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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Government Control Even In Death

Britain's health care system in many ways is our canary in the coal mine warning us about the dangers of Obamacare.

What can and does go wrong in Britain is widely documented almost daily in the British press. From these reports, we learn the danger of centralized government control over the health care system in determining how people live.

But the logical end of control over how one lives, is control over how one dies. And in Britain, that is going awry as well.

The government has taken control over the decision as to where a patient can die, with the result that large numbers of patients who wish to die at home cannot do so because of government regulations:

A lack of 24-hour nursing cover and poor planning by doctors is threatening government plans to give the terminally ill a right to die at home, campaigners
say.

More than a third of family doctors are not reviewing the needs and wishes of dying patients, while round-the-clock nursing care is not available to give patients support and pain relief at weekends and at night in many areas.

The shortfalls mean that thousands of patients suffering from conditions such as cancer are taken into hospital or hospices to die when they would rather stay at home, according to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Another unintended consequence of a system in which central planners think they know better than individuals as to matters of life and death.

That's the funny thing with freedom to make your own health care decisions. Once you give it up, you have given it up.

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Related Posts:
10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths (in Britain)
Nothing Wrong With Nationalized Health Care, Move Along
Health Care Whistleblowers Gagged -- In Britain
Brits May Eliminate Tonsillectomies
New Health Care Scandal In Britain
British Health System Like Abu Ghraib?

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My Secret Revealed

Forget everything I have told you about why I started this blog.

And stop sending me e-mails asking "what is a clinical law professor?"

My secret is out.


(h/t TaxProf)

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This Is Why I Named This Blog "Legal Insurrection"
Thanks a Million!

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Palestinian Hate Week Starts Tomorrow

Also known as Israel Apartheid Week, scheduled for March 1-14 (what don't these malicious idiots understand about "week"?).

This is the time of the year when the internationalists, selectively outraged NGO "human rights" activists, Islamists, progressive journalists, leftist academics, self-hating Jews, and Palestinian terror apologists come together to delegitimize Israel.

The Ontario legislature has done the right thing in denouncing this hatefest. How about our President and Congress?

Some good follow up from these bloggers:
Now the good news, according to a Gallup poll released last week, support for Israel in the U.S. is at 63%, a near record high.

Fortunately, the American people recognize the oldest hate for what it is, regardless of how it is dressed up.

Update: How fitting that today is the first day of Purim.

And, for background on the separation barrier that anti-Israel activists call "the Apartheid Wall," see my prior post, Mr. Netanyahu, Tear Down That Wall For Our Suicide Bombers

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Related Posts:
Malmö Syndrome
Law Professor Continues His Personal Intifada
Guardian Columnist Calls Out The Anti-Israel Left, But Not His Own Paper
Abid Katib - Palestinian Shoe Fauxtographer?

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Card, Counter-Card)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

This is the first post in this series to focus on the use of the race card by both sides of a dispute, call it "race card v. counter-race card."

The topic is abortion in the black community. First, the facts as reported yesterday in The NY Times:

Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black women get almost 40 percent of the country’s abortions, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the population. Nearly 40 percent of black pregnancies end in induced abortion, a rate far higher than for white or Hispanic women.
Now the race card, played by those opposed to abortion.

The high abortion rates in the black community are part of an advertising and outreach campaign designed to portray Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups as part of a conspiracy to commit genocide on the black community.

Part of this campaign is based on the historical fact that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was part of the early 20th Century eugenics movement. Part is based on the now-famous tape made by James O'Keefe (of ACORN tape fame), in which a Planned Parenthood employee gladly accepted a donation so long as the funds were used for abortions by black women; and other alleged targeting of the black community by Planned Parenthood.

But at its core, the campaign claiming genocide against black children is just using the race card, by seeking to ascribe racist motivations to abortion providers and pro-choice advocates when there is no substantial evidence of such motivations. The case can be made against abortion, and the devastating effects on the black community can be demonstrated, without using the language of the race card.

Then comes the counter-race card, based on a sentence uttered by Trent Franks (R-AZ) during an almost 10-minute interview. (Listen to the entire interview for context.)

Franks used the high rate of abortion in the black community to assert that these abortions were more devastating to the black community than slavery. The statement was picked up by Think Progress[*], under the headline "Rep. Trent Franks: African-Americans were better off under slavery, quoting Franks as follows (emphasis in TP post):
FRANK: In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?
You know the rest of the story. Franks' stupid attempt to play the race card by comparing abortion and slavery has allowed others to portray him as a racist for having said that blacks "were better off" under slavery, even though that is not what he said. Condemning two circumstances (the history of slavery and the high abortion rate in the black community) and then stating that one was worse than the other does not equate to an endorsement of the least worse alternative.

But there's no doubt it was a stupid comparison for Franks to make. I agree with this (part of this) assessment:
I think the most charitable interpretation holds that Franks isn't endorsing slavery, as much as he's.... This is just stupid on all conceivable levels.
If all there were were criticism of Franks' statement, I would be on board because the analogy he used between slavery and high abortion rates was a false analogy. One has nothing to do with the other; while slavery clearly was a reflection of racism, the high rate of abortion in the black community is not the result of racial hatred by Planned Parenthood or others.

