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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Via Dissecting Leftism, this article from The American Spectator, saying what I have been saying for the last several weeks. See here and here, for example, that the proposed US economic stimulus package will not and can not work, because it is based on a toxic combination of wishful thinking and economic theory known to have no relationship to anything that happens in the real world.

Please somebody stop this package. It will deepen and prolong the recession. This will be painful for the US. But because the US is the economic lead dog, and what happens there is maginified in its effects on smaller economies, the effect on smaller, more vulnerable economies will be devastating.

Common sense from Qando:

It’s pretty silly to think you can solve a problem created by too much borrowing and spending by doing a lot more borrowing and spending.

If everyone followed that logic in everyday life, imagine the results:

“Gosh, I’m forty pounds overweight now. I better start eating more.”

“Honey, you’re getting too many speeding tickets.” “Well, then, I better start driving faster.”

“That girl says I irritate her, but I really like her. I guess I should start being more obnoxious.”

“Oh, dear, the roof is leaking again. I better make the hole bigger.”

Via Andrew Bolt, this story of the banning of Geert Wilders from Britain.

‘It seems that in Britain the public debate has already been smothered to the extent that a democratically elected politician from another EU country is not allowed to come to Britain to adress a private meeting with British politicians in the Palace of Westminster.’ 

Wilders is not a violent man, and has never even remotely encouraged violence.

He is sometimes over the top (see my earlier post) but many of his criticisms of the Koran, Mohammed and violent Islamism are right on target. This is probably exactly what makes his views so offensive to some.

No one expects Geert to do anything wrong. The fear is that his presence will cause violent protests, and possibly attempts to kidnap or kill him.

When you are faced with a violent rabble, it is much easier to blame and restrain the victim than the mob. And this strengthens the mob by reinforcing that threats of violence are an effective way to get what they want, including the stifling of debate.

For an idiotic comparison of the division between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, who spend their spare time killing one another, stealing aid (largely given by Israel) and plotting against the ‘Zionist entity’, and different parties in Israeli politics, whose members are often personal friends despite their political differences, and whose differences are talked over in a civilised way in a fully democratic society.

‘Israeli Divisions’ are not what is making peace-making harder, but Hamas’ determination, repeatedly expressed in both words and actions, to kill Jews and destroy Israel.

And don’t let the truth get in the way.

Via Michelle Malkin, this story of Ashley Judd’s appearance in a Widlife Action Fund video, complaining about the culling of wolves in Alaska.

The video portrays Sarah Palin as bloodthirsty and unconcerned about the environment. But this is exactly the opposite of the truth. The culling operation is designed to protect other widlife such as moose and caribou in areas where there are high wolf populations.

This is a tragic waste of a life and a tragic loss for Piotr Stanczak’s family.

Piotr Stanczak was an engineer. Thank goodness for the courage of people like him, who in spite of the dangers, continue to travel to Muslim countries to help build infrastructure, and with it, hope for the future.

In the US in January.

Too soon to blame Obama? Well maybe. This crisis is a direct result of intervention in domestic lending markets by the Carter and Clinton administrations. Bush’s attempts to get more accountability from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were blocked. But no, that’s not Obama’s fault.

When I heard the story of this explosion in unemployment on the TV news last night, the reporter offered her opinion that we would see a change once the ‘stimulus’ package got started. I agree there is likely to be a change, but I doubt it will be positive.

Increased unemployment levels are indicative of a lack of business confidence. If business owners believe things are going to be get better, they don’t lay people off. Good staff are hard to find, and take time and money to train.

One of the reasons I thought Obama’s election would be a mistake was his utter lack of experience in running anything. The stimulus package reflects this lack of understanding of both business practice and basic economics. In these circumstances it is hard for the business-owners who power the economy to feel anything other than concern.

In this case, on Afghanistan. As with Gitmo, and his cabinet candidates, and … and …  it might have been better to have done the research and asked the questions before stating the policies which were part of his election platform, and which are now being discovered to be unworkable.

In both foreign policy and economic policy, a careful assessment of evidence is essential if results are going to be anything other than disastrous. Wishful thinking and ideology are not a basis for sound policy.

Greedy or stupid policiticans, probably… 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gets one thing right in his 7,000 word reiteration of the destructive Whitlam era philosophy that big government, big spending and high taxes are good. The thing he gets right is this: ‘Soft or hard, protectionism is a sure-fire way of turning recession into depression, as it exacerbates the collapse in global demand.’

Virtually everything else in the essay is wrong, and can be shown to be wrong. Rudd blames ‘extreme capitalism and unrestrained greed’ for the present crisis. This is utterly counter-factual.

The cause of the present crisis was do-gooding intervention in domestic home loan markets by successive US Democrat administrations.

In essence, starting with Jimmy Carter, those administrations offered incentives to lenders to give home loans to people who would not have qualified under normal lending criteria (or penalties to lenders who did not). This is the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage market, which consisted of giving loans to people who could not afford to repay them.

