Eternul feminin, eternul jihadism*

Petre M. Iancu semnează pe Deutsche Welle un articol de colecție*.

Poate și mai convingător, în lectura autorului, mai jos, preluare de pe adevarul. ro.

De vreme ce liderul persan împarte în vest comenzi de câteva miliarde, cui să-i mai pese că şeful său, ayatolahul Kamenei, e stăpânul teocratic al unui regim tiranic, care calcă în picioare cu superbie, de decenii, drepturile omului şi cetăţeanului? Care execută mai mulţi disidenţi chiar decât hulita Arabie Saudită. Care a practicat impenitent, prin Hezbollah şi alte organizaţii similare, terorism de stat, nu doar în Siria şi Liban, ci şi în ţări atât de îndepărtate de Orientul Apropiat ca Argentina. Ai cărui ierarhi şiiţi şi gărzi revoluţionare au propulsat şi menţinut la preşedinţia iraniană ani la rând un negaţionist al Holocaustului şi ameninţă în continuare statul evreu cu genocidul.

Nu i-am văzut roşind pe cei care, miercuri, 27 ianuarie, comemorau cu pompă şi belşug de vorbe sforăitoare la Berlin, Paris şi Roma ziua internaţională a eliberării lagărului de exterminare de la Auschwitz, ziua comemorării victimelor Holocaustului.

[…]

A sosit timpul să ne amintim că totalitarismul nazist şi cel comunist s-au cununat şi au făcut pui. Să începem să deschidem ochii. Să-i vedem nu doar pe ei. Să nu mai strângem mâna oricui. Şi să nu mai iubim chiar pe oricine, oricând şi necondiţionat.

Islamul radical, stimulat de corectitudinea politica

Ca adept rațional al moderației, mă tem de o suprareacție antiislamică, dar nu de dragul unui Islam degenerat în ideologie teroristă, ci pentru că-mi doresc să con­serv valorile europene: nu trebuie să de­ve­nim fanaticii antifanatismului. Pe de altă parte, bilanțul greu al terorismului arabo-musulman (sau negru-musulman în Afri­ca, unde operează Boko Haram) are carate simbolice imposibil de minimalizat: morții de la Paris nu se pun în balanță cu aceia din­tr-o catastrofă aviatică.

Una e natura, accidentul fatal, și alta moar­tea ca rezultat al planificării minu­ți­oase, peste frontiere. Papi, intelectuali la­ici, profesori de teologie și de istorie a re­ligiilor, artiști și politicieni au tot încercat dialoguri cu lumea islamică postcolonială. E o iluzie să credem că aceste dialoguri n-au construit poduri durabile între națiunile me­diteraneene doar pentru că elitele ara­be sunt încă tributare discursului socialist anticolonial din anii ’60 ai secolului tre­cut. Degeaba mi se spune că textul coranic e majoritar pacific sau că și Biblia conține pa­saje violente. Creștinismul, autolimitat prin umanism, Renaștere și democrația mo­dernă, a devenit o religie „inofensivă“; o tradiție, un patrimoniu, o spiritualitate, un rezervor de martiriu antitotalitar. Dacă religiile trec prin cicluri de natură „or­ga­nică“, ar însemna să scuzăm terorismul mu­sulman actual ca pe o criză de creștere. Numai că el nu e o acnee adolescentină. Islamul clasic s-a consumat între secolele IX-XII după Hristos și tot ce i-a urmat a fost manierism, decadență, rețea de filan­tropie socială, politizare sau ideologie cri­minală de-a dreptul. E deci ceva defect în însăși dinamica istorică a Islamului și, da­că nu admitem asta, nu vom reuși să-i li­mi­tăm cuceririle agresive. Da, ecuația Is­lam=terorism e un amalgam nedrept. Pro­blema nu stă în majoritatea tăcută a lumii islamice, fără reprezentare politică se­ri­oa­să și de cele mai multe ori înfricoșată. Pro­blema la care ni se cere un răspuns – acum, nu peste 50 de ani – este cum era­dicăm terorismul de matrice islamică?

