Sunday, November 30, 2008

Google chicanery worsens

You can read here the story about how Pamela Geller and her "Atlas Shrugged" blog have been "sandboxed" by Google -- meaning that her page-ranking has been stripped -- which in turn means that Google searches that should put her stuff on the front page of results in fact lead to her site only at the very end of the search results.

I used the search term: "couple of days ago I was wiped off google search pages". It is from one of Pamela's recent posts, a post that I and many other conservative bloggers have reproduced. And because so many people have linked to it, it should have appeared at the top of the search results. It did not. All the posts by other people (including mine) came first and the original post came up only at the bottom of the searches. So it is crystal clear that Google is now deliberately perverting its own automatic ranking system to divert attention away from blogs it does not like. And because lots of people go no further than the first page of search results, that is a very effective form of censorship. Obama is not yet even in office and the censorship of conservative speech has begun!

I wondered whether Google was doing something similar to this blog and it looks like they do. Let me explain: There are no less than five group-blogs where the owners have kindly given me posting privileges -- in addition to my own 11 regular blogs. So most days I post to 16 blogs. What I post on the group blogs are one or two cross-posts of what I think are the more widely interesting posts on my own blogs.

Since only one of the group blogs gets more readers than this one, it seems likely that their page rank should be behind this one. There are around 1,500 links leading to this blog according to Technorati -- and that is pretty good as blogs go. So anything appearing here should come up close to top in search results. I checked, however, and it did not. Results from this blog appeared LAST. I found that a post put up on one of the group blogs will be listed in a Google search result BEFORE the same post on this blog. So my page ranking appears to have been manually tampered with too.

But I am not as driven as Pamela so as long as my posts are listed at all I am happy. Most of my posts are recycled bits from elsewhere anyway and the stuff that is original to me is VERY original (What other conservative blog has extolled the Eton Boating Song, for instance?) so, for want of competition, my own thoughts should still appear well up on searches even if their page-rank is low. The time may come however when Google completely delists pesky conservative bloggers like me. America will be well on the road to Fascism when that happens.


St. Andrew's Day

As most Scots will be aware, today (30th) is St. Andrew's Day. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and St. Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day, although Burns' Night is more widely and lavishly celebrated. It is a "bank holiday" in Scotland. So I have just hoisted the Saltire of St. Andrew on the flagpole at the front of my house. I encourage others with Scottish loyalties to do likewise. I am also hoping that I will be having something Scottish for dinner tonight. I seem to be out of haggis but I do have some Forfar Bridies in my freezer -- to be had with tatties, of course.

Below is one of the great Scottish patriotic songs. Play the music, read the words and sing along:


1). Hark when the night is falling,
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Chorus: Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

2). High in the misty Highlands
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens' eyes.


3). Far off in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where the tropics are beaming
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the hameland again.


4). Hot as a burning ember, (This verse is not always sung)
Flaming in bleak December
Burning within the hearts
Of clansmen afar!
Calling to home and fire,
Calling the sweet desire,
Shining a light that beckons from every star!



BOOK REVIEW OF: Leave Us Alone by Grover Norquist

This is a book about politics in America. Norquist-the President of Americans for Tax Reform-argues there are two great coalitions struggling for control of government. They are the "Takings Coalition" and the "Leave Us Alone Coalition". After defining these coalitions, he weaves a lucid outline of the American political scene, including history, policy, tactics, demographic trends, and possible outcomes.

The book initially appears partisan as it has a clear "Republican good"/"Democrat bad" flavor to it. This is a little bit misleading, since the conflict discussed is really between the interest groups both political parties tend to represent. Norquist criticizes Republicans who have not advanced the cause of the Leave Us Alone Coalition, either in terms of policy or in terms of poor political presentation of policy. Winning an election is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

The book presents a game plan to unseat Democratic incumbents who support big government. Privatization of Social Security accounts and establishment of medical savings accounts are part of creating the ownership society discussed earlier in the Bush Administration. These are sellable ideas that can move people away from government dependency. There is also a long and coherent addressing of Federal tax policy and helpful ideas on how to reform and reduce the tax bite.

The problem is getting those who naturally support a "leave us alone worldview" to recognize the common themes in their coalition and concentrate on bringing them to the attention of the electorate. Any one who violates basic rules such as opposition to tax hikes needs to be thrown over the side so that a clear branding of ideas exists in the minds of voters. I know Grover has worked tirelessly on trying to achieve this. I believe his game plan will work. I can only hope more people will adopt it.



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Obama supporters were ignoramuses

Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows. Only 54% of Obama voters were able to answer at least half or more of the questions correctly.

The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.

"After I interviewed Obama voters on Election Day for my documentary, I had a pretty low opinion of what most of them had picked up from the media coverage of the campaign, but this poll really proves beyond any doubt the stunning level of malpractice on the part of the media in not educating the Obama portion of the voting populace," said Ziegler.

Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party, and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could "see Russia from their house," 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign. An answer of "none" or "Palin" was counted as a correct answer on the test, given that the statement was associated with a characterization of Palin.

Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden -- 83% failed to correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated international crisis during his first six months as President.

In addition to questions regarding statements and scandals associated with the campaigns, the 12-question, multiple-choice survey also included a question asking which political party controlled both houses of Congress leading up to the election -- 57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.




The Religion of Peace Strikes Again: "The attacks in Mumbai, India are the latest in the 1,400 year history of Islam and yet people continue to express surprise that the alleged religion of peace could harbor so many cold-blooded killers of innocent people. Since 9/11, Muslims have carried out more than 11,000 attacks all in the name of Islam and Muhammad. Americans got a taste of it when 3,000 of their own were mercilessly killed without warning and, I might add, without any better reason than Muhammad's call to "wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbors." With more than 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, about 21 percent of the world's population, that's a lot of neighbors and wherever Muslims are gathered in great numbers or wherever they have immigrated, the demand for unbelievers is always the same, convert or die. The death toll in Mumbai as of this writing is nearing 130 and the target area, just as with 9/11's attack on the World Trade Center, is the financial center of India. Islam takes a dim view of capitalism wherever it is practiced, but then Islam takes a dim view of everything that is not Islamic."

