Friday, August 29, 2014

Your strategy was wrong, Mr. President

by Jeff Jacoby

In a TV interview this week, John McCain offered President Obama some sound, if difficult, advice.

"Mr. President," the Arizona senator said, "don't be ashamed of re-evaluating your view of the role of the United States in the world."

President Obama discussed the situation in Iraq at the White House on Aug. 9 before leaving for Martha's Vineyard.

No one likes to admit having been wrong on a fundamental issue. For an American president, few things can be more difficult. When you are invested with tremendous power and prestige because you persuaded tens of millions of citizens to raise you to the highest office in the land, acknowledging that you blundered doesn't come easy. All the more so when the blunder goes to the very core of your strategy for leadership.

Obama's foreign policy is in a shambles. Nearly six years into a presidency whose approach to the world has been grounded in American retrenchment, "leading from behind," deference to multinational organizations, and rejection of military solutions, the world has become a much more dangerous place. Exhibit A, of course, is Iraq, where Obama was not only adamant that all US troops must be withdrawn, but boasted — over and over and over — that he had kept his promise.

It is clear now that America's disengagement from Iraq, coupled with Obama's unwillingness to aid moderates in the Syrian civil war, created a vacuum that the vicious jihadists of ISIS readily filled. Their self-proclaimed caliphate now rules an estimated 35,000 square miles in Iraq and northern Syria. This month Obama reluctantly ordered targeted airstrikes near Irbil, and the Pentagon is considering potential bombing targets inside Syria. But the president still cannot bring himself to concede what more and more Americans grasp: The US retreat from global leadership was profoundly unwise.

Yet acknowledging error would be a mark of character. Other presidents have done it.

George W. Bush initially supported the view, advanced by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that the US troop presence in Iraq would inflame the violent post-Saddam insurgency, and that the only strategy to reduce the bloodshed was to shrink the American military footprint. But in 2006, Bush reversed course. "It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq," he told the nation in a televised address, announcing the deployment of 20,000 additional troops. The surge was deeply unpopular — Bush calls it "the toughest decision" of his presidency. But it defeated the insurgency and won the war.

When Yugoslavia erupted in the 1990s and Bosnians were being brutally attacked by the Serbs, Bill Clinton offered little more than lip service to the victims. Not only was he was unwilling to act directly to stop the Serbs' genocidal attacks, he wouldn't even end the arms embargo that was leaving Bosnians defenseless. An increase in military action, the administration said, would bring peace "not an inch closer."

But that attitude changed after the Serbian massacre of more than 7,000 Bosnian men and boys in the supposed "safe haven" of Srebrenica, and, later, a deadly attack on a marketplace in Sarajevo. After long resisting a military intervention, Clinton reversed course. The United States led a NATO bombing campaign that brought peace not just an inch closer, but ended the Bosnian War. Today, for all his flaws, Clinton is widely esteemed a hero to Bosnians.

Perhaps no modern president has been as forthright as Jimmy Carter in admitting that his approach to foreign policy was egregiously misguided.

Carter had come to office willing to believe the best of the Soviet Union and lecturing Americans on how they should get over their "inordinate fear of communism." The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 woke him up. Moscow's aggression "has made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets' ultimate goals are," Carter confessed, than anything he had previously observed. Soon after, he announced the Carter Doctrine, declaring that the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf. He also ordered a military buildup, setting the stage for Ronald Reagan's further increases.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had no faith in Gen. Ulysses Grant's strategy for capturing the stronghold of Vicksburg, Miss. When Vicksburg fell, Lincoln wrote Grant a letter owning up to his misjudgment: "I now wish to make a personal acknowledgment," it ended, "that you were right and I was wrong."

The 44th president, who cites the 16th as a role model, could do with some of that candor. Obama's foreign policy didn't lead where he expected it to, and there is no shame in admitting it.



Sanctions Rebound To Hit Europeans

The article below is obviously isolationist -- but that was the stance of most Americans for a very long time (including founding fathers such as George Washington) and probably still is

The Financial Times commented on August 10 that in reaction to the chaos in Ukraine, “Western policy has become a mere knee-jerk escalation of sanctions”, and for once the FT has got it right about foreign affairs. The US and its disciples in Europe and Australia have imposed sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in Ukraine, which has got nothing whatever to do with the US or anyone else. And Russia, understandably, is answering back.

In spite of there being no proof whatever produced by the West’s intercept spooks and other sleuths there is no doubt that Russia has been involved in Ukraine, finding out about and even trying to influence its policies – just as the US is spying on and trying to influence domestic policies in almost every country on this blighted globe and has recently given Ukraine its special attention.

The difference between the activities of the US and Russia is that Ukraine is right next door to Russia, and many of its eastern-located citizens are of Russian origin and speak Russian and think Russian and feel that their cultural roots are Russian and want to belong to Russia, just as their entire country did until 23 years ago.

On the other hand, Washington considers it has the God-given right to listen to everyone’s private deliberations and tell every nation in the world how to run its affairs and if necessary to enforce this by military intervention. The fact that such military fiddling proved utterly catastrophic in Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya is neither here nor there. The next frontier is Ukraine.

And poor decrepit leaderless old Britain, socially confused and morally collapsing, tries to combat what it sees as world chaos by following the example of its erratic mentor in applying sanctions on Russia, a country whose amity it would be well-advised to seek.

There is no border between the US or the UK and Ukraine. There is no military treaty binding them together. Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It doesn’t belong to the European Union. It has no cultural connection with that Union, and its trade with the entire EU is tiny. It is, however, dependent on Russia for a great deal. And so is the EU, which has no intention whatever of letting Ukraine join it.

Russo-Ukrainian relations are a bilateral matter between Russia and Ukraine. But ever eager to indulge in provocative nose-poking, the US and Britain headed the Charge of the Spite Brigade and decided that an attractive means of trying to foul up the lives of large numbers of perfectly innocent people was imposition of sanctions, proven in history to be totally ineffective in making governments bow to the commands of the sanctioneers.

The West’s malevolent sanctions on Russia were not imposed because Russia had in any way affected the well-being, economic circumstances, territorial integrity or social structure of the United States or of any nation that jumped on the US sanctions’ bandwagon. There was no question of enforcing sanctions because Russia’s actions anywhere in the world had impacted adversely on one single citizen of any Western nation. But they were imposed, anyway, just to try to make things difficult for Moscow and to try to ratchet up tension between Russia and the West.

The sanctions have been an irritant to Moscow, but sanctions are usually more than that, and in the past have proved useless in persuading governments to act contrary to what they perceive as national interests – but they’ve been effective in destroying the lives of ordinary people who have done no harm to anyone.

The US and Britain, for example, imposed sanctions on Iraq for a decade before they invaded it in their lunatic foray which led to the current catastrophe in the region. Their vindictive restrictions inflicted hideous misery on ordinary citizens. But there were some principled people who protested about the appalling human crisis inflicted on Iraq by the US and its misguided ally.

Dennis Halliday, head of the United Nations’ humanitarian program in Iraq, resigned in protest against the criminal carnival, as did his successor, Hans von Sponeck. They made it clear that “the death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments’ delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad.”

Halliday and von Sponeck were honorable men, but of course they were reviled by those who knew perfectly well what effect sanctions were having – because the sanctions had been planned that way. The British and American governments were told plainly that their prohibition on movement of lifesaving material was killing children. And the only action they took was to enforce sanctions even more energetically.

But we know that children don’t matter to war planners and their supporters. After all, when Madeleine Albright, the then US ambassador to the UN, was asked on television whether she considered the deaths of half a million Iraqi children a reasonable result of US sanctions, she replied with the pitiless, utterly heartless statement that “this is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it”.

If any people in official positions in America or Britain disagreed with her judgment that the deaths of half a million children were justified and acceptable, they kept very quiet about it. And such policy continues.

But there’s one enormous problem for the countries of the European Union in joining the US in imposing sanctions on Russia: rebounding retaliation by Moscow.

This is already affecting European economies, and especially the incomes of small producers of foodstuffs, the ordinary folk who always suffer in one way or another from the effects of lordly sanctions, none of which will inconvenience for one instant the high mucky-mucks of the US and other countries who decided to go down the sanctions route. They’ll be perfectly comfortable, and not one of them will suffer in the slightest from Russia’s riposte. But for their citizens it will be quite another matter, because many of them they will experience grave financial loss and considerable distress.

