Out of his depth in every way known to politics

In how many ways is the American President out of his depth? In fact, are there any ways in which he is not out of his depth? Turns out, according to the White House, that the stimulus was a big success:

President Barack Obama marked the five-year anniversary of a controversial economic stimulus plan by releasing a report on Monday saying that government spending averted a second Great Depression, setting off a new round of partisan debate about the decision.

Obama had been in office only a month when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion stimulus that Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives passed over the objections of Republicans.

Many Americans remain doubtful about how helpful the stimulus was for an economy that still struggles to recover from a deep recession that took hold in 2008.

The White House, eager to lay to rest those doubts, issued a five-year report that said the stimulus generated an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years through the end of 2012. (Report: http://r.reuters.com/xat86v)

The stimulus by itself raised the level of gross domestic product by between 2 percent and 3 percent from late 2009 through mid-2011, said the report, issued by the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Jason Furman, chairman of the council, said the Recovery Act had a “substantial positive impact on the economy, helped to avert a second Great Depression, and made targeted investments that will pay dividends long after the act has fully phased out.”

Does anyone at all believe this other than those who are professionally compelled to because of political affiliation? Whatever needed to be done to calm financial markets was done even before George Bush left office. What happened after belongs to Obama. And given the monetary policy that has come since, there is no reason to think the US will leave its present troubles before an even bigger crunch than the one in 2008-09.

A review of Hannah Arendt

This is a quote from Norman Podhoretz’s 1963 review of Eichmann in Jerusalem. It is found in an excellent review of the film, Hannah Arendt by Ed Driscoll.

This habit of judging the Jews by one standard and everyone else by another is a habit Miss Arendt shares with many of her fellow-Jews, emphatically including those who think that the main defect of her version of the story is her failure to dwell on all the heroism and all the virtue that the six million displayed among them. But the truth is—must be—that the Jews under Hitler acted as men will act when they are set upon by murderers, no better and no worse: the Final Solution reveals nothing about the victims except that they were mortal beings and hopelessly vulnerable in their powerlessness. And as with the victims, so with those who were lucky enough to survive the holocaust. There is no special virtue in sheer survival, whatever Bruno Bettelheim may say, and there is no martyrdom in sheer victimization, whatever certain sentimentalists among us may think.

It is getting harder to be brave but the courage must be found

From endofyourarm.com by Laura Rosen Cohen.

HERE’S WHY JEWS ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY: ABE FOXMAN BLIND TO THE REAL “NEO-NAZIS” OF EUROPE

Blind, myopic Jews like Abe Foxman, as far as I am concerned are complicit in antisemitism and I will tell you why.

If you read this article (hat tip: Blazing Cat Fur), you will not that this gutless Jew cannot muster the moral courage to identify the worst perpetrators of European antisemitism: Muslims.

These leftist extremist liberal Jews can only identify Judenhaas when it comes from the white, political right.

They are absolutely blind to the dangers of jihad, even though they are cognitively aware that there was no “last time” a synagogue in Europe was attacked by a white, Christian “neo-Nazi”.

When Jews, and Jewish children are slaughtered in cold blood in France, they know it was a jihadist perpetrator but they are blind to it. They will not articulate the motivation behind those attacks.

When Turkey simmers with Jew hatred motivated by religion, they will still blame the European white, Christian right.

When Malmo, Sweden becomes inhabitable for Jews, they blame the white, Christian right. It is the rape capital of Europe not because of white, Christian right-wingers-but the facts are irrelevant.

Shame on you, Abraham Foxman. Shame on you.

These Jews are a danger to the Jewish people.

Their denial is so thick and so amoral that it is difficult sometimes to find the words to express my utter disgust and contempt.

By fighting the last war against the German Nazis over and over in their heads, they endanger living Jews. But they will never learn.

It’s so cozy to be a professional Jew, fighting the ghosts of WW2 over and over and never facing the real threats to the Jewish people.

How fortunate for them, how convenient for their denial that there is an Israel now and an IDF to fight the real battles on behalf of the Jews.

For them, the “science’ of antisemtism is “settled”. Case closed!

See no jihad, hear no jihad, speak no jihad!

This disgraceful denial is, not coincidentally, coupled with abject sucking-up to, and fawning over President Obama, who is inarguably the worst and most hostile President in American history toward the Jews and Israel.

The disgusting denial gives them the ability to prance around like intoxicated Jewish fan boys on American television and at various dinners and tributes and lectures talking about the fairy tale, ghost culprits.

For shame.

These complicit moral cretins refuse to admit that the real neo-Nazis of Europe are the murderous, Jew-hating immigrant jihadists who are motivated religiously to slaughter the Jew-and do it with glee.