Hard Truths For RINOS : "After a GOP beating, there is always a debate between the people who want the party to become more principled and those who want to turn the GOP into a poll-driven pile of mush that they believe will be more appealing to centrists. The problem with this whole discussion is that the "we need to be more moderate" crowd tends to simply ignore a number of inconvenient facts that make their position completely untenable. We've already gone the moderate route -- and lost. One of the most surreal aspects of the post-2008 campaign is listening to moderates pretend that the last eight years never happened. You say that the GOP can't win as a small government party. Well, we've already tried being a big government party for the last 8 years and it failed. You think running a moderate, pro-amnesty candidate who eschews social issues is the key to winning elections? Well, that's who we ran in 2008 and he received even less votes than George Bush did in 2004"

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would be unconstitutional: "The Emoluments Clause of Article I, section 6 provides "No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time." As I understand it, President Bush's executive order from earlier this year "encreased" the "Emoluments" (salary) of the office of Secretary of State. Last I checked, Hillary Clinton was an elected Senator from New York at the time. Were she to be appointed to the civil Office of Secretary of State, she would be being appointed to an office for which "the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased" during the time for which she was elected to serve as Senator. The plain language of the Emoluments Clause would thus appear to bar her appointment ... if the Constitution is taken seriously"

Prominent conservative blog blacklisted by Google: "A couple of days ago I was wiped off google search pages. Yes, if you google Pamela Geller or Atlas Shrugs, I come up, that is not the issue. My work is not there, it does not come up in google's search results. It is critical to building Atlas that I be searchable.Youtube searches are still intact as are images. Further my google search box (left sidebar) which I use almost constantly to search my site for reasearch (as do my readers) has been dramtically affaected. Input any term, any word in my search box and the same thing comes up - FORBIDDEN."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, November 28, 2008

Lucky me!

It took them a week but Google have decided that this is not a spam blog after all. So they have lifted their restrictions. In the past, a review request to them used to produce a response within 1 or 2 days so I wonder what took so long this time. Maybe the fate of this blog had to be "kicked upstairs" to the "big boys" for a decision to be produced!


Don't know much about history--Public officials edition

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday. Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI)....

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II." Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.

Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates." In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?" ...

I think they have blundered into an explanation of liberalism. It requires an ignorance of history and economics to survive. As the recent Zogby poll indicated Obama voters were even grossly ignorant of facts related to the election campaign. What is really strange about this is that liberals tend to think they are the smartest people in the room. Go figure.



BrookesNews Update

America is in recession and the Democrat sare to make it worse: Obama's destructive economic program is causing havoc on the markets that could lead to a run on the dollar. His silence on the economy and what needs to be done is only aggravating the situation. One thing, however, is absolutely clear: Obama is utterly clueless on the economy
Why Obama's economic program will collapse: Any attempt to kick-start an economy with a program of public works, more regulations, higher taxes and greater government spending is doomed to fail. Such a program failed under Roosevelt, if failed in Japan and it will fail under Obama if he implements
Obama appoints Castro-lover as White House counsel : Obama's appointment of Gregory Craig as White House counsel is further evidence of just how leftwing - not to mention anti-American - the Obama regime could be. Craig is a truly nasty leftist and Castro-lover
The Democrats' economic stupidity and Detroit's big three : The majority of Americans are opposed to the Democrats' proposal to bailout Detroit. They are right to oppose it. The bailout would be the first of more payments all of which would be used to prop up an important Democrat constituency. If Detroit is to be then let the market do it. Any alternative is doomed to failure
Is "being born an American still first prize in the lottery of life?" : In the 1960s President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. In the end poverty grew in numbers and trillions of dollars spent did nothing more than enlarge government
The Henry Waxman wane: Henry Waxman, green fanatic, bullyboy and political bigot has been made chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Further evidence of how extreme an Obama regime will be
Evil on a Minneapolis Campus: Political bigotry on campuses is not new, it is plainly clear, in these supposed bastions of free inquiry. They've become politicized to the core. Free speech itself is imperilled by oppressive codes. Leftwing professors rule. Conservatives are muzzled. It runs one-way on campuses, fiercely anti-Republican and, in general if not more so, wildly against all conservatives
Donkeys, rinos, and pumas. Oh my! Can we be please conservatives now: The Republican Party must become the new progressive. It must shelve its clever electoral strategies and muster the courage to be faithful to its principles even if polling data says to lie, or at least equivocate
Why they quit being leftists: Marxism is based on a major intellectual mistake and on a lamentable lack of morality that inevitably led to disaster and terror. That is why the more intelligent people, and those who were genuinely interested in their neighbors, abandoned it. The book Why I Quit Being a Leftist explains that with irrefutable clarity



The Teflon President-Elect : ""How long do you think it will take for the press to turn on Obama?" a friend asked. "Eight years, if he's in that long," I told him. "Doesn't matter what happens. Either they'll blame Bush or 'circumstances beyond Obama's control' while writing articles about how heroically Obama handles them." It's already started."

Some positive thoughts: "Many Americans have lost their homes or their jobs. Many others are struggling to afford gas or groceries. These times are not easy for anyone, but we should not despair. Our lives are not defined by how much we own or where we live. Our worth is not dependent on our material possessions. Our relationship to God and to our fellow man is what really defines us. God, family, and community always remain, despite our financial difficulties. These are the things for which we should give thanks. There is a temptation to worry obsessively about our financial plight. But this temptation betrays too great a reliance on self. God knows our needs and He cares for us. The Gospel of Luke assures us that God cares for the birds of the air, the lilies, and the grass of the field and that we are more valuable to Him than they (Luke 12). He assures us that he will provide for us if we will but seek his kingdom. In good times and bad, he exhorts us to place our confidence not in ourselves but in him. We, of course, have a duty to make wise, careful decisions, but we will not add "a single hour" to our lives by worrying. (Luke 12:25 NIV) We have better things to do with our energy. Worry helps no one and harms our souls"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, November 27, 2008


I have put up a "Thanksgiving" edition of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH. Thanksgiving is of course a continuation of traditional harvest festivals. Human beings have always joyously celebrated a successful harvest and given thanks to their Gods for it. It takes the hate-filled modern-day Left to find any fault with that.


More on the emotional difference between Leftists and Rightists

What Thanksgiving has in common with Eton College!

A few days ago, I put up a post which characterized Leftism as the politics of rage. But all I said about conservatives was that they are cautious. But caution is not really an emotion. It is a disposition and some emotions have to go with that but I think I should say a little more about what those emotions are.

What I did mention is that conservatives are always shown in research as being happier than Leftists and that leads into what I think is important. Because conservatives are NOT full of rage, they feel free to enjoy whatever is around them. And one of the great satisfactions in human life is fellowship: Feeling part of a group of people whom you like or respect. So instead of screaming "racism" at every sign of group loyalty, conservatives can simply enjoy their group loyalties. They are untroubled patriots, for instance.

So American conservatives can feel warm inside to be Americans and they can greatly value the fellowship they find in their church. And where conservatives diverge most strongly from Leftists is that they can also feel a sense of fellowship and belonging with their ancestors and forebears. We often see this very strongly expressed among American conservatives when they talk about the "Founders" of the nation and the wisdom the founders bequeathed in the Constitution etc. And such thoughts are of course often to the fore on Thanksgiving day.