Russia decided to hit back against US and EU sanctions by barring some US and EU imports. And why shouldn’t it, after such gross provocation? But there’s a definite downside for innocent people. For example, Russia is the biggest market for French apples and pears, of which 1.5 million tonnes were expected to be exported this year. Now, thanks to Russia’s reply to the US/UK-sponsored embargo there are hundreds of small farmers in France who are going to have a miserable Christmas. The Scottish and Norwegian fishing industries are suffering appallingly because their exports to Russia were enormous. Now – nothing.

And there is now a curious lack of reporting about all this in the Western media. It’s a major story, but after the first couple of days of media interest in it suddenly became back page stuff in the print media, and blank-out on radio and television.

They’re not interested in Polish, Spanish, Dutch and Greek fruit-growers going bankrupt. Poland, for example, exports over a billion dollars-worth of food to Russia every year, and is suffering accordingly, and a Greek spokesman said that “Russia absorbed more than 60% of our peach exports and almost 90% of our strawberries,” as over 3,500 tonnes of peaches lay rotting in stores and trucks. Ten per cent of the EU’s annual agricultural exports went to Russia. Now – thanks to Moscow’s riposte to US-led imposition of sanctions, there won’t be any.

You might say that this is Russia’s fault. But why should Russia sit meekly and take punishment by the US and the EU that has been imposed by reason of spite?

The European agriculture commissioner, Romanian Dacian Ciolos – yearly salary 250,000 euros (US$333,000), untaxed and not including expenses – declared that Europe’s farmers will “reorient rapidly toward new markets and opportunities”. But just how this miracle is going to take place is not explained.

Mr. Ciolos, like President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron and all the other rich, scheming fatheads who began and are prolonging this vicious economic war, will not himself be affected in the tiniest way by any of their nonsense. It’s only the little people who suffer.

One particularly out-of-touch British politician, the Secretary of State for the Environment, said that Russia’s action “is totally unjustified and I share the concerns of Scotland’s fishing industry about the possible impact on their business”. She declared, presumably seriously, that the UK would “call on the European Commission to consider the merits of any potential World Trade Organization case to ensure the rules of international trade are upheld”, which ignores the fact that it was the European Commission that followed Washington in ensuring that the principles of international trade were shattered by their sanctions on Russia.

The US/EU sanctions of the new Cold War have dropped from pages and screens. But this doesn’t mean that the problem has gone away. Russia’s position is that “We have repeatedly said that Russia is not an advocate of the sanctions rhetoric and did not initiate it. But in the event that our partners [sic] continue their unconstructive and even destructive practices, additional measures are being worked out” in order to make it clear that imposition of sanctions on Russia by the West will continue to be entirely counterproductive.

No doubt the complacent position of Washington, London and Brussels will be that “We think the price is worth it.”



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 28, 2014

Hollywood heavyweights come out in support of Israel

Is there hope for Hollywood yet?

Scores of celebrities and power-brokers from the Hollywood establishment have come out in support of Israel and a peaceful resolution to its conflict with Hamas, with stars as diverse as Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen and Arnold Schwarzenegger signing a joint statement released Saturday.

The statement of support was initially to be published in magazines Billboard, Variety and Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, and later be featured in influential newspapers in the US.

The statement comes after weeks in which a number of celebrities, including Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, have condemned Israel for its handing of conflict, with Cruz and Bardem even accusing Israel of genocide. But with the notable exceptions of comedian Joan Rivers and actors Roseanne Barr and Mayim Bialik, few have expressed support for Israel.

While many of those are famous names to the general public, such as Schwarzenegger and Rogen, as well as Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer and Joel and Benji Madden, more than a few are entertainment industry heavy-hitters, including director Ivan Reitman, writer Aaron Sorkin, producers Michael Rotenberg and Avi Lerner, chairman and CEO of PMK•BNC Michael Nyman, talent manager Danny Sussman and mogul Haim Saban. Barr and Bialik, who have been outspoken in their support for Israel, are also signatories.
The statement decries Hamas attacks on Israel and its operation within civilian population centers, and condemns the organization for its charter that calls for the killing of Jews.



Eric Holder, Racial Profiler

Why has a federal civil-rights murder investigation arisen out of the tumult in a St. Louis exurb? There is only one plausible reason: Eric Holder is guilty of racial profiling.

To be clear, we are not talking here about whether there was justification for the shooting of a young black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, by a young white police officer, 28-year-old Darren Wilson. Was the shooting a legitimate exercise in self-defense by an officer under attack? Was it an overreaction for which Officer Wilson should suffer serious civil and criminal consequences? Such questions can only be answered by a thorough and fair investigation, the kind of due process owed to both the victim and the subject of the investigation - the kind that, as National Review's editors point out, will be tough to mete out with political thumbs pressing on the scales.

Whatever the outcome, though, murder - including homicide caused by a policeman's application of excessive force - is generally not a federal crime. It is a concern of state law. Only a few categories of murder are within the jurisdiction of federal investigators. In the main, they are far afield from Ferguson: the assassination of a U.S. government official, for instance, or a killing incidental to offenses that have interstate or international repercussions - racketeering, drug-trafficking, and terrorism.

Federal civil-rights laws may be invoked, but only in exceedingly rare circumstances: murders carried out because of the victim's race, ethnicity or religion (see Section 249 of the federal penal code); or murders carried out by police (or other persons acting "under color of law") with the specific intent to deprive a person of some federal right or privilege - usually, but not necessarily, motivated by some animus toward race or analogous personal characteristics (see Section 242).

To constitute a civil-rights crime, it is not nearly enough for a violent act to have the "racial overtones" assorted agitators and commentators choosing to frame the case in racial terms contend it does. To justify a federal investigation, the Justice Department must have a rational basis to believe it could prove these invidious and evil purposes beyond a reasonable doubt. That requires compelling evidence, not a farfetched social-justice narrative.

Remember the similarly tragic Trayvon Martin shooting, when Mr. Holder colluded with the notorious Al Sharpton in raising the specter of a federal civil-rights prosecution, pressuring state officials in Florida to file a specious murder indictment. After a jury swiftly acquitted George Zimmerman, Holder was forced to retreat. As he had to have known all along, the evidence of intent to deprive Mr. Martin of his civil rights was non-existent - even weaker than the state's flimsy murder case.

Well, here he goes again.

Based on what is known about the unblemished six-year record of Officer Darren Wilson and the facts surrounding his shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, there is no reason to suspect racism, much less that any thought was given to Mr. Brown's federal rights during the sudden, violent exchange. There is no way this is a civil-rights case . . . unless you are a backward-thinking dolt who spots racism based on nothing more than the fact that the police officer is white and the victim is black.

It is a violation of federal law to subject a person to criminal investigation solely on the basis of his race. To prevent such government abuse, to root out institutional racism, is the objective of the civil-rights laws, which hold that a person may not be deprived of his rights and privileges - including due process and equal protection under the law - based on his race.

If the Justice Department would not open a civil-rights investigation based on a black police officer's shooting of a civilian, whatever the victim's race, then a white officer is just as entitled to that presumption of innocence. It is no more legitimate for the Justice Department to target a white cop for being white than for a white cop to target a black man for being black. Both would be examples of what the civil-rights laws call "deprivation of rights under color of law."

The U.S. Attorney's Manual, which guides Justice Department prosecutors, is clear on this point (USAM, Sec. 9-27.260):

    In determining whether to commence or recommend prosecution or take other action against a person, the attorney for the government should not be influenced by. . . . the person's race, religion, sex, national origin, or political association, activities or beliefs.

The manual elaborates that prosecutors must, of course, take note of personal characteristics when they are pertinent to the offense. Investigations of immigration violations, for example, necessarily involve a person's national origin. And the fact that a victim and offender are of different races can be considered in building the case for a civil-rights investigation. But this simply means the government need not drop a case that is based on solid evidence of racial animus just because racial difference is part of its proof. It does not mean the mere racial difference can ever substitute for solid evidence of racial animus.

Simply stated, it is impermissible for federal investigations to be commenced in the absence of colorable suspicion based on solid evidence. Yet, despite the absence of any suggestion that Darren Wilson is a racist, we know he has been made the subject of a civil-rights investigation. Obama-administration officials may not yet suspect that Nidal Hasan's 2009 jihadist mass murder of 13 American soldiers was a terrorist attack, or that the Muslim Brotherhood is anything but a "largely secular" organization. They may have given the benefit of the doubt to Assad (the "reformer"), Iran (our good faith negotiating partner), Al Sharpton (Holder's civil-rights adviser), and the IRS (not a "smidgeon" of corruption). But not to Darren Wilson. No sooner had the looting followed the shooting than Holder ceremoniously announced a Justice Department civil-rights murder probe.

