Friday, August 14, 2015

An extreme Leftist nut in Britain

Jeremy Corbyn is the leading contender as new leader of the British Labour Party, Britain's main party of the Left.  The Conservatives are hoping that he gets the job. Corbyn likes pigeons a lot better than people

Runaway Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn once backed a House of Commons motion welcoming the 'inevitable' end of human life on earth in an asteroid strike, it emerged today.

The veteran socialist signed the controversial motion, attacking people as 'obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal', after it emerged MI5 were planning to use pigeons as flying bombs in combat.

Mr Corbyn is a long-term campaigner against 'pigeon prejudice' – and has insisted the birds are 'intelligent and gentle creatures' which are cleaner than cats and dogs.

In 1996, his love of the birds moved him to attack plans to try to remove them from city centres.  The Islington MP criticised plans to force them out of Trafalgar Square and urged people to see the birds as 'friends rather than enemies'.

The rebellious backbencher, whose has never been a minister or held a shadow ministerial role, has backed a host of left-field causes including a ban on 'war toys' for boys, homeopathy in the NHS and a ban on working in hot weather.

In 2003 Mr Corbyn signed a motion attacking the 'lack of gratitude' for carrier pigeons during the Second World War.

In 1991 he campaigned for British Rail staff to be allowed to keep 'calming' beards after new rules proposed banning facial hair. Mr Corbyn joined with 14 MPs to call for the rules to be scrapped. He said: 'This House further believes that beards are healthy and create the sympathetic image necessary for staff dealing with deeply distressed passengers.'

In 1995 he called for a ban on adverts for 'war toys' for boys - like Action Man figures - where there is 'a connection between such toys and male violence'.

He has also called for the legalisation of the possession of cannabis and dismissed the Serbian massacres in Kosovo as a 'genocide that never existed'.

Mr Corbyn also backed a motion welcoming England's success in the 1996 European Championships but criticised the 'jingoism and nationalism in the pages of sections of the tabloid press'.  It added it was 'reminiscent of Hitler's use of sport to enhance his evil regime in the 1930s'.

This year Mr Corbyn launched a bid to ban work in temperatures above 30C – or just 27C for physical jobs like on building sites.

Mr Corbyn has previously attracted criticism for describing the leaders of militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah as his 'friends'.

And he was embroiled in a new controversy earlier this week, as it emerged he had defended controversial Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, who was disciplined by the church for posting a Facebook link to an article suggesting Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

It emerged that Mr Corbyn wrote a letter during the furore earlier this year, defending Reverend Sizer and claiming he was 'under attack' because he had 'dared to speak out against Zionism'.

A shock poll suggested Mr Corbyn had doubled his lead in the Labour leadership race and was on course for a 'knockout victory'.   The YouGov poll of those eligible to vote in the contest gives Mr Corbyn 53 per cent of the first preference votes – enough to win a majority in round one.



Conservatives Vs. 'The Real World'

As she runs to hold on to her base against an openly declared socialist in the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton is declaring she intends to go even further than President Obama and his radical executive amnesty efforts. She continues to defend Planned Parenthood even after those horrific videos documented the ghastly sale of baby body parts for profit. She is wrapping herself in a gay agenda, viciously attacking religious freedom.

But it's the Republicans that are the extremists.

Check out The Washington Post. On the front of the August 8 Post came the headline "For GOP candidates, a rush to the right." Reporter Sean Sullivan harped on abortion and immigration as issues where it could "cause the eventual nominee problems with a more moderate electorate."

Sullivan claimed on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, "much of the Republican field has now taken positions that are at odds with mainstream American opinion. For example, three out of four Americans say a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of rape."

The problem for the Post? The Republican candidates and the Republican platform haven't really changed on abortion since the last campaign. What's changed on the Abortion Extremism Meter is liberals demanding Democrats like Clinton defend Planned Parenthood removing "intact fetal cadavers" for sale to the highest bidder. Avoiding this ugliness is where the Post's yellow-dog Democrat bias comes through.

In Sunday's paper, here was another headline: "A platform for conservative views: RedState Gathering gives nine GOP presidential candidates - without Trump — room to expand on hard-right positions from Thursday's debate." Reporter David Weigel also used that "hard right" lingo in the news story.

As an example, Weigel cited Mike Huckabee deriding "paid transgender surgery for members of the military." It is somehow extremist for Huckabee to warn of the next step of left-wing extremism. Obama's Pentagon is surging toward the radicals intent on shredding the "gender binary," the military rank and file are furious — but to even discuss it is "hard right."

Doom for the GOP is all over the Post's pages. Above Weigel's story in the Post was a story headlined "A look at Donald Trump's history of flippant misogyny." On the next page was the headline "Trump's behavior may imperil GOP chance at White House."

In the world of the liberal media, everything is always "imperiling GOP chances."

Saturday's top editorial in the Post really underlined the media tendency to exile conservatives in their own minds. The headline on the Web was "Only a handful of GOP candidates are living in the real world." After the first debate, the party was divided by the "electable ones" — Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham — and everyone else on the "GOP fringe," those who are "frighteningly out-of-touch."

So the tendentious Post classifies every conservative as incapable of "living in the real world." But in the real world, Ronald Reagan in 1980 was certainly considered "hard right" and outside the left-tilting political spectrum of the 1970s, and yet he won in a landslide ... twice.

How the Posties must recoil at the NBC poll over the weekend. The top five: Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carla Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Who, exactly, is "frighteningly out of touch" here?



Jindal puts the emphasis on assimilation

by Jeff Jacoby

BOBBY JINDAL'S presidential quest may not take him all the way to the White House. But if his time on the campaign trail helps put assimilation back at the heart of the nation's immigration debate, he will have rendered his country a valuable service.

The 44-year-old governor of Louisiana was born and raised in Baton Rouge. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Punjab in northern India, and Jindal's election in 2007 made him the first Indian American chief executive of any state in US history.

But Jindal didn't run for governor as an Indian American, and he isn't running for president as an Indian American, either. Throughout his career he has championed the value and virtue of what used to be called "Americanization" — the patriotic integration of immigrants and their descendants into the American nation, so that they become Americans not just legally, but culturally and socially as well.

"We must insist on assimilation," Jindal said in the closing moments of the Republican "undercard" debate in Cleveland last week. "Immigration without assimilation is an invasion." A TV commercial aired in Iowa by Believe Again, a super PAC promoting Jindal for president, highlights the governor's emphasis on making immigrants into Americans.

"I am tired of hyphenated Americans," Jindal says in the ad, which features clips of a recent speech. "We're not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We're all Americans." Instead of obsessing, as so many Republican candidates do, on the legal status of those who cross the border, Jindal emphasizes the importance of embracing the norms and mores of their new homeland. Immigrants, he declares, "should adopt our values, they should learn English, and they should roll up their sleeves and get to work."

For most of American history, the belief that immigration should go hand-in-hand with assimilation was all but universally shared. There were debates aplenty about the most effective means of Americanizing the foreign-born, and there have always been restrictionists who argued that immigrants from certain countries were incapable of blending into the mainstream. When the Supreme Court upheld the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1889, it accepted the government's claim that immigrants from China had "remained strangers in the land, residing apart by themselves," and that they were unlikely "to assimilate with our own people or to make any change in their habits."

Whatever one's views on the ideal number or nationality of immigrants, however, it was taken for granted until very recently that those who came to America should want to be American. What the conservative Jindal says on the subject in the 21st century is hardly different from what the liberal Louis Brandeis was saying a century ago. In a speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston in 1915, Brandeis argued that "the immigrant is not Americanized unless his interests and affections have become deeply rooted here" — until he comes to "possess the national consciousness of an American."

