Saturday, November 28, 2015

Leaving Corporate America

Originally published in American Thinker on November 29, 2009

We are at the mercy of economic "experts." These practitioners of the "dismal science" are managing large sectors of our economy in accordance with theories learned in Ivy League Universities. They have assured us that the lessons learned from the Great Depression will prevent another such occurrence. 

The problem is that every forecast by an economic expert can be matched by an equal and opposite forecast. Often these conflicting forecasts are made by the same individual. Economist Howard S. Katz provides an explanation for this situation in his book, The Paper Aristocracy: "Modern economics claims to be a science. This is a sham and a fraud." Katz bases this conclusion on his observation that "[w]hen it fails to predict future events it does not act like the scientist, disregarding false theories in search of the truth; it acts like the Indian Medicine Man who has failed to make rain. It equivocates, rationalizes and tries to make minor adjustments." Unlike an Indian medicine man, an influential economist might not only be unable to bring rain, but he may also cause drought. 

The State of New York provides an example of the disastrous effects of an economic policy. When Governor Paterson, a politician with a long tax-and-spend record, came into office, he declared that taxes were too high. Paterson stated, "We will rue the day that we tax the rich, if the rich, who are the job-creators in New York, stop doing it, and then people are leaving to find jobs in other states." Yet Paterson signed a budget which included 6.1 billion dollars in projected new taxes and fees. Paterson seemed to realize the folly of his action, stating, "None of this makes sense." Tax revenue from these increases was running 20 percent below projections. In a lucid moment, Paterson responded, "Tax the rich, we've done that. We've probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state."

There is a popular idea that the loss of the "rich" is not a problem. Governor Paterson apparently joked that Rush Limbaugh's decision to leave New York due to tax increases was a good thing. Paterson stated, "If I knew that would be the result I would've thought about the taxes earlier." The New York Times concluded, "Limbaugh's vow won't change much" in a state with such a massive deficit. 

Of course, the taxes on one individual, no matter how wealthy, will not have a noticeable impact on government revenue. But is Limbaugh alone in his decision to leave? Buffalo Sabers hockey team owner Tom Golisano announced that he was moving to Florida shortly after the New York State budget was passed. Galisano reportedly pays $13,000 a day in taxes. The head of New York's ACORN-affiliated Working Families Party is reported to have said "good riddance to Golisano." 

According to the New York Times, "people don't relocate because of high taxes." However, Deadline Hollywood reported that "Oprah and her people have long limited the time she spends in Montecito so she doesn't exceed the number of days mandating her to pay exorbitant taxes as a California resident." Apparently Oprah Winfrey does not read the New York Times. Perhaps Limbaugh, Golisano, and Winfrey are isolated examples -- or perhaps not.

The problem of avoiding taxes is not only a state issue. David Farr, the CEO of Emerson Electric Co., asserted, "I'm not going to hire anybody in the U.S. I'm moving. They (Washington) are doing everything possible to destroy jobs." The Obama administration disagrees. Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, replied with an e-mail from Singapore: "This administration has made a significant commitment to U.S. manufacturing, including reforming the country's health insurance system to bring down costs and make American companies more competitive globally."

Farr is not alone in his determination to abandon the anti-business climate of the United States. Eleven major companies have relocated or are in the process of relocating overseas: Tyco International Ltd., Foster Wheeler AG, Weatherford International Ltd., Nabors Industries Ltd., Noble Corp., TransOcean International Group, United America Indemnity Ltd., Cooper Industries, Covidien, Ingersoll-Rand PLC, and Accenture Ltd. The U.S. has the world's highest corporate tax rate after Japan, but we have been promised that free health insurance will make American companies competitive.

In addition to increased taxes, there are other incentives to relocate outside of the United States. The federal government now sees the need to regulate executive compensation. This is a very popular idea, and politicians like popular ideas. Paying executives tens of millions of dollars a year does not seem reasonable. And the majority of Americans agree: high salaries for American CEOs must be regulated. 

The market proves otherwise. If the market offers executives significantly larger incomes to relocate, many will relocate. Josef Ackerman of Deutsche Bank reportedly stated, "We can't wait to get our hands on all that top talent." A reasonable person might say, "The market be damned." The market can at times be very unreasonable. As an illustration, suppose the owner of an NBA team were to conclude that bouncing a ball was worth only $100,000 a year. Where would his team be in the standings? What would the team's attendance figures be? As a result of this change, how many hot dog vendors would be laid off?    

