I found the following video clip on “Rezko Watch.” This site follows the antics of indicted political shyster and Obama associate ‘Tony’ Rezko, who is currently on trial. I thank them for honoring me with their award for ‘quote of the week’, that’s very flattering. (Giving myself a plug there)
The video is of Obama advisor David Axelrod ‘clarifying’ Obama’s position on the surge, in an obvious effort to muddy up the waters a bit.
While I am inclined as an Australian to say, “These bastards are lying like pigs in shit,” I must take into account the sensitivities of my readers as well as their couth and cultured nature. For this reason we shall regard it as “The Obama Campaigns new vision of the past.”
May 31, 2008
I found the following video clip on “Rezko Watch.” This site follows the antics of indicted political shyster and Obama associate ‘Tony’ Rezko, who is currently on trial. I thank them for honoring me with their award for ‘quote of the week’, that’s very flattering. (Giving myself a plug there)
This is a guest post from Ron Kitching. Ron is one of the legends of the exploration industry founding Glinderman and Kitching and in so doing stood at the cutting edge of innovation in the industry for many years, and remains a highly respected man in the field.
Ron, for as long as I have known him has been a wealth of information on free enterprise economics, having studied the classical texts on the subject and is the author of one of the best books I have seen in the field, “Understanding Personal and Economic Liberty”
About Crowds. By Ronald Kitching
"The renewal of civilization has nothing to do with movements which bear the character of experiences of the crowd; these are never anything but reactions to external happenings. But civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it, a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. It is only an ethical movement which can rescue us from the slough of barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals..." Dr. Albert Schweitzer.The point of this essay is to draw to your attention, a book titled: "The Crowd" by Gustave Le Bon.
First published in 1895, the book has never ever been out of print. The book is not only a classic, but is one of the best selling scientific books in social psychology and collective behavior ever written.
Le Bon analyses the nature of crowds and their role in political movements. He presents crowd behavior as a problem of science and power - a natural phenomenon with practical implications. The book was the first to expand the scope of inquiry beyond criminal crowds to include all possible kinds of collective phenomena.
Le Bon emphasizes the various areas of modern life where crowd behavior holds sway, particular political upheavals. He focuses on electoral campaigns, parliaments, juries, labour agitation and street demonstrations. His treatment of crowds is far from complimentary.
Although I have not been able to find any hard evidence, there are some who believe that the book was closely studied by both Hitler and Mussolini. Both were great readers and both knew how to manipulate and influence crowds. It is arguable that the fascist theories of leadership that emerged in the 1920s owed much to his theories of crowd psychology. Indeed, Hitler's Mien Kampf largely drew on the propaganda techniques proposed in Le Bon's 1895 book.
Hitler certainly had all of the essential characteristics of a successful crowd leader. "That is an unshakeable belief in himself, and an iron will. More of a man of action than a great thinker, not gifted with great foresight as this quality generally conduces to doubt and inactivity. Morbidly nervous excitable, and half deranged, bordering on madness, but an unshakeable faith in himself and his cause, with convictions so strong that all reasoning was lost on him."
Written in 1895, the above description fitted the German Fuhrer to a T, written when Hitler was only four years old.
The description also fits Napoleon and Mussolini and Chairman Mao. Likewise, General Franco of Spain, and Peron, the Argentinean Dictator. And, likewise, Pol Pot. Other outstanding examples were Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, especially Lenin.
“Contempt and persecution do not effect them, or only serve to excite them the more. They sacrifice their personal interest, their family - everything. The very instinct of self preservation is entirely obliterated in them; so much so that often the only recompense they solicit is that of martyrdom” - Chile's Communist leader Allende is a perfect example of this phenomenon.
“The intensity of their faith gives great power of suggestion to their words. The multitude is ready to listen to the strong willed man, who knows how to impose himself upon it. Men gathered in a crowd lose all force of will, and turn instinctively to the person who possesses the quality they lack.”
Not all great leaders have the unique gifts of say, The German Fuhrer. Quoting Le Bon:
“The men of ardent convictions who have stirred to souls of crowds have been the Peter the Hermits, the Luthers, the Savonarolas, the men of the French Revolution, [we can add all of the above, including Gandhi and others], have only exercised their fascination after having themselves been fascinated first of all by a creed. They are able to call up in the souls of their fellows that formidable force known as faith, which renders a man the absolute slave of his dream. To endow a man with faith is to multiply his strength by ten.”
“It is not by the aid of the learned or of philosophers and still less skeptics, that have been built up the great religions which have swayed the world, or the vast empires which have spread from one hemisphere to the other.”
In the cases just cited, we are dealing with great leaders, and they are so few in number that history can easily reckon them up. The book though mainly deals with the crowd.
“The facts of history demonstrate that social organisms being every whit as complicated as those of all beings, it is in no wise in our power to force them to undergo a sudden far reaching transformation. Nature has recourse at times to radical measures, but never after our fashion, which explains how it is that nothing is more fatal to a people than a mania for great reforms, however excellent these reforms may appear theoretically. They would only be useful were it possible to change instantaneously the genius of nations.
"This power however, is only possessed by time. Men are ruled by ideas, sentiments and customs - matters that are the essence of ourselves. Institutions and laws are the outward manifestation of our character, the expression of its needs. Being its outcome, institutions and laws cannot change this character.”
Neither Ludwig von Mises nor F. A. Hayek mention Le Bon in any of their writings, yet I'm sure they would be familiar with this great European masterpiece. On page 864 of his “Human Action” Mises says:
“The masses, the hosts of common men, do not conceive any ideas, sound or unsound. They only choose between the ideologies developed by the intellectual leaders of mankind. But their choice is final and determines the course of events. If they prefer bad doctrines nothing can prevent disaster...The [Classical] Liberals gave the world Capitalism, a higher standard of living for a steadily increasing number of people. But the pioneers and supporters of capitalism overlooked one essential point; a social system, however beneficial, cannot work if it is not supported by public opinion...”
Is our civilization degenerating? There is ground to fear that this is the case, but we are not as yet in a position to be certain of it.
Summing up, discover the nature of different types of crowds, their complete lack of reason, their brutality etc. Le Bon¹s unique 232 page book is a great intellectual investment.
Every person who deals with society should read and understand this great book. If I taught economics, I would be making my economics classes aware of it and its great value in understanding Human Action.