In its 1912 platform, Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party explicitly included immigrants in promising workers "a larger share of American opportunity," even as it pledged "to promote their assimilation, education, and advancement." Americanization activities were taken up by public schools and private corporations, by nonprofit organizations and chambers of commerce. Not all assimilation programs were successful. Some relied too much on conformist pressure rather than on affectionate encouragement. But on the whole, Americans thought it only natural that immigrants should strive to become American, and immigrants of all backgrounds could feel that they were part of a single national family.

The rise of militant multiculturalism undermined this consensus. Today's "progressives" tend to regard the old ideal of patriotic assimilation as a form of cultural suppression. Instead of celebrating a common American culture, they pursue "diversity," and elevate racial, sexual, and ethnic identities over national identity. E pluribus unum has been turned on its head.

Because Jindal rejects the tribal politics that the left expects minorities to uphold, he has been attacked as an Indian Uncle Tom and mocked in a Twitter campaign linked by the hashtag #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite. "There's not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal," a University of Louisiana professor sneered to The Washington Post.

That might be a grievous shortcoming, were Jindal running for office in India. But he is running in his own country, which he makes no apology for loving. "My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans," Jindal says. "If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India."



Tide Turns in Favor of Greece’s Shipping Industry

An article in WSJ highlighted the Greek shipping industry, which it says has "emerged largely unscathed" from the nation's recent financial troubles.

The reports say that shipping companies in Greece are buying vessels from cash-strapped competitors and German banks, and are poised to grab even more market share - but bailout-related tax hikes could lead shipowners to seek cheaper waters.

Greek owners, who operate almost a fifth of the global fleet of merchant ships, are paying rock-bottom prices for competitors' vessels. Shipping employs more than 200,000 people in Greece and contributes around 7.5% of Greece's gross domestic product. The industry is dominated by a small circle of family-run companies that control almost a fifth of the world's shipping fleet-long a source of national pride.

According to Basil Karatzas, a New York-based maritime adviser, as the global financial crisis took hold and the freight market gradually collapsed, the Greeks stayed above water as they were not overly leveraged and stood on cash generated during the boom years before 2008.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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, August 13, 2015

Another meltdown of official wisdom

People who eat lots of butter or cream are no more likely to have an early death than anyone else, a study suggests.

Researchers trawled through the health records of hundreds of thousands of patients and found no statistical link between eating saturated fat and falling ill with heart disease, strokes or type 2 diabetes.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, raise further doubts about 32-year-old guidelines that warn people to avoid butter, full-fat milk and other meat and dairy products with high levels of saturated fats.

Britons were advised in 1983 to cut their fat intake to 30 per cent of their total energy, and saturated fat intake to 10 per cent, while increasing the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

But the latest evidence suggests that saturated fats may not be bad for you after all.



What Does It Mean to Be a Democrat?

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd identified four factions that make up the Republican Party: the Tea Party, libertarians, social conservatives and establishment Republicans. Note that three of these groups are identified almost exclusively by how they think. Arguably the fourth is as well. The Republican Party definitely attracts people who take ideas seriously.

What about the Democratic Party? It’s tempting to say that Democrats are liberal. But did you know that the base of the party — those that are the most reliable supporters of Democratic candidates — are not particularly liberal at all?

According to Pew research, among self-identified Democrats the most liberal are the ones with high incomes and post graduate degrees — a tiny minority. But among blacks, among people who have no more than a high school education and among those who make less than $30,000 a year, a majority consider themselves neither “liberal” nor “mostly liberal.” Among Hispanics it’s about fifty-fifty. And remember: this was a poll of people who call themselves Democrats.

Matt Vespa, writing at Townhall, quotes New York Times analyst Nate Cohn as saying:

"The majority of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are self-described moderates or even conservatives, according to an Upshot analysis of Pew survey data from 2014 and exit polls from the 2008 Democratic primary.

Some of these self-described moderates hold fairly liberal views. But the “mostly liberal” Democrats barely outnumber Democrats with “mixed” or conservative policy views, according to the Pew data, which classified respondents based on how consistently they agreed with Democratic policy positions. Only about a quarter of Democratic-leaners hold the consistently liberal views that would potentially put them to the left of Mrs. Clinton."

Well if liberalism isn’t what unites Democrats, could it be something else, like concern for the least fortunate? You might think so if you are a regular reader of the columns of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. But the facts don’t bear that out either. A study by American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks finds that conservatives are consistently more charitable than liberals. As one reviewer put it:

"Brooks finds that households with a conservative at the helm gave an average of 30 percent more money to charity in 2000 than liberal households (a difference of $1,600 to $1,227). The difference isn’t explained by income differential — in fact, liberal households make about 6 percent more per year. Poor, rich, and middle class conservatives all gave more than their liberal counterparts.

And it wasn’t just money. The conservatives gave more time, more blood, etc.

These findings are consistent with my own anecdotal experience. For many years I was an attentive viewer of C-Span’s morning show — where callers could call in on a “Democratic” or “Republican” line. Sometimes lines were labeled “liberal” or “conservative.” What I found striking was how rarely anyone on the Democratic or liberal line advocated a position I regarded as unambiguously liberal. I don’t recall a single caller saying we should all (including the caller) pay higher taxes so that we could have universal pre-school or universal long term care or so we could pay for some other government spending project.

Instead, I heard teachers arguing for more pay for teachers, seniors wanting more out of Social Security and Medicare, union members wanting trade protection, blacks wanting more for blacks, etc. In other words, what I heard a lot of was selfishness. The Democratic line attracted a lot of people who want government to intervene for their benefit at everyone else’s expense.

Is it possible that raw economic self-interest is what attracts voters to the Democratic Party? Certainly that is one way to view the Franklin Roosevelt political coalition. At Roosevelt’s behest, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which attempted to regulate the entire economy, based on the Italian fascist model. In each industry, management and labor were allowed to collude to set prices, wages, output, etc. Every industry or trade was ordered to conspire to pursue its own interests at the expense of the public. The Supreme Court put an end to the NIRA, but it didn’t put an end to the ideas behind it.

If economic selfishness is what unites Democrats, could that model be in danger of falling apart? Trade unions, occupational licensing, and other attempts to monopolize trades and professions are very much in the Roosevelt tradition. But none of this attracts high income, highly educated liberals who back charter schools in their fight against the teachers' unions and who back Uber in its fight against the taxi cab monopoly.

Even more stunning is the recent Obama administration broadside against occupational licensing. It points out that one of every four jobs in the country requires a government license and reflects the concern of economists that these laws protect the producers, not consumers, and that their effects are eerily similar to medieval guilds.

At the state and local level, Republicans appear to have been as bad as Democrats in yielding to these special interest pressures. For Republicans, this is inconsistent with their free market rhetoric. However, for Democrats, it’s consistent with the Roosevelt model.

There is a potential rupture within the Democratic Party that has been largely ignored by the pundits.



Christian Refugees Get the Cold Shoulder

One of the great traditions of American foreign policy has been to protect the oppressed against those who would do them harm. Yet throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, we have seen time and again how that policy has been abandoned for the sake of politics and The One’s own personal aggrandizement.

The most recent example is the revelation that 28 Chaldean Christians have been sitting in a San Diego immigration detention facility while bureaucrats decide whether to let them seek asylum in America or be returned to Iraq, where Christians are facing widespread persecution under the Islamic State and an indifferent and corrupt Iraqi regime.