And another common expression of solidarity with the past is of course the great respect that conservatives pay to those who have died in war in the service of their nation. In my country, Australia, that day of remembrance (which we call Anzac day) is our only really solemn national occasion. Leftists have tried to laugh at it from time to time but it goes from strength to strength, with young people as well as old participating in the services of remembrance.

And there is no doubt that the army is always one of the most solidly conservative body of people that exists in any community. And the degree of fellowship in the army must be very close to maximal. If you pass a member of your old army unit in the street, you always stop to say a few words at least. There is a lasting bond between men who have fought together that outsiders can only dimly understand. My time in the Australian army was most undistinguished (though very fondly remembered) but I was an army psychologist so perhaps I have a little more awareness of what the army is about than most. I am certainly pleased to say that I have worn my country's uniform.

All these sorts of fellowship that conservatives feel are generally felt pretty strongly. There is often a swelling of pride and gratitude associated with such feelings. And the poor sad old Leftist is basically left out of all that. Their hate and rage bars them from feeling some of the most basic human emotions.

And I now want to give a vivid example of that: Something that Leftists will hate viscerally but which most conservatives should understand and enjoy. I reproduce below the Eton Boat Song. Eton is of course Britain's most elite school and British private schools are famous for fostering a sense of fellowship among their pupils. And you will see that vividly below. Listen to the music as you read the words and I will add a few comments afterwards. The song refers of course to competitive rowing regattas:

Jolly boating weather,
And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather,
Shade off the trees;
Swing, swing together,
With your bodies between your knees.

Rugby may be more clever,
Harrow may make more row:
But we'll row forever,
Steady from stroke to bow,
And nothing in life shall sever
The chain that is round us now.

Others will fill our places,
Dressed in the old light blue;
We'll recollect our races,
We'll to the flag be true;
And youth will be still in our faces
When we cheer for an Eton crew.

Twenty years hence this weather
May tempt us from office stools:
We may be slow on the feather,
And seem to the boys old fools:
But we'll still swing together,
And swear by the best of schools.

I went to a totally undistinguished school in a small Australian country town but that song does tend to bring a tear to my eyes. It is a powerful expression of being part of something bigger and better, and something that transcends time. I hope some of my readers get that powerful feeling too.

And note that is also a humble song. It talks of pride in a great identity but without any thought of dominating others -- which is the Leftist preoccupation. It talks of the singers as being "old fools" sitting on "office stools". There is no Fascist aggression there at all.

Yet it is a song that expressed a powerful feeling. British officers in World War I were known to go "over the top" in the dreadful charges of that war singing the Eton Boat song. That to me is a sort of nobility which I know that no Leftist egotist will ever understand.

Leftists do of course still have the normal human need for fellowship so when they do at last find an outlet for it that passes muster with them we get the completely over the top hysteria of Fascism, Nazism or Obama-worship. (Anybody who has been conned into believing that the National Socialist Hitler and the Marxist Mussolini were Rightists should read here and here)

Note: The above is a slightly expanded version of the original post



45 Years for a Joke: "If I did not laugh I should die," Abraham Lincoln once remarked. It's a concept the people of Burma understand well. One of their most famous celebrities is a comedian known for his antiregime jokes who goes by the name Zarganar, or "Tweezers." The junta that rules the country, however, doesn't appreciate Zarganar's sense of humor. Last week, he was sentenced to 45 years in jail for using the Internet to spread "disaffection" toward the government. Translation: laughing at your leaders can be a crime. More than 2,000 political prisoners are in jail in Burma, nearly double last year's number, according to human-rights workers. Zarganar is one of about 100 pro-democracy activists, monks, lawyers and entertainers who have been sentenced this month. The harshest sentences have gone to monks who helped organize the Saffron Rebellion last year, but no one has gotten off light -- one antigovernment blogger got 20 years."

Will Obama rein in America's farm stupidity? "Barack Obama yesterday introduced his new White House budget director, Peter Orszag, vowing to conduct a "line by line" review of the federal fisc. Most incoming chief executives promise that sort of thing. But here's a detail that really caught our eye: As part of his plan to kill government programs "that have outlived their usefulness," the President-elect singled out farm subsidies for the rich. If he really means it, this would be big news. Mr. Obama cited a recent Government Accountability Office report that found that of the 1.8 million people receiving farm payments from 2003 to 2006, nearly 3,000 had incomes above $2.5 million, which ought to make them ineligible for aid. Nevertheless, they cashed in to the tune of some $49 million. Having written 40,000 or so editorials against this corporate welfare over the years, we'd love to see a Democrat join the fight."

Liberalism = Genius? : "If there is a dreadfully overused word in the giddy countdown to the Obama inauguration, it is "smart." Not just "smart," but also its stronger cousins like "brilliant" and "genius." These words have been offered shamelessly for nearly every person assigned a role by President-Elect Obama. They are assembling an "all-star cabinet." This was not an honor for those having attended all the right schools, but a tribute to people who have all the "right" ideas. Liberals are smart because they're liberals. Conservative beliefs are honed from having been dropped on your head as an infant."

Google feeling the pinch (great to hear): "The company is is cutting back its workforce - although not the permanent staff. Instead, it is reducing its 10,000-strong army of contractors, who are not entitled to the same benefits as full-time employees. A spokesman for Google said: "We have been thinking for some time, before the acute phase of the economic crisis, about significantly reducing the number of contract workers." The contract staff, who are easier to shed, amount to about a third of Google's workforce and include not only programmers but service staff, such as canteen workers and campus bus drivers. As yet, the company will not specify how many will go as it tries to cut a cost base that hit $3.9 billion in the three months to September 30. "


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Reporters -- and Judges and Professors -- Are Biased

By Dennis Prager

That the news media were biased in the 2008 presidential election is now acknowledged by fair-minded people, left or right. As Time Magazine's Mark Halperin said this weekend at a Politico/USC Conference on the 2008 election: "It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business. . It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Given how obvious this bias is, the question is not whether liberals in the media tend to offer biased reporting. The question is why? Why can't liberal news people report the news without any slant? The answer is that for people on the left, all -- I repeat, ALL -- professions are a means to an end, not ends in themselves. That end is the social transformation of society, meaning the promoting of "social justice" as the left understands that term.

For most liberal news reporters, therefore, the purpose of news reporting is not to report news as objectively as possible. The purpose of the media in general and of reporting specifically is to promote social justice and the social transformation of society.

