“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Who will win, Obama and US Socialists or Chinese Capitalists?

If any one of the people at this work bench lose a job, none of them will be on CNN two years later saying they cannot find a job.

The Chinese are ascending from two hundred years of bad political and economic policies. A six day, sixty hour work week is not unusual and they save 30-40% of what they earn. The average Chinese believes in hard work and individual effort. They have to, there is no generous Chinese safety net for laid-off Chinese workers.

Compare that with the Obama fashionable collective thinking of the majority of US voters. There is no affirmative action in China. You work or get fired. You make money or go out of business. So sorry.


The trillion dollar question: China or America?

Who is going to come out of the economic crisis stronger and with the whip hand - China or America, asks Niall Ferguson.

By Niall Ferguson Telegraph
Published: 7:27PM BST 01 Jun 2009

Two years ago, economist Moritz Schularick and I coined the word "Chimerica" to describe what we saw as the key relationship in the then-booming global economy: China plus America. Cheap Chinese labour was making US corporations highly profitable. Spendthrift American consumers, in turn, were keeping Chinese corporations busy with export orders. And the Chinese monetary authorities were converting export surpluses into dollar denominated reserves with the aim of preventing their own currency from appreciating. The unintended consequence was a multi-billion dollar credit line to the United States, financing America's deficit at rock-bottom rates.

It was those low long-term rates – combined with monetary policy errors by the Fed, excessive bank leverage and reckless financial engineering – that inflated the American property bubble, the bursting of which triggered this crisis.

To simplify the story, think of an unhappy marriage in which one partner does all the saving, while the other does all the spending. (We all know at least one couple like that.) But then the partner with the retail therapy habit maxes out on his/her credit cards. At the same time, the parsimonious partner finds her/his job under threat. What previously was a stable relationship is suddenly on the rocks.

In February, the People's Daily acknowledged the "global importance and influence" of Chimerica, but warned of an impending "period of chillness". Could this be one of those great turning points in history, when the balance of power tilts decisively away from an established power and towards a rising challenger? It is possible. Financial crises often accelerate the gradual shifting of the geopolitical tectonic plates; they are to history what earthquakes are to geology.

It was inflation that undermined the foundations of Habsburg power and opened the way for the Dutch Republic. It was the disastrous Mississippi Bubble of 1718-19 that fatally weakened ancien régime France, while Britain survived the contemporaneous South Sea Bubble with its fiscal system intact. For most of the nineteenth century, financial crises in the United States had only marginal effects on the City of London. By 1907, however, a Wall Street crash could send a shockwave across the entire British Empire, a harbinger of a new era of American power.

Something similar may be happening as a consequence of the American financial crisis that began nearly two years ago. The flapping of a butterfly's wings may trigger a hurricane in the Home Counties; in much the same way, a crisis in the market for subprime mortgages could signal the waning of US hegemony and the advent of a Chinese century. Just visit the nearest bookshop if you don't believe me. There, alongside Fareed Zakaria's prophetic The Post-American World, you'll soon find Martin Jacques's darkly visionary When China Rules the World.

Just consider the impact of this crisis on the United States and China. According to the International Monetary Fund, the US economy will contract by 2.8 per cent this year – while China's is forecast to grow by more than 6 per cent.

The US stimulus package – worth $787 billion – has had rather a muted impact. The economy will do better in the current quarter than in the last one. But house prices are still falling at close to 20 per cent year on year. The rate of foreclosures per month is still rising. And a crisis in commercial real estate could blow a new hole in the balance sheets of US banks.

Moreover, no amount of stimulus can swiftly reduce the debt burden weighing down America's over-leveraged consumers. According to Bank Credit Analyst research, for household debt to return to a more sustainable level, real consumer spending would need to grow at no more than 1.3 per cent a year between now and 2013. If that calculation is correct, the Obama administration will have to junk its predictions of 3 per cent growth next year and 4 per cent the year after that.