Yet Franks' statement is being used to portray him as a racist not primarily because anyone cares what Trent Franks thinks (I had never heard of him before), but because the condemnation serves the political purpose of attacking the anti-abortion campaign targeting the black community. Think Progress made this purpose clear in its post:

Franks’ comments are reminiscent of a new anti-choice campaign which seeks to put up 80 billboards in “urban areas where blacks reside” with the message, “Black children are an endangered species.”
So here we have the vicious race card circle.

The race card was used to smear the pro-choice movement as racist; that smear was picked up by Trent Franks to make a completely false and illogical comparison to slavery; Franks' statement then was used by the pro-choice movement to smear the pro-life movement as racist.

So apparently everyone is racist. As if the abortion issue were not contentious enough.

*Update: Media Matters Action Network was the first to run with the "better off" theme, which was then picked by Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress, then by Think Progress itself (see link above), then down the line. Very typical of how effective Media Matters can be at framing an issue with the help of like-minded bloggers.

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Related Posts:
Saturday Night Card Game Series

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They're Baaaack

Just when you thought it was over:


With speculation mounting that US Representative William D. Delahunt will not seek reelection, Joseph P. Kennedy III, son of the former congressman and great-grandson of the Kennedy family patriarch, is eyeing a run to succeed him in the 10th Congressional District, senior Democratic sources say.
But hope still is alive -


One potential hurdle, however, is the political climate in the state, and especially in that district, which went heavily for Republican Scott Brown in last month’s Senate election. If Kennedy were to run and win his party’s nomination, he could risk become a lightning rod for the newly energized conservatives from around the country who poured millions of dollars into Brown’s coffers.
I can't take all this drama.

Update: I dispute Jules Crittenden's observation that "No Kennedy chompers in that grin, too bad." This guy looks the part. He's plenty toothy, and grinny. --- Whoops, misread JC's post, he was referring to Martha Coakley's lack of a Kennedy grin; agreed.

Update 2-28-2010: It's over(?) - Joe Kennedy III Not Running for Congress.

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Related Posts:
Possible Reason Why Patrick Kennedy Not Seeking Reelection
My New Project: Patrick Kennedy Must Go
Now You Can Feel Sorry For Me

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Whatever It Takes

A few days ago I wrote that Obama had declared legislative war in signalling that budget reconciliation would be the way to go to pass Obama's health care plan. The doomed-to-fail health care summit was just a justification.

The signals today are even clearer. Democrats assert that they will do whatever it takes to pass sweeping health care legislation which will transform one-sixth of our economy into a tightly controlled government program, with private interests playing a role which will decrease over time.

Use whatever analogy you want -- Trojan horse, foot-in-the door, etc. -- the point for Obama is to get in place a legislative scheme which will then allow Obama to implement regulations which will achieve the vision of single-payer health care by squeezing out the private sector over the next three years.

Andy McCarthy makes that point today, which has been made before, that passing Obamacare is so important to Obama that Obama is willing to lose control of the House, and possibly (but unlikely given the math) the Senate, in the process.

Obama said it himself, he would rather be a one-term President who accomplishes what he wants, than a two-term President who does not.

And what Obama wants is to transform our economy into a West European-style economy where free enterprise is minutely regulated from the central government and extraordinarily high marginal tax rates are used to feed government redistribution of wealth in the form of social programs. The fact that West European economies have chronic double-digit unemployment rates as a result of these policies matters not.

Obama has signalled that he will do whatever it takes legislatively to get his foot in this door.

Republicans in Congress need to do whatever it takes legislatively to slam the door shut. Any and every legislative tactic must be used to stop the Democrats.

November is too far away to think that elections will matter.

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Related Posts:
Now Is Not The Time For Weakness
Obama Declares Legislative War
U.S. Hits Highest Unemployment Rate Since ... Europe

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Mossad Mania - Oh, The Possibilities

It is widely assumed that Mossad assassinated what's his name, the Hamas killer rocket guy who wants to drive the Jews into the Dead Sea.

While some governments are expressing shock, shock, shock that an intelligence agency would forge passports, Mossad mania has taken over Israel, according to a report in The Times of London.

Israelis are flocking to join the agency and even to buy eyeglasses similar to those worn by the agents (image right):

The Israeli spy agency Mossad may be the target of international reproach since it allegedly killed the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel this month, but at home emerging details of the operation have generated Mossad mania.

It has never been more popular in Israel, with stores selling out of Mossad memorabilia and its official website reporting a soaring number of visitors interested in applying to become agents....

Opticians have reported a rise in sales of the horn-rimmed glasses in the style worn by 14 of the 26 suspects,

But there is a more important possibility. Suddenly, all middle-aged, slightly overweight, somewhat disheveled guys will become objects of desire.

Just saying. Not that I would care if such a thing happened.

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Health Care In Spinsville

Just another day in Spinsville, where the White House attempts to sell a plan which will deprive individuals of control over their health care in favor of federal mandates and regulations, as a plan which will put individuals in charge of their own health care:


It will not work. The 2008 election may be over, but elections are not, a concept apparently lost on the President. This clip, which has been played relentlessly on television and on the web, did enormous damage to Obama. John McCain was respectful and making valids point about broken campaign promises by Obama and how some states should not be favored over others, when Obama shut McCain down with the quip that the "election is over":



Keep playing this clip if you want to understand why we do not have any health care reforms. It is because the President is looking backward at the last election, and once again misreading the meaning of the results.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Founding Fathers Are Role Models For Progressives?