In February 2008, Michelle Obama stated,

We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we're asking young people to do.  Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that.

As corporations relocate overseas, we will become a progressive utopia of teachers teaching social workers and social workers ministering to the needs of teachers. Somehow I do not think this will work.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Our Confused ISIS Policy

If I did not know better I would think that President Obama’s policy in Syria was a stroke of genius: manipulate the Russians to do the dirty work of eliminating ISIS.  According to retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, “We are not trying to destroy ISIS.”  McInerney said, "I'm looking at a photo right now of the city of Raqqa, the ISIS main headquarters, the Islamic court.  All these buildings are standing. Why? The fact is we are not executing air power."  McInerney’s photos may be outdated. Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, reported that the ISIS command center in Raqqa had been destroyed.

But American policy might be worse than not wanting to destroy ISIS.  It may actually be supporting ISIS. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev blamed the U.S. for having policies that allowed ISIS to come about. He claimed, “The strengthening of the Islamic State became possible partially due to irresponsible policies of the United States. Instead of concentrating joint efforts on fighting terrorism, the United States and its allies decided to fight against the lawfully elected president of Syria Bashar Assad.”

U.S. policy is a continuation of the bipartisan program that eliminated Saddam Hussain, Muammar Gaddafi, and Hosni Mubarak, and has now set its sights on Bashar al-Assad.  These leaders were antagonistic toward the West to a greater or lesser degree and even supported terrorists at times.  However, they were all secular leaders who tolerated religious minorities and provided a certain amount of stability in the region.  The only setback for the progressives’ program was the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in Egypt.  U.S. policy allegedly supports “moderate” Muslim rebel groups.  The problem with this policy is: who are these moderates?
Abdelhakim Belhadj

This problem is illustrated by two of Senator John McCain’s Libyan “heroes,” Abdelhakim Belhadj and Abu Mosa.  A smiling Senator McCain was photographed with these two individuals who later were revealed to be ISIS leaders.  The inability to distinguish “moderates” from “extremists” has led to some disturbing outcomes.  State Department representative Marie Harf said, "ISIS has obtained some heavy weaponry.”  She did not mention the origin of the “heavy weaponry,” but the vast majority of ISIS’s heavy weapons originate in the U.S.  ISIS is also driving around in convoys of new Toyota trucks provided to Syrian “moderates” by the US State Department.  “Significant quantities” of arms including M16 assault rifles marked “property of the US government” are in the hands of ISIS. 

Abu Mosa
The publicly accepted alignment pits the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia against Russia, China, Iran and the Assad regime.  All are supposedly opposed to ISIS.  Yet the Turks, a NATO member, seems more concerned with fighting the Kurds, who are one of the most effective forces opposed to ISIS.  Former US Department of State senior advisor David Phillips claims Turkey “has provided logistical support, money, weapons, transport and healthcare to wounded warriors" of ISIS.  The Turks quite possibly provided the Sarin gas used by rebel forces in the August 21, 2013 attack on Ghouta in an attempt to trigger President Obama’s red line threat to attack Assad if he used chemical weapons.  The Turks were also involved in the transit of ISIS oil supplies to the world market.  It is curious that these oil tankers were allegedly not targeted by the U.S. military because they were driven by civilian drivers.  Where were these tankers headed?  The US Government knows.  Satellite photos show exactly where they are going.  By shooting down a Russian jet the Turks are dangerously close to involving NATO in a conflict with Russia.  The Russia response was to install anti-aircraft missiles in Syria.  ISIS does not have aircraft and these missiles put US aircraft in jeopardy.  The last visitor Ambassador Stevens had on September 11 was a Turkish diplomat.  Turkey may be heavily involved in the shipment of oil and weapons into and out of Syria. 

Saudi Arabia also has an ambiguous policy towards ISIS.  Even US policy raises questions.  The President has announced 50 US Special Forces will join the “moderate” rebels in Syria.  There is the possibility that they could fall victim to Russian air strikes, leading to an escalation.  The President continues to release Guantanmo detainees.  It is known that many of them have returned to the battlefield. 

