Saturday, September 03, 2011
On either side of a skull and crossbones on a wall in the Tunisian city of Tataouine (which inspired George Lucas, who filmed scenes of the first Star Wars movie near the town, for the name of Luke Skywalker's home planet) are the words "Texas Liberty" and "Don't Mess with Tunisia." (، والقراء Instapundit ترحيب)
P.S. However, those aren't longhorns above the word "Texas" but some sort of Arabic script (Yeah, I too wonder what they mean)
Friday, September 02, 2011
"More taxes, not less spending, is their underlying creed": The patent nonsense of Europe’s most unreconstructed Socialist Party
France’s Socialists have yet to come to terms with the modern worldcomments Charlemagne as The Economist analyzes those whom it calls "the dinosaurs".
The oddity is that almost everywhere the European left is in decline. Among the large countries, Socialist parties rule only in Spain, where they look likely to lose November’s election. The only big place where the left has a good chance of returning to power is France, at next spring’s presidential election. Yet France’s Socialist Party also stands out as Europe’s most unreconstructed. Hence the contorted spectacle of a party preparing for power at a time when the markets are challenging its every orthodoxy.
… Next to such patent nonsense “anarchic globalisation” “deglobalisation” , promises by the two front-running candidates, Martine Aubry and François Hollande, seem merely frozen in time, circa 1981. They want to return to retirement at the age of 60 (it has just been raised to 62), and to invent 300,000 public-sector youth jobs. Each supports Mr Sarkozy’s deficit-reduction targets, but refuses to approve his plan to write a deficit rule into the constitution. More taxes, not less spending, is their underlying creed.
The party is not out of tune with public opinion. The French are almost uniquely hostile to the capitalist system that has made them one of the world’s richest people. …
The causes of French left-wingery are various, but a potent one is the lingering hold of Marxist thinking. Post-war politics on the left was for decades dominated by the Communist Party, which regularly scooped up a quarter of the votes. In the 1950s many intellectuals, including Jean-Paul Sartre, clung to pro-Soviet idealism even after the evils of Stalinism emerged. Others toyed with Trotskyism well into the 1970s. François Mitterrand, who mentored Ms Royal, Ms Aubry and Mr Hollande, was swept to the presidency in 1981 by offering a socialist Utopia as a third way between “the capitalist society which enslaves people” and the “communist society which stifles them”. …Please allow us a moment of madness
All this requires heroic faith among centrists considering voting Socialist that reason will triumph over fiscal folly. Moreover, experience suggests that the Socialists, if elected, may feel compelled to introduce some signature policy as a sop to their disappointed base. Under Mitterrand, it was the wealth tax. Under Mr Jospin, it was Ms Aubry’s 35-hour working week. With France’s recovery fragile, the prospect of more such lunacy is chilling.
The apocalypse brigade continues to onanisticly fools itself:
RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.
...in the past tense. Honest of them isn’t it?
The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.
As many as one in five people reported ''emotional injury, stress and despair'' in the wake of these events.
Mental illness rise linked to climateSurely. But isn’t everything?
The report also looks at mental health in the aftermath of major weather events possibly linked to climate change.
Which is weather, despite the fact that we are told that weather is not climate. Sometimes.
It shows that one in 10 primary school children reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of cyclone Larry in 2006. More than one in 10 reported symptoms more than three months after the cyclone.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
I guess with all of that “most ethical congress” transparency stuff on their minds, they forgot to hide their graft and cronyism.
Since Regina Dugan became the director of Darpa, the Pentagon’s top research division has signed millions of dollars’ worth of contracts with her family firm, which in turn owes her at least a quarter-million dollars. It’s an arrangement that has raised eyebrows in the research community, and has now drawn the attention of the Defense Department’s internal auditors and investigators.She was a program manager at DARPA from 1996-2000 when Clinton was in office. She then founded RedXDefense, the recipient of the contracts in question in 2005.
