VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: MINDLESS PREGRESSIVISM

http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/mindless-progressivism/

New Deal Liberals Transform into the Faux Populist Radical Left

With elections looming in 2014, it is about time for Barack Obama to gear up another progressive “war” against the rich, the limb loppers, the fat cats, the tonsil pullers, the “enemies” of Latinos, the jet junketers, the women haters, and those who knew neither when to stop profiting nor how the government had really built their businesses. We shall shortly witness some of the wealthiest and most privileged of capitalist America decrying inequality and unfairness from the 18th hole in Hawaii, the Malibu gated estate, and the Beacon Hill mansion. And the faux populism will probably work, at least if 2008 and 2012 are any indications.

It is easy to chart the evolution of the wealthy progressive elite from the occasional limousine liberal of the 1950s and 1960s to the now dominant hierarchy of the Democratic Party.

The traditional Democratic boilerplate [1] that I grew up with (as much as a ten year old can notice much of anything in 1963) — minimum wage, 40-hour work week, overtime pay, disability insurance, fair housing, civil rights, assistance for the needy — was mostly achieved by 1970. Equality of opportunity, however, did not translate into equality of result — given differences and imperfections in human nature.

Six instead of two children, three packs of cigarettes a day, four beers after work, two DUIs, a messy divorce, a freak accident on the job — the possibilities of either unsustainable responsibility or mishap are endless — can send one from middle class into poverty, well beyond the powers of the most enlightened government to prevent it. What is the liberal to do in those cases to ensure that we end up the same?

HEATHER MacDONALD: THE MAYOR NEW YORK DESERVES

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/367722/mayor-new-york-deserves-heather-mac-donald

New York City’s Sandinista-loving mayor couldn’t decide whether he was ushering in the new or reviving the old during his inauguration speech last week.

“Today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York,” Bill de Blasio proclaimed grandiloquently. “We need a dramatic new approach — rebuilding our communities from the bottom up, from the neighborhoods up.” Yet this “new” progressive “impulse” is also a longstanding one, according to de Blasio: It has “written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.”

So is de Blasio’s mission of “fight[ing] injustice and inequality” a novel experiment, turning New York into a “laboratory for populist theories of government,” in the words of the New York Times? Or is de Blasio simply recycling old ideas whose effects are already wholly predictable?

The latter. De Blasio’s “new” inequality agenda borrows heavily from the old War on Poverty, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this week. And no city has poured more money into government anti-poverty programs — to negligible results — than New York.

Candidate de Blasio constantly vaunted his plan to offer free pre-kindergarten to all, to be funded by yet higher taxes on upper incomes. Such a program, he claimed, would reduce inequality and break the cycle of poverty. He was, however, assiduously silent about the granddaddy of all War on Poverty programs: “Head Start.” And for good reason. De Blasio’s universal pre-K plan is simply an expanded version of that 1965 “culturally competent” classic, which has been repeatedly shown to have no long-term effects on academic performance or social development. A large federal study published in 2012 merely confirmed the obvious: Head Start has been a $150 billion sinkhole of taxpayer resources. De Blasio’s claim last Wednesday that “study after study has shown” the success of pre-K and other such compensatory programs was either a bald-faced lie or a sign of how cocooned “progressive” true-believers are. (Of course, President Obama and the rest of the federal bureaucracy have just as blithely ignored the federal Head Start study and want to expand it by $75 billion over the next decade.) Over the last 50 years, two — count ’em, two – early-education experiments arguably produced some slight lasting benefits, but those boutique programs enrolled a mere handful of students and wrapped them in expensive, high-quality services and personnel that could never be (and never have been) reproduced on a large scale, as Manhattan Institute fellow Kay Hymowitz has explained.

ELIOT SPITZER: THE SLEAZEBAG THAT KEEPS ON SLEAZING: TARA PALMIERI

http://nypost.com/2014/01/06/spitzer-and-lis-smith-caught-in-topless-hot-tub-antics/

Sleazy Eliot Spitzer turned a resort hot tub into a steamy love cauldron over the weekend — kissing and sucking the toes of his topless mistress, Lis Smith, in front of families with children, mortified witnesses told The Post.

