Saturday, November 01, 2008

"What's wrong with socialism? I don't think it's a bad idea"

I am living in France with two other Americans, both of whom voted for Obama
sighs Marianne (merci à stavnpiranha).
The election has come up a few times, and also the subject of socialism. I said, "I'm not voting for Obama, because I don't want to see my country become socialist."

One of my American friends, twenty-two years old, said, "What's wrong with socialism? I don't think it's a bad idea."

I was speechless for a second. But then those little warning bells that tell me, "say something. Don't let that pass. Even if her vote is cast, you can still try to give her an alternate perspective for the future," made me open my mouth.

So, I said, "What's wrong with socialism? We live in a socialist country right now, and you hate it here. You just spent all day yelling, "Damn these French!" Imagine this level of bureaucratic frustration and ineptitude taking over every aspect of American life."
Read Marianne's six points

I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the founding fathers

How much have things changed in 44 years? Ronald Reagan (02:56, thanks to the person who reminded me of the address) in 1964:
…I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the founding fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refuge — a businessman who had escaped from Castro — and in the midst of his story, one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are!" And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are?! I had some place to escape to…"

And in that sentence, he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth…

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

is the issue of this election!

Who Would the Iraqis Vote For?

Meanwhile, which candidate would Iraqis vote for?! With all the hysterics and the apocalyptic language that the media, the Left, and the war opponents use for the conflict, shouldn't the Iraqis' views be taken into account? (Answer: not if their views doesn't mesh in with the Media's, the Left's and the war opponents' (simplistic) views…) For the rest of us, however…
"The Iranians believe that if Obama is elected he will not take action against them despite their nuclear ambitions. That worries me," said Ali, sitting on an old bench in Al-Zahawi coffee shop.

"If the Iranians get the bomb they will become the Tarzan of the region," said the former teacher and lecturer at the University of Baghdad, referring to the vine-swinging strongman of the jungle in old Hollywood movies.

Mohammed, also a professor at the university, said he too preferred McCain "because Obama supports a rapid withdrawal of US troops."

"Our army is still too weak and Turkey and Iran are threats. Iran's President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad has warned Iran would fill the void left when US troops depart," he said.
Like I've always said, the thing to notice about Iraq articles and columns and op-eds in the mainstream media in both America and abroad is how few of their signers have Arab names; is how few of the holders of these opinions are in fact Iraqi; is how few of them live in Iraq now and how few of them had to live in Iraq under Saddam Hussein… (Of course, the same thing — with Iraqis changed to Vietnamese — can be said for opinions about the "horrid" Vietnam war…)

Another Foreign Member of the Blame-America-First Crowd Joins the Obama Bandwagon

Another friend of America (sic) joins the Blame-America-First crowd, writes Ken Blackwell.
Ali Larijani … the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament [said on] October 22 … that the regime in Iran would like to see Mr. Obama elected president.

Mr. Larijani is not the first hostile foreign leader to endorse or be aligned with Mr. Obama. In April, top Hamas advisor Ahmed Yousef also endorsed Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama’s long-time associate and self-described Marxist, Bill Ayers, actively backs him. Mr. Obama’s mentor and two-decade long spiritual leader, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, traveled to Libya to meet with the controversial Moammar Gadhafi. His church published a pro-Hamas piece on Rev. Wright’s “Pastor’s Page.” The article defended terrorism against Israel and denied Israel’s right to exist.

Mr. Obama’s political alignments are alarming.

Terrorist leaders never endorsed Bill Clinton, or Al Gore, or John Kerry. And to the best of my knowledge, terrorist leaders have never publicly supported a major party presidential nominee—until now.
Meanwhile, Richard Olivastro asks (while quoting the martyred reverend), Who Would MLK Support?
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Read also:
• On Foreign Policy, It's Ace Vs. Amateur
• What Is It About Obama's Friends and Acquaintances That Stands Out? They All Belong to the Blame-America-First crowd

More Double Standards: The Press Protects (?) Its Own…

Do you remember the fuss that was kicked up when George W Bush got a critic with the White House press office replaced (by a blogger, if memory serves me correctly)?

Well, Barack Obama, aka the healer of the divides, isn't even president yet, and he already got three newspapers lobbed off the Democrats' airplane.