Her strength was not in engineering as is so firmly touted, but rather in the business of gaming tax money:
The company allowed Dugan to dig into a range of business activities -- she worked on developing relationships, fundraising, legal and financial work, as well as marketing.
On est loin de la promesse faite par le gouvernement, en octobre 2007, de réduire la pauvreté d'un tiers en cinq ans.
After a dip in 2008, poverty in France resurged in 2009 ("France's worst recession since the Second World War"), writes Philippe Le Coeur in Le Monde, with the poverty rate reaching 13.5% (although the median standard of living improved that year) and with the government promising to bring an "exceptional" tax for the country's richest citizens.
Meanwhile, Louis Maurin points out that the number of people living under the poverty level has grown (from 7.5 million to 8.2 million people) between 2002 to 2009, as has the poverty rate (from 12.9% to 13.5%). Needless to say, the Observatoire des inégalités director, interviewed by Anne Chemin, castigates tax decreases (as "wasted money").
…la pauvreté augmente dans notre pays. C'est un tournant historique…
…Si l'on veut améliorer de façon durable la situation de ceux qui sont le plus en difficulté dans notre pays, il faut agir de façon concrète. Imaginez quelle serait la situation de notre pays si les 80 milliards d'euros gâchés chaque année en cadeaux fiscaux aux catégories aisées avaient été consacrés pour moitié à réduire les déficits et pour moitié à des programmes d'investissements concrets, qu'il s'agisse de transports en commun, de logement social, d'accès aux soins !
L'un des volets les plus importants est une vraie réforme du système éducatif, de la maternelle à l'université. Taillé sur mesure pour les milieux favorisés, c'est lui qui fait que les plus démunis le restent de génération en génération. Bref, dans les années 2000, la France a loupé l'occasion de se moderniser. Tout ce que l'on peut espérer, c'est que la crise actuelle débouche sur une véritable remise à plat. Les niches fiscales n'ont déjà plus la cote.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
To Understand Liberal Issues Like Gay Marriage Correctly, It Is Vital to Get the Basic Premises Right
Sorry, but I still don’t see what divorce and unwed motherhood have to do with gay marriage. It’s mostly straight people who are doing the divorcing and unwed mothering.1) John Stossel doesn't seem to realize it, but when he mentions "alimony, child support", "divorce and unwed motherhood" as well as "straight people" — along with comments such as "I don’t care if there are three fathers and six mothers [if] it’s a stable relationship and the kids are connected with their parents" — he is answering his own question (notwithstanding the fact that the libertarian does not seem to be noticing all the ways in which judges, lawyers, divorce industry experts, and other government bureaucrats and parasites have managed to infiltrate themselves inside what was once called the sacrosanct family unit — check out Stephen Baskerville to see how bad that problem is).
First of all, no one is preventing two people from living together and from loving each other and from "commit[ting] to a life partner", and to a certain extent, nobody ever has. The gay sense of victimization throughout the centuries has been exaggerated, certainly this past century or two. In its obituaries of the 19th century, for instance, The Times of London would note that a certain person had been a "lifelong bachelor", and everyone understood what the newspaper meant by that.
So is there still a good reason to prevent gays from marrying? Well, the problem is — and I think that, upon thought, many a gay person would not disagree with me here (in fact, I believe that a gay person — a Log Cabin Republican? — could have written this post in the exact words I did) — not that gays want to get married, but what had to happen for them to want to get married in the first place…
For lifelong love, yes, and for tenderness and sweet nothings, yes, for lust for lean or muscular bodies, certainly, but for the desire of nuptials and a life spent together as "husband" and "wife" in a single bourgeois-type home, not really (or they are few and far between or with a touch of a smirk attached).
These calls came about only after — and only because of — the decline of traditional marriage (agreed, between straight people) along with the advent of open marriages and no-fault divorce. In other words, the desire of gays, male or female, for the "benefits" of matrimony only came about after, and only came about because, feminists and leftists dumbed those "benefits" down by making it OK to divorce on a whim and by making it alright to commit (what is now considered passé to be called) adultery.
