Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Descent into Madness


"Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad." - Euripides, 5th Century B.C. Greek tragedian

No, we are not all descending into madness. Just our political leaders, our news media, our schools, and assorted loose human cannons who are plumbing the depths of insanity and institutional irrationality to see when their and our craniums crack. And they seem to want the rest of us to go berserk and take up residence with them in their loony bin where we can all tiptoe through the tulips and have huggy-bear sessions with our killers. They are mad, and they wish to make us mad. Insanity is the new norm.

In a sane world, men would not, for example, protest the right of Israel or any other sovereign nation to defend itself against attacks by its neighbors or by terrorist groups like Hamas. Instead, they would urge the Israeli government to wipe out its enemies and uproot them, or at least spray Hamas with a root-killing chemical (shall we call it "DDT" - Deter Deranged Terrorism?) and leave their former subjects and human shields to fend for themselves.

Another mark of madness is the spectacle of Jews opposing Israel's existence and blaming Jews for anti-Semitism, and even accusing them of racism. Daniel Greenfield, in his August 8th FrontPage article, "J Street Accuses Jews of Racism, Blames Jews for Anti-Semitism," noted another form of madness:

After Hamas violated yet another ceasefire, anti-Israel group J Street stepped up to do what it does best. Attack Jews and Israel.  Jeremy Ben Ami [a spokesman for J Street] then launched into a pitch for letting Hamas smuggle as many weapons as it wants "Occupation, Blockade, Frustration, etc...), accused Israel of racism, warned Israel to "heed to the advice of its friends in the White House and the State Department and at a minimum should show them the respect that the country's closest ally deserves." Then Jeremy Ben Ami claimed that the conflict was promoting anti-Semitism and ranted about "growth and extent of hatred of the other, intolerance and outright racism in our own Jewish community."

For example, one would have thought that the virulent anti-Semitism that as a rule in the past expressed itself Nazi-style in murders, fire-bombings, attacking Jews, and in loud and noisy demonstrations against Jews and Israel was a disease that had been eradicated or at least suppressed, like polio or malaria. There was a time when, if one was an anti-Semite, one kept it to oneself. There was a time when it was at the risk of social embarrassment and even ostracism to blurt it out. Now tens of thousands of people are flaunting it, boasting of it, spitting out their venom under the pretence of "freedom of speech." It is a form of Kristallnacht, practiced by Muslims and their allies on the Left in demonstrations and by roving mobs. Douglas Murray, in his August 13thGatestone Institute article "Are ‘Integrated Muslims' Integrated?" writes:

"The Gaza War has produced flagrantly anti-Semitic protests, attacks on Jews and the burning down of Jewish buildings. Those protests have come as a surprise to parts of the European public - nowhere more so than in Germany, where a hatred thought to have been disgraced for all time has found its way back onto European streets under a new guise....

Most noticeable was that the protests across Western European cities have overwhelmingly been led by Muslims - not Islamists - just normal, "integrated" Muslims, who stay at home when any other war occurs. (Where were their protests against Qatar for funding Hamas?)"

Where were they? Whatever advances the imposition of an Islamic caliphate is justified, even when it's a violent imposition, and not a candidate for protest. It's nothing to shout about, not an opportune time to carry signs that say, "Islam will dominate" and "Kill those who insult the Prophet." The Koran permits latitude of discretionary protesting. To wit, one of many, many instances:
Sura 8:38-42 (Keep fighting them until they stop persecuting believers and until Islam is established. If they stop fighting then stop. Now, a fifth of all the booty belongs to God and His leader.)

"Say to the unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from unbelief), their past would be forgiven them, but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them)." And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God altogether and everywhere. But if they cease, verily God doth see all that they do. [YA: "If they cease from fighting and from the persecution of truth, God judges them by their actions and their motives, and would not wish that they should be harassed with further hostility."]

There are 164 such verses in the Koran, each as bloody minded as the next.

And what is the policy of the mad men who know what a global Islamic "world order" would entail, which is slaughter, rapine, destruction, and legalized looting? To submit peacefully and without prejudice to Islam, for otherwise there would be "violence."

Notwithstanding the mountains of data and evidence about the fundamental means and ends of Islam and Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas, our political culture is poisoned with the Kantian/Hegelian imperative that the West must, in the name of "peace," negotiate and tolerate our executioners. These urgent supplications have come from such demonstrable fools and professional altruists, and gadflies for "peace" such as Jimmy Carter, former U.S. president, and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland in their Foreign Policy article , "How to Fix it," of August 4th

According to Carter and Robinson, Israel is guilty by the fact that regardless of Israel being attacked by Hamas, and its rockets deliberately pointed at Israeli citizens, hoping to inflict as many deaths as possible, especially of Israeli children, it had no right to retaliate with all the force it could muster, and regardless of Hamas's using Palestinians as human shields, including men, women and children, Israel is more guilty than Hamas because more Palestinians died than did Israelis.

This is topsy-turvy thinking, if can be called thinking at all. It is lunacy. It defies reason, logic, and all measures of morality. Carter and Robinson must know down deep - or perhaps they don't, and that is a measure of their insanity - that if Israel meets all of Hamas's demands, it would be signing its own death warrant.

Andrew McCarthy, in his PJ Media article of August 6th, "Carter and Robinson: The Hamas Jihad's Useful Idiots," noted that:
Carter and Robinson are desperate to derive or otherwise manufacture Hamas's purported agreement to the Quartet conditions because Hamas has made quite clear that it will never actually agree to renounce the jihad and accept Israel's right to exist. The authors would cut Hamas slack on this score because, they say, the organization cannot be expected to "cooperate in its own demise."

Even by loathsome Carter-Robinson standards, the assertion is breathtaking. The operating assumption of their op-ed is that Israel must cooperate in its own demise by ceasing to defend itself and abandoning the blockades absent which Hamas would quickly acquire even more deadly mass-destruction weapons.

Furthermore, Hamas' raison d'être is the annihilation of Israel by terrorist jihad; so by the authors' reasoning, it could never be expected to agree to non-violent coexistence with a Jewish state since that would amount to the demise of Hamas. Without the demise of Hamas, there is no chance for peace in the Middle East. It will require tuning out terror's useful idiots.

In his FrontPage article of August 6th, "Jimmy Carter: The Only Way to Fix Gaza is by Giving Hamas Everything It Wants,"Daniel Greenfield notes that:

"Carter skips over that by claiming that peace will only come from a PLO-Hamas agreement (what's more likely to bring peace than a unity agreement between two terror groups?) and urges a lifting of the blockade and replacing Egyptian and Israeli border monitoring with the UN.

"The international community's initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor - one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people - can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons."

Carter presumes that Hamas wants to lay down its weapons. There is no evidence of that whatsoever. Hamas is an acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement". The goal of terrorist groups is to take power, not put down their weapons. Hamas deals with dissent by shooting dissenters.

Hamas, if Israel is foolish enough to empower it with concessions, means to commit genocide, just as the "Islamic State or ISIS is committed to the genocide of the Yazidis, by kidnapping Yazidi women and girls for rape and sex slavery. An unsigned Catholic Online article of August 14th, "300 Kurds kidnapped for rape: The Islamic state plans to breed out the blonde Iraqis," reports:
There are fears that the 300 Yazidi women who have been kidnapped by militants from the Islamic State last week will be used to bear children in order to break up the ancient community's bloodline....

Referencing the kidnapping of the Yazidi women, Adnan Kochar, chairman of the Kurdish Cultural Center in London told MailOnline: "The Kurds and Yazidis are originally Aryans. But because the Yazidis are such a closed community they have retained a fairer complexion, blonder hair and blue eyes. They don't marry non-Yazidis. Kochar continued: "ISIS have taken around 300 women from Sinjar to give to jihadists to marry and make pregnant to have a Muslim child. If they can't kill all Yazidis, they will try to smash the blond bloodline."

This story was also carried by the Daily Mail and other sites. Well, there's Islam's tolerance and absence of racism for you.

Meanwhile, in Europe and other places, anti-Semitism is raising its ancient and ugly head. Here is a photo gallery of the cities in which anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) "protests" took place, with the Gaza War, which Hamas was losing, being the excuse to vent one's hatred. Or madness.

The U.S. has seen its share of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations. But the Metropolitan Opera has committed the most outrageous and contemptible expression of anti-Semitism by going ahead with the production of an "opera" that decidedly blames Jews for their murders. Surely this is a sign of troubling derangement. The opera is The Death of Klinghoffer. The New York Post reported on June 16th in its article, "Metropolitan Opera romanticizes one NYer's murder":

"In 1985, New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer, 69, and his wife Marilyn took a cruise to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. Leon never came back: Four members of the Palestine Liberation Front hijacked the Achille Lauro, shot him in the head and threw him overboard in his wheelchair."