It is impossible to construct an accurate assessment of the situation in the Middle East.  Every move is shrouded in secrecy.  Every allegation is met with a counter allegation.  Documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the administration’s account of events does not coincide with their intelligence reports.  The bottom line is that following U.S. policy has led to chaos in the Middle East and the flooding of Europe with hundreds of thousands of refugees.  Even some of the President’s most devoted defenders are beginning to question his policies.  CNN's Christiane Amanpour reported that Obama said, “something that was pretty incredible…that our strategy is working. People do not believe that to be the case. The only strategy that’s working is the strategy that he tends to dismiss — and that’s the ground troop strategy.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Cupboard is Bare

Originally Published in American Thinker on May 10, 2014. Modified on November 19, 2015

         It is natural that organisms and organizations employ defense mechanisms. When governments are confronted with the threat of budgets cuts they must respond. A particularly effective technique has been described as the "Firemen First Principle."  This term was coined by journalist Charles Peters in 1976. It states, "the public will support [the Clever Bureaucrat's] valiant fight against the budget reduction only if essential services are endangered. Thus, C.B. always picks on teachers, policemen, firemen first."  Essential services are the first targets of a government faced with budget cuts. President Obama said Republicans have a choice during the 2013 sequester debate: "Do you want to see a bunch of first responders lose their jobs because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?" A classic example of this technique was provided by the city of Ann Arbor. Faced with the opposition to tax increases the city laid off firefighters. At the same time they were funding an art project for $850,000 that failed to function. The dire consequences of these cuts are dutifully reported by the media. Reporting on the cuts to the Minnesota state budget the Associated Press asserted, "The blind are losing reading services. A help line for the elderly has gone silent. And poor families are scrambling after the state stopped child-care subsidies." 
         In order to illustrate this tragedy they mention Sonya Mills, a 39-year-old mother of eight about to lose $3,600 a month in child care subsidies. In order to be effective, these cuts must be highly visible and draconian; designed to cause maximum inconvenience to the public. During the sequester controversy Congressman Darrell Issa reported, "the Committee received information that proposed budget adjustments submitted by an National Parks Service official in the field to deal with sequestration impacts were rejected by NPS superiors in favor of cuts that would be more visible and disruptive.” Some of these cuts have crossed the line to sheer viciousness. Discussing cuts in cancer research CNN anchorwoman, Dana Bash asked Senator Harry Reid, "If you can help one child with cancer, why wouldn't you do it?"  Reid responded, "Why would we want to do that?" The Pentagon halted death benefits for five service members killed over the weekend of the sequester. The Pentagon press release stated, “The department does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action – typically a cash payment of $100,000 paid within three days of the death of a service member.” It took special congressional action to reinstate these benefits. These cuts were essential because as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated, "The cupboard is bare."
         But is the cupboard really bare? There appears to be a class of spending in the back of the cupboard that has apparently been overlooked. This has been described as "little, tiny 'porky amendments."  Senator Chuck Schumer told the Senate, “And let me say this, to all of the chattering class, that so much focuses on those little, tiny ‘ yes, porky’ amendments: The American people really don’t care.”  Former Congressman David Obey once referred the cost of one of these items as, "a lousy $8 million."  What could be more important than death benefits for deceased servicemen or cancer research? The National Science Foundation’s spokeswoman, Deborah Wing claims that the “NSF strives to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.”  How about a $384,949 federal study that looks at “Plasticity in Duck Penis Length.”  Or a grant for $876,752 to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $1.5 million to study biological and social factors for why “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not. The Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded $3.8 million for an “African Elephant Conservation” grant that, in part, aims to “decrease human-elephant conflict.” There is a marmoset monkeys erection study.  Several volumes could be filled with dubious studies by the “good stewards” of billions of taxpayers’ dollars.  The National Institute of Mental Health alone spends roughly $1 billion a year on “academic research.”
         Without oversight government stewards of taxpayer dollars frequently behave like the leaders of Bell, California. The city’s manager of this city of 38,000 earned an annual salary of almost $800,000. This was partially financed by the sale of two general obligation bond issues totaling $50 million. Federal officials’ salaries are regulated. Therefore they must be rewarded with other perquisites like bonuses and paid vacations or “conferences.”  The DOJ spent $121 million on conferences in fiscal 2008 and 2009. The IRS spent $48,631,800 on 225 conferences in fiscal years 2010-2012. The Department of Veterans Affairs spent more than $6 million on two “conferences.”
         Hundreds of government agencies spend billions of dollars of these “conferences.”The attitude of these stewards of tax dollars is perhaps best illustrated by the General Services Administration’s former Regional Commissioner, Jeff Neely. Neely was responsible for the 2010 GSA’s conference held in Las Vegas costing $823,000.  Neely wrote to his friends, “We’ll get you guys a room near us, and we’ll pick up the room tab… I know I’m bad, but as Deb and I often say, why not enjoy it while we have it and while we can. Ain’t gonna last forever.”
         Government officials are extremely frugal when they are dealing with their own finances. They are not so concerned when dealing with public funds. IRS workers who don’t pay their taxes still get bonuses. At the 2009 Wall Street Journal’s Economics Conference Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy, Matt Rogers, stated, “I’m Matt Rogers.  I am the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy and I have $134 billion that I have to disperse between now and the end of December.”  Paul Hollander, a “venture capitalist,” responded to this in an email, “Matt Rogers is about to get treated like a hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard.”  When he shared this with Rogers, he was relieved the find that Rogers and his friends laughed at the suggestion.  But this was the whole point in Rogers making this statement.
         The VA is currently facing a $2.6 billion budget shortfall.  VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, "We are going to do the right thing for veterans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”  Gibson also said, “We will have to start denying care to some veterans.”  In 2012 Fox News reported the VA was under investigation over two conferences in Orlando that cost $5 million and featured a video parody of the movie “Patton,”
 and $84,000 spent on “branded pens, highlighters, hand sanitizers and USB drives.”
While the VA is contemplating denying care for veterans White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced the United States will direct $4.5 billion to help address the dire conditions inside Syria and in refugee camps scattered across the region.        