“Civilizations as yet have only been created and directed by a small intellectual aristocracy, never by crowds. Crowds are only powerful for destruction. Their rule is always tantamount to a barbarian phase. A civilization involves fixed rules, discipline, a passing from the instinctive to the rational state, forethought for the future - all of them conditions that crowds left to themselves, have invariably shown themselves incapable of realizing. In consequence of the purely destructive nature of their power, crowds act like those microbes, which hasten the dissolution of enfeebled or dead bodies. When the structure of civilization is rotten, it is always the masses that bring about its downfall. It is at such a juncture that their chief mission is plainly visible, and that for a while the philosophy of number seems the only philosophy of history.”
From “Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises. Page 38.
H. L. Mencken wrote, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. Crowds, properly worked up by skilful demagogues, are ready to believe anything, and to do anything.”
The present scare phenomenon of global warming/climate change/carbon dioxide is a perfect example of mass hysteria over an imaginary problem. In this case it is a political hysteria developed by unscrupulous power mad and money mad people.
Carbon-based life forms comprise 100% of life on the planet Earth and carbon-based, life forms need far more than just carbon in order to function. Most carbon-based life forms have a liquid oriented system coursing through their bodies. We call it blood and in humans it's composed of a combination of iron, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and other elements. The bone structure of most animals includes calcium as well as carbon and other elements.
From a physics standpoint, on this planet, such things as carbon dioxide and liquid H2O (water) are plentiful and make chemical reactions easily.
Humans are not the only creatures comprised of carbon. All mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and even insects are carbon based, as is all plant life on Earth. All life as we know it is comprised of carbon.
Regarding the unnecessary and expensive geosequestration of carbon dioxide. For every molecule of carbon they want to bury, they will also entomb 2 molecules of oxygen. This is political lunacy in action and in this country PM Rudd and Ross Garnaut are leading the charge.
You have to love Obama's moves, using surrogates to attack other candidates, then publicly repudiating them in order to make himself look good while leaving the damage standing.
May 30, 2008
The Washington Post has published an article, “U.S. Cites Big Gains Against Al-Qaeda,” which is reasonably optimistic.
Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent Al-Qaeda, CIA chief Michael Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA cheif cited major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership.
While cautioning that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat, Hayden said Osama Bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.
"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," he said.
"One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves."
Populations soon get fed up with living in fear, especially when those they fear are nutters and psychopaths who kill on whim anyone they perceive as not one of their own. When such matters reach a certain point even the meek get angry enough to take up arms and fight.
The Surge has, I believe set Al-Qaeda and the other foreign fighters back and given the Iraqis some breathing space in which to organize them selves to take these bastards on. As the Iraqi population come on side fighting this war can be won.
Quite a few sects and faiths keep their followers in a time warp set at some ‘better’ time in the past. The Amish are one of the best-known examples of this phenomenon since being discovered by Hollywood, a mixed blessing. While membership is voluntary they tend not to get too extreme, if they did they would lose members.
The problem with Islam is that it tends to be voluntary in name only in many places and virtually compulsory in others, while condemning its membership to a medieval mindset, which can only change by ignoring some tenets of the faith itself. By adding a militaristic element to this you have a dangerous potential in extreme hands.
Far too much power is placed in the hands of intolerant clerics which leads to incidents like the following as reported in the Courier Mail in an article “Blind student killed by religious teacher.” : -
A BLIND seven-year-old student at an Islamic school in eastern Pakistan has died after his teacher punished him for not learning the Koran, police said today. Muhammad Atif was hung upside down from a ceiling fan and severely beaten by his teacher, Qari Ziauddin, at the seminary or madrassa in Vihari, near Lahore on Thursday, they said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had ordered in inquiry into the death, an official statement said.
"The Prime Minister has expressed his deep sorrow and concern over the tragic death of Muhammad Atif, who reportedly died as a result of corporal punishment by his teacher,'' the statement said.
Police said the teacher had been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering the boy.
"Qari Ziauddin, who teaches Koran to boys in Qari Latif Islamic school, hanged Atif upside down with a ceiling fan in the school after beating him with sticks, which caused his death,'' local police official Akram Niazi said.
The teacher also failed to take the boy to hospital after he fell ill and his condition deteriorated, he said.
Police said a postmortem examination report also confirmed physical torture as the cause of death.
May 25, 2008
Cartoon; Rue Britannia
Some of the activities of the more extreme elements of the Libertarian Party tend on occasions to be an embarrassment, what with truthers, anarchists etc parading around making their positions sound like all that matters.
The more articulate moderate libertarians with good analytical minds and common sense solutions tend to be left in the background. Let me introduce you to Seb, from ’ a true blue libertarian and one of the people that we could do with a lot more of. (For those unfamiliar with Australian idiom, true blue roughly translates as ‘fair dincum’)
With the governments, both state and federal thrashing around for ways to deal with binge drinking and associated violence, it is refreshing to find a libertarian coming up with the most logical conclusion offered so far. In his article “Going out” - three ways to tackle a negative drinking culture,” Seb has this to say: -
As we have heard more and more in the news recently, alcohol fueled violence is on the rise. This has of course raised the eyebrows of many a politician keen to expand their regulatory agenda. As usual, the solutions presented such as shortening opening hours, removing high alcohol drinks and increases in taxes are off target. These are problems born of regulation and cannot be addressed by further regulation. Following are three real solutions to help quell the violence:This brings back memories of when I was a kid in freer times. In the aftermath of WW2 money was short, we did without those things taken for granted these days, walked 2 miles to school each day, but life was fun.
1. Liberalize the liquor licensing system. For those that have lived in a major city, particularly Sydney, this is easily identified as the most obvious problem. If you were to head “out” on a Saturday, you are all but restricted to a venue whose sole purpose is to serve liquor. Complex and difficult liquor licensing laws really reduce the ability of a young person to avoid violent cesspools, which are designed to accommodate only two types of patrons, drinkers and gamblers.
2. Provide an alternative - deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Gone are the days when there was something you could do on a weekend night, cheaply, other than drink. No longer can a group of mates grab some poles and go down and fish on a whim. No longer can a group of mates grab their .22s and go get some rabbits. No longer can you take your dog to the park for a run.
Licensing, registration and regulation put an end to that. This is not 1960 and I do not wish to suggest these are the only alternatives, however it is little changes like this that are symbolic of a shift in power from the people to the government. Public land and individual autonomy have become accepted as things of the past; the people in Australia have no power to exercise a responsible choice because all responsibility has long been taken from them.
3. Foster a climate for responsible choices Perhaps a combination of the above, but in order to expect a person to make responsible decisions about their drinking habits it is time to force an understanding of the consequences of alcohol consumption. Alcohol should never be considered a contributory factor in the defense of a violent perpetrator.
We all know the effects of alcohol just as the violent offender does. Why do we still enjoy an incredibly low murder rate? Why aren’t drinkers offing each other in massive numbers?