The Chaldean Christians hail from one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, and the more than two dozen people who now sit in a barbed wire compound in San Diego faced a perilous trek to avoid being jailed and murdered at the hand of barbarians who seek nothing less than their conversion to Islam or their death. Twelve have already been given deportation orders, though their final destination and fate remains unknown.

While illegal immigrants with horrendous criminal records run rampant on American streets committing heinous crimes that the administration and the Leftmedia try to downplay, Christians who want nothing more than the freedom to practice their faith are being detained.

“In Iraq, they only had three choices: convert to Islam, death by the sword or leave the country,” Mark Arabo, head of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation, told Fox News. “They’ve refused to convert, escaped slavery and death — only to be imprisoned by our broken immigration system.”

Arabo, whose parents came from Iraq to the U.S. in 1979, went on to note a sad truth under the Obama administration: “The disheartening thing is it seems that our border is open to anyone unless you’re a Christian fleeing genocide.”

Since Obama abandoned Iraq in 2009, leaving that country to the wolves and spitting on the graves of the 4,000 American soldiers who gave their lives to secure that country, more than a million Iraqi Christians have been exiled. Some 300,000 still remain, and they live in constant fear of displacement, rape, murder and a number of other brutalities at the hands of the Islamic State, which has made significant military gains in the absence of an American military presence.

John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to George H.W. Bush, recently noted, “There seems to be an indifference in Washington to what is happening here.”

Sununu is being too kind.  Former Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia was more accurate, saying, “This administration is fundamentally anti-Christian.”

Obama is not just indifferent to the plight of Iraqi Christians or the Christians in Syria and Egypt and many other nations around the world who are being persecuted and murdered in record numbers by jihadis. We think his sustained record of inaction and turning a blind eye to the massacres taking place across the globe belies an underlying disdain for the Christian faith.

Consider Obama’s words since taking office. From his inaugural “apology” tour in 2009 to mandating Christians pay for abortive drugs through health insurance to his open browbeating of Christians over the Crusades during the National Prayer Breakfast in February to his support for the Rainbow Mafia’s persecution of Christians over marriage, he has demonstrated not only ignorance of history but contempt for the Christian religion and its place in the world.

At every turn, Obama has chosen to play down the horrific actions of the Islamic State as it burns people alive, decapitates nonbelievers en masse, and drives people of other faiths from the homes their families have lived in for generations. Instead, he callously dishes out revisionist history of atrocities committed by Christians hundreds of years ago in an attempt to lay out some twisted morally equivalent worldview that is logically and morally bankrupt.

As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in February, “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson… Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives… The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

But that is not Obama’s M.O. He is acting on a lifelong contempt for Western values that was instilled in him by his mentors of hate. He sees the threats that face America as some sort of punishment for a perceived injustice that our nation has perpetrated on the world.

It cannot be denied that some Christians acted poorly in the past (and sometimes the present), nor can it be denied that America has awful scars in its history. But our country learns from its mistakes, and it remains as always the single brightest beacon of freedom and hope for people around the world who want to practice their faith in peace and with dignity. Obama’s twisted worldview has done America no favors, and it has rolled back the march toward universal freedom. Who can say how long it will take to undo the damage he has wrought?



Minimum wage Restaurants Suffer Worse Job Loss Since The Great Recession

According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs — the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.

“The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession,” AEI Scholar Mark J. Perry noted in the report.

The citywide minimum wage increase was passed in June of last year. The measure is designed to increase the city minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by 2017. The first increase under the plan was to $11 an hour in April. According to the report, Seattle restaurants have already faced severe consequences as a result. In contrast, in the six years since the 2009 financial crisis, the industry has been recovering in areas without the $15 minimum wage.

“Restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period,” the report also noted. “Restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs.”

Supporters of the $15 minimum wage often argue it will help the poor and stimulate economic activity. Opponents, however, argue such policies will actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. How little or how much of either outcome usually depends on the study. Nevertheless, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees at least some job loss is expected.

Studies also show that industries with low profit margins, like restaurants, are more likely to be hit the hardest. A June report from the investor rating service Moody’s claims the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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, August 12, 2015

The recent large pivot Leftward of the Democratic party

But why did they move that way?  Because they can.  The American electorate was once economically conservative, so the Democrats matched that to stay in office.  In recent years, however, the rusted-on vote of the minorities gives them a freer hand.   Mitt Romney was a lackluster candidate yet won an amazing 59 percent of the white vote.  It was monolithic minority votes that handed the Presidency to Obama.  So they can now do much more of what they basically want: Control.

“We Democrats believe that our economy can and must grow at an average rate of 5% annually, almost twice as fast as our average annual rate since 1953....We shall bring in added Federal tax revenues by expanding the economy itself.” -- 1960 Democratic Party Platform

“We will continue to use tax policy to maintain steady economic growth by helping through tax reduction to stimulate the economy when it is sluggish.” – 1968 Democratic Party Platform

“We reject ..the big government theory that says we and spend our way to prosperity..We honor business as a noble endeavor.” -- 1992 Democratic Party Platform

“Today's Democratic Party knows that the era of big government is over. Big bureaucracies and Washington solutions are not the real answers to today's challenges. We need a smaller government.” – 1996 Democratic Party Platform

“We have ended the era of big government; it’s time to end the era of old government…Democrats believe in supporting the startups, the small businesses, and the entrepreneurs that are making the New Economy go.” -- 2000 Democratic Party Platform

“We promise to cut taxes for 98% of Americans…We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation.”  -- 2004 Democratic Party Platform

Up until 2000, Democrats routinely used buzzwords like “tax cuts,” “smaller government,” and “growth” in their platforms,” beginning in the John F. Kennedy era, even through Al Gore’s “reinventing, downsize the government” campaign. Though Democrats kept the caveat that it would resort to higher taxes, as it did in 1960, if the “unfolding demands of the new decade” necessitated them, President John F. Kennedy still cut taxes and famously declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

But since 2008, the Democrats have lost their ideological bearings. The Obama Administration and now Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton are pursuing a course the polar opposite of the modus operandi of prior Democratic Administrations, when tax cuts were about igniting growth first, redistribution later. But both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to put redistribution and big government first at the expense of growth, and end up getting neither.

Both are about raising taxes when the government routinely fails to deliver a budget. For the first time in six years, both houses of Congress last May adopted concurrent budget resolutions, notes FOX News Channel’s information specialist Stephen Scarola, as the federal government continues to mistake emergency stabilization plans to handle the housing crash as growth plans.

And now, Hillary Clinton proposes a mind-boggling capital gains tax plan that involves a half-dozen rates, a plan which nearly doubles the rate for investments held less than six years.

A flip flop from when Mrs. Clinton said of the capital gains tax rate in the 2008 Democrat presidential debates: “I wouldn’t raise it above the 20% if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton Administration.”

We’ve got a U.S. tax code undermining the economy that sits at 77,000 pages, with all the statutes and regulations factored in, at seven times the length of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” Americans spend 6.1 billion hours every year attempting to comply with the revenue code, at an all in monetary cost of about $168 billion, estimates the Tax Foundation, about the size of Vietnam's GDP.

It’s a tax code written in an incomprehensible tongue and neurotically fiddled with by politicians doing the paid bidding of rent seekers seeking privileges their competitors don’t get. Entire, multi-billion dollar, unproductive industries are built, and wasted, on either complying with the code, or chasing elected officials who dole out tax privileges.