The still-married former Love Gov and Smith, Mayor de Blasio’s ex-mouthpiece, were spied frolicking near the family pool at around 4 p.m. Sunday at the Half Moon family resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“It was gross,” said a hotel witness, who was vacationing with her family. “She had her top off.”

The disgraced Spitzer — infamous for wearing his signature black knee socks while having sex with hookers — appears to have a bit of a foot fetish as well, according to onlookers.

“He was licking her toes,” the witness said. “She would sit in his lap. Then he’d put her feet in his mouth. He licked her toes and was playing with her feet.”
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He also cuddled and whispered sweet nothings into the ear of Smith — a political flack who lost her chance at being a top spokesperson for de Blasio in part because of her relationship with the raunchy Spitzer.

THE END OF DHIMMITUDE: MORDECHAI NISSAN…see note please

One of the problems with the West’s understanding of dhimmitude is the erroneous information conveyed by scholars of Islam such as Bernard Lewis and his frequent disinformation; e.g. 1974 “”The dhimma on the whole worked well” and again in 2006 ““. . . ‘dhimmi’-tude [derisively hyphenated] subservience and persecution and ill treatment of Jews . . . is a myth.”

Joan Peters and Bat Ye’Or knew better and wrote of the appalling circumstances of dhimmitude in Arab nations and denounced it….rsk

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-end-of-dhimmitude-337085

This is a cultural and political game-changer with revolutionary significance, for Israel, the Middle East and the global scene.

We are now witnessing one of the most dramatic developments in the historic configuration of relations among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Christians in Israel’s Galilee are courageously promoting their pre-Islamic non-Arab identity as an old-new collective Aramean/Aramaic-speaking Oriental narrative. This is a cultural and political game-changer with revolutionary significance, for Israel, the Middle East and the global scene.

Under the leadership of Father Gabriel Nadaf, an Orthodox priest from Yafia near Nazareth, and Shadi Khalloul, a Maronite activist and army reserve officer from Gush Halav, the Christian Recruitment Forum has been established. While all non-Jews in Israel, excepting the Druse and Circassians, are exempt from the military draft, a new promotional effort has been undertaken to further encourage Christian youth to voluntarily enlist. This initiative expresses both a desire to serve the state and integrate into Israeli society, conveying that Christians are committed to the security and welfare of the Jewish state of Israel.

The rationale behind this Christian campaign and its momentous meaning are profound. From the early days of the Arab war against Zionism, and continuing until today with the Palestinian rejection of a Jewish state, the mainstream Christian community as fellow Arabs in the country allied with the Muslims.

The Arab nationalist political parties, from the Communist forerunner to Balad, were led and represented by Christians and Muslims alike.

Nazi Roots of the Knockout Game by Alan Korman

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/nazi-roots-of-the-knockout-game Mr. V. Pfeffer a Jewish survivor of Majdanek concentration camp in Poland described a “favorite sport of the SS men was to make a ‘boxing sack’ out of a Jew. This was done in the following way: Two Jews were stood up, one being forced to hold the other by the collar, and an SS man […]

HERBERT LONDON: THE REAL NELSON MANDELA LEGACY

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/the-nelson-mandela-legacy?f=must_reads In life, Nelson Mandela was admired; in death, he is venerated. As time passes, his life story is evolving from hagiography to beatification. There is something to admire in a man who stood by his convictions and altered the course of history by destroying the hateful apartheid institution. But the Mandela story has been […]

RUTHIE BLUM: OLMERT’S “DUMB BELL” ACCUSATIONS

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=6937

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making headlines, but not because the prosecution in his corruption trial filed its closing arguments last week.

No, the reason Olmert is currently in the spotlight has nothing to do with his alleged part in what many legal analysts consider one of the worst fraud and bribery cases in Israel’s history. It is, rather, due to statements he made on Monday during a conference called “Transforming Media Coverage of Violent Conflicts: The New Face of War,” at the Truman Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Though Olmert’s talk was titled “Media Challenges of Prime Ministers in Times of War and Terror,” he took the opportunity of the figurative and literal podium to accuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not wanting peace with the Palestinians.

“Only a dumbbell wouldn’t make peace,” he said, eliciting chuckles from the Hebrew-speaking audience for his slangy and puerile choice of epithet (the Hebrew word he used, “tembel,” can also be translated as “dunce,” “moron” or “blockhead”).