The only thing I “enjoyed” in the video clip was that Mr. Foxman rightly notes that he is replaceable.

You are replaceable, Mr. Foxman, indeed.

G-d willing the Jewish world will wean off such pathetic, morally obtuse losers who are sinfully complicit in the current war against the Jews.

I pray to the G-d of Israel that He will save us from Jews like Mr. Foxman and his posse of pathetic, terrified followers who are deaf, blind and mute to the existential threat to the Jewish people of Islamic jihad on a small (yet painful, deadly and bloody) scale in Europe and on a scale the size of the Holocaust, in the form of Iranian nuclear arms.

Picked up at Five Feet of Fury.

Well that is certainly interesting

The story where this comes from is about safety concerns over drugs sourced in India. But way down inside the story was this:

The crucial ingredients for nearly all antibiotics, steroids and many other lifesaving drugs are now made exclusively in China.

This sentence is in fact the very last sentence in a very long article but the whole article turns out to be quite fascinating in its own way.

From Instapundit

The people smuggling information agency – only eight cents a day

Andrew Bolt has more fortitude that I do. Since he left Insiders and began the Bolt Report I have been blessed with the most excellent starts to my Sundays, which will be extended to an hour this year. But this quizzing of Scott Morrison on illegal migrants is astonishing, even taking into account the previous standards set by the National Broadcaster. These are just the questions:

BARRIE CASSIDY: How many Australian naval ships entered Indonesian territorial waters in December and January?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you know the answer to the question?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Why can’t you tell us now?

BARRIE CASSIDY: But why would that piece of information be in any way, why would it compromise the Government’s position?

BARRIE CASSIDY: How much of that report then will be released?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Will it explain how it happened and why it happened?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And it will explain how it happened?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Will the unclassified section of that report explain to the Australian people how this happened, why it happened and why it won’t happen again?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And then we can back that judgment. The Indonesian Navy report argued the incursions may have been intentional, said in this era, navigation equipment is very sophisticated.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What’s false about that?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And what satisfied you of that?

BARRIE CASSIDY: There is a suspicion clearly in Indonesia that it was intentional. How will you disabuse them of that notion?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And do you think based on what you already know they will be satisfied with what you have to say, that without question, it was not intentional?

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Navy report that I referred to had a photograph of burn wounds on a hand and it said, and this is the quote, “Resulting from being forced to hold onto the ship’s engine by the Australian Navy.” Does it concern you that an official Indonesian Navy report would make such an assertion?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Can you though dismiss just as lightly a report from the Indonesian Navy as you can a report from an asylum seeker?

BARRIE CASSIDY: How again will you disabuse the Indonesian Navy of their notion?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And you’ve established the facts, of course, without speaking to the person who made the allegations?

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you describe it as a normal process, wouldn’t a normal process, as part of that wouldn’t you talk to the person making the allegations?

BARRIE CASSIDY: What are the factors at work there? Clearly it’s the monsoon season, that’s one factor. How much credit would you give to the previous Government over its PNG (Papua New Guinea) solution?

BARRIE CASSIDY: But the PNG solution wasn’t in place this time last year.

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Foreign Minister has, talking about the turn-back strategy, quote, “It threatens the negotiation of a code of conduct designed to repair the relationship.” Clearly he’s offended by the policy.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You are being true to yourself and true to your policy, as you say, but nevertheless it does seem to be offending the Indonesians, to the point where they’re now going to raise this issue with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What do you think John Kerry would do about it anyway, even if he does regard it as a global issue?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And the other issue that they seem to displease them is the lifeboats issue and they say that that’s more severe than towing back boats; “We strongly protest.”

BARRIE CASSIDY: So you will go on utilising these lifeboats?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well we’ve seen a video of those lifeboats.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is there a better way to deal with a student who overstays his visa?

BARRIE CASSIDY: So you’re saying there are factors at work here that go beyond the sort of conditions and stresses that come with being in a detention centre?

BARRIE CASSIDY: OK. Now on Friday at a Senate hearing there were 16 denominations, churches, who talked about the Government’s position on the migration act. You want to change it to give you more discretionary powers. Now they said, they say that would allow you to play God.

BARRIE CASSIDY: A former minister though, Chris Evans, said that it gave him too much power, the workload was too great and the churches are saying the taskforce, that if the minister gets it wrong there could be dire consequences for the individual.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Now just finally a report in The Australian yesterday, the Government is considering spending $3 billion to buy giant unmanned drones to patrol the borders that would be used, at least in part, to track asylum seekers and illegal fishermen. Is that under consideration?