China's stimulus is worth less in dollar terms – $585 billion – but Beijing is clearly getting more bangs for its bucks. In April, fixed investment surged by nearly 34 per cent. Net imports of iron ore leapt by a third, and imports of oil by just under 14 per cent. It's a measure of China's new economic influence that commodity traders attribute much of the recent upward pressure on oil, copper and other raw material prices to Chinese purchases. Indeed, China's growing presence in commodity markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South America – not just as a buyer, but also as an investor – has an almost imperial character to it.
Of course, China has not been wholly unscathed by the astonishing collapse of exports that struck Asian economies in late 2008 and early 2009. Many more Chinese than American workers have lost their jobs since this crisis began. Yet I do not believe (as some Sino-pessimists do) that the regime in Beijing faces a serious threat of social unrest. Like other rising powers in past centuries, China is imbued with a remarkable sense of patriotism that is not just a product of Communist Party propaganda. People are proud of their country's economic miracle over the past 30 years. After two wretched centuries, they believe China is on the way back. People whose grandparents survived the Great Leap Forward and whose parents endured the Cultural Revolution can surely cope with a decline in the growth rate from 11 to 6 per cent.

In short, it may be time to start believing the projections made by Jim O'Neill and his colleagues at Goldman Sachs, who predicted just a few years ago that China's gross domestic product could equal that of the United States by 2027. Three years ago, China did not have a single bank among the world's top 20, measured by market capitalisation. Today the top three are all Chinese. In 2006, the United States had seven of the top 20 banks, including the top two; today it has three, and the biggest, JP Morgan Chase, is rated fifth.

Even before its economy becomes the world's biggest, China can play a much more assertive role in its relations with the United States. The spouse with the money generally wins the argument, after all. Especially when the argument is about the other spouse's debts.

And what debts! The US federal government's deficit this year will be $1.84 trillion – roughly half of total expenditure and nearly 13 per cent of GDP. Not since the Second World War has the gap between income and spending been so huge. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office anticipates that total debt will nearly double in the decade ahead. With the lion's share (around 70 per cent) of their $2 trillion of international reserves held in the form of US bonds, the Chinese are understandably alarmed by this tsunami of red ink. Last week's financial market action – which saw both bonds and the dollar drop sharply – will have caused palpitations in Beijing.

To be sure, China is still piling up those dollar-denominated bonds. In March alone, China's holdings of US Treasuries rose $23.7 billion. But Deutsche Bank recently predicted that Chinese reserves will rise by only $100 billion this year, compared with $418 billion last year. You don't need a Nobel prize in economics to know that $100 billion won't finance much of a $1.84 trillion deficit.

We know pretty much what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is hearing in Beijing this week because the Chinese have been grumbling about American profligacy for months. "We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States," Wen declared in March. "Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am a little bit worried." Soon after that, on the eve of the G20 Summit in London, the Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochun proposed that the US dollar might eventually be replaced as the world's main reserve currency.

"The United States is making policy decisions purely according to domestic considerations and is giving little thought to the outside world," complained Zhang Ming, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in April. "This being so, the Chinese government should prepare its defences. We can keep buying US debt but we have to attach some conditions."
The big question is: what conditions? For Mr Geithner knows the truth of the old adage: when you owe the bank a small amount, the bank has the power. But when you owe the bank a huge amount, it's the other way round. Luo Ping, a director-general at the China Banking Regulatory Commission, put it nicely in an interview back in February: "Except for US Treasuries, what can you hold? US Treasuries are the safe haven. For everyone, including China, it is the only option. We hate you guys. Once you start issuing $1 trillion to $2 trillion [of bonds] we know the dollar is going to depreciate, so we hate you guys, but there is nothing much we can do."

"We hate you guys?" Now that really does have the ring of marital breakdown. Let's hope Mr Geithner is good at ducking crockery. Like divorces, major shifts in the balance of power are seldom amicable.

Niall Ferguson's 'The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World' is published in paperback by Penguin this week


  1. and here is the flip-side:

    BEIJING — China’s government censors have begun to block access to the Internet services Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail and Microsoft’s, broadening an already extraordinary effort to shield its citizens from any hint of Thursday’s 20th anniversary of the military crackdown that ended the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.