“Even a dumbbell of a prime minister would receive positive media coverage,” he continued. “But a dumbbell of a prime minister wouldn’t make peace, and a prime minister who makes peace wouldn’t be a dumbbell.”

MARK WARSHAFSKY: MILLIONAIRES ON MEDICAID…..SEE NOTE PLEASE

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304325004579297052950416982?mod=Opinion_newsreel_1

When Medicare was enacted, wise observers called it “welfare for the rich” because the benefits were never means tested- a millionaire and a pauper were entitled to the same benefits. And that started the ineluctable march to government control of healthcare…..rsk

Expanding Medicaid coverage to an estimated nine million more Americans—as mandated by the Affordable Care Act—reinforces the idea that Medicaid only serves the poor. That perception is not accurate. And it distracts from a looming budgetary threat to the program: long-term care.

More than two-thirds of annual spending on long-term care for the elderly is paid by state and federal governments, $60 billion of which flows from Medicaid. With 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age every day for the next 19 years, the Congressional Budget Office projects that spending on long-term care will more than double by 2050—to 3% of GDP from 1.3%.

We might accept these rising costs if benefits flowed only to the elderly poor, as originally intended. But that is not the case. Significant long-term care benefits flow to individuals in the top 20% of retirement earnings, enabled by Medicaid’s generous asset-exclusion limits.

In many states, an elderly person may own a home valued at $802,000, plus home furnishings, jewelry and an automobile of uncapped value while receiving long-term Medicaid support. In addition, they are allowed to have various life-insurance policies, retirement accounts with unlimited assets, $115,920 in assets for a spouse, income from Social Security, and a defined-benefit pension plan. By most standards, such a household would be considered wealthy.

Despite these generous rules, some individuals even game the system further by arranging complex asset transfers or insurance transactions that sidestep congressional efforts to curb fraud.

BRET STEPHENS: KERRY- SECRETARY OF UNREALITY

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303933104579304321624105870?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop The secretary of state hasn’t outlawed war, as Frank Kellogg did in 1928, but his Mideast initiatives are a good imitation. An American secretary of state was once awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for outlawing war. In describing how 62 countries came to sign (and 85 U.S. senators to ratify) the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, […]

A RESPONSE FROM FRANCE: NIDRA POLLER

Nidra Poller is a journalist, commentator/novelist who lives in France. In a previous column Jonathan Tobin wrote

http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2014/01/05/jonathan-tobin-the-quenelle-salute-and-european-jew-hatred/

“ Since in many European countries, and France in particular, hate speech is banned, the furor over the quenelle’s breakout into mainstream culture has led to a discussion about whether the gesture should become illegal as well as if Dieudonné’s shows, which feature soi-disant humorous rants about Jewish “slave drivers” manipulating ordinary people and complaints about claims of Jewish victimhood, should also be prohibited.This is a mistake, since although France has a strong tradition of government intervention in affairs in which authorities should stay out of, banning either the gesture or the performer will raise justified complaints about rights of free speech as well as making Dieudonné into a victim rather than a perpetrator….”

Nidra’s reponse:

Amiga, I don’t know how all this misinformation about la quenelle (the real one, not the nazi/jihad salute) got into the news stream.And now, amiga, you say it’s boiled fish balls. Mais non mais non. La quenelle is actually quite delicious. It is a specialty of Lyon, it is definitely not boiled. You bake it, it puffs up almost like a soufflé, and you serve it with une sauce armoricaine, par exemple. Further, in reaction to the article by Jonathan Tobin: I know that French law often stifles free speech (witness the al Dura lawsuits) but it is unfair and incorrect to act as if there’s no free speech here, and no debate here on the wisdom of banning Dieudonné’s “shows” and/or his quenelle. We are all—government and citizens– thinking seriously about it. But you can’t give us advice while totally disregarding our legal system! Laws against hate speech, denial of the Shoah, apology for genocide, incitement to religious or ethnic violence do indeed exist in France. People are prosecuted and punished under these laws. Why shouldn’t Dieudonné be expected to respect French law? Our laws can’t be abrogated by a disparaging remark and a click of the mouse. Today, when de facto shari’a law trumps the 1st amendment of the United States Constitution, we welcome a serious, mutually respectful debate on free speech in the free world.