So what else is new?

Here’s a story that’s not hard to believe although the source is unexpected:

Iran: White House Lying About Details of Nuke Deal

But in this case you would think that the Iranians are shrewd enough to let these lies go by. Of course Obama is lying, but the thing is he has to have enough cover to slip his Munich agreement past the public. The media will play along and the Democrats in Congress won’t make a peep. All the Iranians have to do is shut up. Don’t they understand anything? This is what the agitated Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman told the Iranian press on Tuesday:

What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true.

I’m sure over the next few days there will be a backchannel communication that words the Iranians up on how to play their own part. Don’t worry. This will disappear in a day or so. But in the meantime, quite amazing. A White House that can put every single side in the Middle East off side has a talent that is as destructive as it is rare.

A bitter, poisonous worm-eaten man

Worse than Munich from Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal. It is hard to fathom just how poisonous Obama is, a bitter, poisonous worm-eaten man aiming to inflict as much pain on the successful as he can. But whatever drives him to do what he does, his potential to cause major catastrophe is unrelenting:

In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear.

The rest of the story just fills in some detail.

Fixing messes

Quiet diplomacy seems to work. The story deals with issues on two fronts, not just spying but the live cattle trade, both of which had been botched by Labor but are now on the road to being repaired by the Coalition. First the “spying” which is dated, please note, 2009:

INDONESIA has accepted Tony Abbott’s explanation of the 2009 spying scandal but says the bilateral relationship will not fully resume until a new ‘protocol and code of ethical conduct’ is agreed and implemented between the two countries.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono extended the olive branch to Australia last night after a special cabinet meeting, signalling the end of the worst diplomatic crisis between Australia and Indonesia since 1999.

However, Dr Yudhoyono made clear that the relationship would not be fully resumed – including military and police cooperation on people smuggling – until the code of conduct he and the Prime Minister had signed was ‘fully implemented’.

The boats aren’t coming anyway which I can tell because they are never mentioned in The Age or on the ABC. But the story goes onto another front in our relationship with Indonesia:

Indonesia was not considering any reimposition of quotas on Australian live cattle, citing ‘the need to maintain stability of prices’. Indonesia has issued permits for an additional 120,000 head of Australian cattle to be imported during the current quarter, as the government battles to drive down market prices for beef from near-record levels.

Maintaining the stability of prices is another way of saying that Australia is the cheapest and most reliable supplier of beef to the Indonesian economy.

The menace of low rates of interest

Here is the text:

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently lowered its economic growth estimate for the upcoming calendar year to 2 per cent to 3 per cent from an August forecast of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

It has cut interest rates eight times over the past two years in an attempt to boost spending to help ease the country’s transition to a less mining-dependent economy as a long resources boom cools.

As they tell it, the fall in growth rates is in spite of the fall in interest rates. As I tell it, the fall in growth rates is because of the fall in interest rates.

Low interest rates are not a good thing as I explain to my classes. Pull them down at the height of a panic but the rest of the time they should be kept relatively tight to ensure our savings are directed to their most productive users. You can’t get a recovery based on lowering rates. It’s from the same Keynesian stable that believes that economies are made to grow from the demand side.

Parental advice and young girls

This is one of the results of a longitudinal study of young girls in Grades 7-12 who were then re-interviewed at ages 18-26.

It was found that 29% of these students had engaged in a casual sexual relationship, which they defined as ‘only having sex’ with that person instead of dating them. The researchers found that participants who had thoughts of suicide were much more likely to have had casual sex as young adults. They also found that casual sex was linked to mental health dwindling even further. Apparently, each additional casual sexual relationship increased the odds of suicidal thoughts by 18% – well, that’s specific. While thoughts of suicide increased with casual sex, depressive symptoms did not increase.

Adult society no longer protects the young as it once did. Parents no doubt try to dissuade their daughters from certain activities that the culture lures them into. It now appears that there are good reasons for such parental advice but some things you don’t know are a mistake until that one step too far has already been taken.

From Instapundit.

Heidegger and Hannah Arendt

A movie review of Hannah Arendt, Hannah and Her Admirers which looks at the film’s errors with special emphasis on its philosophical discussions.

To state the obvious: in a film about ideas, about thinking, the quality of the thought—the truth or falsity of the ideas—has to be central. Von Trotta and Katz make as strong a case as can conceivably be made for these ideas, and if the thesis of Eichmann in Jerusalem seems right to you, it is likely that Hannah Arendt will sit well with you, too. Katz told an interviewer that ‘the intellectual goal of the movie for me was that people who perhaps didn’t have a philosophical background [could] read and understand what was meant by this oft-misused catch phrase “the banality of evil.”‘ But Katz has misconstrued the issue. The difficulty is not that Hannah Arendt CliffsNotes are in short supply, but that Arendt’s ideas in Eichmann, and the tone in which she chose to express them, are in fact extremely problematic. As the German historian Hans Mommsen, an admirer of Arendt’s, would put it, dryly but pointedly, in his preface to the German edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem: ‘The severity of her criticism and the unsparing way in which she argued seemed inappropriate given the deeply tragic nature of the subject with which she was dealing.’