For most liberal judges, the primary purpose of being a judge is to promote social justice and transform society. That is why liberal judges are so much more likely to be judicial activists than conservative judges. Most liberal judges do not see their roles as merely adjudicating a dispute according to the law. They see their role primarily as using the law and their power to rule on the law to promote social justice.

For most university professors -- and many high school teachers, as well -- outside of the natural sciences and math, the same holds true. The task of a teacher is to teach, i.e., to convey the most important information as honestly as possible. But, again, this conflicts with the social justice goal of the left. History teachers who merely teach history are of little use to the left. History -- and English and political science, and sociology and other liberal arts -- teachers must use their classroom to produce young people who will wish to engage in society-transforming work for social justice.

For most liberals in the arts (there are very few conservatives in the arts) there is no denial of their having an agenda. They state quite candidly that the purpose of the arts is to challenge the (conservative) status quo, to raise political and social consciousness by advancing a "progressive" political and social agenda. The artist whose agenda is merely to produce beautiful art is looked upon as a reactionary buffoon, and is not likely to be taken seriously -- no matter how talented -- in the worlds of music, dance, painting, and sculpture.

Even the natural sciences are increasingly subject to being rendered a means to a "progressive" end. There was the pseudo-threat of heterosexual AIDS in America -- science manipulated in order to de-stigmatize AIDS as primarily a gay man's disease and to increase funding for AIDS research. There are the exaggerated secondhand smoke data popularized so as to decrease smoking and fight "Big Tobacco." And now we have the scientifically questionable belief in man-made carbon emissions causing global warming leading to natural catastrophe - and recommended "solutions" many of which, if adopted, will serve the goal of undermining corporate capitalism.

The best analogy of the directing of all human endeavors toward a left-wing purpose would be those early medieval centuries of European life when just about everything man made was supposed to reflect a religious consciousness. Virtually nothing stood apart from the Church. The arts were religious, the sciences were handmaidens of theology, and schools were religious in nature.

Most moderns look upon that period as a dark age -- perhaps a bit unfairly at times. But the people who most scorn what they deem the religious "Dark Ages" are trying to building a secular-left dark age in our time. Because the left is a religion, a substitute for the Christianity it seeks to displace.




I was rather pleased when Obama picked economist Larry Summers as his chief financial adviser. He is a smart and honest guy and almost certainly one of the few who actually understand what is going on in the financial world at the moment. The WSJ is also guardedly complimentary.

It is a commonplace for non-Catholics to portray the Catholic church as narrow and dogmatic. By contrast, I am sometimes amazed at how broad and tolerant the church is. It certainly does not insist on strict theological conformity among its clergy. The very different views of Hans Kung, who rejected the infallibility of the Pope, did eventually lead to him being barred from teaching theology but he is still a priest within the church. And there is here a close look at the writings of Australian priest Fr. Peter Dresser, which reveals a man who could hardly be more heretical. He clearly denies the divinity of Christ, which is central to all major Christian denominations. Even the Sydney Methodists put Ted Noffs on trial for heresy over similar views. Rome, however, seems content to let Fr. Dresser ramble on. Fr. Dresser would however make a good Anglican. Bishop Robinson, author of "Honest to God" said that God is "the ground of our being" back in the 60s and Bishop Spong also seems to have similar vaporous beliefs.

New York Christmas Boat Parade Changes Name, Loses Fans: "An annual parade of boats on a Long Island river that dropped "Christmas" from its name has apparently lost lots of supporters. About 1,000 people showed up Sunday for the Patchogue Boat Parade of Lights. That's 500 fewer than usually showed up when it was called the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade. Brookhaven-based fireworks company Fireworks by Grucci dropped its sponsorship after the Greater Patchogue Foundation removed "Christmas" from the parade's name. The change was made after some residents complained the name wasn't inclusive enough. Grucci vice president Philip Butler opposes the secularization of Christmas. His supporters encouraged area residents to stay away from the parade on Patchogue River. Organizers say the parade still was a success."

Canada takes advantage of Donk stupidity: "In a grim world economy, the news that Canada and Colombia signed a free trade agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima last week is something to celebrate. Unless you are an American farmer or manufacturer. The Canada-Colombia FTA will expand bilateral trade by lowering tariffs on a wide variety of products. Some Canadian agricultural products -- including wheat, barley and lentils -- and many manufactured goods will enter Colombia tariff-free immediately. Running in the reverse direction, Colombian producers will find a more open Canadian market and Canada's consumers will have more choice at better prices. The agreement will also give new legal protections to investment and improved market access in services. It's what you call a win-win. But not for American exporters who compete with Canadians in Colombia. Because Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blocked a vote in Congress on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, American goods will automatically be more expensive than those from Canada"

Preview of Anti-Obama Documentary Outrages Left : "John Ziegler didn't know the kind of fury the left would unleash on him when he unveiled his web video "How Obama Got Elected." The ten-minute short featured 12 interviews he conducted with Obama supporters at Los Angeles polling stations on Election Day and the final product wasn't flattering to liberals. His subjects couldn't answer basic questions like "Who controls Congress" and "Who is Nancy Pelosi" or "Who is Harry Reid." They could, however, correctly answer questions about GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and wardrobe budget without any problem. The web video spread like wildfire around the internet, getting more than 1.4 million views. As a result Ziegler's email inbox has been flooded with profanity-laced emails accusing him of racism, bigotry and hate mongering. (He submitted 25 of these emails for my review, but many of them are unprintalbe.) "Whoever started this sight [sic] is a racist!" one email sent from someone identified as Andrea Gurule said.... Ziegler argues that he never intended to make Obama supporters look bad. Rather, they could not answer the questions because the media misinformed them throughout the election."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wow! A piece of psychological research that favours Christians!

In the report below, it was found that Calvinist Christians were more perceptive. But I doubt the speculative explanation of that given below. So let me meander towards what I think is a more likely explanation. I had a Calvinist upbringing myself, though not a strict one.

I suspect that the real explanation has something to do with the type of people who are capable of being Calvinists. There are a lot of restrictions inculcated (on gambling, alcohol etc.) in that and in other strict Protestant religions. But I took to it like a duck to water. I became a VERY strict Protestant in my teens. I suspect that I am a born Calvinist, even though I am an atheist these days. I still occasionally pop in to a service at my old church -- which was originally "Wee Free", a very strict sect (No dancing, no "graven images" etc.).

So I am inclined to think that you are to a considerable extent BORN a Calvinist (or some similar strict Protestant religion). Calvinists and other strict Protestants are perfectly at home with Matthew 7:14. Note that the word there is "strait", not "straight". Maybe I am still a dour old Calvinist at heart, though I do have rather a weakness for Mr. John Walker of Scotland these days. But I still don't gamble! Bottom line so far: It is a lot more demanding to be any sort of strict Protestant than to be an atheist and perhaps that shows up in a general mental superiority among strict Protestants. Heh!

