Friday, November 28, 2014

Enabling the Delusional Democrats

After the 2012 campaign, liberal journalists swarmed around Republican Party chair Reince Priebus offering what was called an "autopsy" on every way Republicans failed, with a special emphasis on more outreach to minority voters. Democrats and their media enablers painted a picture of demographic doom for an aging white Republican base.

Two years later, Republicans made dramatic gains among minority voters. In House races across America, Republicans won 50 percent of the Asian vote to 49 percent for Democrats. Republicans won 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in House races. Gov. Sam Brownback drew 47 percent of Hispanics in Kansas, and Gov-elect Greg Abbott pulled in 44 percent of Hispanics in Texas. Support for Obama among Hispanics has been cut in half.

Surprise, surprise: It's a development you didn't find reported on the networks.

Meanwhile, Democrats will not only be in the minority in both houses of Congress, facing the largest GOP House majority since 1949. They will likely hold just 18 statehouses and both chambers in only 11 state legislatures.

Unlike Priebus, Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz admitted no need for an "autopsy," but instead took to PBS and bizarrely argued Democrats didn't really lose. "If you look at 2010 and the 2014 midterm elections, clearly, we know the voters support our agenda, that they consistently last Tuesday voted to increase the minimum wage, voted in a gun safety statewide initiative. They defeated personhood amendments."

She's delusional or a serial liar. There ain't a third option.

PBS anchor Gwen Ifill didn't point out that the four states that passed a minimum-wage hike — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — all elected Republican senators, which would seem to contradict that weird "voters support our agenda" line. Ifill didn't point out to the deluded Democrat that Planned Parenthood dumped millions of dollars to fight "anti-choice" Republicans in Colorado and North Carolina and failed badly.

Journalists just pass along the weird Democratic denials that they have any unpopular stands without comment or context. On NPR, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne reported Obama would issue an executive order on amnesty because he has a mandate ... from the midterms?

"The president points out this is the lowest turnout since 1942. Nearly two-thirds of the public didn't vote. Most of those nonvoters were Democrats. A lot of them were young people and Latinos," he explained. "And so what he's saying is folks are dispirited because nothing has happened."

His Post colleague Chris Cillizza repeated that line in the newspaper: "Democrats — and Obama in particular — remain convinced that the 2014 elections proved nothing about how the country feels about Republicans." Ordering amnesty will supposedly enrage and expose "elements within the Republican Party that its leaders have worked to keep quiet in recent months."

These people cannot fathom — just as they couldn't with Reagan — that America wants a conservative agenda enacted. It's not just liberals; it's the moderates, too. They are convinced conservatives are going to destroy the Republican Party, even when the GOP wins one victory after another when it champions conservative solutions.

So they bray that the new Republican majority will go too far to the right. They make that prediction every time there's hope for a conservative policy victory. Remember: Their crystal balls said Ted Cruz's Obamacare shutdown was going to destroy the GOP. They all said that. The result: a GOP landslide this year with nine new Republican senators who all pledged to repeal Obamacare.



The far left’s emboldened totalitarian impulses

By Bill Wilson

The modus operandi of America’s far left isn’t subtle: It’s all about “taking.”  Money, property, privacy, speech, guns — you name it.  Everywhere we look, the foundational underpinnings of our once-free, once-prosperous society are being encroached upon by government’s emboldened totalitarian impulses.

Which brings us to the No. 1 thing they are taking from us: Control — over our lives, our livelihoods and our children.

For the American people the arc toward totalitarianism has been accompanied by unsustainable government debt, soaring dependency, economic stagnation and the steady decline of individual liberty.  For those in charge, though, it’s meant more money, more power and more patronage.

Author Jason Mattera had the audacity to walk into a public building in Washington, D.C. recently and ask one of the architects/ profiteers of this totalitarianism — Senate majority leader Harry Reid — how he managed to become a multimillionaire in the service of the public.  Reid refused to respond to Mattera’s questions, but one of his henchmen did — grabbing the author and violently pinning him up against a wall.

When Mattera protested that he was a member of the media, the henchman replied “I don’t care if you’re press or not.”

Sadly, this sort of thuggish, third world behavior shouldn’t surprise us.  After all Barack Obama’s Justice Department didn’t care that Fox News reporter James Rosen was a reporter when it decided to spy on him — just like it spied on reporters and editors at three Associated Press bureaus in an effort to identify the outlet’s sources.  Far from representing a living, breathing set of principles that government is sworn to uphold, the First Amendment has become an obstacle to surmount.  Not just a relic, a nuisance.

Just ask U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, who in the aftermath of the 2011 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remarked that America needed to “rethink parameters on free speech.”

The left never lets a crisis go to waste — especially if that crisis involves guns.  In Connecticut, for example, Gov. Daniel Malloy wants to require parents who homeschool their children to periodically present them before government panels so their “social and emotional learning needs” can be assessed.  The stated excuse for such an invasive policy?  The perpetrator of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was briefly homeschooled by his parents.

That’s not really what Malloy’s intrusion is about, though.  Homeschooling — like other flourishes of the free market — constitutes a clear and present danger to the rising totalitarian state.  To them, it’s an expression of defiance, an explicit rejection of the indoctrination of government-run education.  So naturally the left views anyone who chooses such a path as subversive — and in need of being monitored.

Which leads us to the National Security Agency (NSA) — and the $2 billion data storage facility center it recently constructed in rural Utah.  The purpose of this facility is classified — but former NSA executive Thomas Drake says it is being used to rife through our phone records, emails, text messages, web histories and online purchase records.

“Technology now affords the ability of a state-sponsored surveillance regime,” the executive said.  “They have an obsessive compulsive hoarding complex.  They can never get enough.”

Where is all of this leading? Let’s ask environmental radical Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — who recently argued that those of us who believe global warming “does not exist” should be found guilty of “a criminal offense … and ought to be serving time for it.”

Interesting.  So does Kennedy believe the researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — whose data has revealed a nearly two-decade “pause” in global warming — should also be thrown in jail?  Or what about the scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center — who recently found a record 7.7 million square miles of sea ice extent in Antarctica?

Here’s the thing though: Government doesn’t need to challenge facts such as these.  Not when contrary thoughts — or data disputing the myths it uses to repress, regulate and rob the American people — can simply be criminalized (with offending thinkers thrown in jail).

We are entering a truly dangerous time in the United States right now.   So either be careful what you think — or be prepared to suffer the consequences of your free thought.


Why Do Democrats Look Down on Voters?

By Clive Crook

I support many Democratic policy positions and want to see them succeed. The Affordable Care Act, in particular, is a worthy endeavor: Despite the botched rollout and a great deal of unfinished business, I want to see it prevail. Sometimes, though, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the incompetence Democrats bring to the task of selling their best ideas. The party, without a doubt, is its own worst enemy.

This is the heading under which I file Grubergate. In the protracted discussion of Jonathan Gruber's comments about Obamacare and the stupidity of the U.S. electorate, his critics and apologists have missed the main point. This isn't about the rights and wrongs of the health-care reform, or the mendacity or good faith of the Barack Obama administration; it's about the Democrats' worldview, and the party's tireless capacity for offending potential supporters.

People have argued endlessly about whether the comments prove Obamacare was a deliberate deception of U.S. voters, or even about whether Gruber was or was not an architect of the reform -- pointless semantic questions. It depends what you mean by "deception" and "architect." Neither issue really matters.

Of course Gruber was deeply involved in the conception and design of the reform. And yes, in a certain sense, Obamacare's advocates did deceive people about the law, by presenting it in what they judged to be the best possible light. How shocking of politicians and their advisers to do that.

Politics is about selling. In between brutal honesty about the full consequences of any particular policy and bald-faced lies about what's intended is a wide zone of permissible salesmanship. As it happens, I think it would be good practice -- and good tactics as well -- for politicians to be more forthright than they usually are about the costs and drawbacks of what they're proposing. But the fact remains, all politicians accentuate the positive in what they're advocating and distract attention from the disadvantages.

Here's what counts about Gruber's comments: His views on the stupidity of the American electorate express the party's reflexive disdain for the very people it hopes (in all sincerity, by the way) to serve.

All salesmen sell -- but some respect their customers, whereas others look down on them. Too many Democrats fall into the second camp, and too few of those are any good at disguising it. In this respect, Gruber, who calls himself a "card-carrying Democrat," is typical of many in the party -- and Democrats are different from Republicans. In their own way, to be sure, many Republicans also take a dim view of the citizenry. (Recall Romney's 47 percent.) But the Democrats' brand of disapproval has a particular quality that puts their party and its good ideas at a perpetual electoral disadvantage.

This syndrome of Democratic disdain, I think, has two main parts. First, liberals have an exaggerated respect for intellectual authority and technical expertise. Second, they have an unduly narrow conception of the values that are implicated in political choices. These things come together in the conviction that if you disagree with Democrats on universal health insurance or almost anything else, it can only be because you're stupid.