How the far left really thinks

Having been on the left and still having friends and associates on the left gives insights into a way of thinking that is not just foreign to most people on either side of the political divide but is literally incomprehensible. The following was picked up via Glenn Reynolds who, not surprisingly, thinks of it as a parody. But if it is, it is not an exaggeration. It is an exact copy of what people really do believe. And in this case there is every reason to think that this man, a professor at Harvard it seems, thinks exactly what he is says he thinks. You may also conclude when you read this that it’s a parody, but I have heard people say just these kinds of things in conversation. From a website called Diversity Chronicle:

‘If you are a white male, you don’t deserve to live. You are a cancer, you’re a disease, white males have never contributed anything positive to the world! They only murder, exploit and oppress non-whites! At least a white woman can have sex with a black man and make a brown baby but what can a white male do? He’s good for nothing. Slavery, genocides against aboriginal peoples and massive land confiscation, the inquisition, the holocaust, white males are all to blame! You maintain your white male privilege only by oppressing, discriminating against and enslaving others!’ Professor Noel Ignatiev, a tenured professor at Massachusetts College loudly proclaimed to his class last Monday, his final teaching day before retirement.

The good Professor’s sound and reasonable words resonate with every enlightened and progressive mind. They are indisputable and no one can debate them. They should not be controversial in the slightest, yet remarkably a few far-right extremists object to the Prof. Ignatiev’s advice. The Professor however, reported receiving ‘a standing ovation’ from his ‘largely white and middle class students.’

And this is an earlier story from The Washington Times about the same chap in an article titled, Harvard professor argues for ‘abolishing’ white race:

Mr. Ignatiev pledges in the essay that his journal, Race Traitor, intends to ‘keep bashing the dead white males, and the live ones, and the females, too, until the social construct known as “the white race” is destroyed not “deconstructed” but destroyed.

And as noted at the link, “as we all know”, he writes, “this type of thinking is rampant in liberal academia.” Even this is not altogether an exaggeration. While it is not a majority view it is common enough to be influential. If you really want to understand Obama, these are the ideas you need to understand first. It helps to make coherent a series of policies that are otherwise incomprehensible.

[All this from Weasel Zippers.]

It’s a worry

I found this in Tony Abbott’s Battlelines which is a quote he took from John Howard:

A conservative is someone who doesn’t think he’s morally superior to his grandfather.

Very nice, very neat and in its own way sums up just how difficult it is to be a conservative these days. Because the sentiment will actually only appeal to a small proportion of the country. Most won’t know what it means and a majority will surely think their morals are superior because none of us live in the moral space of people fifty and a hundred years ago.

Which brings me to the latest polls. Is the Coalition behind? So says The Age, down 48-52. Although not as bad, it is to some degree echoed by The Australian:

TONY Abbott and the Coalition have lost their post-election glow, with voter support for the Prime Minister and the government continuing to fall as Bill Shorten and Labor climb back from the election loss.

I expect people who rise in the political process to know a thing or two about politics but they often don’t know how things look from our here. And the biggest issue from where I sit is the absence of good news stories, how things are being done and Labor is being raked over the coals for the harm the last six years have done. The fact that Julia Gillard feels capable of commenting shows just how little shame Labor feels about the damage they did.

Government is not admin. It is not just fixing things up behind the scenes. It is not only about doing, it is also about explaining. It is about maintaining your support. If you are going to govern against the grain of the zeitgeist, which every conservative government must do, there needs to rhetoric to go with the action.

The only stories I see really being carried in the media have been about rorting travel allowances and a major blue with Indonesia. We already knew about the NBN, the budget black holes, the deficits and the boats. But I worry that the government may think quiet competence will do the job, and people will notice.

If you build a better mousetrap, the reality is the world will not beat a path to your door. Being a better government is not enough. If you do not explain yourself and engage in the rhetoric of politics, if you do not have an agenda of your own but are merely at the mercy of the next revelation by The Age, Guardian or The ABC, you are inviting trouble.

Maybe it’s just nothing, it’s only early days, but I do worry.

A very long list of Obama’s descent

A list of all the steps towards the far left taken by Obama dated 24 November 2013. It comes under the heading, “Why Obama thought He Could Get Away with Obamacare”. That is, a list of all of the actions taken by the Obama administration that did not cause him problems. Both the American public but especially the American media have sabotaged the West. There is little likelihood of retrieval now even assuming anyone could even be elected who would want to try. The first six items on the list just to give you are start. There are apparently 77 on the list.

• $6 trillion in new national debt under Obama…after he promised to decrease the deficit.

• Obamacare — A massive and incredibly convoluted bill which exponentially increases the federal government’s control over our personal lives…which neither Obama nor a single Democrat even read before passing, and which will likely bankrupt the nation.

• In both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the Obama campaign purposely disabled the credit card verification system for its Web site donations, allowing anyone from any foreign country to donate with no limit and no proof of identity; in both elections it was demonstrated that people overseas and people with obviously false identities were able to donate to Obama campaign, in direct violation of several laws. To this day it is not known what percentage of Obama’s campaign funds are illegally obtained, since there is no documentation.

• Billions of taxpayer dollars gambled on “green” companies like Solyndra, NextEra, Ener1, Solar Trust and many others — all of which went bankrupt.

• An intentional refusal to enforce federal immigration laws.

• Unemployment at or above 8% for almost his entire term in office (which was actually closer to 15% actual unemployment).

[From John MacHaffie at via Alfonso.]