The show has widely been denounced as anti-Semitic and sympathetic to the hijackers. Performances planned in Boston and elsewhere were cancelled shortly after 9/11. If it wasn't then, what makes it acceptable now for Lincoln Center to glorify the murderers of a disabled New Yorker?...."

The Metropolitan Opera receives local, state and federal funding. Will taxpayer funds support anti-Semitism? What is the artistic value in celebrating the murder of innocents?

Put another way, staging The Death of Klinghoffer is tantamount to staging an opera, complete with atonal singing and music and an absurdist script, about the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman during the Ferguson, Missouri riots over the shooting of Michael Brown, a thug, by a city police officer. It, too, would also be elevating criminality and unreason to a high art, and celebrating insanity.

The gods are not destroying us and Western civilization. We are destroying ourselves and it.


The Hell That Is The Obama White House


Let me begin by acknowledging that this inspirational title is lifted from a tweet by screen actor James Woods. And now I will explicate his tweet.

Every sentient human being whose brain isn't stuffed with ideological fairy dust can see that Obama is behind every major scandal of his administration from Benghazi to the I.R.S. disgrace. How can one know this? Because the culprits haven't been fired. Moreover, if they are serial liars like Susan Rice, they've actually been promoted to posts where their loyalty to the criminal-in-chief can do America and its citizens even more damage, if that is possible.

A president faced with a scandal created by underlings behind his back would be naturally furious at their misbehavior, and want heads to roll. This didn't happen in any of these scandals because their point of origin was the White House itself. Promoting the culprits is a way of keeping them quiet.

And what exactly is the I.R.S. scandal about - to take just one case? It's a plan unprecedented in modern American politics to push the political system towards a one-party state by using the taxing authority of the government to cripple and destroy the political opposition.

The administration's campaign to promote voter fraud by opposing measures to stop it (and defaming them as "racist" is guided by the same intentions and desire).

And why shouldn't Obama want to destroy the two-party system since he is also in utter contempt of the Constitutional framework, making law illegally, and defying an impotent Congress to stop him? Of course every radical, like Obama, hates the Constitutional framework because, as Madison explained in Federalist #10, it is designed to thwart "the wicked projects" of the left to redistribute income and destroy the free market.

The same desire to overwhelm and permanently suppress the opposition drives the war that Obama and the Democrats have conducted against America's borders and therefore American sovereignty. Their plan is to flood the country with illegals of whatever stripe who will be grateful enough for the favor to win them elections and create a permanent majority in their favor. The immediate result of these efforts is that we have no secure southern border, and therefore no border; and therefore we have effectively invited criminals and terrorists to come across and do Americans harm.

Which brings us to the deepest level of Obama's hell, which is his anti-American foreign policy...



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Authoritarianism and the Leftist mental bubble

Nothing could be more obvious than the fact that Leftism is authoritarian.  Wanting to "change society" in some way is definitional of Leftism. That wish, in various forms, is what makes you a Leftist.  Conservatives want change too but generally in the direction of unwinding Leftist changes.  But, as Margaret Thatcher memorably said, there is no such thing as society.  There are only people.  So the Leftist wants to change what people do.   And that is the essence and goal of the authoritarian.  And once they gain untrammelled power, socialists such as Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot etc show how very authoritarian they in fact are.

But no Leftist seems to be able to see that.  They are in fact so heavily defended against reality that they believe it is conservatives who are the authoritarians.  I have on my bookshelf a book by Robert Altemeyer which is titled: "Enemies of freedom".  Any conservative would immediately identify the Left as the enemies of freedom but to Altemeyer the enemy is a type of conservative.  Like most Leftist psychologists, Altemeyer has obviously read nothing of what conservatives actually advocate.  Leftists need their cloak of self-righteousness so badly that they have to stay within a mental bubble formed by fellow Leftists -- a bubble into which uncomfortable thoughts must not intrude.

And that malarkey has been going on for a long time.  The ball really got rolling with the publication of "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (born Theodor Wiesengrund) in 1950.  And Altemeyer's writings are just an update on that.  Adorno identified conservatives as the authoritarians.

In my days doing psychological research, I had over 100 papers published pointing to the holes in the Adorno theory but the  papers had nil effect.  My findings could not be allowed to penetrate the little mental bubble that enabled Leftists to tar conservatives with what were in fact the traits of Leftists.

Occasionally, however, some courageous person pokes his head above the parapet and endeavours to question the demonization of conservatives.  I have commented previously on the work of Yancey, who points out that the flood of hate directed at Christians by Leftists makes claims of "hate" among conservatives look ludicrous.  Just to disagree with Leftists allegedly makes you a "hater".  To see what real hate looks like you have to see what Leftists say.

And I have just become aware of the work of Jarret T. Crawford, who is at least even-handed in finding fault on both the Left and the Right.  It is rather a wonder that he gets away with it, but, like Yancey, he appears to have some African ancestry.  So he is at that rate a member of a protected class and can say what he likes.  For anybody with social science interests a list of some of his writings is here.

Another reason for the acceptance of his work is that he operates within conventional Leftist parameters -- accepting Leftist measuring instruments such as the RWA and SDO scales at face value.  That is rather a pity as both instruments are abortions.  Although allegedly a measure of "Right-wing authoritarianism", the RWA scale offers no useful prediction of vote at election time!  Not very right-wing, is it?  In psychometric terms the scale lacks predictive validity.  And the SDO scale is an even bigger joke -- as I pointed out some years ago.

I look forward to Crawford discovering psychometrics.  With better measuring instruments there is no telling what he might find.  My paper on  SDO does offer some alternatives.


Anti-Capitalist Administration Makes for Tough Economic Sledding

The true scope of the damage that the Great Recession inflicted on the American economy, along with the Obama administration’s poor management of the crisis and its regular bent against the free market, is put in stark relief by some recent economic reports.

One study by Kansas City Federal Reserve economist Andrew Foerster calculates that continued economic uncertainty has cost the U.S. one million jobs since 2010, the year after the recession was officially declared “over.” Foerster maintains that high uncertainty in the economic recovery was generated by three separate incidents – the May 2010 European sovereign debt crisis, the 2011 U.S. debt ceiling debacle, and mixed signals over the Federal Reserve Bank’s June 2013 plan to wind down its bond buying program. The result was muted employment in the U.S. job market, about 16,000 fewer jobs per month between 2010 and 2013.

The current job market is also experiencing a sharp decline in male participation. Men have been leaving the workforce steadily since the late 1940s, but the trend has risen sharply in recent years. After World War II, 87% of adult men held jobs or were actively seeking employment. As of last month, that number dropped to just over 69%. The male participation rate has dropped three points since 2009 alone. In the cohort of men ages 25-54, there are 1.85 million “missing workers,” able-bodied males who have given up looking for jobs due to weak opportunities.

There are a number of factors at play behind this sharp decline of male workers. Manufacturing, a male-dominated profession, once accounted for one-quarter of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product but has fallen to around 11%. Education, social services and other service jobs traditionally held by women, have been on the rise, now claiming a large share of GDP. Women have entered the work force in greater numbers since the 1960s, and the female participation rate is at 57%. Women are also earning more college degrees these days, making them better suited overall for a more skilled workforce. There are some men who have made a lifestyle choice to stay at home and let their spouses be the breadwinner, but that’s a small portion of the total. The drop in labor is due largely to lack of opportunities.

Are there any signs of relief in the job market? That depends on who you listen to. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez insists that talk of the recovery consisting only of low-wage jobs is “categorically inaccurate,” adding, “This recovery is creating a lot of good jobs.” According to The Washington Post, nearly 40% of the jobs created in the last six months have been in high-wage industries such as construction and professional services. However, a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors and HIS Global Insights report reveals there is still a 23% wage gap in sectors hardest hit by the recession such as construction and manufacturing. Low-wage industries have seen the bulk (41%) of job growth in the last year. Mid-wage and high-wage industries have seen 26% and 33% growth, respectively, but there are still 1.2 million fewer jobs in those industries than prior to the recession.

Five years after the end of the recession, the Obama “recovery” can still be categorized as anemic, and without a doubt that’s due to the Obama administration’s policies. The high tax burden on investors and businesses has reduced capital investment and the incentive to put money into growing companies and hiring more workers. ObamaCare has also kept a number of small and mid-size businesses from growing at all, but especially beyond 49 employees, as they seek to remain below the law’s costly regulatory threshold for mandatory insurance coverage.