Again — tell me if I'm wrong, but gayness has mostly to do, rightly or wrongly, with lust (and I mean that in a neutral way, neither in a positive nor in a negative sense), which is the same that we feel (or some of us feel) for a member of the opposite sex. Now, many heterosexuals are attracted to "hot chicks" (guys) and "hot bods" (gals), which is normal and neither good or bad, but our grandfathers and our grandmothers would have told us (or they would have told our fathers and our mothers) that marrying someone, solely or mainly, because of lust (say, a "bad boy" or a "trophy wife") was not necessarily a good idea. Get rid of your lust first (whether for same-sex partners or partners of the opposite sex), get it out of your system, if necessary, and then marry; but do not marry (solely) because of the lust and/or do not lust for others once the wedding is consummated…
Certainly, marriage due to lust, or with widespread lust remaining in the "hearts" (and in the loins), was commonly understood not to be a good idea until the feminists and their allies on the left brought us open marriages and no-fault divorce. The same can be said for gay marriage, and the calls for gay marriage, like the tendency for quickie marriages between heterosexuals, would start vanishing when and if (as soon as, in fact) the legal underpinnings as well as the cultural support for open marriages and/or for no-fault divorce came to an end.
2) Now, from a libertarian perspective, Amy D asks:
Why should the government have a bloody thing to say about marriage other than recognizing the legal contract issues?The answer has been given in Harry Jaffa's A New Birth of Freedom: Marriage came before society; the advent of married couples came before the advent of individuals organizing themselves into societies; the one led to the other. All of the left's theses in the past century or so are basically based on the premise that society, and government, came before, and/or is superior to, marriage and that the bonding of two (necessarily clueless) people (of different sex or of the same sex) is hardly more important than — it is but one more issue for the state (for government) to solve — fixing the roads or organizing society's defense. Therefore, the raison d'état predominates, and a (married) couple, like an individual, exists to serve the raison d'état. And if the government decides to "make" individuals, say, "tolerant" — if only to make those who govern look good by making them feel like the heroic defenders of the (allegedly) downtrodden — then that is how those individuals should act…
You other conservatives say you want smaller government with less intrusiveness....would this not be the way to go?
What Jaffa states eloquently is that originally, society did not "create" matrimony; the fact of matrimony was what led to the creation of societies — and of governments. There is no mention of gay rights whatsoever in any of his books (that I remember), but the following premises will give you an idea of why details such as gay marriage cannot be seen without getting the premises correct and why, in conclusion, strong marriages (necessarily between a man and a woman) are important.
Individual rights become valuable only insofar as they result in a good society — a society in which man's moral and intellectual virtues can find their fullest measure of opportunity. There is in Jefferson none of that radical individualism that sees the rights of the individual transcending and opposing the moral demands of a good society. The opposition between the demands of society and the rights of the individual, so familiar in our time, arose only as those rights were no longer understood to be natural rights subject to the natural law.
…Self-realization was in fact the only correlate of the new atheism. As there could no longer be any distinction between man and God, which distinction is as fundamental to the Declaration of Independence as to the Bible, there could be no distinction between base and noble desires. All desires were understood to be created equal, since all desires were seen as originating in that highest of all authorities, the self-creating self.
…fathers as well as mothers usually prefer the preservation of their young to their own individual preservation. It follows from this that among humans it is the family, rather than the individual, that seeks survival…
…it is human families or their representatives, rather than "abstract" human individuals, who found or institute political communities…
…Only as one understands the priority of the partnership of male and female in the generation, nurture, and education of the young can one understand the relationship of individuality to community in the political order…
Marriage is … in its origin a contract of natural law … It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.Update 2: Ed Morrissey:
Marriage has always been a forward-looking institution aimed at protecting and nurturing the next generation of children, not a love license for the adults of the presentUpdate 3: Canada's Precedent in Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage:
… marriage and family become mere adjuncts of the state after the removal of the de facto conditions that make the traditional family a pre-political institution in the first place. No longer is family something that, in the words of Douglas Farrow, “precedes and exceeds the state.” No longer is the family a hedge against the totalitarian aspirations of the state because no longer is the family prior to the state.Update 4: 5 Gay Marriage Myths:
It is those who oppose same-sex marriage who are the true champions of liberty. Indeed, if gay “marriage” is ever legalized, it is likely to result in unprecedented restrictions on freedom of speech and even thought.
