Thursday, May 31, 2007


You know how bad things have got when Jimmy Carter's critique of your presidency is taken seriously. This week the former US President attacked the current one, saying that, "as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world", George Bush's Administration had been "the worst in history". It's one thing to have to listen to Bill and Hillary Clinton claim that things were better when they were in the White House, but Jimmy Carter? Being told by Mr Carter that you're the worst president in history is like being told by William McGonagall that your poetry stinks.

For the younger reader, perhaps already infused with a nostalgia that recalls the 1970s as a time of peace and prosperity, a brief reminder of the golden era of Carter is in order. It wasn't all disco and flared trousers and sex without condoms. Also fashionable in those days were unemployment, inflation and communism.

The US jobless rate was more than 10 per cent. Inflation touched 15 per cent. Soviet troops marched unmolested into Afghanistan. America watched helpless as its diplomats were held hostage by Iranian revolutionaries for 444 days. In the rest of the world, from Latin America to Asia, American power yielded to the communist advance; economically, America was being bested by Japan and Germany.....

Start with economics. America is not going to be overtaken by China any time in the next century. So large is the US advantage that, even growing at 3 per cent, the country's economy adds more to the level of global activity than China does growing at 10 per cent.

Its soft power may have been attenuated these past few years, but not destroyed. Who is there to replace America? China? Do me a favour. Does anyone out there really think they would prefer to live in China rather than America? Europe? Viewed from the comforting perspective of a pavement cafe in Paris, Europe might look a more appealing place. But the continent is in the midst of a long, slow suicide; falling birthrates and a moral surrender to the forces of relativism have left it an easy prey for less tolerant cultures.

There's no denying that Iraq is a self-inflicted wound and an energy-sapping one at that. But the scale of the damage to America there can be overstated too. All we've really learnt in the past five years is that even the US is probably not powerful enough to remake 700 years of history in five years. That doesn't mean America is weak, just less strong than it thought it was.

Of course, a president, an inept one, can set back the course of a nation's progress. Like Mr Carter before him, Mr Bush's ledger is heavy on the liabilities. But America recovered from Mr Carter, thanks to good leadership and the ingenuity of a people whose great gift is their constant capacity to recreate themselves. Who's betting it won't do so again?

More here



Slouching toward mercantilism: "The false logic of mercantilism is enticing but dangerous. As David Hume pointed out in 1758, the idea that a trade deficit is bad and a surplus good is 'a narrow and malignant opinion.' Undue attention to the bilateral trade deficit with China accounts for a large amount of the China-bashing going on in Washington today. By focusing on producers who may have been harmed by trade rather than on consumers who benefit, Congress commits the same fallacy of composition that Hume exposed. Moreover, by failing to recognize the widespread benefits of trade for all nations, protectionists have lost sight of the liberal idea best expressed by Hume that 'where an open communication is preserved among nations, it is impossible but the domestic industry of every one must receive an increase from the improvements of the others.'"

Muslim hate: "Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib has been charged after he allegedly called a police officer a "piece of s---" while dining in a McDonald's restaurant last week. The former terror suspect was charged with offensive behaviour after he allegedly launched a foul-mouthed tirade at police in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown at 5.30pm on Friday. The 50-year-old from Guildford is accused of calling police "pigs" before calling one officer a "piece of s---". Police sources said that the officers came to the fast-food restaurant to investigate a separate assault matter when Mr Habib allegedly began his verbal barrage. A McDonald's spokeswoman said the officers had just ordered coffees at the outlet when the incident occurred."

Tony Blair Still Gets It: "I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry. When he had finished, I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims. What's more, British troops are risking their lives trying to prevent the killing. Why should anyone feel angry about us? Why aren't they angry about the people doing the killing? The odd thing about the conversation is that I could tell it was the first time he had even heard the alternative argument."

Facts: The enemy of the Left: "Ari Kaufman's What Conservative Media? while spot on missed the point on why so may liberal leftists think the media is balanced or conservative. They know the political `stuff' is clearly biased in their liberal leftist direction, but they are railing against the news as a whole. I first became aware of this when discussing how liberal campuses are with a liberal acquaintance of mine. He vehemently disagreed. His rationale? All those science, math, business, and medical courses that would not yield to opinion or feeling - they were by definition (for him) conservative. Over time it became clear this was not a random opinion or thought process. Liberals find things that cannot be swayed by opinion or feelings to be intrinsically conservative. Hit them with facts and more facts and eventually their response will be some form of name calling. It's all they know to do - so far. But holding my nose and dipping into the DU from time to time and there is a sense of violence in the air when too many facts are presented and name calling no longer satisfies.


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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