In case my reasoning above seems obscure, let me offer an Irish contribution to the discussion: In Ireland they always ask (if they don't know you) whether you are a Protestant or a Catholic. And if you say that you are an atheist, they ask you: "But are you a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?" Which is a PERFECTLY reasonable enquiry. It is an enquiry about one's origins and background. I am a Protestant atheist, and delighted to be one.

The idea that there could be a genetic difference underlying religious differences will of course seem preposterous to many but, as revelations about genetic influence pile up in both the medical genetics and behaviour genetics literature, the more one tends to throw up one's hands and exclaim: "EVERYTHING is genetic"!. Read here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here just for starters. And note that among the research revelations is a strong genetic influence on political orientation. And there is in fact specific confirmation of a genetic influence on religion.

And if one looks at the distribution of religions in Europe, the Catholic/Protestant divide is still very largely a North/South one -- with the native populations of the most Northerly (Scandinavian) countries being something like 98% Protestant (though mainly nominally so these days). And there are also clear North/South racial differences. Inhabitants of Naples and inhabitants of Oslo tend to look and behave very differently. Clearly, genetics is not the whole of it but I am still inclined to the generalization that Protestantism is a form of Christianity that the Northern Europeans evolved to suit their own natural inclinations. Luther survived where Savonarola did not because Luther's surrounding population were immediately sympathetic to his views -- and that included his King (Frederick the wise of Saxony) -- who zealously protected Luther from all those who wished him ill. And in another largely Saxon country (England) the Lollards long preceded Henry VIII.

I write at great length about apparent Teutonic (Northern) psychological differences here
It might be cliched to say that religious people see the world differently, but new research finds that Dutch Calvinists notice embedded visual patterns quicker than their atheist compatriots.

Culture has long been known to distort visual perception, says Bernhard Hommel, a psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who led the new study. For example, one previous experiment found that Asians tend to dart their eyes around a photograph, while North Americans fix on specific people. To see if religious differences might skew perception, Hommel's team tested 40 Dutch atheist and Calvinist university students, who, religion aside, had similar cultural backgrounds.

On a computer screen, Hommel's team showed participants a large triangle or square made of either smaller triangles or squares. The volunteers had to focus on either the big object or its component shapes, and indicate whether they were square or triangular. Both groups recognised the large shapes more quickly than small, embedded ones, but the Calvinists picked out the smaller shapes 30 milliseconds faster than atheists, on average - a small, but significant, difference.

This could reflect a greater focus on self than external distractions for Calvinists, says Hommel. He suggests it may even be a cognitive consequence of their religion and speculates that Calvinists might be more inward looking than atheists because they have lived their whole lives with an emphasis on minding their own business.

In the future, Hommel plans to give the same test to Catholics, as well as Muslims and Jews, but he must first figure out how to eliminate other cultural differences that could mask any insights. "It doesn't make any sense to compare Iranian Muslims with Dutch atheists," he says.

"This is a thought-provoking study," says Ara Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. "Their finding is consistent with the literature on cross-cultural cognition - that cultural traditions involving independent view of the self, such as Calvinism, encourage a more feature-based processing style."




Once again I find conservative fundraising to be moronic. I clicked on the link to subscribe to National Review and what did I get? "Page not found"! I donate to a lot of conservative causes and I would say that about half of my attempts to donate fail to go through for one reason or another. Why are the advocates of capitalism such inefficient capitalists?

Stop the Presses! AP's Important Story: Obama Had Corned Beef Sandwich for Lunch: "Ya gotta hand it to them. The Associated Press knows how to cut out all the extraneous background noise and get right to the important issues of the day. Barack Obama will surely be in the center of the vortex of some of the most important decisions in the world during the next four years and even his preparations for taking office are vitally important as a marker to what he might do in office. There are wars and rumors of wars, disasters and relief efforts and historic decisions will soon be made. But no decision is so important, as the AP dutifully tells us, than the one of what the president elect had for lunch. The shocking, heartwarming and resolute decision the leader of the free world. no the leader of all mankind. made for his lunch was apparently a corned beef sandwich."

Obama and Government Job Creation: "Media sources seemed to be thrilled that Obama is promising to save or create millions of new jobs. The only problem is they seem to purposefully fail to mention that these will primarily be government jobs. The AP is typical of the style of reporting: "On Saturday, Obama announced his plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs by investing billions of dollars to rebuild roads and bridges, modernize schools and develop alternative energy sources and efficient cars. "These aren't just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis. These are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long," Obama said in the weekly Democratic radio address. A video was available on Obama's transition Web site." Nowhere in the 14 paragraph article, is it mentioned that the jobs Obama plans to create are entirely in the public sector. But it's not limited to the AP. The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and NY Times described Obama's plan similarly to the AP, without mentioning that these were public sector, or government jobs."

Obama not strictly a socialist: "Accusing Obama of socialism is unwise for three reasons: 1) It's not true, and 2) it makes the accuser sound like an idiot, and 3) it distracts from Obama's true inclinations, which are worrisome enough... His biggest shortcoming is a common one in his party: the assumption that every problem can be solved by government intervention, and that if a little intervention is good, more is better.... This belt-and-suspenders approach reflects a familiar liberal vice: the insatiable urge to meddle. It's like the team owner offering the coach a generous new contract if he wins the championship -- and then dictating the starting lineup and the play selection for the entire season. It presumes that the government knows in advance the right mix of changes to achieve cleaner energy use at the lowest cost, which neither it nor Stephen Hawking nor anyone else does... Obama exhibits blithe confidence in the government's power to take economic problems and make them better. He will fare better if he keeps in mind its unbounded capacity to make things worse. For that you don't need socialism."

Hard Times For Lefty Peaceniks: "Mr Obama has moved quickly in the last 48 hours to get his cabinet team in place, unveiling a raft of heavyweight appointments, in addition to Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. But his preference for General James Jones, a former Nato commander who backed John McCain, as his National Security Adviser and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a supporter of the war, to run the Homeland Security department has dismayed many of his earliest supporters. The likelihood that Mr Obama will retain George W Bush's Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has reinforced the notion that he will not aggressively pursue the radical withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq over the next 16 months and engagement with rogue states that he has pledged. Chris Bowers of the influential blog complained: "That is, over all, a centre-right foreign policy team. I feel incredibly frustrated. Progressives are being entirely left out of Obama's major appointments so far.""