Because a drunk makes a moral choice just as a sober person does. If alcohol diminished the ability of a person to make a choice to the degree that is often suggested, it would be illegal. If anything, violence committed under the influence should be more heavily punished than it would otherwise.
Maybe these are something of an over-simplification. However, from my experience living in working class suburbs of two of Australia’s largest cities, these three points should certainly be primary considerations for any place wanting to reduce alcohol fueled violence.
In a farming area you would ride a bike several miles to a friends place, toss a line in the creek, swim, check out old mine adits, all the fun things kids miss out on today, but mostly physical. Mainly because of the restrictions placed on us by the nanny state for ‘our own good’ these options are difficult to carry out, and obesity is rampant.
The government is looking around for a legislative solution for this too, actually a lot of them.
Ironic; A couple of posts ago I was able to point to the free market moves of Gadhafi which included the privatization of the oil industry to bring the Libyan economy kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Then today I visit Libertarian Republican and find this: -
Yes, that’s right, the Democrats have a plan to confiscate, (or socialize as the speaker puts it) the American oil industry.
Perhaps the Democrats would be better to make Gadhafi their nominee, he makes better economic sense for a start, and he doesn’t seem to have all those embarrassing hangers on.
No communist dictators like Chavez support him, nor does he seem to have the backing of terrorist organizations like Hamas, extremists like Farrakhan, urban terrorists like Bill Ayers, or racist lunatics like Wright and Sharpton, all of whom seem to be supporting their current likely nominee.
Gadhafi on the face of it would probably be far more acceptable to the more moderate patriotic Democrats.
Democrat Cong. Paul Kanjorski, who seems to be the odd fatwa short of the full jihad in the brains department, admitted that Democrats lied about the Iraq War in order to win the 2006 election. . It is a major, major bombshell with implications not just in PA's 11th district (where Kanjorski is running against Republican Lou Barletta) but nationwide: -
"I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we...the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up."
Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Robert A. Gleason, Jr. released the following statement on recent comments made by Congressman Paul Kanjorski admitting that Democrats lied to the public regarding ending the Iraq War in order to win back control of Congress:
“In light of his admission that he and other members of the Democrat Party lied, I believe that Congressman Paul Kanjorski should do the honorable thing and resign immediately.The now admitted lies by the Democrats have not only deceived the people of the US, but have given heart to the terrorists the military is fighting, by giving them the impression that Americans are a bunch of quitters. This above all things is a major reason the fighting has been really difficult until the administration followed John McCain’s advice and committed to the surge.
He violated the trust of the people of his district and betrayed them through his purposefully deceitful remarks. I demand that other members of the Democrat delegation come clean as well and let the public know if they were part of this conspiracy.
"Paul Kanjorski said that the Democrats ‘stretched the facts' for political reasons during the 2006 election cycle. As a veteran, I find Congressman Kanjorski's admission to lying about the facts of the War startling.
The fact that Paul Kanjorski and the Democrats put their own political interests and thirst for power above the lives of the brave men and women fighting to protect our country sickens me. By misleading the nation and the world about the progress being made in Iraq, Kanjorski and the Democrats put the lives of our troops in danger, and they should be deeply ashamed of themselves. This is a sad day in American political history."
To recklessly endanger the lives of servicemen in the pursuit of political goals is reprehensible.
To elect McCain would be a massive blow to the enemy, who are fully expecting to get the wet liberal they have been publicly endorsing for President.
picture; Sarkozi and Gadhafi.
I owe David Leyonhjelm for bringing this to my attention. There appears to be significant change afoot in Libya, and not the usual ‘Oh shit’ change, but real change for the better. This is not only in the economic area, but also to a limited degree socially.
Since December 2003, when Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism, relations with the West have improved to the point where relatively normal relations exist with them. Come to think about it, it seems kind of odd not having Gadhafi making a bloody nuisance of himself.
Gadhafi will never be acceptable in polite society owing to some of the extremes he went to during his pariah years, but will probably get along with governments just fine. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as far as the reform to his character but his past will always make him thoroughly reprehensible.
Free market style reforms will do a great deal to improve the economy as it has done in a number of countries in the past. The massive oil revenues of Libya will of course be used by the left as a smokescreen to excuse themselves from having to make any embarrassing admissions.
The left of course still blame the poor conditions of the third world on bad luck, corruption, and exploitation by ‘greedy capitalists,’ after all it cannot be the fault of the totalitarian system, can it? Imagine the chaos that would exist if enterprise was initiated by anyone who had a good idea instead of the experts in central planning.
While commentators will criticize the regime as undemocratic, democracy is not absolutely necessary for freedom to exist. There has been a theory around for a long time of enlightened absolutism, under which a despot is sufficiently enlightened to realize that real liberty among the people will advance the prosperity and with it the power of the domain.
This is like many theories rather impractical, owing to the type of character required to become a dictator. It is in fact as impractical as the theory that says that a democratic government will not try to erode the freedoms of the people.
Gadhafi is not and will never be a ‘benevolent despot’ but if he can enhanse the economic and social freedoms of Libya during his watch, he will have mitigated a lot of the damage he has done in the past.
An article in The Wall St Journal by Jay Soloman, “Gadhafi Revamps Libyan Economy,” is an eye opener: -
Five years after the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Libya, Col. Moammar Gadhafi is overseeing a vast reshaping of his nation's economy. Fed by the soaring price of oil, he is sharply shrinking Tripoli's bureaucracy, privatizing state assets and spending billions of dollars on new roads, bridges and ports.The bloated nature of the bureaucracy is immediately apparent when the size of 900,000 as quoted in the above article is compared with the population figures from the CIA Fact book.
At the same time, Libya hasn't matched its economic transformation with significant political reforms say activists and diplomats. Col. Gadhafi's willingness to open up his country's politics as well as its economy will likely determine whether Libya becomes a modern state from one historically seen as a rogue.
Col. Gadhafi's desire for economic change was laid out in an annual speech he made in March in which he lambasted Libya's bureaucracy for corruption and inefficiency. The North African strongman, 66 years old, who holds no formal government job, said his nation must shrink the size of the state and shift Libya's oil wealth into the hands of the population. He also said private sector firms would be better positioned to provide services to the public than the government. …..
The International Monetary Fund projects Libya's economy will expand by nearly 9% during the current calendar year, compared with 6.8% in 2007. Tripoli's foreign reserves, swelled by the oil boom, are projected to double to $115 billion in 2008 from two years earlier. …….