  2. On the basis of how much goods and services actually cost, the dollar now looks too weak against the euro and the yen. Against sterling, its current position looks roughly right. It is perhaps unsurprising that investors are treating the US and UK alike. Both are beached financial superpowers and are pursuing similar policies.

    The UK and the US are easing monetary policy aggressively while running cavernous fiscal deficits. The US has long exploited its position as the supplier of the world’s reserve currency, running up enormous debts which no other government could sustain. But there may be a limit to what even the US can get away with.

  3. I'd like to know a little more about this Hummer deal, that I call the Chummer. C for Chinese, and C for Chum. Who are the pay pals in this deal? How was it put together? What's the unseen quid pro quos?

    My dad I'm sure is rolling over in his grave watching US auto manufacturing being sold off overseas.

    Who comes out on top? The Chicaps, of course.

  4. I notice the sign in the upper left is in English as well as in Chinese. We may lose the ecomonic war but win the linguistic one.

  5. If you are monolingual, bob, you've already lost the linguistic battle, to those that can commuicate beyond your capaciy.

    True around the whirled, but especially true in the Americas. Where there are four languages of note utilized by Americans of all nationalities.

    Spanish being the most prolific, followed by English, Portuguese and then French.

    Anyone that remains monolingual in the global economy is behind the curve and will remain there.

  6. According to the IDF, the removal of the roadblocks "increases the freedom of movement of the Palestinian populace and joins the opening of some 140 barriers that were removed over the past year."

    "Following instructions from the political echelon," the army said, "the Israeli side informed [the Palestinians] that in the coming days it intends to implement a series of steps that could significantly improve life for Palestinians."

    These gestures would be focused on "freedom of movement, internal security and the economy," the IDF Spokesperson said.

  7. Cracks appear, as the President presses.

    To little, to late to vent the pressure that is coming to bear.

    The Leviathan is on the march and will not be denied.

  8. "We had to burn the village to save it".

    That's the way we roll!

    Team America!!

    Fuck Yeah!!!

  9. What if we have a notice on the Homepage informing newbies that "Desert Rat" is our resident Psychopath?
    Might keep some from running before they taste the full subtlety and richness of the bar's offerings.

  10. "The United States is making policy decisions purely according to domestic considerations and is giving little thought to the outside world," complained Zhang Ming

    ahhhh, life in the bubble has been going on so long now most Americans would scratch their heads in puzzlement at such a statement and end up responding "So?"

  11. U.S. Releases Secret List of Nuclear Sites Accidentally

    The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of nuclear sites and programs.
    “These screw-ups happen,” said John M. Deutch, a former director of central intelligence and deputy secretary of defense who is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    “It’s going further than I would have gone but doesn’t look like a serious breach.”

  12. I love the NY Times citing Deutsch, when there hyperlink leads directly to documentation of what a security disaster Deutsch the Doofus was.

  13. Hubris, Ash.
    Pride precedes the fall.
    From time to time we worry about being buried beneath the fallen Ash.

  14. Hubris, yeah, that certainly can be a problem, but I think there is more to it then that. It's a cultural thing - I mean, like who watches foreign films? Passport? Bush and Clinton, together, did a little talk show last week up here in Toronto and one of the long simmering issues vis a vis the US has been the hardening of the border - those that cross it must now show a passport. Neither of them were aware that that was the case. They both thought that a simple drivers license would still do.

  15. Barack Hussein Obama: US "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world"
    Ignorant a-hole:
    lost the source of this comment, but true, nonetheless:

    "6 million may make the US a populous Muslim country in the Middle East but not in the rest of the world, such as in the 100 of millions in Pakistan, Indonesian, Nigeria, Bangladesh and maybe India and China, to more than 10 million in Malaysia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Algeria etc. Large Muslim population, only in a speech writer's eye. "

  16. ah Doug, there are issues more better to get your knickers in a knot about - one of them being the "Buy American" clause in the recent stimulus bill - the conclusion from an NYTimes op/ed:

    "Meanwhile, representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Mexico have been consulting about how to respond to the United States’ protectionist drive. After Canadian companies were barred from bidding for American business, news reports say that some 12 Canadian cities passed ordinances against buying American. And the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is expected to discuss a possible coordinated response at its meeting this month.

