content to know no more than that.

Half a century on, there is much to be said. Even thuggery can have its reasons, and the materials that have newly appeared, though they may not transform judgement, undoubtedly enrich and deepen it. Confidants of Hitler. such as the late Albert Speer, have published their reminiscences; his wartime table-talk is a book; early revelations like Hermann Rauschning's Hitler Speaks of 1939 have been validated by painstaking research, and the notes of dead Nazis like Otto Wagener have been edited, along with a full text of Goebbels's diary.

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 title of National Socialism was not hypocritical.

The evidence before 1945 was more private than public, which is perhaps significant in itself. In public Hitler was always anti-Marxist, and in an age in which the Soviet Union was the only socialist state on earth, and with anti-Bolshevism a large part of his popular appeal, he may have been understandably reluctant to speak openly of his sources. His megalomania, in any case, would have prevented him from calling himself anyone's disciple. That led to an odd and paradoxical alliance between modern historians and the mind of a dead dictator.

Many recent analysts have fastidiously refused to study the mind of Hitler; and they accept, as unquestioningly as many Nazis did in the 1930s, the slogan "Crusade against Marxism" as a summary of his views. An age in which fascism has become a term of abuse is unlikely to analyse it profoundly.

His private conversations, however, though they do not overturn his reputation as an anti-Communist, qualify it heavily. Hermann Rauschning, for example, a Danzig Nazi who knew Hitler before and after his accession to power in 1933, tells how in private Hitler acknowledged his profound debt to the Marxian tradition. "I have learned a great deal from Marxism" he once remarked, "as I do not hesitate to admit". He was proud of a knowledge of Marxist texts acquired in his student days before the First World War and later in a Bavarian prison, in 1924, after the failure of the Munich putsch.

The trouble with Weimar Republic politicians, he told Otto Wagener at much the same time, was that "they had never even read Marx", implying that no one who had failed to read so important an author could even begin to understand the modern world; in consequence, he went on, they imagined that the October revolution in 1917 had been "a private Russian affair", whereas in fact it had changed the whole course of human history!

His differences with the communists, he explained, were less ideological than tactical. German communists he had known before he took power, he told Rauschning, thought politics meant talking and writing. They were mere pamphleteers, whereas "I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun", adding revealingly that "the whole of National Socialism" was based on Marx.

That is a devastating remark and it is blunter than anything in his speeches or in Mein Kampf.; though even in the autobiography he observes that his own doctrine was fundamentally distinguished from the Marxist by reason that it recognised the significance of race - implying, perhaps, that it might otherwise easily look like a derivative. Without race, he went on, National Socialism "would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground". Marxism was internationalist. The proletariat, as the famous slogan goes, has no fatherland. Hitler had a fatherland, and it was everything to him.

Yet privately, and perhaps even publicly, he conceded that National Socialism was based on Marx. On reflection, it makes consistent sense. The basis of a dogma is not the dogma, much as the foundation of a building is not the building, and in numerous ways National Socialism was based on Marxism. It was a theory of history and not, like liberalism or social democracy, a mere agenda of legislative proposals.

And it was a theory of human, not just of German, history, a heady vision that claimed to understand the whole past and future of mankind. Hitler's discovery was that socialism could be national as well as international. There could be a national socialism.

That is how he reportedly talked to his fellow Nazi Otto Wagener in the early 1930s. The socialism of the future would lie in "the community of the Volk", not in internationalism, he claimed, and his task was to "convert the German volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists", meaning the entrepreneurial and managerial classes left from the age of liberalism. They should be used, not destroyed.

The state could control, after all, without owning, guided by a single party, the economy could be planned and directed without dispossessing the propertied classes.

That realisation was crucial. To dispossess, after all, as the Russian civil war had recently shown, could only mean Germans fighting Germans, and Hitler believed there was a quicker and more efficient route. There could be socialism without civil war.

Now that the age of individualism had ended, he told Wagener, the task was to "find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution". Marx and Lenin had seen the right goal, but chosen the wrong route - a long and needlessly painful route - and, in destroying the bourgeois and the kulak, Lenin had turned Russia into a grey mass of undifferentiated humanity, a vast anonymous horde of the dispossessed; they had "averaged downwards"; whereas the National Socialist state would raise living standards higher than capitalism had ever known. It is plain that Hitler and his associates meant their claim to socialism to be taken seriously; they took it seriously themselves.

For half a century, none the less, Hitler has been portrayed, if not as a conservative - the word is many shades too pale - at least as an extreme instance of the political right. It is doubtful if he or his friends would have recognised the description. His own thoughts gave no prominence to left and right, and he is unlikely to have seen much point in any linear theory of politics. Since he had solved for all time the enigma of history, as he imagined, National Socialism was unique. The elements might be at once diverse and familiar, but the mix was his.

Hitler's mind, it has often been noticed, was in many ways backward-looking: not medievalising, on the whole, like Victorian socialists such as Ruskin and William Morris, but fascinated by a far remoter past of heroic virtue. It is now widely forgotten that much the same could be said of Marx and Engels.

It is the issue of race, above all, that for half a century has prevented National Socialism from being seen as socialist. The proletariat may have no fatherland, as Lenin said. But there were still, in Marx's view, races that would have to be exterminated. That is a view he published in January-February 1849 in an article by Engels called "The Hungarian Struggle" in Marx's journal the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and the point was recalled by socialists down to the rise of Hitler.

It is now becoming possible to believe that Auschwitz was socialist-inspired. The Marxist theory of history required and demanded genocide for reasons implicit in its claim that feudalism was already giving place to capitalism, which must in its turn be superseded by socialism. Entire races would be left behind after a workers' revolution, feudal remnants in a socialist age; and since they could not advance two steps at a time, they would have to be killed. They were racial trash, as Engels called them, and fit only for the dung-heap of history.

That brutal view, which a generation later was to be fortified by the new pseudo-science of eugenics, was by the last years of the century a familiar part of the socialist tradition, though it is understandable that since the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945 socialists have been eager to forget it.

But there is plenty of evidence in the writings of HG Wells, Jack London, Havelock Ellis, the Webbs and others to the effect that socialist commentators did not flinch from drastic measures. The idea of ethnic cleansing was orthodox socialism for a century and more.

So the socialist intelligentsia of the western world entered the First World War publicly committed to racial purity and white domination and no less committed to violence. Socialism offered them a blank cheque, and its licence to kill included genocide. In 1933, in a preface to On the Rocks, for example, Bernard Shaw publicly welcomed the exterminatory principle which the Soviet Union had already adopted. Socialists could now take pride in a state that had at last found the courage to act, though some still felt that such action should be kept a secret.

In 1932 Beatrice Webb remarked at a tea-party what "very bad stage management" it had been to allow a party of British visitors to the Ukraine to see cattle-trucks full of starving "enemies of the state" at a local station. "Ridiculous to let you see them", said Webb, already an eminent admirer of the Soviet system. "The English are always so sentimental" adding, with assurance: "You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs."

A few years later, in 1935, a Social Democratic government in Sweden began a eugenic programme for the compulsory sterilisation of gypsies, the backward and the unfit, and continued it until after the war.

The claim that Hitler cannot really have been a socialist because he advocated and practised genocide suggests a monumental failure, then, in the historical memory. Only socialists in that age advocated or practised genocide, at least in Europe, and from the first years of his political career Hitler was proudly aware of the fact. Addressing his own party, the NSDAP, in Munich in August 1920, he pledged his faith in socialist-racialism: "If we are socialists, then we must definitely be anti-semites - and the opposite, in that case, is Materialism and Mammonism, which we seek to oppose." There was loud applause.

Hitler went on: "How, as a socialist, can you not be an anti-semite?" The point was widely understood, and it is notable that no German socialist in the 1930s or earlier ever sought to deny Hitler's right to call himself a socialist on grounds of racial policy. In an age when the socialist tradition of genocide was familiar, that would have sounded merely absurd. The tradition, what is more, was unique. In the European century that began in the 1840s from Engels's article of 1849 down to the death of Hitler, everyone who advocated genocide called himself a socialist, and no exception has been found.