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We Are Doomed -- Again

Originally Published in American Thinker on February 28, 2010

Global warming is far from the first apocalyptic prediction, or even the first based on computer models. The belief that the world is coming to an end appears to be a universal concept based on an innate psychic need. All major religions -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism -- have a version of the end of the world. While the major religions' visions may be traced back to ancient Persia and Zoroastrian teachings, the Mayan and Hopi Indian visions of the end times are unlikely to have originated in the Middle East. While we still have religion-based suicidal groups (Heaven's Gate, the Branch Davidians, the Peoples Temple), these groups now have a competitor. In a secular society, we no longer put our faith in ancient revelations. The apparent psychic need for an apocalyptic myth may not have disappeared. The new apocalyptic visions are not based on revelation, but on "science."  

In the 1960s, Paul Ehrlich's bestseller, The Population Bomb, predicted the end of civilization by 1983 as a result of overpopulation. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology, claimed that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over ... In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." He was the first to base his conclusions on computer modeling. In the 1970s, the Club of Rome predicted the depletion of many of our necessary resources, including the depletion of oil by 1992. Its report, "The Limits of Growth," sold 12 million copies.

During the Cold War, the West was gripped by the fear of a nuclear apocalypse celebrated (among others) by Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth and the TV program "The Day After." "Thermonuclear education" became an important part of the school curriculum.  Commentary magazine described this indoctrination as "gratuitous sadism." It elicited comments from young students such as, "Do you really think anyone will make it? If they do, will they want to? I pray I am lucky and die." 

If famine or nuclear annihilation doesn't kill us, perhaps diseases will. In 1987, the New York Times headlined an article titled "AIDS May Dwarf the Plague." The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, told a congressional panel, "We could spend our energy on research and immunization and education and still not have any Americans left unless we're prepared to confront the crisis of AIDS." Oprah Winfrey announced that "one out of five heterosexuals will be dead of AIDS by 1990." The swine flu "pandemic" nearly devastated the tourist industry in Mexico. In October 2009, President Obama declared a state of national emergency because of the swine flu. It is quite possible that more people perish by falling in their bathtubs than have died of swine flu. So far, the president has not declared this a national emergency.

The crisis de jour is global warming. Much of the hysteria generated about global warming is the result of the research done by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Eastern England. It claims that the world's largest temperature data set and its work in mathematical models was incorporated into the IPCC's (United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Nobel Prize-winning 2007 report. Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, dismissed a report by the Indian government which said that glaciers might not be melting as fast as had been feared. Dr. Pachauri described the report as "voodoo science."