“We will protect the rights of all taxpayers against oppressive procedures, harassment and invasions of privacy by the Internal Revenue Service,” reads the 1976 Democratic Party platform. “At present, many federal government tax and expenditure programs have a profound but unintended and undesirable impact on jobs and on where people and business locate. Tax policies and other indirect subsidies have promoted deterioration of cities and regions. These policies should be reversed.”

However, now both President Obama and Hillary Clinton are about bigger government, even though the economy grew at less than 2% since 2008 and just 1.5% in the first half of 2015, a virtual standstill.

That first half performance is less than half the average growth the U.S. economy experienced, at just over 3%, from World War II to 2007.

This isn’t just the worst growth rate since World War II. It’s the worst rate of growth since the modern concept of GDP was first developed in 1934. When about half the time from 1950 to 2000, 4% growth was the norm. Most every recession since World War II saw higher economic growth, including the cataclysmic 1981 recession that saw a severe banking collapse when big money center banks, including Citibank (C), faced insolvency due to Latin American debt crisis.

That 3% growth rate would toss off another $600 billion in annual economic growth, estimates show, which would mean more jobs and higher incomes.

Today we’ve got a federal government whose spending annually equates to about 24% of GDP, up from the 19% average from 1950 to 2000. That’s a lot of capital sucked out of the private markets away from job-creating entrepreneurs who could develop the next, hot technology or medical cures, capital for the politicians to use instead to pick and choose how it’s deployed.

Taxpayers continue to pay for federal waste, anywhere from $125 billion to $200 billion, due to duplicative spending, even after the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ official watchdog, made 440 recommendations since 2009 for cut backs in 180 areas. Less than a third, 29%, of the GAO’s recommendations were fully addressed.

This, as the 2008 Democratic platform said the party would be all about “eliminating waste in existing government programs” and “pay as you go budgeting rules.”



Support the re-election of Canada's PM HARPER

A group of Canadians living in Israel has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper win re-election this October.

“As Canadians, we believe Harper is good for Canada, he is good for the Jewish community, he is good for Israel, and he is good for the world. We want to help him stay in office,” said the leader of the campaign, Dan Illouz, a strategic consultant and CEO of Di Consulting.

The crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise $20,000. The group plans to use the funds to send 10 people to Canada just prior to the election to get out the vote for Harper Canadian Jewish communities.

“One of the greatest Jewish values is to know how to say ‘thank you’ when someone does something good for you. This campaign is here to say thank you to Prime Minister Harper. People all around the world have the opportunity to participate and donate and to help us say thank you,” Illouz said.

Under Harper’s leadership, Canada has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in international bodies such as the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in June that Israelis believe the Jewish state has “no better friend than Canada.”

Harper, who leads the Conservative Party, faces a tough re-election campaign against Tom Muclair’s New Democratic Party and Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party. The election comes Oct. 19.



Why Socialist Bernie Sanders Is Wrong about Health Care Being a Human Right

People who make up human rights run a risk.  Someone else might follow on by making up a human right to (say) kill all socialists.  Socialists have repeatedly shown that they think they have a right to kill anyone they want to

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." ~Alexis de Tocqueville

Last week, National Nurses United (NNU) hosted a rally to celebrate the anniversary of Medicare. During the rally, NNU took the opportunity to host Independent-Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Sander's speech to the crowd shed further light on his socialist views on the future of healthcare in the United States.

In his speech, Sander's stated that “healthcare is a right, not a privilege of all Americans", which is far from the truth. The debate over whether or not the right to life correlates with the right to health care has been an issue since the late 1800's. The truth of the matter is that while you do have the right to your life (meaning no one has the right to murder you, force you into slavery, dictate the terms of your existence through coercion or forced aggression), this right is what is known to philosophers as a negative right; while the right to purchase and receive health care is a positive right. First, we must define what is a right, before we go any further.

According to the Markkula Institute for Applied Ethics:

" What is a right? A right is a justified claim on others. For example, if I have a right to freedom, then I have a justified claim to be left alone by others. Turned around, I can say that others have a duty or responsibility to leave me alone. If I have a right to an education, then I have a justified claim to be provided with an education by society."

Based on that definition, a negative right is a claim against being interfered with; while a positive right is a claim that requires positive action on the part of someone else. The American system is based on the idea that we have negative rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but not positive claims on others. For example, you have the right to worship as you please without interference (a negative right) but you don't have the right to force someone else to use their labor or money to accommodate you in your worship (a positive right). Philosophy expert Leonard Piekoff, PH.D touched on this issue by showing a more exaggerated example of what people feel they have the right to:

"...the American viewpoint continues, are the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. That's all. According to the Founding Fathers, we are not born with a right to a trip to Disneyland, or a meal at Mcdonald's, or a kidney dialysis (nor with the 18th-century equivalent of these things). We have certain specific rights [mentioned in the Bill of Rights]—and only these."

Thus the pretense of Sanders' statement is entirely incorrect, since no one owes you luxury cars, food, clothes, or health care. For the sake of driving this point home even further, voters in the upcoming election must realize that it is fundamentally wrong to keep anything that you have not created that others need to survive. Socialized health care is not "compulsory charity" as Democrats and Socialists (if there is any difference between the two anymore) would guilt you into believing. Its taking the financial resources of individuals to give to someone else, and in turn giving many people a poor product they didn't want to have in the first place.

An important concept to consider is that, if Americans are so focused on patient access and protection through medical coverage, who will look out for the best interest of the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals? After all, medicine is something that many students throughout the nation spend incredibly large amounts of money and many hours committing themselves to getting their degrees and becoming medical services professionals. So the greater question should be whether or not you have a right to dictate the uses of their skills and talents. Medical practices are like any other commodity or service, they come with a very real costs since doctors become doctors not simply because they just want to help people, but because they want to make a profit and a living in the process of doing so. If there isn't a way to make a living and earn a humble profit, doctors and other medical professionals would be going against their own rational self-interest by entering the profession. A looming issue with the expansion of ObamaCare is the drastic shortage in doctors the US is facing. According to a recent report covering this disturbing fact:

"... The analysis finds that exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals. Importantly, care provided by out-of-network providers does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits put in place by the ACA."

What this shows is that people are as obligated to give you health care as much as they are obligated to give you their efforts and labor as a form of economic indentured servitude. A free market approach to health care reform is the best way to allocate services and products to patients, but also looks out for health care providers so that they can work to satisfy customers while satisfying their bottom line.

In conclusion, if we all have the right to health care, then using that logic we should all have the right to drive and own a Mercedes.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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, August 11, 2015

An analysis of the Left from the Left

James Bloodworth, a British Trotskyist, unleashes below a broadside at "Comrade" Jeremy Corbyn, the current hero of the British Left. He rightly excoriates Corbyn for his antisemitism and sympathy for tyrants. Bloodworth's major point is that too much Leftist thinking is simplistic, something that is undeniably true.

It is simplistic to the point of sheer ignorance a lot of the time.  For instance, anybody who says that rent control is a good way of providing housing for the poor clearly hasn't got a blind clue about housing provision. It is in fact a good way of HALTING new housing provision.

The major form of simplistic thinking that Bloodworth identifies is the Leftist view that "capitalism" is the source of all the world's ills and that America is the home of capitalism.  So  America is public enemy no. 1.

That the government grab for the health system and the ever-more onerous regulations of the EPA have made America under Obama very little different from most European countries has escaped their notice.

Extremely simplistic thinking does have a lot of appeal. The vast bulk of the population is very poorly informed politically so simple answers can easily appear right to them.  Simplistic thinking is a good vote winner.  It will probably grab the majority of votes from welfare dependants and people in humble occupations.  And there are a lot of those.  So Corbyn and the Left generally are probably not as obtuse as they seem.  Their motto is "keep it simple and say it often". It's like a Coca Cola advertisement.  And, like Coca Cola, it sells.

