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March 30, 2010

A Passover and Easter Message for those who love the USA

Go to this link:

http://jaygaskill.com/LibertyIndivisible.pdf

March 29, 2010

POLITICS AND POLITY - OUR RODNEY KING MOMENT

This piece follows and explains “The Assault of the Left, the Case for Fierce Optimism and Ruthless Honesty” posted on The Policy Think Site (in pdf) at this LINK: http://jaygaskill.com/RuthlessHope.pdf  and http://jaygaskill.com/PoliticsAndCreativity.htm.  As you might glean from the content, this is a series.
 

As Published On
→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
→The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
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Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
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Also feel free to PRINT IT FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE....
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For all permissions, comments or questions, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com
Shameless plug:  Read Jay Gaskill’s fiction.  Find out more &LINKS to publishers
The Stranded Ones, an alien immigration thriller: http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf . Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition: http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/

 

ALSO POSTED AT -- http://jaygaskill.com/PoliticsAndPolity.htm

 

Politics & Polity:
Our Rodney King* Moment

 

David Brooks:

 

“Yet I confess, watching all this, I feel again why I’m no longer spiritually attached to the Democratic Party. The essence of America is energy — the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs. This vibrancy grew up accidentally, out of a cocktail of religious fervor and material abundance, but it was nurtured by choice. It was nurtured by our founders, who created national capital markets to disrupt the ossifying grip of the agricultural landholders. It was nurtured by 19th-century Republicans who built the railroads and the land-grant colleges to weave free markets across great distances. It was nurtured by Progressives who broke the stultifying grip of the trusts.

 

“The Democratic Party, as it revealed of itself over the past year, does not seem to be up to that coming challenge (neither is the Republican Party). This country is in the position of a free-spending family careening toward bankruptcy that at the last moment announced that it was giving a gigantic new gift to charity. You admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it.”

 

LINK:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/opinion/23brooks1.html

 

Thomas Friedman:

 

“My definition of broken is simple. It is a system in which Republicans will be voted out for doing the right thing (raising taxes when needed) and Democrats will be voted out for doing the right thing (cutting services when needed). When your political system punishes lawmakers for the doing the right things, it is broken. That is why we need political innovation that takes America’s disempowered radical center and enables it to act in proportion to its true size, unconstrained by the two parties, interest groups and orthodoxies that have tied our politics in knots.”

 

LINK:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/opinion/24friedman.html

 

___

 

...worse, far worse than it looks....

 

The US government is nearly bankrupt.  The conventional wisdom, that governments can’t bankrupt themselves because they can always print new money, has been exposed as a delusional fantasy, akin to the notion that drug addiction can always be cured with more drugs.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/03/08/cbos-elmendorf-us-fiscal-policy-on-unsustainable-path/tab/article/

“...the debt held by the public with current tax policies extended would soar to 90% of GDP by 2020, Mr. Elmendorf (CBO Director) said, making the U.S. public debt load one of the world’s highest.

“The U.S. is entering unfamiliar territory in its level of public debt,” said Mr. Elmendorf. “It will be larger over the next decade than it’s been in half a century… and also unfamiliar by the standards of other developed countries.” The choice is not whether to change course from current policy, he noted, but “how quickly and in what way.” President Barack Obama has already declared a spending freeze on discretionary, nonessential outlays, but that only amounts to roughly 17% of total spending. Much of the rest of federal spending is for entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, defense spending and interest payments on the federal debt.”

MORE:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703416204575146354201372336.html

“...the Fed has to handle the historically large fiscal deficit. By and large, government spending diverts money to unproductive recipients, making the economy more susceptible to inflation. And the deficit is so large that bond investors may yet choke on Treasury debt, forcing longer-term interest rates up. Confronted with that, an accommodative Fed might hold down its short-term rate, which could also stoke inflation.”

MORE:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-25/bernanke-tells-house-panel-u-s-fiscal-outlook-somewhat-dark-.html

“Investor Confidence

“Bernanke said the deficit might affect monetary policy if it causes investors to lose confidence in the government’s ability to achieve fiscal balance.

‘Interest rates might rise because of a lack of confidence by creditors in the long-term fiscal stability of the government,’ and “high interest rates tend to slow the economy,” he said.’

MORE:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/26/markets/bondcenter/Treasurys/

“Demand at this week's 2-year and 5-year note auctions was also lukewarm, which has raised speculation that a long-awaited boycott of U.S. debt could be near.

‘The message from the bond market to Washington is loud and clear," said Mike Larson, an interest rate analyst at Weiss Research. Get your fiscal house in order or we'll force you to do so.’

“Many analysts have been predicting that investors will eventually begin demanding higher yields, given the flood of Treasurys that has come to market over the last several months and the risks tied to the swelling U.S. budget deficit.”

Yet we are suffering a perfect storm of delusion and denial (purposeful or pathological).  

Five distinct elements of our current situation are being ignored as if they didn’t exist:

We have passed the Keynesian breaking point - that juncture in the economic fabric where it is still rationally defensible to spend created or borrowed money to reverse an economic downturn.

Existing defined benefit entitlements cannot be sustained and new ones cannot be funded.