In the midst of whining about how sick and tired she is about progressives who whine, a blogger at Firedoglake writes that progressive activists need to be more like the Founding Fathers:

I’m so torqued off right now I could spit. Perhaps it’s because I’m a mom and I’ve dealt with enough temper tantrums to last me a lifetime. But I’m tired of the whining I see and hear about the lack of democratization in progressive organizations, and about the ineffectiveness of these groups, specifically Organizing for America and MoveOn.org.

Yeah, these groups are in tough shape. But the challenge is really YOU....

The founding fathers didn’t sit around whining about the lack of democratization; they got off their butts and they did something about it. They swore with their lives and on their honor and committed themselves to making change happen. They certainly didn’t wait for some big all-powerful organization to come to them and ask how they could get their wish for democracy granted. I know my kids are learning about the founding fathers in their history and government classes right now, and they aren’t hearing about who waited and talked about democracy and the process of realizing one; they’re learning about activists who actually made democracy happen.

To realize democratization both as a progressive and as a citizen, it’s going to take the same kind of commitment from you.

Too tired for analysis and snark. I'll leave it to you.

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Just Don't Call Us O.J.

That does it:

Climate change skeptics sound like Simpson's lawyers: If the winter glove won't fit, you must acquit.
You can falsely and maliciously call us a mob, racists, terrorists, anti-government, un-American, extremists, Nazis, "Birthers," "teabaggers," crazy, war criminals, and just about anything else, even the dreaded "Professor" epithet.

None of those things will lead to a war.

Just don't call us O.J.

Or else.

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Sad Thing About It

is that this headline would not be surprising if it were at any of a number of left-wing blogs which do everything they can to smear Tea Party attendees and anyone else who opposes Obamacare and the massive expansion of government:

Photo Emerges Of Murderous Killer Whale At Tea Party Rally


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Inevitable "Tea Party" and "Amy Bishop" Link Attempt
Please Keep Up The Crazy Talk
Dems' Strategy of Crazy

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obligatory "Obama Was Against The Nuclear Option Before He Was For It"

Hah. The internet is a dangerous thing ... for hypocritical, devious Democrats, as in the entire Democratic leadership and The Won, who now claim the filibuster should be disregarded for substantive legislation. It was not that long ago, when W was President, that the attempt to use the nuclear (aka nucular) option as to non-budgetary items was deemed a constitutional crisis, and a threat to our democracy. Via Breitbart:



Update 2-25-2010: Ed Morrissey at HotAir reports that Harry Reid is claiming he never threatened to use reconciliation for the health care bill. Of even greater interest, Morrissey links to a lengthy quote from Robert Byrd about how Byrd refused to go along when then President Bill Clinton pressed Byrd to go along with using reconciliation for Hillarycare.

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Now Is Not The Time For Weakness

The health care fight is coming to a head. We're in the 15th round, and the health care summit to be followed by budget reconciliation is Obama's desperate attempt to land a one-two knockout punch because he is down on points.

Now is not the time to mince words.

The health care plan put forth by Obama, based on the prior Senate bill, is so destructive on so many levels that it must be opposed without regard to political fallout.

The Obama plan contains fiscal gimmicks and gamesmanship which will lead to crushing deficits and debt; sanctions government intrusion into our lives unlike anything we have seen before; will lead to the destruction of a private insurance system which, while not perfect, delivers coverage to the overwhelming majority of Americans in a satisfactory manner; will result in the demoralization of our most honored profession, reducing medical care to the lowest common denominator in the cause of a false sense of fairness; and reflects the ultimate hubris of ideological, power drunk people who have proven themselves unworthy of our trust and who express, time and again, their disdain for the people they claim to serve.

I have not forgotten Obama's moment of honesty in San Francisco. In the grandiose, patronizing health care plan, Obama is to his own self being true. Obama thinks he knows better than the rest of us what is best for us, and he is incapable of appreciating why people cannot be convinced otherwise.

And the Democrats in Congress are even worse. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer notably have expressed disgust and hurled insults at anyone who opposes them, as they grin and smirk their way forward. The latest spin is that Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson are "warming" to budget reconciliation to evade the Senate filibuster rule supposedly due to Republican obstruction. They really must think we are stupid.

Obama's plan is neither a starting point nor an endpoint. It is a dead end of government expansion paid for with borrowed money and developed through a process in which Democrats have refused to consider alternatives to bigger government.

Now is not the time to hand Democrats the legislative rope with which to fiscally hang this nation. The Democrats' scheme needs to be fought every step of the way until the Democrats drop their plan to usurp one-sixth of the economy.

Then and only then will there be a basis to accomplish the types of reforms on which there is widespread consensus. These consensus reforms could have been accomplished many months ago but for the overreaching of Democratic leaders who misread the meaning of the 2008 election and who are out of touch with the country in 2009-2010.

Putting window dressing on a destructive, twisted plan is a fool's game in which we should not be a willing participant.

