November 28, 2013
Wishing a very happy and blessed Hannukah to our Jewish readers, and, indeed, to everyone!
This from our archives:
Below is an explanation of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) from Jewish virtual library:
Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
Chanukah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.
The story of Chanukah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Judea, but allowed the people under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated, adopting much of Hellenistic culture, including the language, customs, dress, etc., in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.
More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Selucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.
Chanukah is not a very important religious holiday. The holiday’s religious significance is far less than that of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu’ot. It is roughly equivalent to Purim in significance, and you won’t find many non-Jews who have even heard of Purim! Chanukah is not mentioned in Jewish scripture; the story is related in the book of the Maccabbees, which Jews do not accept as scripture.
The only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. The candles are arranged in a candelabrum called a Hanukia. Many people refer to the Hanukia incorrectly as a menorah. The name menorah is used only to describe the seven-branched candelabrum that was housed in the Jewish Temple. The Hanukiah holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shamash (servant) at a different height. On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. The shamash candle is lit and three berakhot (blessings) are recited: l’hadlik neir (a general prayer over candles), she-asah nisim (a prayer thanking G-d for performing miracles for our ancestors at this time), and she-hekhianu (a general prayer thanking G-d for allowing us to reach this time of year). The first candle is then lit using the shamash candle, and the shamash candle is placed in its holder. The candles are allowed to burn out on their own after a minimum of 1/2 hour. Each night, another candle is added from right to left (like the Hebrew language). Candles are lit from left to right (because you pay honor to the newer thing first).
Because of the law prohibiting the lighting of a fire on Shabbat, Chanukah candles are lit before the Shabbat candles on Friday night, and they are lit after Havdalah on Saturday night. The following blessings are said:
Blessed are You,
our God, Creator of time and space,
who enriches our lives with holiness,
commanding us to kinkle the Chanukah lights.
Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir shel Chanukah.
Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asah
nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baz’man hazeh.
On the first night, the Shehecheyanu is also recited.
Why the shamash candle? The Chanukah candles are for pleasure only; we are not allowed to use them for any productive purpose. We keep an extra one around (the shamash), so that if we need to do something useful with a candle, we don’t accidentally use the Chanukah candles. The shamash candle is at a different height so that it is easily identified as the shamash.
It is traditional to eat fried foods on this holiday, because of the significance of oil to the holiday. Among Ashkenazic Jews, this usually includes latkes (pronounced `lot-kuhs` or `lot-keys` depending on where your grandmother comes from), or `potato pancakes`.
Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday, but has been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christians as a way of dealing with children’s jealousy of their Christian friends. The only traditional gift of the holiday is `gelt`, small amounts of money. Chanukah gelt is a Jewish custom rooted in the Talmud: The Talmud states that even a very poor person must light Chanukah lights, even if he can’t afford it. A person with no money is required to go ‘knocking on doors’ until he collects enough to buy at least one candle for each night of Chanukah. The Torah concept of charity — tzedakah — requires us to help the recipient in the most dignified manner possible. Therefore, the custom arose to give gifts of money during Chanukah so that someone who needs extra money for Chanukah candles can receive it in the form of ‘Chanukah Gelt.’
Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top. Most people play for matchsticks, pennies, M&Ms or chocolate coins. A dreidel is marked with the following four Hebrew letters: Nun, Gimmel, Heh and Shin. On Israeli dreidels, there is no Shin but rather a Peh, which stands for Po, meaning here.
This supposedly stands for the Hebrew phrase "nes gadol hayah sham", a great miracle happened there. Actually, it stands for the Yiddish words nit (nothing), gantz (all), halb (half) and shtell (put), which is the rules of the game! There are some variations in the way people play the game, but the way I learned it, everyone puts in one coin. A person spins the dreidel. On Nun, nothing happens; on Gimmel (or, as we called it as kids, "gimme!"), you get the whole pot; on Heh, you get half of the pot; and on Shin, you put one in. When the pot is empty, everybody puts one in. Keep playing until one person has everything. Then redivide it, because nobody likes a poor winner.
A traditional song of this holiday is "Maoz Tzur", better known to Christians as "Rock of Ages" (the tune is the same as one of the more popular ones; the Christian translation takes substantial liberties).
Jack Kemp the unpolitician adds this:
Tim, a pretty good explanation of Hanukkah. The alternative yiddish names for the dreidel are just for the children’s game of gambling with nuts or chocolates. The four letters representing ”Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” (Miracle Big Was There) is found on a Diaspora dreidel. An Israeli dreidel (called a "savivon”) has four letters representing "Nes Gadol Hayah Poh” (Miracle Big Happened Here).
That's a great catch you got in saying a Hannukah candelabra is a "Hannukia." That's what they call it in Israel. Also, in Israel, an ordinary ceiling light bulb or table lamp is called a "menorah."
In either country, I say to you "Chag Sameach" which means "Happy Holiday."
I used to sing this hymn in grade school music class and wanted to hear it again. It is called "We Gather Together to Ask the Lord's Blessing."
Wanting to hear it again this Thanksgiving, my search on YouTube found a nice version of 1950s singer and television star Tennessee Ernie Ford - accompanied by the San Quentin Prison Choir.
Go to the link below and hear the beautiful voices of this Thanksgiving hymn. It's under two minutes long and well worth listening to.
November 27, 2013
Today the New York Post showed quotes from a letter by a teacher to Obama using the words "tea baggers." Obama replied to the writer, a Mr. Ritter, using the phrase "tea baggers" on official White House stationary.
Some try to excuse this as merely a reply to Ritter, but Obama here has given his official "Presidential Seal of Approval" to use the phrase "tea baggers" in polite conversation recorded for history. Can you even imagine Franklin Roosevelt or J.F. Kennedy using such a phrase in public? It is hard to imagine even Bill Clinton being so cavalier to say something like this on White House stationary.
In 2010, Jennifer Harper at the Washington Times mentioned a liberal author, Jonathan Alter, writing about Obama using the phrase back then. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/05/strong-brew/#ixzz2lrmRUq9X
Watchdogs at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) barked when they saw the proof, tucked in a sneak peak of Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter’s new book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” to be released May 18. Indeed, it appears the president joined certain partisan critics and the liberal media, and took the tea-bag plunge.