There is also a marked anti-capitalist flavor to the rhetoric continually coming out of the administration and its choir on Capitol Hill. We have listened to six years of incessant calls for making the rich “pay their fair share,” sparking class warfare and inspiring jealousy and disdain of success. The president told entrepreneurs they don’t deserve the fruits of their labor because they “didn’t build that,” in reference to the infrastructure that made their success possible. It’s no wonder so much intellectual and monetary capital is sitting on the sidelines or drifting overseas through corporate inversions, which Obama slams as a lack of “economic patriotism.” Eight years is a long economic malaise, so we must work to make sure 2017 brings a free-market oriented administration willing to allow the American economy to reach its full potential.



The President's True Colors Finally Revealed

When I first glanced at the headline on today's Jerusalem Online and reports in the Jerusalem Post and other Israeli newspapers, I thought they must have been a satire: "Washington officials have told Egypt that the US will grantee Israel's commitment to any agreement signed." But it was not a satire. The was deadly serious, confirmed by other Israeli newspapers and sources in Cairo.

The US offering to Hamas to "guarantee" Israeli commitments to any agreement signed? As if anyone needed proof of the Obama Administration's antipathy to Israel, here it was in black and white. If anyone party needed a commitment to enforce its agreements in any deal, it would have been Hamas, that has been known to break every commitment it ever made. To pick just a few at random:

Hamas recently violated 9 cease fire agreements, including two of its own

Hamas illegally siphoned thousands of tons of cement and steel shipments it received from international donors and Israel that it had committed to use the build the civilian infrastructure in Gaza for hospitals, schools and apartment buildings; instead it spent upwards of $500 million of these humanitarian shipments to covertly build numerous tunnels buried deep underground into Israel in order to carry out murderous raids on Israeli civilian communities intended to kill tens of thousands of Israelis

Hamas violated the 2012 Cease Fire negotiated by then State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton together with then Egyptian Muslim President Mohammed Morsi in which Hamas committed to stop smuggling weapons and missiles into Israel, of which nearly 4000 were recently launched into 80% of Israel's population centers

Hamas violated the commitment to the Palestinian Authority that it would never launch a coup d'état against the PA after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. But in 2007, Hamas did exactly that in a bloody takeover of Gaza, kicking out and killing PA officials.

Hamas violated a publicly solemn commitment to its own civilians that it would uphold the rule of law (yea, right) when it took over Gaza only to subsequently execute hundreds of dissident Gazans, torture and imprison thousands of political opponents, violently persecute the minority of Christians still living in Gaza and imprison and prosecute suspected gay Gazans.

Violating a commitment it made in the Clinton negotiated 2012 truce that it would cease its missile attacks on Israel.

And at the same time, it should be noted that President Obama personally signed an official letter at the time of the 2012 negotiated cease fire to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the US would provide Israel with the technology to defeat and stop Hamas smuggling of weapons. But subsequent to that empty promise, Hamas soon received in massive quantities from Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. That promise was never carried out.

Israel on the other hand meticulously fulfilled its part of the bargain by severely relaxing the blockade on Gaza, allowing tons of previously restricted cement and steel into Gaza, increasing the number of daily truckloads of food, medical stuff and building equipment through the two Israeli checkpoints into Gaza by more than 250 truckloads a day (a commitment is still upheld during the Hamas war against Israel, a fact mostly ignored by the mainstream media blindly committed to the Hamas narrative that Israel was the aggressor).

Remember when Obama spoke to the annual AIPAC conference a few years back and ceremoniously declared, "I got your back." This is the same President who, as the Wall Street Journal disclosed last week, personally held up the Israeli request for additional Hellfire missiles that it had depleted in its war with Hamas.

As far back as 1967, the United States had made a firm promise to Israel that it would never allow the Egyptians to blockade the Straits of Hormuz, considered the lifeline of Israel. But when the Egyptians blockaded the Straights of Hormuz in May 1967, what did the US do? Nothing.

And in the current round of negotiations being held in Cairo now, according to leaked details in Egyptian newspapers reported by today's Jerusalem Online, Israel agreed to make the following astonishing concessions:

"Israel will stop its attacks in Gaza - in land, sea and air. No ground operations will be conducted."

Israel has agreed to the "opening of crossings between Israel and Gaza [in which] Movement of people and merchandise will be allowed, to rebuild Gaza."

"Eliminating the buffer zone in the North and East of Gaza and deployment of Palestinian military forces starting from January 1, 2015"

"Freedom of fishing and action in the territorial waters of the Palestinians in Gaza to a range of 6 miles. The range will gradually be increased, to no less than 12 miles..."

"Israeli authorities will assist the Palestinian Authority to restore the foundations in Gaza, as well as help provide the necessary living needs for those who were forced to leave their homes due to the battles. Also, Israel will provide emergency medical attention to the wounded and will supply humanitarian assistance and food to Gaza as soon as possible."

It should be noted that even during the recent murderous war waged by Gaza, Israel had opened up its borders to treat wounded Gaza civilians in Israeli hospitals and continued to supply daily more than 500 tons daily of humanitarian assistance and food to Gaza even as the Hamas launched thousands of rockets and attempted mass murder of Israeli civilians by attempts, fortunately thwarted by Israel, to infiltrate dozens of fully armed Hamas terrorists into Israel via the tunnels dug by Hamas.

And what did the Hamas commit to?

"All Palestinian factions in Gaza will stop the attacks against Israel, in the land, the sea and the air; also, building tunnels from Gaza to Israeli territory will be stopped."

That was it. Virtually the same identical commitments it agreed to in December 2012. Quite interestingly, Hamas insisted-which Israel did not agree to-to the immediate opening of a Gaza seaport and airport. But the party that suggested to Hamas that they insist on these demands was none other than the Qataris, the country-which is the top financial patron in the world today to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and many of its terrorist offshoots-curiously selected personally by Obama to be the official diplomatic interlocutor in the Cairo talks.

The role that Qatar was supposed to play was to convince the group to make concessions. But curiously the opposite happened. Qatar, the country to which that the US just sold $11 billion worth of military weapons, actually sabotaged the negotiations. So far, the President has been studiously silent on this betrayal.

In light of the fact that Hamas has manifestly never upheld any of the commitments it has ever made, the salient question that has to be asked is why Obama did feel compelled to assuage Hamas with an assurance that the US would "guarantee" that Israeli upheld its commitments? The word "guarantee" has a rather expansive and vague latitude for definition. The most recent demonstration of an American guarantee that Israel would halt its defensive war against Hamas was the suspension of critical military deliveries to Israel during the height of the conflagration instigated by Hamas.

Indeed, for all the public affirmations made last week-after the WSJ expose-- by the Obama Administration that the US was "totally committed to the security of Israel," Obama suddenly decides to make a promise to Hamas-whose covenant differs not one bit from the fascist radical Islamic doctrine adopted by ISIL-that it would enforce the commitments made by Israel, which in fact have historically been studiously upheld by Israel.

If Obama was truly sincere in his now obviously contrived promises to "watch [Israel's] back", he would have offered to guarantee Hamas commitments, a terrorist group that has repeatedly violated its commitments in previous agreements. But with his statement that he would "guarantee" Israeli commitments and not those made by Hamas, the President has revealed his true colors for everyone to see.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Healthcare Gouging Culprits

It's no wonder why routine healthcare costs in the United States are so ridiculously high, and why health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Today's healthcare providers are gouging patients like highway robbers.

They do it because they can.

Hospitals are charging patients a small fortune for the most minor of services; treatments like applying a Band-Aid to a small cut.  A New Jersey man found this out the hard way when he was gouged almost $9,000 after an ER aide treated a small cut on his middle finger.

The man cut his finger with a hammer and thought he might need stitches so he went to the local ER at Bayonne Medical Center. He didn't need stitches. He got a tetanus shot from a nurse practitioner who sterilized the cut, applied some antibacterial ointment, a bandage and sent him home.

Later he received the bill: $8,200 for the ER visit; $180 for the shot; $242 for the bandage; $8 for the ointment; and nearly $370 for the nurse. "I got a Band-Aid and a tetanus shot. How could it be $9,000? This is crazy," the man told reporters.

Yes, this is crazy.

Now the hospital says it charged that amount because the man's insurance carrier refuses to offer fair reimbursement rates.  This hospital apparently believes that $9,000 is a fair charge for applying a Band-Aid to a small cut.

The insurance carrier says that this hospital is just trying to gouge its patients.

Gee, do ya think?

A spokesperson for the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute says that the right price for getting a finger bandaged should be $400 to $1,000.

That, of course, is equally ridiculous. In fact, it's outrageous! I say that if a hospital can't apply a Band-Aid to a small cut and then send the patient home for less than $100, that hospital shouldn't be treating patients. Its administrator's and staff should be in jail.

This is a primary reason why healthcare costs are out of control in the U.S. Just about everyone now has insurance to cover every treatment from the most insignificant to the most complicated. When everyone has insurance covering everything, they go to the doctor or hospital for things like cut fingers, and the healthcare providers start gouging.