And of course, the mainstream media which went berserk regarding the Bush decision, crying censorship and imperial presidency and so on, is hardly saying a word…

Read (merci, François) Victor Davis Hanson's The End of Journalism for Obama’s advocacy for a share-the-wealth socialism and other central issues…
Imagine the reaction of the New York Times or the Washington Post had John McCain renounced his promise to participate in public campaign financing, proceeded instead to amass $600 million and outraise the publicly financed Barack Obama four-to-one, and begun airing special 30-minute unanswered infomercials during the last week of the campaign…

Imagine the reaction of Newsweek or Time had moose-hunting mom Sarah Palin claimed FDR went on television to address the nation as President in 1929, or warned America that our enemies abroad would test John McCain and that his response would result in a radical loss of his popularity at home…

Imagine the reaction of CNN or NBC had John McCain’s pastor and spiritual advisor of 20 years been revealed as a white supremacist who damned a multiracial United States, or had he been a close acquaintance until 2005 of an unrepentant terrorist bomber of abortion clinics, or had McCain himself sued to eliminate congressional opponents by challenging the validity of African-American voters who signed petitions, or had both his primary and general election senatorial rivals imploded once their sealed divorce records were mysteriously leaked…

Stealing the Election: The 1960 and the 2008 Contests Compared

If Obama Can't Win It He'll Steal It, note Floyd and Mary Beth Brown.
Obama's ties to ACORN go back much further than his presidential bid. In 1992, Obama worked as executive director of ACORN's voter-registration segment, Project Vote. Obama, along with two other South-Side Chicago community organizers, led the voter-registration drive that played a part in the election of Carol Moseley Braun to the U.S. Senate.

To tighten the connection, in 1993 Obama joined the civil-rights law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where he sued the state of Illinois on behalf of ACORN. Then-Governor Jim Edgar argued that the Clinton National Voter Registration Act ("Motor Voter" law) would invite voter fraud, and refused to implement it. Consequently Obama and ACORN sued the state. Edgar was proven right about the "Motor Voter" law. Fund says it has "imposed fraud-friendly rules on the states by requiring drivers' license bureaus to register anyone who applies for a license, to offer mail-in registration with no identification needed, and to forbid government workers to challenge new registrants, while making it difficult to purge" voters who have died or moved away.

Despite all the documented evidence tying Obama to ACORN and the overwhelming stench of impropriety, Barack Obama has the unmitigated gall to deny his connection to this far-left, socialist organization.

ACORN is the same group that pressured banking institutions into making the toxic loans that are at the heart of our current financial crisis.

Central to the successful working of our republic is honest elections. If citizens believe that politicians are winning elections by committing fraud, our entire governing consensus will break down. Cynicism and despair are the inevitable outcomes.

Paul Johnson goes into detail about how the 1960 election may well have been stolen and about how Richard Nixon decided, nobly and in spite of the evidence, not to contest the results. (Thank you, John McCain, for not choosing a similar path and being gallant and humble like a latter-day Abraham Lincoln.) Apart from that, Paul Johnson notes that
The gradual but cumulatively almost complete transfer of opinion-forming power from the owners and commercial managers of TV stations to the program-makers and presenters was one of the great new facts of life, unheard of before the 1950s, axiomatic by the end of the 1960s. And it was gradually paralleled by a similar shift in the newspaper world, especially on the great dailies and magazines of the East Coast, where political power, with few exceptions, passed from proprietors and major stockholders to editors and writers. Owners like Hearst and McCormick (of the Chicago Tribune), Pulitzer and Henry Luce (of Time-Life), who had once decided the political line of their publications in considerable detail, moved out of the picture and their places were taken by the working journalists. Since the latter tended to be overwhelmingly liberal in their views, this was not just a political but a cultural change of considerable importance. Indeed it is likely that nothing did more to cut America loose from its traditional moorings.