The free enterprise job-creation machine does not function under excessive loads, a condition that will soon be reached. [Private jobs will be our only effective means to restored prosperity.]

The global economy has so dramatically expanded the fiscal, financial and trade environment that the entire US domestic economy is but a single corporate player among many others, one full capable of going bust without aid or bailout.

The sheer scale of the rapidly expanding borrowing binge of the US government faces its catastrophic tipping point -- much closer than any major politician is willing to publicly recognize.

The toxicrats and the procrasticans (with their enablers, the moderati) have been manipulated (all too willingly) by predatory financial elites selling permanent prosperity through permanent borrowing.  For the last 30 years, faux prosperity bubbles (most recently, the dot com and real estate securities booms) temporarily masked the severity of the festering fiscal and economic crisis. 

The off-the-books indebtedness of the federal government, the so-called structural deficit has been ignored, because, in the words of one economist “we just owe it to ourselves”.  But the dirty little secret is that the federal government hasn’t been able to function for decades without outsourcing our indebtedness to foreign investors like, say, the Chinese.  Even minor foreign participation in financing US government operations is dangerous.  If next week, for example, all foreign lending dried up, the federal government’s operations would grind to a brutal halt.  The other dirty little secret: hat there is no escape from debt repayment.  Monetizing the debt means creating more money to pay for it.  Two consequences immediately materialize: rampant inflation and the inability to borrow more.

As federal borrowing grew without any real attempt to repay, our leaders and their handlers kicked disaster down the road.  The next bubble to shatter will be the Great American Deficit Scheme itself. 

If that bubble deflates in a relatively brief period, say within only two of three fiscal years, it will be a catastrophic event.  If it happens even more quickly, it is capable of bringing down the social order.  We then may be forced to relive the last days of the Weimar Republic.  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic#Economic_problems]

Our present circumstance has recently been described as a crisis in polity and civility as if Rodney King* had been promoted to chief political science guru. 

An electoral uprising against president and congress is the predictable consequence of a policy coup by the elite left.  An angry division in the electorate is a natural response. 

The underlying financial crisis presents on the threat-scale of a world war.  This demands a searching, honest policy dialogue aimed at prevention.  But a real constructive dialogue will remain out of reach until we reach agreement on three threshold conditions:

(a)    a common baseline moral framework rooted or congruent with the constitution;

(b)   a common commitment to the realistic pursuit of the optimum social order instead of the holy pursuit of social Unobtainium – pursuit of that class of Utopian constructs that seeks to re-engineer human nature always ends badly;

(c)    ...shared honesty and (at least minimal) candor.

Ideological true believers do not actually dialogue with opponents.  They practice strategic listening, misdirection, demands and walkouts.  Mr. Obama’s recent treatment of the Israeli Prime Minister – the president walking out of the room during their discussions - is a good example.

The snub marked a fresh low in US-Israeli relations....  The Israeli prime minister arrived at the White House on Tuesday evening....  Over the previous two days, he had been feted by senior Republicans and greeted warmly by members of Congress.

But Mr Obama ... immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr .Obama rose from his seat declaring: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls."

As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Mr Obama is quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. "Let me know if there is anything new."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/7521391/Obama-snubbed-Netanyahu-for-dinner-with-Michelle-and-the-girls-Israelis-claim.html

The same event was described in several other accounts.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121657&sectionid=351020202

Ideology is to dialogue as deafness is to orchestra conducting.

Years ago, a political analyst named Daniel Bell proclaimed “The End of Ideology” in 1960 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Ideology), much as Francis Fukuyama declared in 1992 “The End of History.”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man). 

Of course, neither history nor the role of ideologues has actually ended.  The irony escapes me here only because irony requires detachment.  The history we are compelled to live through at the moment is painful.  An outmoded ideology of the left has arisen like a vampire at midnight from its coffin, captured the presidency and both chambers of the legislative branch, utterly shattering – for the moment – any common constitutionally rooted moral framework, embracing divisive Utopian social projects financed by Madoff style accounting tricks, and selling them with an astonishing departure from former standards of honesty and candor.

I fear we will be forced to wait until the current set of leaders has been replaced and hope that the next set will be able to engage in a reasonable dialogue.

JBG


 


* “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?” Wiki Ref for those who were asleep in 1992 --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King .

March 27, 2010

Politics and the Human Creative Enterprise

This piece follows and explains “The Assault of the Left, the Case for Fierce Optimism and Ruthless Honesty” posted on The Policy Think Site (in pdf) at this LINK: http://jaygaskill.com/RuthlessHope.pdf . 

 

As you might glean from the content, this is a series.

 

This file is posted there (in htm format) at this LINK: http://jaygaskill.com/PoliticsAndCreativity.htm

 

 

Politics & the Human Creative Project

 

As Published On
→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
→The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
LINK TO THIS ARTICLE OR FORWARD IT TO OTHER READERS, AS YOU WISH.
Also feel free to PRINT IT FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE....
Otherwise,

The author’s permission to publish all or part of this article is needed.
License to print copies for use in group discussions is usually given on request.
For all permissions, comments or questions, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

We humans are at the top of the planet’s food chain because we are the world’s first truly intelligent, creative-adaptive species. 