An unexpected change: "We should all let President-elect Obama have some honeymoon time, but that said, so far the sudden cessation in 'hope and change' that became part of the American mindset for two years is surreal, and one of the most remarkable developments in recent American political history. Obama's Clintonite appointments, his reliance on those well-known DC fixtures credentialed by Ivy League Law Schools, and his apparent backtracking on radical tax hikes on the "wealthy", instantaneous shut-down of Gitmo, prompt withdrawal from Iraq, and repeal of anti-terror legislation seem to have delighted conservatives, relieved that the Daily Kos and Huffington Post are not calling the shots."

Florida towing company owners charged with hundreds of felonies: "Towing company workers regularly took down the tow-away signs in a Boynton Beach parking lot to lure unsuspecting parkers, and then replaced the signs after they removed the cars, police said Friday. After a months-long investigation, police on Friday arrested the company owners, Debra Corti, 48, her son Leonard Corti, 30, and her daughter Jessica Corti, 26, on more than 500 charges, including 390 felonies..."

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


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, November 24, 2008

In Defense of "The Oogedy-Boogedy Branch of the GOP"

Every time the GOP takes a beating at the ballot box there are calls to get rid of those doggone social conservatives -- or as Kathleen Parker refers to them, the "oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP." This is a fascinating argument -- well, fascinating if you like watching people who don't even realize that they're doing little more than projecting their own personal biases onto the Republican Party and calling it political strategy.

Atheists, agnostics, Elvis worshippers, Jedis, Satanists -- it doesn't matter; they're all welcome in the Republican Party (Ok, not the Satanists so much. They're creepy losers). However, we live in an overwhelmingly Christian nation founded on Christian principles -- and reaching out to people who have Christian values makes so much sense that even the Democrats hold their nose and do it -- a little.

Additionally, maybe it's just my imagination, but didn't we just run a candidate for President who's notoriously unfriendly to social conservatives? I'm also pretty sure I remember some sort of "wrinkly white haired guy" who almost completely ignored issues like gay marriage and abortion on the campaign trail, even though Obama had huge weaknesses on those issues. So, if a non-socially conservative GOP is such a huge winner at the polls, shouldn't John McCain be gleefully preparing to knife the conservative movement in the back from the White House -- as opposed to gleefully preparing to knife the conservative movement in the back from the Senate?

I guess that's one of those questions we'll never be able to answer. You know, sort of like: if socially conservative issues like opposition to gay marriage are such huge political losers, how is it that those issues keep winning at the ballot box? Moreover, why is it that Barack Obama -- who has done everything except be a flower girl at a gay wedding to let people know that he really supports gay marriage -- adamantly claims to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman? This is not exactly up there with the Bermuda Triangle on the mystery meter, my friends....

If the GOP is going to tell 26% of American voters to take a hike, who, pray tell, are we going to replace them with? The 500,000 people who voted for Bob Barr? Maybe we can get Scott McClellan, Colin Powell, and Christopher Buckley to start voting Republican again. That's not quite 26%, but it's a start, right?

It's also worth noting that if the GOP wants to reach out to demographic groups that we're not doing very well with, like Hispanics and black Americans, socially conservative issues are one of the best ways to do it. "About one-third of Catholics in the United States are now Hispanic." Moreover, 90% of Hispanics are members of some branch of the Christian faith. The same goes for black Americans, "85 percent (of whom) say religion is very important in their lives."

More here


Lessons from Britain Could Save the GOP?

Much has been written lately regarding how the Republican Party might re-form itself into a winning operation. Of course, this debate has been around for a long time, but our recent losses have reignited the debate. This time, however (perhaps having learned from liberals that "progressive" sounds better) -- the moderates have re-branded themselves as "modernizers", "reformers", or "pragmatists". And to give their revolution some historical credibility, they have given themselves a new hero: British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron.

Cameron has repositioned his party closer to the center of the political spectrum. However, moderation in itself has not always worked for him. In fact, one of his biggest plans to seize the middle-ground blew up in his face. After his election as party leader, Cameron almost immediately adopted environmentalism as his key issue and launched a new party slogan: "Go Green, Vote Blue" (Blue being the color symbolic of the party). That slogan is long gone today (it's one of the few pieces of the Cameron experiment not to have succeeded). Now, to be sure, environmentalism is still a big part of the party's appeal. Actually, the party has always been seen as strong on that front considering the left-wing Labour Party's association with not-so-green labor interests such as coal miners. However, it is still safe to say that the "Go Green" marketing gimmick flopped.

Most of the program did, however, succeed. If you go to the party's website or watch their ads you will see a much more hopeful message than you did a few years ago. Gone is the old logo, a rather intimidating hand grasping a torch. It has been replaced by a very happy-looking tree. Everything about the new message is hopeful, sunny, and forward looking -- and the focus is now on "quality of life" issues like family, healthcare and education. Granted, the old "taxes and national security" message is still there, but it comes packaged as part of a larger message that the Conservative Party cares about people. Cameron also makes a point of being modern and tech-savvy, as illustrated by his "WebCameron" video blogs. These are all fantastic moves, and the Republican Party should move quickly to implement them (of course, technology is philosophically neutral). By the way, the people who are broadening this discussion here in America are conservative governors like Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal. They are the real "American Camerons" in my mind.

Another big part of the Cameron approach was solidify and reassure all wings of his party, including the "traditionalist" right wing. In fact, one of the first moves was to give plum positions in his "Shadow Cabinet" (essentially the cabinet in-waiting) to the two right wingers he defeated to win the party leadership. Runner-up David Davis was given the hugely powerful post of Shadow Home Secretary, while third place candidate Liam Fox became Shadow Secretary of State for Defense. Furthermore, two of Cameron's predecessors as party leader scored influential positions as well, with William Hague (leader from 1997-2001) becoming Shadow Foreign Secretary and Iain Duncan Smith (leader from 2001-2003) heading up the party's new Social Justice Policy Group. All of these people became genuine players on the Cameron team, and Cameron has benefited from this inclusive approach. Far from jettisoning the right wing or the traditional leaders, Cameron has made a point of including them in his revolution.

Another thing that David Cameron would never consider is taking social issues off the table. In fact, he is largely responsible for putting them back on the table as a way of making his party look more compassionate than the left wing alternatives. Now, the Brits don't deal with the same social issues we do - abortion is considered a non-issue and the main issue is keeping marriages and families from breaking apart rather than debating gay marriage. However, Cameron has revolutionized the social debate by hijacking the left wing term "social justice" and lumping the protection of marriage and the family in with other "social justice" issues such as healthcare and education. Of course, that wasn't really a Cameron idea. It was the brainchild of the more "traditionalist" former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who founded the "Centre for Social Justice".