The first reactions to National Socialism outside Germany are now largely forgotten. They were highly confused, for the rise of fascism had caught the European left by surprise. There was nothing in Marxist scripture to predict it and must have seemed entirely natural to feel baffled. Where had it all come from? Harold Nicolson, a democratic socialist, and after 1935 a Member of the House of Commons, conscientiously studied a pile of pamphlets in his hotel room in Rome in January 1932 and decided judiciously that fascism (Italian-style) was a kind of militarised socialism; though it destroyed liberty, he concluded in his diary, "it is certainly a socialist experiment in that it destroys individuality". The Moscow view that fascism was the last phase of capitalism, though already proposed, was not yet widely heard. Richard remarked in a 1934 BBC talk that many students in Nazi Germany believed they were "digging the foundations of a new German socialism".

By the outbreak of civil war in Spain, in 1936, sides had been taken, and by then most western intellectuals were certain that Stalin was left and Hitler was right. That sudden shift of view has not been explained, and perhaps cannot be explained, except on grounds of argumentative convenience. Single binary oppositions - cops-and-robbers or cowboys-and-indians - are always satisfying. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was seen by hardly anybody as an attempt to restore the unity of socialism. A wit at the British Foreign Office is said to have remarked that all the "Isms" were now "Wasms", and the general view was that nothing more than a cynical marriage of convenience had taken place.

By the outbreak of world war in 1939 the idea that Hitler was any sort of socialist was almost wholly dead. One may salute here an odd but eminent exception. Writing as a committed socialist just after the fall of France in 1940, in The Lion and the Unicorn, Orwell saw the disaster as a "physical debunking of capitalism", it showed once and for all that "a planned economy is stronger than a planless one", though he was in no doubt that Hitler's victory was a tragedy for France and for mankind. The planned economy had long stood at the head of socialist demands; and National Socialism, Orwell argued, had taken from socialism "just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes".

Hitler had already come close to socialising Germany. "Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a socialist state." These words were written just before Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union. Orwell believed that Hitler would go down in history as "the man who made the City of London laugh on the wrong side of its face" by forcing financiers to see that planning works and that an economic free-for-all does not.

At its height, Hitler's appeal transcended party division. Shortly before they fell out in the summer of 1933, Hitler uttered sentiments in front of Otto Wagener, which were published after his death in 1971 as a biography by an unrepentant Nazi. Wagener's Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant, composed in a British prisoner-of-war camp, did not appear until 1978 in the original German, and arrived in English, without much acclaim, as recently as 1985.

Hitler's remembered talk offers a vision of a future that draws together many of the strands that once made utopian socialism irresistibly appealing to an age bred out of economic depression and cataclysmic wars; it mingles, as Victorian socialism had done before it, an intense economic radicalism with a romantic enthusiasm for a vanished age before capitalism had degraded heroism into sordid greed and threatened the traditional institutions of the family and the tribe.

Socialism, Hitler told Wagener shortly after he seized power, was not a recent invention of the human spirit, and when he read the New Testament he was often reminded of socialism in the words of Jesus. The trouble was that the long ages of Christianity had failed to act on the Master's teachings. Mary and Mary Magdalen, Hitler went on in a surprising flight of imagination, had found an empty tomb, and it would be the task of National Socialism to give body at long last to the sayings of a great teacher: "We are the first to exhume these teachings."

The Jew, Hitler told Wagener, was not a socialist, and the Jesus they crucified was the true creator of socialist redemption. As for communists, he opposed them because they created mere herds, Soviet-style, without individual life, and his own ideal was "the socialism of nations" rather than the international socialism of Marx and Lenin. The one and only problem of the age, he told Wagener, was to liberate labour and replace the rule of capital over labour with the rule of labour over capital.

These are highly socialist sentiments, and if Wagener reports his master faithfully they leave no doubt about the conclusion: that Hitler was an unorthodox Marxist who knew his sources and knew just how unorthodox the way in which he handled them was. He was a dissident socialist. His programme was at once nostalgic and radical. It proposed to accomplish something that Christians had failed to act on and that communists before him had attempted and bungled. "What Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism failed to accomplish," he told Wagener, "we shall be in a position to achieve."

That was the National Socialist vision. It was seductive, at once traditional and new. Like all socialist views it was ultimately moral, and its economic and racial policies were seen as founded on universal moral laws. By the time such conversations saw the light of print, regrettably, the world had put such matters far behind it, and it was less than ever ready to listen to the sayings of a crank or a clown.

That is a pity. The crank, after all, had once offered a vision of the future that had made a Victorian doctrine of history look exciting to millions. Now that socialism is a discarded idea, such excitement is no doubt hard to recapture. To relive it again, in imagination, one might look at an entry in Goebbels's diaries. On 16 June 1941, five days before Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, Goebbels exulted, in the privacy of his diary, in the victory over Bolshevism that he believed would quickly follow. There would be no restoration of the tsars, he remarked to himself, after Russia had been conquered. But Jewish Bolshevism would be uprooted in Russia and "real socialism" planted in its place - "Der echte Sozialismus". Goebbels was a liar, to be sure, but no one can explain why he would lie to his diaries. And to the end of his days he believed that socialism was what National Socialism was about.

Sunday, 22 November 1998 The Independent


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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Republican Wins Bellwether Special Election in Florida

This seat was previously held by a long-serving Republican, but Barack Obama carried it twice, the Republican nominee was far from flawless, and the Democratic nominee enjoyed a wide name ID advantage from her gubernatorial run. Many experts saw this race as Alex Sink's to lose. She ran on a "fix, don't repeal, Obamacare" platform. She lost.

ABC News' Rick Klein spelled out the stakes of this races earlier today. Democrats are spinning this loss, but the can't escape certain realities:

 Tonight, it’s the Democrats with all the expectations to meet. That’s because they have more questions to answer this year, about their ability to message around Obamacare and Social Security, and make the case against Republicans in a district with divided tendencies. Democrats won’t have candidates as seasoned or well-funded as Alex Sink everywhere. And they know privately at least that they’re looking at a dismal 2014 if they can’t win districts like this one.

Polls showed a tight race with Sink leading Jolly by two points. Jolly took the race by two points, riding a double-digit election day wave that overcame Sink's modest early voting edge. This race was a referendum on Obamacare. In an Obama district. In a swing state. With a well-funded, seasoned Democratic candidate. Political handicapper Stu Rothenberg called it a "must win" for Democrats. And now we have Congressman David Jolly (R-FL). Yes, special elections can be sui generis in nature, and Democrats won a contested special in 2010 before getting swamped a few months later. But for Democrats, this result cannot be ignored.



Explaining Why Obama's Poll Numbers are Close to Zero Among White Voters

Have you seen Obama’s poll numbers? They are among the lowest in history. As of last week, Obama’s approval rating is at 38%. That’s just barely above Richard Nixon. But that's not the big story here.

Keep in mind that Obama has the support of about 35% to 40% of the population that will NEVER abandon him, no matter what he does, no matter how bad the jobs numbers look, no matter how low the economy goes, no matter how much scandal and corruption is exposed, no matter how strong the facts are against him. Nothing will ever change their minds. These are the “low information voters” of the Democratic Party.

In many cases they love Obama because of the color of his skin- and nothing else. They will never abandon a black President.  Even though black unemployment is at record levels. Even though black youth unemployment is at record levels. Even though black poverty is at record levels.

Even though Obama's exact policies have been in place for over 50 years in Detroit, a majority black city run by black Democrat politicians…and the black population has been devastated, destroyed, and discarded. Left for dead in an abandoned, bankrupt city with very few street lights operating and the police leaving residents in many areas to fend for themselves.

So just think about those poll numbers for a moment. Let those numbers sink in. If 35% to 40% of the population would support a Democrat for President if he ran from a prison cell…if 35% to 40% would support Obama no matter what he does, no matter how far America sinks under his leadership, even if they have no jobs and their own lives are in total could Obama’s approval rating be at only 38%?

That means that among the rest of America, outside of loyal, lifelong, Kool-Aid drinking Democrats, Obama's ratings are nil. Among voters who don't identify as Democrat, he is the lowest-rated President in history. No numbers like this have ever been recorded, if you filter out the Kool Aid drinking low information and partisan voters.

Among the white middle class, I’m betting Obama’s ratings are in the single digits. Or lower.

Keep in mind many of the white middle class originally voted for Obama. He could not have been elected without white support.

Among those that actually own small businesses, pay most of the taxes and create most of the jobs, I'm betting Obama's ratings are in the vicinity of ZERO.

Actually if you take the white middle class and subtract out a few Ivy League intellectuals, Hollywood liberals, and pathetic Upper West Side of Manhattan Democratic zombies, there are few Obama supporters left to be found anywhere in America.

Remember that about 47% of Americans get entitlement checks from government. Obama is PAYING for their support and he still only has 38% approval. You know you're unpopular when even bribes don't work anymore!