The Term "Shoah" Is Non Grata in French High School Textbooks, While Palestine's "Nakhba" Is Acceptable
Une circulaire … sur la nécessité de supprimer le terme "Shoah" des manuels scolaires. …There is only one slight problem — besides the fact that the Shoah (sorry, the "annihilation") of the Jews is said to be comparable to the "annihilation" of the gypsies, no more and no less — because while Shoah is non grata in France's high school history textbooks (remember, it is a foreign word), Nakhba is acceptable and does in fact appear in the textbooks. Needless to say, a vast number of Le Monde readers have reacted in the comments section, most of them seeming to castigate Claude Lanzmann and wax ironic, and scornfully, about his column in the daily.
Il y a une douzaine d'années, après une réunion à Stockholm de tous les chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement accompagnés de leurs ministres de l'éducation nationale, dont le but était d'élaborer un compendium sur la Shoah qui aurait force de loi et d'usage dans le monde entier, M. Dominique Borne, doyen de l'inspection générale d'histoire au ministère français de l'éducation nationale, déclarait sans précaution ni fard : "Il faut bannir le mot “Shoah” des manuels, car c'est un mot étranger."
M. Borne n'est plus doyen, mais il demeure puissant et sa tendance semble largement majoritaire, il est en tout état de cause suivi par les éditeurs de manuels mis en vente à la rentrée 2011, puisque le mot de Shoah n'y apparaît plus sauf, pour certains, en note de bas de page indiquant que c'est le terme par lequel Israël désigne… quoi au fait ? Le manuel des éditions Hachette, qui suit à cent pour cent la recommandation du bulletin de l'éducation nationale, nous le dit on ne peut plus clairement : il faut utiliser désormais le mot "anéantissement".
… Savoir si la guerre contre le nazisme était une juste guerre n'intéresse pas nos nouveaux concepteurs, qui mettent en parallèle et sur le même plan les bombardements des villes allemandes par l'aviation alliée, Hiroshima, et la Shoah. Pardon, non, l'anéantissement. C'est une vieille histoire : refuser l'unicité ou la spécificité des événements historiques, les noyer dans des catégorisations abstraites et réductrices, tout cela se préparait de longue date. Aujourd'hui on passe à l'acte. Le mot "Shoah" est éradiqué, mais pour la première fois, dans un manuel d'histoire (Hachette), apparaît celui de "Nakhba", terme en miroir, forgé par les Palestiniens pour nommer leur propre catastrophe : la création de l'Etat d'Israël. Lequel Israël tient très peu de place dans ces nouveaux livres, qui prennent les choses de plus haut, faisant référence au seul "Moyen-Orient, foyer de conflits".Manuela Wyler has more, as does Jean-Marc MOSKOWICZ…
Russians of virtually every sort seem to get along rather nicely with America’s left – for the simple reason that they like to promote the same, convenient “Hate America” causes and campaigns.
Experts are looking for a reason behind Tuesday afternoon’s unlikely 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook people up and down the East Coast, and some are saying that a recent rise in fracking could be the culprit.
So long as it denies employment, prosperity, or self-sufficiency to Americans, they both agree that it must be opposed. Alas, why, you ask?
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the man-made splintering of underground rocks to expedite the exploiting of natural resources. It’s become a widespread phenomenon since its introduction in 2004, and though the practice can help increase supplies of oil and gas without reaching out internationally for imports, the result it can have on the geological make-up of the Earth can be ravaging. Now some experts say the rise in fracking could be to blame for yesterday’s quake.