"This remark is the equivalent of using the ‘n’ word. It shows contempt for middle America, expressed knowingly, contemptuously, on purpose, and with a smirk. It is indefensible to use this word. The president knows what it means, and his people know what it means. The public thought we reached a new low of incivility during the Clinton administration. Well, the Obama administration has just outdone them,”
president Grover Norquist tells Inside the Beltway.
This is the same Obama who calls for "civility" now and then and then throws this term out. I totally agree with Grover Norquist on this. This is a derisive equivalent of the N-word - and I'll add the obvious - directed mostly against white people and blacks who support the Tea Party and conservative politics. Once again, Obama uses the bully pulpit to divide the nation and insult its citizens.
Just after the announcement of a deal between Tehran and the Western nations over Iranian nukes, a deal that grants essentially a "get out of jail free" card to the Mullahs and their nuclear weapons program, a series of explosions rock the Iranian embassy in Beirut.
Coincidence? I think not.
Many of the Sunni nations in the Gulf region are very worried about Iran, particularly the House of Saud, which rules most of the Arabian peninsula including the Moslem's holy city of Mecca. The Saudis fear Iran, and are threatening to pursue a nuclear bomb http://world.time.com/2013/11/26/saudi-arabia-considers-nuclear-weapons-after-irans-geneva-deal/ themselves, since it is becoming apparent that America no longer has the will to protect them.
It has always been believed in some quarters that the Saudis hold more influence over terrorism in the region than our government believes. Even if they aren't the culprits here then some other Sunni group no doubt fears a growing Iranian hegemony.
Meanwhile, the sanctions have been strangling the Iranian theocracy, and they were fairly desperate for a deal that would take the pressure off. There was a "green revolution" that failed in Iran just a few years ago, and they Mullahs fear, with widespread suffering of their populace, another such attempt.
According to George Friedman at Forbes:
"The Iranians’ primary goal is regime preservation. While Tehran managed the Green Revolution in 2009 because the protesters lacked broad public support, Western sanctions have dramatically increased the economic pressure on Iran and have affected a wide swath of the Iranian public. It isn’t clear that public unhappiness has reached a breaking point, but were the public to be facing years of economic dysfunction, the future would be unpredictable. The election of President Hassan Rouhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the latter’s two terms was a sign of unhappiness. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei clearly noted this, displaying a willingness to trade a nuclear program that had not yet produced a weapon for the elimination of some sanctions."
Mr. Obama is trying hard to damage U.S. interests abroad. A nice side benefit of this is it will interrupt oil markets, helping to drive prices higher. Obama is on record calling for higher fuel prices.
And so I suspect this attack on the Iranian embassy is the opening salvo in a greater Middle Eastern war, a battle between Sunni and Shia that could be terrible indeed.
But hey! You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet!
If he is right, why are we cutting a deal now? It means we have the Iranian government on the ropes and the Obama Administration is tossing them a lifeline. Now is the time to do the exact opposite, to ramp up the pressure, not reduce it. When Iran has the bomb all bets are off; we lose our influence with them as they can blackmail us with nuclear attacks..
I am sorry, but I cannot believe even John Kerry is this dense.
Gareth Porter at Asia Times Online speculates that the Administration designed this ploy to fail, to allow Obama to suggest he made every good faith attempt. If so, does that mean Obama wants to attack Iran? http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-261113.html
I think, like most of Obama's policies, it IS designed to fail, but not to allow Obama to take proper action. I think Obama believes that the enemy of the U.S. is his friend, that a nuclear Iran would bring the "arrogant" U.S. down a peg or two. He's acting against our interest here, as surely as he has acted against our interest with Obamacare, with Fast and Furious, with Benghazi, etc. Obama has acted against U.S. interest (and for Moslem interests) repeatedly during his tenure of office.
The Chinese have inked a deal with Nicaragua to build a sea level canal.
According to Arnie Saiki at Asia Times Online:
"The canal would bypass not only the already congested Panama Canal, but also the strong US military presence patrolling the area. The access provided by Nicaragua's canal would be a welcome and long-sought opportunity for Global South economies - especially for regional economic and political trading blocs like the South American Common Market called Mercosur, and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)."
Interesting. When America first signed the Canal Treaty under Jimmy Carter it was sold to the public as a bad deal for Panama; there were suggestions we would build a new canal in Nicaragua to supercede the old one in Panama. As soon as the deal went through the Administration became dismissive of that idea. Not long after the Sandinistas took power (thanks to Carter's bumbling foreign policy) and we spent a decade trying to drive them out. Reagan did it - but now the Sandinistas are back http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21589473-sandinistas-propose-re-election-without-end-daniel-ortega-comandantes-commandments, and now the Chinese are about to get a solid foothold in an area of critical importance to the U.S.
It's not going to change our military influence in the region, but we will be committing an act of war if we prevent the use of the chinese canal, whereas now the Chinese cannot complain if we stop ships from going through Panama.
And this action by China is another example of the bumbling of the Obama Administration; the Chinese are taking this step because they are being cut out on trade by the U.S. led TPP, which is demanding a host of reforms from China to join. The Chinese aren't playing ball (no doubt much of it is based on Global Warming policy in the Obama Administration) and so they are going to simply build their own canal.
As Saiki points out:
"A China-led Nicaragua Canal challenges Washington's 150-year-old claim of military and economic hegemony in the Western Hemisphere as outlined in the Monroe Doctrine. The rise of the trans-global BRICS economy, coupled with a new inter-oceanic canal that the United States has no jurisdiction over, means that the United States has been, at this moment, out-maneuvered by China."
With such intellectual luminaries like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry running our foreign policy, does this surprise anyone?
American power and authority is vanishing before our eyes.
By Alan Caruba
Let me begin by saying that the deal the U.S. struck with Iran on November 24 is so criminally stupid that mobs with torches and pitchforks should be surrounding the White House and Department of State demanding that the President and Secretary of State resign.
How many times does the United States have to make really bad deals with really bad nations? And then call it progress!
In 1994, former President Clinton announced that a deal with North Korea had agreed to "freeze the major elements of its nuclear program.” A new round of talks was scheduled—in Geneva—to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Virtually the same language was used by President Obama in his late evening announcement of a fundamentally useless, but extremely dangerous agreement with Iran.