They do it because they can. After all, the insurance company or the government is paying the bill. If patients had to pay for minor medical treatments out of their own pockets this kind of thing wouldn't happen.

That's how healthcare was administered in the old days and it worked quite well. But those days are gone and today we have only healthcare gouging culprits.



Are insurers still dodging the sick?

Ending insurance discrimination against the sick was a central goal of the nation's health care overhaul, but leading patient groups say that promise is being undermined by new barriers from insurers.

The insurance industry responds that critics are confusing legitimate cost-control with bias. Some state regulators, however, say there's reason to be concerned about policies that shift costs to patients and narrow their choices of hospitals and doctors.

With open enrollment for 2015 three months away, the Obama administration is being pressed to enforce the Affordable Care Act's anti-discrimination provisions. Some regulations have been issued; others are pending after more than four years.

More than 300 patient advocacy groups recently wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to complain about some insurer tactics that "are highly discriminatory against patients with chronic health conditions and may ... violate the (law's) nondiscrimination provisions."

Among the groups were the AIDS Institute, the American Lung Association, Easter Seals, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Kidney Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy. All supported the law.

Coverage of expensive drugs tops their concerns.

The advocates also say they are disappointed by how difficult it's proved for consumers to get a full picture of plans sold on the new insurance exchanges. Digging is often required to learn crucial details such as drugs covered, exact copayments and which doctors and hospitals are in the network.

Washington state's insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, said "there is no question" that discrimination is creeping back. "The question is whether we are catching it or not," added Kreidler, a Democrat.

Kansas' commissioner, Sandy Praeger, a Republican, said the jury is out on whether some insurers are back to shunning the sick. Nonetheless, Praeger said the administration needs to take a strong stand.

"They ought to make it very clear that if there is any kind of discrimination against people with chronic conditions, there will be enforcement action," Praeger said. "The whole goal here was to use the private insurance market to create a system that provides health insurance for all Americans."

The Obama administration turned down interview requests.

An HHS spokeswoman said the department is preparing a formal response to the advocates and stressed that today's level of consumer protection is far superior to what existed before President Barack Obama's law, when an insurance company could use any existing medical condition to deny coverage.

The law also takes away some of the motivation insurers have for chasing healthy patients. Those attracting a healthy population must pay into a pool that will reimburse plans with a higher share of patients with health problems. But that backstop is under attack from congressional Republicans as an insurer "bailout."

Compounding the uncertainty is that Washington and the states now share responsibility for policing health plans sold to individuals.

Although the federal government is running insurance markets in 36 states, state regulators are still in charge of consumer protection. A few states refuse to enforce any aspect of the law.

Kreidler said the federal government should establish a basic level of protection that states can build on. "We're kind of piecemealing it right now," he said.

Much of the concern is about coverage for prescription drugs. Also worrisome are the narrow networks of hospitals and doctors that insurers are using to keep premiums down. Healthy people generally shop for lower premiums, while people with health problems look for access to specialists and the best hospitals.

Before Obama's overhaul, insurance plans sold on the individual market could exclude prescription coverage. Now the debate is over what's fair to charge patients.

Some plans are requiring patients to pay 30 percent or more for drugs that go for several thousand dollars a month. HIV drugs, certain cancer medications, and multiple sclerosis drugs are among them.

Although the law sets an overall annual limit on what patients are required to pay, the initial medication cost can be a shock.

California resident Charis Hill has ankylosing spondylitis, a painful, progressive form of spinal arthritis. To manage it, she relies on an expensive medication called Enbrel. When she tried to fill her prescription the pharmacy wanted $2,000, more than she could afford.

"Insurance companies are basically singling out certain conditions by placing some medications on high-cost tiers," said Hill. That "is pretty blatant discrimination in my mind."

Hill, a biking advocate from the Sacramento area, has been able to get her medication through the manufacturer's patient assistance program.

The insurance industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans says there's no discrimination because patients have many options on the insurance exchanges. Gold and platinum plans feature lower cost-sharing, but have higher premiums. Standard silver plans generally require patients to pay a greater share of medical bills, but some have fairly robust drug coverage.

"There are plans on the exchanges that are right for people who have these health conditions," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the group.

For 2015, the administration says it will identify plans that require unusually high patient cost-sharing in states where Washington is running the exchange. Insurers may get an opportunity to make changes. Regulators will collect and analyze data on insurers' networks.

"People who have high cost health conditions are still having a problem accessing care," said law professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University in Virginia. "We are in the early stages of trying to figure out what the problems are, and to what extent they are based on insurance company discrimination, or inherent in the structure of the program."



Steyer Benefits From Progressive Double Standard

With Election Day less than a hundred days away, we can expect the campaign season to bring out some of the worst in human behavior. It encourages politicians, activists, and the journalists who cover them to participate in all sorts of shenanigans.

However, much of what are self-styled elite opinionmongers would dismiss as “silly” perhaps isn’t. Perhaps it’s only their failure to hold their ideological compatriots to the same standards. Take the case of billionaire hedge-fund manager and progressive megadonor Tom Steyer, who regularly commits so many of the sins conservatives are accused of--and gets a free from progressives.

Take, for example, the handwringing and hyperventilating over money in politics, which progressives argue is corrosive to democracy. It’s a cause célèbre on the left, who fight against it in the court of public opinion and in the halls of Congress. Their chief bogeyman at the moment is the Super PAC, an independent political committee that may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of political candidates. The Super PAC, according to many of the left, amounts to nothing less than the wholesale buying of elections.

But their squeamishness about big-dollar Super PAC donors influencing politics doesn’t seem to extend to Steyer--who is, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, the single biggest Super PAC donor of this election cycle. As of the third week of July, Steyer had already shelled out a cool $20 million for progressive candidates. Liberals who decry the Super PAC always point fingers at wealthy conservative donors--but in the Sunlight Foundation’s analysis, the top five conservative Super PAC donors combined still fall short of what Steyer has dropped on this year’s races.

And this year, every major fact-checking organization has long been on the record against a wild claim that Steyer’s Super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, recently made in Iowa against Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. In short, an ad run by the Steyer group charges that Ernst’s signing of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge is tantamount to support for American companies sending jobs overseas. The Pledge, Steyer’s ad argues, protects tax credits for those companies despite the pledge including no such promises.

Every major fact-checking site: Adwatch,, and Politifact, as well as local organizations in cities like Seattle and Las Vegas, have debunked this claim in the previous two election cycles when it’s been made against other candidates signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Even as Steyer has invested in the 2014 midterms more heavily than anyone else – giving more than twice as much as this cycle’s next largest Super PAC donor, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – his motives for doing so have escaped media scrutiny. It hardly needs to be said that the same courtesy is never extended to conservative donors, to whom the media tends to ascribe nefariously self-interested motives for their political giving.

And yet Steyer burst onto the political scene by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, a project which promises lower energy prices and thousands of new jobs. His opposition to the pipeline was heralded as a public spirited act of social conscience.

Actually, it turns out that Steyer held a financial stake in the Kinder Mountain pipeline, a competing pipeline, and stood to profit significantly if regulators killed the Keystone project in favor of Kinder Mountain. Steyer has since divested himself of his interests in fossil fuels, but the media never questioned his motives, choosing instead to praise his activism and coo over the possibility that he might run for office someday.

Commentators often refer to the runup to Election Day as “the silly season.” But what’s truly silly is a double standard that protects Tom Steyer while he freely commits some of the worst sins in the progressive catechism.



Grocery Chain Stands Up to Bloomberg’s Anti-Gun Obsession

Oh good… Another big business is being pressured to boycott law abiding gun owners. However, unlike Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Chipotle, and Target, Kroger has decided to reject the Bloomberg-inspired requests to ban guns on their property. I guess they (for some strange reason) didn’t feel like experiencing an uptick in violent crime and robberies.

In recent months years, Bloomberg’s anti-gun groups have taken a decisively effective tactic of targeting (excuse the pun) and intimidating businesses into being the enforcers of gun restrictions that otherwise had no hope of passing local legislatures. Of course, this new trend tends to show the difference between the Left and the Right on issues of public policy. While gun-loving Americans might dislike the idea of their favorite retail chain banning guns, they tend to respect that such decisions are within the rights of private property owners… As a result, they simply stop eating cheap Mexican food (Chipotle), or buying overpriced fast food (Jack in the Box).