I do want to answer my critics whose only response will be…"all of these white voters who don't support Obama are racists. It's all about race."

First of all, the very definition of racism is voting for a black candidate because...he's black. That's racism. The fact that 92% of black voters voted for Obama and 96% of black women voted for Obama is nothing but voting based on race.

As far as white voters abandoning Obama in droves, I've yet to meet one white voter who bases it on the color of Obama's skin. We all base it on the color of his policies. The color of his policies is red- as in communist red. We hate his policies, not the man and not the color of his skin.



Citing Liberal Bias, Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Resigns From CBS News

CBS News' Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, known during the Obama administration for her work on Solyndra, Benghazi and Operation Fast and Furious, has resigned from her position at the network.

According to POLITICO, the resignation comes as a result of frustration over perceived liberal bias at CBS News.

 CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO on Monday.

Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network's corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.

At the same time, Attkisson's own reporting on the Obama administration, which some staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. She is currently at work on a book -- tentatively titled "Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington" -- which addresses the challenges of reporting critically on the Obama administration.

As noted above, Attkisson has been at CBS for two decades. During her time at the network, she has heavily scrutinized both Democrat and Republican administrations. Back in 2008, Attkisson debunked Hillary Clinton's infamous claim that she dodged sniper fire in Bosnia. During the Bush administration, Attkisson won an Emmy for her reporting on shady Republican fundraising. In 2012, she won an Edward R. Murrow award and an Emmy for her reporting on Operation Fast and Furious. She has been equally critical of both political parties in Washington D.C.

This is an incredible loss for CBS and no doubt another network's gain. Hopefully she'll land at a place where her important work will be aired and promoted.



 CPAC 2014: Conservatism Inc. Tries To Finesse Amnesty/ Immigration Surge—But Ann Coulter Doesn’t Let Them

Thus is the state of “the movement” at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2014 Anno Domini.

Much was the same as the year before. Once again, ACU organizers did their best to prevent any dissent against their preferred policy of Amnesty. Once again, speakers used militant rhetoric on tangential issues. Once again, there were laughable efforts at minority outreach, greeted with hooting scorn by an openly hostile Main Stream Media. And once again, the only person who bluntly told the truth about the dispossession of the historic American nation was Ann Coulter.

The problem, of course: the goal posts for “racism” keep being moved. Thus the collection of clickbait clichés known as Gawker dispatched one Gabrielle Bluestone who duly kvetched that “on the second day of CPAC, all of the main speakers are white men.” [A Sea of White: Day Two at CPAC, by Gabrielle Bluestone, Gawker, March 7, 2013] (Like the demographic that created the country.)

CPAC did try its usual tactic of presenting a Great Black Hope—in this case, Dr. Ben Carson, who received a raucous reception. Conference organizers also tried to head off race-baiting stories with panels on minority outreach—unfortunately for them, no one showed up, at least not at the beginning of the panel. Thus, liberal journalists were able to write triumphalist stories about how CPAC is neglecting diversity.

The deliberate exclusion of immigration patriots was intensified this year—as Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA  put it, CPAC has become a “kind of the corporate elites playground instead of [about] conservative principles.

However, there was an odd defensiveness about the entire conference this year. The organizers seemed to be just phoning it in. Thus the predictably-stacked immigration panel was largely a repeat of last year’s and the response was tepid.

More important than what was said was what was not said. Last year, Conservatism Inc. was obviously backing Senator Marco Rubio as its presidential favorite for 2016, even to the point of Al Cardenas saying ludicrously that he had “literally” tied with Rand Paul when he finished a close second in the straw poll.

In contrast, this year there were very few conference attendees promoting Rubio’s run in 2016. His straw poll showing utterly collapsed, declining seventeen points and finishing at a dismal 6%, behind the likes of Chris Christie and Rick Santorum. A clearly cowed Rubio didn’t even mention immigration during his lengthy CPAC address.

More to the point, though immigration patriots were cut off, there were no explicit, enthusiastic appeals for Amnesty from any of the main speakers. Rand Paul, who is skillfully positioning himself as the 2016 favorite, stuck to safe territory of bashing eavesdropping by the NSA. Mike Huckabee talked about God, Rick Santorum talked about appealing to workers, Chris Christie faked opposition to Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich gave vague platitudes about big ideas. No one tried to position themselves as the candidate who could win Hispanic voters.

And it was still taken for granted by other speakers that opposition to Amnesty is a standard part of the conservative platform.

Sarah Palin said, “No Republican lawbreaker can get elected promising… rewarding lawbreakers—Amnesty.”

And Michele Bachmann  “Was greeted with roaring approval Saturday when she warned conservatives not to engage with Democrats seeking a bipartisan immigration plan. ‘The last thing conservatives should do is help the president pass his number-one goal, and that’s Amnesty,’ she said.”

Even Donald Trump, given (or buying?) a main stage speaking slot, ripped Marco Rubio for wanting to “let everyone in” and asserted: “Immigration. We're either a country or we're not. We either have borders or we don't.”

And finally, Ann Coulter launched a devastating attack on mass immigration that managed to get past the CPAC gatekeepers. After her performance last year, the ACU made sure that she would be forced into a debate. Luckily, her liberal interlocutor was Mickey Kaus—which allowed both panelists to laugh about the stupidity of mass immigration and how it obviously hurts the GOP.



Budget surplus: So Wisconsin Legislature Passes Walker Tax Cuts Package

Why, it's almost as if responsible, conservative governance works:

 Wisconsin will sell $294.8 million in general-obligation refunding bonds this week in a negotiated sale as the state projects a budget surplus of almost $1 billion. Surging tax revenue is driving improved fiscal performance in Wisconsin, with a population of 5.7 million. The improvement in the state’s tax collections ranked seventh in the nation during the 12 months ended in June, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States. The state had originally projected a surplus of $130 million as of mid-2015.

As we noted in late January, the state's "surging tax revenue" was decidedly not precipitated by tax increases. Governor Scott Walker -- who has cut taxes several times over his first term -- urged passage of an additional tax relief package in his 2014 state of the state address, arguing that the unexpectedly large surplus ought to be "returned to taxpayers because it's their money." Last week, the Republican-held legislature complied with the governor's request, over the strident and eternally predictable objections of tax-and-spend Democrats:

 Republicans moved closer to making Gov. Scott Walker's plan to use the state's surplus to cover $504 million in tax cuts reality Tuesday, pushing the measure through the state Senate despite Democrats' complaints the proposal is just a token election-year ploy. The bill now heads to a final vote in the state Assembly. That chamber has already passed the measure but must agree with changes the Legislature's budget committee made to win a key senator's vote...Passage is all but certain. "The hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin know how to spend their money better than politicians in Madison do," Walker said in a statement ...

Walker also introduced another bill that would use about $35 million from the surplus to fund new Department of Workforce Development job training grants, including grants to eliminate technical college waiting lists for high-demand fields, help high school students get job training for high-demand jobs and help the disabled find work. The Assembly passed that bill last week. The Senate followed suit Tuesday, approving it unanimously. That measure now goes to Walker for his signature.

Final passage is expected one week from today.



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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Does a low IQ make you right-wing? That depends on how you define left and right

Michael Hanlon makes some interesting points below but overlooks the obvious:  People with high IQs are very much advantaged in the educational system and tend to stay in that system longer.  And particularly in the later years of education, the Leftist propaganda gets all but overwhelming.  So all that the research really shows is that an exposure to overwhelming Leftist propaganda does influence some people's thinking.  They adopt Leftist attitudes where they otherwise might not

So right-wingers are stupid – it’s official. Psychologists in Canada have compared IQ scores of several thousand British children, who were born in 1958 and 1970, with their stated views as adults on things such as treatment of criminals and openness to working with or living near to people of other races. They also looked at some US data which compared IQ scores with homophobic attitudes.

The conclusion: your intelligence as a child correlates strongly with socially liberal views. People with low IQs tend to be more in favour of harsh punishments, more homophobic and more likely to be racist. Interestingly, as these were IQ scores measured when young this does seem to be a measure of something innate, not merely exposure to ‘liberal’ views through education.

The inference is that what we call conservatism is a symptom of limited intellectual ability, signified by fear of the new and of outsiders, a retreat into tradition and tribal loyalty, and an unsophisticated disgust at sexual mores that deviate even slightly from the norm. Put bluntly stupidity correlates with insecurity, hatred, pessimism and fear, intelligence with confidence, optimism and trust.