Worse than accepting Iran’s deception, it is as if Obama knew nothing of the North Korean deal that subsequently resulted in its development of a nuclear weapon despite some costly bribery exacted for promises it never intended to keep. The worst part of this is Obama’s deception of Congress and the American people. Efforts to grant Iran the status of a new nuclear power had been secretly going on for a year behind the back of Congress.
On hearing of the deal, Rep. Mike Rogers said "That’s the one thing the whole world was trying to stop them from doing,” referring to the permission granted to continue enriching uranium. "We made this mistake in Pakistan. We made this mistake in North Korea. History is a great judge here and great teacher. Why would you make the same mistake to a nation that will proliferate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if they are successful at getting a nuclear weapon?”
It is important to keep in mind that not just the U.S. is a signatory to this agreement, but also the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China. It was facilitated by the European Union. The lessons of history were totally ignored. The sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iran were ignored.
For years many have taken comfort in the knowledge that, in the past, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactors that were being built in Iraq and more recently in Syria. An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities was assumed to have the support of U.S. military power in the event that Iran would retaliate either directly or through its terrorist proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
It is clear now that Obama has abandoned Israel as well as Saudi Arabia which also regards Iran as its enemy. Obama has embraced America’s enemy since the Islamic revolution in 1979. He has not brought us closer to peace. He has brought the world closer to World War Three.
I am not a military strategist, but one need not be to understand Israel’s peril or the limits on its ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, many of which are underground or heavily defended.
Here are some comparisons:
Iran has a population of 78,868,711. Israel has a population of 7,765,700.
Of these, those fit for military service are 39,556,497 in Iran and 2,511,190 in Israel.
Comparing active military personnel, Iran has 545,000 and Israel has 187,000.
Iran has 650,000 in military reserves. Israel has 565,000.
Iran’s annual defense budget (in USD) is $10,687,000,000 and Israel’s is $15,209,000,000.
The comparison of their military capabilities is equally daunting. A sobering analysis is offered on the website of the Jewish Virtual Library.
Even if Israel were to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it would also have to fend off massive rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas.
What defies Obama’s reasoning is Iran’s long history of attacks on the West. It has specialized in taking hostages, initially in Lebanon from 1984 through 1992. It seized the American embassy in 1979 and held American diplomats for 444 days. It holds an American cleric as this is being written.
In 2011, the U.S. discovered that Iran had conceived and funded a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. At the time, the State Department said that the thwarted plot "underscored anew Iran’s interest in using international terrorism—including the United States—to further its foreign policy goals.”
Obama’s ability to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its intent to become a Middle East hegemon through diplomacy does not exist.
A race to acquire nuclear arms has begun in the region where Israel and Pakistan already have them, as does India and China. Saudi Arabia has announced its intent to secure nuclear weapons.
One can only conclude that this interim agreement is a repeat of the appeasement that occurred in Munich when European nations sought a similar agreement with the Nazi regime. The lessons of history are unforgiving.
© Alan Caruba, 2013
November 26, 2013
Chuck Hagel storms the Arctic with the U.S. military.
He is apparently worried about an ice-free Arctic ocean, and wants joint exercises with the Russians (who are the only guys in the region who could seriously threaten American security).
Maybe he should storm the beaches of West Antarctica next?
Eco Fascism, william Kay calls it. He's right; take a look at this:
" * "…every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”—–George Monbiot,
* Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.” Richard Glover, Sydney Morning Herald
* "At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers?” influential U.S. website (Talking Points Memo)
* "In an odd way this [his death] is cheering news.” email between two very prominent climate academics regarding the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics)
* "Fighting Climate Change Deniers Is Like Fighting Hitler” Chris Huhne UK government minister
* "not long ago to question multiculturalism…. risked being branded racists and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers" BBC
* ‘The people who are most vocal in denying human responsibility for the disastrous effects of climate change are mostly male. The people who control factories of wage slaves in the developing world are almost exclusively men, as are the commanders of terrorist regimes. Leaders who threaten or declare war are mostly men as are those involved in paedophile gangs’ BBC
* Climate change sceptics are "crackpots and conspiracy theorists”,
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey
* "An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,” former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm
"It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on.” Michael T. Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Read the entire post by Scottish Skeptic; it is well worth your time.
You might want to see James Delingpole as well.
What this illustrates is a pattern of intimidation aimed at silencing critics, the type of intimidation that has traditionally accompanied crime syndicates, labor unions, Nazis, and Bolsheviks. If this is about science, why the threats?
Because it never has been about science and the promoters of AGW theory have had an agenda, a reorganization of the human race under a world government in a worker's paradise. They thought they would have this nailed down by now, but the skeptics stopped them, and now the warm spell is over. Nature has them flummoxed, and the grow increasingly shrill in the hopes of silencing their critics so they can impose their will.
I said it before and I'll say it again; green is the new brown!
Here's how not to report on science or economics.
Terra Daily is citing a report from the World (aka United Nations) Bank saying that Global Warming has quadrupled the costs of natural disasters since the 1980's.
Actually, natural climate disasters are at an ebb, certainly tropical cyclones http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/09/05/dont-believe-the-global-warmists-major-hurricanes-are-less-frequent/, but the U.N. and the Terra Daily authors could not be bothered to address that simple fact.
The DO stumple upon one of the reasons for rising disaster costs:
"The document included estimates of the cost from lives and jobs lost as well as damage to property and infrastructure.
In the 1980s, it said, the annual cost was about $50 billion, quadrupling to $200 billion per year in the last decade.
"Weather-related economic impacts are especially high in fast-growing, middle-income countries due to increasingly exposed, valuable assets," said the report.
In these economies, "the average impact of disasters equalled one percent of GDP (gross domestic product) over the six years from 2001 to 2006, 10 times higher than the average for high-income countries."
Those further down the ladder of development experienced a correspondingly greater loss of GDP."
There are more people and they are wealthier now than at any time in history - which means more carbon dioxide. That natural disasters wreck many of those newly acquired assets is no surprise; not much to be said when a typhoon wrecks a village of tarpaper shacks, but when it wrecks a million dollar resort...