Voters recognize this as insufferable arrogance and, oddly enough, they resent it. Democrats who might be asking where they went wrong in the mid-term elections -- not that many of them are -- ought to give this some thought. The conviction that voters are stupid, however, isn't just bad tactics. It's also substantively wrong.

It's good to have policy makers with brains who know what they're talking about. I've even argued that technocrats ought to have a bigger role in shaping policy. But expertise of the kind many Democrats venerate isn't enough. It's no guarantee of wisdom -- nor of honesty.

Democrats despair, for instance, over the public's reluctance to accept without reservation the supposedly settled science of climate change. They call disagreement on this topic a denial of science -- that is, an expression of the purest ignorance. This is wrong. Action on climate change is necessary, yet the electorate's skepticism is understandable. Contrary to what they're told, the science isn't settled: Enough is known to justify action, but that isn't how the case is put. Advocates admit of no doubt, which is false; and they recoil at dissent, which is unscientific. Claiming certainty where there isn't any does not inspire public confidence.

Voters understand that the smartest experts get things wrong. They also understand the concept of unintended consequences. A certain guardedness in the face of fast-talking experts brimming with confidence isn't stupid; it's sensible.

On almost any given policy question, even if all the relevant facts were beyond dispute, choices would still involve complex value judgments. This, for many Democrats, is another blind spot.

As the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has shown, liberals tend to give priority to the principles of equity (or fairness) and the avoidance of harm; most conservatives recognize those values but also give roughly equal weight to liberty, loyalty, order and sanctity (as in the sanctity of life, or the sanctity of marriage).

It isn't obvious that either worldview is more worthy of respect than the other. Perhaps it's morally wrong to attach great weight to loyalty, say, or sanctity. A person who doesn't share your moral intuitions, or who attaches different weights to different values, may be a better or worse person than you are. But having conservative values doesn't make you stupid, any more than having liberal values makes you smart.

Voters make mistakes, but I see no compelling evidence that the U.S. electorate is stupid, or lacking in collective wisdom. I see plenty of evidence to the contrary. It really shouldn't be so hard for Democrats to muster some respect for the people whose votes they want. And if that is beyond them, they should for heaven's sake learn to fake it.


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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ferguson: A Race Bait Case Study

As anticipated, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday night that the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was justified self defense. “[The grand jury] determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer Wilson, and returned a ‘No True Bill’ on each of the five indictments,” said McCulloch. In fact, Brown’s autopsy determined he was facing Wilson when shot, and one of Brown’s wounds was at close range inside Wilson’s patrol vehicle, the result of Brown’s attempt to reach through the driver’s door window and take the officer’s gun after having assaulted Wilson.

Predictably, Barack Obama and his dependable stable of “race bait” surrogates immediately set about to convert the verdict into political capital. Of course, the 24-hour news recycling talking heads, all vying for advertising market share, provided the race agitators a very big stage, and will continue to do so as long as they can stir up enough protestors.

For his part, Obama claimed the racial anger was “understandable,” but, given that there is no upcoming election, he left the constituent building to his race baiting attorney general, Eric Holder, who ensured the nation that the Justice Department investigation remains open: “While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing.”

Holder is a master race baiter, and, when joined by race hustlers, including Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and legions of lesser useful idiots, they have become very effective at promoting hate crime hoaxes in order to foment discontent and rally black constituents.

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, Holder and company set the race bait by vowing to “seek justice” after a “white-Hispanic” man, George Zimmerman, shot and killed, in self-defense, a black teenage thug named Trayvon Martin.

Ahead of the 2014 midterm election, Holder promised to “seek justice” in the shooting of another black teenage thug. In both cases, for political expedience, Holder assumed the shooters were guilty until proven innocent. Obama even suggested in an address to the UN that the Ferguson shooting could be seen in the same light as atrocities committed by ISIL cutthroats.

Among the more visible racists in Ferguson immediately after the shooting were the Black Panthers, who coined the chant, “What do we want? – Darren Wilson! – How do we want him? – Dead!”

Missouri Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon, who is fishing for a 2016 veep slot under Hillary Clinton, joined that chant, referring to Brown as an “unarmed teenager” and promising “to achieve justice for Michael Brown,” but omitting any reference that Wilson’s actions might have been justified.

Having worked as a uniformed officer in two states while completing my undergraduate degree, I take great offense at the constant description of Michael Brown as an “unarmed teenager.” No law enforcement officer should ever approach a suspect or assailant, whether in a vehicle or on a street, with the assumption he or she is “unarmed.” I would not be writing these words had I wavered from that precautionary training. The fact that Brown did not possess a weapon is hindsight 20/20, not something Wilson knew at the time of the altercation.

For the record, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, over the last decade there were an average of 58,261 assaults against law enforcement personnel each year, resulting in 15,658 injuries and more than 150 deaths per year.

Now, after three Brown autopsies and copious deliberations, the verdict is in – the shooting was justified. But don’t expect the facts to get in the way of the race bait political agenda.



Two New York Times Reporters Posted Darren Wilson’s Home Address. Look Here To See THEIR Home Addresses

Since the Grand Jury verdict in Ferguson, there have been riots, looting, assaults, guns fired and cars and businesses burned to the ground. Meanwhile, all the criminals and thugs doing this are baying for policeman Darren Wilson’s blood because they don’t like the fact he had his day in court and evidence wasn’t strong enough to bring the case to trial. So, in this violent environment, when the life of Darren Wilson and his new wife are in danger, the New York Times is attempting to impose the death penalty on him via newspaper by publishing his home address.

It was a disgusting, despicable, immoral act and the two reporters responsible, Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson, deserve to lose their careers over what they did. Of course, this is the New York Times, so they’re unlikely to pay any sort of penalty. Still, I thought they deserved to pay a price.

…It would be wrong, for example, to publish Bosman’s address at

CHICAGO, IL 60660-4204

It would be similarly wrong to publish the address of Robertson, too.

NEW ORLEANS, LA 70119-3203

If these New York Times reporters are willing to put Darren Wilson’s address out there when it will unquestionably endanger his life, then they should have no complaints about the whole world knowing where they live. Like they say, what’s good for the goose, is good for the dirtbag New York Times reporters.



PolitiFact is a Leftist Politi-Lie

The Tampa Bay Times has set itself up as the arbiter of political speech through its feature that some naively take seriously.  Based upon their self-proclaimed excellence at determining the truth, the only responsible thing to do is to hold their self-described “Lie of the Year” over the past half-decade up to similar scrutiny with the benefit of time.

In 2009, the publication declared that Sarah Palin’s assertion that Obamacare would lead to government “death panels” as the lie or the year.  Of course, subsequent review of the law reveals that the law does set up a Medicare board that makes determinations over which treatments can be provided and which cannot.  This refusal to fund certain treatments which might be life-saving or life-extending due to a cost benefit analysis clearly makes one wonder if PolitiFact issued an apology to Governor Palin for this mischaracterization of her death panel statement.

In December 2010, decided that the contention that Obamacare represented, “a government takeover of healthcare” was their Lie of the Year. Given Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber’s recently discovered admission that the system is designed to drive out private employer health plans within twenty years, and the knowledge that government regulations dictate what treatments can be received due to coverage terms, it is hard to hold on to the illusion that Obamacare was anything but a government takeover of health care.  When you add in the requirements that patient information be supplied by doctors to the government, and the inability to keep your doctor if you like him/her, the case that this was a government takeover of the health care system is hard to refute, even if they use private carriers to deliver the actual services.  The only question is can PolitiFact get four Pinocchios for its Lie of the Year Award for 2010?

PolitiFact actually got their Lie of the Year right in 2011.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) deliberately mischaracterized the Paul Ryan budget proposal as meaning that, “Republicans voted to end Medicare.”  The Ryan proposal clearly left Medicare in place, albeit with some cost changes to make it more affordable over the next forty years.

However, PolitiFact’s winning streak ended at one in 2012, when they chose Mitt Romney’s charge that President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs as the Lie of 2012.  The ever diligent PolitiFact staff chose to believe a Chrysler spokesperson who assured them that they would not be making the extremely politically unpopular decision to begin Jeep production in China.  Just months after the presidential election, the Italian owned Chrysler Corporation announced that they were in fact going to build Jeeps in China.

PolitiFact defenders can contend that the Jeep factory in Ohio remains intact, but they cannot say that Romney was wrong in his contention that Jeeps would be made in China, and to deem it the Lie of 2012 reveals more about the judges than the statement itself. Particularly when you remember that the Obama Administration went on multiple national news outlets declaring that the killing of four Americans in Benghazi was motivated by an offensive YouTube video in a pre-election cover up.