Based solely on Wilson's race.

It is ironic at first blush. Holder, after all, is the self-proclaimed scourge of racial profiling. Over the years, he has been a prominent Lawyer Left voice for the idea that institutional racism explains the lopsided representation of black men in the population of American convicts (with strangely less concern for the lopsided representation of black communities among crime victims). The CAIR-driven Muslim grievance sector also has the attorney general's ear: It has become verboten to make the commonsense observation that Islamic doctrine just might have something to do with terrorism plotted against the United States throughout the past quarter-century by Muslims - that all those "smite their necks" verses just might shed some light on the decapitation of American journalists.

So how could Holder be what he purports to abhor, a racial profiler? It is because his selectively zealous anti-racism is the necessary flipside of his race obsession.

This obsession holds that racism is America's original, indelible sin. Crusading for "racial justice" - understood as desired outcome, not due process - becomes the highest cause. And the crusade can never end, no matter how objectively just society has become, because that would put the crusaders out of business . . . and out of power.



IRS Lied, Currently Hiding Lois Lerner’s Emails!

By now, we all know the story of how the IRS illegally targeted Conservative non-profit groups.

Lois Lerner, the IRS bureaucrat at the heart of the scandal, is on record deliberately targeting these groups. The emails that are available prove that she was collaborating with the FEC and DOJ to go after the President’s opponents.

The vast majority of the evidence proving Lois Lerner’s guilt, however, was destroyed in an alleged “computer crash.”

Well, that was the story that the IRS originally told. Then, they changed their tune and said that the hard-drive was crashed and the data was unrecoverable. Then that turned out to be a lie as IRS technicians testified that they could have recovered the emails, but the IRS chose to incinerate the hard-drive instead. Technicians recounted that the hard-drive has deep gashes in concentric circles, something that was likely handmade and definitely recoverable.

But despite all the evidence, the IRS has always asserted that the emails and data on the hard-drives were lost forever. They claimed that there was absolutely nothing they could do to recover the evidence that Lois Lerner broke the law.

In new bombshell testimony, the IRS’ story has now been debunked and proven to be a COMPLETE LIE!  A Department of Justice attorney told Judicial Watch, a watchdog organization, late last week that Lois Lerner’s emails still exist.

Every keystroke on every government computer is recorded. This is done in case of some catastrophic catastrophe so that government can survive, even when the physical computer systems are destroyed.

This central backup system, which is highly confidential, apparently records EVERYTHING. The only problem is that the data isn’t categorized. It is just archived by its date stamp. This means that there is no easy way to go through the backups and find a specific document.

So when the IRS said that it couldn’t recover Lois Lerner’s emails, that was a complete lie. The IRS has the power to recover everything Lois Lerner ever wrote on her computer… but the tax agency believes it will take too long so it isn’t going to even bother!

That’s right… the IRS has the power and ability to recover all of Lois Lerner’s emails and documents, but has lied in testimony before Congress and a Federal Judge, claiming that recovery was physically impossible.

This is an agency that is supposed to be neutral. Instead, we have entire departments within the IRS that made it their goal to disqualify as many Conservative, opposition non-profit groups as possible. They did this during an election year, which meant that these groups weren’t able to participate fully in the 2012 election!

And now, after more than a year of the IRS stonewalling Congress and claiming the emails were unrecoverable, everything that the Obama administration has told Congress had been proven to be a lie!

The IRS didn’t just lie once… they have lied CONTINUOUSLY to the American people.  If the emails are accessible, the only reason to lie to Congress is if the IRS has something to hide.




Comment from Australia

Why would the US threaten to place even more sanctions on Russia simply because it attempted to supply humanitarian aid to Russian speaking Ukrainians who are being systematically ethnically cleansed by Ukraine’s war criminal, Petro Poroshenko?

Why would Obama give comfort to Poroshenko and further alienate Vladimir Putin when he has never needed Putin more than he needs him now?

Blame for the rampaging Islamic State and its atrocities rests entirely with Obama. He armed them via the CIA in the hope they would overthrow Syria’s Bashar Assad. They failed. The US has interfered similarly in Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Each is an unholy mess as a result of that interference.

Now Obama is courting the assistance of Assad, the very same bloke he has been trying to kill, to help overthrow the Islamic State. And guess who has been militarily assisting Assad toward the same goal? Yep, Vladimir Putin!

Bloody hell, is this some sort of madness? China, which has a sensible hands-off policy in the Middle East and deals ruthlessly with Islamic terrorists, can’t believe its luck! The US is self-imploding and taking the Middle East and Europe with it.

Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan along with north Africa’s Egypt, Libya and half of central Africa is on fire, ignited by an Arab spring the US promoted. Gaza and the West Bank have erupted because of Obama's unwillingness to support Israel, and now the US wants out? Too late, the Islamic hornet’s nest has been poked.

The Islamic State must be destroyed and quickly but now Obama needs Assad’s and Putin’s assistance. Yet Obama is busily isolating Russia with the assistance of Ukraine, NATO and a bankrupt Europe!

Can Putin really be expected to go sulk silently in a corner somewhere? Has there ever been better ingredients for a World war?
Obama has lit the Islamic fuse yet he still refuses to use the words “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

Islam has infiltrated and infested the West to the extent that liberal/left governments are electorally unable to combat it

ASIO’s chief, David Irvine is on the guest speaker circuit for Christ’s sake, he is speaking at the National Press Club this week! The ASIO chief should be neither seen nor heard, he heads Australia’s primary security agency.

A Rudd [Leftist] appointment, Irvine claims publically that there is, "no link between terrorism and Islam". WTF?



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 27, 2014

Immigration shaping up as leading election issue

PA: For Republican Rep. Scott Perry, the influx of Central American children who have crossed illegally into the United States has propelled immigration to a top concern for voters in his heavily rural district far from the Texas border, eclipsing the new health care law and the federal deficit.

“I think people are very upset, and people have really been awakened to the immigration issue where they haven’t been before,” the first-term congressman from southeast Pennsylvania said in an interview at a bus leasing company, where he recently met with a group of small-business owners. “Right now at this current time, I would say immigration is the No. 1 issue on people’s minds.”

It’s the same story around the country this summer as polls show the crisis of unaccompanied children at the border has made immigration a pivotal issue with November elections approaching.
Republican Senate candidates in three contested races have focused ads on the issue, and it has the potential to affect campaigns in unpredictable ways that hold risks for members of both parties and for President Barack Obama.

For now, Republicans like Perry are able to boast that the House took action to address the border crisis before leaving Washington for its August recess, even though the Senate and Obama did not.
Republicans “demanded that we stay and pass a bill so we could show the American people ‘This is what we stand for,”’ Perry told the business owners, referring to the House GOP’s legislation to spend $694 million on the border and make controversial policy changes to return the migrants home more quickly, as well as end an Obama program that granted work permits to more than a half-million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as kids.

How the issue plays out over the fall depends both on what happens in South Texas, where border arrivals have declined in the summer heat, but could rise again, and in Washington, where Obama is weighing extending deportation protections and work permits to millions more people already living in the U.S. illegally.

Such a move could upend the politics around immigration yet again, thrilling Latino voters who will be crucial for the 2016 presidential election. But it could also rile up Republican base voters, who are more likely to turn out this November and could make the difference in a handful of GOP-leaning states where vulnerable Democratic incumbents are trying to hold on.

Perry and other Republicans warn the president would pay a steep price politically for taking such a step.  “I think there will be a backlash, not necessarily that people will automatically come to vote for Republicans, but like in so many elections they might just stay home because they’re disgusted,” Perry said.

Indeed, Senate Democrats seeking re-election in red states, including Arkansas’ Mark Pryor and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, have cautioned Obama against proceeding unilaterally.

But there’s also a risk for Republican lawmakers such as Perry and Rep. Joe Pitts, whose district borders Perry’s and includes Lancaster. They already are hearing from angry constituents who want Obama impeached, and executive action by the president would likely only increase such demands. That’s an unwelcome prospect for most Republican officeholders who see impeachment as a political loser, since it would be certain to energize Democratic voters and likely turn off many mainstream Republicans.

“It’s just absolutely ridiculous. We’re not going to do that,” Pitts said in an interview in Quarryville, 40 miles east of York through rolling green hills, after a local dairy farmer declared that any president should be “automatically impeached” for taking as many executive actions as Obama has.

The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said Republicans could end up in trouble if Obama’s moves on immigration increase calls for impeachment.