Din păcate, nu avem nicio strategie de răs­puns direct. Pentru că, înainte de auto­apă­rarea civilizației occidentale, avem de câș­ti­gat o altă bătălie, pur internă: cea îm­po­triva corectitudinii politice, o religie cul­tu­rală a marxismului pervers reciclat după co­munism. O religie fanatică, ai cărei adepți, adversari ai civilizației iudeo-creș­tine, au o gândire pur darwinistă, amo­rală. Chiar îmi povestea un amic despre o colegă de-a sa de la ONU, New York, o sue­deză ultraliberală, care a răspuns că, dacă civilizația europeană piere, nu are ce să-și reproșeze: „e vorba de selecția na­tu­rală“. Cu asemenea poncife auto­pa­ra­li­zante, dominând media și universitățile noas­tre, va fi greu – sau tragic imposibil – să organizăm într-o atmosferă rațională răs­punsul nostru față de terorismul isla­mic. Și totuși, psihanaliza nu e o știință exac­tă, hiperfilantropismul produce ură interetnică și soluții nerealiste, iar mania egalitarismului nu face decât să aplatizeze, odată cu ierarhiile de merit, șansele socie­tă­ților noastre de a-și reafirma, salvator, identitatea periclitată. Da, aș vrea să ră­mân moderat, dar moderația, ca străvechi filon conservator, are nevoie de umor, de forță și de speranță în Dumnezeu, nu de circuri mediatico-umanitare chemate să divinizeze alteritatea și să ne bage vino­văția în vene, ca pe un drog. Cum să le amintim mai bine islamofililor de serviciu că mult incriminatele Cruciade au început la peste trei secole de la începutul expan­siunii islamice, pe când sudul conti­nen­tu­lui nostru era deja sub flamura Profetului? Și cum să nu repetăm greșeala de a ac­țio­na atât de târziu?

Preluare Revista 22

(Foto: midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)

Cui ii canta Basescu „Guantanamera”?

„Păi, la Guantanamo îi ţineau până ce spuneau ce voiau să audă ofiţerii CIA“ (Traian Băsescu, la B1TV)

De câte ori să mai repete apăsat fostul nostru președinte refrenul cu „guantanamizarea“ până să îl întrebe presa: „Dar numai la Guantanamo îi țineau, domnule Președinte?“? Mă rog, presa neacoperită, că aia acoperită ori se face că nu înțelege unde bate omul, ori tace mâlc, ori contraatacă, nu fără temei, în plan moral. Un lucru e clar: la ușa DEX-ului sigur nu bate!

Nimeni nu se avântă, însă, pe fir în jos la etimologie. Și nici nu sondează puțin în istoria recentă. Pandaimosul de la Guantanamo devenise celebru în 2005 după apariția unui articol în Washington Post care dezvăluia că pe vremea lui Bush Jr. suspecților de terorism li se cam dădea mai multă apă decât puteau să bea. Pe gât, cu furtunul. S-a făcut și film. De Oscar chiar! Iar metoda se globalizase. Se pare că vestita întreprindere americană de alimentări cu apă a avut niște filiale și în România. „Se pare“ spunem așa, pentru piața internă, că restul Lumii civilizate și necivilizate are certitudini. Presa internațională ne arată cu degetul de 10 ani, necontenit, ne indică până și locurile de detenție, societatea civilă ne pune la dispoziție și orarul zborurilor avioanelor-pârnaie (pag.104). Un fost deținut se declara norocos la DW că a prins repartiție la Kogălniceanu sau la București (ORNISS). Probabil pentru că la noi nu prea e presiune la apă pe nicăieri. Sau pentru că metodele de interogare au rămas cele vechi, sovietice, pentru care se face antrenament de anduranță încă de la clasa pregătitoare de jihadism.