…The change could be seen in 1960, in the way the East Coast media (the New York Times and Washington Post, Time and Newsweek), handled the contest between Nixon and Kennedy. By all historical standards, Nixon should have been an American media hero. He was a natural candidate for laurels in the grand old tradition of self-help, of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. He came from nowhere…

Yet, from start to finish, the media, especially the 'quality' press, distrusted him, consistently denigrated him, and sought to destroy him, indeed in a sense did destroy him. At every crisis in his career — except the last — he had to appeal above the heads of the media to the great mass of the ordinary American people, the 'silent majority' as he called them…

The Hiss case did Nixon even more damage with the media, which, against all evidence, tried to turn this undoubted Soviet agent and perjurer into an American Dreyfus in order to portray Nixon as a McCarthyite witchhunter…

By contrast, the media did everything in its power to build up and sustain the beatific myth of John F. Kennedy, throughout his life and long after his death, until it finally collapsed in ruins under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. The media protected him, suppressed what it knew to be the truth about him, and if necessary lied about him, on a scale which it had never done even for Franklin Roosevelt. And this was all the more surprising because Kennedy had most of the characteristics of an American anti-hero…

The man who got it right at the time was the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. He grasped the important point that electing a Kennedy was not so much giving office to an individual as handing over power to a family business, a clan, almost a milieu, with a set of attitudes about how office was to be acquired and used which at no point coincided with the American ethic. Having paid his first visit after Kennedy's election as President, Macmillan was asked on his return what it was like in Kennedy's Washington. 'Oh,' said he, 'it's rather like watching the Borgia brothers take over a respectable North Italian city.'

Is Li'l Obama Racist?

A critic is claiming that this is racist. The author responds

Not exactly sure what the problem is here

So, a financial institution decides not to lock on to the governmental teet and expose taxpayers to even more risk, and they are the bad guy?

(Barclay's), which last month turned down the Government bailout offered to the sector, announced yesterday that it will raise £7.3bn from investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Existing shareholders in the bank still need to approve the proposal on 24 November – and that may not go through without protest judging by yesterday's fall in the bank's share price. The stock fell by as much as a fifth before closing 13 per cent lower.

Some politicians also waded into the bank's business, with the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable branding the deal a "scandal of mammoth proportions".
The shareholders can choose whether to maintain their holdings or not, that is how it works. But how is Barclay's the bad guy in this viginette?

Friday, October 31, 2008

There is just no satisfying some people

For years the professional hand-wringers have told we the proles how we need to remove our collective selves from the go-go ideals of greed and consumption. Whether the particular greed be that of credit card spending, gorging ourselves into obesity on food 24/7, or just plain old enjoying ourselves too too very much thank you, the hand-wringers bemoaned, gnashed teeth, rendered clothing, and wrapped themselves in hair-shirts of "when will the madness ever end?"

Well, the go-go ideals have not ended but slowed heavily. Are the hand-wringers happy? Of course not:

Now people cut up credit cards, banks recall overdrafts, food sales figures show the biggest drop since records began, and retail analysts predict the worst Christmas in 30 years.
Should be cause for joy amongst the sack-cloth crowd, no?

Oh, and in case you thought you might be a normal person who enjoys yourself whilst shopping, think again. This is the kind of thing a responsible and concerned citizen in the "social justice" mould is supposed to think of and do while picking up those knick-knacks for Auntie Bess:

Westfield's own cleaners and security guards are guaranteed the living wage, over £7.45. I checked to see, and sure enough the toilet attendant was on £7.60, a guard on £8. The cleaner I found scraping gunge off the escalator who was on £6, worked temporarily for an agency. Sadly most people working here are not covered by Westfield's promise, hired by retailers who rent space.
These professionally aggrieved types make Morrissey look like a candidate for "Optimist of the Year". What a miserable existence the professional hand-wringers must have.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh yeah, that....

Whatever happened to global warming:

Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922. The Mother of Parliaments was discussing the Mother of All Bills for the last time, in a marathon six hour session.


According to MeteoNews, the Swiss lowlands received the most snow for any October since records began in 1931. Zurich received 20cm, beating a record of 14cm set in 1939.


Though there was a reading of freezing or below throughout northwest Marion County, Wednesday morning's official low temperature was 33 degrees.

It was a record for Oct. 29 and the second lowest temperature ever recorded in October since 1850.


The death toll has risen to seven, and one person remains missing, as a result of the worst snowstorm on record in Tibet, the local authority said on Thursday.


A low of 40 degrees early Wednesday is expected to shatter a 1957 record for Oct. 29 of 48 degrees , said Mike Cantin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.


Judging by the number of column inches devoted to the subject in recent months, one would be forgiven for thinking that partner-swapping had become the noughties equivalent of the Tupperware party. But is swinging really Sweden’s new favourite hobby?

