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Thursday, 8 December 2011
Dumb and Institutionally Dumber
Topic: Decline of the West


Barack Obama is not a stupid man, but his administration is surely one of the dumbest in the history of the American presidency. Here’s a minor but telling example:


Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home.


During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.


I imagine some DoD bureaucrat sitting at his desk, straining mightily to come up with a way of describing the Fort Hood massacre without offending “moderate Muslims.” A long silence—then a sudden snap of the fingers! “Hey, let’s call it ‘workplace violence!’” And the chump who came up with this bright idea probably has a master’s degree in international relations from Harvard or Columbia.


Of course all government is bureaucratic, hence prone to stupidity. But add a big pinch of political correctness and you get such tasty tidbits as “man-caused disaster” and “workplace violence” in place of the less sensitive but far more accurate term “Islamofascist terrorism.”

Posted by tmg110 at 9:53 AM EST
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It's News to Them
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Stop the presses! This just in:


[N]early all job growth in the United States comes from entrepreneurial startups, which by their nature are products of Main Street. It is equally significant that more than 90 percent of the entrepreneurs responsible for job growth come from middle-class or the top end of lower-class backgrounds. Less than 1 percent of America’s job-creating entrepreneurs come from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds.


If you think I lifted this from a GOP press release, you’re wrong. In fact it comes from an article by David Korten and John Cavanaugh in Nation of Change, a progressive on-line screamer. NoC has been loud, not to say hysterical, in its support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, so why this wet kiss for the bourgeois bloodsuckers, er, entrepreneurs of America? Why, because they’re not “U.S. transnational corporations.” Main Street, not Wall Street—get it?


So far, so good. I’m all in favor of policies that support entrepreneurs and small business generally. But hold on! It turns out that Korten and Cavanaugh are merely attempting to enlist Main Street into the Vanguard of the Proletariat. Here’s their seven-point program to foster entrepreneurship in America:


  1. Redefine our economic priorities by replacing financial indicators with real-wealth indicators as the basis for evaluating economic performance.
  2. Restructure the money system to root the power to create and allocate money in Main Street financial institutions that support Main Street job creation.
  3. Restore the middle class by restoring progressive tax and employment policies and a strong and secure social safety net.
  4. Create a framework of economic incentives that favor human-scale enterprises that are locally owned by people who have a natural interest in the health and well-being of their community and its natural environment.
  5. Protect markets and democracy from corruption by concentrations of unaccountable corporate power.
  6. Organize the global economy into substantially self-reliant regional economies that align and partner with the structure and dynamics of Earth’s biosphere.
  7. Put in place global rules and institutions that secure the universal rights of people and support democratic self-governance and economic self-reliance at all system levels.


Even when they start with a valid premise, progressives can’t help drifting off—no doubt on a cloud of marijuana smoke—into leftie la-la land. How to support small business? By redefining our economic priorities! By organizing the global economy! By securing the universal rights of people! In short, by enormously expanding the power of government! Why, an ambitious entrepreneur with a good idea should welcome the help of the Department of Human-Scale Enterprises!


What a bunch of dorm room bull session baloney. If this is the best that the Revolution can do, Wall Street has little to worry about.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:51 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2011 9:01 AM EST
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Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Day of Infamy, 1941-2011
Topic: Freedom's Guardian

The USS Arizona (BB-39) as she appeared at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A battleship of the Pennsylvania class, she was constructed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and commissioned in 1916. Between 1929 and 1931 she was thoroughly modernized, emergining in the configuration depicted in this photo. (Note the tripod masts topped with gunnery control positions and the aircraft catapults on the after turret and fantail.) The Arizona is shown here at sea in Hawaiian waters on a gunnery training exercise.

On December 7, 1941, the Arizona was lying at anchor in Pearl Harbor. After several bomb hits and near misses that caused minor damage, she was struck by a bomb that penetrated the deck armor and detonated the ship's forward ammunition magazine. The Arizona blew up and sank, taking 1,117 of her crew with her. Her wreck still lies on the bottom at at Pearl Harbor, marked by a memorial to the crewmen who remain entombed within her hull. December 7, 1941-December 7, 2011. Lest we forget.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:13 AM EST
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Monday, 5 December 2011
There's Stacey, Then There's Tracy
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Though I believe it’s true that kooks like Stacey Hessler typify the Occupy Wall Street movement, It’s nice to learn that there are exceptions. One of them is Tracy Postert, an OWS protester who parlayed her activism into a Wall Street job:


[Postert], who has a Ph.D. in biomedical science specializing in pharmacology, was unemployed and had all but given up on finding work in her preferred field of academia when she joined the movement in October.


She held signs that read, “Reagan sucks,” and, “I’ll vote after the revolution.”

But she said she still needed to get a real job. So she made a new sign.


On the front, she wrote, “Ph.D. Biomedical Scientist seeking full time employment,” and on the back, “Ask me for my resume.”