    Industries like water and wastewater treatment are highly integrated with their Canadian counterparts, with exports to Canada in 2008 worth $6.2 billion and imports worth $4 billion. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, retaliation by Canadian municipalities could cost American water equipment companies an estimated $3 billion in lost business.

    An analysis this year by Jeffrey Schott and Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington estimated that “Buy American” provisions could “save” 9,000 American jobs — a tiny number compared with the 650,000 jobs supported by foreign government procurement of American exports.

    Indeed, whether it is from the point of view of diplomacy or of job creation, “Buy American” is a terrible idea. One that could make the global recession worse."

  17. Oh, doug, if you cannot see the analogy of Vietnam, in Israel, as regards the "change" in policy, after a change of Administrations and massive majorities gained by the Dems in Congress, well amigo, your vision is more narrow than I'd have thought.

    From the murder of President Diem, through to the abandonment of the South Vietnamese by President Ford and the Congress. Followed closely by the abandonment of the Shah of Iran and the hostage situation that followed. To say nothing of the US withdrawl from Lebanon, ordered by President Reagan, after 299 US service members were killed in a truck bombing.

    That's the way we roll!

    Now, the focus is upon our earstwhile ally, Israel.

    It's the way the current set of politicos play the game.
    Look at the roster of Team Obamerica.

    It tells the tale, better than I.

  18. ...We had to burn the village, to save it!...

    The precedents are clear.

    The US often acts with the best of intentions ...

    While sometimes blindslided by the unintended consequences of its' behaviour.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. At least publicly.

    But in each case there were those that saw reality from a different perspective, those consequences easy to predict.

    Mr Obama's resume is thin, indeed, but that is a tell, in itself.
    He focused upon process and power. Mastering process to gain power.

    A mark of prior planning, to be sure. So rest assured in regards the free flow of oil and "Piece in our time" he has a plan.

    He has built Team Obamamerica with stalwart fellow travels. From Billery to Mr Mitchell and the lightning rod, Ms Samantha Powers.
    The icons of Team Obamamerica.

  21. As to language, in the Americas.

    In New York City, Spanish is spoken by many of the residents, as their primary lingua.

    The same is true in Chi-town and Tysonville, Arkansas. Walmart is opening Spanish language stores in both Phoenix and Houston.

    Let's not even begin to discect language patterns in Florida.

    While across Central and South America, English is not used by many residents as their primary language.

    The Sudanese "Lost Boys" that work at the local Walmart are learning both English and Spanish, as they adapt to American life.

  22. From Thomas Friedman, in the NYTimes

    It was clear from the 20-minute conversation that the president has no illusions that one speech will make lambs lie down with lions. Rather, he sees it as part of his broader diplomatic approach that says: If you go right into peoples’ living rooms, don’t be afraid to hold up a mirror to everything they are doing, but also engage them in a way that says ‘I know and respect who you are.’ You end up — if nothing else — creating a little more space for U.S. diplomacy. And you never know when that can help.

    “As somebody who ordered an additional 17,000 troops into Afghanistan,” said Mr. Obama, “you would be hard pressed to suggest that what we are doing is not backed up by hard power. I discount a lot of that criticism. What I do believe is that if we are engaged in speaking directly to the Arab street, and they are persuaded that we are operating in a straightforward manner, then, at the margins, both they and their leadership are more inclined and able to work with us.

    And that the speech will be delivered at Cairo University.

  23. I was refering to:

    "Fuck Yeah!!!"

    Kinda like cheering for the lions.

  24. Stupid Fuck in Cheif:
    "And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. And so there's got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples."

    Obama said in Turkey that Americans "do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation". John McCain was criticised in 2007 for saying the US was "a Christian nation", later amending this to "a Judeo-Christian valued nation".

  25. With his Harvard education, he knows less than the average High School Graduate of 50 years ago about what this country represents.
    ...or, represented.

  26. China's going to be a strong competitor for resources, and power. It's a given. No use worrying about it. All we can do is take care of "our own business," and move forward.