Col. Gadhafi has offered few signs that he will allow Libya's political system to transform on pace with economic liberalization. Human-rights groups charge Tripoli with continuing to use torture while detaining political activists without trial. Libya's security forces enjoy nearly limitless leeway in defining who counts as a subversive.
The July 2008 estimate is close to 6.2 million people, of whom 62.6% are in the 15 to 65 year age group, or around four million working age, although working age may be higher or lower there.
Figures for female participation in the workforce tend to be either old or contradictory, but it generally seems that despite a 97% Muslim population, women have a reasonably good access to education, and have better access to employment opportunities than elsewhere in the Muslim world.
The following is from the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, but is a 1987 document: -
The continued and accelerating process of urbanization has broken old kinship ties and association with ancestral rural communities. At the same time, opportunities for upward social movement have increased, and petroleum wealth and the development plans of the revolutionary government have made many new kinds of employment available--for the first time including jobs for women. Especially among the educated young, a growing sense of individualism has appeared. Many of these educated and increasingly independent young people prefer to set up their own households at marriage rather than live with their parents, and they view polygamy with scorn.
May 24, 2008
The following is an article from Libertarian Republican, by Eric Dondero titled “Obama’s non service in the military finally becomes an issue in the race in contrast to John McCain’s War Hero status.”
by Eric Dondero
It's about time. McCain's resume boasts 10 years in active duty in the United States Navy, including 6 years in a North Vietnamese POW camp.
Obama's resume in service to his country, includes nothing. Yet Obama feels the need to lecture McCain on what Military Veterans and Active Duty want from their government.
Typical for a Socialist, Obama views Military service strictly as a means for young men and women to receive more government hand-outs.
From the NY Daily News this morning:
WASHINGTON - John McCain hammered Barack Obama Thursday as a military know-nothing who shied away from service after being accused by the Democrat of going AWOL on helping veterans.As a decorated US Navy Veteran, I can tell Mr. Obama that Military guys would rather have Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a lifetime of honor in knowing that they served their country in a winning War against Islamic Terrorism and Radicalism, rather than more government hand-outs.
In a blistering attack, McCain told Obama to butt out on lecturing him about funding college aid for vets in a new version of the G.I. bill that passed the Senate 75-22.
"I will not accept from Sen. Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did," McCain said in a statement.
Obama threw the first punch in what was viewed as a preview of what could be a nasty general election White House campaign.
"I respect John McCain," Obama said, "but I can't understand why he's lining up with the President to oppose this bill," which provides funding and housing allowances for vets at private and public colleges.
More good polling news for Republicans out this morning from various states. According to Hedgehog McCain has a decent lead in tough swing states of Florida, Ohio and Nevada. And this from Quinnipiac on Missouri:
PRESIDENT - MISSOURI
John McCain (R) 48%
Barack Obama (D) 45%
May 21, 2008
An article in the NYT from May 10 “On McCain, Obama and a Hamas Link” has had a correction tacked on the end of it.
Correction: May 16, 2008 An article on Saturday about Senator John McCain’s criticism of Senator Barack Obama’s Middle East policy incompletely described Mr. Obama’s position on negotiating with the leaders of countries, including Iran, with which the United States currently has little contact. While Mr. Obama and his aides have indeed described various conditions and limitations on such negotiations, Mr. Obama himself, in a Democratic debate in July 2007, also said he would be willing "to meet separately, without precondition" with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
Well at least those who go looking for 6 day old news will be put in the picture.
In the article Susan E. Rice, who is a foreign policy adviser to Obama complained that, “Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
Obama actually refuted her statement in an interview with Jake Tapper, “You know Jake, I have to say I completely disagree that people have been walking back from anything. They may be correcting the characterizations or distortions of John McCain or others of what I said. What I said was I would meet with our adversaries including Iran, including Venezuela, including Cuba, including North Korea, without preconditions but that does not mean without preparation….there’s a huge difference.”
Michael Goldfarb makes the point: -
“First of all, I'm not clear on what the difference is between preconditions and preparations. I'm just a knuckle-dragging warmonger, and perhaps I don't perfectly understand the distinction, so someone will have to spell it out for me. Preparations sounds like scheduling, catering, and protocol, i.e. there is a huge difference, because preparations are meaningless. Unless, of course, the preparations consist of making sure A'jad doesn't blurt out something about wiping Israel off the map in the middle of the summit--but that sounds suspiciously like a precondition to me.”
May 19, 2008
An Email from Tony Goprano this afternoon alerted me to a post titled “If McCain is “right of center,” pigs fly” on Seeing Red, a conservative McCain hating blog.
The comments section was an eye opener, diatribe after diatribe on McCain being liberal, not conservative enough, getting votes from liberals and independents as well as moderate Republicans (God forbid), and pretty much the sort of things that sane Republicans accuse Obama of.
I thought that the Libertarian Party purists were bloody dumb until I saw some of the replies there.
They scream their heads off about the mainstream candidates like Wayne Root and Bob Barr not being ‘pure’ enough and doing everything they can to block them from getting the nomination even though they are both capable of turning the party into a viable entity.
Then I see these idiots refusing to vote for McCain because he is not a ‘pure’ enough conservative for them, even preparing to vote for a 100% liberal like Obama with all that entails rather than the candidate who won the Republican nomination.
Gee doesn’t that make a lot of sense, if they don’t get what they want they will vote for a gun hating, elitist, condescending, big government, nanny stater. In short a total anathema to everything that Republicans stand for.
This is about the intellectual equivalent of throwing a tantrum and holding their breath till they are blue in the face, only less sensible.
Do they think McCain only got the nomination because everybody but them are stupid? For them to think that, the likelihood is that it is really the other way around. Seriously fellows, when you think you are the only sane person in the world you are either very unlucky or have a serious problem yourself.
If their preferred candidate had got the nomination they would have expected the McCain supporters to take the result with good grace and throw their full weight behind their candidate as Romney, Huckabee, Rudy, and Thompson have done for McCain already. But then, they are honorable and loyal.
These people are piss weak excuses for Republicans who, when they don’t get 100% of the result going their way throw hissy fits and want to bring the party down.
We have allowed the last of the McCain bloggers to overtake this comment section. As First Amendment proponents, we mistakenly thought giving equal time to the other side was the correct approach to take. However, we have been alerted to the fact that Arizona’s lone sycophantic McCain blogger has been behind the onslaught of comments, which are coming from the McCain blogging network in various states.
Although we will allow the already posted comments to stay, it is our decision not to provide a continuing forum for these toadies on this site.
You were right, Joe. We were wrong. We apologize.
Seeing Red AZ
May 17, 2008
There is always one guy in every crowd who turns when someone yells, “Hey stupid.”