Cameron saw the genius of Duncan Smith's idea, made it a major piece of the platform, and put Duncan Smith himself in charge of party policy on that front. So, again, Cameron didn't throw the SoCons overboard - he incorporated them, revitalized them, and utilized them to his advantage. In fact, family issues seem to animate Cameron like few others. Watch his recent rant about a high-profile domestic violence case and British social services - I don't think anyone can say with a straight face that this man doesn't care about social issues.

On some issues, Cameron has even put forward some proposals that (for Britain) are extremely conservative. For instance, he has been extremely solid on reforming the UK's bloated welfare state. Instead of swinging to the center and embracing these big government programs, Cameron is proposing a welfare-to-work program he says is "the biggest shake-up of the welfare state for 60 years." One might point out that Margaret Thatcher took office only 29 years ago, so if Cameron can live up to his rhetoric, then he actually intends to go further than Thatcher in his crusade to get Brits off welfare.

The key thing to remember about David Cameron is that he dramatically changed the way his party approaches the issues. He shifted the focus onto new issues and made conservatives think of themselves as smiling, forward-looking change agents rather than brooding, tax-obsessed fear-mongers. Still, he didn't change the basic values that the party holds dear. In a lot of ways he's like Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Both are seen as a little moderate because they try to be optimistic pragmatists rather than ideologues, but they also fit into the broad conservative mainstream in their respective nations.

More here



As readers here are presumably aware, I no longer maintain a specialized Obama site. Any comments from me about Obama now appear here on this site. There are however other Obama-focused sites still up. This one has some good posts up

An amusing solution to traffic problems here. Have the government design and build the cars! You will be lucky to get one and they will break down all the time.

Stupid Leftist attempt to drive away Britain's best industries rolled back: "Alistair Darling will announce tomorrow he has bowed to the threat of businesses quitting Britain by saying he will introduce a tax exemption on foreign dividends. The move on foreign dividends, for which businesses have campaigned hard, was rejected last year by Treasury ministers, who warned that the cost of such an exemption would run into hundreds of millions of pounds. But the chancellor's move, to be unveiled in his prebudget report, underlines the government's determination to present its fiscal plan as business-friendly and to avoid a haemorrhaging of tax revenues as a result of companies moving abroad. In recent months several high-profile companies have announced that they are moving their headquarters to other countries, including WPP, Shire, United Business Media, Charter, Regus and Henderson. Darling's advisers hope the exemption to be announced tomorrow will stem the flow."

Good! New privatizations to help offset bank nationalizations in Britain: "A string of state-owned household names including the Met Office, mapmaker Ordnance Survey and the Forestry Commission, are being prepared for sale by the government in the next two years to raise cash for the stretched public purse. Alistair Darling, the chancellor, is thought to have drawn up a list of 10 companies to offload, including the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. He will outline the programme in the prebudget report tomorrow alongside details of a Whitehall efficiency drive. Several companies will now be groomed for sale by the Shareholder Executive, the body charged with improving the government's performance as a shareholder. Many of the smaller assets being considered for sale were sized up by the Conservatives in the mid-1990s, when Lord Heseltine succeeded in privatising the commercial arm of the Atomic Energy Authority but failed to sell the Forestry Commission. Channel 4 is excluded for the moment but will be assessed by the new communications minister, Lord Carter, before a decision is made. A backlog of maintenance will probably keep British Waterways from being sold, while the Royal Mint and the Land Registry are more likely to be offloaded."

Jobs bonanza for British pen-pushers: "There has never been a better time to look for a new job - so long as you are an equality and diversity manager, a home-to-school transport service manager, or a senior play pathfinder. While thousands of private sector workers are being made redundant, local authorities and government departments are still creating a plethora of obscure pen-pushing posts at taxpayers' expense. These roles offer salaries of up to $100,000, a 37-hour week and enviable job security. Jobs on offer range from an integrated whole systems care pathway manager at Camden Primary Care Trust to an appointment for a principal nuisance response officer at Reading borough council. According to the council, the latter "exciting" role entails the management of three nuisance response officers as well as three "advice shops" as part of an effort to devise solutions to antisocial behaviour. A spokeswoman for the council - whose members have recently called for officers to "maximise efficiency" in the face of a bleak financial outlook - defended the appointment, saying: "The job is definitely an essential job which the council needs and is vital to the service." The London borough of Newham seems to be undaunted by tough times. Last week the council found $80,000 to create a post as a casework support services manager for a burgeoning team of administrators, co-ordinators, occupational therapists, handymen and surveyors within its Home Improvement Agency (HIA)."

Richly rewarded bureaucrats in Britain: "Nearly 200 public sector "fat cats" are earning more than [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown, according to a new rich list published today. Executives paid at the taxpayer's expense are enjoying record salaries, huge bonuses, job security and perks that are the envy of those in the business world. The list identifies 387 people earning more than $300,000 a year. Half of them earn more than the prime minister, who is paid $350,000. Four receive packages totalling at least $2m. James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), the agency charged with introducing the ID card, enjoys a home-to-work travel allowance of $20,000, equal to the salary of an office junior in many firms. The public even has to fork out for the 40% tax on this perk. Hall, 54, has need of the allowance as the owner of Barlaston Hall, an 18th-century pile in Staffordshire which is 160 miles from his office in Whitehall... Bernard Herdan, 61, a fellow IPS director who lives in a former Victorian rectory in the Bedfordshire village of Swineshead, received a $20,000 home-to-work allowance as part of his $300,000 package."

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to get life saving anti-sniper device : "British and American forces fighting the guerilla insurgence in Iraq and Afghanistan could soon be protected by an anti-sniper device that can pinpoint the position of the shooter within a fraction of a second. The palm-sized device designed by Qinetiq, the British defence firm that was once the government research laboratories, is pinned to the uniform and uses acoustic technology to calculate the exact position of the rifle fire. Then a electronic voice passes on the "bearing and range" to the soldier allowing him to jump to safety and return fire. The machine has already been purchased by the Americans for deployment in the New Year and the British are looking at a vehicle mounted version. After roadside bombs, snipers have been the biggest cause of the 301 British fatalities in both wars, and army chiefs are convinced the device could save dozens of lives."It is all about saving guys' lives," said Don Steinman, one of the leaders of the project at Qinetiq North America who developed the device called EARS for Early Attack Reaction System.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do the Obama crowd really love Europe?

I reproduce below a small part of a very erudite essay by John Fonte headed: "The World is My Constituency. Are liberals rejecting the liberal-internationalist tradition?". Fonte claims, rightly, I think, that the Democrat elite these days don't really like Europe very much after all. They want to build an entirely new world system and Europe plays only a small part in that.