What Is It About Obama's Friends and Acquaintances That Stands Out? They All Belong to the Blame-America-First crowd

The problem with Barack Obama is not that he is an unknown quantity (or an unknown quality). We know enough about him to make this basic objective observation: Every time the veil is lifted on Barack Obama, it's to hear of yet another leftist radical that he has been fêting or who is fêting him.

All his life, the Illinois senator has associated with people and/or won the admiration of people — American and foreign — who blame America first (or America and its allies first), or, to be more precise, who blame America alone. The Reverend Wright, Billie Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, even Obama's wife (who said, famously, that she could, that she would, be proud of her country only if and only when her husband was elected president).

Beyond that, we have Obama — rightly characterized as "a creature of universities and churches and nonprofit institutions" by Fouad Ajami in the Wall Street Journal — surrounded by the ACORN crowd and the corrupt Southern Chicago machine. Abroad, we have leaders of Iran and spokesmen for Hamas who are rooting for Obama as well.

If it isn't "God damn America", it is "America is a damn-awful place to live in." If it isn't "a damn-awful place to live in," it is "Allah damn America".

Again, this might be less of a problem if Obama were known to associate with other types of people. But he is not. If he were known to count, say, some average, run-of-the-mill businessmen among his associates. But he is not. If he were known to have some average friends who, without being loud full-blooded patriots, simply appreciate the country they live in. But he is not.

For example, prior to the election (in which one single general — a political general — came out for him — Colin Powell has been out of the military and into politics for 15-odd years), the man who purports to have nothing but admiration for the military never seems to have interacted with a member of the armed forces in any substantive way.

Obama came to all his — simplistic — viewpoints about the Iraq war (and its Afghanistan counterpart) from the apocalyptic imagery of the university professors and the mainstream media (also part — obviously — of the blame-America-first crowd). He never seems to have asked a member of the military, let alone a tactician or a strategist, about the conflict.

On the contrary. We know his repetitions of the media's apocalyptic imagery as well as the mantras such as soldiers murdered civilians (not to mention the very few times he visited Iraq). While speaking, during the presidential election (!), of the "splendid" and the "heroic" work performed by American troops overseas, prior to the race (!), Obama famously refused to condemn an abusive ad — and its puerile rhyme — in the New York Times, the one stating that General Petraeus would betray us. He refused to condemn MoveOn's ad that claimed that this splendid member of America's heroic armed forces was worthy of nothing short of scorn.

Barack Obama is not an unknown quantity. It is all too clear what he is. And it is all too clear what office he is not fit to fill…

Erik Explains Racism in the 2008 Election to His Cat

If Barack Obama fails to win the 2008 election, does that mean racism "rears its ugly head" again? What if he wins with only a slight majority? Erik Svane discusses racism in the 2008 election…

(Or read the original text… PS: Be sure to 5-star and to favorite this video, the William Ayers video, and the Sarah Palin video, not for my sake or for their technical qualities but to get these videos' message circulated as widely as possible…)

A Democrat's Message to Obama: I Am Joe

I'm a walking disaster. I'm a demolition man!

Hard to argue with logic like this:

Jamaican-born disco diva Grace Jones said she was sorry Hillary Clinton had failed to make the cut in the US election and that she "can't stand" folksy vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The 1980s style icon, now 60, told German magazine TV Spielfilm Wednesday that Palin stood for a backward vision of America laden with government restrictions of sexuality and social behaviour.

"I would have loved it if Hillary Clinton had pulled it off," Jones said, in an interview published in German marking the release of her new album.

"I can't stand Sarah Palin. I bet a woman like that has no sense of humour."

The androgynous Jones, who conquered dancefloors and runways from New York to Paris in the 1980s and had star turns in blockbusters alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Roger Moore, said she believed in her own form of sexual liberation.

She said she had fallen afoul of feminists for stunts such as "appearing naked in a cage" but insisted she had the right to determine what was artistic or simply exploitative.

"I believe a woman can present herself as a sex object if she has fun doing it," she said.

The statuesque Jones attributed her own dominant image to the influence of her grandfather, who served in World War I.

"He was strict, even frightening," she said. "Sometimes I think I am possessed by him."
Now, if we find out that Governor Palin is an aficionado of Ms. Jones' body of work one claim can be laid to rest, it will prove the Governor indeed does have a sense of humour.