George Bush has at last let the anti war appeasement crowd have it with both barrels during a speech in Israel, and it’s nice to see him defending himself. Onya George. (For those not familiar with Australian idiom, onya means “good on you.”): -
“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Bush said, without mentioning Obama’s name.
“We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history,” he said.
Obama assuming, (funny about that) that such a statement could only referr to him said that he had no intention of dealing with terrorists and accused Bush of using his visit, timed for the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence, to “launch a false political attack.”
Well it’s always all about Obama isn’t it? If his statement is correct it’s a direct contradiction of the statement below where he lays down no condition whatsoever on discussions with the supporters of terrorism. Note that even Hilary comes out of it looking considerably more statesman like. Edwards the new Barrack groupie tries to fit into some sort of middle ground of his own imagining.
Obama and the Democrats have not changed since Ted Kennedy tried to sell out the US to Andropov to try to regain power in Washington.
“There should be no confusion, John McCain has always believed that serious engagement would require mandatory conditions and Hamas must change itself fundamentally – renounce violence, abandon its goal of eradicating Israel and accept a two state solution.John McCain’s position is clear and has always been clear, the President of the United States should not unconditionally meet with leaders of Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah. Barack Obama has made his position equally clear, and has pledged to meet unconditionally with Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of other rogue regimes, which shows incredibly dangerous and weak judgment.” ---Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008
May 14, 2008
I was tipped off a couple of days go that Lew Rockwell was a supporter of the Burmese military, in the following message; “Did you see where Lew Rockwell is now defending the Communist Military Junta in Burma??? Thank you Eric.
Obviously there had to be some misunderstanding but owing to time constraints, and a couple of things on I didn’t get onto it until tonight. First I went to the LRC blog. and found: -
Why the Campaign Against the Burmese Junta?
Posted by Lew Rockwell at May 11, 2008 11:31 AM
So the US empire can once again use a humanitarian crisis to take over another country, of course. (Thanks to Sean Corrigan.)
The link led me to The World Socialist Web Site Published by none other than the International Committee of the Fourth international, wow these guys have not one but two ‘internationals’ in their name, they must really know their shit, or at least the international stuff anyway. Regrettably its typical paranoid leftist tripe: -
The catastrophe wrought by Cyclone Nargis on the Burmese people has provoked an extraordinary campaign by the US and allied powers, and in the international media, demanding that the military junta open its borders to aid and aid officials as well as to American military aircraft, troops and warships. Once again an attempt is being made to stampede public opinion with heartrending images of desperate survivors and devastated towns, accompanied by an incessant drumbeat condemning the Burmese regime for its inadequate aid efforts, its insularity, and its failure to accept international, especially American, aid.
One should immediately pause and recall the outcome of similar “humanitarian” exercises. In 1999, the plight of Kosovan refugees was exploited by the US and its allies to wage war against Serbia and transform the province into a NATO protectorate largely “cleansed” of its Serbian minority.
In the same year, Australia, with the backing of the US, used the violence of Indonesian-backed militias to justify a military intervention into East Timor to install a regime sympathetic to Canberra’s economic and strategic interests.That bloody Howard he always did have imperial ambitions. But after a long diatribe we get to the crunch, the meat of the issue: -
The Bush administration has made little secret of the fact that it favours “regime change” in Burma—the removal of the military regime and its replacement by a government, headed by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, more amenable to Washington’s interests and to opening up the country to foreign investors.The rest is the sort of infill crap you find in these circles. Lew had to have been in a cynical mood, right. But no, on LewRockwell.com we come to “Hypocrisy Rules the West.”
“Shame has vanished from Western "civilization." Hypocrisy has taken its place.” Psssst George, we’ve been sprung.
“Despite all the killing Bush has accomplished, he thirsts for yet more blood. Iran is in his and Israel’s sights. All indications are that Bush is going to attack Iran. Propaganda, demonizations, and crass lies are pouring out of the Bush regime and its media and academic propagandists such as Columbia University president Lee Bollinger.”Lee! George! Really, and those media lap dogs, I just don’t know why the RNC claim that the NYT, and WaPo are not on their side.
But finally we get to where Lew’s featured writer is coming from; Americans’ willingness to murder others out of fear for their own safety is a result of September 11. The antiwar movement is impotent, because it has accepted the government’s 9/11 story. To oppose a war when you accept the government’s reason for the war is an indefensible position.
My God, the whole problem with Western society and the major flaw leading to the abject failure of the peace movement is God forbid; We are not truthers.
Could the left and the Lew Rockwell truthers tell me how you reconcile your insistence that George Bush is as thick as two short planks, with your insistence that he is a diabolical Machiavellian schemer who puts it over you every time.
May 12, 2008
By Jim Fryar.
I have been preoccupied with the saga involving the eviction of my brother and his wife from their farm in Zimbabwe. They were finally driven out by armed soldiers this weekend, in a move obviously designed to get all the last remaining white farmers off the land. Am attaching this account of the violence because I feel people need to be aware of what Mugabe and especially his army generals are doing.
Included was a message from another person: -
I normally just send the e-mails I get about Zimbabwe only to those friends of mine to whom I think will be interested. However, the brutality has reached such a pitch and the situation of the people seems to have become so without hope, that I find myself sending this e-mail to everyone in my address book. Please forgive me if you are not interested. But for those of you who are, I believe that the more people who know about the true situation there, the better. Only prayer and outside intervention can help these poor, suffering people. I implore you to help in whatever way you can.
An attachment contained a document from the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights. For those of you with strong stomachs, there were photos which are not included in the above link but can be found at, http://www.kubatana.net/html/archive/hr/080422viol.asp?sector=ELEC&year=0&range_start=1
In 20+ years in the mining and exploration industry I have seen some pretty bad things happen to people I know well, and heard of worse including deaths of friends and to some extent I have learned to rationalise in order to deal with it. In short it takes a lot to upset me. This did, but it did not just upset me, it angered me.
If one of our citizens was suffering the sort of things that appear in the above links in a foreign country we would demand that our embassies and consulates beat doors down to do something about it. These people are not entitled to this, as it is their own government doing it to them, so it becomes just a matter of internal order.
We as individuals are basically impotent in the face of this, or should I say these atrocities. We can stand by and bitch about it and feel that we have made a stand, but in reality we have done nothing to help. If we send aid it will probably be diverted to soldiers, police, thugs and cronies to keep them on side.
What I feel we can do is to push this issue, pass it on to every person in your address book. Those who run a blog, post on this issue. Write to any politician you can contact, harass the press, if enough of us get together and form a critical mass this issue will have to come out.