Leftists, on the other hand, seem to have a love affair with intimidating the masses into compliance with their utopian vision. And, really, this seems to go to the heart of what is at stake in the debate over more government. While a libertarian, or conservative, utopia might expose more people to the horror of a law abiding gun owner peacefully carrying his holstered weapon, a liberal utopia tends to restrict and suffocate the actions of a handful of law-abiding citizens.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Böhm-Bawerk: Austrian Economist Who Said “No” to Big Government

We live at a time when politicians and bureaucrats only know one public policy: more and bigger government. Yet, there was a time when even those who served in government defended limited and smaller government. One of the greatest of these died one hundred years ago on August 27, 1914, the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk.Böhm-Bawerk is most famous as one of the leading critics of Marxism and socialism in the years before the First World War. He is equally famous as one of the developers of “marginal utility” theory as the basis of showing the logic and workings of the competitive market price system.

But he also served three times as the finance minister of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, during which he staunchly fought for lower government spending and taxing, balanced budgets, and a sound monetary system based on the gold standard.

Danger of Out-of-Control Government Spending

Even after Böhm-Bawerk had left public office he continued to warn of the dangers of uncontrolled government spending and borrowing as the road to ruin in his native Austria-Hungary, and in words that ring as true today as when he wrote them a century ago.

In January 1914, just a little more than a half a year before the start of the First World War, Böhm-Bawerk said in a series of articles in one of the most prominent Vienna newspapers that the Austrian government was following a policy of fiscal irresponsibility. During the preceding three years, government expenditures had increased by 60 percent, and for each of these years the government’s deficit had equaled approximately 15 percent of total spending.

The reason, Böhm-Bawerk said, was that the Austrian parliament and government were enveloped in a spider’s web of special-interest politics. Made up of a large number of different linguistic and national groups, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was being corrupted through abuse of the democratic process, with each interest group using the political system to gain privileges and favors at the expense of others.

Böhm-Bawerk explained:

“We have seen innumerable variations of the vexing game of trying to generate political contentment through material concessions. If formerly the Parliaments were the guardians of thrift, they are today far more like its sworn enemies.

“Nowadays the political and nationalist parties . . . are in the habit of cultivating a greed of all kinds of benefits for their co-nationals or constituencies that they regard as a veritable duty, and should the political situation be correspondingly favorable, that is to say correspondingly unfavorable for the Government, then political pressure will produce what is wanted. Often enough, though, because of the carefully calculated rivalry and jealousy between parties, what has been granted to one [group] has also to be conceded to others—from a single costly concession springs a whole bundle of costly concessions.”

He accused the Austrian government of having “squandered amidst our good fortune [of economic prosperity] everything, but everything, down to the last penny, that could be grabbed by tightening the tax-screw and anticipating future sources of income to the upper limit” by borrowing in the present at the expense of the future.

For some time, he said, “a very large number of our public authorities have been living beyond their means.” Such a fiscal policy, Böhm-Bawerk feared, was threatening the long-run financial stability and soundness of the entire country.

Eight months later, in August 1914, Austria-Hungary and the rest of Europe stumbled into the cataclysm that became World War I. And far more than merely the finances of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were in ruins when that war ended four years later, since the Empire itself disappeared from the map of Europe.

A Man of Honesty and Integrity                                                                                        

Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk was born on February 12, 1851 in Brno, capital of the Austrian province of Moravia (now the eastern portion of the Czech Republic). He died on August 27, 1914, at the age of 63, just as the First World War was beginning.

Ten years after Böhm-Bawerk’s death, one of his students, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, wrote a memorial essay about his teacher. Mises said:

“Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk will remain unforgettable to all who have known him. The students who were fortunate enough to be members of his seminar [at the University of Vienna] will never lose what they have gained from the contact with this great mind. To the politicians who have come into contact with the statesman, his extreme honesty, selflessness and dedication to duty will forever remain a shining example.

“And no citizen of this country [Austria] should ever forget the last Austrian minister of finance who, in spite of all obstacles, was seriously trying to maintain order of the public finances and to prevent the approaching financial catastrophe. Even when all those who have been personally close to Böhm-Bawerk will have left this life, his scientific work will continue to live and bear fruit.”

Another of Böhm-Bawerk’s students, Joseph A. Schumpeter, spoke in the same glowing terms of his teacher, saying, “he was not only one of the most brilliant figures in the scientific life of his time, but also an example of that rarest of statesmen, a great minister of finance . . . As a public servant, he stood up to the most difficult and thankless task of politics, the task of defending sound financial principles.”

The scientific contributions to which both Mises and Schumpeter referred were Böhm-Bawerk’s writings on what has become known as the Austrian theory of capital and interest, and his equally insightful formulation of the Austrian theory of value and price.

The Austrian Theory of Subjective Value

The Austrian school of economics began 1871 with the publication of Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics. In this work, Menger challenged the fundamental premises of the classical economists, from Adam Smith through David Ricardo to John Stuart Mill. Menger argued that the labor theory of value was flawed in presuming that the value of goods was determined by the relative quantities of labor that had been expended in their manufacture.

Instead, Menger formulated a subjective theory of value, reasoning that value originates in the mind of an evaluator. The value of means reflects the value of the ends they might enable the evaluator to obtain. Labor, therefore, like raw materials and other resources, derives value from the value of the goods it can produce. From this starting point Menger outlined a theory of the value of goods and factors of production, and a theory of the limits of exchange and the formation of prices.

Böhm-Bawerk and his future brother-in-law and also later-to-be-famous contributor to the Austrian school, Friedrich von Wieser, came across Menger’s book shortly after its publication. Both immediately saw the significance of the new subjective approach for the development of economic theory.

In the mid-1870s, Böhm-Bawerk entered the Austrian civil service, soon rising in rank in the Ministry of Finance working on reforming the Austrian tax system. But in 1880, with Menger’s assistance, Böhm-Bawerk was appointed a professor at the University of Innsbruck, a position he held until 1889.

Böhm-Bawerk’s Writings on Value and Price                                                          

During this period he wrote the two books that were to establish his reputation as one of the leading economists of his time, Capital and Interest, Vol. I: History and Critique of Interest Theories (1884) and Vol. II: Positive Theory of Capital (1889). A third volume, Further Essays on Capital and Interest, appeared in 1914 shortly before his death.

In the first volume of Capital and Interest, Böhm-Bawerk presented a wide and detailed critical study of theories of the origin of and basis for interest from the ancient world to his own time.  But it was in the second work, in which he offered a Positive Theory of Capital, that Böhm-Bawerk’s major contribution to the body of Austrian economics may be found. In the middle of the volume is a 135-page digression in which he presents a refined statement of the Austrian subjective theory of value and price. He develops in meticulous detail the theory of marginal utility, showing the logic of how individuals come to evaluate and weigh alternatives among which they may choose and the process that leads to decisions to select certain preferred combinations guided by the marginal principle. And he shows how the same concept of marginal utility explains the origin and significance of cost and the assigned valuations to the factors of production.

In the section on price formation, Böhm-Bawerk develops a theory of how the subjective valuations of buyers and sellers create incentives for the parties on both sides of the market to initiate pricing bids and offers. He explains how the logic of price creation by the market participants also determines the range in which any market-clearing, or equilibrium, price must finally settle, given the maximum demand prices and the minimum supply prices, respectively, of the competing buyers and sellers.

Capital and Time Investment as the Sources of Prosperity

It is impossible to do full justice to Böhm-Bawerk’s theory of capital and interest. But in the barest of outlines, he argued that for man to attain his various desired ends he must discover the causal processes through which labor and resources at his disposal may be used for his purposes. Central to this discovery process is the insight that often the most effective path to a desired goal is through “roundabout” methods of production. A man will be able to catch more fish in a shorter amount of time if he first devotes the time to constructing a fishing net out of vines, hollowing out a tree trunk as a canoe, and carving a tree branch into a paddle.

Greater productivity will often be forthcoming in the future if the individual is willing to undertake, therefore, a certain “period of production,” during which resources and labor are set to work to manufacture the capital—the fishing net, canoe, and paddle—that is then employed to paddle out into the lagoon where larger and more fish may be available.

But the time involved to undertake and implement these more roundabout methods of production involve a cost. The individual must be willing to forgo (often less productive) production activities in the more immediate future (wading into the lagoon using a tree branch as a spear) because that labor and those resources are tied up in a more time-consuming method of production, the more productive results from which will only be forthcoming later.

Interest on a Loan Reflects the Value of Time

This led Böhm-Bawerk to his theory of interest. Obviously, individuals evaluating the production possibilities just discussed must weigh ends available sooner versus other (perhaps more productive) ends that might be obtainable later. As a rule, Böhm-Bawerk argued, individuals prefer goods sooner rather than later.

Each individual places a premium on goods available in the present and discounts to some degree goods that can only be achieved further in the future. Since individuals have different premiums and discounts (time-preferences), there are potential mutual gains from trade. That is the source of the rate of interest: it is the price of trading consumption and production goods across time.