And it should be pointed out that COLD air is the cause of hurricanes/typhoons. According to Tulane University Prof Stephen A. Nelson:
Origin of Hurricanes
* When a cold air mass is located above an organized cluster of tropical thunderstorms, an unstable atmosphere results. (This is called a tropical wave). This instability increases the likelihood of convection, which leads to strong updrafts that lift the air and moisture upwards, creating an environment favorable for the development of high, towering clouds. A tropical disturbance is born when this moving mass of thunderstorms maintains its identity for a period of 24 hours or more. This is the first stage of a developing hurricane.
So, cold area, and not warm air, is the cause of hurricanes. Granted, it gains energy from evaporating water vapor. Still, blaming this on Global Warming is a bit of a stretch.
But it has become an article of faith that the planet is warming (which isn't true, and hasn't been true since 1995) and this warming is causing all manner of natural disasters. The credulous writers at Terra Daily should actually learn some science rather than report what they are told.
November 25, 2013
From Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Sharia in Minnesota: YMCA and St. Paul Police Dept organize Muslim swim with taxpayer dollars
There are are thousands of Islamic centers across the country -- sharia swim belongs there, not in our public pools. The police department is providing transportation for the Muslimas to segregated sharia swim at the YMCA.
If it is so crucial that these Muslims live under sharia, why move here? Why not live in a sharia state?
Get my book, Stop the Islamization of the America, A Practical Guide to the Resistance.
Minnesota: YMCA and St. Paul Police Dept organize sharia swim time for Muslims
Posted on November 23, 2013 by creeping
All men and infidels (except female lifeguards) are banned. Presumably enforced by the St. Paul sharia cops…who also double as Muslim taxi cabs. via St. Paul YMCA and police start Somali girls swim group | Star Tribune.
Rayan Dhamuke, 12, doesn’t get to swim a lot, unlike her brothers. During the past summer, she had to visit the pool at 5 a.m. so that she would have the privacy she needed to enjoy the water while still adhering to her family’s cultural and religious beliefs.
Apparently reporter Nicole Norfleet cannot bring herself to pen the word sharia. But that’s exactly what this is.
To better accommodate girls like Dhamuke, the downtown St. Paul YMCA, in partnership with the St. Paul Police Department, has started a swim group for Somali-American girls. The group, which began in October, is serving as an outlet for girls ages 5 to 17 to learn the basics of swimming.
Their being Somali is somewhat insignificant. If they were atheists, Christians, Jews or Hindu’s from Somalia – they’d swim with the rest of us.
Special considerations have to be made to address modesty concerns so that the Muslim girls can swim and not reveal too much of themselves.
To abide by…sharia law.
During the hourlong swim practice, all other swimmers are cleared out of the pool. The men’s locker room is locked. Female life guards are brought in. The pool, which is on the building’s third floor, has no windows so they don’t have to worry about prying eyes from outside.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith had discussions with Britts to let the Y know that, through the department’s connections with the Somali-American community, they had learned that such a group was needed.
"I think this is just a great opportunity for them to learn basic skills that we take for granted,” said Sgt. Jennifer O’Donnell, who has worked with the Somali community regularly during her time with the department.
What about the basic skill of integration? Barring any safety issues of swimming fully clothed, Muslims can walk into any YMCA during any swim time and swim. That they choose not to – because they don’t want to swim with infidels or men in accordance with Islamic sharia law – doesn’t mean that Americans take learning to swim for granted. O’Donnell is an embarrassment.
"We have to have privacy,” said Ubah Ali, Dhamuke’s mother.
No – you want privacy. It really begs the question, if they want to live under sharia, why did they come to the U.S.?
For years, Ali said she has been trying to find a place where her daughter could swim, but nothing seemed to work. Not knowing how to swim is a safety risk, especially in the state of 10,000 lakes, Ali said.
Because a Muslim girl could slip and fall into a lake at any time in Minnesota. Absurdity.
Hani Hussein, who volunteers at the Al-Ihsan Islamic Center in St. Paul, said she looked into reserving public pools for girls, but it was too expensive.
"I really wanted the girls to come swim to learn not only how to swim but to build their confidence,” Hussein said.
Funding for the group comes from two metrowide water safety grants from Hawkins Inc. and Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation. The police department helps provide transportation for the girls to the YMCA.
Taxpayers now pay St. Paul cops to taxi Muslims to sharia-compliant swim classes. It’s creeping along in many cities:
This article from Morry Markovitz on Tea Party Nation is worth repeating. The more we put off the inevitable, the more dispirited we make ourselves.
IT'S (third) PARTY TIME!!
* Posted by Morry Markovitz on November 24, 2013 at 5:30am
Because of intervening events and a lot of thinking, I've radically changed the opinion I held only a year ago about the advisability of a 3rd political party. No longer do I see it as a potential "spoiler" that would ensure electoral victories for statists/collectivists/progressives and Democrats. I now think the time has come for a third party to begin.
Whether or not the reader of this agrees with me, I'm going to start with just ONE idea I think we all should adopt even in our current political messaging, as a TEA PARTY organization. Following that, I'll incorporate that idea into a major theme for a 3rd party's self-presentation that would, in my opinion, draw a potentially large fraction of the votes of current rank and file Democrats, and even many liberals.
HOW WE PRESENT OURSELVES
We Tea Partiers, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Freedom advocates, and Patriots in general should STOP making the same mistake-of-omission that Republicans make, and REALLY start garnering MAJOR support from racial minorities, ethnic minorities, AND EVEN A LOT OF RANK AND FILE LIBERAL / DEM type voters, this way:
Start referring to (and taking over the title of sponsors for) THE BILL OF RIGHTS by CONSISTENTLY referring to those rights as the CIVIL RIGHTS of every American. We must seek aggressively to incorporate into our public image that we are FIGHTERS FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF ALL AMERICANS. After all . . .
. . . THAT'S WHAT THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS -- A LIST OF EACH AMERICAN'S CIVIL RIGHTS RESPECTED BY THE FEDERAL GOV'T.
The LEFT has co-opted the warm and fuzzy phrase "civil rights" unto itself UNDESERVEDLY by making it semi-synonymous with opposing racism, and then posing as friends of minorities. LET'S END THEIR MONOPOLY ON THIS IMAGE, AND SEIZE IT FOR OURSELVES, BECAUSE WE'RE THE ONES WHO REALLY DESERVE IT.