It caught the eye of Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst for John Thomas Financial Brokerage. The exec wasn’t looking to hire, but he took Postert’s résumé anyway.


That was Oct. 22, Postert’s Day 10 as an Occupier.


The next day, Kaufman, impressed by her CV, sent her an e-mail asking if she’d like to come for an interview.




 “I had been unemployed for so long, I thought why not?” said Postert, adding that she is in her 30s and has no background in finance or business.




Kaufman offered her a job as a junior analyst evaluating medical companies as potential investments.


Postert said the decision to accept was painful.


But practicality won out.


So goes the story in today's New York Post. She’s been on the job for three weeks now. Great story, eh? Just goes to show that for those who take the initiative, America is still the land of opportunity. Welcome to the Dark Side, Tracy!

Posted by tmg110 at 2:31 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 5 December 2011 2:38 PM EST
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Howard Claims Immunity
Topic: Decline of the West


So Ambassador Howard Gutman, the US diplomat who stepped all over it by blaming anti-Semitism on Jews, is defending himself by noting that he himself is Jewish and what’s more, he’s the son of a Holocaust survivor. Therefore, presumably, he can say whatever he likes about Jews and Israel, however false and offensive. “I strongly condemn antisemitism in all its forms. I deeply regret if my comments were taken the wrong way,” he piously declared. “My own personal history and that of my family is testimony to the salience of this issue and my continued commitment to combating antisemitism.”


Gutman's apologia wouldn’t have impressed Plutarch, who wrote: “It is a fine thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.”

Posted by tmg110 at 1:59 PM EST
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Religion of Peace Update
Topic: Decline of the West


News from the Ummah:


Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides)—The local Catholic Church calls her "a martyr of the faith": Mariah Manisha was a Catholic girl from Faisalabd who was killed a week ago by a Muslim man who had kidnapped her and intended to marry her. Fr. Zafal Iqbal, a Catholic priest from Khushpur, where the 18-year-old Mariah’s family live, reports to Fides that "the girl resisted, she did not want to convert to Islam and she did not marry the man, who killed her for this. She is a martyr".


Nothing new here. Persecution and mistreatment of Christians—up to and including rape and murder—is a daily occurrence in the Muslim world. Nor is there anything particularly new in the cowardly reluctance of Western liberal elites to take notice of Islam’s penchant for religious persecution. A Coptic Christian church burned down in Egypt? A nun raped in Nigeria? A young Catholic girl murdered in Pakistan? Simply to mention such crimes is to risk the charge of Islamophobia.


Well, I don’t mind saying that I’m a bit phobic about a religion that’s so broadly tolerant of bigotry, hatred and violence. As for the claim that most Muslims are decent, peaceful people who oppose such extremism, I ask you: Where’s the outrage?

Posted by tmg110 at 11:55 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 5 December 2011 11:02 PM EST
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Sunday, 4 December 2011
Topic: Decline of the West


We’re reached a low point in the history of American foreign policy when a US diplomat can publically declare that anti-Semitism is Israel’s fault.


Yes, you read that correctly:


Speaking Wednesday at a Jewish conference on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU,) Howard Gutman told participants he was apologizing in advance if his words are not to their liking. He then proceeded to make controversial statements about his views on Muslim anti-Semitism…


A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned, and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gutman said. He also argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism.


Ambassador Gutman (who’s Jewish himself) is either remarkably ignorant of history or a bare-faced liar. Muslim hatred of Jews goes back centuries—to the foundation of Islam, in fact. Of course, his false claims are nothing new. So-called Mideast experts have been claiming for decades that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian would magically solve all problems in the region. But coming from a senior US diplomat, this nonsense is particularly shocking. Are the Jews hated? It’s all Israel’s fault! That’s the sum and substance of Gutman’s position—and, I have no doubt, of the Obama Administration’s Mideast policy.


Gutman’s infamous smear did not go unanswered:


The conference was attended by Jewish lawyers from across Europe. The legal experts at the event were visibly stunned by Gutman’s words, and the next speaker offered a scathing rebuttal to the envoy’s remarks.


“The modern Anti-Semite formally condemns Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and expresses upmost sympathy with the Jewish people. He simply has created a new species, the “Anti-Zionist” or—even more sophisticated—the so-called ‘Israel critic,’” Germany attorney Nathan Gelbart said.


“The ‘Israel critic’ will never state ‘Jews go home’ but is questioning the legality of the incorporation of the State of Israel and therefore the right for the Jewish people to settle in their homeland. He will not say the Jews are the evil of the world but claims that the State of Israel is a major cause for instability and war in the region,” he said. “There is no other country, no other people on this planet the ‘Israel critic’ would dedicate so much time and devotion as to the case of Israel.”


“For no other country he would criticize or ask to boycott its goods or academics. And this for one simple reason: Because Israel is the state of the Jewish people, not more and not less,” Gelbart said.