Bloodworth, however, appears to be more principled and less cynical.  He actually believes that there are some groups of people that  need protection and help -- and thinks that helping them is what Leftism is all about. Like all Leftists, he thinks that taking money off "rich" people is how you do the helping but he does not lose sight of the objective.

I actually think Bloodworth is too optimistic.  I think the Left have a bigger problem than simplistic thinking.  Bloodworth seems unaware of how deeply angry many of his fellow Leftists are.  They relish destruction of the world they hate.  Their "caring" is just camouflage  for their hate.  So people who really do destroy capitalism around them -- such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez -- do genuinely seem like good guys to many Leftists, such as Corbyn.  Bloodworth underestimates Corbyn's hate motivation.  Bloodworth has the handicap of being a genuine and principled Leftist rather than being just a hater.

Until mid-2011 I was a member of a small London-based Trotskyist group. Early in that same year, as part of my propaganda efforts on behalf of the group I ended up at a meeting of the Labour Representation Committee, a left-wing faction of the Labour party, where I listened to Jeremy Corbyn deliver a rousing speech on the then raging war in Libya.

From memory, the speech was not so much anti-war, which would have been perfectly reasonable considering talk at the time of Nato intervention, as pro that country's dictator, Colonel Gaddafi. I do not remember the exact contents of the speech – it took place when Corbyn was an obscure backbencher – only that audible groans filled enlightened corners of the hall, including my own, when the left-winger began to reel off what he considered the "achievements" of the Gaddafi regime.

You might call my experience of that day the beginning of my education in the left-wing case against Jeremy Corbyn, who since then has risen from obscure backbencher to likely next leader of the Labour party.

No, Corbyn is striking a chord with Labour activists because in many respects he is correct: a Britain built on finance capitalism and property speculation will never work in the interests of the majority. That isn't Bolshevism; it's the ABC of social democracy. The problem with Labour's so-called modernisers, or Blairites, or whatever you want to call them, is that they appear to have forgotten much of this.

The best case against Corbyn is not that he is a wild-eyed socialist, but instead goes back to my initial reminiscence: he is remarkably good at proffering apologetics for dictatorship and tyranny. As well as Gaddafi, Corbyn has in recent years championed/made excuses for Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez, Russian gay-basher Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Bosnian Muslims Slobodan Milosevic and the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

He has also worked for Iranian state broadcaster Press TV (home of Holocaust deniers and other cranks) and has referred to fascistic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as his "friends".

It is this, rather than any desire to make the British economy more like that of Germany – the horror! – which ought to prevent Labour members from voting for Corbyn in the upcoming Labour leadership election. A person cannot conceivably be anti-establishment when they are so willing to line up behind some of the most atrocious "establishments" in the world.

This matters perhaps more today than it did in the past. Large swathes of the world are currently convulsed by war and/or under the boot of dictatorship. The world urgently requires a vocal and internationally minded left – a left which, while recognising imperialist follies such as the war in Iraq, never grovels to religious fascists and whose instinctive reaction to tyranny is one of revulsion rather than reverential talk about the "achievements" of this or that thuggish dictatorship – however "left" the posture of the regime in question

Unfortunately, Corbyn's indulgence of tyranny is invariably where politics takes you if you accept the increasingly fashionable view that the US is the world's most malevolent power. In building up the US as public enemy number one, the left must invent disagreements with it – and by extension Britain – to prop up an increasingly tortuous ideological house of cards.

Thus because the US is the beating heart of capitalism, it must always and everywhere be the "root cause" (you will hear that phrase a lot) of the world's problems; and by deduction, any movement that points a gun in its direction must invariably have something going for it.

To agree with David Cameron [British PM] about, say, the threat from Islamic State (Isis) is to admit there are nastier forces in the world than George Osborne [British treasurer]  and the Daily Mail [popular conservative newspaper]. And if this turns out to be true, the main enemy might not be capitalism after all – and thus the illusions begin to melt away.

It may be accurate that, as his supporters like to point out, Corbyn "actually believes in something". And yes, ideology can at times inspire tremendous good. But it can also make a person believe that a goldfish is a racehorse

This is how Comrade Corbyn, a nice man who loathes tyranny and anti-Semitism, ends up on platforms lavishing praise on tyrants and anti-Semites. And it is how some of the very best now find themselves willing on a man who consistently gives succour to some of the very worst.

The truth is that, however much a Corbyn-led Labour party might claim to be standing up for the most vulnerable, it will always and everywhere be willing to sacrifice the very people it ought to stick up for – the world's democrats, secularists, Jews, gays and women – on the ideological alter of anti-Americanism. This, as I will never tire of pointing out, ought to make Corbyn persona non grata for any principled person of the left.



China's illegals

In a tribute to capitalism, China is now a destination for illegal immigrants.  China's capitalism is far from perfect, even less perfect than U.S. capitalism, but even some capitalism has dramatic effects.  Who would ever have thought that "low wage" China would become so remunerative that people from nearby countries break Chinese law to get there?

On a quiet river bend on the China-Vietnam border, a group of people clambered up a muddy bank. They had just glided across the river from the Vietnamese side in a longboat, guided by men on both banks signaling with flashlights.

The passengers scurried over to a group of men standing by their motorcycles, climbed aboard the bikes and disappeared into the night. Two Chinese police officers in uniform, stationed at a small post near the crossing point in the border town of Dongxing, watched impassively as they rode past.

"We come every night," said one young biker with spiky hair before he rode off. "Sometimes we carry (smuggled) goods into town. Sometimes we carry Vietnamese workers."

The bikers’ illicit cargo on that late summer night last year was illegal laborers. They were headed on a 700-kilometre (440 miles) journey to the economic powerhouse of Guangdong. The province, filled with factories making goods for export, has been dubbed “the workshop of the world.”

The smuggling of illegal workers from Vietnam across the 1,400-km (840-mile) border into China is growing. Labor brokers estimate that tens of thousands work at factories in the Pearl River Delta, which abuts Hong Kong. Workers from other Southeast Asian nations are joining them.

Visits by Reuters to a half-dozen factory towns in southern China revealed the employment of illegal workers from Vietnam is widespread, and authorities often turn a blind eye to their presence. Workers from Myanmar and Laos were also discovered to be working in these areas.

Reuters found that employers supply these illegal workers with fake identity cards and sometimes confine them to factory compounds to keep them out of sight of the authorities. Chinese human smuggling syndicates, known as “snakeheads", work with Vietnamese gangs to control the lucrative trade, workers and labor brokers in China said. The syndicates take a cut of the workers' monthly wages - up to 500 yuan ($80) a month in some cases, according to one broker - and charge factory owners a fee.



Baltimore Homicide Spike Is the Harvest of Leftism

Chicago rightfully gets headlines for being America’s most prolific murder city, but three months after Baltimore erupted in flames following the death of criminal suspect Freddie Gray, the city’s total number of homicides has set an all-time city record for a three-month timeframe. The 116 homicides recorded in Baltimore from May through July included last month’s total of 43, which was its highest monthly toll since 1972.

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has already ousted her police chief and called in federal help to combat a thriving drug trade, but the city is still feeling the effects of April’s unrest — not to mention half a century of Democrat rule.

As one beleaguered city resident put it, “The ones doing the violence, the shootings — they’re eating Percocet like candy and they’re not thinking about consequences. They have no discipline, they have no respect. They think this is a game. How many can I put down on the East side? How many can I put down on the West side?”