Talking has done no good, we have to press for armed intervention. While our armed forces and the Americans are pretty tied up at the moment with the war on terror, the Europeans, Canadians, and others are not. There is no reason why a multinational force cannot be put together and toss these people out.
The UN if this is left to them will still be passing resolutions five years from now on those occasions when they can actually get them through. Mugabe knows that and will treat those resolutions with the contempt due to an impotent group.
I know that Regime change is not a popular cause at the moment, but can the world stand by and watch this happen. We reviled Idi Amin, compared to this guy he was Mother Theresa, and was eventually thrown out by foreign forces. We have to push for the civilized nations of the world to do the same to Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean military is trained to attack unarmed civilians and is very good at it, look at the links above, and think how good it would be to have them run up against a professional outfit.
Some time ago I published a whimsical post called “The Good guys” or “Allied Democracies Group” in which I alluded to the possibility of an alliance of like minded freedom loving countries to deal with these situations.
“I believe we should have some sort of alliance with like-minded countries to deal with these situations with terms of engagement, command and control residing with those countries, not the UN. It gets back to my good guys argument.”
“Before this could be done, a whole new set of principles would have to be set in place, to set the circumstances under which such action could occur, the manner of carrying it out, and ensuring the independence of the subject country after the process.”
“Mere furtherance of the ‘police’ country’s political, economic, or territorial interests would not be a reason to violate the independence of another.”
“These principles would never find their way through the convoluted processes of the U.N. and would have to be done as a treaty of sorts by what we shall call for want of a better term, “The Worlds Good Guys”. Later the Allied Democracies Group was thought of.
Perhaps now would be a good time to be more serious about it.
Many years ago, we had a great libertarian guru in Australia by the name of John Singleton. I had the pleasure of attending a meeting where John was the guest of honor.
In his speech he referred to the great Australian aorta. I don’t recall the exact words but it was a send up of the tendency of people to want government to do things they wanted with the pronouncement “They orta.” This is still the way things are worldwide.
The fact is that the lifeblood of state expansionism passes through this vessel of our own making when we demand, they orta stop people saying …., they orta make a law to ……, they orta provide more ……, they orta encourage the use of biofuels. The list goes on, you know the drift.
I have dealt with the disaster in the making, of biofuels in previous posts but this is about the sort of thinking that creates state intervention and the elitist vision, which is dragging us down the road to collectivism. Take the following opinion piece from the NYT with the title, Rethinking Ethanol.
The time has come for Congress to rethink ethanol, an alternative fuel that has lately fallen from favor. Specifically, it is time to end an outdated tax break for corn ethanol and to call a timeout in the fivefold increase in ethanol production mandated in the 2007 energy bill.OK, there is nothing unusual in this statement, you read this sort of thing every day without batting an eyelid or probably thinking about it too much. Yes the bloody government has got it all wrong again and we the elitists of the press are going to put them back on track with our ideas.
This does not mean that Congress should give up on biofuels as an important part of the effort to reduce the country’s dependency on imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What it does mean is that some biofuels are (or are likely to be) better than others, and that Congress should realign its tax and subsidy programs to encourage the good ones. Unlike corn ethanol, those biofuels will not compete for the world’s food supply and will deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gases. ……….
So, why did the state move to subsidize ethanol production and come up with the idea of mandating content levels in the first place? It was the same sort of thing as this, where the environmental movement the press and people who produced the raw materials and saw advantage for themselves, lobbied to get it, that’s why.
The result is that for a start there is a 51-cent per gallon subsidy on it in the US. This means that for every gallon blended into the fuel there, all people are taxed 51 cents plus the cost of collecting that tax plus the cost of administering the payment of that subsidy. Add to this that with the demand for corn increasing as a result the prices of all grain has gone up. In other words you are paying for this decision in many different ways, all at the same time.
Without subsidies and mandates there would probably be some sort of ethanol industry in the making, given the current oil price. There would not however be the current distortion of the market caused by government action.
The NYT do not want natural market forces to do their thing however, far from it. They want a realignment ……. . The direction of the use of alternatives to the current fuels are according to the NYT to be in their favored direction, that is, ethanol, no other.
We bitch about the advance of state interventionism, yet we never seem to realize that we ourselves are in part responsible for this. We rarely question this process at its origin, only in its results.
We are in the process allowing the elitists of think tanks, academia, lobbying and so on become the secular priests of the great religion of the government knows what is best for you, and it is as theocratic in its own right as Iran.
May 11, 2008
I got this video from Flopping Aces.
Note in the segment below the difference between what the DNC advertises that McCain said and what McCain actually said.
Note that FactCheck. Org has said that “What the DNC conveys is the opposite of what McCain said.
McCain’s defence has always been to show the clip or to repeat what he actually said, and Fox played that clip. Dean’s response was to claim that “our problem is that McCain is distorting what he [McCain] said.” The Dems feel that if their edited out sections of what he said are left in it is a distortion. Shout the lie again, fellas someone might believe it this time.
What the Democrats should be highlighting is that immature idiot who says that he intends to withdraw from there and then redeploy if Al Qaeda becomes active there. Well shit they are already active there so why pull out, then have to reinvade with much more difficulty owing to loss of the trust of those who relied on America’s good faith last time, the survivors that is.
Oh sorry, That is their front runner isn’t it.
May 10, 2008
The United Nations has suspended relief supplies to Burma on Friday after the military government seized the food and equipment it had sent into the country.
Earlier, in a statement Burma’s military junta said it was willing to receive disaster relief from the outside world but would not welcome outside relief workers. Nearly one week after a devastating cyclone supplies into the country were still being delayed and aid experts were being turned back as they arrived at the airport.
In the statement, the government said it would distribute international relief supplies itself.
The bastards in charge there said they had turned back one relief flight because, as well as disaster relief supplies, it carried disaster assessment experts and an unauthorized media group.
Well shit, what a terrible thing to do, bringing in people competent to accurately assess what is needed, where to source it, and how to get it there, as well as press who can help create a huge public awareness of the plight of the population so that the world will open is hearts and wallets to the victims.
Since the disaster only around ten flights carrying aid have been allowed into the country.
It is an absolute atrocity that any state would create delays like this in delivering relief supplies and people to help. In Indonesia after the tsunami in 2004, substantial aid was being flown in within a couple of days.
In Thailand, the United States Air Force transport aircraft and helicopters waited at an airport for permission to enter Burma with aid workers and supplies. It is also my understanding that they have ships in the area to help but the government will not allow it.
We have seen aid being denied to political opponents in places like Zimbabwe, and other totalitarian shitholes in the past, but in my experience I have never seen it refused before, especially considering the scope of this disaster.