And then let the political chips fall where they may.

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Related Posts:
Will Obamacare Kill Miracle Cures?
Obama's Plan In Two Words
Health Summit A Manufactured Political Crisis

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harry Reid May Be Right About Domestic Violence

Reid: 'Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive'

I wonder if he had anyone in particular in mind?


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Harry Reid, Card Shark
Harry Reid Plays Every "ism" Card
Greatest Sentence Ever (feat. H. Reid)

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Will Obamacare Kill Miracle Cures?

The pharmaceutical industry is under attack by the Obama administration and Democrats for supposedly obscene profits.

Despite the industry's support for Democratic health care efforts, reached last spring in exchange for certain protections, Obama continues to demonize the industry. Obama's new plan, rolled out yesterday, increased taxes on the pharmaceutical industry by $10 billion to pay for expanded insurance coverage.

Which brings me to the article featured on the home page of the NY Times today about a breakthrough drug, PLX4032, which is showing very promising signs as a cure for melanoma:

For the melanoma patients who signed on to try a drug known as PLX4032, the clinical trial was a last resort. Their bodies were riddled with tumors, leaving them almost certainly just months to live.

But a few weeks after taking their first dose, nearly all of them began to recover.

The article is the second in a three part series. The first part ran Sunday.

The series documents the heartwarming stories of lives saved, and the doctors involved in the clinical trials.

But there is only passing reference in the series to the history of the PLX4032, and the role played by pharmaceutical companies (emphasis mine):

The drug Plexxikon called PLX4032 was different, designed to bind to the B-RAF protein only in cancer cells. Human tumors with the mutation, grafted into mice, Plexxikon’s chief scientist told Dr. Flaherty, had stopped growing when exposed to the drug. And no amount seemed to induce side effects in dogs or monkeys. An investment in the drug by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, shortly after Dr. Flaherty signed on to lead its first human trial alleviated his concern that Plexxikon might not have the wherewithal to pull it off.

The company behind PLX4032 is Plexxikon, founded by two academic researchers in 2001. PLX4032 has been under development since that time, but would not have become a viable drug without significant investment by the Roche, one of the largest drug companies, which agreed in 2006 to invest up to $700 million, depending upon whether the drug hit certain development benchmarks.

If PLX4032 is successful, and survives the FDA approval process, Roche stands to make billions; and thousands if not millions of lives will be saved. It the drug turns out not to be commercially viable, Roche loses its investment.

What is missing from this picture is government. PLX4032 was not developed by a bureaucrat, but by entrepreneurs with the help of private equity investments. While government surely plays a role in basic research funding, and supervision of clinical trials, without the entrepreneurial spirit and the funding of a large drug company, PLX4032 would be just another good idea sitting on a scientist's shelf.

And that is the point of this story. While it is easy to demonize the profits of the pharmaceutical industry, the reality is that lives depend upon the ability of the industry to fund research and development of new cures at risk of losing that investment. While these cures are expensive, the surgeries and other medical care avoided often are just as expensive, not to mention the human suffering avoided.

I hope that PLX4032 turns out to be all that the NY Times article seems to indicate. And that the people who invested their lives and money in bringing it to market make a fortune.

Not because I want others to be rich, but because I want the Plexxikons and Roches of the world to keep on trying to develop cures even if it means they lose out on most of the drugs they develop.

If Obamacare passes, there will be higher taxes on drug companies; and if Democrats in Congress get their way, we also will be demanding quicker generic equivalents and drug re-importation, which makes the economics of drug development less viable.

We'll never know which miracle cures never came to market because of the Democratic demonization of the pharmaceutical industry. And what we don't know, may kill us.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama's Plan In Two Words

"Balloon Mortgage."

I am glad that Obama released his plan this morning, when I was driving. Since I was in the car for several hours, I did not feel compelled to try to churn out a quick review. Instead, the rest of the world did it for me.

Among the variety of analyses upon which I base what I am about to say are some decidedly from the left, Wonk Room and Firedoglake, as well as CATO, ATR and the NY Times.

Put aside all the other criticisms, one thing becomes clear: The plan does nothing to control health care costs, and everything to increase those costs.

There are no market mechanisms to encourage consumers to price shop or to introduce price competition into the health care industry.

To the contrary, the plan continues the trend towards divorcing consumers from price decisions as to services and products; there also is no incentive to decrease demand because a large percentage of the population will receive government subsidies.

Yet because of the new insurance price control mechanism, the private insurance system will not be allowed to recoup the costs of such coverage.

This is a balloon which must burst, and it will several years down the road.

The result of the burst will be a collapse of the private insurance sector, and a government unable to pick up the pieces without severely rationed care (even if coverage remains expansive in theory, the care will not be available).

Obama's plan (and so too the House and Senate versions) is the worst of all worlds. It is a replica of the housing bubble, thrill for the first few years, and then the bill becomes due without any way to pay for it.

Update: The David Brooks calls Obama's plan a "fiscal time bomb":
This bill may be deficit-neutral on paper. But it has just become a fiscal time bomb. The revenue will never come.
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Related Posts:
Health Summit A Manufactured Political Crisis
Obama Declares Legislative War
Progressive Bloggers In The Wizard of Oz

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Does This Mean My House Never Will Be Waterfront?