Finally, PolitiFact woke up in 2013 to the unavoidably obvious lie of the half-decade, President Barack Obama’s promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”  A lie that was obvious to anyone who read the August 2010 Labor Department regulations on employer health plans.

These regulations revealed in explicit terms that 69 percent of all employer health plans would not qualify under Obamacare no matter how much their users liked them.  So while PolitiFact got their Lie of the Year correct in 2013, it was at least three years after the Obama Administration itself revealed the deception –  too late to have any real meaning.

Finally reporting the truth well after it would have any impact on the public policy debate hardly makes up for PolitiFact’s three years of willful self-deceit, but they deserve some credit for eventually stumbling into the truth no matter how hard they tried not to see it.

Next month, we will get the official PolitiFact 2014 Lie of the Year.  Based upon the history of this pronouncement, it should be held in the same regard as a National Enquirer headline at the supermarket – except that is probably being unfair to the tabloid.



Buy your health insurance out of state

by Jeff Jacoby

THE SECOND open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway, and the law is more unpopular than ever. According to Gallup, a record-high 56 percent of Americans now disapprove of the 2010 law.

Reasons to dislike Obamacare have abounded from the outset, and on Friday the administration unveiled a new one: In large swaths of the country, the price of insurance sold on the federal health exchange is going up. That will force many of those who bought coverage last year to scramble to find a new policy or fork over as much as 20 percent in higher premiums. How's that "affordable" health care working out for you?

Republicans in Congress — less inclined than some deep thinkers to sneer at "the stupidity of the American people" — unanimously opposed the Affordable Care Act when it was enacted, and were rewarded in the 2010 midterms for their steadfastness. In the ensuing four years, Republicans repeatedly called for replacing Obamacare with alternatives expanding choice, competition, and market reforms — and the voters just rewarded them again.

Of course, even with their new majorities in Congress Republicans will have to contend with President Obama's veto pen. So a bill "repealing every last vestige of Obamacare," as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky exuberantly proposed on Election Night, isn't in the cards anytime soon. But that doesn't mean there is nothing to be done, particularly since the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a new challenge to the law, one that could potentially cause Obamacare to topple under its own weight.

One way or another, changes in the law are coming. Not all of them have to be bitterly controversial, or provoke cries of Republican overreaching. Here's a suggestion: Allow individuals to buy health insurance from out of state.

In an age when consumers can purchase almost anything from vendors almost anywhere, government policies protecting insurance companies from interstate competition are indefensible. Lawmakers would be laughed out of office, rightly, if they insisted that the only CDs, cellphones, or ceramics their constituents could buy were those manufactured in the state where they lived. All sorts of financial products are routinely acquired without to state borders proving an impenetrable barrier: life insurance, service warranties, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, credit cards. Why should a medical plan be any different?

There is no good reason to deny freedom of choice to Americans when it comes to buying health insurance. Yet licensing rules in virtually every state effectively prevent individual residents from shopping for health plans in any other state. Consequently, there is no national market for health insurance. There are only autonomous state markets, many dominated by near-monopolies that can get away with offering lower quality insurance at ever-higher premiums.

As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute points out, it isn't only insurance companies that are sheltered from the rigors of competition. Insurance regulators are insulated too. State governments, inveigled by special interests, can burden health insurance policies with more and more mandatory benefits, driving up premiums to cover services that many consumers would never willingly choose.

In Massachusetts, for instance, health insurance policies must cover at least 49 specified treatments and types of providers, among them midwives, infertility treatments, hair prostheses, and chiropractors. But what if all you want is a plain-vanilla health plan akin to those sold by insurers in New Hampshire (only 38 state-required health-care mandates) or, better yet, in Michigan (24) or Idaho (13)? Tough luck. That's what it means when interstate commerce in health insurance is blocked.

Polls show broad public support for the idea — as high as 77 percent in a recent Rasmussen poll. Legislation to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, currently being drafted by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, will reportedly include interstate choice. "We want … every American to be able to buy the kind of health insurance they want at a price that they are willing to buy and from any company in America that will sell it to you," Rubio said in a recent radio interview.

Which isn't to say change can only come from above. One can envision a moderate, pro-reform governor championing such market choice at the state level — a just-elected Republican, say, with a deep knowledge of the health insurance industry. How about it, Charlie Baker?  Why not use that new bully pulpit to advocate for legislation freeing Massachusetts residents to buy a health policy from any properly licensed insurance company in America willing to sell it to them?

It's a fix long overdue. With the distortions imposed first by RomneyCare and then ObamaCare, Massachusetts could use it more than ever. The rest of the country could too.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BOOK REVIEW of "The Pity Party" by William Voegeli

Review by Rich Lowry

The trump card of liberalism is always compassion. Whether it’s in a dorm room or on the Senate floor, in any debate the presumption is that liberals self-evidently care about people and their opponents do not. End of discussion. In his new book, William Voegeli subjects liberal compassion to a sustained examination that exposes its inadequacies, contradictions, perversities—and, ultimately, its threat to our system of government.

His work is invariably acute and grounded in a sure-footed understanding of the philosophical undercurrents of our politics. This book is neither mean-spirited nor a diatribe; it’s a brilliant intellectual dissection that bristles with insight and arresting formulations.

Since compassion is so central to contemporary liberalism, The Pity Party is less a critique of an aspect of liberalism than of liberalism itself—and of our most prized virtue. Compassion, Voegeli notes, “is routinely used not just to name a moral virtue, but to designate the pinnacle or even the entirety of moral excellence.”

In his famous 1984 Democratic convention speech, New York Governor Mario Cuomo set out the animating vision of liberalism. He said that government should be “the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another’s pain, sharing one another’s blessings—reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race, or sex, or geography, or political affiliation.” President Obama has said, less ringingly, that “kindness” accounts for all of his political principles. (Voegeli comments acidly, “Apparently, all one really needs to know about politics can be learned in kindergarten.”)

Voegeli’s examination begins with the vacuum left by modernity’s destruction of the former “comprehensive shared understanding” of human affairs. By his account, there are several ways to fill it. One is totalitarianism, which discredited itself in the horrors of the 20th century. Another is the notion of self-interest well understood that undergirds The Federalist’s political science and informs Adam Smith’s economics. But liberals distrust the market’s propensity to render selfishness benevolent. Their answer is compassion. They rely on what they take to be our natural empathy to forge a togetherness. This dispensation doesn’t depend on any grand theory, and liberals reject both premodern and totalitarian versions of philosophical unity. They notionally reject certainty itself, embracing Judge Learned Hand’s belief that “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.”

* * *

There is a countervailing tendency, though. Liberals, according to Voegeli, “want the modern bargain of agreeing to disagree, but also keep trying to graft a moral and teleological unity onto it.” They envy the universality of the great religious faiths, and seek their own vague, secular version. “The marriage of liberal universalism and liberal skepticism,” he writes, “proclaims the brotherhood of man while rejecting the fatherhood of God.”

Although it is difficult to recall, there was a time when liberal compassion didn’t dominate the Democratic Party. It used to be that what Voegeli calls the “Eleanor tendency,” after Franklin Roosevelt’s na├»vely do-gooding First Lady, was checked by a patriotic, tough-minded vein within the party. John F. Kennedy represented the high tide of the “desentimentalization of liberalism.” His assassination changed everything. Liberalism went from appealing to the country’s pride to inveighing against its depravity. In 1962, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., published a collection of essays called The Politics of Hope; in 1969, he titled a new collection The Crisis of Confidence.

This is the liberalism we know. It demanded the enactment of a sweeping program to save America from itself, and lurched from an emphasis on “the helplessness of sufferers” in the 1930s, to the further contention that they were helpless because of what had been done to them. The cultural attributes that lift people out of poverty came to be dismissed as merely a way to blame the poor for their own poverty.

* * *

Voegeli subjects all of this to withering assault. He makes liberal use of the word “bullshit,” elevating it to a major concept and featuring it in a chapter heading: “How Liberal Compassion Leads to Bullshit.” The word is a little jarring, especially from a writer as calm and judicious as this one, but Voegeli makes a good case that it's exactly right, quoting the philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt that the “essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony.”

At the core of liberal bullshit is the fact that the same people who care so much about social programs—don’t seem to care whether they work or not. Social programs never end, and only extremely rarely are they significantly reformed. Even if programs like Head Start are proven to be ineffectual, they are still defended as totems of compassion. The answer is always more spending, and more programs, regardless of how much government has already grown.