[…]

Așadar, fostul șef al unui stat acuzat de găzduirea sucursalelor celei mai umede pușcării din lumea democrată vorbește de furtun în casa irigatului, ca rădăcină etimologică, iar ziaristului format la BBC (și maturizat la Vîntu-Ghiță) Cătălin Striblea, investigatorului de calibru Sabin Orcan și analistului atomic Ion Cristoiu nu le dă prin cap să-l întrebe dacă e vreun sâmbure de adevăr în ce zic toți nebunii ăștia.

Preluare Kamikaze. Citiţi articolul integral aici.

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Jeffrey Sachs: Socialism and Sanctimony

Jeffrey Sachs is a famous Columbia University Professor. In his book, The Price of Civilization, Sachs shows that he has a real grudge against the rich.  He doesn’t like „unaffordable tax cuts … tax cuts for the rich …tax cuts on higher incomes …tax cuts for the wealthy … tax cuts for the richest Americans … tax cuts at the top” or „immoral tax cuts.”   This is a bit strange since Sachs himself is surely rich.  He lives in a townhouse in Manhattan and sends his daughter to a private school that costs $41,000 a year.  Maybe he approves of rich professors but not rich capitalists.

Sachs is furious that „careful work” carried out by „scientific academies” is ignored and that „expertise is ignored.” Jeffrey Sachs is a professor and he wants the government to pay more attention to professors.  The wealthy universities and research organizations that employ professors don’t need tax cuts because they pay no tax.  Not only do they not pay taxes, they receive money from the government, by the billion.

Never say that Sachs lacks a sense of humor:

„One recalls the dark joke in the waning days of the Soviet collapse: ‘Comrades, we were at the edge of the cliff, and we’ve just taken a giant step forward!’  A few more tax cuts for the rich, and we’ll be in a position to say the same.”

Then there is this, apparently not intended as irony:

„Yes, the federal government is incompetent and corrupt but we need more, not less, of it.  … to address fundamental collective challenges such as infrastructure, clean energy, public education, health care, and poverty.”

Professor Sachs puts in a plug for moderation:

„Tens of millions of Americans are  … overeating, overborrowing, overgambling, excessive TV viewing, or indulging in yet other addictions.”

Professor Sachs rails against human weakness:

„Voters are easily enticed by promises of higher short-term income, seemingly without concern for the long-term consequences.”

Sachs does not approve of former president Reagan:

„The main effect of the Reagan Revolution, however, was not the specific policies but a new antipathy to the role of government, a new disdain for the poor who depended on government for income support, and a new invitation to the rich to shed their moral responsibilities to the rest of society.  Reagan helped plant the notion that society could benefit most not by insisting on the civic virtue of the wealthy, but by cutting their tax rates and thereby unleashing their entrepreneurial zeal.  Whether such entrepreneurial zeal was released is debatable, but there is little doubt that a lot of pent-up greed was released, greed that infected the political system and that still haunts America today.”

You wouldn’t think that Reagan launched one of the greatest periods of prosperity in American history.

It costs $64,000 a year to go to Columbia and the average full professor makes $212,000 a year.  Columbia also received $483 million in government research grants in 2009.  Perhaps Sachs is not so concerned about wealth as he is with which social class benefits from the wealth.  Otherwise he might be suggesting that Columbia should tighten its belt to help the poor.

Sachs does not seem to see a need for moral responsibility by the „poor.” It appears that in Sachs’ mind the poor are helpless victims of circumstance who could be easily made into productive citizens by the expansion of government programs.  Sachs constantly invokes an image of the American poor as a group desperately deprived and in need of help from the larger society.  According to the government, in 2005, 98% of the poor had a television, 78% had air conditioning and 81% had a microwaves.  In other words, the poor, as a substantial group in the U.S., is a fiction.  It is bizarre that Sachs preaches about the alleged tragic state of the poor in America, because Sachs is a leading exponent of programs to help the poor in Africa, and he often visits Africa.  In Africa there are plenty of genuinely poor people.  Poor people in Africa suffer from insufficient nutrition and AIDS.  American „poor” people suffer from obesity acquired by watching television while snacking on fried chicken purchased with food stamps.  Sachs’ father was a prominent labor lawyer who represented unions.  Perhaps Sachs was inoculated at his childhood dinner table with the Marxist idea that the world is made up of virtuous workers and evil bosses.