Cue howls of outrage and not just from the right. In fact, left-wingers, liberals, call them what you will (and as I will argue these terms are far from interchangeable) have maintained something of an embarrassed silence about this. Liberals tend to dislike talk of innate intelligence and are distrustful of IQ tests and any hints of biological determinism. It might suit them politically to say their opponents are dim, but (they like to think) they are too polite to say so.

So what is going on here? Are conservatives really, statistically and meaningfully, less intelligent than socialists? Or is the story more subtle?

In fact there is nothing new in pointing to a link between social attitudes and intelligence. In 2010 the evolutionary psychologist Satochi Kanazawa, who works at the London School of Economics, analysed data from 20,000 young Americans and found that average IQ increased steadily from those who described themselves as ‘very conservative’ to those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal’. A study looking at British children, carried out by Ian Deary, reached a conclusion neatly summarised by the title of the paper: 'Bright Children become Enlightened Adults'. Other studies have found correlations between strong religiosity (a traditional marker of conservatism) and low intelligence.

Are socialists really more intelligent than conservatives? That depends how you define your terms

So case closed? Not really. The problem here is how we define ‘left’ and ‘right’ thinking, what this means socially and politically. A moment’s thought shows that the faultlines are not only blurred but they are legion, cris-crossing across traditional political strata and have changed through time.

As Steven Pinker points out in The Better Angels of our Nature, his marvellous book about the history of violence, social liberalism does not equate necessarily with economic socialism. He points to a study by the economist Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University in Virginia, who found that smart people tend to think like economists, being in favour of free trade, globalisation and free markets and against protectionism and state intervention in industry. This matches other findings that show that IQ correlates not with left-wing thinking as such, but with classic Enlightenment liberalism.

So a smart person (all else being equal) will probably be in favour of capitalism generally, and free-trade in particular. He or she will distrust state intervention in the markets, probably be suspicious of welfarism and deeply dislike protectionism, union closed-shops and tariffs. The smart person will believe that the have-nots should be encouraged to become haves by dint of their own labours and by the levelling of economic playing fields, NOT by taking money off the haves and giving it to them. In other words, Thatcherism. Hardly something we equate with the left.

But there is another side to what the Smarts believe. They are pro-immigration (immigration being a form of free trade, in this case in human labour). They are impeccably socially liberal. They do not care what consenting adults get up to in bed and would legalise gay marriage without a thought. They are as near as is possible to be colour blind and strongly favour sexual equality. They are internationalist and despise petty nationalism. And they are suspicious of the war on drugs and in fact of wars in general and do not believe the public should in general be allowed to own firearms. These are the social views, then, of the British metropolitan Left. So what is it then? Are dim people right or left? Here we meet the problem of defining liberalism and left-wingery.

A belief in economic redistribution of wealth does not correlate with social liberalism. The nations of the Cold War Communist bloc were ferociously ‘Left Wing’ in terms of a belief in statism, nationalised industries, basic equality and so forth but socially and in other ways they were far, far to the ‘right’ of any mainstream European or American party. The Soviet education system was brutally elitist – no wishy-washy mixed-ability nonsense there. Militarism and conscription were the norm. Communist states had and had an attachment to capital punishment, repression of homosexuals and paid only lipservice to sexual equality (Russian women were free to work, but they had to go back and do the cleaning and cooking when they had finished).

In today’s world the most ‘right wing’ attitudes are to be found not in the American Bible Belt but in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and parts of Asia as well as Russia. Across most of Africa the majority has an eye-wateringly brutal view of homosexuality (gays face long terms of imprisonment or worse in many southern and eastern African states). If you want to see robust attitudes to crime, sexuality, feminism, immigration and religious freedom go to somewhere like Sudan or Mauritania, Uganda or even Kenya and Jamaica.

The paradox is that the political discourse in nations such as these has been dominated by a leftish post-colonialism. The epitome of this paradox is, or was (attitudes have relaxed) Communist Cuba where attitudes to gays, criminals, and people of non-European descent would have softened the heart of a Mississippi Klansman.

Historical context: Homosexuality was illegal under Clement Attlee's 'left-wing' Labour government, but not under Margaret Thatcher's 'right-wing' Conservative administration

Paradox: In terms of social attitudes, Fidel Castro's communist Cuba was more 'right-wing' than Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration

The correlation between left-wing views, liberal social attitudes and intelligence probably has a political significance only in advanced industrial societies where the values of the liberal enlightenment (a belief in freedom, fairness, reason, science, free trade, the rule of law, property rights and gentle commerce) govern society. It is probably true to say that in Britain, France, the US, Canada and so forth there is a correlation, and an interesting one, between intelligence and sexual liberalism and openness to people from a different culture and/or race. But these views can be held by some pretty stupid people as well (the politically correct anti-christmas, coffee-with-milk, crazy-islamist-welcoming brigade).

We probably need some new words. ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ have become so tarnished by a century of propaganda and ill-advised alliances that they have become almost meaningless. We have a notionally ‘right of centre’ government in the UK and yet in its historical and geographical context the Cameron administration must be one of the most ‘left-wing’ administrations in the history of humanity – a consequence of modernity as much as anything else (under Clement Attlee gays were imprisoned, under Thatcher they were not). Increasingly, traditional right-wing views (blatant racism, sexism and homophobia) are simply seen as beyond the pale. In the US the current crop of Republican candidates mostly come across as a bunch of swivel-eyed fruitcakes to us, but none of them, from Mitt Romney downwards, would express the view that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian’ which is what the historically revered future ‘liberal’ president, Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1886.

Liberalism is a function then not only of intelligence but of modernity. Illiberal, ‘stupid’ states such as Mauritania and Saudi Arabia are, quite literally, stuck in the past (even if their citizens are not individually stupid). Plenty of bright people hold illiberal views (attitudes to violent crime do not fall into convenient left-right camps) and a few dim people are impeccably enlightened. Increasingly, clever people hold a series of views that may be construed as ‘right’ or ‘left’ simultaneously. The challenge for the political parties is to find a way of reflecting this and representing this voice on the national level. And that will require some very clever thinking indeed.


Note:  I have a more extensive comment on the research concerned here


The Surge in Ruling-Class Verbal Abuse

 by K. Lloyd Billingsley

As we recently noted, deploying the IRS, NSA, ATF, EPA and now the FCC against Americans shows that ruling-class abuse has become inclusive. But some think the abuse is not quite inclusive enough, or severe enough. Consider, for example, this remark about critics of Obamacare.

“There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

That is not a drunk in some waterfront bar in San Francisco, or an unemployed carnival worker in Boston. That is Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. Reid backtracked a bit, but one gets his drift. Senator, let this writer assure you that Obamabuse has no existential problem.

Cut loose from a job after more than 13 years with no warning or severance, in a conference call, this writer had a hard time finding health insurance. But with some effort he did find a plan he liked, and he wanted to keep it. Barack Obama, President of the United States, said he could keep it, but that was a lie. Obamacare slapped this writer with a 50-percent increase in premiums for decidedly inferior coverage with ludicrous deductibles.

As Screamin’ Jay Hawkins said, “I ain’t lyin.” Neither are millions of others with Obamacare horror stories, particularly those with serious medical issues who want to keep their doctor and hospital but now find they can’t do that. The government health websites remain largely dysfunctional and insecure, and the worst is yet to come.

To charge that this is all untrue, as Senator Reid did, is verbal abuse of the highest order but it does confirm a couple of things. Some politicians nurse a grudge against reality. And some politicians recall why the American and French Revolutions actually happened. The people of that day had experienced enough ruling-class abuse for one lifetime.

Meanwhile, elimination of Obamacare horror stories is not a difficult matter.

Let all Americans choose the quality health care they want, instead of forcing on them the seventh-rate health care the government wants them to have.



States Give Criminal Exemptions to Union Goons

California and others allow organizers to stalk, harass, and threaten.

Labor organizers and union enforcers are exempt from important criminal laws in some of the country’s largest states. California, Illinois, and Wisconsin are among the states that allow union members to stalk, harass, and threaten victims — so long as they are putatively doing “legitimate” union business.

As National Review Online recently reported, one such state, Pennsylvania, is pushing to repeal exemptions that give union members freedom from prosecution for stalking, harassing, or even threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Other states have similar laws on the books, but unlike the Keystone State, they’re not even trying to fix this double standard.