We clearly need to reconsider the way we deal with these kinds of oppressive regimes. How the hell can we continue to recognize them as in any way legitimate? Is our sole gauge of legitimacy the fact that they are in control? Do we not in any way discriminate as to their method of control?
Its time for a rethink folks.
May 8, 2008
Cartoon from Dee's blog.
I have read a fair bit of material from Mary Ruwart without significant disagreement with her, in fact I generally see her as quite reasonable. I have to disagree strongly however when I find the following quote from her book “Short answers to tough Questions”: -
"Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it's distasteful to us personally. Some children will make poor choices just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess. When we outlaw child pornography, the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will."I have been involved in libertarian politics for over thirty years and have never seen a libertarian argue before against the state having the right to pass ‘reasonable laws for the protection of children’. This does not entail support for the nanny state anti any sort of reasonable discipline laws, but laws that protect them from abuse and being preyed on by the unscrupulous.
Steve Newton at Delawarelibertarian has responded with some understanding and a reasonable perspective on it when he points out: -
I don't believe that this statement was intended as an endorsement of very young children having sex with adults, and other writings by Dr. Ruwart would support that interpretation. I think, as a philosopher and scholar, that she's rejecting one-size-fits-all age-of-consent laws, and thinking about a wide variety of paradoxes in our current society (i.e., two thirteen year olds having sex or a sixteen year old having sex with a five year old--in both cases both participants would be considered children--as opposed to a 17 year old having sex with an 18 year old who might only be a few months or days older). Just as I think there are 14 year olds out there I would trust to vote (and 25 year olds I'd like to have spayed or neutered), Dr. Ruwart takes a stand against that dysfunctional ambiguity in our laws which assign the right to have sex to all eighteen year olds, even though they don't have the right to take a drink for three more years.Wayne Allyn Root has weighed in with a post on the subject, “Anarchism, Age of Consent Laws and the Dallas Accord,” some of which I quote here: -
And none of that matters, because this is the type of position that, while it may have academic or philosophic merit, reveals that the individual holding it as completely lacking the intellectual and political judgment necessary to hold executive elected office as a five year old lacks the intellectual and moral capacity to consent to sexual intercourse.
………. Dr. Ruwart did not elaborate on how predators would be prosecuted without legislation specifying age of consent. In other discussion, she explained to delegates that courts were likely to consider that pre-pubescent children had been coerced, since desire would be absent. The burden of proof would be on the pornography producer or older sex partner to show that coercion, e.g. rape, had not occurred.Wayne finishes with this point: -
One presumes that Ms. Ruwart is referring to a system of private courts in her quote, since she opposes having courts run by the state.
Ms. Ruwart readily admits to being an anarchist, and her beliefs lead her to take a position that is at odds with the vast majority of Americans, as well as with most members of the Libertarian Party. ………
At the very core of libertarianism is the belief that individuals have the right to enter into voluntary agreements with others. It is not the role of government to interfere with voluntary agreements. It is the role of limited government in a free society to enforce those agreements.
And in the absence of a voluntary agreement, it is the role of government to unwind such an agreement (if possible), require that restitution be provided to the wronged party (when appropriate) and, in some cases, punish the wrong doer.
So, what makes an agreement voluntary?
For one, it requires a meeting of the minds. One person makes an offer; the other person accepts the offer. Each party needs to comprehend what is being offered by the other. In cases where one or both parties do not understand the consideration being offered, there has been either a mistake or possibly fraud.
If I offer to sell you a high-end name-brand watch for $1,000 and you accept such an offer, we have both improved our lives from this transaction because of our different subjective values. If I unknowingly sold you a counterfeit watch, you could rescind the agreement. If I knowingly sold you a counterfeit watch, I have engaged in fraud and should be required to void the agreement, return your money, pay any civil damages awarded and possibly be punished as well.
For there to be a meeting of the minds, both parties need to have sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the transaction.
If your elderly parent suffers from dementia brought about by Alzheimer’s disease and he sells his $500,000 home for $1, the buyer’s participation in such a transaction is tantamount to defrauding the seller – and in a libertarian society it is a proper role of government to make and enforce laws against fraud. To protect those who are mentally incompetent, a court may even go so far as to appoint a guardian or conservator to care for the person’s estate.
While not every person as they age becomes incompetent, all individuals start out their lives in such a state. We begin life without the ability to reason and start out dependent on others for our safety and welfare. As we mature, our mental capacity improves and we slowly gain the ability to make competent decisions. No method is available today in the realm of science that enables us to objectively judge that an individual has become competent enough to consent to life-changing decisions. Until that day comes, we have little choice but to create a legal framework as a substitute. ……….
Young children will do most anything to please adults they trust because it is a hard-wired survival mechanism. A young child does not understand the life-long consequences of sex – pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and the emotional damage this can bring about.
The enforcement of laws prohibiting adults from engaging in sex with children, facilitating underage drinking and drug use, and producing child pornography all act as disincentives against those considering the commission of such crimes. It is this deterrent that protects children against risks to their health, welfare and reputations – risks children cannot fully comprehend, especially when unscrupulous adult authority figures are manipulating the situation.
Whether your philosophical position is closer to Ms. Ruwart’s vision of anarchy or my position of limited government, ask yourself this practical question:Steve Newton Made the point with “What does concern me is the idea that the Libertarian Party, instead of making profound statements on a far less bloody, less costly, non-interventionist foreign policy, or for the right of all consenting adult citizens in America to get married regardless of their gender, will become the poster child for NAMBLA and the aluminum hat brigade.”
No matter how one might attempt to present the position, do you believe we will grow the Libertarian Party, or damage it, by promoting the removal of age-of-consent laws or any other laws that the vast majority of Americans believe protect innocent children from adults who would sexually exploit them?
Both Steve and Wayne are pragmatic libertarians, Steve a reasonably ‘intellectually pure’ one, while Wayne tends to be further out toward the borderline with moderate republicanism. The LP is not an anarchist organization and those standing for office should not be pushing their own personal philosophy when at odds with the political ideals of the party itself.
The Democrats are still going to be going at it hammer and tongs for a while yet as Hilary is showing no sign of giving up the fight, certainly as at the moment she has not definitely lost all hope, there is no real reason for her to do so. Onya Hilary.
While cheering her on I feel grateful that Mike Huckabee and Mit Romney, were gracious enough to step aside in favor of McCain when they could have gone on for longer.
I am beginning to think that barring an absolute disaster, the Clintons will carry on to the convention and fight it out on the floor if they have to. They are not finished yet by a long shot. While there is life there is hope for them.