Amen. I could not possibly have said it better myself.

Posted by tmg110 at 11:31 AM EST
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Friday, 2 December 2011
Andy Hearts the Chicoms
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Why bother to caricature progressives when they do it for me?


China's Superior Economic Model


It's superior to the US economic model, of course. Who thinks this? None other than Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and senior fellow at Columbia University's Richman Center. Stern, in case you didn’t know, is a leading critic of free-market capitalism, and he thinks he’s found the alternative in Communist China:


I was part of a U.S.-China dialogue—a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present. For me, the tension resulting from the chorus of American criticism [over China’s currency, trade and foreign policies] paled in significance compared to reading the emerging outline of China's 12th five-year plan. The aims: a 7% annual economic growth rate; a $640 billion investment in renewable energy; construction of six million homes; and expanding next-generation IT, clean-energy vehicles, biotechnology, high-end manufacturing and environmental protection—all while promoting social equity and rural development.


Wow! And he goes on:


Some Americans are drawing lessons from this. Last month, the China Daily quoted Orville Schell, who directs the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, as saying: “I think we have come to realize the ability to plan is exactly what is missing in America.” The article also noted that Robert Engle, who won a Nobel Prize in 2003 for economics, has said that while China is making five-year plans for the next generation, Americans are planning only for the next election.


That the Chinese government is both brutal and corrupt, that the vast majority of the Chinese people continue to live in grinding poverty, that ethnic and religious minorities are viciously suppressed—these are minor blemishes as far as Mr. Stern is concerned. They have five-year plans! Yes, indeed, and so did Stalin.


Of course, the idea that China is a rising superpower poised to dislodge America from the top slot is an adolescent fantasy. Look beneath the high-tech façade (which Mr. Stern did not) and you see a society riddled with political, social and economic contradictions. You also see—thanks to the Chinese government’s ruthless one-child policy—a country on the verge of a huge demographic crisis. The outlook for China is, in fact, grim. And that’s bad news for the world, for as the economic and demographic noose begins to tighten around the collective neck of China’s Inner Party, the temptation to escape the choke hold via military adventurism will grow.


Stern’s Valentine to Communist China is in the great tradition of progressivism. Similar praises were heaped on Stalin’s Soviet Union and even on Fascist Italy by earlier generations of progressives: Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, etc. To people like that it seemed self-evident that rational economic planning was superior to the uncontrolled churning of a free market economy. History has taught otherwise, but Andy Stern was absent from class that day.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:16 AM EST
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Reflections on Barney Frank
Topic: Decline of the West


Good riddance.


That was my instant, visceral reaction to the news that the Massachusetts congressman has announced his retirement after sixteen terms in the US House of Representatives. One of the most partisan and nasty Democrats in the House—his rudeness, bullying and tantrums are the stuff of legend—Frank certainly won’t be missed.


And this is good news in another way as well. His repugnant personality aside, Frank is no fool. In fact, he’s probably one of the brighter bulbs in the liberal chandelier. Frank has read the political tea leaves. He no doubt realizes that Democrats have no hope of retaking the House in 2012, that they’re probably going to lose the Senate as well, and that Barack Obama may well be turned out of office.


Frank knows that he cannot flourish in the minority. A bully needs power; otherwise he’s just a tedious windbag. So as he contemplated the probable future course of American politics, Barney decided that it was time to “pursue other interests.” Good call for America!

Posted by tmg110 at 8:45 AM EST
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Thursday, 1 December 2011
An Introduction to Orwell
Topic: Must Read


In response to a reader’s request, here are the five books by George Orwell that you must read, assuming that your acquaintance with his work is limited to Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four.


The Road to Wigan Pier (1937): Orwell’s study of unemployment in Britain and his analysis of why so many people rejected the socialist solution. Commissioned by the Left Book Club, this book caused a furor on the British left.


Homage to Catalonia (1938): Orwell’s memoir of his service as a volunteer on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War (during which he suffered a bad wound in the throat) remains one of the best books on that conflict.


Coming Up for Air (1939): This novel, written on the eve of the Second World War, looks back through the eyes of an English Everyman to an England that had already vanished, and forward to the grim years of war that lay ahead.


The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius (1941): Orwell’s extended essay on the character of the English nation, the impact of war on the English social system and the prospects for a future revolution. This one can be found on line.


A Collection of Essays: Includes “Such, Such Were the Joys…” (his memoir of school days), “Shooting an Elephant,” “The Art of Donald McGill,” “Politics and the English Language,” “Looking Back on the Spanish War,” “Reflections on Gandhi,” plus his well-known essays on Dickens and Kipling. Also includes “England Your England,” the first part of The Lion and the Unicorn. (It should be noted that almost all of Orwell’s essays are available on line. Just Google a title.)

Posted by tmg110 at 12:42 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2011 12:46 PM EST
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