In practically every Baltimore case, though, it was black-on-black crime that inflated the murder rate. “Black Lives Matter” has been a handy slogan for the race-baiters who descended on Baltimore, Ferguson and New York and shouted down a former mayor of Baltimore whose delusions of grandeur make him believe he’s presidential material. But one has to ask if those lives matter enough to people in the city who refuse to relinquish their status as victims.

The answer would seem to be “no.” Black lives seem to matter only when the race-baiters can make a show of things, not when blacks kill other blacks, or otherwise destroy their own neighborhoods.

There doesn’t seem to be an appreciation of life in the minds of those who feel the need to deal with their pain through overuse of narcotics — a supply bolstered by the stock taken from the 32 pharmacies looted in April. Nor is it among those who willingly mow down their drug-dealing competition in turf wars that occasionally snare an innocent victim. These are the tragedies that matter.

A few days after the riots, we observed, “For Baltimore to change, its people must change.” It’s folly to expect all the needed change can occur in three months' time, but by the same token it’s discouraging to see the city going in the opposite direction. Just getting back to normal would be fine for most situations, but the city of Baltimore cannot long function if citizens only return to the status quo that led to a city on fire.

The solution is really not difficult to grasp — better schools, more job opportunities and in-tact homes. Residents must turn away from a “thug” culture to one that values the stability of a two-parent family and works to cut down on the illegitimate birth rate. After all, seven of every 10 black lives start out from an unmarried mother and absentee father. That’s if the black lives even make it out of the womb. Without this shift in culture, Baltimore (and other Democrat-run inner cities like it) will continue to murder its future at a rate of more than one per day. It’s a grim toll, and America — the land of Liberty — can do better.




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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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, August 10, 2015

Hate-filled do-gooders

Twitter and other social media outlets seem to have a disinhibiting effect on what people say. Writers there reveal sides of themselves that we would not normally see. The comment from Australia below is therefore interesting for showing how often do-gooders reveal on social media that they are also great haters who lash out in all directions. Their belief in their own righteousness seems to unshackle them from all tolerance and decency -- and replace that with a frightening savagery.

What we are seeing there, of course, is Leftism in the wild, Leftism red in tooth and claw, Leftism with the gloves off, Leftism with the mask off.  Leftists too are great do-gooders.  Do-gooding is their stock in trade.  Presenting themselves as "compassionate" is what they do.

And in power they too are great haters and destroyers.  Mrs Obama liked nothing about America until her husband became president. And Obama's pastor ranted about "AmeriKKKa".  Obama himself is too wily to let  his hatred be seen -- though we can readily infer it.  In countries where their power and influence can cease at the next election, Leftists in a democracy have to be cautious like that.

But where they have untrammelled power we see what Leftists really are.  It took the loudly do-gooding Leftist Hugo Chavez to reduce oil-rich Venezuela to poverty -- where no amount of  money can buy many basics, such as toilet paper, and where most cars have to be bought secondhand at exorbitant prices.  And forget freedom of the press in Venezuela of course.  The more influence Leftism has, the more its hates are impoverishing and destructive.

And that regime most beloved of America's Left, Cuba, is another case in point.  Under Fulgencio Batista, Cuba was a middle-income country, on a par with Belgium.  Now, of course it is a poor country, with the basics strictly rationed and in short supply.  And Castro himself lives more opulently than Batista ever did.

I grew up in a region of Australia that produces large amounts of sugar for export.  There were three sugar mills in the town where I was born. And Cuba too was once a big sugar exporter.  So when Fidel Castro took over and was so destructive in his hates as to reduce Cuban sugar production to a trickle, there were many people in my town who had a kind word for him.  By noticeably reducing the world supply of sugar, he bumped up prices for it.  A lot of Australian sugar farmers were able to pay off their debts at that time.

So the association between do-gooding and aggressive hate has long been with us.  It has always been visible on the political scene for anyone with eyes to see.  Only now has it become so visible on the individual level.  We will see more of it

WHAT is it about goodwill that makes people go feral?  “Give, but give until it hurts,” the always well-meaning Mother Teresa taught us. But in a couple of perplexing examples just this week, that touching sentiment seems to have been somehow misinterpreted as: “Give ... until you’re inspired to hurt someone”.

Just this week, a do-gooding current affairs program inspired thousands of Australians to reach out to a suffering family, but also — probably unwittingly — inspired a bit of corporate hate.

Sharon Chan’s ordeal is tragic. The story of the pregnant Sydney mum — whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack last week, leaving her to raise two sons, one with Down syndrome and leukaemia, and another child due any day — touched so many viewers that the Rotary page set up to take donations for the family repeatedly crashed.

But the charity site wasn’t the only online victim of this injustice. Well-meaning Australians, filled with rage at Ms Chan’s situation, took to the Facebook pages of major supermarkets and other television shows as, it seemed, they felt the need to direct their frustration towards The Man.

“Give to Sharon and her boys from the ACA current affair program,” one post to Coles’ Facebook page read. “Give free groceries for her and her boys ... petrol, money, something ... show people you are not a heartless company out for profits.”

And there were others demanding the corporate giant mirror their goodwill. "Everyone in Australia is on board and you should be too. Show people you are not just about profit ... deliver free groceries for a year, or give free petrol ... you decide.”

Conservationists, also with good intentions, have been pushed to the point of being abusive this week.  Glamorous American game hunter Sabrina Corgatelli was accused of rubbing salt in the wound as animal lovers reeled from the killing of Cecil the lion.

Their protests at her posing with a dead giraffe and sharing the image online were valid — some people don’t want to see innocent and protected animals hunted for sport.

But how does Photoshopping the woman’s head onto the slain animal’s lifeless body help the cause? And then there were the shocking death threats over her proposed visit to New Zealand: “We should all book on these (hunting tours) and then when we go don’t hunt the animal hunt the **** Sabrina!!!”, “We’ll have a hunting party ready and waiting for YOU. Evil b****”, and “I will personally cut your head off and mount the **** on my wall”.

The logic here appears to be that threatening to hunt and murder a woman, and make a trophy of her genitalia, makes up for the hunting of a giraffe.

It’s charity driving us to hypocrisy and it’s all a bit weird.



More forgotten history:  The atomic bombing of Japan was just another act of bloodthirsty Leftism

It is uncontroversial that the Democrats under FDR and his successor were far-Leftists in economic policies, but it is equally true that, in Truman, they produced a great Leftist murderer in  foreign policy.  I have been arguing for years that the blockade alone had already made Japan harmless by the time the bombs were dropped but the detail below from sources from the time reveals just how unneccessary the bombing was.  A quarter of a million people -– mostly children, women, and old men – needlessly suffered horrible deaths in the blasts and firestorms. Truman didn't get as many as Hitler or Stalin but it was still mass-murder on a gigantic scale

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the atomic age, inaugurated in a radioactive blast at Hiroshima, know that the information below, which will prove shocking to some, has previously been collected, developed, verified in both newspapers and research tomes. It has been reported by time-tested journalists and noted historians. It has been confirmed and declared by top military figures and world famous political leaders. It is information that belongs to the American people, but it is information that is virtually lost to us, "disappeared" from what is well-described as our "court history," written not to shed light on events but to burnish the ideologies that be. Yes, more American betrayal.

Today's subject, then, is not only the two atomic bombs that the US dropped first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki, but also the fairy tales we tell each other about them.

To be honest, I used to believe and tell these fairy tales, too. I used to believe that the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan was a display of heroic presidential strength -- a gruelingly difficult but also moral and strategically empowering decision that ended the war in the Pacific against Imperial Japan as quickly as possible, and, most important, saved one million American men from becoming casualties in a dreaded military invasion of the Japanese main island.