This gets to the central dynamic of liberal compassion. To wit, “the liberals who create, perpetuate, defend, and expand social welfare programs are devoted to them less because they care about helping than because they care about caring,” as Voegeli puts it. It is this flaw, he writes, that “connects the theory of liberalism to the malpractice of liberalism,” to its toleration of waste and failure. There may be a perverse psychological benefit to the malpractice. He quotes the late political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain: “Pity is about how deeply I can feel. And in order to feel this way, to experience the rush of my own pious reaction, I need victims the way an addict needs drugs.” Considering people as victims, and encouraging them to consider themselves as such, does them no favors. Citing Thomas Sowell’s work on the success of Chinese immigrants throughout Southeast Asia despite persistent discrimination, Voegeli notes that there are no examples of “groups that have acquired significant, durable social and economic advantages by feeling sorry for themselves, or by inducing other, more powerful groups to feel sorry for and guilty about them.”

* * *

Liberals are loath to insist on basic cultural norms. Who are we to judge, they ask, between a life of indolence and of work, a life of self-discipline and of indulgence? It is this attitude that gives rise to what George W. Bush aptly called the soft bigotry of low expectations. C.S. Lewis famously diagnosed the tendency of kindness, unmoored from any standards, to exhibit an “indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it.” This non-judgmentalism only applies to victims, not to those who liberals believe are heartlessly unwilling to help. Voegeli borrows the formulation of Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield that liberalism is, in essence, an “alliance of experts and victims.” It scorns those who resist this alliance—as stupid for not deferring to the experts and as unfeeling for not bowing to the needs of the victims. The only truly legitimate expression of compassion in the liberal mind is government programs, which tend to crowd out private charity. The United States has much more private social welfare spending than Western European countries that have more fully embraced the welfare state. As Voegeli writes, “The sincere, spontaneous reaction to suffering, which propels the liberal project, is attenuated by the pursuit of that project.”

How have conservatives responded to liberal compassion? Voegeli devotes his final chapter to this question. The compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush sought to blunt the image of conservatives as heartless, with some limited political success (it helped make Bush seem less threatening in the 2000 campaign). But substantively it was a non-starter. Obviously, social problems have policy implications, but that doesn’t mean they have policy solutions. The Bush agenda, consequently, was always unclear and smallbore.

Voegeli himself is partial to the negative income tax schemes advanced by Milton Freidman and Charles Murray to guarantee a certain income to everyone and leave it at that. Murray would abolish most major social welfare programs. For Voegeli, this approach has the advantage of acknowledging that the welfare state is inevitable (every modern developed country has one), while radically simplifying it. It would establish boundaries on the state and accentuate the importance of private charitable organizations and individual responsibility. Of course, a negative income tax is not going to get marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee anytime soon, let alone signed by a president.

Voegeli concludes The Pity Party by arguing that the politics of compassion is inherent to democracy, with its natural emphasis on equality. This doesn’t mean that it is good for democracy. The tendencies of liberal compassion are deeply harmful to it. The pity party’s impatience for action and willingness to trample procedural constraints to get it are corrosive of our constitutional system. Its programs erode the mores upon which self-government depends. Compassion, in short, can’t be the basis of a worthy democratic politics. “Much more than their empathy,” Voegeli writes of the people who govern us, “we require their respect—for us; our rights; our capacity and responsibility to feel and heal our own damn pains without their ministrations; and for America’s constitutional checks and limitations, which err on the side of caution and republicanism by denying even the most compassionate elected official a monarch’s plenary powers.”

To wring this out of them is an essentially endless project, to which William Voegeli’s new book is an invaluable contribution.



Leftist hate in Britain

The name Jack Monroe may ring a vague bell with regular readers. She was the Guardian blogger on ‘poverty issues’ who featured in a Labour party political broadcast last year masquerading as an ‘ordinary person’.

Among her top tips for beating the ‘savage cuts’ was a recipe for making Kale Pesto Pasta for 42p a portion. Kale Pesto Pasta is what the Guardianistas think ‘ordinary people’ should eat.

Jack, then a single mother with more tattoos than your average professional footballer, gave up her £27,000-a-year job answering the phone for the fire brigade to exercise her ‘right’ to bring up her son on benefits and pursue a full-time career sitting in front of her laptop moaning about ‘austerity’.

Naturally, she was hailed by Left-wing rags like the Guardian and the Independent as ‘the modern face of poverty’. Pretty soon she was being invited on to the BBC as a spokeswoman for the welfare classes.

She even got a gig at Sainsbury’s on the strength of it, demonstrating exciting things to do with left-over chicken.

When I lampooned her in this column, she published an indignant reply on the Guardian website — where else? — denying all manner of stuff I hadn’t accused her of and claiming I was only picking on her because she was a lesbian.

That wasn’t true, either. I had no idea she was a lesbian and hadn’t even alluded to her sexuality. Still, the Left never let the facts get in the way of a good smear campaign. It’s pity she’s white, in a way, because otherwise I could have been accused of ‘racism’ as well as ‘homophobia’ and demonising single mums.

It’s what the Left always do when someone shines a torch into their murky Fantasy Island world. Instead of engaging in an argument, they sling dirt.
When they’re not parading their moral superiority, the Guardianistas like to posture as victims of an evil Right-wing conspiracy. Thus, any mild criticism of their behaviour or opinions, however justified, can be dismissed as ‘hate speech’.

The truth of the matter, as I have long maintained, is that the real hatred comes from the Left. Those who preach ‘tolerance’ the loudest are among the most bigoted, intolerant people on earth.

As the furore over the Emily Thornberry ‘White Van Man’ tweet has exposed, Labour — and the Left in general — has nothing but undisguised contempt for ‘ordinary people’.

Thornberry was forced to resign from the Shadow Cabinet after appearing to ridicule the owner of a house festooned with three English flags, complete with ubiquitous white van on the forecourt.

It proved, we are told, that Labour is a metropolitan, middle-class party which doesn’t understand white working class voters and holds them in contempt.

This analysis is right, but only up to a point. It doesn’t go far enough. The Left don’t just hate the white working class, they hate everyone who doesn’t share their warped world view. The Guardianistas never, ever, demonstrate the kind of ‘respect’ towards their opponents that they routinely demand for themselves and their chosen client groups. When it comes to slagging off ‘Tory scum’, nothing is beyond the pale.

Take the saintly Jack Monroe, who postures as a victim of ‘poverty’ and every kind of ‘phobia’ going. She goes mental if anyone casts aspersions on her ‘lifestyle’ choices.

Yet she appears to believe it is perfectly permissible to use a dead child to make a political point.  Yesterday, it emerged that she had attacked David Cameron on Twitter — the online asylum for those suffering from advanced narcissism — for using ‘stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling the NHS to his friends’.

This was a disgusting reference to Cameron’s son, Ivan, who died after suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, aged six, in 2009.

Admittedly, the Prime Minister has spoken publicly about his admiration for the medical staff who cared for Ivan and cited his family’s own experience to counter those who claim he doesn’t ‘care’ about the NHS.

And there was a moment before the last election when he came dangerously close to getting into a distasteful ‘arms race’ about the NHS with Gordon Brown, who also lost a young child in unbearably sad circumstances. But to rake up this tragedy in support of an outright lie — the entirely false allegation that Cameron intends to ‘sell’ the health service to his ‘friends’ — is as indecent as it is insensitive.

No doubt Jack’s ‘followers’ are giggling into their Kale Pesto Pasta. Her cheerleaders at the Guardian will be basking in the reflected glory of their celebrity chef sticking it to the hated Tories.

By the time you read this, she will probably have been invited on Newsnight or Radio 4’s Today programme to expound her views on how Cameron is exploiting the death of his son as a smokescreen to ‘privatise’ the NHS.

Presumably, A Girl Called Jack — as she styles herself online — is big on ‘women’s issues’. So why does she believe that intruding on another woman’s grief is a proper way to behave?

No parent ever gets over the loss of a child. It is especially tough on the mother who has brought that precious life into the world.  What makes Jack Monroe think that Samantha Cameron isn’t worthy of human compassion? Doesn’t Sam Cam count, because she happens to be married to a Conservative politician?

Probably not. In the sick world inhabited by the Guardianistas, all Conservatives are wicked monsters and are not entitled to common decency.

Look at the way the Left reacted with jubilation to the death of Margaret Thatcher. They queued up to dance on her grave and now, thanks to Jack Monroe, they are dancing on the grave of a dead boy, just because he happened to be the son of a Tory Prime Minister.

Last night, as revulsion at her remarks escalated, Sainsbury’s sacked her. Heaven knows why they hired her in the first place. Would you buy a left-over chicken recipe from this woman?

Conservative MPs are calling on the Guardian to fire her, too. They should save their breath.

Jack Monroe should be preserved in aspic, as a stark reminder of the true, deep-seated hatred which lies behind the self-regarding, self-satisfied, self-pitying posturing of the modern British Left



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving day thoughts

The Jewish state's newest hero wasn't Jewish

Jeff Jacoby

BY THE THOUSANDS they streamed to Yanuh-Jat, Israelis of every description making their way on Wednesday to the remote northern Galilee district, where a fallen hero was to be buried with full honors. Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, was there to pay his respects; so were the minister of internal security and the nation's top police commissioner. From around the country, hundreds of black-hatted haredi ("ultra-Orthodox") Jews came on chartered buses, disembarking to join throngs of Arabic-speaking Druze in traditional white turbans, police officers in dress blues, and so many other mourners that even the roofs of nearby homes were crowded with onlookers.