Böhm-Bawerk Refutes Marx’s Critique of Capitalism

One of Böhm-Bawerk’s most important applications of his theory was the refutation of the Marxian exploitation theory that employers make profits by depriving workers of the full value of what their labor produces. He presented his critique of Marx’s theory in the first volume of Capital and Interest and in a long essay originally published in 1896 on the “Unresolved Contradictions in the Marxian Economic System.” In essence, Böhm-Bawerk argued that Marx had confused interest with profit. In the long run no profits can continue to be earned in a competitive market because entrepreneurs will bid up the prices of factors of production and compete down the prices of consumer goods.

But all production takes time. If that period is of any significant length, the workers must be able to sustain themselves until the product is ready for sale. If they are unwilling or unable to sustain themselves, someone else must advance the money (wages) to enable them to consume in the meantime.

This, Böhm-Bawerk explained, is what the capitalist does. He saves, forgoing consumption or other uses of his wealth, and those savings are the source of the workers’ wages during the production process. What Marx called the capitalists’ “exploitative profits” Böhm-Bawerk showed to be the implicit interest payment for advancing money to workers during the time-consuming, roundabout processes of production.

Defending Fiscal Restraint in the Austrian Finance Ministry

In 1889, Böhm-Bawerk was called back from the academic world to the Austrian Ministry of Finance, where he worked on reforming the systems of direct and indirect taxation. He was promoted to head of the tax department in 1891. A year later he was vice president of the national commission that proposed putting Austria-Hungary on a gold standard as a means of establishing a sound monetary system free from direct government manipulation of the monetary printing press.

Three times he served as minister of finance, briefly in 1895, again in 1896-1897, and then from 1900 to 1904. During the last four-year term Böhm-Bawerk demonstrated his commitment to fiscal conservatism, with government spending and taxing kept strictly under control.

However, Ernest von Koerber, the Austrian prime minister in whose government Böhm-Bawerk served, devised a grandiose and vastly expensive public works scheme in the name of economic development. An extensive network of railway lines and canals were to be constructed to connect various parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—subsidizing in the process a wide variety of special-interest groups in what today would be described as a “stimulus” program for supposed “jobs-creation.”

Böhm-Bawerk tirelessly fought against what he considered fiscal extravagance that would require higher taxes and greater debt when there was no persuasive evidence that the industrial benefits would justify the expense. At Council of Ministers meetings Böhm-Bawerk even boldly argued against spending proposals presented by the Austrian Emperor, Franz Josef, who presided over the sessions.

When finally he resigned from the Ministry of Finance in October 1904, Böhm-Bawerk had succeeded in preventing most of Prime Minister Koerber’s giant spending project. But he chose to step down because of what he considered to be corrupt financial “irregularities” in the defense budget of the Austrian military.

However, Böhm-Bawerk’s 1914 articles on government finance indicate that the wave of government spending he had battled so hard against broke through once he was no longer there to fight it.

Political Control or Economic Law

A few months after his passing, in December 1914, his last essay appeared in print, a lengthy piece on “Control or Economic Law?” He explained that various interest groups in society, most especially trade unions, suffer from a false conception that through their use or the threat of force, they are able to raise wages permanently above the market’s estimate of the value of various types of labor.

Arbitrarily setting wages and prices higher than what employers and buyers think labor and goods are worth – such as with a government-mandated minimum wage law – merely prices some labor and goods out of the market.

Furthermore, when unions impose high nonmarket wages on the employers in an industry, the unions succeed only in temporarily eating into the employers’ profit margins and creating the incentive for those employers to leave that sector of the economy and take with them those workers’ jobs.

What makes the real wages of workers rise in the long run, Böhm-Bawerk argued, was capital formation and investment in those more roundabout methods of production that increase the productivity of workers and therefore make their labor services more valuable in the long run, while also increasing the quantity of goods and services they can buy with their market wages.

To his last, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk defended reason and the logic of the market against the emotional appeals and faulty reasoning of those who wished to use power and the government to acquire from others what they could not obtain through free competition.  His contributions to economic theory and economic policy show him as one of the greatest economists of all time, as well as his example as a principled man of uncompromising integrity who in the political arena unswervingly fought for the free market and limited government.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Muslim Mob Abducts Christian Nurse From Her Home and Gang Rapes Her Over And Over Again

If the world thinks that pretending that this is not happening, or worse, ignoring it, is going to spare them the same fate, they are gravely mistaken.

This is the jihad that Obama aided and abetted in ushering in. This is Obama's Libya - after his surrender in Benghazi.

The abduction of this young Filipino Christian took place only a few days after a Filipino construction worker was beheaded, amid allegations that he was killed for not being a Muslim.

But the UN seeks to prosecute Israelis for "war crimes" for defending themselves against this pox against humanity.

Every rational and freedom-loving man cannot fathom why the world is submitting to such savagery.

    "A Filipino Christian nurse in Libya was abducted by Muslims from her home and gang raped by up to six Muslim men. According to one report:

    A Filipino nurse has been kidnapped and gang-raped in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

    The woman was seized outside her residence on Wednesday and taken to an unknown location, where she was sexually abused by up to six men, the Philippines' Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told reporters.

    She was released about two hours later and taken to hospital for treatment.

    The incident took place only a few days after a Filipino construction worker was beheaded, amid allegations he was killed for not being a Muslim.

    Following the latest incident, the Filipino government called for the evacuation of its 13,000 citizens in Libya, which has been rocked by violence in the last few months.

    A recent report explains how the Filipino government is now escorting all of its people from Libya:

    The Philippines has dispatched its foreign secretary to oversee the evacuation of 13,000 citizens from Libya after a Filipino construction worker was beheaded and a nurse gang-raped there.

    Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Thursday he was flying to Djerba island in neighbouring Tunisia to "try to convince our people to leave [Libya] because the situation there is very dangerous".

    The Philippine government ordered a mandatory evacuation on July 20, hours after the discovery in Benghazi city of the beheaded remains of a Filipino construction worker who had been abducted five days earlier.

    On Wednesday a Filipina nurse was abducted by a gang of youths outside her residence in the capital Tripoli, then taken elsewhere where she was gang-raped by up to six suspects, the foreign department said.

    She was released about two hours later and a Filipino consular team took her to hospital for treatment, a foreign department spokesman said.

    "We condemn these crimes that have been committed against our people," President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma said in Manila.

    Why would the Muslims do this? Because their Filipino victims were Catholics, and anyone who has read Church History, will know what vicious and violent hatred Islam has had for the Papacy from the beginning. One news agency connected the rape and the beheading to the anti-Catholic vitriol of the Muslims in Libya:

    Despite broad acceptance, the Filipino community has been harassed by Islamic extremists, partly because of the Catholic faith practiced by most Filipinos.

    From the Reconquista to the Crusades, the Catholic Church was, and is still, the primary enemy of the Muslim heresy.



Joy for the Dutch

Once such a sane country

 A senior employee of the Dutch Justice Ministry said the jihadist group ISIS was created by Zionists seeking to give Islam a bad reputation.  Yasmina Haifi, a project leader at the ministry’s National Cyber Security Center, made the assertion Wednesday on Twitter, the De Telegraaf daily reported.  “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name,” wrote Haifi, who described herself on the social network LinkedIn as an activist for the Dutch Labor Party, or PvdA.

Haifi later removed her original message, explaining, “I realize the political sensitivity in connection with my work. That was not my intention.”

Two right-wing lawmakers, Joram van Klaveren and Louis Bontes of the VNL faction, asked the ministry how one with such views reached a prominent position in the ministry and if Haifi’s employment constituted a security risk.

A series of rallies supporting ISIS, which is considered a terrorist organization in many Western countries, were held in the Hague in July and earlier this month. Some demonstrators called for violence. The demonstrations on July 2 and 24 featured calls to kill Jews.

When anti-ISIS demonstrators tried to march through the heavily Muslim neighborhood of Schilderswijk on Aug. 10 to express their disapproval, a crowd of approximately 200 men barricaded the main street and staged an illegal counterdemonstration in support of ISIS.

Some of the protesters hurled stones at police who tried to remove the obstacles. Six people were arrested.



Muslim aggression has been a problem for a long time. Time to stop the rot?

In 732 AD the Muslim Army which was moving on Paris was defeated and turned back at Tours, France, by Charles Martell.
.in 1571 AD the Muslim Army/ Navy was defeated by the Italians and Austrians as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to attack southern Europe in the Battle of Lapanto.       1683 AD the Turkish Muslim Army, attacking Eastern Europe, was finally defeated in the Battle of Vienna by German and Polish Christian Armies.                    