California, for example, has a union carveout for stalking and trespassing. Those engaged in “collective bargaining, labor relations, or labor disputes” are also legally free to “willfully [block] the free movement of another person in a [public-transit] system facility or vehicle.” If an ordinary Californian did that, he or she would face a $400 fine and 90 days in prison.

The Golden State even exempts those “engaged in labor union activities” from prosecution for making “a credible threat to cause bodily injury.”

Illinois also has a stalking exemption when an individual is involved in an action related to “any controversy concerning wages, salaries, hours, working conditions, or benefits . . . the making or maintaining of collective bargaining agreements, and the terms to be included in those agreements.”

In Wisconsin, it is a felony to commit sabotage. However, Wisconsin’s penal code explicitly states that the law barring sabotage shall not be construed “to impair, curtail, or destroy the rights of employees and their representatives to self-organize, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to strike, [or] to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.”

These are just some of the many state-level labor exemptions, Glenn Spencer, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative and author of a report on special state laws for labor unions, tells National Review Online. Pennsylvania, California, and the other states in the report “had a special status and unusual favoritism toward unions,” Spencer says.

To his knowledge, the laws above are still on the books and the existence of such state legislation shows that “while unions may have lost some of their clout on the federal level, they still have a substantial amount of influence at the state level.”

Large federal exemptions first came in the 1932 Norris-LaGuardia Act, which gave union workers and bosses broad immunity from injunctions.

This was followed by a loophole in the Hobbs Act of 1946 that exempts those attempting to achieve a “legitimate union objective” from prosecution for extortionate violence. Finally, in 1973 the Supreme Court affirmed the union exemptions of the Hobbs Act in United States v. Enmons.

Individual states subsequently bolstered these exemptions with their own laws, which have allowed union activists to stalk, harass, and commit traditionally illicit acts with no punishment.

According to Spencer, Pennsylvania is the first state he knows of with an active bill in the legislature to repeal these types of labor exemptions. Republican state representative Ron Miller’s bill is currently working its way through the state house.



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.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Exposing the “Living Document” Lie

Despite all historical evidence to the contrary, it is often claimed that the Constitution is a “living document” that is easily malleable through semantics and modern desires for extended federal power.

This is the view that saturates public schools, the mainstream media, law schools, and politicians. We are even sometimes told that a primary benefit of the United States Constitution is that it can be so easily manipulated at the will of politicians and judges.

However, this view flies directly against the evidence of history, and disputes the words of those who supported the document during the ratification debates. After all, the Constitution only provided the general government the powers “expressly delegated to it” according to Edmund Randolph, who had the duty of explaining the Constitution to Virginia’s Richmond Convention.

Similarly, when naysayers in South Carolina raised the same concerns of unlimited powers, Charles Pinckney rebuked their claims strongly by echoing these sentiments and insisting, “we certainly reserve to ourselves every power and right not mentioned in the Constitution.”[1] This clarification was not an isolated phenomenon; the Constitution was described this way in all states by its vigilant supporters.

The plain understanding that the Constitution only gave the general government the powers that were specifically enumerated was not a “theory” during the Constitution’s writing or adoption by the states. On the contrary, it was the only understanding reached by the states, and held until modern reinterpretations of the Constitution took hold. From the origin of the ratification debates, James Wilson’s “State House Yard Speech” confirms this to be the case. To the accusation that the Constitution gave the general government powers which were not explicitly stated, Wilson responded to such an assertion by noting that “everything which is not given is reserved.” Wilson said that power in the Constitution is not granted by “tacit implication, but from the positive grant expressed in the instrument of the union.”[2]

The constitutional model of Britain was considered insufficient in the states because it did not bring about a restricted centralized authority that was held down by specified powers. Britain’s constitution is a series of documents, traditions, and court decisions, which in summation characterize the “British Constitution.” Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense that he found this type of constitutional framework to be “subject to convulsions.” This was stated categorically. After all, it could not be denied that the British government (kings such as John, Charles Stuart, and James II) consistently worked to undermine the liberties clearly spelled out in The Magna Carta, Petition of Right, and English Bill of Rights, and other constitutional documents and happenings.

Britain had a legislature (Parliament), an executive (the king), and a judiciary (the royal courts), so this type of governmental structure can exist without the necessity of a written constitution. Instead of giving the government palpable power to do everything, our founders had the ingenious wherewithal to draft a Constitutional model that is instead based on powers that are explicitly spelled out, chiefly in Article I, Section 8.

If the Constitutional model was truly that of a “living document,” an inquisitive mind may question why the founders made the document extremely difficult to alter through the amendment process notated in Article V. The notion that the states will easily come to the same conclusion on adjusting the Constitution is a faulty one. Obtaining sanction from 38 states on any topic, constitutional issues notwithstanding, is no easy feat. This limitation can be considered as a strong barrier of obstruction that is nearly impossible to circumvent.

It is irrefutable that founders made the document difficult to alter for a reason. Those who espouse views to the contrary do not seek to consider the document “living” because it can be changed; they strive to misinterpret specific clauses within the document to justify actions of an almost unlimited variety, using such content to draw upon a vast reservoir of untapped power. Thomas Jefferson wrote that by doing so, Congress “is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” The tendency to do so was considered constitutionally erroneous and invalid.

Those who advocate the “living document” doctrine typically point to several clauses within the Constitution’s text to justify these views. These clauses are sometimes referred to as the “elastic clauses.” Patrick Henry, a persuasive opponent of the United States Constitution, called them “sweeping clauses” because he believed they would provide overwhelming power to the general government and act to eradicate the power of the states. When it came to Henry and many other voices of opposition, the antagonists were swiftly rebuked by those who were responsible for bringing the states to an understanding of what the Constitution did.

One of the “sweeping clauses” is the Necessary and Proper Clause, which is sometimes used by government to justify a variety of “implied” powers. James Wilson, a leading supporter of the Constitution in Pennsylvania, explained that this prose did no such thing. Wilson stated: “the concluding clause, with which so much fault has been found, gives no more, or other powers; nor does it in any degree go beyond the particular enumeration.”[3] The clause’s text solidifies this view, and is written in a distinctively clear manner: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers [emphasis mine].” The Necessary and Proper Clause only gives Congress the ability to perform tasks incidental to carry out the specified enumerated powers. In Virginia, Edmund Randolph responded directly to Patrick Henry regarding the clause. Randolph said: “The gentleman supposes, that complete and unlimited legislation is vested in the United States. This supposition is founded on false reasoning…in the general constitution, the powers are enumerated.”[4]

The General Welfare Clause is another portion of prose which is used to rationalize the living document model, the portion of Article I, Section 8 which gives Congress the power to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare.” Unfortunately, the modern understanding of this phraseology is completely divergent from the clear meaning of the expression at the time. The clear legal meaning of the phrase, borrowed from the Articles of Confederation, meant a small subset of duties each individual state considered appropriate to delegate to a separate authority. The states gave those powers to the general government out of convenience.

Roger Sherman, who moved to have the phrase added to the Constitution, is the best and most persuasive voice of clarification of the often misunderstood clause. The expression was added on August 25th in Philadelphia, so it could be connected with the clause for laying taxes and duties.[5] In other words, he wanted to make it explicit that taxes could only be collected for the specified powers.

Sherman was recorded as having made the observation that the “objects of the Union” were “few.”[6] Sherman listed “defence against foreign danger,” defense “against internal disputes & a resort to force,” “defence against foreign danger,” and “regulating foreign commerce & drawing revenue from it” as the powers of the general government. This is entirely consistent with Madison’s words from The Federalist and other sources, and was the conclusive understanding that the other representatives held in the Philadelphia Convention and the state conventions afterward. Historian Brion McClanahan writes that the initial proposal for insertion of this clause was rejected because it was considered to be redundant and unnecessary, passing only after Sherman’s persistence.[7]

Madison wrote this about the General Welfare Clause’s plain meaning when objecting to a 1792 bill which called for subsidized fisheries. The General Welfare Clause was cited as justification to pass such a bill. Madison responded:

“I, sir, have always conceived – I believe those who proposed the Constitution conceived, and it is still more fully known, and more material to observe that those who ratified the Constitution conceived –that this is not an indefinite Government, deriving its power from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers, but a limited Government tied down to the specified powers which explain and define the general terms.”[8]

In Madison’s estimation, the phrase simply reiterated that the specified powers were tied to “general terms.” In corroboration of Madison’s view was the noteworthy ratification of the Tenth Amendment in 1791, which made clear that powers not delegated are retained by the states or the people.