“The problem that Republicans have right now is that they have engineered a strategy to turn out their base voters in a midterm election and that may backfire against them as their base voters demand that House Republicans keep going farther and farther to the right,” Israel said in an interview.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who leads the National Republican Congressional Committee, countered in a statement that voters want someone who will secure the border, and “Republicans have a very clear and consistent message about the need to provide an appropriate check and balance on this administration.”

Still, the border crisis has already scrambled the politics of immigration.

Establishment Republicans have feared that given the growing number of Latino voters, they would pay a political price over their inaction on comprehensive immigration legislation, which died this year in the House.

That may prove true in the presidential election in 2016, but so far this year Democrats have sometimes been on the defensive, as polls show the southern border crisis has caused support for comprehensive reform to dip while voters embrace calls for border security.

“Want to know why there’s lawlessness on our border? Ask Sen. Shaheen,” Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown asks in one ad against incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. “She voted against border security twice, and for amnesty. It’s time for us to secure the border and enforce the law.”



The dependency state grows to 175 million

Don’t think the government is ubiquitous? Consider the following data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2012, 109.6 million Americans were on some form of means-tested welfare, including Medicaid, food stamps and public housing. Another 43.7 million were on Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and other government programs.

Add to that another 21.9 million government employees working at the federal, state, and local level according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, and you wind up with a grand total of 175.2 million people dependent on the government one way or another — more than 56 percent of the population.

That’s a clear majority.

But what about the voting age population?

There’s about 50 million children on Medicaid, food stamps and other welfare programs.

Meaning, when they’re subtracted out of the total, there’s still about 125.2 million adults that are government-dependent in some way, shape, or form.

That’s still about 53 percent of the 235.6 million voting age population who at least nominally have a majoritarian interest in the continued expansion of government.

Many commentators comfort themselves and their readers by not including government workers or seniors in these government dependency indexes, but that is as every bit misleading as excluding others who financially benefit from the government treasury.

For example, the Census figures do not include the many millions more who qualify for things like student financial aid, student loans, home loans financed by Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, a multitude of tax credits, or the employees of subsidized industries and of private contractors that work for the government.

This seemingly benign intrusion into almost every aspect of our lives has one assured impact: it creates a perpetual incentive for more and more government.

The point is not to belittle or besmirch those who are on the take, nor to overlook those who paid taxes into these vast programs. The fact is, it is virtually impossible to get through modern life without taking advantage of them.

All you have to do is live to the age of 65, and you are guaranteed enrollment in the dependency state. That is, whether you wanted to pay the payroll taxes or not. Whether you thought you would have invested that money better yourself or not. Whether you like it or not.

For, there is no choice in the matter.

In the Federalist No. 10, James Madison warned that in democracies, “governments are too unstable, [and] the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

Madison and the Framers thought that through the scheme of elected representatives, state legislatures appointing senators, plus having a large, geographically wide republic and constitutional limits on the powers of government, a tyranny of the majority would not appear.

But did it work?

The American experiment with constitutionalism was supposed to have cured what Madison called the “mischiefs of faction.” Yet, as the limits on government have been peeled away by successive administrations and Congresses over decades, and tens of millions have become enrolled in the dependency state, sadly, it would appear it was as effective as every failed experiment that came before it.



Eric Holder’s great bank robbery

And the need for lobbyists

Extortion is an ugly word.  It is even uglier when it is the U.S. government holding the gun, even when the victims are some of the least sympathetic one’s found in history — big banks.

The Obama Administration’s Justice Department announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over allegations that they sold bad loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is the ultimate gun to the head deal.

While it is hard to shed tears for B of A, the hard truth is that the company’s leadership was at best encouraged and at worst coerced to take on the failed Countrywide Loan and Merrill Lynch portfolios as part of the government’s response to the credit crash in 2008.  The thanks the company has received is non-stop federal government led and encouraged litigation for the actions of the two companies that the Feds begged them to buy to keep the mortgage crisis from getting even worse.

Let me be clear, personally, I have no love for the banksters who preyed on seniors and others with false loan promises that led to many of the bankruptcies that plagued our nation.  A quick Google check might even reveal a personal story written a few years back that chronicled my personal fight with one such bank named after a combination of President Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary and the island where the Empire State Building can be found.

However, the extortion of more than $16 billion from Bank of America, because the company made the mistake of doing the nation’s political and economic leaders a favor that was needed to save the nation’s financial system is beyond the pale.

To paraphrase a friend, “this is why big businesses shrug when the IRS targeting of tea party members became public, they have been in this type of targeted crosshairs for years and nobody cared.”

While it is fashionable and even right to denounce the corporate cronyism that seems to pervade D.C., it must be remembered that most corporations pay lobbyists as a defensive move.  They don’t expect much of a return on investment, they only hope to stop the government from imposing regulations, taxes or spending that keep them from doing their real jobs.

This process has subsequently evolved whereby some corporations use their acquired clout to encourage regulations that give their company a competitive advantage, or significantly harm the bottom line of competitors.

It is just one reason why the GM bailout and federal government involvement in its management was so troubling.  At the same time the federal government was attempting to help right the GM ship, Toyota was accused of a sudden acceleration problem, which they eventually paid a fine to make it go away.  Toyota’s federal government problem, directly helped GM’s bottom line as the automaker increased market share at the Japanese company’s expense, a clear conflict of interest for the federal government regulators that created lingering doubts about the veracity of the claim.

Similarly, natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy not only pushed EPA regulations to force public utilities to convert from burning coal to their product, they also gave the Sierra Club $27 million to fund their “Beyond Coal” campaign that promoted the company’s interest.

Chesapeake Energy’s actions are a prime example of a company using government as a weapon against their competitors, and is an indictment of the amount of power to regulate and destroy entire industries.  At the same time, with the government having this much power, it  is easy to understand why companies throw millions of dollars into public affairs to defend and promote their own interests.  Failure to do so, only puts that company at risk from a rapacious competitor, like Chesapeake Energy, that doesn’t have any scruples in its attempt to earn market share through any means possible.

Even an obscure agency like the National Labor Relations Board can destroy entire business models through a single decision, as they are attempting to do through a recent decision that allowed McDonald’s corporation to be held liable for the actions of their independent franchisees.  This single decision threatens to end the franchise business model that has been at the center of the explosion of small business ownership.

When you combine this wayward NLRB decision with attempts by the First Lady to force America’s children to eat brussel sprouts at lunch, and Big Labor’s effort to force mandatory wage increases, does anyone still wonder why the restaurant industry not only has a vibrant association representing them, but also individual companies hire bevies of lobbyists?  Failure to do so would be a dereliction of their duty to shareholders.

It is that simple, much-maligned lobbyists exist because corporations need them as protectors against the exact kind of extortion that Bank of America faced, or the regulatory death sentence the EPA is creating for the coal industry.

And the ultimate irony of the Bank of America case is that the bank has been fined not only for taking on companies that the Feds urged them to, they have been fined for writing the exact kind of high risk loans that the federal government required them to write under the Community Redevelopment Act.  A deal that the banks accepted over strong protests in exchange for being able to merge financial services, banking and insurance services.

So don’t expect a lot of teary eyed sympathy from the denizens of K Street, as the federal government turns its sights on political activists.  After all, their clients have been in survival mode for years.



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 26, 2014

Libertarians, Ferguson, and "Racism"

“Paleo-libertarian” and long-standing World Net Daily writer, Ilana Mercer, takes to task Paul Craig Roberts, who recently suggested that “racism” may very well play a role in accounting for why so many whites are inclined to think that the shooting was justified. In her own inimitable way, Mercer puts this line out to pasture by noting it for the “nonsense” and “bullshit” that it is.

There could be any number of reasons for why white Americans are disposed to sympathize with the decorated police officer for whose death the rioters are now calling, Mercer notes. Among such reasons, she remarks, is that these “ordinary Americans who Paul Craig Roberts maligns as likely racists…have simply experienced ‘black crime’ first hand, or are fearful of experiencing ‘black-on-white’ violence in all its ferocity [.]”

Some remarks are in order here.

First, anyone who is interested in thinking clearly and honestly must realize that “racism” is the rhetorical ware of bumper stickers and t-shirts: Because it means—and is intended to mean—all things to all people, it has become meaningless. All that we do know is that “racism” is a dreadful, probably the most dreadfulthing, of which a white person can be accused.

To be called a “racist,” then, is like being called a “creep” or a “jerk,” only much, much worse.

Of course, no one knows why it’s supposed to be so terrible to be a “racist.” In and of itself, a “racist” could signify someone who has a special place in his heart, a certain partiality, toward the members of his own race. Yet such affection for the members of one’s race no more betrays a weakness in one’s character than does a fondness for one’s family or one’s nation.