...this crap has been going on for 1,400 years and half of the  politicians don't even know it !!!  If these battles had not been won we might be speaking Arabic and Christianity could be non - existent;
Judaism certainly would be... And let us not forget that Hitler was an admirer of Islam and that the Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler's guest in Berlin and raised Bosnian Muslim SS Divisions: the 13th and 21st Waffen SS Divisions who killed Jews, Russians, Gypsies, and any other "subhumans".

More recently:

1. In 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male.  
2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by  Muslim males.
3. In 1972 a Pan Am 747 was hijacked and eventually diverted to Cairo where a fuse was lit on final approach, it was blown up shortly after landing by Muslim males.
4. In 1973 a Pan Am 707 was destroyed in Rome, with 33 people killed, when it was  attacked with grenades by Muslim males.
5. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim males.
6. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim males.
7. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim males.
8. In 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim males.
9. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens , and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim males.
10. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim males.
11. In 1993 , the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim males.
12. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim males.
13. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim males.
14. In 2002, the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim males.
15. In 2002, reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by---you guessed it was a--- Muslim male.
16. In 2013, Boston Marathon Bombing 4 Innocent people including a child killed, 264 injured by Muslim males.

Australia: We’ll fight radical Islam for 100 years, says ex-army head Peter Leahy

AUSTRALIA needs to prepare for an increasingly savage, 100-year war against radical Islam that will be fought on home soil as well as foreign lands, the former head of the army, Peter Leahy, has warned.

Professor Leahy, a leading defence and strategic analyst, told The Weekend Australian the country was ill-prepared for the high cost of fighting a war that would be paid in “blood and treasure” and would require pre-emptive as well as reactive action.

“Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century,” he said. “We must be ready to protect ourselves and, where necessary, act pre-emptively to neutralise the evident threat. Get ready for a long war.”

Senior intelligence officials have moved to shore up public support for the Abbott government’s tough new security laws, including enhanced data-retention capabilities enabling agencies to track suspect computer usage.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general David Irvine said the proposed data laws, which require phone and internet companies to retain records for two years, were “absolutely crucial” to counter the jihadist terror threat.

The government’s security package also includes a $630 million funding boost to intelligence agencies and police to help prevent domestic terrorist attacks.

Professor Leahy — a former lieutenant general who ran the army for six years, from 2002-2008 — said the threat of radical Islam would require action on several fronts, including a strengthening of controls against biological, chemical and nuclear attacks.

It would also include greater protection for critical infra­structure and iconic targets against attack.

The Western withdrawal from Afghanistan did not constitute the end of the so-called war on terror, “nor, as was claimed by prime minister Julia Gillard, in January 2013, a transition from the 9/11 decade”, he said.

Michael Krause, a former senior Australian Army officer res­ponsible for planning the coalition campaign in Afghanistan, said he agreed “absolutely” with Professor Leahy. “I have seen these people,” the retired major general said.

“I know how they think. I know how they fight. There is no compromise possible.

“These long wars require long commitment to outlast radical ideas and provide viable, meaningful alternatives which require a whole-of-government response, rather than assuming the military can or should do it all.’’

Professor Leahy said politicians needed to “develop an honest and frank dialogue” with the Australian public.

“They should advance a narrative that explains that radical Islam­ism and the terrorism it breeds at home and abroad will remain a significant threat for the long term, it will require considerable effort, the expenditure of blood and treasure and it will, of necessity, restrict our rights and liberties,” he said.

Professor Leahy is the director of Canberra University’s National Security Institute and part of the Abbott government’s team carrying out a comprehensive review of Defence.

He said radical Islamists intent on a new world order were already a threat to the survival of nations in the Middle East and Africa.

If the declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq survived, bases would be established there for attacks on the West and that would embolden “home grown” radicals to attempt attacks in Australia. Military action would be needed to eliminate the threat.

Radicals saw the West as “the far enemy” and they were undoubtedly planning more attacks in Australia. Senior intelligence believes the view that the threat posed by radical Islam would pass was “optimistic”.

Mr Irvine, who took the unusual step of speaking to the media yesterday, said the current terrorism threat level of “medium” meant that a terrorism “event” in Australia was likely.

“Where our volume of work has increased is that this event could occur in a dozen different places now, whereas before it was in a small, refined area,” he said.

Professor Leahy said that when Australia did choose to be involved its aims must be measured and realistic, with nations under the greatest threat from radical Islamists supported while care was taken not to inflame local tensions.

The solution had to come from within the Muslim world, which so far seemed disinclined or unable to imagine a path to peace.

Professor Leahy said the threat was likely to worsen as radicals returned from overseas and the internet dumped Islamist propaganda into Australian
living rooms.

Some efforts at deradicalisation had begun but a much greater effort must be made to engage Muslim clerics and Islamic thought leaders to debunk radical ideologies being offered to young Australians.

“Dual nationality must be reviewed and, where appropriate, terrorists and their sympathisers either expelled from Australia or denied re-entry,” he said.

Professor Leahy said Australia must support moderate nations with radical Islamist problems, such as Indonesia and The Philippines.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Picture of Michael Brown (on right), the black who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri

He certainly displays attitude in the pic. He appears to have attacked police and you can see that he is a big guy.  Police may have had no choice but to shoot him in self defense.  If there were shots in the back, however, the police story falls apart


Truth is First Casualty When Hamas Intimidates Media

In the ongoing Israeli/Hamas hostilities, a dark and unsavory feature of reportage has clearly emerged — journalists reporting the war from Gaza have often been in no position to tell the true or full story. The evidence that truth has been thus the first casualty is already abundant.

For example, Hamas maintains a major military headquarters in a basement beneath the Shifa hospital in Gaza City. Yet, during this conflict, we saw no footage of Hamas occupying the hospital.

We also saw hardly any footage of Hamas terrorists firing rockets or operating in residential areas of Gaza, though this is occurring literally every day. Not one of 37 images from three slideshows published by The New York Times during July showed even a single Hamas gunman.

Why? Intimidation of journalists. Consider the following cases:

French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga wrote that he was forcibly blocked from leaving Gaza, detained and then interrogated by members of Hamas at a room in Shifa hospital next to the emergency room. He wrote an account of his treatment in the French newspaper Liberation — before asking the paper to take it down.

Italian reporter Gabriele Barbati disclosed that Israeli was telling the truth and Hamas was lying when he confirmed that the deaths of 10 people at the Al-Shati refugee camp on July 28 was not the result of Israeli fire, as had been widely reported (and, in the case of NBC, never corrected), but of a misfired Hamas missile. But when did Barbati disclose this? — only when he was out of Gaza, beyond the reach of Hamas retaliation.

Israeli filmmaker Michael Grynszpan recounted on Facebook the reply of a Spanish journalist who had just left Gaza to his question regarding the absence of footage of Hamas in action: “It’s very simple. We did see Hamas people there, launching rockets. They were close to our hotel, but if ever we dared pointing our camera on them, they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”

After Australian Channel Nine News reporter Peter Stefanovic tweeted that he had seen rockets fired into Israel from near his hotel, a pro-Hamas tweeter issued a scarcely veiled threat: “in WWII, spies got shot.”

The conclusion is obvious: When journalists operate in a terror haven under the close scrutiny of pitiless murderers, we cannot simply rely on terrorist-compliant reports. All too often, the reports we have seen or heard of Israeli strikes on schools or of killing large numbers of Palestinian civilians have proved to have been fabricated by Hamas.

Thus, on Aug. 3, media reports claimed that Israel had targeted and hit a UN school in Rafah, resulting in 10 deaths. Israel was widely condemned. Yet, only a few publications, such as The Wall Street Journal disclosed that the Israelis had in fact targeted three Islamic Jihad terrorists on a motorbike outside the UN facility, which is where the missile struck, as the Israelis said all along.

In fact, of three UN schools that Israel was reported to have hit in the last two weeks — and for which it received strong international condemnation — the evidence now shows that the civilian deaths in one case was probably the result of a misfired Hamas rocket, a second was hit by Israel fire while Palestinian terrorists were firing from within it and a third was simply never struck directly by Israel at all.

The media also shows a propensity to accept Hamas casualty figures and report them as coming from something seemingly respectable, like “the Palestinian Ministry of Health” or the United Nations. The trouble is that the Palestinian Ministry of Health is part of Hamas, which is not only an internationally recognized terrorist organization but has a vested interest in inflating Palestinian casualty figures. It also turns out that the UN normally has made no precise estimates of its own. It generally repeats the figures Hamas gives it, which are then often reported as being “UN figures.”

One example of Hamas inflating figures: as of July 29, the Meir Amit Intelligence Center, staffed by seasoned former Israeli military and intelligence officers, estimated that Israel had killed 335 terrorist operatives, 347 civilians and 440 as yet unidentified Palestinians. In contrast, Hamas’ claim that 852 civilians had been killed was being regularly reported that day.