 

There is no sharp line between creative accomplishments in the arts, the sciences, social organization or engineering.  The wheel and the song have both served the goals of creating a sustainable life-affirming civilization. 

 

In case you haven’t noticed, every human creative advance has opened a scary new chapter fraught with greater challenges. 

 

We’ve arrived at another precarious junction in human history, one in which a new Dark Age (always a possibility in any culture that has lost or is losing is moral tethers) would be more than a gap in human progress.  We have arrived at the point of no return in the sense that turning back now would be suicide. If you doubt me, just take a few hours to track the arms race between natural plagues and pathogens and human medicine and between the morally disarmed who are acquiring 21st century mass killing technologies.

 

Failing to enlist our creative capabilities to go forward could well be ultimately fatal to the human enterprise.   A Dark Age would be a fatal mistake.

 

This is why I have advanced the ideal of a specifically creative,  life-affirming civilization as the next necessary development in the Great Human Experiment.   Look around the world for a moment, using one simple test:  Where are the most fruitful creative activities taking place?  It would be hard too miss the fact that all the creative nodes operate in zones of protected freedom, and harder still to notice the USA’s position, all flaws accounted for, as a creative vanguard for the world.  And in passing, please note that tiny Israel has more creative activity mile-for-mile than any comparable real estate in the world except possibly for Silicon Valley, USA in the eighties and nineties.  If you look even deeper, you will discover the following:

 

Four agendas are toxic to the human creative enterprise: 

 

[1] Enforced uniformity, because it smothers the creative impulse;

[2] enforced equality, because it punishes creative accomplishment;

[3]intrusive bureaucracy, because it cripples creative innovation in the cradle; 

[4]...and the political control of the creative enterprise, especially that which separates creation from the ethos life affirmation or warps its natural role as the vital center of a healthy civilization, because it inevitably becomes a perversion*. 

 

*I think here of the bleak and amoral artistic community that undermined the Weimar Republic in 20th century Germany, unwittingly facilitating the Nazi takeover, and I recall those chilling amoral cohorts of innovative scientists employed to do human experiments by totalitarian regimes.

 

Because these four agendas are strongly linked to the modern left, it is no exaggeration to point out that the 20th and 21st century left* has a natural tendency to punish, smother, cripple and pervert human creativity. 

 

*The “left’, as the term is used here, excludes the freedom-respecting liberals, the subset whose members are easy-going about natural human inequalities, who understand the moral and practical value of free markets and share with their conservative brothers and sisters a core life affirming ethos, and an equal respect for human dignity and the US constitution.

 

Whenever the totalitarian left achieves effective dominance somewhere, the creative ones are among the first to seek to escape. 

 

This is no accident.

 

When the left’s agenda is in slow-implementation mode (as in Marxism Lite, currently being sold under the Progressive label), the deterioration in authentic creative accomplishment in any given society is less noticeable on a day-to-day basis. The cumulative damage is also masked by the late implementation of the fruits of earlier innovation.  But, like any metastasis, inevitably, signs appear.  Look for these:

  • Creative perversions move to the cultural foreground.
  • Authentic creative developments devolve into stale imitation.
  • The really bright sparks of genius begin to die in the dank tangle of restrictions, disincentives, soft censorship and political exploitation.
  • The best innovators retire, or slip away from the country into safe havens elsewhere.

 

It is no accident that left-dominated regimes tend to punish expatriation.

 

This is why the next development in conservatism must contain an explicit affirmation of the human creative process, a deep understanding of its taproots in the very civil freedoms that conservatism is dedicated to preserve, and of the necessary links between creative activities and a moral ethos rooted in life affirmation and human dignity.

 

I have coined a term for these new, creative conservatives.  They are the Renaissance Conservatives, or “Re-Cons”. 

 

Together with the Constructive, Creative Liberals, or “Con-Libs” we will make a contagious 21st Century American Renaissance.

 

Stay tuned.

 

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

 

March 25, 2010

Friends of Liberty: The Assault, The case for Fierce Optimism

 Lady
Download the pdf version of this piece by using this LINK:
http://jaygaskill.com/RuthlessHope.pdf   
 
As Published On
The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
 
LINK TO THIS ARTICLE OR FORWARD IT TO OTHER READERS, AS YOU WISH.
Also feel free to PRINT IT FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE....
Otherwise,
The author’s permission to publish all or part of this article is needed.
License to print copies for use in group discussions is usually given on request.
 
For all permissions, comments or questions, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com
 

Friends of Liberty: 
The Assault of the Left,
The Case for Fierce Optimism
And Ruthless Honesty

By

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

All friends of liberty should all be awake by now.  This is no mere turning of the pendulum, it is a full on assault.  Cloaked in mendacity and delusional denial the Beltway left has embarked on an entitlement and deficit borrowing binge that absolutely guarantees a terrible collision with reality, one that will trigger punitive taxation, banana republic inflation, a currency crisis or even worse.  
 