We can TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DECADES OF EFFORT THE LEFT HAS EXPENDED TO MAKE "CIVIL RIGHTS" A PHRASE WITH THE ULTIMATE MORAL HALO AROUND IT, AND TAKE THAT HALO FOR OURSELVES, AND DEPRIVE THEM OF IT. We are, after all, the TRUE advocates of civil rights for every individual American.
EMPHASIZE, EMPHASIZE, EMPHASIZE THAT WE SUPPORT CIVIL RIGHTS -- because we DO!! Try to find one of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution which isn't a Civil Right -- you can't. By equating the two, by CONSTANTLY EMPHASIZING the phrase "civil rights" as what we support, we can then (on appropriate occasions) BLAST THE LEFT FOR BEING OPPOSED TO CIVIL RIGHTS -- such as the right to bear arms or the right to privacy, or to security from unwarranted searches and seizures, the right to a jury trial, etc. REMIND AMERICANS THAT "CIVIL RIGHTS" DOES NOT MEAN ONLY THE 1st AMENDMENT, IT INCLUDES ALL TEN OF THEM, THE ENTIRE "BILL OF RIGHTS." SHOW THE LEFT UP FOR THE ANTI-CIVIL-RIGHTS ADVOCATES THEY REALLY ARE, AND PUT THE DEMS ON THE DEFENSIVE.
It will be hard for the existing Repubs to convince people of this, because of the decades of false demonizing of the Repubs and Conservatives. But a NEW THIRD PARTY with a clean slate will be selling itself to millions of OPEN EARS curious to find out where it stands, and WE'LL TELL 'EM THE TRUTH. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that with a little bit of intelligence, a 3rd party could actually WIN the 2016 Presidential election by a significant margin. The above suggestion is only a little icing on the cake which I mention first because I think it's a good idea right now, even if no 3rd party is contemplated. But let's try to contemplate it for a few minutes.
Time flies, and we keep on thinking "spoiler" when we hear "3rd party." But I think that's NO LONGER TRUE. Almost 25 YEARS AGO Ross Perot's 3rd party run garnered 23% of the vote. It shocked the pundits then, but if a similar attempt were made today, I think it would shock them even more:
Suppose we formed "The NEW (or "REAL") REPUBLICAN Party." Keep that "republican" in the name to attract conservatives, but put "new" or "real" in front of it to advertise that we are DIFFERENT, that we are NEW AND IMPROVED, and that we are SO FED UP with the "old" Republicans, we actually "seceded" from that party. IE, we are almost as upset with them as the Dems and LIberals are!! So . . . minorities, some Dems, and even some staunch liberal rank-and-files may well be curious to give us a hearing, since we share one thing in common with them: we both regard the "old" Republican party as our adversary. And when they hear "civil rights" as one of our major theme songs (by which we quietly but not ashamedly mean the 1st ten amendments to the Constitution, ie the Bill of Rights), many from their ranks will stop, look, and take a listen. They'll be a lot more willing to give us, an unfamiliar NEW party, the hearing that they would never grant the "old" Republican Party they already know and hate so well.
And remember, we've had 25 years, almost, since Ross Perot got 23% of the vote, a full generation longer for the growing ideas and the growing following of freedom, free markets, and individualism to spread. That trend has GOT to be much stronger now than it was 25 years ago. I'm sure there are millions of people in BOTH parties who would LOVE to have a REAL choice, instead of the same old REPUB/DEM "business as usual." PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR CHANGE, DESPERATELY. THAT'S WHY SO MANY VOTED FOR OBAMA. BUT WE'LL PUT SOME REAL DETAILS AND REAL MEAT ON THE BARE BONE OF "CHANGE" THAT OBAMA TOSSED THEM. WE WON'T JUST MAKE PROMISES. WE'LL EDUCATE THEM -- LIKE PEROT DID!! It's my opinion that one of the reasons Perot got such a big vote was that he took the time to EXPLAIN IN DETAIL the reasons why he was running, and what he believed about where our nation was headed. No cute, snappy sound bites, no attack ads, no spun, misleading presentations. Just facts, and explanations of them. Americans don't get that anymore during elections; they get too much of the same baloney they get a hundred times a day even between elections from TV commercials and magazine ads. Giving them credit for having a brain is a compliment to them, and they'll appreciate it. I'm not saying we should eliminate clever slogans or sound bites -- but if we seek to learn at least one lesson from Perot's success, I think this is the one we should take to heart.
In a 3-way race, you can win with only 34% of the vote, though 35-37% would be a lot more likely win. Considering the passage of time enabling liberals to shoot themselves in the foot a few more times while the ideas of the right keep slowly gaining more traction, AND CONSIDERING THE UTTER DISGUST WITH WHICH MOST AMERICANS NOW REGARD BOTH PARTIES IN CONGRESS, I think an intelligently planned 3rd party endeavor JUST MIGHT WIPE OUT BOTH THE CURRENT MAJOR PARTIES IN A 3-WAY RACE. I don't see how, with even minimal competence, such a party could avoid AT LEAST substantially beating Perot's 23% by a mile. Conditions couldn't be riper for it.
It will be obvious that "The New Republican Party" is a home for Tea Party groups of all stripes, the We, the People groups, the Patriot groups, the Liberty groups, all the differently named roses with the same sweet smell. It will have a common sense platform, or basic statement of principles, consistent with Tea Party principles. But in our terminology, CIVIL RIGHTS will be the #1"new wrinkle" we add, the rights that are the Constitution's Bill of Rights, along with the provisions of the original Constitution itself. Sane government. We will "sell" the Bill of Rights as the CIVIL rights they are.
We will also, in our platform, decry the fact that we've strayed from Abe Lincoln's "Government OF, BY, and FOR the PEOPLE." ("That's why we left the repubs!! Because they strayed from their own heritage" we'll say when asked.) We have somehow "morphed into" a nation of little people with few rights, ruled by an elite class of professional politicians who vote themselves SPECIAL rights and favors, paid for by us, but of which we are deprived from enjoying ourselves (this will strike a chord with MANY dissatisfied Dems, NOT just Independents). It's time for Americans to regain their self-image as INDEPENDENT individuals, as SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS, proud to be Americans who have RIGHTS that no one can touch, not even their own government: the right of INDIVIDUAL SELF-DETERMINATION, to pursue their own lives in one of the myriad ways each American chooses for himself. The FREEDOM to be YOURSELF and live YOUR life the way YOU choose, without some bureaucrat 1,000 miles away telling you what to teach your kids, what you can eat or drink, and what medicines you have to or will be allowed to take.