If the choice is between dropping the A-bomb or losing one million Americans, there is no choice. That is, drop the Bomb and save American lives -- and countless Japanese lives which would also have been lost in any such major military onslaught. But what if there were other ways, less harmful ways, to get the Japanese to sign that surrender?

Our customary focus on the up-down decision by Truman -- see, for example, the WSJ's Bret Stephens' "Thank God for the Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't merely horrific, war-ending events. They were life-savers" --  has had the effect of blinding us to the timeline preceding Hiroshima that is marked by Japanese peace bids (in itself a shocking concept), and, post-Hiroshima, suprisingly high-level military objections to the notion that the Bomb ended the war in the first place.

Japanese peace overtures included a set of surrender terms laid out in a document sent by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to FDR in January 1945, two days before the president set off for the disastrous Yalta conference (where FDR and Churchill would, among other things, bless Stalin's seizure of territories in China and elsewhere in exchange for five days of war-fighting against Japan). FDR turned down the January 1945 surrender terms. They are, however, virtually identical to those accepted by President Truman in August 1945. In between, of course, there was more to the Pacific war than the two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. In between came the epically costly American assaults on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the liberation of the Philipines.

A terrible question forms: Was this bloody final phase of Allied and Japanese carnage actually necessary to bring World War II in the Pacific to an end? The answer that the record-less-traveled strongly suggests is, No, probably not.

It was the Chicago Tribune's Walter Trohan, who, just after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, first broke the January 1945 Japanese peace bid story. His source, later revealed, was impeccable: Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR's chief of staff. In 1965, Trohan wrote again about this January 1945 surrender bid, which was re-confirmed by MacArthur in 1953 (American Betrayal readers will relate to Trohan's discovery that the original MacArthur document had disappeared from defense department archives). His article also includes highlights from the pre-Hiroshima Japanese attempted-surrender saga that had emerged since.

The Trohan story headline on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Japanese surrender reads: "Ignored Japanese Peace Bids Plague U.S., West, with What Might Have Been."

And what might have been?

Trohan reports on a November 1944 peace bid conveyed by Swedish ambassdor to Tokyo Widar Bagge. He notes also that in 1948, Rear Adm. Ellis M. Zacharias, wartime director of the office of naval intelligence, revealed that Japan had made five secret peace bids through the Vatican and the Kremlin.

In 1947, Trohan writes, " the Japanes disclosed in Tokyo that Premier Kuniaki Koiso proposed to discuss peace with Britain and the United States in 1944 and 1945. After the Koiso government fell, it was replaced by the government of Adm. Kantaro Suzuki, who undertook the negotiations for peace through Russia."

A disastrous idea, Trohan succinctly explains:

Russia stalled the [peace] negotiations in her determination to secure a dominant position in the Orient.

Aha. As discussed in American Betrayal, Stalin, unlike his British and American allies, was not fighting only to destroy Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan (further, he was not fighting Imperial Japan at all, not until the last five days the Pacific war). Stalin was fighting to supplant them. This is a big difference, but it is seldom pondered. It means that as far as Stalin was concerned, war could easily have ended too soon -- before the Red Army had fought its way *safely* outside Soviet borders; before Communist allies were ascendant; in the case of Japan, before Stalin could enter the Pacific war under favorable conditions and, more important, seize the territories promised him at Yalta. This is something to keep in mind when trying to assess Stalin's actions, also those of his agents and assets covertly embedded in Allied (also Axis) governments, regarding the strategy, pace and scope of the Allied fight.

And what about the role the Bomb is supposed to have played in ending the war in August 1945?

Today's Gospel-shorthand tells us it was the A-Bomb, and only the A-Bomb, that forced Japan to surrender, but that is not at all what many leading military and political lights of the day believed.

The following quotations come from Herbert Hoover's history of WWII, Freedom Betrayed:

On August 19, 1945, the AP reported:

Secretary of State ... Byrnes challenged today Japan's argument that the atomic bomb had knocked her out of the war.

He cited what he called Russian proof that the Japanese knew that they were beaten before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Foreign Commissar Vyacheslaff M. Molotoff informed the Americans and British at the Berlin [Potsdam] Conference, Mr, Byrnes said, that the Japanese had asked to send a delegation to Moscow to seek Russian mediation for the end of the war -- an act that Mr. Byrnes said interpreted as proof of the enemy's recognition of defeat.

On September 20, 1945, Major General Curtis LeMay, who directed the air attacks on Japan, stated to the Associated Press:

The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war ... The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians coming in and without the atomic bomb.

Hoover adds: "There were present at this interview two American Generals who were engaged in action against Japan -- General Barney Giles and Brigadier General Emmett O'Donnell -- both of whom agreed with General LeMay."

On October 5, 1945, Admiral Chester Nimitz told the Associated Press "he was convinced that the end of the war would have been the same without the atomic bomb or the entry of the Russians into the war:" On the same day Nimitz told Congress:

The atomic bomb did not end the war against Japan. The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war. ...

Hoover quotes the memoirs of White House chief of staff Admiral Leahy, who wrote:

It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon against Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

It was my reaction that the scientists and others want to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project ...

Here is one final quotation from Admiral Zacharias from How the Far East Was Lostby historian Anthony Kubeck. In a 1950 Look magazine article called "How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender," Zacharias wrote:

The Potsdam declaration, in short, wrecked everything we had been working for to prevent further bloodshed and insure our postwar strategic position. Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia. ... I contend that the A-bombing of Japan is now known to have been a mistake ... It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds. ...

I could go on, but I think the cracks in the consensus are clear. Bomb-love is blind to the historical record.

SOURCE.  Another commentary on the matter here


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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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, August 09, 2015

The Donald and an excerpt from a Left/anarchist conspiracy theory

It's clear that democratic politics has to be centrist.  It's the only way for a politician to maximize his vote.  It's the uncommitted voter who decides who wins an election.  And by the very virtue of being uncommitted, such voters are mostly pretty centrist.  So no politician wants to rock many boats.

That process can go too far, however, so that the options at election time often seem to have a great sameness and stand for nothing distinctive.  Both options seem boring and uninspiring.  Mitt Romney was arguably one of those last time round.  Like many conservatives, I certainly could not get enthused by him.  And politics in both Britain and the USA at the moment are seen by many as very bland.  Similar trends in the two countries are not uncommon -- perhaps because of their common demographic origins. Britain has just got a Conservative Party government with full control of both the administration and the parliament so that is a good augury for America in 2016.

And for the bored voter right now there is Donald Trump in America and the unapologetic socialist Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. Both have seen huge popularity surges.  Jeremy Corbyn will almost certainly get nowhere but Trump does clearly have prospects.  Both men are seen as believing in something and saying what they mean.  Ronald Reagan is the last successful American politician with a forthright and "incorrect" personal style so that can sometimes be a big winner.  Trump is no Reagan but he could win for similar reasons.