May not “racism” be the moral equivalent to “family-ism” or “patriotism?”

However we choose to slice and dice this matter, the point is that “racism” is a vapid term that any thoughtful person should’ve abandoned long ago.

But there is another reason why this silly word should never spring from the lips of any self-professed lover of liberty: the word isn’t just silly, it is dangerous.

In fact, “racism” has proven to be more inimical to liberty in our time than has any other.

It is under the pretext of combating “racism,” after all, that freedom of association, private property rights, “’states’ rights”—comprehensively, the principle of “equality under the law”—have been decisively routed. Our national government has all but revoked the federal government ratified by our Founders. To no slight measure, this has occurred in the name of securing “racial equality” (while generating more inequality than ever).

In fueling the notion that, to this day, white America remains consumed by “racism,” self-avowed “libertarians,” whether they realize it or not, hasten liberty’s extinction by exacerbating the steady impulse toward ever greater concentrations of power.

The verdict is unambiguous: Incessant chirping over “racism” is inimical to both good sense and freedom alike.



E Pluribus Discidium-Identity Politics Unleashed

 I'm saddened by how far we've strayed from the values that have made America what it is. One such core American value is E Pluribus Unum—out of many one. From our beginning, out of the mix of races and cultures our melting pot has worked to forge one people. We've called ourselves Americans. We may celebrate our unique nationalities, but we're still Americans first.

Lincoln would say, “I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know whathis grandson will be." America has not and never will perfectly live up to this or any value. It took a civil war, hard-fought civil rights legislation, and tumultuous demonstrations to even begin to rid America of the curse of slavery.

But I fear that in America, E Pluribus Unum has given way to E Pluribus Discidium. Discidium is a Latin word meaning division, disagreement, or a tearing apart. The more politicians have used identity politics, the more Americans have emphasized our differences and our "unique" rights. We've put cultural diversity and minority rights on politically correct pedestals. When you add race-baiting leaders and a conflict-loving media, America is now more divided than ever.

Years ago, in the midst of racial tension over the OJ Simpson trial verdict, I shared a five-hour, cross-country flight with Brother Clarence, a 97-year-old black man whose loving presence was both disarming and inspiring.

Brother Clarence was the son of a slave, the last son from his father’s last wife. His father had been freed in Alabama as a child. Asked about his experiences as a young slave, his father refused to talk about it, saying: “Don’t worry about what happened. Be proud that you're free. I never met a man who with a smile on my face and an outstretched hand would not treat me with respect. If they don't, they're not worth knowing anyway.” Brother Clarence confessed that he worried about his great-great-grandchildren, “They’re angry. They don’t want to listen to my advice about smiling or shaking hands.”

Welcome to Ferguson, Missouri. With black teens in the area facing 50% unemployment, they need jobs, not more demonstrations. Unfortunately, throwing stones at the police, cursing at potential employers, and destroying small businesses does not make a compelling impression for the jobs they so desperately want.

With calmer nights beginning to return, there is once again business activity in Ferguson. But one of the business signs speaks to the problem we face. The hand-written sign on the plywood replacing the window read, "OPEN BLACK OWNER." Is that the America we want where only white-owned stores should be attacked?

No matter what happened in that tragic confrontation, there is no justification for looting and violence. Blacks can point to white-on-black attacks. Whites can list black-on-white attacks. For law-abiding Americans of any race, such crimes deserve fair trials and true justice.

Victor Frankl, the holocaust survivor, said it best, “There are only two races, the decent and the indecent.” As an American, we're challenged to care less about the color of a man's skin, and more about a man's behavior. In America, there should be no special laws to protect one race; all should be held to the same standard. Do the crime; serve the time. We aspire to equal justice for all--Whether for a black teenager or a white police officer.

There are some people we no longer even see the color of their skin. They're our co-workers, fellow students, fellow parishioners, beloved entertainers or sports figures, close friends or even spouses. Race means little when we get to know people.

Instead of marching against the police, the regular folks of all races in Ferguson should stand with the police to take back their community from the interloping hoodlums who are doing what they can to destroy their city. It’s time for some disarming smiles and outstretched hands on both sides of our racial divide. Let's return to being Americans first. Let's give time for justice to prevail.



Convicted Drunk Driver Indicts Perry

The country is reeling - especially within the political realm - over the gross abuse of power demonstrated in the indictment of popular Texas Governor Rick Perry. The whole scenario is so bizarre it is almost laughable. There is plenty of corruption in government, but usually it is the garden variety kind, like theft, lying, nepotism, etc., which is corrected with prosecution. This rises to a more disturbing level, because it is the prosecutor who is corrupt. How do you fix that?

Rooting out corrupt Democrat lawyers is more difficult than prosecuting regular Americans, due to the incestuous relationship between state bar associations and judges. They look out for their own and protect them, while targeting conservative attorneys. No judge or prosecutor in Texas will want to prosecute Travis District County Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, because of the risk of retaliation by her as a powerful public prosecutor. In her position, she has connections and influence with the Texas Bar and the Bar’s attorney discipline judge.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted in the same Texas county in 2005 for allegedly conspiring to break election laws. He was convicted in 2011, and only after appealing was he eventually acquitted in 2013, eight long years later. He warned Perry last week about the biased legal system, “You better take this seriously,” he said. “All of the judges are Democrats. And we polled 300 jurors, and the best I got was a Green Peace activist.”

The targeting of conservatives through the left-leaning legal system is taking place all across the country. Brett Kimberlin, a radical activist who was convicted for bombings in Indiana in the 1970s, is suing several prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Ali Akbar and Robert Stacey McCain. Because he’s demanding $1 million, they have been forced to set up a defense fund and hire attorneys.

Conservative lawyers are at even more risk of being targeted, because the liberal state bar associations can also come after them. Time and time again, conservative prosecutors who have attempted to root out wrongdoing by the left, including corruption by judges, have been targeted by both state bars and judges. Former Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline had his license to practice law revoked after he tried to prosecute abortion clinics for child rape and illegal partial-birth and late-term abortions. Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was disbarred after he went after judges who were trying to thwart his enforcement of illegal immigration laws (disclaimer).

Sadly, a clever, dishonest prosecutor can “indict a ham sandwich.” The indictment of Governor Perry all started out of political revenge. Lehmberg was arrested for a DUI in April 2013, and a blood test revealed she was intoxicated at an astonishing three times the legal limit, with a .239 BAC. She was recorded on video exhibiting disorderly conduct toward the police, and had to be put in restraints. She pled guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Perry rightfully called for her resignation, but she refused. Consequently, when it came time for Perry to sign off on a $7.5 million budget for her Public Integrity Unit – which had a history of targeting Republicans – he line-item vetoed it, which he was authorized to do under the Texas Constitution. Lehmberg convinced a Texas grand jury to indict Perry for the veto on two felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. The special prosecutor who handled the case, Michael McCrum, is a top attorney who would have little difficulty indicting a ham sandwich.

Even the left has been critical of the indictment. The New York Times, no friend of Perry, penned an editorial saying, “...bad political judgment is not necessarily a felony, and the indictment handed up against him on Friday — given the facts so far — appears to be the product of an overzealous prosecution.” Greta Van Susteren, one of the few liberals on Fox News, asked, “Does that mean every veto by a Texas governor that a D.A. does not like risks an indictment? That's absurd.” Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz compared it to a Soviet Union show trial. Democratic strategist David Axelrod called the indictment “pretty sketchy.” E.G. Austin wrote in The Economist, “The veto was unusual and arguably petty, but almost certainly legal.” Texas Democrats have privately admitted they did not want to support Lehmberg’s reelection.

Perry calls it a "chilling restraint on the right to free speech. This indictment is fundamentally a political act that seeks to achieve at the courthouse what could not be achieved at the ballot box.”

Fortunately, the indictment was so over the top that Perry is likely to beat it, and it will serve as a deterrent to future political persecutions using the courts. It has brought to light a serious problem in our legal system, the partisan leftist bent of the judiciary and state bar associations. As attorney Michael McClelland once explained to me, this imbalance is a result of liberals’ attraction to easy government jobs and mind numbingly dull bar committees for their hobbies. Conservative lawyers would rather make money in the private sector, and, being more likely to have children, would rather spend time with their families rather than toil away their free time discussing things like diversity committees.

Ironically, the wrongful prosecution could catapult Perry into the White House, as Republicans rally around him. He is handling the ordeal graciously, coming across as a leader. Michael Lind, writing for Salon, warns Democrats they have overreached and it may backfire on them. He quotes Talleyrand, observing Napoleon’s execution of the Duc d’Enghien: “It is worse than a crime; it is a mistake.”

Looking at the big picture, the DUI offense by Lehmberg was atrocious and she should have resigned. For her to remain in office grossly undermines the rule of law. It wasn’t just a couple of drinks, and she’s not just any elected official, she is THE law enforcement official responsible for prosecuting DUIs. Perry correctly attempted to remove someone from office who could have potentially killed someone while drunk driving. If she had done the right thing and resigned, none of this would have ever happened.



An Open Letter to the False Church

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

If you have marched with, frequented or otherwise support Planned Parenthood – if you believe that there is any biblical justification whatsoever for one person to dismember alive another person in her mother’s womb, a most murderous, tortuous and excruciating end – then you might be an apostate.

If you demand a “free Palestine,” actually believe that Israel is intentionally targeting innocent Arab citizens in Gaza and elsewhere and, therefore, is guilty of genocidal “war crimes,” then you have aligned yourself with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, a group indistinguishable from ISIS, a group that admits using its own women and children as human shields and actually does target innocent Israeli citizens with thousands of rockets and suicide bombs on a regular basis. If this is you then, as with Islam and the rest of the pagan world, you are an enemy to Israel and, as scripture warns, just might be an accursed apostate.

If you, as my good friend Dr. Michael Brown puts it, are among the growing numbers of those who engage “the fundamental error of ‘gay Christianity,’ namely, people interpreting the Bible through the lens of their sexuality rather than interpreting their sexuality through the lens of the Bible,” then you might, you just might, be an apostate.

These are matters of eternal weightiness and consequence. For as it is written, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

For those who hear God speak them, “Away from me” will be the most pure, righteous, just and all at once terrifying words ever breathed.

I pray you don’t hear them.


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 25, 2014

Race-Based Justice

Among the demands of the "protesters" in Ferguson is that the investigation and prosecution of police officer Darren Wilson be taken away from St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch.

McCulloch is biased, it is said. How so? In 1964, his father, a St. Louis police officer, was shot to death by an African-American.

Moreover, McCulloch comes from a family of cops. He wanted to be a police officer himself, but when cancer cost him a leg as a kid, he became a prosecutor.

Yet, in 23 years, McCulloch has convicted many cops of many crimes, and has said that if Gov. Jay Nixon orders him off this case, he will comply. Meanwhile, he is moving ahead with the grand jury.

As for Gov. Nixon, he revealed his closed mind by demanding the "vigorous prosecution" of a cop who has not even been charged and by calling repeatedly for "justice for [Brown's] family" but not Wilson's.

What has been going on for two weeks now in Ferguson, with the ceaseless vilification of Darren Wilson and the clamor to arrest him, is anti-American. It is a mob howl for summary judgment, when this case cries out, not for a rush to judgment, but for a long tedious search for the whole truth of what happened that tragic day.

For conflicting stories have emerged.

The initial version was uncomplicated. On August 9, around noon, Brown and a companion were walking in the street and blocking traffic when ordered by Wilson to move onto the sidewalk.

Brown balked, a scuffle ensued. Wilson pulled out his gun and shot him six times, leaving Brown dead in the street. Open and shut. A white cop, sassed by a black kid, goes berserk and empties his gun.

Lately, however, another version has emerged.

Fifteen minutes before the shooting, Brown was caught on videotape manhandling and menacing a clerk at a convenience store he was robbing of a $44 box of cigars.

A woman, in contact with Wilson, called a radio station to say that Brown and Wilson fought in the patrol car and Brown had gone for the officer's gun, which went off.

When Brown backed away, Wilson pointed his gun and told him to freeze. Brown held up his hands, then charged. Wilson then shot the 6'4," 292-pound Brown six times, with the last bullet entering the skull.

St. Louis County police then leaked that Wilson had been beaten "severely" in the face and suffered the fracture of an eye socket.

Brown's companion, Dorian Johnson, says Brown was running away when Wilson began to fire. But, according to the autopsies, all of the bullets hit Brown in the front. ABC now reports that Dorian Johnson has previously been charged with filing a false police report.

If the first version is true, Wilson is guilty. If the second is true, Brown committed two felonies before being shot, and Darren Wilson fired his weapon in defense of his life.

If there is any pubic official who should recuse himself from any role in this investigation, it is not Robert McCulloch but Eric Holder.

Holder has a lifelong, almost Sharpton-like, obsession with race.

Three weeks in office, he declared America a "nation of cowards" for refusing to discuss race more. Arriving in St. Louis, he declared, "I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man."

Query. What is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, who is heading up the federal investigation of the shooting of a black teenager by a white cop, doing declaring his racial solidarity?

Holder then related several incidents that have stuck in his craw:

"I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. ... 'Let me search your car.' ... Go through the truck of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me."

Holder also spoke of being stopped by a cop in Georgetown when he was running to the movies.

Fine. The Great Man is outraged by such indignities. But the mindset exhibited here raises a grave question as to whether Eric Holder can objectively lead an investigation of a white cop who shot a black teenager. In Eric Holder's mind, the verdict already seems in.

Any defense attorney would have Eric Holder tossed out of a jury pool, as soon as he started to vent like this.



The Origins of the New Totalitarianism

Sean Gabb wrote the comments below as part of the debate in Britain over whether Britain should exit from the EU

According to the standard Eurosceptic narrative, there is a war between traditional English liberties and Napoleonic despotism. We have a limited state and the Common Law. The Europeans have absolute states and politicised justice. Without romanticising the constitutions of the other member states of the European Union, this is a false narrative. So far as the European Union is becoming more despotic, the main pressure comes not from Brussels or Paris or Berlin, but from London.

Increasingly associated with Euroscepticism is the Cultural Marxist hypothesis. According to this, Classical Marxism – that is, the ideology that some of you may be old enough to remember in your own country – fell to pieces in the 1980s. But, rather than give up their position in the face of triumphant liberal democracy, the Marxist intellectual classes simply changed their front. They stopped quoting Marx and Lenin about the dictatorship of the proletariat. Instead, they turned to the writings of the neo-Marxists – Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Herbert Marcuse, Michel Foucault, and so on – and used the alleged evils of racism, sexism, homophobia, lookism, transphobia and much more beside, as their ideology of legitimation for a total state. In short, old-fashioned socialism gave way to political correctness.

There is much truth in this hypothesis. Of course, I would say this: popularising the hypothesis in Britain is another of my achievements – see my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War. But it should not be used as any support of Euroscepticism. The intellectual architects of political correctness were all European; and the European Parliament is filled with members and whole committees eager to impose political correctness at the European level. But its power as a hegemonic ideology has nothing to do with a few dozen politicians on the European mainland. I say once more that the wind is blowing from London – and that wind ultimately is blowing from across the Atlantic.

I am a man of reasonable education. I know several European languages and have lived and travelled much in Europe. But I do not know who is the French Prime Minister or the German President. I do not know the names or faces of the European Commissioners. I barely ever look at newspapers in the European languages I know. I pay very little attention to what people are thinking and doing in the other member states of the European Union. For most other people in my country, this ignorance of European affairs is total. At my daughter’s school, nearly all the other parents think Slovakia used to be part of Yugoslavia – and they would have trouble pointing to the former Yugoslavia on a map. I find it hard to believe that a group of European intellectuals could give my country its hegemonic ideology.

The truth is that, if European in its origins, cultural Marxism, or political correctness, draws all its power in the world from America, and to a lesser extent, from Britain. In saying this, I am elaborating on arguments that I have put myself – but also, and critically, on the arguments put by my friend Ian B on the Libertarian Alliance Blog. Together, and in the company of others I will not presently mention, we are feeling our way to a new analysis of where we stand.

The past four hundred years of history on the English-speaking world can be seen as a contest between puritans and libertines. The latter believe that life is something to be enjoyed, the former that everyone else should be made to feel so guilty that they will have no objection to being pushed around. For its first century, the history of this contest is muddied by the accidental fact that the puritans were broadly in favour of the Ancient Constitution, and the libertines supported an empowered monarchy. But the puritan victory in the English Civil War was followed by ten years of moral totalitarianism – no Christmas, no Maypole dancing, the death penalty for extra-marital sex, and more witch-hunting than at any other time in English history. The puritan defeat in 1660 was the beginning of the classical age of our constitution. With the puritans out of power – and often shipped off to stew in the American colonies – a tolerant and cautious aristocracy presided over an astonishing two centuries of freedom and progress. The puritans never went entirely away. They were always somewhere, whining about sin and quoting the nastier verses from The Bible. But they were unable to shut down the brothels and gin palaces and gambling dens. They were unable to curb the “licentiousness” of the media. Their only success was in running the commercial and industrial revolution that paid for the good times of Georgian and early Victorian England.