Sachs displays the typical prejudices of an upper class professor living in New York.  He doesn’t like television, junk food, or obesity.   According to a New York Times profile, his television stays off for months at a time.  Sachs’ privileged lifestyle is based on his position in an institutional framework.  Higher taxes on the wealthy and increased reliance on government and university experts will only enhance his relative privilege.  His prescription for economic policy will siphon money from the private sector to the privileged bureaucratic-academic sector — that is to say, to Sachs and his friends.

Sachs sees the Scandinavian countries as models that Americans should follow.  Sweden is a country where antisemitism is rampant and Jews take precautions to hide their identity when walking in the streets.  But, the wealthy are heavily taxed.

Sachs is a professional economist, so he doesn’t say stupid things about economics.  Even though he is an advocate for socialist type solutions to economic problems, he acknowledges that other legitimate economists favor free market solutions.  Ironically Sachs has proposed free market reforms for foreign countries.

But, Sachs starts sounding like a fool when he explores fields outside of his area of academic expertise.  His many remarks concerning climate change or global warming exhibit massive ignorance.  He favorably cites crackpot conspiracy theorists, Naomi Oreskes and Ross Gelbspan, as authorities on global warming.

Sachs buys into the conspiracy theory that there is a big money PR campaign, sponsored by the fossil fuel industry, to confuse Americans about the „overwhelming scientific consensus that human actions have already dangerously disrupted the climate…” The only big money PR campaign is the campaign promoting global warming alarmism.  The „scientific consensus” is strictly a propaganda talking point.  There is no scientific consensus, only a consensus to keep the money flowing by promoting global warming alarm.

The natural gas industry gave the Sierra Club $25 million in a self-serving attempt to attack its competitor, the coal industry, on the basis that coal emits more CO2 than natural gas.  The corporate billionaire and Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, gave the Sierra Club $50 million to attack the coal industry.  Important environmental organizations are virulent promoters of global warming alarmism.  Some examples are the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund.  Together these organizations have an annual budget in excess of a billion dollars per year.  By comparison, the foremost institutional intellectual opponent of global warming alarmism, the Heartland Institute, has a budget of about $6 million per year.

The big fossil fuel companies provide little or no support for global warming skepticism.   These large corporations are very much at the mercy of the government.  Their executives are corporate types with little appetite for confrontation or political activism.  On the other hand there is a vast establishment of profit making enterprises that have a big stake in global warming alarmism.  For example, the wind and solar power industry, the electric car industry, and the corn ethanol industry.  We mustn’t forget the academic global warming promotion industry.  These are industries that would not exist except for government quotas and subsidies.  The government subsidies are justified by the threat of global warming.  Yet, as Sachs notes, in spite of official government endorsement and a vast promotional campaign, the American public is very dubious concerning global warming alarmism.  Sachs attributes public skepticism to ignorance.  But, maybe the public is better informed than the professor.

Chevron is one of the largest oil companies. If you look at their website you will discover that they favor development of renewable energy.  According to Chevron: „There’s a growing public concern about climate change and our planet.  We share this concern.” Most fossil fuel companies adopt this boot licking approach.

Sachs makes this keen observation:

„A considerable amount of American consumption spending is not for the enjoyment of consumption per se, but to show off wealth, status, or sexual allure.”

This is more than a little hypocritical coming from someone who has a publicity machine equal to that of any Hollywood star.  Sachs is constantly photographed with celebrities and has an ongoing gush-a-thon with the Irish rock star Bono.  Google images reveal that Hollywood professor Sachs colors his hair.  There are hundreds of videos on Youtube featuring Sachs hectoring his moral and intellectual inferiors.

Sachs is like an annoying mother-in-law constantly telling everyone else how they should live.  We can only wish he would shut up and go back to writing academic papers that nobody reads.