    Our Achilles Heel is "Energy," specifically Oil. They have the same problem, developing.

    It looks like, from today's numbers, that rapidly increasing gasoline prices are stalling out our present attempt at "recovery." Those indexes, like "services" ISM, mortgage applications, and ADP employment, that have been recovering sputtered to a stop, or in the case of mortgage applications, fell backwards, today.

    This bodes ill for the immediate/intermediate future. We need $3.00 gasoline for renewables to take hold. If we keep falling back into, or staying in, recession as a result of $2.50 gasoline it could be a long, desperate slog.

    I'm concerned.

  27. The thing is: China has absolutely NO history as an "Aggressor" Nation. And, they really aren't looking like they want to "become" one.

    I think comparing them to the late 19th century United States is somewhat valid. They don't have the benefit of our Constitution; but, hey, we suspended Habeous Corpus during the Civil War.

  28. Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to make a case for "equivalence" between their rights, and ours. I'm just saying, "maybe they have a chance of getting better."

  29. Obama is mult-cultured or no-cultured. He has no fucking clue what it means to be a red-blooded American. We are a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles. The only folks who disagree with that are non-Christians, like him. He should not be President. Before you start, Rat, I know, 55% believe he should be, so it must be so.

  30. Fuck Yeah! is a theatrical reference, doug.

    Go rent or download
    Team America: World Police

  31. Upwards of 62%.

    Obama represents fundamental change, in the US. Don't be decieved into thinking that he is an aberration or an apparition.

  32. I brought some Pat Lang - it's been quite awhile - and there's enough to share with everybody. (Note: The conflict that Lang describes between an ally's understanding of itself and our understanding of an ally, is almost universal, a seldom acknowledged fixture, really, of prominent political relationships.)

    Who is the "Big Dog?"

    Petit_et_grand_chien "Mobs of Jewish settlers went on a rampage in the West Bank Monday, attacking Palestinian laborers and setting fire to agricultural land to protest against an Israeli government crackdown on unauthorized outposts in the territory.

    Six Palestinian laborers riding on a minivan were injured when stone-throwing settlers attacked them, the workers said.

    The violence comes as the Obama administration is pressuring Israel to honor long-standing pledges to tear down wildcat settlement outposts in the West Bank and to freeze expansion in existing, government-sanctioned settlements.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has balked at the U.S. demand to halt construction in existing settlements and faces stiff resistance within his hard-line government against taking down about two dozen of the outposts. The disagreement has caused a rift between the allies.

    It has also put Jewish settlers and their backers in the Israeli government on the defensive.

    Monday's violence was all deep inside the West Bank, where most of the hard-line settlements are located." Yahoo news.


    I have some sympathy for Natahyahu. He has the problem of reconciling Americans' notions of Israel and their role as protectors and sponsors of Israel with Israeli and Zionist notions of Israel as a resolutely independent country that does not take "guidance" from anyone outside its own polity. Americans have tended to think that in this relationship "who pays, says." Natanyahu does not accept that. This is a problem for him.

    Israel was founded to foster the interests of the "Jewish People," not the interests of the Palestinian Arabs (Muslim or Christian) or the United States. There is an inherent problem in American relations with Israel that starts with the idea of "the Jewish People." The notion of the Jews being a "people" is a bit alien in America where Jews are traditionally thought of as a religious affiliation rather than an ethnic grouping. American government does not deal domestically with Jews as other than a religious choice. There are no set-aside preferential programs for Jews, no affirmative action, no immigration quotas (that I know of). The armed forces, the Foreign Service, etc. do not have promotion quotas for Jews in the way these institutions have quotas for African-Americans, Asians, Amerindians, etc. They are not officially considered to be an ethnic group any more than are Catholics, Buddhists, Wikkans, etc.

    A large number of Americans think of Israel as a "project" of recompense and penitance towards the Jews for collective failure in not having somehow stopped Nazi mass murder against them. Another large group of Americans are simply waiting for the rapture and the "end of days" role of the Jews.