And mainstream media reported today that Social Security went negative as of this month, meaning that outgo exceeds income for the first time.  The New York Times story on this uncritically repeated the canard that the social security trust fund won’t be empty for a long time, thus ignoring the structural deficit, the fact that the term ‘trust fund’ is an accounting gimmick worthy of Bernie Madoff, making light of the fact that the entire federal budget is so deep in the red and sinking so fast even deeper and ignoring the brutal reality that any cutoff in the flow of credit would stop all new spending cold. 
If you want to pierce the fog of denial and congressional deception (self and inflicted), just do some basic homework starting with -- http://www.federalbudget.com/ .
By now it should be clear as a single night flare on a dark battlefield that we face an epic struggle to preserve America as the world’s best hope.  

The hyenas are circling; snakes are crawling in the nursery, and even some of freedom's allies are losing their nerve.

Fierce Optimism amounts to this:  Screw the breaks...from now on we make our luck.  

Ruthless Honesty: We ignore all the hurt feelings and just tell it like is, to wit: 

Marxism Lite has failed in the US, just as full-on Marxism failed in Russia.  In any form, the current “progressive economics” is a form of vampirism* in which the most productive forces and elements in a free society are gradually drained of blood while plasma was being replaced in the form of borrowing.  Like all unsustainable bubbles, there is a shocking end. 

* http://www.jaygaskill.com/LiberalVampirism.htm

We are almost there.

The friends of freedom will defeat the ideologues of the left, and clean up their malodorous policy droppings by getting more “ruthless” than the non-existent “great right wing conspiracy” ever was in the left’s worst fantasy nightmares. 

This will be a wideband alliance composed of the surviving Blue Dog Democrats, the Guard Dog Republicans and the “Tall Puppy Independents”* (explanation below).

dogs  

puppy

                                                                                   

TALL TALL PUPPY INDEPENDENTS

*The term ‘Tall Puppy’ derives from my favorite Australian folk expression -- “Beware of being the tall poppy in the field, because they are the first to be cut down”. Conservatives celebrate heroic achievement, whether that of an entrepreneur, artist, explorer or creative genius, but an arch-egalitarian ethos has captured the elite culture. Tall poppies everywhere must fight against the resulting ‘achievement guilt’ undertow.

But, tall puppies (who are loveable even when menacingly large) are the perfect protective coloring for ‘tall poppies’ in a hostile political environment.

America’s friends of freedom (under whatever banner, umbrella or none at all) will ultimately prevail because we are smarter than their best thinkers on a good day and we’ve been playing far too nice, until now.

I’m reminded of the durability of Israel - that tiny country, surrounded in a sea of scorpions, blessed with no significant natural resources except the talent of its people.  Israel is a prospering center of creative innovation, envied and hated by its neighbors.  Had this tiny country been another backwater monarchy, corrupt to the core, subsisting on oil revenues, I suspect that its Arab-Islamic neighbors would have reached a comfortable accommodation by now.  It is Israel’s embarrassing success - the implicit proof of the power of Western civilization - that constitutes the Great Irritant.  The Arab states outnumber little Israel on a scale that make Custer’s last stand seem like an equal match by comparison.  Yet Israel still stands. 

Never underestimate the staying power of the combination of intelligence, moral common sense and guts. The average IDF Lieutenant is smarter than the average Harvard professor and has more courage than any ten academics.  A lesser people would have succumbed.  This will be our model of a free society under siege.

More than ever before, all friends of liberty (however they acknowledge or identify themselves) need to be tough, moral, intelligent, highly creative-adaptive and tireless.  

The power of “No!” failed us because there were too many weak phonies on stage pretending to give even a small pile of progressive scat about our country’s core values. Of course liberty’s cause needs raw numbers, but at the very core, we need the brave and the smart most of all.  

And we need the power of “YES!’ linked to the Great American Restoration.  Collective stupidity and elite cupidity can always be overcome by disciplined, coherent morally centered intelligence.  

The core of the new populist outrage is an entirely original social development, definitely not another iteration of the brain-dead, left-wing class envy of the 20’s and 30’s. 

The left is now attempting to trash the so called Tea Party movement by attempting to identify the 99% of these honest, law-abiding productive Americans with a handful of loosely wrapped flamers and not a few agents provocateur embedded in the larger mix.  The smear will fail.   This is the best informed, most politically and economically sophisticated populist movement in history. 

And it is on the march. 

The key here is to understand the simple organizing principle that operates at the core of this unique populist movement: It is a growing an alliance of awakened productive citizens against the manipulative parasites - it is the activated immune system of the American Dream. If the political system suddenly begins running a high fever, it will be high time for the parasites to feel the heat.

This is an epic struggle, one that America’s future generations cannot afford us to lose.

Stay tuned.  A number of follow-on pieces – and a new project, together with its own website – are under construction. 

Comments, additions, submissions all welcome.  Use:  law@jaygaskill.com 

JBG


 

March 22, 2010

THE MORNING AFTER - STD? BLOOD TEST?

You were seduced.  Imagine you have awakened with the sudden realization that the person you had sex with last night made a lot of implausible promises and assurances, that you really know very little about this person, save the enthusiasm of the moment. 