We will declare that it's time for CITIZEN legislators, REAL people, not career political hacks, to represent us in Congress and throughout government. We need NEW BLOOD to solve the problems which the OLD Guard of Dems/Repubs have created, and shown ZERO ability to solve, despite their ability to make repeated promises year in and year out which they never keep. Vote for sanity, common sense, and GOVERNMENT OF, BY AND FOR REAL PEOPLE. We don't need to fund research on how monkeys peel bananas or how hogs feed at their troughs. We see enough of that in D.C. every day. Let's get some AMERICAN HUMAN BEINGS elected to serve their peers, us, who are AMERICAN HUMAN BEINGS TOO.
All the Tparty-type groups, blogs, websites, etc will support us -- even though it's not now centralized, and even though it can REMAIN THAT WAY, we can be sure ALL THOSE GROUPS WILL BE OUR CORE SUPPORT. We have a nationwide news and communications network EFFECTIVELY ALREADY IN PLACE. We are WAY AHEAD of where Ross Perot began when he ran. We will get MILLIONS AND MILLION OF DOLLARS WORTH OF "FREE ADVERTISING" from the many grass-roots groups who will love the new party's statement of principles.
I think many will agree with me that LOTS of Americans would like to FLEE the 2 major parties, if only there were another place to go where they'd feel comfy. LET'S CREATE THAT PLACE FOR THEM, and WIN THE ELECTION. If Ross Perot could get 23% of the vote, drawn mostly from Republicans, I think a 3rd party today, done right, could easily get pretty much all those votes PLUS 50% MORE in today's political environment.
BTW, I don't think we should EXPLICITLY have "tea party" in the party's name, or we'll waste all our time defending ourselves against the ongoing demonizing from the left and the Dems. We need to LEAVE the "Tea Party" with its current concept of GRASS ROOTS, NON-POLITICAL stature. Yes, when asked, probably 99% plus of the current Tea Party type groups will say "we like the new party, and we sure do need something new, it seems to REFLECT THE SAME American "malaise" or discontent with today's politics which spawned the Tea Party, but it is separate, not affiliated. We're waiting to see what kind of candidates they put forward." It is a political party, the NEW REPUBLICAN party, and the Tea Party should remain what it now is, a flexible, non-centralized amalgam of many groups, and it will likely support many of the new party's candidates, but will also support Dems and "old" Repubs here and there too, if the individual candidate supports Tea Party (well, the "new republican party") principles.
THE TEA PARTY CONCEPT SHOULD REMAIN SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM the new 3rd party. This is for many obvious positive reasons, and one "anti-negative" reason: just in case the 3rd party effort should bomb, or be taken over by a few individuals who do not truly understand Tea Party principles, or who botch the explanation of them, this separation will prevent the new party from dragging down the Tparty movement with it. I think there should ALWAYS be a place for a phenomenon like the CURRENT Tea Party, out there observing and educating the public on current issues and on the nature of our unique government.
Furthermore, feelers should go out early to the Constitution party and Libertarian party to join with us and assist us in this one election, 2016, and if possible run their candidates under our label, to save us from losing a few percent of the vote. We will be a genuinely viable means for carrying THEM a few steps forward toward their own specific goals, many of which we share.
Who knows? It might even mark the beginning of the end of the 2-party system, the evils of which we were warned about by none other than President George Washington in his Farewell Address. Though better known for its warning against "foreign entanglements," that speech spent more time warning against the 2-party system. If that should happen, it would be a godsend. Candidates would have to run on their own unique and individual merits, not on one of only 2 major platforms.
A year ago, I was opposed to a 3rd party, but events and much thinking have changed my mind. Particularly the demoralizing and actually disgusting way the Republicans behaved after the 2012 elections, especially with regard to fighting Obamacare, the debt ceiling issue, and the gov't shutdown. Republican leadership behaved abominably toward the conservative members of the party who helped so many Repubs get elected, and toward their own constituents, to whom the promises they made were broken. I remembered Perot's run 25 years ago, and in light of our current political atmosphere as described in brief above, I have been forced to conclude that, far from being a "spoiler," a 3rd party NOW could end up being the very breath of fresh air that a majority of voting Americans seem to be yearning for.
A final consideration is this: WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO LOSE?
With the way the Republican leadership has been behaving, they are nothing more than enablers for the Democrats' agenda, and I don't need to comment on how many Democrats are themselves fed up with that agenda. And if we let the current Republican leadership continue in power unchecked, they will continue to penetrate ever deeper into the "Democrat-light" territory they've been accelerating into of late . If we end up hurting the re-election of some Republicans and enabling a couple more Dems to win in a 3-way race, then we won't be much worse off than we are already. But the longer we postpone the implementing of a 3rd party, the WORSE the situation will get, and the harder it will probably become to mount such an effort effectively.
The crazy goings-on in Nebraska cannot be ignored – especially because they are symptomatic of much bigger problems. As our article notes, Nebraska scientists are refusing to participate in a study that state legislators want to examine natural causes of climate change, unless it is revised to include human influences. In fact, they won't even suggest that other scientists participate in it. Including ONLY human influences in climate studies doesn’t seem to bother alarmists one whit. But focusing for a change only on natural factors is cause for outrage.
Their stance seems mystifying – until one examines climate change financing, political correctitude, and determination to gain control over people’s lives and livelihoods. Dennis Mitchell and I survey the problem in this week’s column, and point out that these attitudes are found far beyond the Cornhusker Kickback State.
A climate of fear, cash and correctitude
Trashing real science to protect grants, prestige, and desire to control energy, economy, lives
Paul Driessen and Dennis Mitchell
Earth’s geological, archaeological and written histories are replete with climate changes: big and small, short and long, benign, beneficial, catastrophic and everything in between.
The Medieval Warm Period (950-1300 AD or CE) was a boon for agriculture, civilization and Viking settlers in Greenland. The Little Ice Age that followed (1300-1850) was calamitous, as were the Dust Bowl and the extended droughts that vanquished the Anasazi and Mayan cultures; cyclical droughts and floodsin Africa, Asia and Australia; and periods of vicious hurricanes and tornadoes. Repeated Pleistocene Epoch ice ages covered much of North America, Europe and Asia under mile-thick ice sheets that denuded continents, stunted plant growth, and dropped ocean levels 400 feet for thousands of years.