    Israelis, not surprisingly do not see themselves in these terms. Typically, they are highly nationalistic and focused on their own task of survival as a "nation" against the hostile forces of militant Islam and competing Arab nationalism. Israeli interest in religion as opposed to a supposed ethnic identity varies widely. Many Israelis are not in the least religious. Others are so religious that they reject the concept of the Israeli state itelf as inherently impious.

    Natanyahu and his colleagues in government are clearly focused on the state interests of Israel.

    The Obama Administration seems to see Israel as a client state within the sphere of American interests, a client that should understand who is "the big dog."

    A contest of wills between these two understandings is rapidly emerging. pl

    01 June 2009

  33. That big rampage amounted to throwing a few stones and one acre burned.

    Just had our first FBI interview concerning a tenant. Heh, in this case a good guy in the Navy. From Montana. With a nice wife. Gave 'em a great big good reference.

    Fuck yeah!

    I suggested over at BC concerning Obama's 'USA is one of the biggest muslim nations in the world' comment that maybe the O was back to snorting coke, and my comment got deleted. So, I'll suggest it here.

  34. Obama perhaps was not briefed by the old State hand whose first rule of IR is: Sovereign nations act that way.

  35. There you go, bob, stepping outside the bounds of serious discussion, once again.

    Wretchard the Knife.

  36. I think that Obama believes he is offerring the Israeli a deal that is in their best interest.

    That if they do not take it, then they are replicating Arabfats' rejection of the last "Piece Plan".

    Both sides unable to accept "reasonable" terms and conditions. For ideological and political reasons.

    With neither side defeated and stubborn in their policy positions.

    External intervention will be required

  37. Well, it was the only thing I could think of to cause a man to make such a bizarre comment as that. Addled brain syndrome, as my wife says. Here's your brain, here's your brain on drugs. Egg fries....

    Gotta run....

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. You just assume they were investigating the Navy man, bob, because they 'said so'?

    Wanna bet they did psych sketch of you, while they were at it?
    bobal, the radical reactionary

    Spreading vicious and maybe even false rumors about the President, all over the blogsphere.

    Inciting civil disobedience

    The Federals are your friends, bob.
    Rinse then repeat the mantra.

  40. ohhhh, RAT, now he's gonna go back to hiding under the bed again...

  41. When they quit messing around in the West Bank, and outside of "recognized" borders, I'll support'em. Until then, I'm tired of hearing about it. Right now, I don't want a single dollar of mine going to either side.

    I sure as hell don't want any F-35's ending up there.

  42. Lang has been wanting to see a breach in the "special relationship" for as long as I can remember and it's difficult to separate what he wants from what he purports to see.

    Is it possible that a sea-change in the relationship is underway? Yes. Could it be, contra Lang, to the benefit of both countries? Yes.

  43. And that sea change would've begun with the last admin. Just another seeming paradox.

    (Caroline Glick is always spun into the ceiling, in any event. You'd think she would have long since suffocated.)

  44. I've cited this columnist a few times here. He generally views things from a conservative perspective and he's been tasked with writing about the US. His latest column reflect some of my thoughts about the poisoned US political system and its ill effects. He tears a strip off of Gingrich. I'll copy and paste it all for ya:

    "The Sotomayor case: There's politics, and then there's evil

    John Ibbitson

    People of goodwill can disagree on matters of public policy. This is an axiom that those of us who write about politics should repeat every day.

    But there is also right and wrong; there is also good and evil. Most of the opposition to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court is at least wrong, and some of it is evil.

    Those who seek to block Judge Sotomayor's nomination focus mainly on two facts: First, she joined a ruling by the Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, that upheld the right of New Haven, Conn., to throw out an exam for the promotion of firefighters because no African-Americans passed it.

    Second, she gave a speech in 2001 in which she said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”

    In the first instance, Judge Sotomayor and her colleagues were simply upholding existing law. The Supreme Court is currently examining whether that law is constitutional. But it's the wise-Latina quote that has galvanized the opposition.

    “The very idea that a judge's ‘life experiences' should influence judicial decisions is as absurd as it is dangerous,” Thomas Sowell wrote yesterday on

    Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker, twittered: “New racism is no better than old racism. A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

    Mr. Sowell's statement is wrong. Mr. Gingrich's statement is evil.