The problem is for the Democrats that they have ended up with two politically correct candidates neither of whom are particularly good, just black or female and able to mouth the semantics of the left. Both are actually divisive, both having supporters who if their candidate is beaten will not support the other candidate as even the tired old NYP admits: -
The other big hope for the Clinton campaign is making the argument that Mr. Obama would suffer against Senator John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee. The exit polls gave Mrs. Clinton ammunition in that regard: half the Democrats who voted in Indiana and North Carolina said Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright was very or somewhat important.This has been discussed among us for a while so it is no surprise but now it has reached the stage where a Democrat mouthpiece has had to acknowledge it.
And in Indiana, for example, less than half of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election, while one-third said they would vote for Mr. McCain. About one-fifth of Mr. Obama’s supporters in Indiana said they would vote for Mr. McCain in a general election should Mrs. Clinton get the nomination. Many of those Democrats can probably be expected to stay with their party in the end, but the figures suggest the intensity of the passion dividing Clinton and Obama supporters at the moment and the challenge facing the eventual nominee in uniting the party.
What should be of concern to the eventual nominee is the mutual lack of integrity of the contenders, in that if the nominee gains the Presidency the loser will not be able to have another go for eight years, whereas if that nominee loses it will be only four years.
Meanwhile the Dem/Rep contest goes on. Howard Dean is intent on proving that whatever qualities he has (if any), integrity is not one of them. Skiteing about the DNC's 100-years ad: "I think if you've seen some of the ads that we've put out on Senator McCain, they've been very powerful. The Republican committee is going crazy because of those ads, because they show John McCain in his own words, he drops 10 points when people — independent voters see our ad about his Iraq policy, the 100-year policy that he's got." By McCain's "own words."
The fact of the matter is that they are not McCains own words but the deliberately untrue words the Democrat challengers have chosen to selectively edit from what he actually said.
May 4, 2008
By Viv Forbes, BScApp, FAusIMM, FSIA,
Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition
The Carbon Sense Coalition today described the proposed Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as “A Weapon of Mass Taxation”.
In a submission to the Garnaut Enquiry, the chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, claimed that the scheme would have no effect whatsoever on world climate but every Australian would feel the oppressive cost and dislocations caused by it.
“Staggering estimates of the costs of forcing industry to purchase permits to emit CO2 are just starting to emerge: Germany (100 billion euros), Australia (up to $22 billion), New Zealand ($4.5 billion). The amazing fact is that even though consumers in many countries will bear oppressive costs, there may be no reduction whatsoever in CO2 emissions, and no beneficial effects on the world climate.
(The Chairman of the Australian Taxation Institute, Mr Michael Dirkis, recently estimated that the direct tax cost of an Emissions Trading Scheme could be $22 billion or 40% of company tax receipts.)
“The immediate tax revenues collected from the forced sale of the emission permits will just be the start of the ETS tax pain. This tax will feed immediately into the prices for electricity, transport, food, cement and metal products. It will be like spreading the costs of petrol excise taxes into everything we buy.
“But to administer the whole complicated scheme, with tentacles into every business in the land, will require a stifling bureaucratic overhead of administrators, consultants, regulators, statisticians, tax collectors, auditors, inspectors, enforcers and prosecutors. At a time when real industry is suffering from a shortage of labour and services, all of these people and resources will be sucked into an ETS black hole. This bureaucratic burden is yet another hidden tax.
“Then to cope with the vast increase in green/red tape, the business world will build a matching unproductive empire of corporate bureaucrats charged with complying with all the new laws, statistics, reports, taxes, regulations and audits.
“All these morbid results will be followed by the growth of a parasitic class of traders, speculators and bankers already gearing up to profit from the creation of paper carbon credits – another addition to the hidden ETS tax burden paid for by consumers, taxpayers or shareholders.
“Then there is the insidious effect on the supply and cost of food.
“The Ethanol Obsession is already diverting grains and other foods to produce motor fuel. This stupid policy of subsidising or mandating the use of ethanol and biofuels will gobble up rapidly increasing quantities of corn, wheat, oils and sugar. Farmers all over the world are diverting land from food production and destroying forest land to produce motor fuel.
“An even more ominous threat to future food supplies is the growing plague of sterile carbon-credit plantations which are already smothering food farm land and native pastures at an alarming rate. Every farming community is watching with increasing alarm as families leave, food production ceases, farm houses are abandoned and the land is covered by a monoculture of unproductive artificial plantations. Once the ETS becomes operational, this destructive process will multiply. Some hungry future generation will have the job of eradicating this crop of woody weeds for a new race of pioneering farmers.
“Even more insidious is the fact that schemes like carbon sequestration and carbon credit plantations will rob the atmosphere of the life-producing carbon dioxide. For 100 years, the green revolution has produced more food from the same land, partly because of the free carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by burning carbon fuels. If the world managed to be so stupid to limit or stop man’s emissions of this plant food, he would surely starve all plants (and himself) – the ultimate tax blunder.
“When people notice all food products becoming scarce and expensive, they should remember the real villains – Al Gore with his baseless hysteria about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the Garnaut/Rudd emissions trading racket.
“Moreover, if Australia decided to become part of a world ETS, the net result will be a huge transfer of carbon credit money into dubious schemes in the third world, so Australians will never see any benefits or jobs from the spending of their own carbon tax money.
“Another inevitable result of a carbon ETS will be to force-feed inefficient, costly and environmentally destructive methods of generating electricity such as wind and solar. This will sop up capital to build these invasive facilities, and push up the cost of electricity from such expensive, intermittent, scattered and unreliable power sources. At the same time, low cost reliable concentrated power from coal will see its share of the electricity market decline - more collateral damage from the ET Weapon of Mass Taxation.
“Finally, shareholders and employees will suffer as plants and facilities made unprofitable by the cost of emissions permits or carbon taxes are prematurely scrapped or mothballed.
“It is amazing that our government seems prepared to turn this ET Weapon of Mass Taxation onto the Australian people without any proof that reduction in man’s emissions of CO2 will bring any benefits, and without telling the Australian people what the scheme will cost.
As an American report on emissions reductions concluded recently: “A severe global emissions-reduction policy through emissions trading could turn out to be the costliest public policy mistake in human history with costs vastly exceeding the benefits”.
“Two things must be done before saddling Australians with such costs.
“Firstly, set up a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the science of whether CO2 is a driver of world temperature.
“And secondly, prepare an independent cost-benefits analysis, prepared to the standard defined by ASIC for a prospectus required by law for any corporation proposing to raise such huge amounts of money from taxpayers, consumers and shareholders.”
For full details of the submission by the Carbon Sense Coalition to the Garnaut Enquiry see: