Friday, August 27, 2010

VENABLE: Texas fights global-warming power grab - Washington Times

VENABLE: Texas fights global-warming power grab
Lone Star state won't participate in Obama's lawless policy

By Peggy Venable

The Washington Times

6:08 p.m., Wednesday, August 25, 2010
MugshotIllustration: Texas and the EPA by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times

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The state's slogan is "Don't mess with Texas." But the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is doing just that, and at stake is whether the Obama administration can impose its global-warming agenda without a vote of Congress.

President Obama's EPA is already well down the path to regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, something the act was not designed to do. It has a problem, however, because shoehorning greenhouse gases into that 40-year-old law would force churches, schools, warehouses, commercial kitchens and other sources to obtain costly and time-consuming permits. It would grind the economy to a halt, and the likely backlash would doom the whole scheme.

The EPA, determined to move forward anyway, is attempting to rewrite the Clean Air Act administratively via a "tailoring rule," which would reduce the number of regulated sources. The problem with that approach? It's illegal. The EPA has no authority to rewrite the law. To pull it off, the EPA needs every state with a State Implementation Plan to rewrite all of its statutory thresholds as well.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan W. Shaw saw the tailoring rule for what it really is: a massive power grab and centralization of authority. They are fighting back, writing to the EPA:

"In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrial development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency's recently enacted greenhouse gas regulations - regulations that are plainly contrary to U.S. laws. ... To encourage acquiescence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcement authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency. On behalf of the State of Texas, we write to inform you that Texas has neither the authority nor the intention of interpreting, ignoring or amending its laws in order to compel the permitting of greenhouse gas emissions."

Texas leaders are doing what Congress so far has been unable to do (a Senate vote to stop the EPA's global-warming power grab got just 47 votes on June 10): take on the EPA. Good thing, because Texas would be hit especially hard by these regulations.

Federalist principles have allowed Texas to become the strongest state in the union. The Lone Star State leads the nation in job creation, is the top state for business relocation and has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state and is the top state for wind generation. President Obama said he wants to double U.S. exports in five years; he could look to Texas, as we are the top exporting state in the country. The Obama administration could learn a lot from Texas.

Instead, it is attempting to ride roughshod over Texas, and it goes beyond the greenhouse-gas issue.

For 16 years, the EPA allowed Texas to run its own permitting program to meet federal air-quality standards. But in May, the agency announced- out of nowhere - that the state is not in compliance with federal regulations. Even though Texas had met its clean-air obligations, the EPA announced it was taking over permitting.

Texas is the nation's energy-production capital, but the air we breathe is cleaner today than it was in 2000, even though the state's population has grown by nearly 3.5 million people. Between 2000 and 2008, Texas' nitrogen oxide levels decreased by 46 percent and ozone levels dropped by 22 percent, compared with national reductions of 27 percent and 8 percent, respectively. All major Texas metropolitan areas meet the 1997 federal eight-hour ozone standard, with the exception of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is within 1 part per billion of meeting the standard.

According to Department of Energy and EPA data, since 2000, Texas' carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel usage have fallen more than those of almost any other state and every country except Germany as a result of our policies to foster renewable energy, make the electricity market more competitive and efficient, and improve our environment.

When the EPA issued rules to reduce nitrogen oxide and ozone, we complied, but we did it the Texas way.

Now Washington is trying to federalize the air-permitting process and force Texas to ignore our state laws and the plain language of the Clean Air Act in order to allow an illegal rewriting of the federal statute. But Texas has neither "the authority nor the intention" of doing so. The Lone Star State is strong, and so are our leaders - and the law is on our side.

Peggy Venable is Texas state director of Americans for Prosperity.

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ONLY the US Supreme Court has Constitutional Authority to Conduct the Trial

Case Against Arizona & Governor Brewer
ONLY the US Supreme Court has Constitutional Authority to Conduct the Trial
By Publius Huldah Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does anyone read the U.S. Constitution these days? American lawyers don’t read it. Federal Judge Susan R. Bolton apparently has never read it. Same goes for our illustrious Attorney General Eric Holder. But this lawyer has read it and she is going to show you something in Our Constitution which is as plain as the nose on your face.

Article III, Sec. 2, clause 2 says:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction…

“Original” jurisdiction means the power to conduct the “trial” of the case (as opposed to hearing an appeal from the judgment of a lower court). You all know quite well what a “trial” is - you see them all the time on TV shows: Perry Mason, Boston Legal, The Good Wife, etc. Witnesses testify and are cross-examined, etc.

The style of the Arizona case shows quite clearly that the named defendants are:

State of Arizona; and Janice K. Brewer,
Governor of the State of Arizona, in her
Official Capacity, Defendants.

Judge Susan R. Bolton has no more authority to preside over this case than do you

See where it says, “State of Arizona”? And “Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, in her official Capacity”? THAT (plus Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2) is what gives the US Supreme Court “original Jurisdiction”, i.e., jurisdiction to conduct the trial of this case. THAT is what strips the federal district court of any jurisdiction whatsoever to hear this case. Judge Susan R. Bolton has no more authority to preside over this case than do you (unless you are a US Supreme Court justice).

In Federalist No. 81 (13th para), Alexander Hamilton commented on this exact provision of Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2:

...Let us now examine in what manner the judicial authority is to be distributed between the supreme and the inferior courts of the Union. The Supreme Court is to be invested with original jurisdiction, only “in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which A STATE shall be a party.” Public ministers of every class are the immediate representatives of their sovereigns. All questions in which they are concerned are so directly connected with the public peace, that, as well for the preservation of this, as out of respect to the sovereignties they represent, it is both expedient and proper that such questions should be submitted in the first instance to the highest judicatory of the nation. Though consuls have not in strictness a diplomatic character, yet as they are the public agents of the nations to which they belong, the same observation is in a great measure applicable to them. In cases in which a State might happen to be a party, it would ill suit its dignity to be turned over to an inferior tribunal….[boldface added, caps in original]

Yet Attorney General Eric Holder filed the case in a court which is specifically stripped of jurisdiction to hear it!

So! Counsel for the State of Arizona should consider:

1. File a Petition for Removal before federal district court Judge Susan R. Bolton demanding that the case be removed to the Supreme Court on the ground that under Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2, US Constitution, only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to conduct the trial of this case.

2. If Judge Bolton denies the Petition for Removal, file a Petition for Writ of Mandamus in the Supreme Court asking that court to order Judge Bolton to transfer the case to the Supreme Court.

A Petition for Writ of Mandamus is an old common-law “extraordinary writ”: It asks a court to ORDER a lower court or other public official to something which it is its duty to do. In Kerr v. US District Court for Northern District of California (1976), the Supreme Court said, respecting the propriety of issuing writs of mandamus:

....the fact still remains that “only exceptional circumstances amounting to a judicial ‘usurpation of power’ will justify the invocation of this extraordinary remedy.”...(para 13)

When a federal district court judge presides over a case which the Constitution specifically prohibits her from hearing, and even issues a ruling enjoining the enforcement of a State Law, then that federal district court judge usurps power. She is specifically stripped - by Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2 - of jurisdiction to preside over the case against the STATE of Arizona and against THE GOVERNOR of the STATE of Arizona.

For procedures for filing the Petition for Writ of Mandamus, see Supreme Court Rule 20.

Article IV, Sec. 4, requires the federal government to protect each of the States against invasion.Not only is the Obama regime refusing to perform this specific Constitutional duty - it seeks to prohibit the Sovereign STATE of Arizona from defending itself! This lawlessness on the part of the Obama regime is unmatched in the history of Our Country.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

American Thinker: 'Sustainable' Poverty: The Real Face of the Leftist Environmental Agenda

August 25, 2010
'Sustainable' Poverty: The Real Face of the Leftist Environmental Agenda
By John Griffing

Since the seventies, the American left has warned of coming famine, overpopulation, total deforestation, urban sprawl, and overcrowding. The only problem is that none of this has ever happened. The left lied, and freedom died.

As a consequence of population hysteria, Western countries have overcorrected, aborting pregnancies and exchanging the cradle for a career. The result? The population of the developed world is now shrinking. The European Union (EU) relies on a steady influx of Muslim immigrants to keep pensions afloat. Forest coverage has actually increased in the United States despite sensationalist warnings.

Suburban sprawl never became a substantial problem. In fact, the 2000 Census records show that 94 percent of the United States is still rural, and only 5 percent of U.S. land mass is urban. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies demonstrates that what sprawl does occur is isolated and directly linked to uncontrolled immigration, a problem easily corrected -- without central planning -- if immigration laws are simply enforced.

And food? It just so happens that due to scientific innovation, farmers are growing more food per hectare on less land. But despite the factual evidence, leftists are now implementing environmental policies based on incorrect and historically inaccurate assumptions.

Paying homage to a long legacy of radical environmentalism, President Obama's faithful followers have advanced the Livable Communities Act to attack nonexistent problems like sprawl and overpopulation, as well as sub-issues like pollution. Humans will be punished for seeking to improve their quality of life, with new limits on mobility and Orwellian guidelines dictating where citizens will be allowed to live and work, with the justification of ushering in "sustainable growth." The facts do not matter to Obama and the left. The fact that urban sprawl is a nonexistent problem, that "smart growth" fails where tried, and that the Constitution does not permit government to dictate where and how citizens will live is irrelevant.

The current practices of federal agencies provide a few clues. Although the only body authorized under the Constitution to buy or sell land for government purposes is Congress, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies like the Forest Service have for several decades deprived private property owners of their land (and cattle) at below market prices. The land is then leased back to its owners for a yearly fee. Land that predates the BLM is simply confiscated by way of litigation [i].

In one such case, a rancher named Wally Klump contested the BLM's rights to his land owing to the fact that his ranch predated the BLM by one hundred years. When Klump refused to move, he was held in contempt and sent to federal prison. The result should come as no shock, since internal BLM documents reveal that humans are viewed as a "biological resource" for the purposes of "ecosystem management activities."

Most Americans are unaware that an organized assault on private property rights is tied to a series of dangerous foreign agreements that would transform America into Soviet-style "common" space by way of numerous "biosphere reserves." Never ratified by Congress, these agreements have been incorporated into U.S. regulatory law by way of a Memorandum of Understanding. Interestingly, the "biosphere reserves" program aligns closely with the current Livable Communities Act, conjointly proposing more concentrated human habitats and "buffer zones" to limit human environmental impact. Family trips to Yosemite? Not for long.

Similarly, the EPA has sought to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity by regulation, a treaty that was defeated in Congress on the grounds that it would have opened the door for a possible confiscation of up to fifty percent of the U.S. landmass under the guise of "conservation," including private property. The Convention used the controversial Wildlands Project, which seeks to "rewild" the United States, as its model [ii].

Reed Noss, a Wildlands Project proponent, once remarked that, "... the native ecosystem and the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans. ..."[iii]. At issue is the constitutionality of regulation or foreign agreements using the Wildlands Project as the philosophical foundation for declared goals.

Is the Constitution's explicit protection of private property rights consistent with the huge assumptions of human expendability inherent in the Wildlands Project and the companion Convention on Biological Diversity?

Even proponents of the Convention do not think so. The Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), commissioned by the Convention, had this to say of property rights:

It should be noted that in some countries, constitutional restrictions can make regulatory approaches to biodiversity conservation difficult. One frequently occurring constitutional provision that may cause difficulty is a guarantee against deprivation, or acquisition, or taking of property without compensation [iv].

The U.N. and its team of environmental activists view U.S. property rights as a "difficulty." The right to live and work in a place of one's own choosing is the definition of freedom. Karl Marx realized the connection between property and freedom. It was Marx who once said, "In a word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend." Conversely, the revered Justice Joseph Story once remarked, "That government can scarcely be deemed to be free when the rights of property are left solely dependent upon the will of a legislative body[.]"

We know how well the Soviet Union protected the environment. Is this really the model we want to pursue under the guise of "livable communities"?

If we follow the suggestions of the radical environmentalists, human beings will be sacrificed on the altar of "sustainability." And sometimes, quite literally. This is not stewardship, but perversion.

Clearly, the environmental agenda is not about protecting the environment, but about controlling human beings. The only thing "sustainable" about the radical environmental agenda is the predictable misery and poverty it will yield.

[i] Colin Cattle Company v. United States, 67 Fed. Cl. 568 (2005); Hage v. United States, 51 Fed. Cl at 581(1998).

[ii] Vernon H. Heywood, (ed.), Global Biodiversity Assessment, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 993.

[iii] Reed Noss, PhD., "The Wildlands Project: Land Conservation Strategy," in Environmental Policy and Biodiversity, R. Edward Grumbine, (ed.), (Washington DC: Island Press, 1994), pp. 240-256.

[iv] Vernon H. Heywood, (ed.), Global Biodiversity Assessment, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 1043.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Does Barack Obama want to be re-elected in 2012? - Telegraph

Does Barack Obama want to be re-elected in 2012?
Few Americans consider themselves bigger than the presidency but Obama might be one of them. The man in the Oval Office, argues Toby Harnden, may already be preparing for a role as a post-president in a post-American world.


By Toby Harnden
Published: 9:00PM BST 21 Aug 2010

Barack Obama may already be preparing for a role as a post-president in a post-American world.

When David Plouffe, President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, wrote recently that his former boss was "not concerned with his re-election", there was predictable scepticism.

After all, it has long been a truism that every politician wants to cling to power and a reality that presidential campaigns are planned years in advance. Pronouncements about not looking at polls and concentrating on getting things done are, moreover, standard fare from poll-driven, election-obsessed politicians and their apparatchiks.

In this case, however, Plouffe may inadvertently be onto something. Almost everything Obama does these days suggests that he doesn't care much about being re-elected. Strange as it might seem, perhaps he wants to be a one-term president.

Obama was elected in 2008 at an extraordinary moment in American politics. Suddenly, this charismatic figure, elected to the Senate without serious opposition in 2004 and without any executive experience, was catapulted into the White House.

His presidential bid had been based on the power of his life story and his ability with the spoken word. Doubtless he was as surprised as anyone else that he pulled it off. Governing has been altogether more difficult for him and there are signs he is already tiring of it.

Obama's intervention on the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" issue is a case in point. There was no need for him to get involved - the Islamic community centre two blocks from the 9/11 site is unlikely to get built and there was no political advantage in his making a statement.

What he said about religious freedom was typically Obama - high-minded, principled and legalistic. He is, after all, a former constitutional law professor. What his words lacked were any real empathy with what Americans felt and practical considerations about resolving the issue - never mind the political downside for him.

Doubtless he has been advised to prove he is "connected" to ordinary Americans by doing things like be seen attending church and taking "regular" holidays. But Obama seems happy to act as a European-style secularist, vacation in Martha's Vineyard and send his daughters to one of America's most exclusive private schools.

Obama does not suffer for self doubt. He has long seemed so convinced of his own virtue that to question his motives is illogical. Increasingly, his pronouncements carry the tone of one who believes those who disagree are stupid or bigoted.

Before departing for Martha's Vineyard last week, Obama spent three days on the campaign trail raising money and support for Democratic mid-term election candidates. Don't give in to fear," he said in Milwaukee. "Let's reach for hope."

It was a message that worked once but is unlikely to appeal this time, with America in the grip of a recession, unemployment still stubbornly close to 10 percent and blame-it-on-Bush rhetoric wearing very thin.

Obama is, however, at his best in these settings. He has the crowd hanging on his every word and he is not dealing with grubby political realities or objectionable opponents. Perhaps they are a reminder for him of simpler times.

They might also be a glimpse of the future. For Obama, the crowning moment of his presidency have been speeches abroad - the statement in Strasbourg that America had been "dismissive and arrogant", the address to the Muslim world from Cairo, the acceptance in Oslo of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Berlin in 2008, Obama cast himself as a "citizen of the world". He has dismissed the bedrock notion of American exceptionalism by describing it, also in Strasbourg, as little more than narrow patriotism. Elite opinion among liberal Ivy League types - of which Obama is the embodiment - holds that we are already living in a post-American world.

There are few Americans who see themselves as bigger than the presidency but Obama could well be one of them. In 2008, Obama showed little appetite for the down-and-dirty aspects of political campaigning.

When things got tough against Hillary Clinton, he all but conceded the final Democratic primaries and let the clock run out. Against John McCain, he developed a campaign plan and refused to deviate from it. McCain was level in the polls when the US economy imploded, handing Obama a relatively comfortable victory.

Obama is the first black American president, an established author, multi-millionaire and acclaimed figure beyond American shores.

It seems highly unlikely that Obama will decide not to run in 2012. But he might well be calculating that a embarking post-presidential role as the leading global thinker in the post-American world as a Republican successor enters office is more attractive than being sullied by the political compromises and manoeuvrings necessary to win.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do Your Job

Dear President Obama,
My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.
I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.
One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.
So here goes.
I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.
I can't figure out what country you are the president of. You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:
" We're no longer a Christian nation"
" America is arrogant" - (Your wife even announced to the world,"America is mean-spirited. " Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)
I'd say shame on the both of you but I don't think you like America nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.
After 9/11 you said," America hasn't lived up to her ideals."
Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British ? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War ? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers,husbands,and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around because we stand for freedom.
I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.
Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man. Shape up and start acting like an American.If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue .You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.
And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts who was putting up a fight ? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.
One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.
You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president. You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now. And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.
Sincerely,
Harold B. Estes

President Apostate? - New York Times

May 12, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor
President Apostate?
By EDWARD N. LUTTWAK

Chevy Chase, Md.

BARACK OBAMA has emerged as a classic example of charismatic leadership — a figure upon whom others project their own hopes and desires. The resulting emotional intensity adds greatly to the more conventional strengths of the well-organized Obama campaign, and it has certainly sufficed to overcome the formidable initial advantages of Senator Hillary Clinton.

One danger of such charisma, however, is that it can evoke unrealistic hopes of what a candidate could actually accomplish in office regardless of his own personal abilities. Case in point is the oft-made claim that an Obama presidency would be welcomed by the Muslim world.

This idea often goes hand in hand with the altogether more plausible argument that Mr. Obama’s election would raise America’s esteem in Africa — indeed, he already arouses much enthusiasm in his father’s native Kenya and to a degree elsewhere on the continent.

But it is a mistake to conflate his African identity with his Muslim heritage. Senator Obama is half African by birth and Africans can understandably identify with him. In Islam, however, there is no such thing as a half-Muslim. Like all monotheistic religions, Islam is an exclusive faith.

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.

His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).

With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings. (Some may point to cases in which lesser punishments were ordered — as with some Egyptian intellectuals who have been punished for writings that were construed as apostasy — but those were really instances of supposed heresy, not explicitly declared apostasy as in Senator Obama’s case.)

It is true that the criminal codes in most Muslim countries do not mandate execution for apostasy (although a law doing exactly that is pending before Iran’s Parliament and in two Malaysian states). But as a practical matter, in very few Islamic countries do the governments have sufficient authority to resist demands for the punishment of apostates at the hands of religious authorities.

For example, in Iran in 1994 the intervention of Pope John Paul II and others won a Christian convert a last-minute reprieve, but the man was abducted and killed shortly after his release. Likewise, in 2006 in Afghanistan, a Christian convert had to be declared insane to prevent his execution, and he was still forced to flee to Italy.

Because no government is likely to allow the prosecution of a President Obama — not even those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the only two countries where Islamic religious courts dominate over secular law — another provision of Muslim law is perhaps more relevant: it prohibits punishment for any Muslim who kills any apostate, and effectively prohibits interference with such a killing.

At the very least, that would complicate the security planning of state visits by President Obama to Muslim countries, because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards. More broadly, most citizens of the Islamic world would be horrified by the fact of Senator Obama’s conversion to Christianity once it became widely known — as it would, no doubt, should he win the White House. This would compromise the ability of governments in Muslim nations to cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism, as well as American efforts to export democracy and human rights abroad.

That an Obama presidency would cause such complications in our dealings with the Islamic world is not likely to be a major factor with American voters, and the implication is not that it should be. But of all the well-meaning desires projected on Senator Obama, the hope that he would decisively improve relations with the world’s Muslims is the least realistic.

Edward N. Luttwak, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the author of “Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Music Series: Cui Jian – A Piece of Red Cloth

“I performed at Tiananmen Square in 1989, 15 days before the crackdown. I sang A Piece of Red Cloth (‰∏ÄÂùóÁ∫¢Â∏É), a tune about alienation. I covered my eyes with a red cloth to symbolize my feelings. The students were heroes. They needed me, and I needed them. After Tiananmen, however, authorities banned concerts. We performed instead at “parties,” unofficial shows in hotels and restaurants”. [Cui Jian's words, link here]

A Piece of Red Cloth is one of the most classical songs of Cui Jian‘s. It sounds like a love story but actually it tells the special time of chaos and the belief of the youth. [Lyrics inside]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8UPST1ZKSw&feature=player_embedded#!

A Piece of Red Cloth

That day you used a piece of red cloth
to blindfold my eyes and cover up the sky
You asked me what I had seen
I said I saw happiness

This feeling really made me comfortable
made me forget I had no place to live
You asked where I wanted to go
I said I want to walk your road

I couldn’t see you, and I couldn’t see the road
You grabbed both me hands and wouldn’t let go
You asked what I was thinking
I said I want to let you be my master

I have a feeling that you aren’t made of iron
but you seem to be as forceful as iron
I felt that you had blood on your body
because your hands were so warm

This feeling really made me comfortable
made me forget I had no place to live
You asked where I wanted to go
I said I want to walk your road

I had a feeling this wasn’t a wilderness
though I couldn’t see it was already dry and cracked
I felt that I wanted to drink some water
but you used a kiss to block off my mouth

I don’t want to leave and I don’t want to cry
Because my body is already withered and dry
I want to always accompany you this way
Because I know your suffering best

That day you used a piece of red cloth
to blindfold my eyes and cover up the sky
You asked me what I could see
I said I could see happiness

(© Cui Jian
Translation by Andrew Jones, 1992) [Lyrics Link Here]

American Thinker: The Divine Right of Government

August 18, 2010
The Divine Right of Government
By Monty Pelerin
History is a great teacher. It often provides clues that enable us to understand the present and future.

Ancient regimes' concept of divine right of kings seems pertinent to today. Wikipedia offers as good a summary as any:

The Divine Right of Kings is a political and religious doctrine of royal absolutism. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including the church.


The phrase "not subject to the will of his people" is an appropriate similarity to contemporary times.

Divine right was based on a metaphysical assertion. Despite "ultimate authority," kings engaged "intellectuals" to provide supporting propaganda for the claim. Their efforts worked for a long time. As late as 1729, Thomas Paine saw fit to speak about the lingering right of heredity:

[T]he idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries; and as absurd as an hereditary mathematician, or an hereditary wise man; and as ridiculous as an hereditary poet laureate.


We do not believe in the divine right of elected representatives, although some of the our representatives seem to.

The interesting parallel to today is the ancient regimes' use of "intellectuals" as court propagandists. The same model exists today. The propagandists who led our country to its current dismal state, it seems to me, are economists. Today's metaphysicians are called economic advisors. The Keynesian model is their tool for increased and activist government.

To many, the Keynesian myth is every bit as metaphysical as the divine right of kings. Gary North provides an evaluation that should unnerve Keynesians: "Ever since the third quarter of 2008, the nation's nominal GDP has increased by a tiny $100 billion, but the Federal debt has increased by 25 times the GDP increase."

It has taken $25 of federal deficits to produce $1 of GDP growth. This marks a major anomaly for Keynesian economic theory. The justification for government deficits in Keynesian theory is that government spending restores economic growth. Money spent by the private sector does not increase economic growth in a recession; government spending does. This has never made any economic sense, but now the non-response of the economy is exposing this original nonsense for what it always was: nonsense.

The ineffectiveness of Keynesian policies is a surprise only to those who worship at the Keynesian Temple. Many non-Keynesians accurately predicted that recent interventions would make conditions worse.

The Faustian bargain between some in the economics profession and the political class was struck after Keynes' General Theory was published during the Great Depression. Keynes' ideas provided cover for politicians to take increasing control of the economy due to its alleged instability. Government management was deemed necessary for consistent growth and wealth creation. For politicians, that was nirvana. For economists, it provided wealth and power in the form of government service. All they had to do was please the king and his court.

The Faustian partnership is now unraveling, despite the protestations of Keynesians. Worshipers like Paul Krugman claim that the economy would be worse if the Keynesian potions had not been applied.

The sacrosanct Keynesian paradigm is never doubted by true believers. All problems are assumed solvable by injection of more poison into the patient. There is no other solution. If results are less than expected, it is always the fault of practitioners who failed to administer enough medicine in a timely manner.

As the world economy implodes, the mountebanks are increasingly seen for what they are -- descendants of the court advisors who supported the divine rights of kings. They are alchemists paid to support the divine right of government. It is their role to provide the intellectual support for the growth of government at the expense of the will of the people. These paid political hacks are little different from prostitutes or hired guns. They are the whores of the economics profession.

Let me be clear that I am not calling all Keynesians whores. Some are just plain ignorant. (Neither category is flattering.) Many are technocrats who have mastered mathematical techniques from prestigious universities. Like idiot savants, they are brilliant with models but not intelligent enough to know that aggregate models have nothing to do with individual human behavior. A wag's characterization of Paul Samuelson seems appropriate to describe these types: "He is the best physicist that the economics profession has ever produced."

Now their franchise is in danger. Their fingerprints are all over disasters like the Post Office, Amtrak, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and too many others to mention. Despite their best efforts and promises, there is no recovery coming in the economy. Keynesianism is under attack around the world.

It is during times like these that paradigm shifts occur. Thomas Kuhn wrote about the difficulties of such shifts in the natural sciences. Vested interests are not easy to overcome, even with contradictory data. That does not bode well for changing the Keynesian paradigm in the social sciences, where the vested interests are more numerous and powerful.

There are reasons to be pessimistic:

First, virtually every politician and bureaucrat favors the status quo. It has produced pay, retirement benefits, power, and prestige relative to their counterparts in the private sector. There is no risk of unemployment or of your employee relocating or going out of business. It is a sheltered, overcompensated life that few would willingly change regardless of political affiliation.

Second, big media favors big government and big spending. They understand little about anything, especially economics. The Daily Bell discussed this shortcoming with respect to Time Magazine's recent article on economics and concluded:

Here is a woman who writes about economics for millions and whose platform is arguably the most prestigious magazine of its type during the 20th century. Yet both she and her editors allow her to publish an article that betrays such ignorance that the feedbacks beneath the article are of far more value than her own erroneous musings. When that happens, you've got a problem.


Third, major corporations are dependent upon various corporate welfare items, contracts, and tax loopholes that they are unwilling to give up.

Fourth, 47% of individuals pay no income tax. These individuals have the incentive to vote for larger government because they are "free-riders."

Fifth, the elderly receive Medicare and Social Security. Presumably, they paid into these systems during their earning years. When someone talks about government reform, they see their primary source of income threatened: "They are trying to take away my benefits. How will I live?"

Sixth, the balance of the population is generally unable to determine whether they are winners or losers from government. There are too many programs and regulations to make such a calculation. Many deem a particular program or regulation good because they do not know its costs. Even if proper cost determinations could be made, the calculation is terribly biased because of deficit spending. Deficit spending is close to 50% of total spending. If people compare what they pay in taxes as the costs of these programs, they fool themselves by being biased toward government spending.

Seventh, intellectual arguments cannot overthrow the Keynesian paradigm. Unlike the natural sciences, replicated laboratory tests of a hypothesis are not possible. Proof in the social sciences is never as definitive as in the physical sciences.

Vested interests are much greater than what Kuhn described in the natural sciences. No constituent group supports a move toward smaller government. Eventually the truth outs, at least in the natural sciences. Will that happen in the social sciences? Will we overthrow the false paradigm of Keynesian economics? Will big government be able to be rolled back? These are questions the answers to which only the passage of time will reveal.

The Keynesian paradigm has gone on too long. It is likely that it cannot continue much longer. Rational evaluation will not kill it. It will die from self-immolation. It will perish in the flames that consume our economy. Consensus that it is dead will probably come only when the economy has reached a similarly terminal condition.

One hopes that this tragedy unfolds fast enough that our freedom still remains. If so, we will rise from the ashes painfully but quickly. If not, the world may enter an Economic Dark Age.

American Thinker: Just How Smart Is Obama?

August 18, 2010
Just How Smart Is Obama?
By Victor Volsky

The meteoric rise to the presidency of Barack Obama was fueled in no small part by the widely accepted contention that he was one of the smartest men ever to seek the Oval Office. He is not the first leader to be oversold.

"As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that he's a great military man -- I want you to know that."

It is an article of faith among the mainstream media, even on the squishy right (Bill O'Reilly comes to mind), to start any discussion of the 44th President with a ritual expression of utter amazement at his enormous brain power.

This immortal witticism of Gen. Normal Schwarzkopf ,after a lightning 1991 campaign that cut to pieces the Iraqi dictator's vaunted army, resonates with me each time I read or hear any discussion of President Obama.

Does Obama deserve his reputation? Not really -- unless of course, a "perfectly creased pant" is a true metric of rapier wit and towering intellect, as David Brooks seems to think. One can certainly take such things on faith merely on the basis of credentials: the right university, the right profession, the right crowd. Columbia and Harvard Law alum -- what other proof is needed that the accomplisher of such lofty achievements must be right up there with the Einsteins of the world? Assumptions of this sort could cause one acute embarrassment, such as the one experienced by the historian Michael Beschloss at the hands of Don Imus. Beschloss was extolling Obama's "sky-high IQ," but just as he was hitting his stride, the host interrupted his guest's rapture: "So what's his IQ?" The historian had to sheepishly admit that he didn't know.

But mindless sycophancy of Obama groupies aside, what gives his admirers the reason to believe in the incomparable intellectual faculties of their idol? An ability to more or less fluently read a prepared text? But each time he drops the life buoy of the teleprompter and ventures to go unscripted, Obama stumbles and mumbles in search of words, launching an avalanche of "uhs" and more likely than not putting his foot into his mouth. Watching him on such excursions into the terrifying world of improvisation, anyone can see that Obama would be wise to take a few speech lessons from purported lowbrow Sarah Palin. Are his glaringly poor off-the-cuff skills evidence of great intelligence?

How about his endless gaffes? Like

"I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go."
- Obama 2008 campaign event, Beaverton, OR (Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, considering that there is indeed an entity consisting of 57 states -- it's called the Organization of the Islamic Conference.)

Or the "Austrian" language which Obama believes is spoken in Austria? Or

"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed."
- 2007 campaign speech on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people

Or as he said in this year's Ramadan greeting, "Islam has always been part of America and ... American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country." What country was he talking about? Or this pearl: "On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong." An occasional slip of the tongue is an accident. A habit of dumb misstatements is evidence of laziness and lack of mental discipline, of the tongue just wagging uncontrollably. Is it evidence of Obama's intellectual superiority?

What about his propensity to jump feet-first before thinking and let the devil take the hindmost? Like accusing the Cambridge, MA police of stupidity in the Skip Gates incident, while freely admitting that he actually didn't know the circumstances of the case? Or getting into the Manhattan mosque controversy -- how's that for political acumen? Does it take a genius to figure out that coming down on the unpopular side of the issue, contrary to the will of nearly 70 percent of the American people, would be a major political blunder, particularly with the midterm elections just around the corner? Liberal pundits heaped praise on the president for his courage and steadfast adherence to principle. Why, then, did he hastily backtrack the very next day? Hardly a profile in courage is it. So what was it? Apparently an infantile, ideologically driven whim: I want it! I need it! And a hasty retreat as soon as the utterly predictable explosion ensued. A political genius?

How hard was it to predict that endless golf-cum-basketball outings, musical soirées at the White House, and vacation upon vacation in posh spots, culminating in Michelle's Spanish junket and a forthcoming stay in the elitist retreat of Martha's Vineyard, would be a major irritant to the people hard-hit by the recession or an undermining influence on the president's popularity? A callous disregard for the proles? Obviously. But how astute is it? Not very, for in-your-face arrogance has never been a mark of intelligence.

Add to this Obama's obvious economic ignorance, his glaring naiveté in international affairs, his boundless faith in the power of his oratory, his intellectual laziness, his intrinsic indecisiveness smacking of childish belief in the power of wish (close your eyes and the bad stuff will just go away), his political tin-ear -- are these the attributes of a genius? Sorry, Obama fans, what it all adds up to is an immature narcissist, an utterly inexperienced tyro, devoid of administrative ability, lacking political skills...a radical ideologue, who apparently believes that the job of president boils down to an incessant gabfest.

So with compliments to General Schwarzkopf: As far as Barack Obama being smart as a whip goes, he has no clue in economics, nor has he any understanding of foreign policy; he is supremely arrogant and doesn't care if it rubs people the wrong way; he has few political skills and no administrative ability, nor does he have any desire to engage in the day-to-day drudgery of ruling, preferring to reign instead; and he revels in the luxury of presidential perks and delights in flaunting his excess. Other than that, he is a true genius.

Fact And Comment - Forbes.com

Fact And Comment
08.30.10, 6:00 PM ET

Railroading The Taxpayer



Images like this set the hearts of besotted bullet train lovers aflutter.
In the U.S. these trains would be wasteful guzzlers of capital.

Washington likes to think that government-funded infrastructure projects boost economic activity. It was just such a belief that the President tapped into last year to justify part of his expensive grab bag of projects and programs that constituted his initial $787 billion stimulus package. But there is at least one form of Washington-generated infrastructure spending we could manifestly do without: high-speed rail projects.

If the White House has its way the federal government--as well as state and local ones--will spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next couple of decades on projects that will be mammoth moneylosers and serve but a tiny fraction of the U.S. traveling public. Despite the fact that almost all the world's bullet trains operate in the red, they have cast a spell over political elites. Environmentalists love them because they will allegedly get us out of our automobiles. Unions love them because government projects mean bloated payrolls, pay packages and pensions. And the poor taxpayer gets railroaded.

Nevertheless, with great fanfare the Administration announced last year that it would shovel out $8 billion to help fund several high-speed rail corridors around the country. While that's seemingly small change by today's government standards, transportation officials understand that these appropriations are but a down payment on massive amounts of money yet to come. Traditionally, once a pork barrel scheme is started, nothing in heaven or on Earth is likely to stop it. Like barnacles on a ship, too many vested interests will glom onto it and fight to protect it.

But we may be entering an era where old assumptions about the inexorable growth of government and the unstoppability of pork will undergo a profound shift. Voters are recognizing that the money for these schemes isn't manna from heaven; one way or another it comes out of their pockets. Moreover, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that congressional districts receiving a lot of pork appropriations end up getting hurt more than helped, in terms of economic growth. The presence of government spending distorts private markets, with the result that entrepreneurs shun them.

So the new Congress that comes to Washington in January would do well to take a hard look at the Obama offensive on high-speed rail. Take, for example, the proposed 84-mile bullet train project to connect Tampa and Orlando. Such a scheme has been kicking around for decades, but Florida voters decisively rejected it in a 2004 referendum. Ever disdainful of public opinion, Obama and his stimulus have given the project a new lease on life. Estimates are that it will cost $3.2 billion, and Florida applied to have the feds pick up $2.6 billion of the tab. The Administration is ponying up $1.25 billion. The rest of the money? The expectation is that Uncle Sam will provide more. And certainly more will be needed because these projects always bust their budgets on average by 50%.

OC_170w.jpg

But will this ridiculously expensive bullet train across Florida be worth it? No. Because that question brings up a more basic one: Who will take it? The train ride, if all goes well, will last just under an hour, yet driving takes only 90 minutes. That train hour doesn't count getting to the Tampa train station, parking your car and waiting for the train itself, or the wee problem of what to do when you reach Orlando. The area is sprawling. As Hoover Institute transportation expert Liam Julian wrote: "To call it a Tampa-Orlando route is rather disingenuous because the trains will avoid Orlando entirely--the last stop heading east is Orlando International Airport, some ten miles outside of town." So the passenger will have to take a cab or bus or rent a car to get to wherever he or she wants to go.

The Administration is giving California $2.3 billion to help launch the construction of a highly ambitious rail line that will ultimately connect Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. As in Florida, this notion has been rattling around for a long time. In 1996 proponents estimated something similar would cost $18 billion. By 2000 the estimate was $25 billion, in 2004 $37 billion and today California officials say it will take $45 billion, a number no one takes seriously. In fact, independent experts believe the outlays will be more than $80 billion. Just making the connection between Anaheim and San Francisco will cost more than $40 billion. Moreover, La-La Land expects private investors to kick in $12 billion because so many people will want to ride the train that it will turn a handy profit. That's about as likely as Fannie Mae ( FNM - news - people ) and Freddie Mac ( FRE - news - people ) making honest money. The passenger estimates assume the line will attract more riders than the bullet trains in Japan, even though Japan's population density is about ten times that of the U.S.

And on it goes with other rail projects. For instance, the feds have endorsed pumping $1.1 billion into a high-speed rail line that would better the driving time between Chicago and St. Louis by all of 10%.

Bottom line: All of these rail projects couldn't pass even a laugh test in the private sector, yet they will soak up capital that otherwise could be used for productive purposes. And it's not just the capital. Almost all high-speed rail schemes around the world operate at a loss. Even those touted as turning a profit are usually helped with off-balance-sheet government subsidies.

European countries have gone for passenger rail projects with gusto. Despite substantial subsidies, though, the rails attract only 6% of all travelers in Europe. In the geographically gargantuan U.S. there is no reason to think we will do any better. No wonder the St. Louis Post-Dispatch concluded: "Investing ... in passenger railroads is a little like building a bridge to the 19th century."

But the Administration's destructiveness doesn't stop here.

One of America's impressive transportation achievements has been moving increasing volumes of freight by rail, particularly since the historic Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which gave carriers enormous operational and rate-setting freedom. While Europe focused on moving people by rail, we focused on moving freight, which is why the U.S. has by far the best and most efficient freight railroad system in the world. Today our railroads' share of freight-ton-miles is four times that of Europe.

Nevertheless, the Administration is undermining this impressive achievement. Transportation expert Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation points out: "[There is an] inherent conflict between high-speed passenger rail and freight rail. Because the service characteristics are so different, you can optimize a rail system for one or the other, but not both." Yet the White House is doing just that, putting intense pressure on major carriers to upgrade their freight rail lines to handle fast-moving passenger trains, which will impose huge, additional costs for maintenance and system upgrades. This constitutes a double economic crime: wasting capital and undermining excellent infrastructure. The mission of the next Congress is clear: Tear up all of this pork-laden, misbegotten track.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Myth of the Clinton Surplus

The Myth of the Clinton Surplus October 31st, 2007




The government can have a surplus even if it has trillions in debt, but it cannot have a surplus if that debt increased every year. This article is about surplus/deficit, not the debt. However, it analyzes the debt to prove there wasn't a surplus under Clinton.

For those that want a more detailed explanation of why a claimed $236 billion surplus resulted in the national debt increasing by $18 billion, please read this follow-up article.


Time and time again, anyone reading the mainstream news or reading articles on the Internet will read the claim that President Clinton not only balanced the budget, but had a surplus. This is then used as an argument to further highlight the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government under the Bush administration.

The claim is generally made that Clinton had a surplus of $69 billion in FY1998, $123 billion in FY1999 and $230 billion in FY2000 . In that same link, Clinton claimed that the national debt had been reduced by $360 billion in the last three years, presumably FY1998, FY1999, and FY2000--though, interestingly, $360 billion is not the sum of the alleged surpluses of the three years in question ($69B + $123B + $230B = $422B, not $360B).

While not defending the increase of the federal debt under President Bush, it's curious to see Clinton's record promoted as having generated a surplus. It never happened. There was never a surplus and the facts support that position. In fact, far from a $360 billion reduction in the national debt in FY1998-FY2000, there was an increase of $281 billion.

Verifying this is as simple as accessing the U.S. Treasury (see note about this link below) website where the national debt is updated daily and a history of the debt since January 1993 can be obtained. Considering the government's fiscal year ends on the last day of September each year, and considering Clinton's budget proposal in 1993 took effect in October 1993 and concluded September 1994 (FY1994), here's the national debt at the end of each year of Clinton Budgets:

Fiscal
Year Year
Ending National Debt Deficit
FY1993 09/30/1993 $4.411488 trillion
FY1994 09/30/1994 $4.692749 trillion $281.26 billion
FY1995 09/29/1995 $4.973982 trillion $281.23 billion
FY1996 09/30/1996 $5.224810 trillion $250.83 billion
FY1997 09/30/1997 $5.413146 trillion $188.34 billion
FY1998 09/30/1998 $5.526193 trillion $113.05 billion
FY1999 09/30/1999 $5.656270 trillion $130.08 billion
FY2000 09/29/2000 $5.674178 trillion $17.91 billion
FY2001 09/28/2001 $5.807463 trillion $133.29 billion


As can clearly be seen, in no year did the national debt go down, nor did Clinton leave President Bush with a surplus that Bush subsequently turned into a deficit. Yes, the deficit was almost eliminated in FY2000 (ending in September 2000 with a deficit of "only" $17.9 billion), but it never reached zero--let alone a positive surplus number. And Clinton's last budget proposal for FY2001, which ended in September 2001, generated a $133.29 billion deficit. The growing deficits started in the year of the last Clinton budget, not in the first year of the Bush administration.

Keep in mind that President Bush took office in January 2001 and his first budget took effect October 1, 2001 for the year ending September 30, 2002 (FY2002). So the $133.29 billion deficit in the year ending September 2001 was Clinton's. Granted, Bush supported a tax refund where taxpayers received checks in 2001. However, the total amount refunded to taxpayers was only $38 billion . So even if we assume that $38 billion of the FY2001 deficit was due to Bush's tax refunds which were not part of Clinton's last budget, that still means that Clinton's last budget produced a deficit of 133.29 - 38 = $95.29 billion.

Clinton clearly did not achieve a surplus and he didn't leave President Bush with a surplus.

So why do they say he had a surplus?

As is usually the case in claims such as this, it has to do with Washington doublespeak and political smoke and mirrors.

Understanding what happened requires understanding two concepts of what makes up the national debt. The national debt is made up of public debt and intragovernmental holdings. The public debt is debt held by the public, normally including things such as treasury bills, savings bonds, and other instruments the public can purchase from the government. Intragovernmental holdings, on the other hand, is when the government borrows money from itself--mostly borrowing money from social security.

Looking at the makeup of the national debt and the claimed surpluses for the last 4 Clinton fiscal years, we have the following table:

Fiscal
Year End
Date Claimed
Surplus Public
Debt Intra-gov
Holdings Total National
Debt
FY1997 09/30/1997 $3.789667T $1.623478T $5.413146T
FY1998 09/30/1998 $69.2B $3.733864T $55.8B $1.792328T $168.9B $5.526193T $113B
FY1999 09/30/1999 $122.7B $3.636104T $97.8B $2.020166T $227.8B $5.656270T $130.1B
FY2000 09/29/2000 $230.0B $3.405303T $230.8B $2.268874T $248.7B $5.674178T $17.9B
FY2001 09/28/2001 $3.339310T $66.0B $2.468153T $199.3B $5.807463T $133.3B


Notice that while the public debt went down in each of those four years, the intragovernmental holdings went up each year by a far greater amount--and, in turn, the total national debt (which is public debt + intragovernmental holdings) went up. Therein lies the discrepancy.

When it is claimed that Clinton paid down the national debt, that is patently false--as can be seen, the national debt went up every single year. What Clinton did do was pay down the public debt--notice that the claimed surplus is relatively close to the decrease in the public debt for those years. But he paid down the public debt by borrowing far more money in the form of intragovernmental holdings (mostly Social Security).

Update 3/31/2009: The following quote from an article at CBS confirms my explanation of the Myth of the Clinton Surplus, and the entire article essentially substantiates what I wrote.

"Over the past 25 years, the government has gotten used to the fact that Social Security is providing free money to make the rest of the deficit look smaller," said Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


Interestingly, this most likely was not even a conscious decision by Clinton. The Social Security Administration is legally required to take all its surpluses and buy U.S. Government securities, and the U.S. Government readily sells those securities--which automatically and immediately becomes intragovernmental holdings. The economy was doing well due to the dot-com bubble and people were earning a lot of money and paying a lot into Social Security. Since Social Security had more money coming in than it had to pay in benefits to retired persons, all that extra money was immediately used to buy U.S. Government securities. The government was still running deficits, but since there was so much money coming from excess Social Security contributions there was no need to borrow more money directly from the public. As such, the public debt went down while intragovernmental holdings continued to skyrocket.

The net effect was that the national debt most definitely did not get paid down because we did not have a surplus. The government just covered its deficit by borrowing money from Social Security rather than the public.

Consider the following quotes (and accompanying links) that demonstrate how people have known this for years:

In the late 1990s, the government was running what it -- and a largely unquestioning Washington press corps -- called budget "surpluses." But the national debt still increased in every single one of those years because the government was borrowing money to create the "surpluses."

So the table itself, according to the figures issued yesterday, showed the Federal Government ran a surplus. Absolutely false. This reporter ought to do his work. This crowd never has asked for or kept up with or checked the facts. Eric Planin--all he has to do is not spread rumors or get into the political message. Both Democrats and Republicans are all running this year and next and saying surplus, surplus. Look what we have done. It is false. The actual figures show that from the beginning of the fiscal year until now we had to borrow $127,800,000,000. - Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings, October 28, 1999

An overall "downsizing" of government and a virtual end to the arms race have contributed to the surplus, but the vast majority is coming from excess Social Security taxes being paid by the workforce in an attempt to keep Social Security benefit checks coming once the "baby-boomers" start to retire.

Of the $142 billion surplus projected by the end of 2000, $137 billion will come from excess Social Security taxes.

When these unified budget numbers are separated into Social Security and non-Social Security components, however, it becomes evident that all of the projected surplus throughout this period is attributable to Social Security. The remainder of the budget will remain in deficit throughout the next decade.

Despite a revenue shortfall, full benefits are expected to be paid out between 2017 and 2041. The system will draw on its trust fund, a collection of special-issue bonds from the government, which borrowed prodigiously from the program's surplus over the years. But since the country is already running a deficit, the government will have to borrow more money to pay back its debt to Social Security. That's a little like giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

The surplus deception is clearly discernible in the statistics of national debt. While the spenders are boasting about surpluses, the national debt is rising year after year. In 1998, the first year of the legerdemain surplus, it rose from $5.413 trillion to $5.526 trillion, due to a deficit of $112.9 billion... The federal government spends Social Security money and other trust funds which constitute obligations to present and future recipients. It consumes them and thereby incurs obligations as binding as those to the owners of savings bonds. Yet, the Treasury treats them as revenue and hails them for generating surpluses. If a private banker were to treat trust fund deposits as income and profit, he would face criminal charges.



Are intragovernmental holdings really debt?

Yes, intragovernmental debt is every bit as real as the public debt. It's not "a wash" simply because the government owes the money to "itself."

As I explained in a previous article, Social Security is legally required to use all its surpluses to buy U.S. Government securities. From Social Security's standpoint, it has a multi-trillion dollar reserve in the form of U.S. Government securities. When the Social Security system starts to falter due to insufficient contributions to pay for all the benefits of retiring baby-boomers, probably around 2017, it will start cashing those securities and will expect the U.S. Government to pay it back, with interest. The problem is, the government doesn't have the money. The money has already been spent--in part, effectively, to pay down the public debt under Clinton.

Update 3/31/2009: The Social Security "surplus"--which has been borrowed by the Federal Government every year, including under Clinton to generate the "surplus"--is now expected to evaporate within a year (2009 or 2010) rather than the 2017 mentioned above. The following quote also provides additional evidence that the "surplus" was indeed borrowed from Social Security "for decades."

With unemployment rising, the payroll tax revenue that finances Social Security benefits for nearly 51 million retirees and other recipients is falling, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office. As a result, the trust fund's annual surplus is forecast to all but vanish next year -- nearly a decade ahead of schedule -- and deprive the government of billions of dollars it had been counting on to help balance the nation's books....

The Treasury Department has for decades borrowed money from the Social Security trust fund to finance government operations. If it is no longer able to do so, it could be forced to borrow an additional $700 billion over the next decade from China, Japan and other investors. And at some point, perhaps as early as 2017, according to the CBO, the Treasury would have to start repaying the billions it has borrowed from the trust fund over the past 25 years, driving the nation further into debt or forcing Congress to raise taxes.



The Federal Government cannot just wave a magic wand and somehow "write off" the intragovernmental debt. Essentially, citizens invested money in Social Security and Social Security invested that money in the Federal Government. Now Social Security effectively owes you money (in the form of future retirement benefits) and won't be able to pay you that money if the Federal Government just cancels the intragovernmental debt. The only way the Federal Government can "write off" intragovernmental debt is if it simultaneously eliminates the Social Security system. That might very well be a good idea, but it isn't likely. And Social Security will start running out of money in about 2017 if the Federal Government doesn't honor those intragovernmental holdings as real debt.

In short, if the government doesn't pay back intragovernmental holdings, other government agencies (like Social Security) will fail. Since allowing Social Security to fail is not a politically viable option, the debt represented by intragovernmental holdings is just as real as the public debt. It can't just be eliminated by some fancy accounting trick or political maneuvering. If it were possible, believe me, politicians would have done it already and taken credit for reducing the national debt by trillions of dollars.

Trust Funds = Intragovernmental Debt

Social Security isn't the only trust fund in the federal budget. There are a number of others including the civil service retirement fund, federal supplementary medical insurance trust fund, unemployment trust fund, military retirement trust fund, etc. All of these trust funds, like Social Security, invest their surpluses in U.S. government bonds and increase intragovernmental debt. And like Social Security, their surpluses really shouldn't count toward a "surplus" because the excess money they contribute to federal coffers actually has to be borrowed by the government from the trust funds.

When the government declared a $236 billion surplus in fiscal year 2000, it literally borrowed $248 billion from trust funds and considered that borrowed money "income" which it counted towards a "surplus."

For a more detailed explanation of how the government borrowed from trust funds and used the borrowed money to count towards an alleged surplus, please read this follow-up article which goes into more detail on the subject of government accounting.

The reality of the national debt

The only debt that matters is the total national debt. You can have a surplus and a debt at the same time, but you can't have a surplus if the amount of debt is going up each year. And the national debt went up every single year under Clinton. Had Clinton really had a surplus the national debt would have gone down. It didn't go down precisely because Clinton had a deficit every single year. The U.S. Treasury's historical record of the national debt verifies this.

A balanced budget or a budget surplus is a great thing, but it's only relevant if the budget surplus turns into a real surplus at the end of the fiscal year. In Clinton's case, it never did.

COMMON RESPONSES TO THIS ARTICLE

Since this article has become a popular reference for people debunking the myth of the Clinton surplus, I have seen a number of responses made by those that cannot seem to accept the fact that there was never a surplus. Some of those responses are listed here and I explain why the responses are invalid.

Adjusting the National Debt for Inflation or as % of GDP

A common tactic used by those that cling to the myth of the Clinton surplus seems to be showing a bar graph of the total national debt adjusted for inflation, or depicted as a percentage of GDP. When you adjust for inflation or show the debt as a percentage of GDP, it looks like the national debt went down for a year or two under Clinton. However, that does not mean Clinton had a surplus, it simply means inflation was increasing faster than the national debt or the economy was expanding faster than the national debt. That does not change the fact that Clinton never had a surplus.

Explained another way, adjusting the national debt for inflation is valid for comparing the debt load of the federal government but it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the federal government had a surplus a given year. If you spend more than you take in in a given year, you have a deficit even if your relative debt load went down because of inflation. Explained numerically, let's say you owe $50,000, earn $30,000, and spend $31,000 (debt load=50,000/30,000=167%)--that leaves you with a deficit of $1000 so that the following year you owe $51,000. The next year inflation is 5% so you now earn $31,500 and spend $32,550 with a deficit of $1,050. $31,500 in earnings with a $51,000 debt is a 162% debt load--so your relative debt load went down thanks entirely to inflation but you still had a deficit of $1,050 that year and your debt continued to grow.

It wouldn't be accurate to claim that you had a surplus because your debt load went down even though you spent more than you earned. That's what people are saying when they try to adjust the national debt for inflation to claim a surplus.

The bottom line is that the national debt going down as adjusted for inflation or as a percentage of GDP is a valid metric for evaluating the debt load of the government but it says nothing about whether or not there was a surplus. If the total national debt went up, there was a deficit. Those that think a decrease in the debt load of the federal government as a percentage of GDP or adjusted for inflation is equivalent to a same-year surplus don't understand the definitions and purposes of each of these terms.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) vs. These "Partisan" Numbers

Another common response to the above explanation of the myth of the Clinton surplus is that the budget surpluses are based on the numbers produced by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Indeed if you access the CBO's "historic budget data" document , on the fist page you will see that 1998 shows a surplus of $69 billion, 1999 shows $126 billion, 2000 shows $236 billion--the same surpluses claimed by Clinton and CNN in the article mentioned at the top of this page.

However, further analysis of the document should make it very clear that important information is missing from the CBO document--specifically focusing on the last two columns of the table on page 1. If you take the $3,772.3 billion debt held by the public at the end of 1997 and subtract the "total" $69.3 billion surplus stated for 1998, you would expect to see the debt go down by 69.3 billion to $3,703 billion. Instead, the debt indicated for 1998 is $3,721.1 billion--suggesting a surplus of only $51.2 billion. This alone should tell you that the CBO numbers aren't telling the whole story because they don't add up--and the story they aren't telling is intragovernmental holdings.

The reality is that the federal government and politicians use a form of accounting that would get most accountants thrown in jail. As USA Today wrote in 2007 , special rules used by the federal government allowed it to report a $248 billion deficit in 2006 rather than $1.3 trillion if it had used corporate-style accounting.

While the CBO may be non-partisan, that does not mean the CBO is non-political nor that their numbers are honest or transparent.

Update 4/26/2009: Please read this note where President Obama, too, is trying to get certain government expenditures not "counted" in the official CBO deficit even though they'll cost billions of dollars and increase the national debt. As this paragraph has explained, CBO numbers are not to be trusted as an accurate reflection of reality.

The fact remains that the total national debt, as explained above, is the only real measure of what we owe. We can discuss the meaning of the different columns of the CBO documents and what they do and don't include, and we can argue about the accounting tricks that the federal government uses for political reasons. But the fact remains that the Bureau of the Public Debt is responsible for the daily reporting of the total national debt. Regardless of how politicians play with the budget numbers, the current national debt reported by the Bureau of the Public Debt is what we owe. If, at the end of each year, we owe more than we did the previous year, politicians can call it a surplus until the cows come home--but the fact remains that we owed more money than we did the previous year. Playing accounting and political games to call it a "surplus" doesn't change the fact that we're even more in debt than we were the year before.

During the Clinton years, the total national debt increased every year. Only in Washington D.C. would that somehow be considered a "surplus."

There was a Surplus Not Counting Interest and "Off-Budget" Items

It is sometimes claimed that there was a surplus but the national debt didn't go down because of interest payments on the existing debt, or because of "off-budget" items. Anyone that makes this claim is just buying into twisted Washington accounting games that are convenient for their argument.

The reality is that "off-budget" items and interest payments on the debt are real government expenditures just like any other. Off-budget items are declared as such by the stroke of a pen specifically for political reasons but it does not change the fact that they are part of government expenses.

To demonstrate the fallacy of this argument, consider this: We have a budget surplus right now, too, if we declare the department of Health and Human Services to be "off-budget." After all, Congress and the president can do that with the stroke of a pen. Presto, we now have a surplus!

Of course, we wouldn't really have a surplus. And neither did Clinton. It's just a matter of saying that some expenses don't "count" even though they do.

There Was a Surplus But It Wasn't Used to Pay Down The Debt

Some people claim that there was a surplus but it wasn't used to pay down the debt. They claim that one issue is whether or not you have a surplus and another issue is what you do with it; hence they also claim that you can have a surplus and not have the national debt go down.

However, this is not true.

If there was a surplus and it wasn't used to pay down the debt, then that means it was spent--which means even if there could have been a surplus, it evaporated the moment it was spent. During the Clinton years, not only was it spent--the government borrowed even more! Every year!

It's like earning $30k in a year and only having $29k in expenses--so you have a $1000 surplus. To celebrate, you then go out and spend $2000 on a new LCD TV. All the sudden you earned $30k and spent $31k and what originally looked like a $1000 surplus is now a $1000 deficit and you're even further in debt. You almost had your financial house in order but then you went out and spent the "extra" money rather than saving it or paying off some of your existing debt.

In short, if the government had a surplus and spent it on anything other than paying down the national debt, there was no longer a surplus the moment the money was spent on something else.

Comparing National Debt on January 1st

Some have responded by saying that Clinton had a surplus and paid down the debt because, when they compare the national debt from one January 1st to the next, the debt does show a decrease. This may be an honest mistake, but the government's fiscal year is from October 1st through September 30th. All government and budgetary activities are based on that fiscal year so it is necessary to do debt comparisons using that same fiscal year. As a result, all comparisons should be made either on September 30th or October 1st... not January 1st.

The Link Provided Above is Allegedly False

Some people have claimed that the link I provided (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np) is an illegitimate or fraudulent site that provides false numbers. I don't know where that accusation comes from or why people think that, but I've seen at least some comments that criticize the link because it doesn't point to http://www.ustreas.gov/. To verify that my link is to a valid government information source, please follow these steps:

1. Go to the U.S. Treasury website: http://www.ustreas.gov/
2. Click on "Bureaus": Takes you to http://www.ustreas.gov/bureaus/
3. Click on "Bureau of the Public Debt": Takes you to http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/
4. Scroll down to the section "The U.S. Public Debt" and click on "See the U.S. Public Debt to the Penny."
5. This takes you to the link I originally provided: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

The assertion that my article points people to a fraudulent website is incorrect. I am providing a direct link to the U.S. Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt, National Debt to the Penny website. This is the official website that the U.S. government provides which allows the public to track the debt.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hugh Hewitt: Clip and save until November 2 | Washington Examiner

Hugh Hewitt: Clip and save until November 2
By: Hugh Hewitt
Examiner Columnist
August 15, 2010

November's elections are undeniably party elections, as the two major parties clearly have split in profound, undeniable ways.

If you favor all or most of Obamacare, you should vote for every Democrat in every election, as Obamacare represents a victory for the entire Democratic Party organization, one it has been seeking since 1993.

If, on the other hand, you oppose all or most of Obamacare, or even just the unconstitutional individual mandate that requires every American to buy health insurance, then vote for every Republican at every level of government, so as to fully repudiate the Democratic Party that has foisted this job-killing and economy-chilling disaster on us all.

Many Democrats will try to flee their party's legacy in this area, just as they will want to distance themselves from the failed $850 billion "stimulus" and the seizure of General Motors by the government.

Many Democrats will also want to try to avoid the president's endorsement of the mosque at ground zero, the left's war against marriage, and the Democrat-applauded actions of an activist, manipulative federal judge's bizarre show trial and tortured opinion in the Proposition 8 case, as well as his post-decision effort to deny an appeal to defenders of California's state constitution.

Democrats want to avoid their party leadership's absolute commitment to ruinous and massive tax increases at the start of 2011, just as many Democrats want to shed responsibility for the president's decision to sue Arizona over that state's rather modest attempt to help plug the porous border.

But the president's Department of Justice can only be overseen by congressional committees, which are all governed by Democratic congressmen who hold their jobs by the favor of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. So a vote for any Democrat at any level is an endorsement of a party that refuses to act with resolve on the border fence that is the outward and effective manifestation of an inner resolve to secure the border against the growing chaos of the evolving Somalia to our south.

The Democratic Party as a whole is also responsible for the fanaticism of the global warming cultists who are now operating through the unelected and unsupervised bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency to impose a massive federal regulatory scheme on businesses across the land, a naked power grab necessitated because 41 Republicans refused to be bullied into any version of cap and tax in the Senate. That's the Democratic way -- seize by administrative diktat or court order what you cannot gain via legitimate legislative victory.

If you favor keeping what remains of the free-enterprise system and you embrace the belief that Congress, not bureaucrats, ought to decide when that system is to be burdened with regulatory controls, then vote for every Republican at every level.

The same chasm separates Democrats from Republicans on a host of other issues, from defense spending Iran policy, the support of Israel and the so-called "card check" law that would end secret balloting in union elections.

You can't have it both ways, and there is no third way. When Republicans last controlled the federal budget, the deficit was $160 billion. Next year, the legacy of a Democrat-controlled Congress will be a deficit of about $1,600 billion.

There's "Democrat" and there's "Republican," and in this election, every vote for a third party is a vote for the party in power -- the Democrats. Real change requires a straight party vote from top to bottom.

Either you are with the president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, or you are against them. Vote accordingly, in every race for every office.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

American Thinker Blog: A Dim Bulb in the Oval Office?

August 15, 2010
A Dim Bulb in the Oval Office?
Herbert E. Meyer

During his eight years in the White House, President George W. Bush was often described by liberals as being about halfway between an idiot and an imbecile. They told us he was so inarticulate -- so unable to express himself clearly -- that his very presence in the Oval Office was an embarrassment for the United States. Members of the White House press corps, spoofing a popular movie, called him the English Patient.

Yet no one, anywhere in the world, ever had trouble understanding what President Bush was saying.

President Obama, on the other hand, is invariably described by these same people as brilliant -- indeed, the most articulate carbon-based life form ever to have walked the Earth.

So how come every time President Obama opens his mouth to state his position on some issue -- as he did this weekend, speaking about his support for that mosque near Ground Zero -- the White House scrambles to issue a "clarification" -- followed less than a day later by an "elaboration" of the clarification?

Come to think of it, President Bush speaks twice as many languages as President Obama. (To be precise, two.) Oh, and in eight years President Bush never said anything even remotely as stupid as President Obama's comment that people in Austria speak Austrian.

Perhaps we should put less effort into forcing the release of President Obama's original long-form birth certificate, and more effort into forcing release of his IQ. Anyone want to take my bet that it'll be lower than George W. Bush's?

American Thinker: Obama Is Colluding with a New Fascist Imperialism

August 15, 2010
Obama Is Colluding with a New Fascist Imperialism
By James Lewis

Nothing is more like the fascist Axis of the 1930s than Islamist expansionism today. Like the Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini Axis of the 1930s, Islamic fascists are fundamentally imperialistic, with an explicit order from on High to subjugate civilized people or turn them to ashes. Mohammed himself famously threatened the cultured Persian and Byzantine Emperors of his time, and in the following years, his followers knocked those empires over like devouring army ants.

The peace-loving Buddhist monasteries of India were consumed by invading Muslim armies, with the result that there are no Buddhist monasteries left in India today. Not a single one. Only Hinduism survived the Muslim invasions, because Hindus are not pacifists. You can ask any Sikh about that; they are a huge warrior religion that arose as a buffer between Hindu India and its many Muslim invaders, who now hold Pakistan and Afghanistan. In India, the Buddhist monks just died or fled to Tibet. So much for the glorious results of peaceful resistance against Muslim armies.

Wherever Islamic fascists go, they first like to frighten and intimidate less warlike peoples -- as in London today, where any BBC criticism of Islamic fascists is streng verboten. That's what the Ground Zero Mosque and the Mohammed cartoon uproar have in common: They are purposeful agitprop campaigns to scare and intimidate all the weak-willed liberals in the West, a standard Islamist tactic to conquer by intimidation, just as Muslim conquerors have always done. Why bother to wage war when you can win by terror? Putin understands that, the Chinese understand it, and it's clear enough around the Middle East. Only American liberals and European socialists are in denial. That's why they are the biggest round-heels in the world. They will happily collude in their own subjection and degradation.

Islamic practice has always required mosques to have the highest towers in any subjugated city. No Jews or Christians were ever allowed to build higher places of worship, to ride higher (on horses or mules), or even to raise their heads higher while walking the streets than any Muslim. If you were a Jew or a Christian, you would duck your head deep down as you passed a Muslim, who was allowed to spit on you at will. As recently as the Ottoman Empire (crumbled in 1917), all dhimmis were unceremoniously beaten to the ground if they dared to raise their heads higher than a passing Muslim. Modern Westerners deny the obvious, but that is because they are wishful idiots, self-inflicted ignorami, and dead meat to all the predators of this world. It's Little Red Riding Hood skipping into the dark forest again, but this time nobody told her about the Big Bad Wolf.

Islamic fascism is committing African genocides here and now, as in the Sudan, where a radical Muslim murder regime has been enabled by the "international community" to persecute and kill animist and Christian Africans since the 1990s. Rather than stopping the horrors by simply arming Africans who are killed for Allah, the Sudan has been gloriously elected to the Human Rights Commission of the U.N. General Assembly with the active connivance of the Left. That is just another fact that is understood by anybody who cares to open their eyes. The U.N. has been conquered without a shot by the new fascists, so that U.N. "peacekeeping" forces are rendered impotent in the face of genocide.

Kofi Annan stood by during the Rwandan genocides in the 1990s and then was elected Secretary General of the U.N. partly as a reward; Islamic regimes and the Euro-Left knew he wouldn't make trouble for them. Annan earned his by using the Food for Oil conspiracy to skim billions off "humanitarian" Iraqi oil sales to help Saddam Hussein, in criminal collusion with French President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. The U.S. press, filled to the brim with useless idiots and suckers, celebrated the bad guys and attacked the good guys. The biggest liberals always fall for the worst tyrants.

You think that evil is safely dead and in the past? You must be a liberal and self-deluded. But I repeat myself, as Mark Twain said in similar circumstances.

Islamofascists constantly threaten genocide against the Jews, as in the daily fulminations of that little Twelver freak Ahmadinejad -- but also in the words just reported by our good friend the Saudi King of the Arabian desert: "There are two nations that do not deserve to live: Israel and Iran."

This is the 7th-century king of the camel-raiders that the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, publicly bowed down to -- in a universal gesture of submission that was instantly understood throughout the Muslim world.

Neville Chamberlain gave Adolf Hitler only a half-bow after the Munich appeasement summit of 1938. Liberals are forever thus.

To complete the bleak parallels to the horrible 1930s, we see the Left-Fascist alliance together again. If you think Bill Ayers and Jodie Evans were just accidentally whipping up a PR stunt with the Turkish suiciders off the coast of Gaza a few months ago, then you, too, were taken in by classic agitprop collusion between the radical Left and Islamic fascists. Those were Muslim Bro suiciders (Turkish allies of Hamas) on board the tourist ship Mavi Marmara, under the direct command of the new Islamist fascist regime in Turkey. Like the recent Lebanese border assassination ambush of a senior Israeli military leader, this was a murderous setup. The assassination team in Lebanon Army uniforms had their snipers all set up with 50-caliber long-distance weapons, conveniently provided by U.S. military trainers.

But don't expect any JournoListers to grok those facts any time soon. They are too busy looking for evil among American conservatives. The Left is half-deluded and half-Machiavellian, and each half constantly lies to the other. The lefty media desperately want to be deluded, of course, like the abused wife of a violent alcoholic. It's a sort of token of love.

Socialist Europeans are knocking each other out like bowling pins today in their hurry to kowtow to the rising Fascist powers, who have bought all three British Parliamentary parties with their oil billions. Tony Blair is working for Libya's Muammar Khadafi today, which tells you where the Labour Party's heart really is. Eurosocialists have for decades imported hundreds of thousands of fundamentalist Muslims from the badlands of Pakistan with promises of lifelong welfare and four wives apiece, a promise that an ambitious young Islamofascist from Peshawar can hardly be expected to resist. As a result, Muslim fundamentalists now virtually control parts of Europe's major cities, including Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Paris. Socialist Europeans know that their countries are coming to an end as Western states. They are not as idiotic as they constantly pretend to be. But they are drunk on the perks of power -- and let tomorrow be damned. After us, the deluge.

Like the demonic 1930s, the Left is again a lot more interested in sabotaging freely elected governments than in fighting rising fascist tyrannies that delight in oppressing millions of women, in persecuting and hanging homosexuals, and in practicing sadistic violence toward a host of other victim groups. Sadistic violence -- an intense delight in inflicting pain on innocent people -- was a huge and now-forgotten feature of the three big Fascist powers of the 1930s: the Nazis, the Japanese Imperial Army, and even Mussolini's Italians in North Africa.

Some people define Fascism as a corporatist economic system, like Obama Motors today. It could just as well be defined as the public celebration and practice of massive sadism against enslaved peoples. Mussolini practiced massive sadism in Africa. Hitler practiced systematic sadism against inferior peoples wherever he could -- against Russians, Poles, Jews, Gypsies, German social democrats, on and on. Imperial Japan was horrific in its sadistic treatment of non-Japanese -- American and European prisoners, Chinese people as a whole, black Americans, Filipinos and other Malay peoples in Asia, on and on. Even the Soviets did not celebrate sadistic torture of its enemies in public, as far as I remember, though they certainly practiced it in private, as the Russians still do today in Chechnya.

Ideologically rationalized sadism and cruelty is not even acknowledged today by such lowlife organs as the New York Times. The Times mostly ignored and thereby colluded in Hitler's and Stalin's industrialized sadism in the 1930s. Some things change, but the New York Times always enables the very worst regimes in the world. It is one of those constants that give one faith in the basic stability of things. Tyrannies change names, but the Times always kowtows to the most bloodstained nastocrats it can find. They may even teach it in Journalism 101 at Columbia.

The historic fact is that the Left always enables fascist monsters. I don't claim to understand that fact, but it's easy enough to see it over and over again. It seems to be part of their deep moral cowardice and weakness of character. The prophet Jeremiah saw it in the sixth century BCE and roundly attacked those who pretended to heal "the broken daughter of my people, saying Peace, Peace, but there is no Peace." Listen to our liberal friends, and they are constantly saying it over and over again, a mantra that makes them feel better even if it is a flagrant lie.

Liberalism is just the self-delusion of moral cowards throughout history. It is not a modern ideology, as it always claims to be -- now it's "progressive" again. They can't even think of new labels. It's is just a form of denial, a pop fantasy that allows them to avoid thinking scary thoughts. That is why liberalism can be found over and over again in human history, under a thousand different labels.

We can see that delusional thinking right now in Barack Hussein Obama and in Hillary, just as we saw it in the Carter administration -- which gave Islamic fascism its first taste of real power in 1979. It's important to remember that reactionary Islamic fascism was mostly gone after the Ottoman Empire crumbled in 1917. A number of Muslim countries desperately tried to modernize for sixty years -- until Jimmy Carter gave the pre-medieval throwback Ayatollah Khomeini his first big chance in 1979. That started a race among all the suppressed Islamofascists in Sunni and Shiite countries. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jimmy Carter's dysfunctional politics was not an accident, nor his love affair with Hamas and Khomeini; it is an obsessive-compulsive psychopathology, and it happens over and over again in human history.

That's why the Norwegian politicians keep handing out that the Nobel Appeasement Prize. It's why Obama got it just for getting elected. The Left and the Islamic fascists figured out who Obama was long before the people of America were told. After all, he's one of them.