Then around the middle of the nineteenth century, the brighter puritans moved their ideology from religion to “progressive” statism. They argued for moral totalitarianism not because God wanted it, but because an expanded state would be good for the health of the people. It was not conservatives who. after about 1860, made laws against pornography and drinking and homosexuality. It was people who called themselves liberals. The first Obscene Publications Act was brought in by a liberal politician. The prohibition of “indecency between men” was brought in by a radical. The Punishment of Incest Act and the Mental Deficiency Act and the regulation of drinking, and all the other “progressive” laws of Edwardian England, were brought in by a Liberal Government against Conservative opposition in the House of Lords.

It was worse in the United States, where the puritans had a greater hold. They started the War on Drugs, and, for a while, actually banned the sale of alcohol.

Then in the 1960s, this second wave of puritanism collapsed in both Britain and America. An entire generation chose longer hair and shorter dresses. The Pill and penicillin helped break down the old restraints on sexual conduct. The laws against pornography and homosexuality were relaxed. The War on Drugs began to collapse. Wars became unpopular. Toleration came back into fashion. Puritanism of any kind became an object of derision.

It was now that the Anglo-American puritans began instinctively to feel round for a new ideology of legitimation. It was now, quite by chance, that Cultural Marxism came to ripeness. For all the intellectual power behind it, Classical Marxism had always been the political equivalent in Britain and America of train spotting. It had no meaningful influence. If a handful of German-Jewish intellectuals were now pulled out of obscurity, it was entirely because what they said about racism and sexism and patriarchy and so forth were exactly what our own puritan classes needed to power their third wave.

If anyone doubts this, just look at what the neo-Marxists believed about economics. They were all traditional socialists. Their main objection to Marxism-Leninism was that it was not socialist enough. Nor were they noticeably concerned about controls on smoking and drinking and sexual behaviour. Their socialism was soon forgotten. Its place was taken by a mass of claims about the need to regulate harmful lifestyles. By the time the generation of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair came to power, what we got was traditional puritanism updated for a new century. We got speech codes and controls on drinking and smoking and lifestyle in general, and a police state to make us obey – and a heavily regulated but still broadly capitalist economy. Except there was little talk of God, the new order of things, as it emerged at the turn of the present century, was almost everything the puritans in the age of Charles I could have wanted.

Oh – for largely accidental reasons, homosexuals have so far been one of the privileged groups in this new order. You may not go to prison for calling them hell-bound sodomites. But you will have trouble finding a job if you do. I doubt, however, this will last. An ideology that sees oppressive relationships in most heterosexuality, and that is going mad about the “sexualisation” of children – and that requires the support of ethnic and religious groups who have little time for all-male sex – is unlikely to let so glaring an anomaly continue. Homosexuals are likely to be tolerated only so far as they get married to each other and stop quite so obviously having a good time.



Obama Releases Illegal Alien Murderers from Prison!

An illegal alien woman was recently convicted of a felony hit-and-run killing of two young girls and even though she was found guilty, the Obama administration will NOT be deporting her!

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros and her brother were driving one October afternoon and drove their car through a pile of leaves. Little did they know that they had just run over two young girls who were playing in the leaf pile…

Of course, it was an accident. This could have happened to anyone. But what the couple did next sealed their fate. The two, upon realizing they had killed two young girls, attempted to cover it up.

Their decision to cover up the crime transformed the whole incident from a horrible accident to a felony hit-and-run. This woman had her day in court this past January and the jury quickly returned a guilty verdict.

U.S. law says that illegal aliens convicted of felonies must be deported immediately. Hell, they all should be deported, but at the very least we should make sure that those found guilty of murder, manslaughter, rape, and other violent felonies are deported back to wherever they came from.

The only problem is that this illegal alien felon won’t be deported. Not now… not a month from now… not ever.  She won’t be deported because she was brought to this country when she was four years old and qualified for “deferred deportation” under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order! She won’t be deported because Barack Obama’s executive order protects her!

When Congress refused to pass Obama’s D.R.E.A.M. Act, designed to give amnesty to illegal aliens youths, the President used (read: abused) his authority and just used an executive order to get what he wanted.

The premise was simple: Instead of deporting “low risk” illegals who were brought to this country when they were children, the President would allow them to stay indefinitely. But, Obama promised, if any of these so-called “Dreamers” ever stepped out of line and committed a crime; they would be on the first flight back to their country of origin. He promised that this deferred action executive order would only apply to non-criminal illegal aliens. The case of Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros proves that he lied!

Well, it turns out that the President who sidestepped Congress to enact this regulation couldn’t even be bothered to tell the truth!

When this woman killed two children, prosecutors tried to get her deported, but an immigration judge intervened and stopped all deportation proceedings. The judge refused to cite a reason for dismissing the deportation request. No reason at all.

Now, this killer has been sentenced to – wait for it – just 250 hours of community service… That’s all… So not only is this illegal alien felon not going to be deported, but she won’t even spend a day in jail after she killed two young girls and tried to cover it up.

The jig is up. Everything that Obama and the Democrats told you about their amnesty plan was a complete lie!



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 24, 2014

It Will Take More Than Words of Outrage to Defeat ISIL

Jihadis with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) gruesomely beheaded American journalist James Foley, whom they kidnapped in 2012 in Syria. They posted video of the murder online to taunt the United States. Before his execution, Foley was forced to read a statement condemning "my real killers, the U.S. government." He said the Obama administration "hit the last nail in my coffin with the recent aerial campaign in Iraq." Finally, "I wish I wasn't an American." Beside him was Steven Joel Sotloff, another American journalist and one of perhaps three other Americans under threat of death depending on Barack Obama's "next decision."

It's a grisly reminder of the barbaric nature of our enemy.

The Pentagon released a report saying it had attempted a Special Forces mission to rescue Foley earlier this summer. A fierce firefight occurred in Syria -- the first acknowledged "boots on the ground" in that country -- and one U.S. soldier was injured. But the mission failed to free Foley or Sotloff because they were not present where intelligence said they would be.

Clearly, the administration released this information to save face after Foley's murder, though they claim it was to preempt imminent media reports. Publicly detailing a Special Forces operation was incredibly foolish, as it greatly compromises sources, methods and future operational capabilities.

Left out of the White House account, however, was the inconvenient report that Foley and Sotloff were captured by the Dawood Brigade, a group that defected to ISIL from the Free Syria Army -- the "moderate" rebels backed by the administration.

Perhaps the whole thing would have worked out if Obama had simply traded five more Gitmo detainees.

The president took time to call Foley's family, which is a step rarely taken for the families of U.S. Armed Forces personnel killed in service to their country. Obama also made a statement Wednesday regarding the murder, if only to remind the press how important they are to him and to show the country that he cares. At least in between rounds of golf. He headed straight for the golf course immediately following the statement. Compare that to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who cut his vacation short to consider action given the jihadi in the murder video spoke with a British accent.

To be fair, Obama began with appropriately touching words about Foley and his family, and he had stern words for his murderers: "Jim Foley's life stands in stark contrast to his killers. Let's be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages -- killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims -- both Sunni and Shia -- by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people." That's well said.

Unfortunately, the president then ventured into politically correct nonsense about Islam. "ISIL speaks for no religion," he said. "Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents." He might want to check his copy of the Koran. It contains numerous verses calling on faithful Muslims to kill infidels. It's where the term "jihad" originates -- Koran-prescribed holy war against unbelievers, and if other Muslims get in the way, so be it. There are indeed peaceful Muslims, but to deny ugly reality and insist that Islam is only The Religion of Peace™ is either ignorant or disingenuous.

Obama also dismissed the idea of war: "[ISIL] may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior." Just because he doesn't have the stomach for a fight doesn't tell us anything about ISIL.

"The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people," he declared. "We will be vigilant and we will be relentless." He promised a "common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread."

Yet his tough words don't match his actions. He couldn't wait to get every U.S. soldier out of Iraq in 2011, and he's bent over backwards to avoid sending more than a relative handful back now despite the sweeping advances of ISIL over wide swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Instead, he's called ISIL the "JV team" and dismissed the threat. The cancer has spread, and it's thanks to the vacuum he left by abandoning Iraq.