The irony is that the American Left probably don’t understand WHY Russian might want American to not extract fuel that they might otherwise import. Russia is basically little more than a Banana Republic of petroleum at this point, and RT is a sort of occasionally “not completely unhinged-seeming” house organ. The more rabid and impractical your environmentalism, the better it is for sales, if not to Americans, that to others who reduce the supply of energy on the market through their demand.
The left’s hatred of their own societies has made them into permanent and predictable suckers. In effect, they shill for polluting de-facto dictatorships.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Thank God that someone on the continent permanently blighted with envy and class-hatred is saying it.
In Portuguese daily Público professor and political scientist João Carlos Espada criticises the notion of levying an extraordinary tax on the super-rich. “Taxes are not the primary source of improving the living conditions of the majority. The wealth of Europe and the West – which even today is worthy of the admiration of the rest of the world – was not the product of redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor through taxes. It was the product of the creation of wealth in a climate of economic freedom, generally associated with low taxation, swift justice and, above all, the absence of barriers to the entry of new competitors”.
As you can expect with apostacy, the article was deleted.
Espada argues that “the best contribution of the rich to the common good lies in ensuring that goods or services are being produced in a way that is most affordable to the greatest number of people; it consists of guaranteeing that this good or service is not artificially protected from competition and that it is chosen willingly by those who consume it”. Espada believes that this is the factor that was the great “social elevator” in Europe and the West that enabled successive generations of ordinary people to afford goods and products that previous generations never dreamed of having.
As early as 1945, France, instead of recognizing mistakes, opted to divert attention by cultivating an ungrateful and hypocritical anti-Americanism
… Thanks to General de Gaulle, France, instead of recognizing its [World-War-II-era] mistakes, opted to divert attention by cultivating, as early as 1945, an ungrateful and a hypocritical anti-Americanismwrites Michel Garroté as he launches into a rant against "That Judeophobic and Americaphobic France".
Today, in 2011, the anti-Americanism and the antisemitism in France are obvious. And one must be deaf and blind — or an accomplice? — to fail to notice.
Indeed, France, instead of reducing — immediately and dramatically — the Pharaoh-sized costs of the apparatus of the French state, prefers to continue its borrowing habit in order to live. But to do this with impunity, it is necessary for France to have scapegoats, "guilty" bodies who in fact are not guilty. As early as October 2008, I warned on this blog of the formulas against "international finance", "financial oligarchy", "New York finance", and other neo-Pétain slogans which implicitly accuse the Jews and the Yanks of all the ills of Europe, and even of the entire planet.
... Le Point comments: "Professor Philippe Dessertine [thanks to him for his good common sense in this matter] says that the outburst of Laurence Parisot reflects the French temptation to look for scapegoats to deflect the responsibility of public and private officials in the crisis. It's very, very dangerous to move towards the idea of an Anglo-Saxon economic news business that is beholden to a political ideology, this is absolutely false. It [the Anglo-Saxon business press] is one of the few to provide accurate information" [finally a French professor of economics who recognizes that].
... On the one hand, the false allegations against the United States on an economic basis, and on the other hand, the conspiracy theories against the so-called "Jewish power" are part and parcel of a single fraud. It is both disturbing and distressing to see France, in 2011, in the twenty-first century, in the third millennium, resorting — once again in its history — to such processes.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The relationship between climate change and hurricanes is one that scientists are still trying to understand.This somehow leads to this level of certainty:
Irene’s Potential for Destruction Made Worse by Global Warming, Sea Level RiseWe live in an age of propagandists, and the bien pensents simply accept that as a social good.
The Reality? Enh! Don’t believe ‘da hype!
Scientists Slam Link Between Hurricanes and Global Warming
Just like the hyped predictions of disaster to the East Coast from Irene over the weekend, the new report says that models used by global warming scientists "over-estimate" the the warming trends of the globe to back up their warnings of future droughts, killer storms, and famine.Meanwhile back in the land of politics of trying to prove that you’re Moses: Obama Narrowly Escaped 31 MPH Winds And 0.03 Inches Of Rain At Martha’s Vineyard
And to think that we nearly lost him!