Norman Rogers is a volunteer Senior Policy Advisor with the Heartland Institute, a Chicago think tank.  He maintains a personal website.

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Russell Brand: Profit is a Filthy Word

The UK comedian and actor Russell Brand appeared on a BBC talk show last week to denounce the concept of profits. The pampered multi-millionaire called for the establishment of „…a socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations, and massive responsibilities for energy companies exploiting the environment.”

In what has become an all-too-common spectacle of ignorant and intellectually challenged celebs on both side of the Atlantic spouting socialist slogans, Brand epitomized these qualities and the unmitigated hypocrisy of all leftists. Mr. Brand has amassed a $15 million fortune as a very funny and talented comedian and actor — so obviously his proposed „massive redistribution of wealth” does not apply to him. Remember, socialism is for you and me, never for the socialist.

Just as Harry Reid said the very same week: „The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government from the rich people are the Republicans in the Congress. Everybody else, including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more.”

Senator Reid apparently doesn’t want to pay more; he is also a multi-millionaire who insists on holding on to his $5 million dollars and has never offered to turn it over to the federal government for redistribution. But then, just like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, he is busy doing all the brainwork for us little people. You would not rob us of our repose, would you comrades?

Mr. Brand went on to say that:

„[British Prime Minister] David Cameron says profit isn’t a dirty word, well I say profit is a filthy word… I think the very concept of profit should be very much reduced because wherever there is profit there is also deficit. This system currently doesn’t address these ideas.”

Apparently his millions in profits are not filthy because they were earned as a jester, and not by making products that create wealth or contribute to the unparalleled prosperity of Western civilization. Without profit there can be no prosperity. The right of the individual to retain the fruits of his labor is the very essence of liberty and the only means for a society to flourish. Everyone works for profit; weather he is a garage attendant, wealthy manufacturer, or millionaire celebrity, the free citizen expects to make as much as much money as his ambition, talents, and time allow — and to keep what he earns.

It is the desire for profit that provides us with all the comforts of modern life. Oil company executives, engineers, scientists, technicians, and laborers do not invent incredible devices for extracting petroleum from miles beneath the sea, and work in hostile and dangerous countries and climates because they wish to serve their fellow man — they do it for profit. Pharmaceutical companies that have created thousands of miracle drugs to cure disease and ease suffering did so to make profits from the sale of those drugs. Likewise your local grocer, florist, auto mechanic, lawyer, and landscaper provide their products and services to you for „filthy” profit — not because you are a nice guy or gal. This is not a new discovery. As Adam Smith wrote in the 18th century,

„It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love…”

Neither money nor profit is inherently evil. In fact, free-market capitalism is the only economic system ever devised that permits human liberty, maximizes prosperity, and facilitates relative peace and harmony among people and nations. Before America adopted a mixed economy of socialism and free markets, people were free to pursue their interests and industry and to make as much money as their skills would take them. Free people chasing their own dreams and desires deal with one another through the use of money and have no need to covet what someone else has. Neither do they need to employ force to obtain what they want, unless they lack the character to get what they want through work. Wealth is created by individuals and used as a tool of fair exchange between equals. As the great American philosopher Ayn Rand put it,

„But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made — before it can be looted or mooched — made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.”

Mr. Brand concluded with a prediction of revolution and encouraged people to not bother voting, „there is going to be a revolution… don’t bother voting. Stop voting stop pretending, wake up, be in reality now. Why vote? We know it’s not going to make any difference.”

Like many well-meaning but ill-informed people, Mr. Brand senses — correctly — that the game is rigged (In both the UK and USA), but somehow believes that the solution to the unfair system our governments have established is to turn over what little remains of our liberty and property to the very same corrupt political class that created this mess. It is our political overlords that created the centralized command and control economy, central banks, and regulations to benefit their political cronies and corporate donors. It is utterly baffling that people like Russell Brand can be led to believe that the very same political establishment will set everything right if we would just give up what’s left of our freedom and income; That’s just you and me of course — not Mr. Brand, or George Clooney ($160 million), or Nancy Pelosi ($35.5 million), John McCain ($10.5 million), Lindsey Graham ($1.5 million), Barack Obama ($12.5 million), etc, etc… You would not rob them of their repose, would you comrades?