You've just had unprotected sex and you really don't know whether you've contracted a STD that will wreck the rest of your life.

 

As the Wall Street Journal observed this morning,

This week's votes don't end our health-care debates. By making medical care a subsidiary of Washington, they guarantee such debates will never end. And by ramming the vote through Congress on a narrow partisan majority, and against so much popular opposition, Democrats have taken responsibility for what comes next—to insurance premiums, government spending, doctor shortages and the quality of care. They are now the rulers of American medicine.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats have sold this takeover by promising that multiple benefits will follow: huge new subsidies for the middle class; lower insurance premiums for consumers, especially those in the individual market; vast reductions in the federal budget deficit and in overall health-care spending; a more competitive U.S. economy as business health-care costs decline; no reductions in Medicare benefits; and above all, in Mr. Obama's words, that "if you like your health-care plan, you keep your health-care plan."

We think all of this except the subsidies will turn out to be illusory, as most of the American public seems intuitively to understand. As recently as Friday, Caterpillar Inc. announced that ObamaCare will increase its health-care costs by $100 million in the first year alone, due to a stray provision about the tax treatment of retiree benefits. This will not be the only such unhappy surprise.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703775504575135881813148208.html

Then you notice the wedding ring.

JBG

 [][][]

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop,

an allegory for the human condition. 

More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones. 

More on the Policy Think Site at

 http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

 

As Published On

→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 by Jay B. Gaskill

LINK TO THIS ARTICLE OR FORWARD IT TO OTHER READERS

 

PRINT IT FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE....

 

Otherwise,

The author’s permission to publish all or part of this article is needed.


For all permissions, comments or questions,

please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law,

via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 
 

 

March 20, 2010

Delusional Deficit Dreaming - Time for Democrats to wake UP

Delusional Deficit Dreaming

And the Coming Correction

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

Welcome to the Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    

As Posted On

The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   

The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3 

 

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.

Forwarded links are welcomed.

Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

For as printable version of this article, go to: http://jaygaskill.com/DelusionalDeficitDreaming.htm

 

Time for Democrats to Wake Up

 

The rosy CBO’s projections about the benign fiscal impact of the president’s health care package are exactly as reliable as the rosy spin about the real estate market taken ninety days before the Great Crash. 

 

Most people are not fooled. 

 

Any massive entitlement program - here measured in the trillions – inevitably overruns its cost projections.  Think of an overloaded train aiming down a mountain with a sharp turn at the bottom and defective brakes.  The health care plan is tantamount to doubling the load just before the train hits the point of no return. 

 

A fiscal derailment with massive casualties is the next big Crash.

 

Delusional denial on the left continues apace.  In today’s New York Times, Charles M Blow gushes about the president’s amazing resiliency and – a certain weakness in the polls acknowledged – talks about the emergence of ‘bullet proof Harry’ when the present contretemps subsides. “Could Obama Be Invincible?”

 

It is hard to make up a more implausible story.

 

Scott Rasmussen is – for my money – the most reliable pollster out there, the one that is secretly credited and corroborated by the smart democrats’ internal polls.

 

Try this on for size:

 

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.

 

For today, the total approval for this president’s performance is 43% against a disapproval of 56%.  Disapproval has been measured as over 50% by Rasmussen since February 10.  Moreover, republicans lead democrats in a generic ballot poll by 10%.  In a three way match, Tea Party plus republicans are 58% against 34% for democrats.  Of course, local races vary, but this is – or should be - sobering information for that dwindling number of authentic Blue Dog Democrats.

 

Check out the Rasmussen data for yourself:

 

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/generic_congressional_ballot


If you are still an Obama fan and want his presidency to succeed then root for his defeat on health care and for the toxic left wing of the Democratic Party to be wiped out this November.  Recall that Bill Clinton did his very best work when the voters gave him a republican congress.

Some of my friends – libertarian, centrist, moderately conservative – who voted for Obama based on the enchantment of his biography and an intuition that he is – at core – a moderate, reasonably pragmatic politician are beginning to worry that they have participated in the election of a hard core leftist ideologue. 

 

We now have a clue.

 

 

 

JBG

 

 

 

 

March 18, 2010

Guest Op Ed - What Hath Obama Wrought? by Dr. L W White

I’m very pleased to be able to post this guest Article by Dr. Lawrence W White, a Bay Area physician, who has lectured on bioethics and writes regularly about the Jewish condition and the State of Israel  (see < http://www.americanthinker.com/lawrence_w_white_md/ > ). Dr. White maintains an email community of interest among those of us who are deeply concerned abut the safety and future well being of Israel.

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

Also posted in htm format at - http://jaygaskill.com/OBWrought.htm 

 

What Hath Obama Wrought?

By Lawrence W. White

 

Chutzpah Watch;

Israel has to prove it is committed to peace.”               

                                                               Hillary Clinton 

 

Now let me get this straight. When Americans decide to build housing In Washington, other countries do not get involved. Ditto for London, Ottawa, Tehran. These are considered internal matters and not the occasion for responses from other nations. However, when Jews in Israel plan to construct housing in their own capitol, the Obami have a very public temper tantrum. 