    In 1896, seven Supreme Court judges ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that it was constitutional for states to segregate the black race from the white. Their ruling flew in the face of the 13th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    But those seven white men knew that Southern whites were determined to deprive blacks of their civil rights, and nothing short of another civil war would stop them. So the judges perverted the Constitution, the law and the court to provide segregation with a veneer of legality.

    Fifty-eight years later, nine white men overturned Plessy in Brown v. Board, the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th century. Why did the court reverse itself? Because times had changed.

    You know two things about yourself. First, you know that your world view has been shaped by the times in which you live, your genetic inheritance and the way your life has unfolded. You also know that you know this, and so you try to be careful not to let your inclinations ride roughshod over the facts. Judges know this, too.

  45. cont'd

    So Mr. Sowell was wrong to assert that judges can, let alone should, apply the law devoid of any personal context. Context mingles with law and precedent to produce judgments.

    But what are we to make of Mr. Gingrich's accusation that Judge Sotomayor is racist? He could not have reached that conclusion had he read the complete text of her speech, in which Judge Sotomayor concludes: “I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I re-evaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires.”

    These are wise, if not entirely grammatical, words.

    So one of two things is true. Either Mr. Gingrich did not bother to read the speech, or he read it and then willfully disregarded what Judge Sotomayor was saying.

    In either case, Mr. Gingrich made a vile accusation that cannot be reasonably sustained. I can't know why he made it, but I believe that he was pandering to closed and prejudiced minds within the conservative movement by accusing Ms. Sotomayor of the very racism that he knows infects some of his supporters.

    That's not just wrong, that's evil.

    There is good and bad across the political spectrum. And it is possible to reasonably disagree with Judge Sotomayor's legal philosophy. But this judge is being persecuted by small, bigoted people who should be ashamed of what they're saying.

    That Republican senators, while distancing themselves from Mr. Gingrich's remarks, refuse to disown them tells you everything you need to know about the current state of that party."

  46. Daniels Ends 2012 Speculation
    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels indicated today that his current job would be his last, a statement likely to deflate the hopes of many conservatives around the country that he'd run for president in 2012.

    "I've only ever run for or held one office," Daniels said. "It's the last one I'm going to hold."

    Daniels was speaking on the current state of conservatism during a panel discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Washington -- just two blocks from the White House. The second-term governor had been mentioned by the likes of Bill Kristol and Michael Barone as a potential challenger to President Obama in 2012, especially after his commanding performance in the 2008 election.

    The Republican governor left his post as director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush to run in 2004. He defeated acting Gov. Joe Kernan (D) by 8 points that year, and four years later he won re-election by tallying more votes than any candidate in state history -- and almost 200,000 more than Obama, the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in 44 years.

  47. Jeff Sessions praising
    "La Racist"

    Fuck Yeah! if I could Join the Supremes having been Grand Gizard of the Hawaiian Nation.


  48. ...gotta go to town, will read the 'Rat's priceless response on my return.

    ta da

  49. Sessions and Ms Snowe, that's 2 of the 40 GOP votes in the Senate. The lady will be confirmed.

    Let's move on, now.

  50. The Dark Continent

    Just for example, on June 27, 1941, a colonel in the staff of the Germany's Northern Army Group in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas passed a petrol station surrounded by a crowd of people. There were shouts of bravo and clapping, mothers raised their children to give them a better view. The officer stepped closer and later wrote down what he had seen. "On the concrete courtyard there was blonde man aged around 25, of medium height, who was taking a rest and supporting himself on a wooden club which was as thick as an arm and went up to his chest. At his feet lay 15, 20 people who were dead or dying. Water poured from a hose and washed the blood into a drain."

    The soldier continued: "Just a few paces behind this man stood around 20 men who -- guarded by several armed civilians -- awaited their gruesome execution in silent submission. Beckoned with a curt wave, the next one stepped up silently and was (…) beaten to death with the wooden club, and every blow met with enthusiastic cheers from the audience."