Todd Douglas is a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist attached to the Defense Intelligence Agency, state police commander, and author of the new book, A Republic, if you can keep it; a chronicle of the American counterrevolution.

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The Euro-Socialist Death Spiral

In a small but telling incident, a German journalist accosted a Tea Partier at the Supreme Court on the day the ObamaCare case was being decided. The German upbraided the Tea Party movement for opposing government-run health care. His tone was the standard condescension for enlightened Euro-moralizing about — well, everything, but especially socialized medicine — for the benefit of benighted Americans. In short, he behaved like an average Democrat.

An old fable describes the attitude of „civilized” Euro-Socialists — and their U.S. counterparts, the Democrats — toward the United States. A genie appears to two peasants and grants each a wish. The first wishes for a beautiful prize cow. The second, envying his neighbor’s coming prosperity, wishes for the cow to drop dead on the spot.

Instead of getting their own cow, our „betters” keep wishing for ours to die. The Democrats eagerly agree, forcibly herding Americans into the Euro-Socialist death spiral — for our own good, of course. Government knows best. This is especially of our health care system.

According to the German journalist — echoing American liberals — it is time for the USA to join the family of civilized nations by providing universal government-run health care. The current enlightened view among the really, really, REALLY smart people (by definition, Euro-Socialists only) is that no country is civilized unless its health care system is 100% government-run. The barbaric U.S. health care system is so horrifyingly terrible, in fact, that people from the „civilized” world routinely buy our pharmaceuticals and come here for life-saving treatment.

To his German self-styled moral superior, the Tea Partier responded that European nations with government-run socialized medicine can’t afford their own social models; even Germany, itself, runs a deficit equal to 3 percent of GDP. The German reporter turned on his heel and walked away. Being an enlightened leftist means never having to acknowledge inconvenient truths.

A more effective, if politically incorrect (i.e., too devastatingly true for enlightened leftists to tolerate), occurred to the Tea Partier later: Germany had government-run universal healthcare at the same time they were herding six million Jews into ovens. Universal healthcare equals „civilized?” Lucky for the Euro-Socialist crowd, facts never interfere with propaganda.

Here’s a brief look at the „civilized” world, domain of our Euro-Socialist moral betters.

• Germany. Parents who home-school their children are subject to arrest and prison, the children subject to seizure by the state. The Romeike family emigrated to the United States to escape such oppression, and were granted asylum. But the German authorities want to make an example of the Romeikes by extraditing them to Germany to face trial and jail. The „civilized” Obama administration is working feverishly to revoke the Romeikes’ asylum and deport them to Germany.

• Canada. Canadians are highly chauvinistic about their socialized medicine. „You Americans,” they love to jeer, often shortly after making a new American acquaintance, „have a terrible health-care system!” (Pleased to meet you, too.) They praise their own system to the heavens, one so wonderfully awesome that Canadians routinely come to the U.S.A. for life-saving treatment. Like the premier (equivalent to a U.S. state governor) of Newfoundland and Labrador ditched Toronto and had heart surgery in Florida. Or a former cabinet minister (equivalent to a U.S. cabinet secretary) who came to California for cancer treatment — at her Canadian doctor’s suggestion. Just like all those times important Americans go to Canada for cancer treatment and heart surgery — oh, wait. That never happens.

• Great Britain. When Britain banned handguns in 1997, home invasions went through the roof. A home invasion is criminal entry to ransack a house while its occupants are present. Since it’s a crime for law-abiding citizens to be armed, many people took to sleeping with hammers and baseball bats. (A sophomoric „humor” website found this hilarious.) In a Daily Telegraph web-poll, ignored by the elites, Britons overwhelmingly favor lifting the ban.