I really didn't care when they revoked the claim that the glaciers would disappear. I don't live near glaciers.

But now the seas are not going to rise? My dream of a waterfront home is melting away faster than the glaciers:

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century....

The paper – entitled "Constraints on future sea-level rise from past sea-level change" – used fossil coral data and temperature records derived from ice-core measurements to reconstruct how sea level has fluctuated with temperature since the peak of the last ice age, and to project how it would rise with warming over the next few decades.

In a statement the authors of the paper said: "Since publication of our paper we have become aware of two mistakes which impact the detailed estimation of future sea level rise. This means that we can no longer draw firm conclusions regarding 21st century sea level rise from this study without further work.

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Related Posts:
Thanks, Global Warming
Global Warming Hysteria Bursting Like Other Bubbles
UN Climate Chief to US: "Show Me The Money"

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Malmö Syndrome

Malmö is the third largest Swedish city, and now the poster child for what I call Malmö Syndrome, the anti-Semitic violence which results from the shared anti-Israeli agenda of Islamists and leftists.

The result is that Malmö is being depopulated of Jews as a result of street violence by Mulsims and disinterest by left-wing politicians:

"This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now."

Malmo's Jews, however, do not just point the finger at bigoted Muslims and their fellow racists in the country's Neo-Nazi fringe. They also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them.

Mr Reepalu, who is blamed for lax policing, is at the centre of a growing controversy for saying that what the Jews perceive as naked anti-Semitism is in fact just a sad, but understandable consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East.

While his views are far from unusual on the European liberal-left, which is often accused of a pro-Palestinian bias, his Jewish critics say they encourage young Muslim hotheads to abuse and harass them.

At the heart of Malmo Syndrome is the attempt to delegitimize Israel:

Jewish residents in Malmo are furious after the Swedish town's mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, equated Zionism to anti-Semitism in an interview published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

During the interview with Skanska Dagbladet newspaper, Reepalu was asked whether he considered a public condemnation of anti-Semitism in Malmo. The mayor responded that "Malmo does not accept anti-Semitism and does not accept Zionism," charging that both adopt extreme positions towards certain groups.

Reepalu added that local Jews bear some responsibility for the attitude towards them, noting that "they have the possibility to affect the way they are seen by society." The mayor then urged Malmo's Jewish community to "distance itself" from Israeli attacks on Gaza's civilian population.

The acts of violence are incited by wholly one-sided, and sometimes irrational, criticisms of Israel. Last August, Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest-circulation newspaper, claimed that the Israeli military killed Palestinians to harvest their organs. (Reality was that an Israeli institute in the 1990s had harvested some organs from Israeli soldiers, Israeli civilians, and some Palestinians without family permission, but there was no killing of Palestinians for the purpose of harvesting organs.)

The Swedish newspaper accusation was a variation on an ages-old anti-Semitic blood libel and consistent with Palestinian propaganda:

Reporter Donald Boström charges that, since the first Intifada in the early 1990s, the Israeli Army has been kidnapping and murdering Palestinian young men "who disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied."

It's important to note that these outlandish charges did not appear out of thin air. They are not only a staple of Palestinian hate mythology, but extend to Iran where a few years ago Sahar, the government TV channel, aired a weekly drama, titled "Zahra's Blue Eyes," which portrayed "Zionist" doctors kidnapping little Palestinian children to harvest their organs.

Malmö Syndrome is not new or unique to Malmö. Wherever one finds "pro-Palestinian" demonstrators -- whether secular leftists or Islamists -- one finds blatant and often violent anti-Semitism:

London saw the highest number of anti-Semitic attacks last year, according to reports from the Jewish Community Security Trust (CST).

More than 924 reports of bigoted violence and abuse were received in total by the CST - with 460 incidents taking place in the capital.

Manchester had the second highest number of attacks, from violence to desecration of Jewish properties, with 206 incidents reported, followed by Hertfordshire with 48 and Leeds with 35.

The charity, which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, said the figures marked the worst year since records began in 1984. They included violent street attacks,arson, egg-throwing, racist graffiti, website hacking and hate mail.

Researchers said the surge was fuelled by the ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces in January 2009. Almost a quarter of incidents (23%) included some form of reference to the controversial conflict.

Campuses in particular are a hotbed of Malmö Syndrome. Here is a non-exhaustive list of disruptions during just the first two weeks of this month in which Jews either were attacked on campus or speeches were disrupted in the name of anti-Zionism:

On February 1, at York University in Toronto, 20 Jewish students who had gathered to raise awareness of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and terrorist acts committed by Hamas were surrounded by about 50 protestors chanting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slurs. Two of the Jewish students were slapped, one on the arm and one across the face.

On February 3, during his lecture at Oxford University, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was heckled by a Muslim student who shouted, among other
things, "Itbah Al-Yahud" - "kill the Jews."

On February 7, the Israel Society at Cambridge University canceled a talk by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev historian Benny Morris after protesters accused him of "Islamophobia" and "racism."

On February 8, at UCLA School of Law, members of Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP), an undergraduate group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the local Women in Black disrupted a lecture by Daniel Taub, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Also on February 8, at the University of California, Irvine, hecklers tried to disrupt a lecture by Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, who is also a distinguished academic.