It is always helpful to revisit the primary sources and happenings of the state ratification conventions to explain what the Constitution did, rather than what modern voices claim. If conflicting, the first is always a more desirable and stronger explanation of truth. When forced to choose between views of what modern influences say about the Constitution, and what the founders and framers said about it, we do ourselves great justice as patriots to choose the latter every single time.



Eichmann trusted in the State too

The scientific study of authoritarian sociopathy really began with the Milgram Experiment, which found that 65% of otherwise psychologically healthy people would administer a lethal 450-volt shock to a complete stranger based upon nothing but the verbal prodding of an authority figure in a lab coat. What’s seldom pointed out is that Stanley Milgram designed his experiment in response to the chilling testimony of one Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi officer convicted in 1961. Adolf Eichmann oversaw the logistics of kidnapping and forcefully relocating people deemed enemies of the State to prison camps, and death camps in Nazi Germany. When people joke that the trains ran on time, they can thank Adolf Eichmann.

Commentators on his trial said that he appeared “ordinary and sane” and that he displayed “neither guilt nor hate.” Hannah Arendt’s book on the trial was titled “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.”During questioning he showed no remorse for his role in the murder of his passengers, and in his own defense he flatly repeated an all too familiar phrase:

“I was just following orders.”

In Eichman’s view he was acting upon the decisions of the State, which absolved him of all guilt. He coldly confessed to all his actions, but never acknowledged any personal responsibility.

What’s interesting about Adolf Eichman, when compared to those convicted in the Nuremberg Trials 16 years prior, is that this lesser known Adolf never killed anyone. Now, it’s a matter of historical debate whether or not Adolf Hitler ever directly killed anyone, other than himself. Historians dispute whether he killed his wife, Eva Braun, or she killed herself. In all likelihood Hitler took lives as a corporal in World War I, but it’s of little concern, because Hitler most certainly ordered the deaths of millions of people. Adolf Eichman never did that either. In his trial he was found not guilty of personally killing anyone, but he was still found guilty of crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

When the judges explained their reasoning during sentencing they repeated a quote in the transcript when he said:

“I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction.”

See, Eichmann’s crime was not simply obeying unethical orders which lead the death of his passengers. His crime was willfully and enthusiastically embracing the legitimacy of those orders. He believed in the rectitude of his actions, which is a different moral infraction that being forced to drive a train against his will.

Adolf Eichmann was an authoritarian sociopath, and I would argue that the Adolf Eichmanns of the world are far more dangerous than the Adolf Hitlers of the world. When atrocities are committed by militarized societies the perpetrators are usually a minority of the population, and the victims are usually also a minority of the population. It is the witnesses who are the majority, and thereby the most capable of meaningful intervention. This was perhaps best expressed by Irish philosopher Edmund Burke who said:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Although that begs the question, are those who do nothing really good? Without the Eichmanns of the world, the Hitlers have no capacity. When the evils of German National Socialism came to light, and the world was screaming “never forget,” and “never again,” only to promptly forget, and recycle those slogans a generation later, Stanley Milgram was asking the question, “How many Adolf Eichmanns are out there anyway?” In his final analysis, published in Psychology Today in 1975, Milgram wrote:

“I would say, on the basis of having a thousand people in the experiment and having my own intuition shaped and informed by these experiments, that if a system of death camps were set up in the United States of the sort we had seen in Nazi Germany, one would find sufficient personnel for those camps in any medium-sized American town.”

Statism is a mental disorder. That is not a euphemism, but a fact. There is a prevailing view in many societies that this thing, called the State, wields absolute supreme authority. In its wrath the State can smite their enemies, and enforce their prejudices. In its mercy it can heal the sick, and feed the poor. In its power it can turn paper into gold, and if they supplicate enough it can even change the weather. These people believe that society is the product of centralized violence, and not the aggregate of their own decentralized decisions. Those who deeply internalize “obedience to authority” as a core principle become capable of the worst forms of murder, and tolerant of the worst forms of abuse. They even chastise those who resist through horizontal discipline. But most importantly, they become capable of passively witnessing evil, and even facilitating it, believing, as Eichmann did, that their god absolves them of personal responsibility.


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, March 10, 2014

The multiple retreats of an amazingly bad law

The Donks had two years and 2,000 pages to get Obamacare right.  You would think that would mean a well-thought out piece of legislation.  But it is so poorly thought out that more and more of it cannot be enforced.  Was it ever intended to be about healthcare or was it just a vehicle for getting a Leftist wish-list onto the statute books?  It is certainly testimony to how little Leftists understand about the world around them. Michelle Malkin lists below many of the failed bits

At the end of 2013, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had some nasty words for yours truly. Irked that I used my Twitter feed to criticize her Obamacare propaganda efforts, Wasserman Schultz snarked back at me:

"Thanks for spreading the word! You'll be eating them next year. #GetCovered."

Classy as always. And completely wrong-headed as usual. Less than three months into 2014, how's dutiful Debbie and her Dear Leader's pet government takeover program doing? The most recent retreat measures -- call it the Obamacare Endangered 2014 Midterm Democrats' Rescue Plan -- include:

--Allowing insurers for two extra years to continue selling plans that otherwise would have been banned by Obamacare. Last fall, Americans across the country and from all parts of the political spectrum raised an uproar in the wake of millions of Obamacare-induced cancellation notices on their individual market health plans. President Obama trotted out a "keep your plan" Band-Aid effective through this year. Now, the "transitional period" will extend through October 2016 and cover policyholders until the following September, after Obama is safely out of office.

--Extending the open enrollment period for 2015 from November 2014 to February 2015, a month longer than originally scheduled. (It will no doubt be extended again as the midterm elections get closer.)

--Relaxing eligibility requirements for insurers to qualify for financial help under a three-year program intended to cushion insurers' costs of complying with Obamacare mandates.

--Exempting labor unions, universities and other self-insured employers from paying a fee that creates the above-noted fund.

In addition, the White House last month allowed medium-sized employers an extra year to comply with the Obamacare mandate to offer insurance to all full-time workers and reduced the percentage of workers that large companies are required to cover. These latest regulatory walk-backs by administrative fiat all come on the heels of dozens of administrative delays and rollbacks.

While Democrats complain about Republican Obamacare repeal efforts, we may be nearing a special inflection point at which the White House will have reneged on more Obamacare regulations than it's actually enforcing!

Remember: In November 2010, the White House began issuing thousands of waivers to unions, cronies, businesses and organizations that offered affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits outlawed by Obamacare. The federalized health care architects had sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries and marketing. Despite the waivers, the mandate has led to untold disruptions in the marketplace and has prompted businesses to cancel the beneficial plans altogether and/or slash wages and work hours.

In April 2011, Obama signed a bipartisan-backed law repealing his own onerous $22 billion Obamacare 1099 tax-compliance mandate that would have destroyed small businesses inundated with pointless paperwork.

Last March, with the support of several key Democrats, the Senate voted to repeal the Obamacare medical device tax. But the vote has not been enforced. Device makers have cut back on research and development. And according to the medical device manufacturers industry group AdvaMed, the punitive tax has forced companies to lay off or avoid hiring at least 33,000 workers over the past year.

In December and January, when Wasserman Schultz was busy acting like a 2-year-old in response to Obamacare critics, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was busy:

--Delaying premium payment deadlines.

--Delaying high-risk insurance pool cancellations.

--Delaying equal coverage mandates that force companies to drop health benefits rewards for top executives.

--Delaying onerous "meaningful use" mandates on health providers grappling with Obamacare's disastrous top-down electronic medical records rules.

While Wasserman Schultz defiantly claims all Democrats will proudly run on health care in 2014 and 2016, endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina was caught on camera just last week literally running away from a journalist who dared to ask her about the 24 times she falsely promised that if you liked your plan, you could keep it under Obama.

It's not just Hagan; every vulnerable Senate Democrat who rammed Obamacare down America's throat is now running for the hills. When the White House now talks about the "Get Covered" campaign, it's not about ordinary Americans getting health care. It's about covering the backsides of the Obama water-carriers who may very well lose their jobs. They're not just eating their words. They're choking on Obamacare's massive, inevitable, job-killing, life-threatening failures.

I'd like to tell bratty Wasserman Schultz that Obamacare critics will have the last laugh. But we're too busy weeping at the senseless government-induced wreckage around us.



Crimea River

Ann Coulter knows her history:

It's pointless to pay attention to foreign policy when a Democrat is president, unless you enjoy having your stomach in a knot. As long as a Democrat sits in the White House, America will be repeatedly humiliated, the world will become a much more dangerous place – and there's absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. (Though this information might come in handy when voting for president, America!)