• While we’re talking about Great Britain and weapons, a long jail term awaits anyone who falls afoul of Britain’s restrictive and baffling knife laws. Even better: the cops — not the courts — determine a knife’s legality. It’s illegal to buy many knives available in a U.S. sporting goods store. Sleeping with hammers and cricket bats seems even less funny.

• Europe, in general, Great Britain specifically: bad teeth. Many Britons feel defensive and love to sneer at what they characterize as Americans’ ridiculous obsession with dental health. Long-standing research shows that good dental health is important for overall health. Apparently, government-run health care miraculously negates science.

• Germany again. The 2011 tsunami in Japan caused a disaster at a Japanese nuclear power plant. Germany’s powerful radical environmentalists pounced, and the German government began shutting down nuke plants as fast as they could, Germany apparently being vulnerable (who knew?) to tsunami and major earthquakes. Slight problem: nukes produced close to 25% of Germany’s power, and there is now something of an energy crisis. Whoopsie.

Europe, Summer 2003. Some 70,000 people, the majority of them elderly, perished in hot weather, almost 15,000 of them in uber-enlightened, uber-socialist France. Our infinitely more civilized European brethren shrug: we aren’t used to heat, darn that Global Warming! (Or is it Global Cooling? Climate Change?) Tens of thousands of old folks baking to death — very sad and all that, but let’s not get distracted from the real crisis — Global Warming! (Or whatever we’re calling it this week.) Thought experiment: change the location to the U.S. (Hint: a decade later, the media would still be condemning the then-Republican president and Congress.)

• Great Britain again. Earlier this year, a cold snap killed 2,500, most of them pensioners — i.e., senior citizens. Each year, winter weather kills well over 20,000 Britons, most of them elderly. Environmental taxes have made utilities unaffordable. Big government caused the mess, so of course big government has a solution: utility-bill grants — i.e., welfare. (Obamacare also promises an „allowance” — i.e., welfare — for insurance premium costs. Hmmm.)

There we have it, life in the ultra-civilized, morally-advanced, non-American world, by definition totally superior to America because of government-run medicine. Membership in this elite bestows not just the blessings of DMV-style health care, but also the sophisticated societal conditions described above.

No, thanks.

Mark Petrina is a member of the Obama Care Truth Squad (obamacaretruthsquad.com), an advocacy group that seeks the repeal of Obamacare and the introduction of free-market health care solutions.

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Computer Games and Global Warming

Pioneers of science like Pythagoras, Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton had beliefs that were mystical in nature.  The Christian God was very much on the minds of 18th- and 19th-century scientists.  Now it is a faux pas to mention God, but the religious impulse is still present in the human personality.

The scientific mind has not changed just because intellectual fashions have changed.  Galileo practiced astrology.  Scientists today are simply consumed by new mysticisms, like environmentalism and apocalyptic predictions of doom.  The current new mysticism is global warming.

The growth and persistence of mysticism in science are nurtured by the pervasive misuse of computers.  Computers make it easy to turn fake science into good-looking science and bad statistics into powerful-appearing evidence.

Jay Forester was an MIT professor and a pioneer in the computer modeling of real-world business and policy problems.  He became a member of the elitist Club of Rome, a group of self-appointed wise men who humbly assumed the task of planning the future of humanity, and convinced the club to model the world economy using his techniques.  The result was the book The Limits to Growth (1972), which predicted doom due to exponential growth of population and industry.  It was filled with computer-generated graphs showing shortages and crashes along with terrible pollution.

Now, 40 years later, there is no sign of the predicted doom.  The predictions reflected the fashions of the times.

My favorite book of that time is Famine 1975!, published in 1967.  In the ’70s, global cooling was a fashionable worry.  Of course, the computer maxim „garbage in, garbage out” applies.  With different inputs and different coefficients, the computer would have predicted a rosy future of never-ending prosperity and happiness.  Although the authors of The Limits to Growth surely believed what they wrote, they probably believed the same things before they wrote their computer programs.  The computers served as electronic Tarot cards.