(thundering voice)Our celebrity-betters have spoken!(/thundering voice)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

But One Thing Is Certain: Obama Will Bring America More Respect Internationally

Who Are We to Judge?!

(fist bump to Larwyn)

Obama Beloved the World Over, Mate?

Another item from the What America's Foreign Opinion Lovers Don't Tell You department: According to a Monde newsletter (not online), Obama is not only bad for France (and the world) but for Ireland as well.
Obama mauvais pour l'Irlande
A Denver, Obama a déclaré qu'il voulait pénaliser les sociétés américaines qui délocaliseraient les emplois. Peu d'Irlandais s'en souviennent, écrit le quotidien The Irish Times. On a dit non au traité de Lisbonne pour éviter l'harmonisation fiscale. Avec les Etats-Unis, il n'y avait aucun risque fiscal sous Bush. En cas d'élection d'Obama, il faudra que Dublin le prenne très au sérieux. Et comme il n'y a pas de plan B pour notre économie, nous devons espérer, si Obama est élu, qu'il oubliera cette idée. Car aucun pays en Europe ne dépend autant de l'économie américaine que l'Irlande.

Democratic Warnings About the Branches in the Hands of One Party

Remember all the times in the first half of the 2000s that the Left and the Democrats warned us about not (only) about the danger of the Republicans but, more solemnly, about the danger of all the branches of government being in the hands of a single party?

That does not seem to be an issue — to no one's surprise, really — should the Democrats come to power…

All the News That's Fit to Print

While the media (and the government!) went above and beyond the call of "duty" in investigating Joe the Plumber (as reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer) — an investigation on a Republican sympathizer portending what American citizens can expect under a Barack Obama administration — they did (they are doing) little to nothing to investigate: the flowing of moolah from foreign coffers to the Democrats' candidate; the Obama campaign's alleged attempt at blackmailing a mainstream media outlet; news of Obama's ever-widening circle of links with radicals; or — perhaps worse of all — the rest of the media's refusal to investigate that media outlet's (the LA Times') refusal to print all the news that's fit to print.

Update: And speaking of news that's fit to print, shouldn't the conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick be featured more prominently?

Erik Svane Explains William Ayers to His Cat

What is the importance (or lack thereof) of William Ayers? Is it irrelevant that Barack Obama allegedly belonged to a radical party (gracias, Hervé y Luis Afonso)? Erik answers the questions that have been bothering Jixie Juny for weeks (nay, months) at end…

(PS: Ladies and gents, you are authorized to 5-star and to favorite this video and the Sarah Palin video, not for my sake — nor for Jixie Juny's sake (although the tiger did specifically ask that viewers — feline and otherwise — do so) — but to get these videos' message circulated as widely as possible…)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who said that Obama's policies are “utterly immature” and comprised of “formulations empty of all content”?

Is it true that all Europeans are enamored of Barack Obama and his policies?

Who said that he is extremely uneasy with Obama in charge (merci à Shane) and that Obama's policies are “utterly immature” and comprised of “formulations empty of all content”?

Does America — does the world — need more of this?

Is McCain's "Problem" Akin to Lincoln's?

Regarding John McCain's initial reluctance to go after Obama for his associations (alliances, rather) with people like Billie Ayers or the Reverend Wright, is it correct to conclude that is is based on a "problem" akin to Abraham Lincoln's (one that served him well when and only when the Democrats were divided)?
"He is so honest himself," [Lincoln's friend Joshua] Speed lamented, "that he is slow to believe that others are not equal[l]y so."
Another parallel to the 1850s and 1860s is the Republican's message to the (Southern) Democrats. During the Cooper Union speech of 1860, that followed the 1858 debates between the Republican candidate and the Democrat candidate for the Senatorial election in Illinois, Lincoln had this message to address to the inhabitants of the South, a section that was dominated by the Democratic Party:
…when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us a reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to … "Republicans." In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of … "Republicanism" as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm All Right Jack...

Meet George Miller, US Representative in Congress, you know .... just folks:

Along with the rest of America, Rep. George Miller has watched the value of his retirement investments plummet in recent weeks.

"I've lost 30 percent like everybody else. This hits home with the Miller family, too," the California Democrat said in a recent interview.

But the blow is softer for members of Congress than for most. Although lawmakers have lost value in their thrift savings plans -- the government's version of a 401(k) -- they are also offered a defined-benefit pension plan backed by the U.S. Treasury and largely insulated from Wall Street fluctuations.

That puts Miller and the other lawmakers into an increasingly privileged category -- workers with guaranteed retirement benefits that aren't subject to the vicissitudes of the financial markets.

Market meltdown or no, if Miller, 63, were to retire at the end of this year he'd take with him an annual pension of about $122,000, according to the National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group in Arlington, Va. On top of that he could tap whatever remains in his 401(k)-like savings plan.

Lawmakers' retirement benefits start earlier and accrue faster than in plans offered to other federal workers, or by the average private company. Lawmakers also get cost-of-living increases, increasingly rare in the private sector.
Surely a group of individuals normally hell-bent on "doing something" are indeed doing something to rectify the situation:

Despite the financial crisis -- and the fact lawmakers' retirement benefits are out of step with most ordinary Americans -- Congress has made no effort to revisit its unusually sweet retirement deal.

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who has declined participation in either the congressional pension or thrift savings plan, said his efforts to scale them back have not been welcomed.
Where would the proles be without their betters?

Glenn Beck presents the Obama National Anthem

(Spasibo to Valeriski)

Any insights appreciated

This article starts thusly:

Bankers and brokers looking to escape the financial meltdown are scrambling to relocate their families, possessions and rarified talent far from Wall Street to places such as Florida, Chicago, Milwaukee, Virginia and Asia.
A "rarified talent" for what exactly?

Liberals Now Suddenly Believe that there is no such thing as too much Money in Politics

It's really like to have a little chat face to face to all of those lefties who have claim for decades on end something that just isn't true - that anyone who opposes them either buys elections by outspending them or steals them with magical voting machines and pinkertons.


What are those people who railed on and on about it doing now? Buying the US Presidential election by outspending by a factor of 300% on TV ads, laundering government grant money (for studies and education programs) into their campaign, engaging in credit card fraud, race-baiting, and engaging in voter fraud.

Why have the left always lept to accuse others of theft? Because it's what they know. It's they've always done. LBJ even used to joke about "voting early and voting often" and "taking down names at teh cemetaries".

All for a good cause, I'm sure.

Socialist policies are a Culture’s Recessive Gene

People are leaving the Netherlands and the other ‘prime cuts’ of the EUtopian rump, and in record numbers for peacetime.
National emigration figures for 1999 to 2006 show that men are twice as likely to emigrate as women, and it is mostly the young (under 30) who emigrate. Furthermore, it is the Dutch in the top decile of the income distribution who are most likely to emigrate. Sixty-nine percent of Dutch emigrants choose a European destination. It should not be a surprise that most emigrants move to one of the neighbouring countries Germany and Belgium. However, it is well established that this applies mainly to cross-border migration, where people live just across the border and still work in the Netherlands. High housing and land prices in the Netherlands drive many to move to Belgium or Germany, which offer spacious houses that are almost unaffordable for middle-income households in the Netherlands. When Belgium and Germany are left out of the equation, 31% of emigrants are headed to European destinations. The US and Canada account for another 15%.
Alas but why?
Examining the determinants of emigration intentions and subsequent actions reveals a clear picture. The determinants may classified into two groups: (a) the individual characteristics that one would expect to be relevant if emigration were a matter of private gains (like age, human capital, health, networks, psychological personality characteristics) and (b) the provision and perceived quality of the public domain of life in the Netherlands. Every individual depends on the actions and solidarity of others and perhaps more so in a crowded country such as the Netherlands which is also known for its extensive welfare state. The following elements were determined – based on a statistical analysis – to represent the public domain: (1) the Dutch welfare state and institutions which provide the public goods and services (law and order, social security, education, health care); (2) the quality of the public space (noise pollution, space, nature, crowdedness); and (3) the evaluation of social problems addressed by the government, like crime, pollution, and ethnic tensions.
The results of our study reveal that both the private and the public domain of life are important to understanding emigration from a high-income country like the Netherlands. The more negative one is about the public domain, the more likely it is that one will actually emigrate (see Figure 1). Of course, the Dutch who stayed are also negative about large parts of the public domain, but emigrants (“movers” and “dreamers”, i.e. those who intended to emigrate but have not yet) are far more negative than those staying behind.1 The biggest difference between emigrants and those staying behind is the evaluation of the quality of public space. Without knowing how people feel about the quality of the public domain, large-scale emigration would remain a mystery.
In other words, a poor quality of life – and this is THE NETHERLANDS we’re talking about, possibly the most interventionist nanny state in existence. Deep intervention in social matters seems to show that those with a latent anger and an expectation that the rest of the population is structured to serve their aesthetic needs stick with it.

They go on to note that they are the more ambitious people who originate in the middle income and lower middle income brackets – those more likely to spur innovation. That they are largely male and in their prime also has a prospect of hitting the future in other ways. If social, academic, and economic activity are not robustly started or maintained by the bright ones of parenting age, what does that hold for a society’s evolution? In relative terms, not as much as it could, and what energy it does have will be a result of initiation, programming, funding, or managing by government, much as government supported art and music foundations are slowly overwhelming what used to be a private matter or the result of non-government-funded symphonies, operas, and the like.

Sooner or later, if ex-migration of the most dynamic isn’t matched by inward migration of the people with the same energy and commitment to the place, It thins out the herd, and leaves the culture on a trend toward dullness, inaction, selfishness, or disconnection from the idea that we all have a personal obligation to contribute our effort to make a good society. In its’ place goes government managed guidelines, rules, programs, etal – truly the stuff of dreams, non?
Our study suggests that the quality of the public domain is an important part of quality of life, and those Dutch who have moved are implicitly casting a vote of no confidence in those who govern the nation. This lesson may also be of some relevance to other European countries where emigration has taken off and crowdedness has become a concern. For example, England’s population density is similar to that of the Netherlands (394 inhabitants per square kilometre), and British surveys seem to register the same type of dissatisfaction witnessed in the Netherlands.
Which is hard to believe given that one of the big criticism Europeans harbor for the US, Canada, Australia, etc., is the lower apparent quality of things like parks, streets, the artfulness or otherwise of public structures. For the Dutch especially this doesn’t hold, especially for those moving to places that are more angry and cramped like greater London.

But like we often see with surveys, the questions only address the questions asked, and that the way those questions were asked hint at a subtext. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the feeling of being fenced in, or the surprising unsociability of a place still characterized as libertine. Maybe what’s angry and cramped in this case is entirely social. When in the NETHERLANDS 30% of those who leave cite the health care system (of supposed global envy) as one of many reasons, you know that it’s isn’t just a matter of “doing more of it” to make them happy.

In any event, a loss of that sort can’t be sustained forever.


It's not always a good thing

SNL Redux: Biden and Murtha in Western Pennsylvania

(Thanks to Duncan…)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Media Hates Joe the Plumber

Artwork by NDS.

Obama Is Already Starting to Make Us Pay

…even his friends in the mainstream media.

From Kurt Erickson in the Illinois Herald & Review:
Q. Is it true that Barack Obama wants to charge reporters money to cover his Election Night activities, which are being staged in Chicago's Grant Part?

A. Yes. This is Illinois. Even reporters have to pay to play.

Q. Is this common practice?

A. No. Usually we tell the truth without having to give our credit card numbers to politicians.
A personal note: I am driving through Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky for research on my upcoming Lincoln biography. Anybody like-minded (or even contrarian-minded) wanting to meet up, would love to hear from you (email in the left margin)…

Sounds like a fun group...

Yet another group of enemy broadcasts to monitor:

"Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences," the report said.

Erik Explains Sarah Palin to His Cat

Who is the Dan Quayle of 2008?
Is it Sarah Palin? Or is it...

Twenty years ago, the Republican candidate for president in the 1988 election (George Bush's father) had his sanity questioned about (and was ridiculed for) his choice of vice-president, a young, inexperienced, unknown pretty face with an alleged lack of credentials who would go on to embarrass him (George H Bush) with his allegedly inexcusable gaffes.

So twenty years later, the question is:
is Sarah Palin the Dan Quayle of 2008?
Or... is it another candidate in the presidential race?

FYI: This appeared as the very first video letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

(PS: Ladies and gents, you are authorized to 5-star and to favorite this video and the William Ayers video, not for my (and Jixie Juny's) sake, but to get these videos' message circulated as widely as possible…)

Spread the Wealth Around, Comrade!

(Merci à François)