The excuse now is the Israeli invasion of Gaza, but that is just an excuse. From the "Zionism is Racism" UN resolution in 1975, to the exaggerated claims of Israeli killings in Jenin and elsewhere, there always is some excuse to attack Israel on campus.

It is a very thin line between what is happening on campuses and in the anti-Israel blogosphere, and Malmö Syndrome.

But to point out this thin line leads to the new blogospheric badge of honor, the supposed false accusation of anti-semitism:
In fact, the whole Wieseltier-Sullivan episode has served to illustrate an emerging trend among critics of Israel: Their eagerness to allege that they've been accused of being an anti-Semite. I do agree that some of Israel's defenders are too quick to throw out charges of anti-Semitism or "self-hating Jew," and that's lamentable and a problem. But it seems that among many of Israel's critics, claiming that you've been accused of being an anti-Semite has become some sort of bizarre badge of honor. And quite a few of those that have allegedly been accused of being an anti-Semite, according to Wieseltier's critics, either were never smeared with such a term or were only accused of making a specific problematic remark and not tarred with some broad brush of disliking Jews, as they claim.
Critics of Israel who are not anti-Semitic need to admit that they have a problem, Malmö Syndrome.

The line between anti-Israel rhetoric and anti-Semitic violence has been all but erased, and the enlightened leftists supposedly committed to human rights in fact are in bed with those who act on the oldest hate.

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Related Posts:
Israeli Embassy Tweets About "Hit On #Dubai Target"
Being Anti-Israel Is Not Being Anti-Semitic, But It Helps
Law Professor Continues His Personal Intifada

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Health Summit A Manufactured Political Crisis

What Obama needs to pass his health care restructuring bill is a good political crisis. One in which he can stand there and proclaim, as he did with the stimulus bill, that we are on the edge of a catastrophe.

And since the only way such a bill will be passed, if at all, is through a budget reconciliation process, there must be a crisis large enough to merit bending, if not disregarding, pesky Senate rules which would make such a process untenable.

What Obama needs is a political crisis of the first magnitude. A situation in which politics is so polarized, and Washington seems so immobilized, that all norms are thrown aside.

Hence, the increasing background noise in the past couple of weeks about Washington being broken and frozen. In fact, Obama has been hitting legislative singles and doubles for the past year, and only has been denied the home run he desires.

And that is the purpose of the health care summit. If Obama truly wanted compromise, he could have included Republicans in the process from the start, and taken a slow approach built on consensus, rather than a grand plan to restructure the health care system around increased government control.

If Obama truly wanted compromise, he would not be rolling out a final bill any day accompanied by plenty of leaks threatening to go the reconciliation route.

True compromise is the last thing Obama wants, because at most that would be another single or double.

The point of the health care summit is to create an impasse in front of the television cameras, so that gridlock and legislative meltdown is the alternative to Obamacare. A situation in which public anger is deflected towards Republican Senators.

Senators figuratively spitting at each other on TV is what Obama needs to create his illusion of crisis. And as we know, Obama will not let such a crisis go to waste.

Update: Here's how the L.A. Times describes the new strategy:

As voters lose patience with political gridlock, the Obama administration is embarking on a strategy aimed at putting Republicans on the spot: Either participate in bipartisan exchanges initiated by the president, or be portrayed as the party of obstruction.

The new approach is part of a series of adjustments the White House is making as it deals with the aftermath of Republican Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts, which cost Democrats their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

As with almost everything about this administration, "compromise" is a ruse designed to achieve anything but compromise, yet another phony Obama-ism.

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Related Posts:
Stimulus -- Just $99.99 While Supplies Last
The Fierce Urgency of Sow
The Stimulus Plan -- It's In There!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (White Privilege Conference)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

This post originally was going to be a reaction to a post at Jack & Jill Politics regarding Amy Bishop, titled Sometimes White Privilege Just Comes Along and SMACKS You Upside the Head. The point of that post was that if Amy Bishop were not white, she would have been in jail a long time ago, so she would not have had an opportunity to shoot several faculty members, including at least three minorities. Yeah, sure, just like Crystal Mangum.

The concept of "white privilege," however, deserves its own post. Most of you probably have never heard of "white privilege" before (which shows how white and privileged you must be, either that, or you are not a self-wallowing far-left race card player).

There is an entire "white privilege" industry out there, populated by "critical studies" academics and agitators (of all races) who see racism where there is no actual evidence of racism.

Here is how "white privilege" was described by a professor of journalism at the University of Texas:

What does that mean? Perhaps most importantly, when I seek admission to a university, apply for a job, or hunt for an apartment, I don't look threatening. Almost all of the people evaluating me for those things look like me--they are white. They see in me a reflection of themselves, and in a racist world that is an advantage. I smile. I am white. I am one of them. I am not dangerous. Even when I voice critical opinions, I am cut some slack. After all, I'm white.