The Associated Press reports, "[M]ilitary planners weighed the possibility of sending a small number of additional U.S. troops to Baghdad." U.S. forces also conducted more airstrikes, bringing the total to well over 80 since our involvement resumed. That's all well and good, but it's defensive and will do nothing to dislodge ISIL from it's so-called caliphate.

"[P]eople like [ISIL] ultimately fail," Obama pontificated Wednesday. "They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy." And, he assured, "One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century." Translation: ISIL is on the "wrong side of history" -- one of Obama's favorite formulations used to spurn his political opponents. But ISIL won't be defeated simply because Obama says they're mean relics of another century. Unfortunately, those paying the price for Obama's foreign policy malfeasance will be those in the military. And those of us in our humble shop with family members serving don't say that lightly.



Obama's Rage

In September 2001 my daughter was a graduate student at Harvard. On the 11th day of that month, she spent some time sitting on a bench on campus, holding hands with one of her professors, while the two of them wept. Like many of her professors, this man was a renowned scholar. But unlike most, he came from a tough neighborhood in the Bronx. When phone service was restored to the West Coast, my daughter called. She said, “Mom, I'm so glad I was with my professor, because the people here at Harvard, they don't get it. It's like it wasn't their country that was attacked.”

It wasn't. Decades ago, the self-amazed, academic staccato-talkers at places like Harvard constructed an edifice of convenient untruths about the United States. America was reframed as an intolerant, aggressive, and morally backward nation. This dogma enabled the elites to claim the advantages of being American while exempting themselves from any form of military service, or gratitude for the military, which provides their national security. Most of such types at Harvard consider themselves American, but special, enlightened ones; it was the greedy, intolerant, patriotic folks who were attacked on 9/11.

Harvard's currently most famous alumnus, Barack Obama, takes anti-American dogma one step further into an idée fixe. He suffers a delusion within the illusion of American perfidy, a fixed, fervent ideological system against an imaginary evil white patriarchy. And the face of his “singular fixation of the intellect” has been George W. Bush. On the level of the heart, Obama has no country. Not only does he not identify with the people who died on 9/11, but to a degree beyond most left-wing elites, he is sympathetic to the Islamists who killed them.

Imagine if during World War II American soldiers had fought and died in order to capture five ace Luftwaffe pilots. Then President Roosevelt ordered the pilots to be sent back to the Nazis so they could resume dropping bombs. That is exactly what Obama did against America in the Bergdahl “swap.” It was a treasonous act expressing the rage he carries, which he focuses against Bush's war on terrorism.

 Charles Krauthammer explains Obama as the President who wants to end war. But the organizing principle of Obama's military policy is to end the Iraq war in defeat for America. Obama is driven by an obsessive resentment, conscious and unconscious, against a delusional evil white patriarchy, which causes him to help America's enemies. Above all, Obama was driven to lose the war in Iraq to claim victory over Bush, the ideal foil for his idée fixe.

The concept of the idée fixe was the forerunner of the condition called obsession. An idée fixe can form when the vulnerable ego of a child or adult is shocked and humiliated by mistreatment or abuse. The ego experiences rage and powerlessness, and is unable to make sense of and reintegrate beyond the abuse. Psychological energy can reorient around an idée fixe, in this case a transference of rage away from the actual abuser(s), onto a safer psychological object. Also, unlike obsession where there may be some insight and motivation to break free, the fixedly prejudiced mind does not question itself, but devotes energy and resources to the delusion. Relationships and responsibilities apart from the idée fixe are neglected in the self-deception that when the enemy is conquered, every problem will be solved. The pathological aspects of the President’s idée fixe involve anti-white racism and anti-father psychology, both typified by Bush.

The greatest threat to American-style socialism is a Godful father in the home. The last two Democratic Presidents had no such fathers. There is strong evidence that both Presidents Clinton and Obama suffered childhood abuse resulting from unstable, toxic parenting. These kinds of childhoods are being inflicted on more and more American children as socialist progressivism moves authority and responsibility from parents, especially fathers, to government. Of all the sequelae of child abuse, the most intense is the rage formed in the mind of a boy who has been sexually mistreated. Clinton took out his rage against women. But as reckless and cruel as his behavior was, it did not influence his foreign or domestic policy. Obama's rage is cathected against an irrational stereotype of white patriarchy, personified by Bush. Obama's idée fixe strongly influences his policies, especially his role as Commander in Chief.

Wealth corrupts and corruption spawns self-justifying ideology. The princes of the world held aloft by divine rights were not known for their moral rectitude or selfless service. The American baby boom generation has been decried as the me generation, the generation of narcissists. That is primarily because scientific and technological advances, actualized by free enterprise and victory in war, enabled the first generation in human history to emulate princes: overthrow their fathers, place themselves above patriotism and military service, pursue their own passions, and find their own psyches to be very important. Like many analysands who enter analysis to explore grievances against their parents, the post-war intellectual elites developed a severe case of false memory syndrome regarding American history, which fueled progressive ideology.

Obama’s childhood set the stage for transference of rage against the parents and parent figures who abandoned, rejected and abused him to anti-white, anti-father ideology. Obama’s poppa, Barack Sr., was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat he left an abandoned son. And when he died all he left them was drunken, racist, Communism.

Obama was literally conceived in racist ideology. His unwed, teenage mother represented the avant-garde of the racism that says it is liberation for white girls to have sex with older black men. According to Dinesh D’Souza, Obama’s “swinger” mother was so strongly anti-American and sympathetic to communism, she sent her son back to Hawaii rather than have him influenced by his step-father who worked for American oil interests.

Then there is the creepy commie, Frank Marshall Davis, who some believe is the President’s actual father. Regarding the psychogenesis of rage, Davis’s pornography work, sex obsession, and barely fictionalized erotic writings about underagers like Obama’s mother were more harmful to the boy than Davis’s activist communism.

The worst impediments to the realization of legal rights in American history have been variations of racism. In the 1800s, “one drop” of Negro blood tainted a person. Today at Harvard, one drop of non-white blood is an advantage. Elizabeth Warren gained special recognition there based on her claim of Native American ancestry. This wave of anti-white favoritism reached its zenith at America’s most influential university -- and set Obama on course to the presidency.

The anti-father bias of progressivism is a subtler element of Obama’s idée fixe. It is a psychopathologic development of late 20th-century progressivism. For example, if John Kennedy, Jr. had lived to seek political office, his paternal background would have been idealized and his family’s wealth would never have been criticized. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was the idiot child with a legacy education bought by wealthy carpetbaggers. That’s how the left wing rolls.

A person suffering an idée fixe such as Obama’s tends to associate with surrogate rage enactors. Obama’s years of dependence on Bill Ayers and his family was at its deepest level a symbiosis of exhilarating, smug anti-American rage. Of the millions of young people protesting the war in Vietnam, Bill Ayers was the leader of a handful of extreme, conscienceless murderers. That is why Obama dug him. Ayers concocted the myth of Obama by ghostwriting Dreams from My Father. Ayers admits he spun the tales about a plucky, brilliant lad who overcomes racism to work for unity and freedom for all.

There is a direct line between Ayers and the ISIS fighters who won Obama’s victory over George W. Bush. Obama feels safe, energized, and vindicated by radically violent men, as he plays Kumbaya golfer. President Obama declared victory in Iraq because he has indeed won his war against George W. Bush. After the declaration he made a triumphal march to Martha’s Vineyard in his ideological home state of Massachusetts. Genocidal campaigns, rapes, and children’s heads on stakes will not dampen his satisfaction in winning the only military victory he has really sought.

I am grateful for the education my daughter received at Harvard. I pray that the most brilliant people wake up from their illusions and support the military to which they owe their freedom. I pray they cleanse their hearts of unjust blame and that they imagine what will happen to the world if the light of American courage goes dark



Georgia County Won't Pay Medical Bills for Toddler Critically Injured by Flash Bang Grenade During Drug Raid

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of Baby Bounkham, who was severely injured after a Georgia SWAT team threw a flashbang grenade that landed inside Bounkham's crib—cops were serving a drug warrant based on information from a confidential informant about a small amount of meth. The raid yielded no drugs and no suspect. Cops insisted they did what they could to prepare and didn't know there were children in the house, two seemingly contradictory contentions. The sad case illustrates the interplay between the war on drugs, militarized police, and police brutality.

The story didn't elicit national outrage, and a friend of the family raised just $38,000 in two months to cover Boumkham's medical bills. They're going to need more than that, as the county government has ruled it would be a "violation of the law" for it to pick up the medical costs their officers created the necessity for.  WSB-TV reports:

"Habersham County's attorney provided the following statement, saying: "The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so."

The attorney for Boo Boo's family insists that is not good enough"



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)