A disproportionate response?

As we all know, during VP Joe Biden’s recent visit, a poorly timed announcement was made regarding housing construction in East Jerusalem. Biden objected, Netanyahu apologized, and that should have been the end of it. Except that it was followed by harsh and inflammatory words that have no precedent in US-Israel relations. Indeed, no other nation has been the recipient of such language from the Obama administration.

What might be the goals of the US administration that would prompt such unusual tactics?

One goal might be  to satisfy Arab entreaties.. Obama fails to understand the reality that Arab demands will only be satisfied if Israel disappears.

Might this event be used to intimidate the Prime Minister of Israel, who will fear loss of American support, and so go along with the Obama program for moving the “peace process” along? Not likely, given the consequent further erosion that has occurred in Obama’s reputation in Israel..

Another possible goal has been suggested by Jeffrey Goldberg in an article in today’s "Atlantic". Goldberg makes the point that Obama is trying to push the Israelis toward a more leftist  government, in the belief that such Israeli leadership will be more amenable to  American pressure. He seems to think that Kadima and Tsipi Livni will be more likely to do his bidding. But a united Jerusalem is a position that comes as close as any to being unanimous in Israel. To expect that Obama’s anger would make Israelis give up their rights in Jerusalem, to revolt against Netanyahu, and install a more left-leaning government,  is simply mistaken. Pushing on this particular issue will, in fact, solidify Netanyahu’s standing.

 

In his article, Goldberg refers to the Knesset members of Netanyahu’s coalition as “gangsters, messianists and medievalists”. Ami Isseroff has  pointed out that in using this unfortunate language,   he is parroting the views of David Axelrod and other Obama advisors, showing where his ideas are coming from. This exposes a major miscalculation by the Obama administration, but one which is continually put forth by J Street and other enemies of Israel.

The truth is that the so-called peace camp within Israel no longer has  much influence, thanks to the recalcitrance of the Palestinians, and the gradual sinking in by Israeli citizens that additional concessions have not brought them closer to peace.  Israel’s citizens have now been fully exposed to the dangers of the peace process. They realize that since Oslo, the process itself has paradoxically   led to more, not less, violence, and made peace even more remote.

It should be clear to all, including Hillary Clinton, that Israel has repeatedly taken risks for peace For example, the government of Israel showed restraint despite months of rocket attacks by Hamas. And when she finally needed to act against Hamas  to  protect her citizens, she found that one consequence was that her leaders would  be arrested as “war criminals” if they disembarked in London. These facts are not lost on Israelis, and given this history, it is unlikely that the left will be able to promise a greater hope of success.

 Obama has never come close to using the crude language of the last few days in his dealings with the thugs in Iran, Syria, or Libya, or with  the two factions of Palestinians, who conduct real acts of violence. With these, he claims to believe in diplomacy and engagement. Only in the case of Israel, does  he use undiplomatic and incendiary language. This will not win him any points with Israelis or with her American friends.

Who is advising Obama?  It is difficult to know how much his views on the Middle East preceded his election, and how much is the result of advice that he has received more recently.  At present, he seems to be listening to persons who know little about the long conflict, persons such as David Axelrod, State Department Arabists, the wise men who believe that Israel-Palestinian  peace is a key to solving all other problems in the Middle East, and of course the J Street crowd who promise Obama that “tough love” with Israel will be supported by a major part of the Jewish community

The events of recent days  has had immediate results.

Within hours of the public denunciations of Israel, Palestinians were rioting in the streets of Jerusalem. Since this dressing down, Palestinian leaders have started the rumor that the Hurva Synagogue in the old city is infringing on the grounds of the Al Aqsa  Mosque,  and that the Jews are planning to destroy the Mosque  There have been calls for Palestinians to come to Jerusalem to protect the Mosque. The rioting and violence will likely get worse. A third intifada has been hinted at.

With Obama being tough on Israel, any incentive the Palestinians may have had to negotiate in good faith has collapsed. In fact, the outburst by the Obami has  encouraged the impossible and irrational demands of the Palestinians.Now they expect that Obama will act as their advocate, and do their negotiations for them. All Abbas needs to do is pound on the table, make demands, refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, and Obama reacts with anger. Anger against the source of the frustration? No, against Israel.

Secondly, Israelis will not feel comfortable taking risks for peace if they know that Obama is forcing them to accept something that has been proven not to work. They believe that they are being pushed to make “concessions” by  people who do not  accept any Jewish rights in Jerusalem. Many of those doing the leaning do not even accept the wisdom of the existence of a Jewish state. And they surely do not understand that Israelis are the ones who will need to live with the consequences of any decisions, not the members of J Street who think that they know better.

To hector Israel, as Hillary Clinton and David Axelrod have done over the past week, is to achieve the exact opposite of their goals. These are smart people. Yet they know little about the history of the Middle East conflict, and even less about the nature of Israeli society.

One can only wonder; what are they thinking? One can only conclude that they have bought into the nonsense of the J Street crowd and of the anti-Israel left. Secretary Clinton’s comment (see quote above) is right from the playbook of those  folks who mindlessly put forth the idea that Israel is not committed to peace. The same nonsense has been picked up by Palestinian propagandists. It seems  that Hillary should know  better. That she does not is particularly worrisome.