If you assume (as seems likely) a complete lack of understanding of basic economics in those who formulated this policy, you can allow that it may have been well-intentioned. In fact it should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain that it would leave those to whom the loans were given worse off in the long run, because they were likely not only to lose their homes, but any money they put into them, and their credit rating.

It should also have been obvious to anyone with half a brain that such a system could not be maintained. You cannot continue indefinitely to lend billions of dollars to people who have no chance of repaying it without eventually having a serious impact on the whole economic system.

In 2001 the Bush administration tried to get real answers from the Government Sponsored Enterprises (Fannie May and Freddie Mac) which underwrote those loans, and to ensure proper lending criteria were in place. These efforts were defeated by a consortium of Democrat representatives and senators, many of whom were in receipt of large donations from those bodies.

John Pilla on publicopiniononline.com has more details.

After Geithner, Daschle, Richardson, Killefer, et al, further consideration of Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis has been postponed because her husband ‘only yesterday paid off tax liens, some of which had been pending for up to 16 years’.’

What is it with Obama’s team and taxes? Is forgetting to pay your taxes part of the whole ‘wealth redistribution’ thing?

‘At the the end of the process the nominee is asked one final catch-all question: Is there anything that could cause you, your family, or the President embarrassment if it became public?
Either Obama and his nominees aren’t easily embarrassed, or the vetters have tin ears the size of satellite dishes.’

Either these people are dishonest, or they are incompetent, or they are just plain stupid. Whichever it is, events so far hardly inspire confidence in the incoming administration.

I was in the airport in Auckland the other day and saw this headline. Well, it didn’t actually say that. The magazine was upside down, and that’s what it looked like. It actually read ‘Obama Changes Words Into Deeds’.

I think my version is truer. The proposed stimulus programme will not, cannot, do anything to improve the economy. Simply increasing spending cannot help. What will help is increasing productivity. To do that you need measures which increase business confidence, and make it easier to employ people. This will increase business investment and raise employment levels, and this increases spending in an appropriate, affordable and sustainable way.  Simply increasing spending will only increase debt, and prolong and deepen the recession. Richer countries may be able to cope. But this is a disaster for developing nations, and will not win friends for the US in the long run.

As for changing words into deeds, well, what exactly?

A community nurse in England has been suspended because she offered to pray for an elderly woman during a home visit.

That’s just crazy. I am neither a muslim or a hindu, but if a member of one of those faiths offered to pray for me I would be grateful for their concern. I would say no, but also express my thanks.

So if someone offers to pray for you, and you would rather they didn’t, why not just just say so? Why try to make them lose their job?

Peaceful, free and fair elections in Iraq, infrastructure being developed, business investment helping to rebuild the economy, people feeling safe in their homes.

Now how did that happen? And why doesn’t the mainstream media consider it worth reporting?

These look great – heaps better than Dick Tracy’s, and heaps heaps better than Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. They also double as a video camera and MP4 player. And have a bluetooth earpiece so you don’t have to walk around with your wrist stuck to your ear.

And PS, they are designed in Australia.

Lifting an excommunication is not a pardon. It is not a re-instatement. It is certainly not an affirmation of anyone’s personal opinions.

It simply means that a person is no longer outside the fellowship of the Church, and therefore outside God’s salvation. I commented on this a few days ago.

So there is no reason at all to get in a tizzy about it. Yitzak Cohen’s suggestion that Israel should cut off  ‘all connections to any body in which Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites are members’ is ludicrous. Sadly, if Israel were to do that, they would have no connection with any nation on earth, including their own.

I never ceases to amaze me, not that people don’t know about Church terms and procedures, but that they assume they do know, and are therefore qualified to comment and make judgments.

Bishop Williams is an embarassing idiot who should keep his mouth shut. Such people are found in most organisations.

Fortunately, the church does not condemn anyone to hell just for being an idiot, nor for holding incorrect and unpopular historical opinions.

I wrote a couple of days ago about Imanutjob’s demand that the US apologise to Muslims everywhere as a condition of better relationships with the Islamic world and with Iran in particular.

To apologise is to acknowledge that something is your fault. Untruthful apologies – apologies for things that are not your fault – may be convenient, they may even make you feel better. But they bring no long term benefit either to the person who apologises, or to the person to whom the apology is given.

An apology from the US would be taken as acknowledgement of responsibility, not just by the US, but by the West as a whole, for the sorry state of many Islamic societies. The response would not be ‘Gee, thanks. That’s OK, apology accepted.’ It would be continued and renewed blame of the West, accompanied by further demands for withdrawal, compensation, etc.

Instead, the responsible thing to do is quietly and patiently and repeatedly point out, as Charles Krauthammer does in this article, the many ways the US and its allies have helped Muslim communities around the world, often at considerable cost and no obvious benefit to themselves.