Modern environmentalism, coupled with fears first of global cooling and then of global warming, persuaded politicians to launch the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Its original goal was to assess possible human influences on global warming and potential risks of human-induced warming. However, it wasn’t long before the Panel minimized, ignored and dismissed non-human factors to such a degree that its posture became the mantra that only humans are now affecting climate.
Over the last three decades, five IPCC "assessment reports,” dozens of computer models, scores of conferences and thousands of papers focused heavily on human fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, as being responsible for "dangerous” global warming, climate change, climate "disruption,” and almost every "extreme” weather or climate event. Tens of billions of dollars have supported these efforts, while only a few million have been devoted to analyses of all factors – natural and human – that affect and drive planetary climate change.
You would think researchers would welcome opportunities to balance that vast library of one-sided research with an analysis of the natural causes of climate change – so that they can evaluate the relative impact of humanactivities, more accurately predict future changes, and help ensure that communities, states and nations can plan for, mitigate and adapt to those impacts. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
In autumn 2013, Nebraska lawmakersbudgeted $44,000 for a study of climate cycles and natural causes – avoiding additional speculation about manmade effects. Several Nebraska researchers rejected the idea, saying the budget was insufficient and they would not be interested unless human influences were made part of the study. They would not compromise their integrity or let politics dictate their research, they said. Ultimately, the project was cancelled in favor of yet another study of human influences.
Integrity is an important concern, especially when so many scientists have accepted far larger sums for research that emphasizes human causes, including some at Penn State, Virginia, George Mason and other institutions associated with the IPCC and EPA. Such grants have brought us "studies” connecting "dangerous manmade global warming” to dwindling frog populations, shrinking Italian pasta supplies, clownfish getting lost, cockroaches migrating, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions.
It is essential that some studies now begin to assess, understand and calibrate the powerful, complex, interrelated naturalforces that drive climate fluctuations, cycles and changes. Only then will we be able to discern and separate significant human influences – and begin to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future. Even $44,000 would have enabled these accomplished Nebraska researchers to examine existing scientific papersand prepare a valuable report on natural factors that would help to put human influences in context. Only such comprehensive knowledge will enable us to predict, prepare for, mitigate and adapt to future climate variations with sufficient accuracy.
American taxpayers alone are providing billions of dollars annually for research focused on human factors, through the EPA and other government agencies. The universities and other institutions routinely take 40% or more off the top for "project management” and "overhead.” None of them wants to derail that gravy train, and all fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles would imperil funding from sourcesthat have ideological, political or crony corporatist reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy and related topics. Peer pressure, eco-activist harassment, politically correct posturing, and shared ideologies about fossil fuels, forced economic transformations and wealth redistribution via energy policies also play a major role, especially on campuses.
Racial and sexual diversity is applauded, encouraged, even required, on campuses, as is political diversity across the "entire” spectrum from communist to "progressive.” But diversity of opinionis restricted to 20x20-foot "free speech zones,” and would-be free speech practitioners are vilified, exiled to academic Siberia, dismissed or penalized – as "climate skeptics” from Delaware, Oregon, Virginia and other institutions can testify. Robust debate about energy and climate issues is denounced and obstructed.
As The Right Climate Stuff team points out, we cannot possibly model or distinguish human influences on climate change, without first understanding and modeling naturalfactors. But solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces are dismissed in the corridors of alarmism. Even the adverse effects of climate change and renewable energy policies on jobs, economic growth, human health and welfare, and bird and bat populations receive little attention. Sadly, science has been subjected to such tyranny before.
When Copernicus, Keplerand Galileo found that science and observations did not support Ptolemy’s clever and complex model of the solar system, the totalitarian establishment of their day advised such heretics to recant – or be battered, banished or even burned at the stake. Today’s climate models are even more clever and complex, dependent on questionable assumptions and massaged data, unable to predict temperatures or climate events, and employed to justify costly energy and economic policies.
The modelers nevertheless continue to enjoy fame, fortune, power and academic glory – while those who question the garbage in-garbage out models are denounced and ostracized.
A particularly ugly example of junk science occurred in Stalin’s Soviet Union, where TrofimLysenko rejected plant genetics and promoted the idea that traits were acquired by exposure to environmental influences. His delusions fit the regime’s utopian fantasies so well that a generation of scientists accepted them as fact, or at least said they did, so as to stay employed, and alive. Meanwhile, Lysenko’s crackpot ideas led to agricultural decline, crop failures, starvation, and finally the demise of the centrally planned Soviet economic system that perpetrated and perpetuated suffering for millions of people.
Skepticism and debate would have saved resources and lives. However, the Stalinist political machine would not tolerate dissent. Today’s scientific disease is less pernicious. However, politically driven science still frames critical public policies, because ideologically driven government has become the dominant financier of science. The disease has already crippled Europe’s industry and economy. It now threatens the vitality of the once powerful and innovative American system.
We’re all familiar with the Third World "democratic” process, where voters are "persuaded” by fear, fraud, deception, free meals and sham theatrics to give tin-pot dictators 97% of the "freely” cast votes.
Today we’re told 97% of climate scientists agree that the science is "settled” on climate change. This sham "consensus” is based on 75 of 77 scientists who were selected from a 2010 survey that went to 10,257 scientists. It ignores the 700 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists who say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous climate change.
More important, science is not a popularity contest or a matter of votes. As Galileo and Einstein demonstrated, one scientist who is right, and can prove it with evidence, trumps hundreds who have nothing but models, old paradigms, scary headlines and government cash to support their hypotheses.
Few scientists would say the Dust Bowl was caused by humans, even though poor farming practices clearly exacerbated it. Few would say cancer research should be limited to manmade chemicals, even though they may be responsible for some cancers.
Nebraskan and other researchers should end their focus on human causes – and start working to understand allthe complex, interrelated factors behind global climate changes and cycles. Government financiers and policy makers must do likewise. Our future well-being depends on it.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. Dennis Mitchell, CPA/QEP, has been professionally involved in environmental and tax compliance, monitoring and education for 40 years and is an avid student of climate change.