BARRIE CASSIDY: If you were to invest that sort of money though in unmanned drones that would suggest you’d think this problem is going to be around for a long time yet?

Who, other than people smugglers, are interested in knowing the answers to any of these question?

The socialist nightmare – Venezuelan edition

This is about the collapse of the Venezuelan economy post-Chavez. It has seemingly taken place almost out of nowhere. Things limped along for a longish while and then, almost overnight, fell apart.

The problem in being unable to recognise what’s going on is due in large part to our economic notions now so firmly based on “flows” rather than “stocks”. We look at how much we are able to buy and not at the underlying productive apparatus. A bridge collapses and the effect on GDP is either nothing at all or perhaps even leads to an increase in output as more effort is required to get from place to place while there is activity in re-building the bridge. That’s the flow side of the story. The stock side, however, is to note that the actual productive apparatus of the economy has been impaired. It cannot produce as much as it could the day before the collapse.

What happens in a socialist economy like Venezuela, or the US at the moment, is that there is a time during which the capital is being run down and there is little recognition that there is major structural damage taking place. Then, in what seems almost inexplicable, the entire economy falls apart all at once. This is from an article on the collapse of the Venezuelan economy.

Welcome to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, a country with the fifth largest oil reserves in the world and absolutely broke. It’s a remarkable achievement for Chavismo. A just-wow moment. Socialism is useless at everything except for smashing things in record time. There it excels. It’s hard to imagine that as late as the 1980s Venezuela had the highest standard of living in Latin America. But then in 1960 Detroit was the richest city in the world in per capita income. Now it’s well … Detroit. . . .

The genius of the Left — Chavez’s for example — is that it destroys things from the inside out. They pervert religion, collapse the mores, abolish the family, shred the constitution and gradually expropriate the property. The differences from one day to the next are apparently imperceptible, but it is harder and harder to go back until finally there is no reversal of ‘progressive gains’ possible at all. The public is finally faced with the stark choice between chaos or authoritarianism. And most people will chose the Boss over the Mob.

The capital, both physical and social, is eaten away and then completely breaks down. Building is hard and requires patience. Destruction from the inside by socialists looks great for a while while the wealth is spread around. But when it falls, not only does it crumble, but no one knows how to put it together again, least of all the socialists who promise everything but deliver nothing but misery in the name of equity and justice.

The art and science of debate

Let me start by taking up a couple of issue as examples of the lack of reasoned debate in our society.

The first of these is global warming. There has been an across-the-world debate on whether the planet is in the midst of unsustainable warming due to increased greenhouse gases. Even though I have had my doubts from the start, what you do is examine the arguments others bring up to see what truth content there is and you look at the evidence that’s presented along with the theoretical explanations. And OK, for a while, the temperatures were going up, which was a correlation but not proof. I, like others, therefore kept an open mind and watching brief. But then, around fifteen years ago, temperatures stopped rising even while atmospheric carbon continued to increase. As a result, my scepticism has been maintained and I think of such scepticism as fully justified. Yet I do not know of a single person of the green persuasion who has come to the conclusion that perhaps they might have been wrong?

Or take another of my areas of interest, Keynesian economics. I have, for theoretical reasons, strong doubts about modern macroeconomics and its focus on aggregate demand. In my view, Say’s Law is valid while the whole of modern macro is built on a well known classical fallacy. And what is the the fallacy: that increases in public spending will increase aggregate demand and therefore return an economy to low unemployment and faster growth. OK, comes the stimulus, I set down in print my expectation that it would fail on a grand scale, that it would make economic conditions far worse than they were, and would not return our economies to strong growth and full employment. And had our economies, contrary to my expectation, recovered I would have had to give up my opinions, not least because everyone would have reminded me of what I had written. But instead, the world’s economies have unfolded almost exactly as I expected they would. But has any Keynesian actually said that, well, you know, perhaps modern macroeconomics is wrong after all. If there is, I have not heard of a single instance.

This brings me to a very high level and interesting discussion on why arguing with people on the left is not the same as debating, more like talking to a wall. Beyond that, as Captain Capitalism, the name he calls himself, points out, a proper debate is about advancing the truth, whereas dealing with the left merely ends up with abuse but little advance of knowledge. A long post on the art and science of debate but here is one part of which the whole is well worth the effort:

Aurini . . . delves into detail explaining the “debate” structure of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Grammar basically meaning you all have to agree on the definitions and meanings of words. Logic meaning you have to be intellectually honest and adhere to associative rules and other logical concepts that ensure integrity. And rhetoric meaning you apply it in the real world or test one another’s arguments with anecdotes from reality. If both parties in a debate or even a discussion have these three things, then the conversation/debate is much more productive and progresses towards an inevitable “conclusion,” “reality” or agreement.