    When all lay dead on the ground, the blonde murderer climbed on the heap of corpses and played the accordion. His audience sang the Lithuanian anthem as if the orgy of murder had been a national ceremony.

  51. The young American soldier strode up to Monica Tovey and said: 'Hi honey. May I take you on the skating floor for a waltz?'


    'Sometimes I sense him behind me,' she says. 'I feel if I were to turn round very quickly, I'd see him there.

    To be remembered is a wonderful thing.'

    Bullet Couldn't Kill Love

  52. But many of the bill’s opponents believe the language adopted by New Hampshire and several other states does not go far enough because it protects only religious groups and their employees. New Hampshire’s bill does not exempt photographers or florists, for example, from having to provide services.

    But groups that advocate for gay rights, some of whom poured money into the state in recent months, said the law was yet another step toward mainstream America accepting same-sex marriage. “As people get to know the loving and committed couples at the heart of marriage equality,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “our culture is moving to equality.”

    Kevin Smith, director of the Cornerstone Policy Research, a group opposing the bill, said lawmakers “rammed this legislation through” in a way that “reeks of backroom deals and a subversion of the legislative process.”

    Same-sex Marriage

  53. Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.


    Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.


    Here's how it works:

    As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be, for the most part, be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

    United States -- Muslim 0.6%
    Australia -- Muslim 1.5%
    Canada -- Muslim 1.9%
    China -- Muslim 1.8%
    Italy -- Muslim 1.5%
    Norway -- Muslim 1.8%


    From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats
    for failure to comply.. This is occurring in:

    France -- Muslim 8%
    Philippines -- Muslim 5%
    Sweden -- Muslim 5%
    Switzerland -- Muslim 4.3%
    The Netherlands -- Muslim 5.5%
    Trinidad & Tobago -- Muslim 5.8%


    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris , we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam , with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

    Guyana -- Muslim 10%
    India -- Muslim 13.4%
    Israel -- Muslim 16%
    Kenya -- Muslim 10%
    Russia -- Muslim 15%


    At 40% , nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:

    Bosnia -- Muslim 40%
    Chad -- Muslim 53.1%
    Lebanon -- Muslim 59.7%


    After 80% , expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

    Bangladesh -- Muslim 83%
    Egypt -- Muslim 90%
    Gaza -- Muslim 98.7%
    Indonesia -- Muslim 86.1%
    Iran -- Muslim 98%
    Iraq -- Muslim 97%
    Jordan -- Muslim 92%
    Morocco -- Muslim 98.7%
    Pakistan -- Muslim 97%
    Palestine -- Muslim 99%
    Syria -- Muslim 90%
    Tajikistan -- Muslim 90%
    Turkey -- Muslim 99.8%
    United Arab Emirates -- Muslim 96%


    Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.

    'Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidel. -- Leon Uris, 'The Haj'

    It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrasses. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death. Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power than the national average would indicate.

    Today's 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world's population. But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and all other believers. Muslims will exceed 50% of the world's population by the end of this century at their current rate of reproduction.

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. Our friends the Iraqis are cleansing the remaining Christians I was reading today. Kind of slow and steady. The Jews were run out long ago. We're nuts to let any more in our country. It's always the same old whiney crap, until, as Sam's post points out, a certain level is reached, and then things go from bad to worse. Whatever happened to Tariq Aziz by the way?

  56. Registered by Acorn, no doubt.

  57. Has 'Rat been around lately???
    Homeless Man Plays with Poop on Phoenix Lightrail

    PHOENIX - A light rail train was taken out of service Tuesday morning after someone left a nasty surprise inside.

    Around 8 a.m., a train was stopped for cleaning after a man smudged feces in the interior of the train. Police were told the man on the train was flicking and playing with feces.

    The light rail operator was notified and quickly took the train out of service.

    "It is a biohazard, and we have protocol for how we handle a situation like this," says Hillary Foose. Those protocols include disinfecting the train.

    It was discovered near the 38th St and Washington station.

    The man, who police say is homeless, was questioned at the station and released.
    Police plan to review surveillance video on the train.

  58. Shit, they just gave him the 'sniff test' and let him 'go.'