My flaws also are more easily forgiven because I am white. Some complain that affirmative action has meant the university is saddled with mediocre minority professors. I have no doubt there are minority faculty who are mediocre, though I don't know very many. As Henry Louis Gates Jr. [yes, him] once pointed out, if affirmative action policies were in place for the next hundred years, it's possible that at the end of that time the university could have as many mediocre minority professors as it has mediocre white professors. That isn't meant as an insult to anyone, but is a simple observation that white privilege has meant that scores of second-rate white professors have slid through the system because their flaws were overlooked out of solidarity based on race, as well as on gender, class and ideology.

When I say there is an industry of such people out there, what I mean is that there are dozens if not hundreds of academics and others whose careers are invested in pushing the "white privilege" agenda.

They even have "white privilege" conferences (yeah, I know, you can't make this stuff up):

Here is a promo video for the conference explaining "white privilege," including a statement by Kevin Jennings, Obama's "safe-schools" Czar, at 2:44:

If you forget everything else I have to say to you today, I want you to remember the next part. The people who tell you you cannot change the world are lying to you.
Notice in the promo video how "white supremacy" is used to describe "white privilege" (so I guess that makes us all white supremacists?)

video

"Educators" are at the heart of this movement, as demonstrated by the participation of Kevin Jennings in the White Privilege Conference. Witness also this explanation of the purpose of the "white privilege" movement, featured prominently on the White Privilege Conference website (emphasis mine):
Q. Is this about proving how bad white folks are?

A. Our attempts to dismantle dominance and oppression must follow a path other than that of either vilifying or obliterating Whiteness... Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of 'Whiteness' and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equality and social change. Our goal is neither to defy or denigrate Whiteness, but to difuse its destructive power.

To teach my white students and my own children that they are 'not White' is to do them a disservice. To teach them that there a different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions for justice and social healing, is to provide them a positive direction for growth and to grant them the dignity of their own being.

The "white privilege" movement definitely is not driven by only non-whites. White educators play a leading role in self-examination of their own white privilege, in the ultimate liberal guilt trip. Here is part of an essay by a professor at Wellesley:
I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.
It is impossible to disprove "white privilege" because the concept does not rely on proof of discrimination in a particular situation. The absence of proof is proof.

And the concept, as most twisted concepts, starts from a kernel of truth. There is racism in society, as much as we may try to stamp it out. It's where one takes that kernel of truth, in a series of "therefores," which ends up with the caricature that is the White Privilege Conference.

As can be seen from the Jack & Jill post about Amy Bishop, "white privilege" really is just another useful tool for those who want to play the race card for political gain.

And yes, "white privilege" has made its contribution to Palin Derangement Syndrome:
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
Because "white privilege" by definition never can be eliminated, it provides an endless mechanism for those who seek to use race as a political weapon.

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Related Posts:
Saturday Night Card Game Series

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Obama Declares Legislative War

I have to hand it to team Obama. They do not give up on Obama's goal of remaking the health care system into the image that Obama wants.

Even if Obama doesn't get everything he wants, if either of the current House or Senate versions passes, or some combined version, we will have government control through legislation and regulation over the most minute aspects of the health care system, and the people who use that system (i.e., everyone).

There simply is nothing to negotiate if the plan includes, as it likely will, a big government approach.

The latest "transparent" ploy is the televised "negotiation" on February 25. But Obama does not intend that event as a negotiation.

The Democrats apparently already have decided to try to push their version of the bill through the Senate using the reconciliation process:

The legislation the White House will post on its website is expected to reflect common ground negotiated over the past several weeks by House and Senate Democratic leaders.

Those agreements are likely to be combined as a privileged budget reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple 51-vote majority to pass the 100-member Senate instead of the 60-vote supermajority that has become routine in the Senate and gives Republicans power to block the healthcare bill.

"I believe that's the path we are going to take," a senior congressional Democratic aide said.

Using the reconciliation process for such sweeping, non-budgetary, legislation will take what now is a highly fractured political landscape and shake the ground like an earthquake.

The reconciliation process was not intended to be used for social engineering, and the result will be the de facto elimination of the filibuster without an actual change in Senate Rules.

Take it or leave it, or rather, take it with a few insignificant bones tossed your way, is not an invitation to negotiation. It is an invitation to legislative war:
“They are coming out of the summit guns-a-blazing and they’re committed to reconciliation,” said one Democratic insider.
The choice for Republicans in Congress is clear.

Update: Here is an explanation of the reconciliation process, which would end up requiring Alan Frumin, the Senate Parliamentarian, to make key procedural calls. The pressure on Frumin from Democrats to get around procedural problems (such as the Byrd Rule - h/t to a commenter) will be intense.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Think Progress Targets Scott Brown Over IRS Plane Attack

Not surprisingly, Scott Brown is a target for Think Progress, which regularly distorts what conservatives say as part of the Democrats' strategy to paint all opponents as extremist and crazy.