The following stroll down memory lane is but the briefest of summaries. For a full accounting of Democratic national security disasters, please read my book, “Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.”

– JFK: John F. Kennedy was in the White House for less than three years and, if you think he screwed a lot of hookers, just look what he did to our foreign policy.

Six months after becoming president, JFK had his calamitous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna – a meeting The New York Times described as “one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.” (The Times admitted that a half-century later. At the time, the Newspaper of Record lied about the meeting.)

For two days, Khrushchev batted Kennedy around, leaving the president's own advisers white-faced and shaken. Kennedy's Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze called the meeting “just a disaster.”

Khrushchev was delighted to discover that the U.S. president was so “weak.” A Russian aide said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.”

Seeing he was dealing with a naif, Khrushchev promptly sent missiles to Cuba. The Kennedy Myth Machine has somehow turned JFK's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a brilliant foreign policy coup. The truth is: (1) Russia would never have dared move missiles to Cuba had Khrushchev not realized that JFK was a nincompoop; and (2) it wasn't a victory.

In exchange for Russia's laughably empty threats about Cuba, JFK removed our missiles from Turkey – a major retreat. As Khrushchev put it in his memoirs: “It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba – for a country 12,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable. We ended up getting exactly what we'd wanted all along, security for Fidel Castro's regime and American missiles removed from Turkey.”

– LBJ: Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, famously escalated the war in Vietnam simply to prove that the Democrats could be trusted with national security.

As historian David Halberstam describes it, LBJ “would talk to his closest political aides about the McCarthy days, of how Truman lost China and then the Congress and the White House and how, by God, Johnson was not going to be the president who lost Vietnam and then the Congress and the White House.”

LBJ's incompetent handling of that war allowed liberals to spend the next half-century denouncing every use of American military force as “another Vietnam.”

– CARTER:  Jimmy Carter warned Americans about their “inordinate fear of communism” and claimed to have been attacked by a giant swimming rabbit.

His most inspired strategic move was to abandon the Shah of Iran, a loyal U.S. ally, which gave rise to the global Islamofascist movement we're still dealing with today. By allowing the Shah to be overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1979, Carter handed Islamic crazies their first state.

Before the end of the year, the Islamic lunatics had taken 52 Americans hostage in Tehran, where they remained for 444 days.

The hostages were released only minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration for reasons succinctly captured in a Jeff MacNelly cartoon. It shows Khomeini reading a telegram aloud: “It's from Ronald Reagan. It must be about one of the Americans in the Den of Spies, but I don't recognize the name. It says 'Remember Hiroshima.'”

– CLINTON:  Bill Clinton's masterful handling of foreign policy was such a catastrophe that he had to deploy his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, to steal classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 to avoid their discovery by the 9/11 commission.

Twice, when Clinton was president, Sudan had offered to turn over bin Laden to the U.S. But, unfortunately, these offers came in early 1996 when Clinton was busy ejaculating on White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton rebuffed Sudan's offers.

According to Michael Scheuer, who ran the bin Laden unit at the CIA for many years, Clinton was given eight to 10 chances to kill or capture bin Laden but refused to act, despite bin Laden's having murdered hundreds of Americans in terrorist attacks around the world. Would that one of those opportunities had arisen on the day of Clinton's scheduled impeachment! Instead of pointlessly bombing Iraq, he might have finally taken out bin Laden.

– OBAMA:  When Obama took office, al Qaida had been routed in Iraq – from Fallujah, Sadr City and Basra. Muqtada al-Sadr – the Dr. Phil of Islamofascist radicalism – had waddled off in retreat to Iran. The Iraqis had a democracy, a miracle on the order of flush toilets in Afghanistan.

By Bush's last year in office, monthly casualties in Iraq were coming in slightly below a weekend with Justin Bieber. In 2008, there were more than three times as many homicides in Chicago as U.S. troop deaths in the Iraq War. (Chicago: 509; Iraq: 155).

On May 30, The Washington Post reported: “CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays (al-Qaida) as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world …” Even hysterics at The New York Times admitted that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups had nearly disappeared from Southeast Asia by 2008.

A few short years into Obama's presidency – and al-Qaida is back! For purely political reasons, as soon as he became president, Obama removed every last troop from Iraq, despite there being Americans troops deployed in dozens of countries around the world.

In 2004, nearly 100 soldiers, mostly Marines, died in the battle to take Fallujah from al-Qaida. Today, al-Qaida's black flag flies above Fallujah.

Bush won the war, and Obama gave it back.

Obama couldn't be bothered with preserving America's victory in Iraq. He was busy helping to topple a strong American ally in Egypt and a slavish American minion in Libya – in order to install the Muslim Brotherhood in those countries instead. (That didn't work out so well for U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans murdered in Benghazi.)

So now, another Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president – and guess who's the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin's amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.



Backdown?  IRS to give up, release all Lerner e-mails, documents

Except for what they have deleted, of course

    The powerful House Ways and Means Committee will get everything from disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner’s email account since a few weeks before Barack Obama became president.

    And Republican committee members are hoping they’ll find a smoking gun tying the Obama administration to the years-long scheme to play political favorites with nonprofit groups’ tax-exemption applications.

    After eight months of back-and-forth stonewalling, the IRS has agreed to turn over the complete contents of Lerner’s email account, along with other documents that two congressional committees have been demanding.

They’ve had eight months to sit on all of this data and come up with a battle plan, circle the wagons and get ready for this. In the bad old days, one assumes they would just have a vodka soaked party around the burn barrel and any damning documents could literally go up in smoke. But is it really that much harder in the digital era?



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, March 09, 2014

New Colors

As you will see,  I have changed the colors of various fields on this blog
The idea is to make the colors easier on the eyes
Feedback via the Comments facility is very welcome
Most of my other blogs still have the old colors so far


Some Recovery: Two Million Fewer Americans Are Employed Than Were a Year Ago

This is supposed to be the fifth year of an economic “recovery,” but the jobs numbers continue to badly underperform. In February, U.S. employers added 175,000 workers to their payrolls, but that’s still below the 200,000 to 250,000 a month we need to bring down the real unemployment rate and to keep pace with young people entering the workforce.

But the employment anemia is still plaguing the U.S. economy. The labor force participation rate (63 percent) remains stuck at or near its lowest point since the late 1970s when the Bee Gees were the hottest music group in America. Amazingly, there are more than 2 million FEWER Americans in the labor force today than one year ago. Usually recoveries bring more Americans into the workforce.
Another troubling sign: weekly hours worked dipped by 0.2 hours in February. How much the record snow and cold impacted these numbers is yet undetermined.

The number of long term unemployed (six months or more) also rose by 203,000. Americans who lose their jobs are having a very hard time finding new ones.

Since this recovery began, job growth has maintained an underwhelming pace of half the employment growth of the average recovery. If the number of jobs had just kept pace with the growth of food stamps recipients, we would have at least 2 million more Americans working today. If the economy were where Obama promised it would be when he signed his stimulus bill, we would have at least 3 million more jobs and an unemployment rate of 5 percent.

It’s time for the White House to get serious about an aggressive jobs agenda. Right now it isn’t. Its two big ideas, Obamacare and the minimum wage hike, would erase nearly 3 million more jobs.

A pro-jobs agenda would mean suspending Obamacare, cutting tax rates on businesses, ending regulations that choke off jobs – especially in the energy industry – and bringing down government spending and debt to free up private sector resources. For the near 20 million Americans unemployed, underemployed, or out of the labor force, this is no recovery at all.



Democrats Scuttle Radical Obama Nomination

So much for killing the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) attempt to blow up the chamber's tradition and stack the deck for Barack Obama's leftist nominees was all for naught yesterday when Debo Adegbile's nomination to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice went down in flames. Eight Democrats joined 44 Republicans in voting against cloture to bring Adegbile's vote to the floor. Reid voted no as a procedural move to reserve the right to revisit the matter at a later date, and John Cornyn (R-TX) didn't vote, making the final tally 47-52. Joe Biden hung around to break any potential tie, but it wasn't that close.

Obama declared that “the Senate's failure” to confirm Adegbile “is a travesty. Based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant. Mr. Adegbile's qualifications are impeccable.”