They had come to bid farewell to Zidan Saif, the Druze police officer who was the first responder on the scene of Tuesday's massacre at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Saif had put himself between the terrorists and the worshipers, taking a bullet in the head and dying of his wounds that night. Befitting a defender who had died in the line of duty, his coffin was draped with Israel's flag, its blue Star of David prominently centered.

Like many of the Jewish state's loyal sons and heroes, Saif wasn't Jewish. That didn't make him any less an Israeli, just as Israel's sizeable Arab and non-Jewish minorities don't make it any less the sovereign Jewish homeland. Nor did it diminish even slightly the honor and gratitude Israelis across the spectrum expressed for the slain officer. In his eulogy, Israel's president extolled Saif as "one of the first guardians of Jerusalem." A rabbi from the Jerusalem synagogue where the bloodbath had occurred told residents of the village he had come "simply to be with you and to cry with you," and called the "devotion and the determination" of the 30-year-old patrolman "an example to us all."

There have always been pessimists convinced that Israel's multiethnic Jewish democracy is doomed to fail. For some, the horrific images from the Bnei Torah synagogue, where peaceful scholars were hacked to death as they prayed, their blood drenching phylacteries and turning prayer shawls crimson, only encourages such fatalism.

"The attack on the synagogue in Har Nof," wrote commentator Joel Pollak, sends the message that "Jews and Arabs may not be able to live together easily even in the same country." A New York Times analysis was bleakly headlined: "In Jerusalem's 'War of Neighbors,' the Differences Are Not Negotiable."

For all the savagery of the terrorism that has sent so many innocents over the years to early graves, though, the funeral of Saif is poignant evidence that peaceful coexistence is not only possible in the Jewish state, it's a daily reality, woven into the warp and woof of Israeli life.

Of course there are tensions, disputes, and resentments, just as there are in every imperfect democracy — and what democracy isn't imperfect? Yet Israel from the outset has risen to the challenge of building a society held together by centripetal forces stronger than the centrifugal differences pushing it apart. Indeed, the Jewish state's declaration of independence, proclaimed by David Ben Gurion in May 1948, explicitly implored the country's non-Jewish inhabitants to remain "and participate in the building-up of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship." A great number did remain — including many thousands of Arab Druze — and went on to share in the blessings of Israeli freedom, democracy, and equality.

It's still a work in progress, but largely a successful one. The small Jewish state with the notable Arab minority not only survives but thrives, the implacability of its worst enemies and the violent instability of its neighborhood notwithstanding. Yes, terrorism is a grim plague. Yes, the toxic Palestinian political culture that incites it is growing worse. All the same, Israel manages to stand out as an oasis of pluralism, respect, and tolerance in a part of the world not known for those qualities.

One of the strongest condemnations of the synagogue slaughter came from — of all people — Bahrain's foreign minister, who blasted the "killing [of] innocents in a house of prayer." Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa warned sharply that "those who will pay the price for the crime of killing innocents in a Jewish synagogue and for welcoming the crime are the Palestinian people."

It was startling to see such strong language from a senior Arab official, especially when many Palestinian officials were "welcoming the crime," quite exuberantly and openly. But as journalist Evelyn Gordon pointed out in Commentary, pragmatic Arab governments like Bahrain's know quite well that at a time when Muslims are being butchered and abused by fanatics across the Middle East, "mosques in Israel and the West Bank — including Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque — remain among the safest places in the Mideast for Muslims to pray."

That's no small achievement, even if the world does take it for granted. Terrorists may have killed Zidan Saif, but his memory will be a lasting blessing, for Jews and non-Jews alike.



Effects of Obamacare on Economic Productivity

By economist Casey Mulligan, University of Chicago

The topic of my talk today is the economic side effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes referred to as Obamacare. Since most of the economy has to do with labor and work, that’s where I’ll start. But, first a caveat. I’m an economist, and I’m going to talk about some parts of this complex law that have an impact on the labor market. Other parts of it relate to health and medicine, and because I’m not a doctor or a biologist, I’m not going to speak to those parts. From an economic or labor-market perspective, I’m going to explain how the costs of the ACA outweigh its benefits. But I can’t measure or estimate its effects on health care. I leave that to others.

The key economic concept required to understand the labor market effects of the ACA is what economists call “tax distortions.” Tax distortions are changes in behavior on the part of businesses or households for the purpose of reducing their taxes or increasing their subsidies. We call them distortions because they don’t occur for real business or real personal reasons. They occur because of the tax code. A prime example of a tax policy that creates distortions is the ethanol subsidy—technically it is a credit, not a subsidy—whereby gasoline refiners are subsidized on the basis of how many gallons of gas they produce with ethanol. Because of this subsidy, businesses change the type of gas they produce and deliver, people change the type of gas they use—which affects engines—and corn is used for ethanol instead of as feed or food. Nor do the distortions stop there. Arguably, food prices are increased due to the reallocation of corn to different uses—and when food prices are higher, restaurants and households do things differently. There are distortions economy-wide, all for the chasing of a subsidy.

To be clear, just because taxes cause distortions doesn’t mean that we should never have taxes. It just means that in order to get the full picture when it comes to policies like an ethanol subsidy or laws such as the ACA, we need to take into account the tax distortions in order to ensure that the benefits we are seeking exceed the costs.

The Employer Mandate/Penalty/Tax

So what are the tax distortions that emanate from the ACA? Here let me simply focus on two aspects of the law: the employer mandate or employer penalty—the requirement that employers of a certain size either provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty for not doing so; and the exchanges—sometimes they’re called marketplaces—where people can purchase health insurance separate from their employer. The mandate or penalty is intended, of course, to encourage employers to provide health insurance.

And the exchanges are where the major government assistance is provided, since those who purchase insurance in an exchange typically receive a tax credit. As I’ll explain, taken together, the penalty on employers and the subsidies in the exchanges add up to a tax on full-time employment—a tax that you pay if you work full time but not if you work part time or don’t work at all. And the problem with that, of course, is that by taxing full-time work—which is the same as subsidizing part-time work and unemployment—you get less of the former and more of the latter two.

How does this full-time employment tax work with regard to the employer mandate? As I mentioned, the penalty applies only in the case of full-time employees and only to employers that don’t offer health coverage, and it applies only in those months during which those full-time employees are on the payroll. If an employee cuts back to part-time work, the employer no longer has to pay the penalty. The dollar amount of the penalty doesn’t depend on whether the employee is rich, poor, or middle class—if he works full time, the employer must either provide insurance or pay the penalty. And the penalty is indexed to health insurance costs, so every year those costs increase more than the economy and more than wages, the penalty will increase more than the economy and more than wages.

The current penalty is usually described as $2,000 per year per full-time employee. But it’s really more than that, because the penalty, unlike wages, is not deductible from business taxes. So in terms of a salary equivalent, the penalty is closer to $3,000 a head. Needless to say, this penalty reduces competition in the labor market: It discourages employers from competing for full-time employees—which, if you’re an employee, is a bad deal. Also there are a lot of employers who are not going to pay the penalty because they don’t meet the size threshold of 50 or more employees, and employees are going to suffer because these small employers won’t want to become large employers and therefore subject to the penalty.

Furthermore, this mandate or penalty—and by this time it should be clear that we can think of it as a tax on having a full-time employee—disproportionately harms low-skill workers. Think about it this way: How many hours does a worker have to work each week to produce the $3,000-per-year of value to justify keeping his job or being hired? For a minimum-wage worker, that comes to eight hours a week, all year round—one day of work a week for the government due to the ACA alone. Higher-skilled employees can obviously produce $3,000 worth of value in less time, so the penalty will have less of an impact on them.

Subsidized Health Insurance Exchanges

What of the tax distortions that come from the subsidized health insurance exchanges or marketplaces? To begin to think about this, imagine paying full price for your health care. How does full price work? Well, you pay the full price. The health care provider doesn’t look at your tax return and adjust the bill accordingly. So we would never call paying full price for health care an income tax of any kind. Or imagine there is a discount on the full price—for instance, 30 percent off for everybody, regardless of income.

In that case it’s still not an income tax. No matter how much you earn, you pay the same price. But what if the discount (or subsidy) is tied to your employment situation? Not to your income, but to your employment situation. That’s how the exchanges work. If you have a full-time job with an employer that offers coverage—which is the case for most employees in our economy—you don’t get the subsidy offered through the exchanges. If you want to get the subsidy, you need to become a part-time worker or spend time off the job.