There are several problems with apocalyptic scenarios. For one, a genuine and avoidable crisis may be ignored due to crisis fatigue. Residents repeatedly told to evacuate because of oncoming hurricanes may become complacent in the face of a serious hurricane. Pathological science diminishes faith in genuine science. The world is full of swamis, faith healers, snake oil salesmen, and mountebanks. There are now thousands of professionals whose reputations are invested in maintaining the global warming hoax. Perhaps the most reprehensible characteristic of apocalypse-mongers is that they target children. According to Commentary magazine, thermonuclear education consituted "the most serious abuse of children."

The threat of global warming will eventually recede.  The need for an apocalyptic vision, however, will not. The next threat will contain many of the characteristics of the global warming threat. It will predict the end of the world. It will be based on "scientific facts." It will require massive counseling for the psychological distress it will cause. It will require the creation of a massive bureaucracy. And it will require the transfer of massive amounts of money to the hypothesized victims of the future crisis. 

Obama's Burden of Brightness

 Originally published in American Thinker on May 07, 2010

President Obama is frequently described as highly intelligent. His advisor Valerie Jarrett has described this as a "burden." She announced at the John F. Kennedy School of Government that "[p]art of the burden of being so bright is that he sees his error immediately." Advisor David Axelrod claimed, "He does have an incisive mind. This is someone who in law school worked with [Harvard professor] Larry Tribe on a paper on the legal implications of Einstein's theory of relativity." The president obviously shares this opinion, having told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid early in his Senate career, "Harry, I have a gift."

The "progressive" media can be counted on to regurgitate this mantra. They have, in fact, surpassed it, and they have often entered the realm of idolatry or even adolescent infatuation. Chris Matthews is perhaps the leading example of this. Following one the president's press conferences, Matthews claimed that "[t]he president showed his analytical mind. He was at his best intellectually. I thought it was a great example of how his mind works. What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him." Matthews is famous for the frequent "thrill" that goes up his leg. He apparently also suffers from gender confusion. Watching Obama board a helicopter, Matthews gushed, "We agree, we girls agree. I don't mind saying that. I'm excited. I'm thrilled." Following Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, reports on the president became so fawning that even Bill Maher, no right-winger, commented "the coverage ... that I was watching from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him." 

The commentators at MSNBC were not alone. Judith Warner, who writes for the New York Times, claimed that many women are dreaming of having sex with the new president. How did she know? Well, from personal experience. She shared her fantasy of finding President Obama in her shower. Was this news "fit to print"?

Another New York Times columnist, David Brooks, shared the experience of his first encounter with the President: "I remember distinctly an image of -- we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant," Brooks reported, "and I'm thinking, a) he's going to be president and b) he'll be a very good president." Evan Thomas, Newsweek editor, provided this analysis: "I mean, in a way Obama's standing above the country, above -- above the world...he's sort of God." Historian Michael Beschloss, who might be considered an expert on American presidents, claimed that the current president's IQ is "off the charts." When pressed to reveal what he thought the President's IQ was, Beschloss could only say, "he's probably the smartest guy ever to become president." Even many of Obama's critics have bought into the intelligence hype. FOX news contributor Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard claimed that "for all his brainpower," he is a "slow learner."

This adulation may cause a serious problem for supporters of the president. Joe Scarborough pointed this out on his MSNBC program: "I tell you my biggest fear for Barack Obama, he has been sainted. He is Saint Barack. The same mainstream media that tried so desperately to get him elected has engaged in hyperbole, engaged in exaggeration. They have deified this man. ... They have set up such unrealistic expectations that no politician could meet those expectations." Scarborough might blame the media for this hyperbole, but they are only willing accomplices. The president himself has set the bar rather high. On June 3, 2008, he announced that future generations would look back on his primary victory as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

It would be unfair to elaborate on all of the president's gaffes in order to bolster the argument that he is not as intelligent as his supporters claim. It was unfair of the progressive media to pillory Vice President Dan Quayle for misspelling "potatoe." It was unfair to highlight every instance of Ronald Reagan and George Bush misspeaking. But is it professional for the media to edit a president's remarks in order to correct them? President Obama, speaking of the Somali pirates, stated, "And I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of privacy in that region." This was obviously a mistake. However, the major media reported that he vowed to "halt the rise of piracy" off the coast of Africa.