More than doubling the figures of Gazan civilian fatalities, has a clear political purpose: it enables Hamas to claim that something like 70 percent of Gazan casualties are civilians, thus helping to paint Israel as a reckless bully rather than the most careful army in the world.

The combination of fear, intimidation and willingness on the part of journalists and NGOs to retail Hamas propaganda distorts vital truths about this war. Israel has not developed incisive methods for dealing with this. As Winston Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”



Study: 'Cash for Clunkers' an even bigger lemon than thought

 The government’s "Cash for Clunkers" program – pitched as a plan to jump-start U.S. auto sales and clean up the environment by getting gas-guzzling vehicles off the road -- may have been a clunker itself, according to a new economic study.

Researchers at Texas A&M, in a recently released report, measured the impact of Cash for Clunkers on sales and found the program actually decreased industry revenue by $3 billion over a nine-to-11-month period. Meanwhile, the "stimulus" also cost taxpayers $3 billion.

The Car Allowance Rebate System, commonly called Cash for Clunkers, was part of a 2009 economic stimulus program that was sold as a lifeline from the federal government to a sinking U.S. auto industry.

The program let people turn in their old cars for up to $4,500 in cash to be used toward the purchase of a more fuel-efficient alternative. Nearly 700,000 vehicles were traded in through the program.

But the Texas A&M University study, for the National Bureau of Economic Research, shows the program may have actually created a drag on the economy. While the program’s fuel-efficiency restrictions led to the purchase of more fuel-efficient cars, Americans ended up buying cheaper cars than they otherwise would have, the study found.

"Strikingly, we find that Cash for Clunkers actually reduced overall spending on new vehicles," the researchers reported, noting households "tended to purchase less expensive and smaller vehicles such as the Toyota Corolla, which was the most popular new vehicle purchased under the program."

They found buyers who participated "spent an average of $4,600 less on a new vehicle than they otherwise would have."

During the two months of the program, the frequency of purchasing a new vehicle was around 50 percent higher for those who qualified for the program compared with those who did not. But after the program ended, the researchers found, car-buying habits returned to normal.

Congress originally appropriated $1 billion to the program but was forced to add another $2 billion when the program ran out of money a month after it started and two months sooner than the government expected.



More bureaucracy we don't need -- in Maine!

The Portland (Maine) Press Herald had a fun slice-of-life feature on their hands. They found a woman, Reilly Harvey, who takes a small boat out into the state's waters full of delicious homemade pies and entire lobster dinners to sell to boaters. Here's a quick, mouth-watering description:

The desserts were just the beginning. Harvey's boat, Mainstay, is rigged with a three-burner propane stove set in the stern, and three pots sat waiting for lobster, clams and butter, all of which Harvey had aboard. There were tubs of cauliflower-curry tofu salads with yogurt-lime-cilantro dressing and homemade biscuits that had come out of the oven less than an hour ago. Very deliberately, Harvey tries to make Mainstay look like a boat you'd see on a Venetian canal, loaded down with beautifully arranged wares. She'd succeeded. The vase full of flowers tipped the whole thing over the top. Her new customers couldn't stop gushing. "This is like a Fellini movie," said Peter Polshek, as the dog made a valiant attempt to board.

By now his wife, Nina Hofer, was perched on the gunwale of the Adeline, smiling like the Cheshire cat, her hands clapped together in glee. "Who are you and where are you coming from?" she asked Harvey.

I want one to show up here right now, even though I'm about eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, very, very far away from Harvey. She started her business in 2012, looking for a way to build a stable life for herself in the area. The Press Herald thoroughly profiles her background and tags along as she serves happy boaters thrilled at the opportunity to buy fresh food without having to leave the water.

The day after the story appeared in the newspaper it was over. The state shut her down. There are rules, man! Where are her sinks? She has to have running water! From the Press Herald's follow-up coverage:

"It makes me feel sick to my stomach and sad," said Reilly Harvey, who runs Mainstay Provisions out of an old boat she keeps on Andrews Island. Harvey said she was contacted by a state health inspector and told she must pass health inspection standards for mobile vendors – think food trucks – and get her vintage 22-foot wooden launch, the Mainstay, fitted with sinks and hot and cold running water if she is going to continue to serve hot food.

That licensing would happen through the Division of Environmental Health's inspection program. If she wants to continue to serve desserts, she must pass an additional inspection by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

There are only 3½ weeks left in her season. Unless she is able to comply with the regulations, it is unlikely she'll be able to operate Mainstay Provisions as usual in 2014.

The state requires her to add to her little boat a three-bay sink and a separate hand sink, and must have hot and cold running water and follow the same rules as food trucks. They also complained about her being barefoot in the boat. They've offered to "expedite" her application as soon as she gets one in, though it's unclear in the story how her small boat could meet these requirements. It sounds like she may be done, at least for this summer season.

UPDATE: Ira Stoll has alerted me that Harvey has been granted a reprieve, requiring her to have a wash basin, five gallons of water, a food thermometer and a bucket to drain hot water. The permission-based society is so kind!



The big lie of Gaza

As a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is hammered out, much talk is heard about aid packages for Gaza, as though none previously existed. The refrain is heard that Gazans are living in a teeming, open-air prison. Repeated endlessly by those under obligation to know the facts, the myth has it that Gaza is, according to:

Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent: “the most overpopulated few square miles in the whole world.”

Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency: “one of the most densely populated parts of this planet.”

Amjad Attlah and Daniel Levy of the New American Foundation: “the world’s most densely populated territory.”

James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute: “one of the most densely populated places on earth.”


Yes, Gaza is heavily populated. But its urban density is neither extreme nor the source of its woes.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Statistical Abstract, Gaza had in 2010 11,542 people per square mile. That is about as densely populated as Gibraltar (11,506).

Gaza is considerably less densely populated than Hong Kong (17,422) or Singapore (17,723). It is far less densely populated than Monaco (39,609). And Macau (52,163) is over four times more densely populated than Gaza.

No one has called Hong Kong, Singapore, Monaco or Macau teeming, open-air prisons –– with reason.

Hong Kong has the world’s third largest financial center. Singapore has the third highest per capita income in the world, the fourth biggest financial center and the fifth busiest port. Monaco has the world’s highest GDP per capita. Macau is one of the world’s richest cities –– testimony enough to what hard work, solid industries and responsible government can achieve in small, resource-poor territories.

The idea of Gaza being the most densely populated place in the world is a propaganda fabrication with a very clear underlying logic. Meshing that claim with scenes of poverty easily conjures up the idea that Palestinians lack land and resources.

Once you believe that, it is a small jump to the conclusion that Israel should be giving them both.

In fact, Gaza has been in Arab control since Israel evacuated it in 2005, withdrawing every living and dead Israeli from its soil. Israel left behind an expensive infrastructure of greenhouses and empty synagogues, all of which were swiftly destroyed in an orgy of hate. Hamas ejected Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah from Gaza in 2007 and has exponentially increased rocket assaults on Israel –– over 9,000 since that date.

Gaza could be home to a large, prosperous population, providing that it was industrious, prudentially managed, well-governed and –– above all –– peaceful. It could be the Singapore of the Middle East. But it isn’t –– it’s governed by Hamas, whose Charter calling for war with the Jews until their obliteration is well-known to those who elected it. (Unsurprisingly, Gazans are more supportive of Hamas and of anti-Israel terror attacks than West Bankers).

Gaza, along with the West Bank, has been the recipient of the highest levels of per capita aid in the world. Investment not siphoned off by Hamas has produced results: Gaza boasts shopping malls, five theme parks and 12 tourist resorts.

Compare that to dismally poor Niger, with high infant mortality, life expectancy of a mere 52 years and only one doctor for every 33,000 people. But as Niger is not dispatching terrorists to murder its neighbors, few know and fewer care –– and Niger gets little aid.

In the last two years, Hamas has spent an estimated $1.5 billion, not on schools, hospitals or businesses, but on an underground infrastructure of terror tunnels deep into Israel for the purpose of mounting Mumbai-like mass-casualty terror assaults. Hamas’s leaders see jihadist terror as a paramount objective, while death and destruction in Gaza is not their concern.

“Their time had come, and they were martyred,” spoke a Hamas TV host of the Gaza dead during the current fighting, “They have gained [Paradise] … Don’t be disturbed by these images … He who is Martyred doesn’t feel … His soul has ascended to Allah.” More succinctly, Hamas ‘prime minister’ Ismail Haniyeh has said, “We love death like our enemies love life! We love Martyrdom.”

The woes of Gaza are not the creation of population density, but of hate and jihad density. The answer lies not in more territory, resources or aid, but in its population and leadership prioritizing life and peace over death and war. As yet, there is no sign of this on the horizon. Irrespective of the eventual ceasefire, we can expect further wars in Gaza.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)