In other words, this discount, too, is a tax on full-time employment. Of course, no politician ever calls it a tax. But when you are in a group of people that doesn’t receive a subsidy that people in another group receive, that’s a tax.



Why British Labour Party  leader's bid to parade his patriotism is SO unconvincing

There is one quality in a leader that Ed Miliband certainly does not lack: ruthlessness. The manner in which he destroyed the political career of his elder brother in order to gain control of the Labour Party told us that.

Now, he has sacked one of his earliest champions - and apparently a friend - Emily Thornberry.

The shadow attorney general had tweeted - without comment - a picture of a house in Rochester festooned with St George’s flags that had caught her attention while campaigning in the local by-election.

That was enough: in the brutal style of Alan Sugar, Miliband told her ‘you’re fired’. Yet this was not so much cruelty on Miliband’s part, as sheer panic.

For Thornberry’s terminal offence was to draw attention to the single biggest weakness of the modern Labour Party - the sense that it speaks for a rarified class of public sector officials and administrators, rather than the working people it was originally created to represent.

More particularly, the Labour leader felt obliged to ditch his friend because her de-haut-en-bas [from on high] tweet encapsulated exactly what many see as his own identity: a man who regards the patriotic working man driving a white van as at best an anthropological oddity, and as at worst a savage.

That the Labour leader still doesn’t quite get it was made clear when he insisted that when he sees a St George’s Flag, he feels ‘respect’ for the person displaying it.

Respect is what politicians say they accord to those whose views they can’t stand (‘with the greatest of respect’). Fellow-feeling is more what the public might want him to say that he experienced on seeing the national flag — but then that would be a lie and Miliband is too hopeless an actor to get away with a fib even if he wanted to.

We are all deeply influenced by our upbringing, for better or for worse. The Labour leader was brought up in a highly intellectual Marxist home, in which it would have been axiomatic that nationalism was only a bad thing.

That was entirely understandable: his father Ralph, born Adolphe, had escaped from a Holocaust created by the most toxic German nationalism. Many others in that Jewish family had not been so fortunate, being murdered in the Nazi death camps.

But the Marxist default position, that the only war worth fighting is the class war and that all expressions of national and cultural identity are delusional except in so far as they can be described as ‘anti-colonial’, has bedevilled the Left as a whole: the Miliband home was a salon for many influential figures who shared this world view and sought to propagate it through the educational system (at which they were quite successful.)

But, as applied to the wider Britain outside the academy, it has created nothing more than a blank space on the map. Robert Colls, the author of Identity of England, remarked of the Blair years: ‘To fill the historical vacuum, “diversity” became New Labour’s watchword. But diversity . . . left nothing to build on.’

Blair's first political campaign had been the Beaconsfield by-election of 1982. Between his adoption as the Labour candidate and the campaign’s start, the Falklands War broke out.

The young Blair campaigned on the basis that ‘the islanders cannot be allowed to determine the future of the Falklands’ — and was completely marginalised, losing his deposit.

As the socialist novelist and journalist George Orwell wrote in My Country Right Or Left, during the 1940s: ‘Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred and always stronger than internationalism.’ Seventy years later, it still is.

Orwell was, in terms of the British Left, very isolated in holding such opinions. Yet unlike so many of them at the time — and certainly unlike the current generation of career politicians — he had deep first-hand knowledge of what he was writing and talking about.

This helps explain what he wrote about the peculiar out-of-touchness of the Left-wing intelligentsia, which bears repetition today: ‘England is perhaps the only country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality.

In Left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings.

‘It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during “God Save The King” than of stealing from a poor box.’



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, November 24, 2014

In case you were wondering ...

Taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease does not help  -- even if you are in an "at risk" category.  A short excerpt from the latest research report below.  The results could not have been more negative:

Low-Dose Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Japanese Patients 60 Years or Older With Atherosclerotic Risk Factors: A Randomized Clinical Trial

The study was terminated early by the data monitoring committee after a median follow-up of 5.02 years (interquartile range, 4.55-5.33) based on likely futility. In both the aspirin and no aspirin groups, 56 fatal events occurred.


Once-daily, low-dose aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of the composite outcome of cardiovascular death, nonfatal stroke, and nonfatal myocardial infarction among Japanese patients 60 years or older with atherosclerotic risk factors.

JAMA, Nov. 17


Wealthy Are Indeed Paying Their 'Fair Share'

For years, the leftist mantra when it came to taxes was basically "soak the rich." The statement was always couched in the belief that the wealthy could afford it. But the so-called rich were never paying an amount these do-gooders (who, in a lot of cases, rarely paid income tax because they lived off a family trust fund) determined was the proper tithe to the state. Barack Obama called it the "Buffett Rule," believing the proper amount the top 1% should be paying is 30 cents on the dollar.

So according to new figures released by the Congressional Budget Office, we should be in taxpayer nirvana - the top 1% now pays 24% of all taxes. Moreover, a further dissection of the numbers to account for government wealth transfers shows that the entire burden of paying for the government falls squarely on the shoulders of the richest one-quarter or so of taxpayers.

Mark J. Perry writes for the American Enterprise Institute, "In fact, the richest 20% of Americans by income aren't just paying a share of federal taxes that would be considered `fair' - it goes way beyond `fair' - they're shouldering almost 100% of the entire federal tax burden of transfer payments and all other non-financed government spending."



South Africa update

A report entitled "The ANC's hybrid regime, civil rights and risks to business" has just been issued. The author is Dr. Heinrich Matthee, a political risk analyst to internatinal companies and an Associate of the Africa Studies Centre, Leiden (Netherlands). The report was written for South African Monitor

The report comes to the following conclusions:

1. There has been a major change in foreign media reporting on the Zuma government in the one-party-dominant state of South Africa. It is epitomized by The Economist's call in May 2014: "Time to ditch the ANC".

2. Under the rule of president Jacob Zuma, South Africa has moved from a flawed democracy to a hybrid regime. The fracas in Parliament on 13 November 2014, with riot police removing an opposition politician, and Zuma's opaque nuclear deal with Russia, are just the latest signals in this regard.

3. The locus of politics is no longer parliament and elections, but a field of power where non-democratic and democratic elements interact. These elements include: an unaccountable presidentialism; the securitization of politics and political assassinations; weak democratic checks on the executive; extending the ANC's power in a one-partydominant state through state patronage and pro-ANC crony capitalists.

4. Factional competition over positions and resources is intensifying in the ANC, its allies and breakaway factions, like the Economic Freedom Fighters and NUMSA trade union. These dynamics will result in shifts, uncertainty and discretionary decisions in economic policy-making. They will also result in militant strikes, political tensions and protests, and local political assassinations.

5. High levels of state debt and the ANC's own funding problems are driving a search for sources of income. The ANC has "eaten the state". Higher taxes, new licence conditions and more beneficiation requirements are now likely in the next five years.

6. The ANC government is proceeding with several initiatives and legislation that will weaken property rights and increase government intervention in the economy. Sectors like minerals and energy, the security industry, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and agriculture will be most exposed. The ANC could become more dependent on foreign patrons like Russia and China.

7. Political competition and factionalism over positions and resources will intensify in the run-up to the local elections in 2016, the ANC's leadership succession in 2017, and the national elections in 2019.

Via email from AfriForum


A perfect storm brewing for Israel

Across every border Israel shares with its Arab neighbors, within its own borders, and far removed from them, a formidable range of threats - from damaging economic sanctions and international isolation, through murderous terrorist attacks, jihadi insurgency and domestic insurrection, to the specter of weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear Iran - is coalescing with disturbing speed into a multi-faceted menace that jeopardizes the survival of the Jewish nation-state to a degree arguably unprecedented since its inception.

Successive governments have consistently misread the battlefield, and misled by the seductive deception of political correctness, they have embraced misguided policy principles, wildly at odds with the dictates of political realities.

To understand this rather harsh condemnation, it is first necessary to realize that, in principle, there exist two archetypal and antithetical contexts of conflict - in the first of which a policy of compromise and concession may well be appropriate, and another, in which such a course is disastrously inappropriate.

In the first of such contexts, one's adversary interprets any concession as a genuine conciliatory initiative, and feels obliged to respond with a counter-concession. In this context, the process will move toward some amicable resolution of the conflict by a series of concessions and counter-concessions.

In the alternate conflictual context, however, one's adversary does not interpret concessionary initiatives as conciliatory gestures, made in good faith, but as an indication of vulnerability and weakness, made under duress, portending defeat.

Such initiatives will not elicit any reciprocal conciliatory gesture, but rather demands for further concessions.