Can an individual who is obviously infatuated with a public figure provide an objective analysis of that figure's policies? It seems unlikely.

Masters of the Language

Originally published in American Thinker on November 20, 2009

In the prophetic 1984, George Orwell described the purpose of Newspeak, the language of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. Newspeak was designed not only as a medium of expression for the Ingsoc worldview, but also "to make all other modes of thought impossible." Once Newspeak was fully adopted, "a heretical thought ... should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent of words."

The ability to control the political vocabulary bestows enormous power on the possessor. For decades, progressives have had a monopoly in this sphere. It is unlikely that they will be able to make "heretical thought" unthinkable, but their ability to control the terminology gives them a tremendous advantage in any political debate. Even conservative commentators have adopted the progressive terminology.

The term "moderate" is part of a continuum that includes "left," "moderate," and "right." While "left" and "right" can often be described as extreme, there are few examples of extreme "moderates." Opposition to "moderates" is by definition immoderate or extreme. Moderation is the position we should all strive for because it is considered reasonable. In the current political landscape, there are "conservative Republican," "ultra-conservative Republicans," and "moderate Republicans." These designations are universally accepted, even by "conservative" commentators. Republicans who adopt positions that can be described only as progressive are exclusively labeled "moderates." If Republicans holding progressive beliefs are described as "moderates," who then are the progressive Republicans? In the current terminology, there is no such thing as a "left-wing" or "progressive" Republican. They do not exist.

Republicans are advised by "moderates" and "objective" commentators to adopt a "big tent" philosophy. They must be more inclusive if they want to remain a viable party. They must not drive "moderates" from their tent. This tent must be large enough to include people like Dede Scozzafava, who endorsed the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. How big of a tent should Republicans create? Should it, like the Democratic tent, be big enough to include Maoists, Black Power advocates, Islamic fundamentalists, and assorted leftist "super-moderates"?

Irving Kristol has pointed out that John Kenneth Galbraith, who described himself as a socialist, and Michael Harrington, who once headed the socialist party, were frequently described as "liberals" in the media. Van Jones, who described himself as a communist, was deemed "a mainstream liberal" by commentator Alan Colmes. CNN news analyst David Gergen stated that he knew Van Jones for a number of years. However, Gergen claimed that he "was not familiar with some of [Jones's] past statements," and that "[i]t's a sad day to see a man of good work get so little credit."

The universally adopted division of the political spectrum between "red" and "blue" is not an accident. The individual or individuals who made this decision intended to obscure the historical connection of the term "red" with communists and progressives. Prior to this redefinition, to describe Nancy Pelosi's activities as "red" would arouse some disturbing thoughts. That is now impossible. She now represents the "blue." The "reds" oppose her. To describe any policy as "red," even if it originated in The Communist Manifesto, would only cause confusion. 

It is practically impossible to combat this progressive advantage. Their victory is almost upon them. As long as conservative commentators acquiesce and use the progressive terminology, they will assist the progressive cause. 

In Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll illustrates the power derived from the ability to control language: "'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'"

Liberal Hate Speech

Originally published in American Thinker on February 05, 2010

When Sarah Palin made Rahm Emanuel's expletive-enhanced use of the word "retarded" an embarrassment for him and the president, she forced the left to live up to its own P.C. standards. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

Normally, according to the media elites' rulebook, when liberals rant, it's called free speech; when conservatives rant, it is hate speech.

Members of the media elite appear to sincerely believe that liberals are less vitriolic than conservatives, and through repetition they have convinced a large part of the public this is true. The reason liberals can "rant" without fear of being labeled terrorists is that their "rants" are justified in the eyes of the media elite. Liberals believe that their beliefs are based on the rational analysis of scientific data. Their opponents' beliefs are based on superstition and prejudice.

This perspective was exemplified by comedian Bill Maher, who explained that "half this country wants to guide our ship of state by a compass. A compass, something that works by science and rationality, and empirical wisdom. And half this country wants to kill a chicken and read the entrails like they used to do in the old Roman Empire." Opponents of the liberal agenda are frequently described as "racist," "unpatriotic," and "ignorant." Conservative "rants" are not only incorrect; they are evil. It is therefore not "hateful" to describe opponents for what they are: "ignorant, unpatriotic racists."            