What I think Fonte misses is WHY the Donks have that focus. It is simply that they are anti-American. Europe served for a while as an alternative model to the USA, just as the Soviet Union did in earlier times. But in the end the USA and the EU are too similar. France has done a lot of privatization, Germany always was very capitalist and there is more school choice in Sweden than there is in the USA. And one part of the EU (Britain) even speaks English!

So what the Democrat elite propose instead is a system that is altogether new -- something very different from anything that has gone before -- a "new world order" (to use a much abused phrase). They want an internationalized world where all local or national loyalties are gradually erased or made irrelevant. The outlines of this new global system are of course vague and it is truly amazing that the one part of such a system that actually exists right now -- economic globalization -- somehow does not seem to be part of the deal. Expecting consistency from Leftists is too much to ask, of course.

But in the most basic way, they ARE consistent: Their focus is really on the USA as it exists today, not on anything outside it. "Non-American is good" is their underlying theme. And since the USA is a major player in economic globalization, their hostility to economic globalization is perfectly consistent. So in the end they are typically American, whether they like it or not. As Fonte also notes: "The same Harris poll asked: "Do you think of yourself more as a citizen of the U.S. or a citizen of the world?" The result among registered voters: 83 percent American citizens".

So the Donks are just as America-focused as any other American. It is just that their focus is negative. Instead of loving America they despise it -- and anything non-American will do in a pinch as an alternative. The "global" ideal is just a vague version of extreme anti-Americanism.

They cannot openly acknowledge the depth of their anti-Americanism, of course. Americans are overwhelmingly a patriotic people so to set out openly how much they despise America would be electoral death. But Leftism just IS hatred of the status quo and America is a very large lump of the status quo.

It is interesting that right up to JFK, the Democrats were vocally patriotic. They were less extreme in those days. In those days they hated only some parts of the prevailing system. Now they hate just about all of it. And Sarah Palin embodies all that they hate. That they hate her there is no conceivable doubt and that she also embodies traditional America is also clear.
`We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy," declared Barack Obama in accepting the Democratic nomination. Is that still true? Peter Beinart analyzed the liberal-internationalist tradition in the summer issue of World Affairs, arguing that Wilson and FDR's optimistic vision of liberal internationalism, grounded in collective security and collective peace, confronts a rival Republican vision that he correctly describes as "conservative internationalism" rather than isolationism. The Republican internationalist tradition, from Henry Cabot Lodge to Reagan to McCain (as opposed to the more anti-interventionist Borah-Taft-Paul school), sees the world as a dangerous place. It is less optimistic about human nature and focused more on military alliances than on international institutions, Beinart tells us. Fair enough.

The problem with Obama's oratory and Beinart's thesis is that the traditional framework of liberal internationalism is dying. Liberal internationalism is first of all inter-national, concerned with relations between sovereign nation-states. As practiced by Wilson, FDR, and Truman, liberal internationalism meant American leadership while working with other nations in alliances and in creating new international organizations to promote peace and collective security, such as the United Nations. While they were unquestionably internationalists, those Democrats were also nationalists, pursuing American interests and willing to use force to secure them. While they were mostly Wilsonians, to borrow Walter Russell Mead's formulation, they were also quite willing to employ Hamiltonian (which is to say, economic) and defense-oriented Jacksonian means. Mead specifically mentions the World War II bombing of Japanese and German cities as a Jacksonian turn. In sum, they were national progressives, not transnational progressives.

Today, in the major precincts of mainstream American liberalism, the merely international is passe; the transnational, or global, is ascendant. As John Ruggie of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government puts it, "Postwar institutions including the United Nations were built for an inter-national world, but we have entered a global world. International institutions were designed to reduce external friction, between states; our challenge today is to devise more inclusive forms of global governance."

Typical of leading law-school opinion is a comment in May 2008 by the dean of Georgetown University Law School, Alexander Aleinikoff, who was general counsel of the immigration service under Clinton. Aleinikoff envisions new transnational political authorities above and beyond American constitutional democracy. He writes that we should expect the "development and strengthening of other political institutions - regional, transnational, some global . . . exercising what will be perceived as legitimate legal and coercive authority. . . . That is, a decline in citizenship in the nation-state is likely to be accompanied by new kinds of citizenships associated with `polities' that tax and spend, organize armies and police, establish courts, and promulgate what are perceived to be binding norms. There is no reason that standard accounts of citizenship that link governance and a people cannot be stated at the appropriate level of abstraction to apply to new forms of political association." Aleinikoff's account may be read as both predictive and normative, an indication that American elites not only believe that our constitutional democracy will be subordinated to global authorities but also desire that this come to pass....

All indications are that an Obama administration will move beyond traditional liberal internationalism of the Wilson-FDR-JFK variety to transnationalism. Ultimately this means that the evolving norms of international law would trump the U.S. Constitution.

A Harris poll taken for the Bradley Project on America's National Identity (I participated in the project) asked: "When there is a conflict between the U.S. Constitution and international law, which one should be the highest legal authority for Americans?" Sixty-six percent of registered voters preferred the Constitution, 16 percent put international law first, and 17 percent were undecided. The same Harris poll asked: "Do you think of yourself more as a citizen of the U.S. or a citizen of the world?" The result among registered voters: 83 percent American citizens, 12 percent global citizens, 4 percent not sure.


Interviews With Obama Voters

On Election day twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted, to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. The rather shocking video below seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not.

(Via Right Bias)

Rather amazing that they think the GOP currently controls Congress. On the other hand, it is rather cheering to think Pelosi & Co have made so little impact. And the fact that Sarah Palin so strongly made it through into consciousness is very encouraging if she runs in 2012. No wonder the Donks and the media (but I repeat myself) are so afraid of her.



Tim Blair has a good laugh at the lily-livered shrieks emanating from the Left over Sarah Palin's visit to a turkey slaughterhouse. How do they think turkey arrives on their Thanksgiving dinner plates? Let them all eat vegie-Turkey (presuming there is such a thing)! Aborting healthy babies is no trouble to them but killing a turkey is like Wow!

Lawyer says alcohol testing device is "racist"‏: "A lawyer representing a man charged with drunken driving claims Connecticut's breathalyzers discriminate against blacks. Attorney James O. Ruane represents 40-year-old Tyrone Brown of Norwalk, who was arrested April 9 by state police on Interstate 95 in Fairfield. In a motion filed Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, Ruane asked a judge to suppress his client's breathalyzer test results. He contends the device used by state police and most local police departments, the Intoxilyzer 5000, discriminates against blacks. Ruane says research shows that the lung capacity of a black man is 3 percent smaller than a white man and, therefore, black men's test results vary from the sobriety standard set by the device."


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)