A bland facade does not of course mean that the actions of a politician, once elected, will be bland.  Barack Obama is the past-master of presenting a bland, commonsense facade but his actions have undoubtedly been very impoverishing for Americans.  Despite continuing technological progress, it is a long time since general living standards rose in America. And that is largely because of the way Obama and his congressional allies have obstructed and destroyed job creation. A far smaller proportion of the population are in employment these days than has been the case for a long time. Finding a job has become so difficult that many people have simply given up looking for one.  Obama's statisticians count that as a policy success and remove such people from the unemployment statistics!  See:  Record 93,770,000 Americans Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Matches 38-Year Low

Even some informed political commentators fail to understand all that, however. Norman Pollack (writing below) is from the anarchist Left and what he sees is deliberate conspiracy.  He is right to see that there is what some call an Overton window of what is possible politically but simply abuses it rather than trying to understand it.  Conspiracy theories are the recourse of people who don't really understand what is going on.  They are a substitute for real enquiry. So Leftists have always been big propagators of them.  This guy sounds off his head.  He absolutely oozes hate.  He hates everybody, Democrats and Republicans alike

Republicans have had a bad rap, Democrats being equally if not more responsible for unleashing the structure, planning, and energies of militarized capitalism. Obama is the perfect embodiment of the American comprador [intermediary], a black president, an added convenience to liberals in sanctioning policies of intervention, conquest, and at home corporate consolidation (all of which he has exemplified as well if not better than any president in memory), his compradorean stature earned as the intermediary for the American war machine, foreign policy establishment, and as the mock-regulator of the business system, the seemingly benign, because of race, representative of America’s ruling class—yes, despite liberals’ denials, a ruling class to which some are members and others gladly serve.

Liberalism here is political psychopathology carried to Everest-heights, an utter sham, unworthy of even the possessive individualism Macpherson so well described emanating from a Lockean philosophic base. Our liberalism is warmed-over market imperialism zipped up militarily to stabilize a world order in which counterrevolution becomes the modus operandi to stave off decline—the more gargantuan the military forces the more safety we feel. Every push for democratization, incremental or large, is perceived as a mortal threat.

The problem is, the world can’t wait on our neuroses, actually, psychoses, after seventy years of stirred-up anticommunism which has taken its toll of shifting the political-ideological spectrum rightward. Greetings, 2016: a leadership choice so pitiful, reactionary, confrontational as to provide a macabre shadow over the land. Pity the Republicans, they do not enjoy a monopoly on war-preparation and feelings, a subservience to wealth, despisement of the environment, etc. Democrats will do in a pinch, if not already crowding them out.



Best of the First Republican Confab

By Mark Alexander

OK, the "debates" Thursday were endurance exercises, given the number of candidates on both the early and then prime-time stage. We heard from a lot of great Republicans, most of whom are conservatives and connect well with grassroots Patriots across the nation. Because, in both instances, they were answering different questions, there is not an easy "apples to apples" comparison but, as promised, I have compiled a handful of remarks from candidates on the prime-time stage that best represent their platforms.

I commend Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace for asking many good and tough questions — which you would not have heard from CNN moderators if only Democrats were on stage. I note there were some fratricidal bait questions, but most of the candidates avoided attacking each other, and focused on the serious issues threatening Liberty — the result of Barack Obama's failed domestic policies, and the abysmal failure of Obama/Clinton foreign policies.

I have only one observation about the debate between the second-tier candidates. In my assessment there was one candidate who absolutely shined above all others, and that would be Carly Fiorina, who has earned her way into the first tier. Among other things, she is the "corporate" alternative to Don Trump.

So in order of their poll rankings entering the first debate, here are just a few remarks that say something significant about each candidate, followed by my own brief assessment of who gained ground on the main stage. (You can read a full annotated transcript of the debate is posted at The Washington Post.)

Donald Trump: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. ... We don’t have time for tone. We have to go out and get the job done. ... We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly. And I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people to come into this country legally. ... [A single-payer health care system] works in Canada, it works incredibly well in Scotland. ... I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said, 'Be at my wedding,' and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice because I gave."

Note: I chose these remarks because Trump's popularity is based almost solely on his indifference to "PC" and "tone." However, the most telling thing about Trump was not in his answers, but in this question from Kelly: "Mr. Trump, in 1999, you said you were, quote, 'very pro-choice,' even supporting partial-birth abortion. You favored an assault weapons ban as well. In 2004, you said in most cases you identified as a Democrat. Even in this campaign, your critics say you often sound more like a Democrat than a Republican, calling several of your opponents on the stage things like clowns and puppets. When did you actually become a Republican?" In response, Trump said, "As far as being a Republican is concerned, I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see some of the negatives."

Jeb Bush: "I’m going to have to earn this. Maybe the barrier — the bar’s even higher for me. That’s fine. I’ve got a record in Florida. I’m proud of my dad, and I’m certainly proud of my brother... I am my own man. I governed as a conservative, and I governed effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way, and people rose up. ... The new normal of 2% [GDP] that the Left is saying you can’t do anything about is so dangerous for our country. There’s six million people living in poverty today, more than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part-time, most of whom want to work full-time. We’ve created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people, and the net result is we’re not growing fast, income is not growing. A 4% growth strategy means you fix a convoluted tax code. You get in and you change every aspect of regulations that are job killers. You get rid of ObamaCare and replace it with something that doesn’t suppress wages and kill jobs."

Scott Walker: "Let’s be clear, we should be talking about Hillary Clinton ... because everywhere in the world that Hillary Clinton touched is more messed up today than before she and the president [came to power]. ... It’s sad to think right now, but probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton’s email server than do the members of the United States Congress. ... This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and once and for all, we need a leader who’s going to stand up and do something about it."

Mike Huckabee: "It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who’s very high in the polls, that doesn’t have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead. Of course, I’m talking about Hillary Clinton. ... The problem is we have a Wall Street-to-Washington access of power that has controlled the political climate. The donor class feeds the political class who does the dance that the donor class wants. And the result is the federal government keeps getting bigger. Every person on this stage who has been a governor will tell that you the biggest fight they had was not the other party. Wasn’t even the legislature. It was the federal government, who continually put mandates on the states that we had to suck up and pay for. And the fact is there are a lot of things happening at the federal level that are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of the Constitution."

Ben Carson: "America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation. And that’s what will get us on the right track now, as well. ... If I was trying to destroy this country, what I would do is find a way to drive wedges between all the people, drive the debt to an unsustainable level, and then step off the stage as a world leader and let our enemies increase while we decreased our [military capability]."

Ted Cruz: "I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth. If you’re looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain’t your guy. ... We see lots of 'campaign conservatives.' But if we’re going to win in 2016, we need a consistent conservative, someone who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative. ... We need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling the utter the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.'"

Marco Rubio: "This election cannot be a résumé competition. It’s important to be qualified, but if this election is a résumé competition, then Hillary Clinton’s going to be the next president because she’s been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight. ... Here’s what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced. ... God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one. ... What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. Future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave the chance to live. ... I run for president because I believe that we can’t just save the American dream; we can expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before."

Rand Paul: "This is what’s wrong. [Mr. Trump] buys and sells politicians of all stripes... He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons. He’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians. ... The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence, and I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights. ... I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington."

Chris Christie: "I’m the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the ... Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted and investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th. ... This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. ... I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. ... If we don’t deal with [entitlement reform], it will bankrupt our country or lead to massive tax increases — neither one that we want in this country."

John Kasich: "The court has ruled [on same-sex marriage], and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them."



Trump: ‘I Would’ Shut Down the Gov’t to Defund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare

Donald Trump said he would support congressional action to defund Planned Parenthood even if it involved shutting down the federal government, and added that he supported doing the same to cut off funding for the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Because there were not enough votes to move the Planned Parenthood defunding bill forward in the Senate, some lawmakers have called for tying the defunding to the spending legislation needed to fund the government past Sept. 30, whether through an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

While such a legislative arrangement potentially could pass in the GOP-dominant House and Senate, the White House has stated it would veto legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. That scenario could lead to a government shutdown.



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