If one concedes to the demands, instead of enjoying a convergent process that leads toward peaceable resolution of differences, a divergent process will lead either to capitulation or to large-scale violence. In other words, once one side realizes that its adversary is acting in bad faith and can only be restrained by force; or the other side realizes it has extracted all the concessions it can by non-coercive means - meaning that further gains could only be won by force - problems worsen for the party seeking bilateral satisfaction.

If one happens to be in a situation that approximates the second context, but adopts a policy suited for the first, disaster is inevitable.

Sadly, for more than two decades, this is precisely what Israeli governments - with varying degrees of myopic zeal and/or reluctant resignation - have done. Unless robust and resolute remedial measures are undertaken without delay, such disaster is inevitable.

There can be little doubt that the Arab-Israeli conflict resembles the second context far more closely than the first. After all, every gut-wrenching concession Israel has made since the early 1990s has failed to produce any conciliatory response from its Arab adversaries. All it finds is greater intransigence and more obdurate insistence on further appeasement.

Because of excessive restraint and inadequate resolve, Israel is inexorably descending into an abysmal position, depicted with forceful eloquence by Winston Churchill, in the sober caveat he articulated in the first volume of his epic series on World War II, aptly titled The Gathering Storm.

He warned: "If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

Although many will wish to deny it, this is the situation that could well emerge for the Jews of Israel if the policy of ruinous restraint continues. If they forfeit national sovereignty, now under unprecedented international assault, while they may not become "slaves," Israelis could well be relegated to infidel dhimmi status in their own homeland.

Israel's past military and economic successes have been so stunning that they have obscured the true precariousness of Jewish political independence in the region.

For those who have been lulled into a false sense of complacency by highly visible signs of strength and vigor - such as mushrooming high-rises and modernistic freeways - the somber assessment of the inherent asymmetry of the conflict and the fragility of Jewish national existence made by Yigal Allon in the prestigious publication Foreign Affairs should be a salutary reminder.

Considered by many the epitome of moderate statesmanship, Allon cautioned: "... a military defeat of Israel would mean the physical extinction of a large part of its population and the political elimination of the Jewish state. ... the Arab states can permit themselves a series of military defeats while Israel cannot afford to lose a single war. Nor does this reflect a [finite, hence bearable] historical trauma in any sense.  To lose a single war is to lose everything...."

The bitter fruits of Israeli restraint, retreat and reticence abound in every direction and on every front.

In some cases they are close to full ripeness, in others, to less so - so far. In some cases disaster is close at hand, in others it has been avoided - or rather, delayed - more by propitious good fortune than by prudent good judgment.

It was only by the grace of God - or good fortune, depending on one's proclivities - that, during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza earlier this year, Hezbollah was preoccupied with the civil war in Syria. Consequently, it could not open up a second front and bring the full weight of this arsenal (and those tunnels) to bear on Israel, which could have overwhelmed the protective capacity of the Iron Dome defense system.

Slightly to the east, the breathtaking barbarity of the Syrian civil war rages on, bringing the daunting prospect of a common border with Islamic State and/or al-Qaida affiliates, and underscoring how imbecilic it would have been to relinquish the Golan to the murderous Assad regime, in the forlorn hope of trading land-for-peace.

Along Israel's eastern border, with the ascendancy of Islamist elements in Jordan, the Hashemite monarchy is looking increasingly wobbly. This tenuous situation is exacerbated by the hordes of refugees (reportedly over 600,000) fleeing the brutality in Syria, presumably infiltrated by Islamist agitators, who are placing unbearable strains on Jordan's social and economic resources, and undermining the stability of the regime. With the possibility of the monarchy being replaced by radical Muslim elements, or even remaining as a puppet regime controlled by them, the notion of territorial concessions in Judea-Samaria, which adjoins the kingdom to the West, becomes even more dangerously delusional than before.

Even if some flimsy deal were struck with the largely irrelevant and unrepresentative Mahmoud Abbas, the responsible assumption must be that he would be replaced, post haste, by more extremist forces such as Hamas (as per the Gaza precedent) - or worse.

Israel would be faced with the perilous prospect of a vast, unbroken stretch of Islamist-controlled territory, from the eastern approaches of Greater Tel Aviv to Jordan's current border with Iraq, and beyond - into areas under the iron rule of Islamic State.

In Sinai as well, the outlook is bleak, with the peninsula falling under the sway of jihadist elements which the Egyptian army is finding increasingly difficult to curb.

One of the most dangerous militant groups active in Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, recently pledged allegiance to Islamic State, a link likely to afford it more money, weapons and recruits to fight the government in Cairo.

All this savagery will inevitably press on Israel's long southern border stretching from Gaza to the Red Sea. If rocket attacks on Eilat continue, tourism to the city will cease and it will lose its principal source of income, without which its very existence is in grave doubt.

As daunting as the preceding catalogue of dangers is, it is hardly an exhaustive list of the perils facing the Jewish state today. Not a word has been mentioned about the possibility of a third intifada on the part of the Palestinians in Judea-Samaria or a renewed conflagration in Gaza. Perhaps the gravest threat of all is the prospect of insurrection and revolt by the Arab citizens of Israel - if they sense weakness and vacillation on the part of the Jews.

What is called for today is not a repetition of reticent restraint, but the demonstration of ruthless resolve.


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, 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, November 23, 2014

Momentous events in both England and the USA yesterday.  Two reports below

British Labour Party's snooty elite hates patriotism, says editor of left-wing journal that triggered Labour leadership crisis

Attitudes reminiscent of the U.S. Democrats.  In the recent Rochester by-election, both the Labour party and the Tories lost to a patriotic party.  For an explanation of the uproar over Emily Thornberry’s offensive tweet  of a "picture of a house bedecked in England flags",  see Here.

Two weeks ago, JASON COWLEY, editor of Labour’s house journal the New Statesman, triggered Ed Miliband’s leadership crisis by describing him as an ‘old-style Hampstead socialist’ and ‘quasi-Marxist’. Here, he delivers a withering post-Rochester verdict . .

"When did Labour become the party of vested interests and snooty metropolitans? When did a modest terrace house, a white van and the flag of England become symbols of contempt for the Left?

Emily Thornberry, the Islington MP and lawyer, who, while campaigning in Rochester and Strood, sneeringly tweeted a picture of a house bedecked in England flags, has been forced to resign from the Labour front bench.

But her tweet and Ed Miliband’s panicked response to it epitomise why Labour is so desperately struggling to connect with voters and why Miliband has lost the confidence of many of his MPs.

Miliband leads a party that purports to speak for and aspires to represent, in his own awkward phrase, ‘everyday people’. But many in Labour have a problem with these very same ‘everyday people’, especially if they do not share their liberalism or metropolitan prejudices.

The snooty metropolitan Labourite doesn’t like these people’s patriotism. They don’t understand why they might be attracted to the populist rhetoric of Nigel Farage’s Ukip. They dismiss legitimate concerns about immigration and the fracturing of social cohesion as bigotry.

Nor does the snooty metropolitan elite seem to grasp that swathes of society do not work in the public sector and that two-thirds of private-sector workers do not even have pensions.

I’ve mocked Miliband for being a Hampstead socialist who does not understand lower-middle-class aspiration. Like Emily Thornberry, he lives in a grand house in North London. He studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, the obligatory degree for our out-of-touch political class, and then, because he was considered ‘Labour aristocracy’ [His father was a prominent Marxist intellectual], went straight to work for Gordon Brown at the Treasury.

He had a brief sabbatical teaching at Harvard University. Then he was gifted a safe seat in Doncaster, fast-tracked into the Cabinet, after which he became leader of the party in his early 40s. Some struggle.

Miliband’s life experience is extraordinarily narrow. He has never worked in or run a business, and can scarcely bring himself to mention wealth-creation in his speeches. He has never lived or worked among the urban poor, as Clement Attlee, Labour’s greatest prime minister, did as a young man at Toynbee Hall in London’s East End.

Miliband is a member of what George Osborne privately calls ‘The Guild’ of career politicians. But, to adapt a saying of the great cricket writer C L R James, what do they know of politics who only politics know?

Emily Thornberry’s tweet could not have been more ill-timed or more symptomatic of a deeper malaise. If Labour were serious about wanting to win a mandate for the far-reaching political and economic reform it says the country needs, it would be aspiring to win back Rochester, which it held from 1997 to 2010. Instead, it stands on the sidelines and sneers, even as it is routed at the polls.

Draw a metaphorical line from the Wash estuary in Norfolk to the River Severn. South of the Severn-Wash line, excluding London, there are 197 seats, of which Labour holds ten. In the aspirational English south the party is hugely unpopular — and becoming more so.

Labour confronts a weak and divided Tory party. A more accomplished leader than Miliband would have seized this moment and found a way to address not only people’s anxieties but also their aspirations.

Miliband can seem a relentlessly gloomy politician, who is interested not in building a coalition of all the people but in appealing only to the bottom third of society. He speaks as if too many of us are victims whose lives can be redeemed only by state action. It’s old-style, top-down, the-man-in-Whitehall-knows-best Fabianism.