TP ran the following headline yesterday related to the attack by Joe Stack who crashed a small plane into a building housing an IRS office:

Scott Brown Yawns At Plane Attack On IRS Building: ‘No One Likes Paying Taxes’
The TP story pushed the meme that Brown expressed no concern about the plane attack and attributed the attack to people not liking to pay taxes:
Newly-minted Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) appeared on Fox’s Neil Cavuto and showed none of the outrage and concern about terrorism that he exuded during his Senate election campaign. Asked for his reaction, Brown said he felt for the families, but quickly shrugged off the attack and transitioned to say that “people are frustrated” and “no one likes paying taxes.”
TP then suggested that readers watch the video. But anyone who actually watched the video would realize that TP's presentation was a complete distortion and TP's characterization of what Brown said was misleading. The video is below, here is the relevant portion of what Brown said:
Well It’s certainly tragic and I feel for the families obviously that are being effected by it. And I don’t know if its related but I can just sense not only in my election but since being here in Washington people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things affecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.
Brown then went on about the issue of whether "populist rage" caused the attack
You don't know anything about the individual, he could have had other issues. Certainly no one likes paying taxes, obviously, but the way we're trying to deal with things and have been in the past at least until I got here is, there's such a log jam in Washington, and people want us to do better, they want us to help solve the problems that are affecting Americans in a very real way....
There was nothing Brown said which treated the attack lightly, or connected the attack to Tea Party or populist anger. In fact, Brown said just the opposite and his tone was one of concern.

Yet that didn't stop some of the usual suspects from picking up on the TP meme and suggesting that Brown didn't care about the attack. Digby at Hullabaloo, linking to the TP post, spun it this way:
I guess he's saying that the people who voted for him are likely to be domestic terrorists? It sounds like it. (He also added that nobody like paying taxes ...)
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog ran the misleading headline New GOP Senator Scott Brown links guy crashing plane into IRS office to his election - same anger, with the equally false description of what Brown said:
Cavuto says, gosh, can you imagine people (read: liberals) claiming that this is what happens when you build up populist rage - isn't that a bit extreme? Brown concurs. After suggesting that the populist rage that led this man to crash his plane into an IRS building was the same kind of thing that got him elected.
Which almost sounds like he's justifying the plane crash.
This is how TP and those who jump at its whistle do it. They don't just cherry-pick sentences out of context, like big brother Media Matters; they distort in such a way as to create the impression that the target said something completely the opposite of what the target actually said.

Here's the video, you be the judge as to whether Brown "yawned" at,"shrugged off," or in any way "justified" the attack, and whether Brown linked the attack to the "rage" which led to Brown's election:



There is method to TP's madness.  The manifesto left behind by the attacker reflects anything but a "Tea Party" or conservative philosophy.  In fact, the manifesto, in addition to being crazed and delusional, attacks the capitalist system.

TP never lets the facts get in the way of a good smear.

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Related Posts:
Inevitable "Tea Party" and "Amy Bishop" Link Attempt
Terrorist Attacks Plane, Think Progress Attacks Pete Hoekstra
A Warning For The Next Scott Brown

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Israeli Embassy Tweets About "Hit On #Dubai Target"

Someone at the Israeli Embassy in Britain has a wicked sense of humor.

The Embassy sent the following tweet, which has caused the anti-Israel paper, The Guardian, to go somewhat crazy.

The tweet seemingly refers to the hit on a Hamas leader in Dubai, carried out allegedly by Israelis, some of whom were seen in closed circuit video carrying tennis rackets:



In reality, the link in the tweet is to a story about an Israeli tennis player who won a match in Dubai.

Biggest "heh" of the year.

Update: The Israeli Embassy now has deleted the tweet.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Progressive Bloggers In The Wizard of Oz

"Progressive" bloggers met yesterday at the White House with the "chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden" (who knew there was such a thing? why do we have such a thing?) who told them what Oba-messages to put on their Obamalogs:

The basic thrust of the event was to present a case for the efficacy of the Recovery Act as a part of the broader effort to convince the American people that the administration's efforts to restore the economy have been successful.
The best part of it is that thanks to the miracle of photography, we get to see their serious-looking faces at the moment they realized that they were not going to get to meet with the "chief economist to President Barack Obama." We also get to see how they look all "cleaned up."

It's like the moment when Toto pulled back the curtain and Dorothy saw that the Wizard of Oz wasn't as powerful as he seemed. Except that the bloggers are the Wizard, and we are Dorothy.


Update: For some reason, they all are bragging about it, AmericaBlog, Eschaton, Tapped, Matt Yglesias, Matt Yglesias, and Oliver Willis.

And, from the looks of it and the list, it appears they all were male except for one. Not very inclusive and diverse.

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Duke Lacrosse Accuser Sets Boyfriend's Clothes On Fire

And I mean literally[*]:

Durham police arrested Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, late Wednesday after she allegedly assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him....

Mangum is the author of the memoir "Last Dance for Grace." She was a student at North Carolina Central University in 2006 and also worked as an exotic dancer when she performed at the now infamous Duke lacrosse party.

It was there, she claimed, that three white members of the team trapped her inside a bathroom and raped and sexually assaulted her.

David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were indicted on rape and other charges on the basis of her allegations and were eventually exonerated after North Carolina's attorney general dismissed the case, citing a lack of evidence.

How could she have not have been jailed earlier considering her false criminal accusations and questionable past?

Must have been that "white privilege," just like Amy Bishop:

Make no mistake, this is an emotionally disturbed individual who should have been IN JAIL long ago....

Sometimes, you don’t want to bring race into things, but sometimes, like I said, it just slaps you in the face....

[*A commenter points out the boyfriend's clothes were set on fire, not the boyfriend. Correction noted, and post title corrected.]

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