What’s funny though is for the longest time I never viewed debate as a cooperative effort, but rather an adversarial one. One of competition. One where you had an enemy that needed to be defeated. Of course, this was the sad consequence of growing up with the mentally deficient people that populated my generation. Parties I attended in my 20’s I was regularly attacked and berated for being a conservative. Debates in college (or even post college) were filled with emotion and vitriol. And in nearly 100% of the cases my opponents degraded into name calling, ad hominem attacks, accusations of “ism,” or being a nazi, etc.

And then a little later in his article there is this:

The majority of people are weak-minded. They are also lazy. However, they are also egotistical . . . and so their mind reaches for something that will not only allow them to claim some kind of intellectual “superiority” or “achievement,” but also allow them to do so with no work.

Going green
Protesting
Claiming they’re a caring liberal
Joining a religion
Going vegan
Becoming a professor
etc.

This not only results in them living in a delusional, non-real world, but also makes them emotionally and egotistically invested in keeping up their ideological facade. Thus, when you make impassionate, logical, stoic arguments of fact, math, and statistics you (consciously or not) pierce their ego, expose their charade, and therefore trigger a visceral, emotional, and often hate-laden response from them.

The left tend to deal in feelings rather than facts and proof. It actually seems that facts and proof are no part of anything they propose. They believe what they wish to believe because it makes them feel better, not because it is actually valid or demonstrable to reason and common sense.

James Delingpole off to greener pastures

Alas:

Today is the sad day when I must bid you all farewell. I have been appointed Chief Sustainability Consultant at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, working directly to one of my all-time-heroes Ed Davey, with a juicy, taxpayer-funded salary, a ring-fenced pension and a bio-fuel-powered Aston-Martin just like the Prince of Wales’s.
No, not really, about the second bit. Just the first bit: I’m off to pastures new. . . .

Thank you most of all to those of you who have supported me through thick and thin. Thanks for your technical expertise and advice (it prevented anyone ever noticing that I’m an English graduate and know NOTHING about science apart from, maybe, how to grow copper sulphate crystals); thanks for your jokes, links and irrelevant asides; thanks for your friendship and loyalty and courage in the face of sometimes, near insuperable odds, against the dark forces of statism, political correctness, and green-left-liberal lunacy. You are like brothers to me: all of you; apart from the ones who are more like sisters.

UPDATE: But still with The Spectator. Here is James discussing The martyrdom of Mark Steyn. A serious issue and part of the reason that free speech is not what it used to be in the US. This is the final para but all the paras before should be read as well.

Mann may or may not have a case against Steyn on technical grounds; but in terms of the bigger argument about empiricism, free speech and the scientific method, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Steyn gets this and — as he did in his case against the Ontario Human Rights Committee — is laying his neck on the line not solely because he’s a show-off and an awkward sod but for the greater cause of western civilisation. Now go to his website Steynonline.com and read what you can do to support him.

The science is settled – Capricorns are more pragmatic

This is about the generation most worried about global warming: Majority of young adults think astrology is a science.

According to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology, the study of celestial bodies’ purported influence on human behavior and worldly events, is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific.” . . .

What’s more alarming, researchers show in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk. . . .

Young people are also especially inclined to offer astrology scientific legitimacy, with a majority of Americans ages 18 to 24 considering the practice at least “sort of” scientific, and the 25-34 age group is not far behind them

So let me re-write that, taking into account that 47% of adults (i.e. voters) in Australia still think global warming is a problem with presumably an even larger proportion of those under 30 having swallowed the Kool-Aid. Please bear in mind that this is a paraphrase just for satirical purposes:

According to a new survey, nearly half of all adults say anthropomorphic global warming (AGW), the study of carbon dioxide’s purported influence on our economy and world temperatures, is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific. . . .”

What’s more alarming, researchers show in the study that attitudes about AGW are hardly budging. Skepticism about global warming still remains low, with only just over half of those surveyed saying AGW is total nonsense.

But don’t worry. When the moon is in the seventh house and Mars is at its zenith, things will begin to shift.

A level of ignorance only exceeded by his irresponsibility

Melanie Phillips discusses the revamping of drug laws, and more importantly, drug morality in the US:

Rub your eyes: an American President, the nation’s ultimate role model, using his uniquely powerful position of influence to talk down the dangers of drug-taking – displaying a level of ignorance only exceeded by his irresponsibility – and talking up therefore the likely incidence of addiction, mental degeneration and death from narcotic abuse.

After Obamacare, Obamaddiction. It’s a tragedy all right – but on a rather larger and more devastating scale than one dead actor.