During the Scottish referendum campaign, I spent some time with Alex Salmond, now former leader of the Scottish National Party. In many ways, Salmond is a high-class huckster, spinning improbable yarns.

But he is also a brilliant popular communicator. He speaks about Scotland and its people with optimism and in a style and tone that resonate.

Now, the SNP has become the natural party of government and it is poised to storm Labour’s Scottish strongholds in next May’s election.

Back in the early days of his leadership, Miliband and his advisers liked to compare themselves with Margaret Thatcher. They admired her conviction and the way she transformed Britain by smashing an economic consensus. The Milibandites described their ambition as similarly ‘Thatcheresque’.

Yet Mrs Thatcher once said: ‘The Old Testament prophets did not say, “Brothers, I want a consensus.” They said, “This is my faith. This is what I passionately believe. If you believe it, too, then come with me.”’

The trouble for Ed Miliband is that he has told us what he believes, but, lethally for him and the Labour Party, fewer and fewer people believe him or want to come with him, as events in Rochester [by-election] showed.



Obama refuses to administer the law on immigration

President Obama announced a plan Thursday night to mainstream millions of illegal immigrants with an executive order allowing them to stay instead of facing deportation, bringing howls from Republicans who complained about so-called 'anchor babies' helping their illegal parents remain in the U.S.

The president calmly explained in a 16-minute speech – subtitled in Spanish – the parameters of what angry Republicans are calling a lawless 'amnesty.'

'We’re going to offer the following deal,' he said: 'If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.' 'You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.'

'That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t,' the president cautioned.

'This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive – only Congress can do that.'  'All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.'

Republicans pushed back immediately, with most of the energy coming from tea party conservatives.

'Tonight President Obama issued an oral royal decree that will be followed by a written regal decree, as any good monarch would do,' Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert jabbed in a statement.

'This unlawful, blatant executive action would legalize more than 5 million people here illegally. This president is single-handedly creating a constitutional crisis and hurting the citizens he took an oath to protect and defend.'

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, another tea party-linked lawmaker, called the president's speech 'a desperate attempt to remain relevant.'

It will take the federal government several months to prepare for receiving applications.  By that time, Republicans will control both houses of Congress and may take action to reverse the policy.

'The president has decided to defy the American people, ignore the election results, and usurp the legislative process,' Lee said. 'This act demonstrates he respects neither election outcomes, nor the rule of law.'

But the president played on Americans' heartstrings in what sounded at times like one of his 2008 campaign speeches.  The immigration debate, he said, is 'about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.'

'Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?' he asked. 'Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?'

'Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?'

He also quoted the Old Testament – Exodus chapter 22, verse 21. 'Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger,' the president said, 'for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too'

Obama's policy mainly targets parent of children who were born in the U.S. and are therefore citizens.

Millions of such children, derided as 'anchor babies' by commentators on the right, are already guaranteed a place in America – but their parents are not. Current law permits the U.S. to deport the parents.

That term, considered by some to be in the same class as racist epithets but not strictly taboo in America, was nonetheless being tossed around Capitol Hill on Thursday.

MailOnline spoke to two Republican aides who readily complained about parents of 'anchor babies' who will benefit from Obama's plan. 'They were anchor babies yesterday and they'll be anchor babies tomorrow,' said a staffer to a GOP congressman from a southern state.

'If we want to keep those families together there are two ways to do it. One is the Obama way and the other is to send the whole family back across the border and make them wait in line like everyone else.'

Another aide who serves as professional staff on one of the House of Representatives' standing committees, said that 'anchor babies are becoming an anchor around the neck of the U.S. economy.'

'What the president doesn't seem to get,' he said, 'is that Americans chose to reject his philosophy on Election Day, and part of that philosophy involves giving work authorizations to illegal immigrants so they can take jobs away from citizens.'

The Daily Caller calculated on Thursday that Obama's gambit will give legal status to more people than the number of jobs the White House has created since the president assumed office.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, blasted the president ahead of his speech for what he said was a blatant disregard for America's separation of powers.

'Instead of working together to fix our broken immigration system, the president says he’s acting on his own,' he said. 'That’s just not how our democracy works.'  'The president has said before that "he's not king" and he's "not an emperor," but he’s sure acting like one.'

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives the legislative branch of government – Congress – authority to create laws covering immigration and naturalization.

South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan seconded Boehner.  'What the president has done is unprecedented, unconstitutional, and an affront to the American people,' Duncan said.

'In addition to poisoning the well and making it almost impossible to work together on other issues, the President’s actions have created a constitutional crisis that our Founding Fathers had hoped to avoid.'

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who chairs an immigration task force with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, praised Obama on Thursday.

'President Obama is using his pen to help the country and we celebrate his courage,' he said. 'I am going sign up the families that are covered, keep fighting for the families that are not covered, and we are going to make the City of Chicago a model for the rest of the country.'

He insisted that Obama's unilateral actions should be codified into law, but held out little hope.  'We all must recognize that no executive action is a substitute for legislation, so the fundamental challenge of getting legislation through the Republican-controlled House remains the same,' Gutierrez said.

Labor unions, a key Democratic constituency, greeted the news with enthusiasm, in part because organized labor – outside of government – is at its low point in the postwar era.

'Recent border crossers,' the White House said, will become 'a priority for deportation.'

Another newly advantaged group are so-called 'DREAMers,' people who were brought to the United States as children.

Obama is protecting those 'who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today,' the White House said.

The White House has tacitly acknowledged that Thursday's move is a temporary fix, while also demanding buy-in from Congress to make it permanent.  'To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill,' Obama said.

That seems unlikely, however. And a hypothetical Republican president elected in 2016 could reverse his entire plan with the stroke of a different pen.

'We cannot let this stand,' said House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.  'The president’s unilateral actions on immigration are a violation of his responsibilities and the trust the American people have placed in him,' said the California Republican.

'President Obama is playing a dangerous political game with lives and deepening the mistrust that the American people and Congress have in his ability to faithfully execute the law.'

Issa and other staunch conservatives have pledged to use their new and larger majorities in Congress to block Obama from implementing his orders.

The president has broad discretion to determine how to enforce certain laws, but lawmakers can use the power of the purse to forbid the government from spending money to implement those plans.

The Department of Homeland Security, for instance, has requested commercial bids for a project that would produce as many as 34 million 'green cards' and work permits. Producing those documents is an example of something whose execution requires budgetary permission.

Some in Congress favor a plan to use a Dec. 11 budget extension deadline as leverage, while others insist it's legally possible to employ a little-used process called 'recision' to remove line items from a budget that has already become law.

Obama will not sign any budget bill that defunds Thursday's order, a senior official told the D.C. newspaper Roll Call, and Republicans lack veto-proof majorities needed to cancel out his disapproval.

The White House relied Thursday on a complicated and controversial opinion that insists there's a link between deportation reprieves and border security.

By reclassifying millions as legal U.S. residents, the logic goes, the government will no longer be obligated to expend resources tracking them down, capturing them and deporting them.

That, the administration argues, will free up manpower and money to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

Complicating that picture is a flood of hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minor children who have cascaded into the U.S. illegally from Central American countries since 2012 when Obama first announced that he would give a reprieve to DREAMers.

Activists pushing for new legal status for a mostly Hispanic population of 11 million people living in the shadows have been calling on Obama to protect a broad spectrum of illegal immigrants

'The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back,' the White House claimed in a fact sheet sent to reporters in the hour before Obama's speech [And he's got a bridge to sell you]

'Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.'

But some advocates warned immigrants not to get their hopes up yet – especially with lawmakers threatening to thwart Obama’s plan.

'What I am telling my families to do is be prepared for war. We’re going to see a legislative arm do whatever they can to stop the president,' said Jessica Dominguez, an immigration attorney in Southern California. 'I am not going to let my community be saddened again by words. We need action.'

In Sacramento County, California, however, Sheriff Scott Jones issued an impassioned plea to Obama in a video published Thursday.

He told stories of criminal aliens who went on crime sprees and people who killed after multiple deportations.

'I understand the integral role that the undocumented population plays in our national and state economies,' Jones said.

'The problem I have is I can’t tell which ones are good and which ones are evil, and neither can you. By their very definition they are undocumented.'

“This is not about racism – it is about an increasingly violent and uncertain world in which we are inadequately protected.'

He asked for a permanent solution instead of a temporary proposal.

'Mr. President, my request to you today can simply be stated: make immigration reform a priority,' Jones said.

'I do not care which reform you choose. Pathway to citizenship, guest work program, or any of the other innovative programs that currently exist.”

“But deferred action or amnesty is deferring this crisis. It is not reform, it’s simply giving up. It does nothing to make America or the undocumented population any safer.'



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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)