The Blogmocracy carries most of the following article from the excellent Caroline Glick, detailing what a disaster SecState John Kerry's recent performance in the Middle East while trying to swing a deal in Iran has been for the United States. To think we almost elected that creature president! Horrors!
November 24, 2013
A new paper in Global and Planetary Change states that sea level rise has slowed by 44%.
Sea level rise is one of the watermarks (pun intended) of Global Warming; it must not just happen (which it has been doing since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago) but must be accelerating. A slowdown suggests the exact opposite; the world is cooling.
According to the Hockey Schtick article:
"A paper published today in Global and Planetary Change finds global sea level rise has decelerated by 44% since 2004 to a rate equivalent to only 7 inches per century. According to the authors, global mean sea level rise from 1993-2003 was at the rate of 3.2 mm/yr, but sea level rise "started decelerating since 2004 to a rate of 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012."
The authors also find "This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during last decade," which is in direct opposition to claims that the oceans "ate the global warming." This finding debunks alarmist claims that ocean heat uptake has increased over the past decade, demonstrating instead that ocean heat uptake has decreased during the global warming pause since 2004, and has gone negative since 2007, as shown by fig. 4b indicating steric sea level rise from thermal expansion has been negative since 2007."
So, missing heat isn't going into the oceans, and the sea levels aren't rising. Hmm.
I suppose we can thank Barack Obama; when he was campaigning for President in 2008 he promised that his election would go down in history as the moment when sea levels stopped rising and the Earth healed. Guess it worked!
Yes, and that pool hall in River City Iowa is corrupting our youth! We need a boys band!
Global Warming is about redistribution of wealth and world government - from their own mouths!
By Alan Caruba
"Doom is one of the oldest stories of mankind,” says Josef Joffe in his excellent new book, "The Myth of America’s Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophesies.”
As long as I can remember I have read and heard that America is in decline beginning when Sputnik was launched in the 1950s. We were all told that the Soviet Union was to be the next great superpower. It collapsed in 1991. The Federation that replaced it was the shrunken loss of many of its former captive satellite states. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, we were told a resurgent Europe would overtake the U.S. and in the 1980s that Japan would become an economic superpower.
Now we are being told that the future belongs to China and the emerging economies there and in India. Joffe, a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, publisher-editor of Die Ziet, and frequent contributor to Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs, has gathered together the facts of America’s economic ups and downs to present a realistic and optimistic view of the future.
The news is filled with reports on China’s 18th Central Committee’s Third Plenum, citing promises of expanded property rights, transparent market regulation, and prices set by the market. The Wall Street Journal, however, noted that "China’s new leaders are tightening political repression”, the mark of every Communist state. There was also news of China’s loosening of its "one-child” policy that restricted couples from adding too much to its population of 1.3 billion.
Joffe demonstrates why China has many problems that will keep it from overtaking America’s economic dynamism and before you fall the latest version of America’s decline, you should definitely read his book. He asks, "Who would actually want to live in a world dominated by China, India, Japan, Russia, or even Europe, which for all its enormous appeal, cannot take care of its own backyard? Not even those who have been trading in glee and gloom decade after decade would prefer…to take over as housekeeper of the world.”
As for China, Joffe notes that it "has the largest population on earth, half of which is still living in the countryside.” Half the population "remains poised to go urban and sell its labor at low wages”, but he also points out that, in terms of its demographics, "China is getting older and America is getting younger.” Its fertility rate has dropped and "Aging is not good for growth and so China will inevitably slow down, with rapid aging adding pressure to all the other growth brakes embedded in an economy that remains resolutely statist.”
And that is China’s problem. While introducing reforms, China is still a nation where the state owns and operates much of its economy. This is an object lesson and warning to Americans who are now rising up to demand that Obamacare, the takeover of one sixth of the U.S. economy, be repealed. Governments cannot and should not run various elements of a nation’s economy because decisions are based in politics, not the marketplace.
"China’s working-age population will reach its peak at the end of this decade and decades before the People’s Republic is supposed to overtake the United States.” Meanwhile, thanks to our fertility rates and immigration, the U.S. will have a population of younger workers. It has not escaped the attention of observers that, by 2025, China would account for less than a fifth of the world’s population, but almost a fourth of the world’s senior citizens.”
"A burgeoning army of pensioners and infirm will eat up investment funds as a fire will consume oxygen,” says Joffe. Aging populations worldwide, including our own, put enormous strains on growth and, as we have seen here, social programs such as Social Security and Medicare are threatened with insolvency unless reformed. Nothing scares the political class more as the aging citizens who represent a major voting bloc.
"Economic growth could soar or falter tomorrow, but populations change slowly because they are rooted in long-term trends and culture,’ says Joffe.
Joffe also cited China’s educational system that places its emphasis on learning the answers to tests as opposed to the ability to think creatively and question government dictates. This reflects in part our own educational system that has been tending toward "teaching to the test” and a national curriculum such as is being imposed in the current "Common Core” program that the Obama administration has introduced.
"In a one-party state that is China, the government is the ultimate guardian over what students and scholars may read, say, and even write, in schools for the elite.”
Education is the basis of "human capital” because an educated population is a major contributor to economic growth. "One quick, but effective, way is to look at education expenditures as a share of GDP, where the United States beats China and India hands down.” They spend around 3.5 percent while the U.S. spends 7 percent. And this on a population one-quarter the size of China’s and one-third the size of India’s, and with a GDP that dwarf the economies of China and India by factors of 2.5 and 10, respectfully.
Militarily China may pose a problem for Asian nations; it is unlikely to pose a threat to the United States whose military power, though being reduced by expenditures and other factors, is still the greatest in the world.
"In his Rise and Decline of Nations, Mancur Olson argues that closed societies freeze up-victims of rent-seeking elites who capture political power to cement economic privilege and stifle the competition that fuels rejuvenation.”
America’s problem is not so much China as it our out-of-control spending and the dangerous increase in our indebtedness. Until this is gotten under control we will be borrowing too much and, China, that purchases much of our debt will do its best to compete economically with a system that does little for its own and which depends on our financial stability.
All of this argues for an America, for all its current problems from an administration trying to "transform” America into a Communist worker’s paradise, that will replace the backward steps that have been taken and make the changes necessary to remain the world’s only true superpower.
That is the payoff of capitalism and freedom.
© Alan Caruba, 2013
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