Criticism of liberal administrations is seen as destroying public faith in our institutions, and in some cases, it is called dangerous. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Washington Post columnist David Broder opined, "The bombing shows how dangerous it really is to inflame twisted minds with statements that suggest political opponents are enemies." During the Clinton administration, columnist Anthony Lewis criticized Rush Limbaugh, saying Limbaugh's "game" was "to throw dirt on government and anyone who believes that society needs government. In his hateful talk about President and Mrs. Clinton and others in office, he is really trying to destroy public faith in our institutions."

Recent criticisms of President Obama and his policies have been characterized as un-American. Suggestions that his policies should fail are equated with a suggestion that America should fail. This concern for American institutions may be something new, because it apparently was not a factor in the past. In 1986, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry commented on his view of the Reagan administration: "Ronald Reagan is in trouble, and [we might as well own up that] some of us are tempted to take a certain fiendish pleasure in the fact." Later, Michael Kinsley of the New Republic wrote in the Washington Post, "The fall of Reagan is a laughable matter. The only irritating aspect of the otherwise delightful collapse of the Reagan administration is the widespread insistence that we must all be poker-faced about it."

Liberals can demonize entire classes of people.  One of the favorite targets of the liberal elite is the Christian right. According to Michael Weisskopf of the Washington Post, the followers of people like the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." These people are not only ignorant, but they are also a definite threat. Chris Matthews has declared, "The group in this country that most resembles the Taliban, ironically, is the religious right." Rosie O'Donnell asserted, "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." This demonization makes it permissible to say some pretty outlandish things. NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu on his "All Things Considered" segment stated,  "The evaporation of four million [people] who believe in this [Christian] crap would leave this world a better place." Actress Megan Fox, admittedly not a representative of the elite intelligentsia, said that if given the chance, she'd urge the fictional character Megatron to murder only the "white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super Bible-beating people in Middle America."

Of course, Republicans and conservatives are the prime target of liberal spleen. Sen. Ted Kennedy gave this description of Republicans: "The Republican Party is basically anti-civil rights, anti-immigration, anti-women, and anti-worker." Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, stated, "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for." Jesse Jackson after the 1994 GOP victory claimed that "[h]ate and hurt are on a roll in America. If what was happening here was happening in South Africa, it'd be called racist apartheid. If it was happening in Germany, we'd call it Nazism. And in Italy, we'd call it fascism. Here we call it conservatism."

Liberals appear to get a pass when they attack conservative individuals. USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux expressed her opinion of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on PBS: "The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that's how I feel.  He is an absolutely reprehensible person." Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio and ABC News reporter, commenting on Senator Jesse Helms, said, "I think he ought to be worried about what's going on in the Good Lord's mind, because if there is retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it." Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill had a less than flattering opinion of Ronald Reagan: "The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and future generations of America and who likes to ride a horse. He's cold. He's mean. He's got icewater for blood." New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis claimed that President Reagan "spews out rage and hate, fear and falsehood." It would take volumes to chronicle the outrageous attacks on George Bush or Sarah Palin.

On "Late Night with David Letterman," Sam Donaldson said, "I think he's [Reagan] going to have to pass three tests. The first is, will he get there, stand in front of the podium, and not drool?" After the audience showed its disapproval, Donaldson responded, "Wait a minute, I don't mean that disrespectfully." Letterman replied, "Well, I think we all took that as flattery, Sam, we did." When Whoopi Goldberg drew a distinction between "rape" and "rape-rape," she possible provided an explanation for liberal "rants." They are not "hate-hate" -- simply "hate."

Additional remarks by Progressives

Alex Baldwin: “if we were in another country… we would stone [Congressman]Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families, for what they’re doing to this country.”

Chris Matthews: "The group in this country that most resembles the Taliban, ironically, is the Religious Right."

Alexander Cockburn: “You have to go back to the Nazis to find expressions of thuggish intent so laced with ignorance and mendacity as those made by Reagan and George Schultz.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.): “I saw pictures of Boehner and Cantor on our screens,” the California Democrat said in remarks posted online. “Don’t ever let me see again in life those Republicans in our hall, on our screens, talking about anything. These are demons.”

Howard Dean: “I hate Republicans and everything they stand for.” 2005, days before he became chairman of Democratic National CommitteeCleared consolidated

Jesse Jackson: “Hate and hurt are on a roll in America.  If what was happening here was happening in South Africa, it’d be called racist apartheid.  If it was happening in Germany, we’d call it Nazism.  And in Italy, we’d call it fascism.  Here we call it conservatism.”