Further, it is not lost on Israelis that while Obama has used crude tactics in his attempts to get his version of a peace agreement, he has continued to “engage” Iran, all during a critical  period in which the Iranian nuclear capability is coming dangerously closer. Israelis are beginning to suspect that Obama is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, something which Israel cannot do.

By his recent actions, Obama has achieved the worst possible result; a worsening of relations between Israel and the US, and at the same time, a  worsening of the chances of achieving any kind of useful agreement with the  Palestinians. Both  have happened.

What to do now? There is much support for Israel among the  American people and in Congress. It is important to get word to Obama that he is making things worse and  that the prudent course is to lower the volume and stop directing his frustration at the party that has been most  responsive. Hillary Clinton also needs to understand that her political future is tied less to approbation from Obama and more to acting in America’s  best interest. Achieving an unwise deal solely in order to help Obama’s political future is not a substitute for rational policy making. And hectoring Israel not only undermines this but makes her appear to be a hypocrite vis a vis her prior statements of support for Israel.

It is useful to examine the statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding this matter.

 

"The State of Israel appreciates and esteems US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's warm remarks regarding the deep bond between the United States and Israel and the US commitment to Israel's security.

 

"Regarding the commitment to peace - In the past year, the Government of Israel has proven its commitment to peace in both word and deed, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's June 14, 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, the dismantling of hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, and the decision to suspend new construction starts in Judea and Samaria for ten months, which Secy. of State Clinton defined as "unprecedented."

 

"By contrast, the Palestinians have raised preconditions for the resumption of the diplomatic process, such as they have not done in the past 16 years. They are waging an assault to delegitimize Israel in international institutions via the Goldstone report. They are also continuing to incite towards hatred and violence; included in this is the decision to dedicate a square in Ramallah after the woman terrorist responsible for murdering 38 Israelis.

 

"Prime Minister Netanyahu again calls on the Palestinians to enter into the tent of peace without preconditions because this is the only way to reach an agreement that will ensure peace, security and prosperity for both peoples."

 

 

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Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .

 

 

March 17, 2010

Glenn Beck's 'Social Justice vs. Christianity' Kerfuffle

IS GLENN BECK AT WAR WITH CHRISTIANITY?

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .
 
And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  More on the Policy Think Site at   http://www.jaygaskill.com/TourTheStrandedOnes.pdf .
 
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Christian Social Justice?

Reflections on Glenn Beck’s Kerfuffle

 

If you’re in the loop, you already know that conservative Radio-TV commentator Glenn Beck is being savaged by liberal Christians across the country for having said,

 

“I beg you: look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

 

In a more temperate moment, in full context, I heard Mr. Beck say something different: 

 

Now, I wasn't aware that God had politics. I would like to again join all of the liberals in suggesting we have a separation of church and state, that maybe there's a problem when your preacher stands up and starts telling you who to vote for, how to vote, and what the government should look like. 

Now, I know there are churches that do that. I don't attend them. I don't like them. You can do that if you want, but if you want to make sure that God's politics aren't
America's politics, you know, that would probably be a good thing to check into those words of those churches. Because I don't think God has politics. I think he has the truth. 

 

 

As an unavoidable side effect of the info-blizzard, that modern hyper-acceleration of information inflow and our diminished time for reflection and consolidation, we are experiencing the corruption of language - word pollution.  This has facilitated the political and ideological corruption of religious terms and the religious appropriation of politics and public policy.  In earlier eras, when church and state were inseparable, this wouldn’t have seemed remarkable.  In the American context, it can only appear as backsliding.

 

The proper use of the term social justice as a specifically Christian agenda (or a Jewish agenda, or a Judeo-Christian agenda) depends on shifting patterns of language and semantics.  The various meanings that the term “social justice” is intended to convey remain subject to the political agendas of competing ideologies.  Social justice, as it is used in contemporary religious circles, has become a very slippery notion.  In a different era it would refer to the release of slaves, the restoration of kidnapped children or the return of stolen tools of one’s trade.  In the current era, it is all too often a stand-in phrase for a large scale, long term political agenda with deep taproots in Marxism.

 

From my point of view, Marxism falls into one of those sub-categories of “cool ideas” that have a superficial facial appeal but a truly dreadful – and innate – tendency to spawn authoritarian abuses.  The core assumption of Marxist thinking is that all economic inequalities are also inequities, that is, that they are inherently unjust without any inquiry into individual circumstances or recognition of the primacy of transactional justice (think of the restoration of stolen property after a trial vs. the razing of a village that harbors a few thieves). 

 

Marxist theory does not recognize earning as conferring any right to retain the fruits of one’s own efforts.  The driving force of Marxism in all its forms is envy, often masquerading as love.  The goal of Marxism is the elimination of “economic injustice” by which is meant the elimination, by force if necessary, of all economic inequalities, through collective power acts based on Marxist economic theory, rather than by individual justice acts of restoration, based on applied moral transaction theory (the latter essentially is the operating model of the ‘just tribunal’). 