"The poor" are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever bigger spending for ever bigger government advance toward their goal
The whole future of the welfare state depends on how poverty is defined. "The poor" are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever bigger spending for ever bigger government advance toward their goal.Over at the National Center for Policy Analysis, John Goodman quotes the same Heritage Foundation report, then responds to a liberal criticism of the report.
If poverty meant what most people think of as poverty — people "ill-clad, ill-housed, and ill-nourished," in Franklin D. Roosevelt's phrase — there would not be nearly enough people in poverty today to justify the vastly expanded powers and runaway spending of the federal government.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has for years examined what "the poor" of today actually have — and the economic facts completely undermine the political rhetoric.
Official data cited by Rector show that 80 percent of "poor" households have air-conditioning today, which less than half the population of America had in 1970. Nearly three-quarters of households in poverty own a motor vehicle, and nearly one-third own more than one motor vehicle.
Virtually everyone living in "poverty," as defined by the government, has color television, and most have cable TV or satellite TV. More than three-quarters have either a VCR or a DVD player, and nearly nine-tenths have a microwave oven.
Various attempts have been made over the years to depict Americans in poverty as "ill-fed" but the "hunger in America" campaigns that have enjoyed such political and media popularity have usually used some pretty creative methods and definitions.
Actual studies of "the poor" have found their intake of the necessary nutrients to be no less than that of others. In fact, obesity is slightly more prevalent among low-income people.
The real triumph of words over reality, however, is in expensive government programs for "the elderly," including Medicare. The image often invoked is the person who is both ill and elderly, and who has to choose between food and medications.
It is great political theater. But, the most fundamental reality is that the average wealth of the elderly is some multiple of the average wealth owned by people in the other age brackets.
Why should the average taxpayer be subsidizing people who have much more wealth than they do?
If we are concerned about those particular elderly people who are in fact poor — as we are about other people who are genuinely poor, whatever their age might be — then we can simply confine our help to those who are poor by some reasonable means test. It would cost a fraction of what it costs to subsidize everybody who reaches a certain age.
But the political left hates means tests. If government programs were confined to people who were genuinely poor in some meaningful sense, that would shrink the welfare state to a fraction of its current size. The left would lose their human shields.
To most Americans, the word "poverty" implies significant material deprivation, including inadequate food, clothing and shelter. The actual living conditions of America's poor are very different, however. …
The home of the average poor family was in good repair and not overcrowded. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average (non-poor) European, the Heritage scholars note. The poor family was able to obtain medical care when needed. When asked, most poor families stated they had had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.
Does that mean it’s game, set, match. Case closed? Well not quite. Liberal blogger Matt Yglesias says the Heritage report leaves out three things: housing, education and health care. …
But what do these three sectors have in common that’s missing from the market for television sets and video games? Government.
… Don’t blame it on capitalism.
Germany Just Wants To Help
The funny thing is that most European anti-semitism is inaccurately founded on accusations of mercantilist parasitism that German society actually practices, and actually calls "pacifism".
To help itself to a piece of Libya’s reconstruction pie, that is.
And they will get it, too. They always do, although they may have to squirm and grovel around for a bit first. Damn. If this were the US we were talking about here I’d have to say that they are only in it for the oil.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Gore explained that in order for climate change alarmists to succeed, they must “win the conversation” against those who deny there is a crisis.Al Gore has reduced himself to the social tactics of fascism.
So to please him, some may not utter specific opinions, or otherwise be sanctioned for saying them. That's okay by Al. Those are the tactics of totalitarians.
In one respect, he's gotten it right... about apocalypse peddlers who confuse political fealty with propriety. Scientific investigation must be banned from his little world to uphold his absolutism:
“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said.
We grow up learning that some things are just badwrites John Stossel:
child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc. But maybe they're not.
What I love about economics is that it can show that what seems harmful is actually good for society. It illuminates what common sense overlooks.
This is all covered in the eye-opening book Defending the Undefendable by economist Walter Block. …