Julianne Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas: “The man is on the Court.  You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men to, of heart disease.  Well, that’s how I feel.  He is an absolutely reprehensible person.” 

Tip O'Neill on Ronald Reagan: "The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and future generations of America and who likes to ride a horse.  He's cold.  He's mean.  He's got ice water for blood."

Nina Totenberg: “I think he (Jesse Helms) ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.” 

David Broder: “ The bombing (in Oklahoma City) shows how dangerous it really is to inflame twisted minds with statements that suggest political opponents are enemies. For two years, Rush Limbaugh described this nation as ‘America held hostage’ to the policies of the liberal Democrats as if the duly elected president and Congress were equivalent to the regime in Tehran. I think there will be less tolerance and fewer cheers for that kind of rhetoric.” 

Anthony Lewis: "Rush Limbaugh's game" is "to throw dirt on government and anyone who believes that society needs government.  In his hateful talk about President and Mrs. Clinton and others in office, he is really trying to destroy public faith in our institutions.

NBC apologized to Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann after the house band played "Lyin' Ass Bitch" during her visit to "Late Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Some of the Progressive remarks border on pathological

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir suggested that someone should defecate and urinate in former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's mouth.

Alan Colmes (on Rick Santorum): "Once they get a hold of the crazy things he's said and done like taking his two-hour old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real.” 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review - Operation Snow by John Koster

John Koster's Operation Snow is the most comprehensive account in the English language of Harry Dexter White role in provoking war with Japan. This period of history is still an emotionally charged subject as several of the reviews demonstrate. There is still lingering hostility towards Japan and this is supplemented by the need of progressives to maintain many of the myths that surround the period. Were the Japanese ruthless? Certainly. Koster is accused of "glossing over" Japanese atrocities which Christopher Best found "disgraceful." The Chinese have condemned the Japanese for not dealing with the subject of the Rape of Nanking in their textbooks. Do the Chinese deal with the tens of millions of deaths under Mao in their textbooks? Chris might check out The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Planning for atrocities that have been "glossed over." Chinese workers were migrating to Manchuria while it was under Japanese rule.

Koster's critics are very revealing. A book review that begins with, "I have not read Koester's (sic) book," is bound to be informative. Another critic states, "this book did not hold my attention long." This individual is an authority because he once sat on Stalin's toilet seat. Other criticisms include, the book "truly demonstrates the paranoid nature of some in these times." "The Reds under every bed conspiracy theory still has legs." And "only conspiracy theorists and the very gullible would believe." In other words if you believe Koster's theory you are either stupid or crazy. Name calling is not a convincing argument.

One criticism of the book involves the subtitle. It states that White "triggered" Pearl Harbor. This led Kenneth Goff to ask, "Could an assistant treasury secretary have precipitated the attack on Pearl Harbor?" Steve Daugherty "was unconvinced . . . that HDW was almost exclusively responsible for the US-Japan war." I did not draw that conclusion from the book. Koster deals with Stanley Hornbeck in the State Department who was part of the pro-Chinese group and certainly Lauchin Currie and Harry Hopkins, White House advisors, supported White pro-Soviet position. White played a key role in composing the "ultimatum" sent to the Japanese as well as in the oil embargo that preceded it.

White still has his defenders. He was a "victim of prejudice and bias," who "got seduced by falsified claims of Soviet economic gains." It has been pointed out that White helped the Soviets because he "wanted to help whoever was fighting Hitler." This is an excellent argument except for the fact that White met with Pavlov in May 1941 while the Soviets and Nazi were still allies. White is frequently referred to as a humanitarian. Dietz Ziechmann claims White, "felt the need for . . . government action against poverty and human suffering."
HDW was not merely a Communist. He was a Stalinist. He conscientiously worked for the second greatest mass murderer of all times. He also played a role in bringing the greatest mass murdered in history to power in China.

It has been pointed out that White had an incredible impact on history. Yet he is virtually unknown even to many members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; two organizations he was instrumental in founding. There is indeed "a great deal more to this story." White played a major role in eliminating the two world powers containing the Soviet Union. His story is yet to be told. Koster's book and The Morgenthau Plan are a good start.