 

[Permit me, relevant aside:  Political correctness, the notion that all our social, ethnic and racial differences need either to be pretended out of existence or somehow leveled amounts to social Marxism.  But that is a topic for another day.]

 

There is a distinct boundary between well crafted government social programs that operate as a temporary safety net (think of time-limited unemployment assistance here) and those that are blatantly or covertly aimed at “closing the income gap” between rich and poor via the Robin Hood solution, taking from one group of targeted citizens in order to give it to benefited constituencies.  That side of the boundary has taproots in Marxism.  The gradualist, covert form of the Grand Economic Leveling Programme is Marxism Lite.

 

Once nakedly exposed, Marxism becomes a repellant caricature of Christian ethics – representing the brutal substitution of an engineered, faux-equality (materialist / economic) for equality before God, and substitution of the bureaucratic administration of collective political justice for fairly individuated moral justice.

 

For Christians – and many outside observers - Jesus was the living spiritual and ethical force who was called to reform the human condition.  As an iterant rabbi in first century Palestine, Jesus healed and admonished, taught and inspired.  But not once did he advocate a forcible taking of someone’s property – whether by an individual, the Roman Imperium or the local authorities.  All the acts of kindness, generosity and forbearance that Jesus modeled, praised or taught were individual ones - as individual as are our all-too-human sins.  Early in the First Century the resulting religion was a variation of Judaism; it was called “the Way”, a personal path of grace, redemption and renewal, following the universal messianic example. 

 

I think of the social engineers of Marxism as having staged a Frankenstein’s monster ballet, a parodic morality play where crude, unfeeling mechanical movements, devoid of all grace, beauty, kindness and spirit are offered for the real thing.  And I think of the ultimate end-state of Marxism, a fully leveled social and economic order, as the ultimate triumph of entropy, the final extinguishment of all creative variation.   In this deeper sense, I see Marxism as containing a full-on evil poison pill.  

But that’s just one opinion.

 

When examining questions of secular public policy, no practicing Christian or Jew I have ever met would even attempt a principled religious argument against making various public resources widely available both to those able and those unable to pay taxes.  It is difficult to locate any biblical injunction against a policy of providing roads, police protection, basic education, for example, equally to poor and rich.

 

But a policy to eliminate all differences between rich and poor through the forcible redistribution of resources, whether earned or unearned, is another matter entirely.  If that is what is meant by social justice then a significant number of practicing Christians and Jews can reasonably dissent whether teaching that brand of social justice is appropriate in their churches or synagogues.

 

Another slippery term that has become subject to rampant political and ideological appropriation is progressive.  Humanitarians of every stripe can hope and actively work for a world wherein more and more individuals act towards their fellow human beings with greater kindness, honesty and forbearance. That we can readily agree that would represent social progress.    

 

[Please allow me another aside:  Is it really progressive to achieve moral indifference, say, to the involuntary euthanasia of the elderly and disabled or the termination of a beating heart in utero?  Reasonable minds can differ on this, no?]

 

Marxists aim for a world without economic (and even social) differences, irrespective of kindness, honesty and forbearance, one that must be called into being by the power of the state.  For them, progress means adopting public policies that accomplish this reorientation over time.  Marxism Lite is progressive social justice in this very sense. And it is all too often what is meant by the pursuit of social justice in a religious setting.

 

Of course, I am not unaware of the Gospel passages often cited by those social progressives who seek to enlist government in the service of making a “better world”, by which – in their heart of hearts - they mean some version of the Great Marxian Utopia.  

 

On one reported occasion when a wealthy outsider asked to join Jesus’ group of apostles, the man was admonished to sell everything first and give it away.[1]  Like the later monks, Jesus’ immediate entourage of apostles had agreed to a communal arrangement of shared belongings during his ministry, unburdened by retained wealth.  But Jesus bestowed blessings, grace and forgiveness on an entire range of ordinary people, tax collectors, farmers, artisans, widows and prostitutes without that injunction.  A fair reading of the Gospels reveals a sprit of profound generosity and reconciliation as part of one’s right relationship with God, an injunction to repair from within, not to engineer a forcible remaking of all society from without.

 

The temptation to use the levers of political power to accomplish that which we are called as individual moral agents to do in our personal relationships represents the ultimate Faustian bargain, as the hell-on-earth in Lenin’s Russia has appallingly demonstrated. 

 

[Another aside:  The National Socialists of Hitler’s Germany represented the dark mirror reflection of the bleak communist vision, a differently organized order, to be sure, but one characterized by universal sacrifice to the goal: both were equally militaristic, equally brutal and equally evil.] 

 

Christians and Jews can reasonably differ among themselves and with their secular counterparts about a whole range of political, economic and social policies, but any claim that one’s religion obligates one to advocate “social justice” demands a careful examination and searching dialogue.  Social justice in the Marxist-Lite sense is not the accepted doctrine of “official Christianity”, nor should it be taught as doctrine from pulpit or lectern any more than one political party, candidate or set of “approved” candidates should be endorsed.

 

Or so it appears to at least one reasonable mind.

 

JBG



[1] EG: Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."


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