Let's look at those qualifications. Adegbile was involved in the NAACP's legal defense of infamous cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal, a member of the Black Panther Party, had already been rightfully convicted and sentenced to death (later commuted to life in prison) for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner when Adegbile became involved. But he didn't just provide legal representation, he became an advocate. Adegbile, like so many leftists nationwide and abroad, made Abu-Jamal a cause célèbre based on the absurd claim that he was the victim of a racist justice system. In the end, though, he was nothing more than a cold-blooded killer.

(For background on the case, see Arnold Ahlert's excellent recap in Right Opinion.)

Adegbile's political involvement in the Abu-Jamal case was no secret to Obama when he was nominated for the Justice post, but it was also seemingly of no consequence. In fact, Adegbile would have been a perfect fit for the administration's scheme to politicize the Justice Department, while remaking voting laws through selective enforcement to tip the scales in Democrats' favor for years to come. Obama, no doubt assured by Reid, also thought he had this one in the bag. But most of the Democrats who voted against cloture are facing tough re-election prospects this year and didn't want to be seen supporting such a nominee. It's called self-preservation. Perhaps we're jaded, but it's hard to believe that they really thought the president went too far.

Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) immediately took to blaming Republicans, even though it was actually their fellow Democrats who sunk the nomination. Durbin even went so far as to claim that Adegbile's involvement in the Abu-Jamal case “demonstrates his appreciation for the Rule of Law.” This signifies one of the biggest problems Democrats have – they constantly confuse politics with law, trying to trade one for the other whenever it's convenient for their agenda.



Lois Lerner Must be Held in Contempt and Jailed

Lois Lerner, the Obama bureaucrat at the heart of the IRS targeting program, has once again refused to testify on her involvement in the scandal! Even though all the evidence reveals a deliberate attempt to silence the Conservative movement leading up to the 2012 election, and e-mails recovered show that Ms. Lerner played an integral role in the scandal, she still refuses to say a word.

The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, has found that all roads lead to Ms. Lerner. E-mails obtained by the committee show that Lois Lerner was absolutely fixated on the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling. For a bit of context, in this ruling, the high court ruled that it is unconstitutional to place monetary caps on how much an organization or corporation can spend on political or issue advocacy.

Citizens United, a conservative lobbying group, wanted originally to air a Hillary Clinton documentary. However, since it would have aired within 30 days of the 2008 Democrat primaries, the FEC barred the organization from this type of “electioneering.” The Supreme Court ultimately struck down the ruling, arguing that since free speech was protected under the First Amendment, and it costs money (in many cases) to engage in speech, these political expenditures were protected under the Constitution.

Liberals HATE this Supreme Court ruling. They absolutely despise it. No, not because they oppose the idea of tax exempt organizations contributing to the political process. If they did, that would mean the end to unions supporting candidates, since labor unions are also tax exempt groups. The Democrats despise the Citizens United ruling because it opens the playing field for conservative organizations to participate in politics as well!

The evidence is overwhelming

In 2010, Lois Lerner told a Duke University group that the “Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. Everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The FEC can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem.”

When asked who wanted the IRS to fix the problem, Ms. Lerner refused to comment.

In February 2011, Lois Lerner sent an email saying that the Tea Party matter was “very dangerous” and “could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizens United overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules.”

When asked what she meant when she said the Tea Party cases were “very dangerous” she pleaded the Fifth.

In other correspondences, Ms. Lerner told colleagues that it was important to make sure the targeting did not appear to be a “per say, political project” and she ordered that Tea Party cases undergo a multi-tier review. Rep. Issa also asked Ms. Lerner to clarify whether Barack Obama was correct to assert that there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption” in this IRS targeting scandal.

When asked about all three of these comments, Lois Lerner responded that she was asserting her Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer these questions.

The Fifth Amendment is an absolutely crucial part of the Bill of Rights. It ensures that no American can ever be individually compelled to incriminate him or herself.

The problem is that Lois Lerner and the Democrats are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

If Barack Obama was right to assert that there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption” in the IRS decision to target Conservative groups, then Lois Lerner should have no reason to invoke the Fifth. If she did nothing wrong, as Obama argues, then there is nothing she could possible incriminate herself for…

But, if Lois Lerner believes that she could incriminate herself with her testimony, then Barack Hussein Obama has lied to the American people again!

The Democrats can’t have it both ways! They can’t say that Lois Lerner committed no crime while simultaneously saying that she, as a public official, has a right to avoid self-incrimination! In the end, this is just an obstructionist tactic used by the Democrats to stonewall the investigation during an election year.

Luckily, there are ways to compel witness testimony, and Congress must use every asset at its disposal to force Lois Lerner to reveal the truth!

Many are suggesting that House Republicans should offer Lois Lerner immunity. This is absolutely the wrong way to go. If Lois Lerner has committed a crime and contributed to stealing the election, she should pay for her actions.

The Obama Administration has gone into full-scale cover-up mode. Not only has the IRS refused to obey a lawful subpoena to hand over Ms. Lerner’s e-mail records, but one has to wonder whether the Administration is involved in silencing her… Obama’s Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, refuses to really investigate the matter. While the Administration claims the investigation is almost complete, to date the DOJ has yet to interview a single victim of the IRS targeting!

The House of Representatives must hold Lois Lerner in Contempt of Congress! Coincidentally, the last person held in Contempt of Congress was Attorney General Eric Holder. Congress voted to hold him in contempt for refusing to hand over documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious. Eric Holder was never arrested, and it is doubtful whether Congress would have been able to arrest him, but Lois Lerner is a completely different story.

Congress must vote to hold Lois Lerner in contempt to compel her testimony. Congress must order the Sergeant-in-Arms to arrest Ms. Lerner and imprison her in the Capitol Jail. Yes, there is a Capitol Jail.

In the 1821 case, Anderson v. Dunn, the Supreme Court affirmed that Congress does have the power to imprison individuals held in contempt. In 1857, Congress passed a law making Contempt of Congress a criminal offense.

Lois Lerner must be thrown in jail until she agrees to testify! We are not talking about a civilian… we are talking about a former bureaucrat who held a position of power at the Internal Revenue Service and used her authority to punish the political opposition and prevent political participation during an election year!

Whether Lois Lerner likes it or not, she answers to the American people!

The American people must let their voices be heard and force Congress to hold Ms. Lerner in Contempt! We must force Congress to recognize that there can be no justice for the groups targeted by the IRS without Lois Lerner’s testimony.

If Barack Obama is right, and there truly wasn’t any corruption, then Ms. Lerner’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment is unnecessary. But if she truly does possess damning information, then Barack Hussein Obama is a liar.



The Failed 'War on Poverty' at 50

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a 204-page report this week that thoroughly examines the federal government's long-standing welfare programs. “Fifty years ago,” he says, “President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Since then, Washington has created dozens of programs and spent trillions of dollars. But few people have stopped to ask, 'Are they working?'” His report, “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” seeks to answer that question. It stops short of making any new policy proposals, but instead is meant, as Ryan said, to “help start the conversation” on the effectiveness of the government's welfare efforts. As one might expect, the findings don't offer much in the way of good news.

There are some 92 programs that make up the “safety net,” totaling $799 billion in spending in 2012. There is “little to no coordination” among programs, but there is plenty of costly duplication. The report goes on to note that Medicaid enrollees are actually in poorer health and use more services than people who have private health insurance plans, or even no insurance at all. Additionally, the food stamp program hasn't moved the needle in a positive direction for poor families, and Head Start is a failure at preparing low-income kids for school. What we're left with, then, is a half-century of accumulated debt and untold millions of ruined lives. But at least we know the government “cares.”

Naturally, Ryan's report came under swift attack from the Left, which always stands ready to defend its entitlement cash cows from that two-headed monster otherwise known as reason and accountability. One media outlet, the Fiscal Times, was so eager to discredit the report that it accused Ryan of mischaracterizing the work of one economist – an economist who told the reporter covering the story that he was fairly represented in the report. Dr. Jeffrey Brown wrote the reporter to clarify the record, but we're certain his comments won't be as widely reported as the Fiscal Times' flat-out falsehood.

Many leftist economists have happily worked the fields for Big Government for years, using their exalted status in academia to squelch any attempt at a debate they would surely lose on the merits. They want to confiscate the money of one group to comfort another group because they see that as a solution to society's ills. Ryan, speaking at CPAC yesterday, challenged this notion: “That's what the Left just doesn't understand. People don't just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity – of self-determination. … The party that speaks to that desire, that tries to make it concrete and real, that's the party that will win in November.” Here's hoping his GOP cohorts hear that message.



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)