The biggest and most influential practitioners of computer mysticism are the scientists using computers to predict global warming doom.  Their predictions are plagued by obvious problems.  For one, there are thousands of scientists screaming that the emperor has no clothes — but that doesn’t matter, because all objections are swept away by impressive computers used to mobilize the prestige of the computer age behind the fortune-tellers’ prognostications.

For decades, climate scientists have been trying to construct computer climate models to mimic the Earth’s climate.  Twenty-odd of these massively complicated climate models are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the basis of their periodic reports — and those models disagree with each other about the most important number in global warming: the climate sensitivity.  Climate sensitivity is the estimate of how many degrees the Earth will warm if CO2 in the atmosphere doubles.  Some models say 2 degrees Celsius; others say more than 4 degrees.  Dissenters think it is more likely one half-degree.

Not only do the models disagree with each other, but they disagree with the Earth.  Top climate scientist Kevin Trenberth says that „the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.”

An objective observer would conclude that climate models are interesting laboratory curiosities that need a lot more work.  But these models are the basis of predictions of global warming doom.  We are supposed to believe that the science is solid, and that practically every scientist agrees that unless we quickly switch to solar and wind energy, terrible things will happen.  It’s all pathetic nonsense.  The scientists who believe in the computerized predictions of doom have suspended their critical facilities in favor of the thrill of participating in a crusade.

The IPCC deals with the disagreement between the climate models by simply averaging the results together.  Its operatives claim, with no good justification, that this ensemble of climate models gives a better result than any one climate model.

Since the models disagree strongly about the effect of CO2 on the Earth’s temperature, it would not seem possible for all the models to reproduce the temperature history of the 20th century.  But this is made to happen by the expedient of manipulating factors other than CO2 — for example, ocean heat storage — to force the models to fit the 20th-century temperature history and allow for a pretty graph to impress the experts at the New York Times. This is actually a scandal, but it is so buried in scientific obscurantism that it goes unnoticed — except by those who critically study the techniques of the IPCC.  Prominent scientists have complained about this.  Their complaints are swept under the rug — ignored.

The manipulation and misrepresentation of climate models is only the most important example of IPCC duplicity.  There are innumerable books and articles critical of the IPCC.  An example is Donna Lamframboise’s book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.

One of the biggest logical problems with global warming is the early 20th-century warming, from 1910 to 1945.  That warming spell, during a time when industry was small and CO2 could not have been an important factor, is mysterious.  Nobody has more than speculative theories to explain it.  Yet the global warming believers insist that a similar warming during the late 20th century, from 1975 to 2002, was surely caused by CO2 and minor gases with a similar effect to CO2.

The graph below shows a one-year running average of official global temperature changes as compiled by the U.S. government.

The graph shows another problem with global warming.  For more than a decade, the Earth has not warmed, but cooled.  The apologists for global warming explain this away in various ways.  But if lack of warming continues much longer, it will cause the collapse of the global warming movement.

As can be seen in the graph, there are seemingly random variations in the global temperature.  Some of these are associated with changes in the Pacific Ocean called El Niño and La Niña, which usually take place every few years.  Other variations have no apparent cause.  These brief diversions from the general trend are described as chaotic variations.  The Earth’s climate is a chaotic system, in which future evolution is very sensitive to initial conditions — if a butterfly in Idaho flaps its wings, it could cause a hurricane in Mexico next year, to give a colorful example.  A chaotic system may make abrupt jumps rather than gradual transitions from one state to another.  For example, there are abrupt jumps in the graph above in 1945 and 2002.

The promoters of global warming cite chaotic variation to explain what they can’t explain any other way.  The scientists Delworth and Knutson published a paper in the journal Science that tried to explain the early-century warming as a manifestation of chaotic variation.  They searched through 900 years of model-simulated climate looking for a warming spell big enough, along with some other assumptions, to explain the 1910-1945 warming of the Earth.  They found such a warming in 4.8% of the 35-year segments in the simulated climate.  From this Delworth and Knutson concluded: „These results suggest a possible mechanism for the observed early 20th century warming.”

Usually, in science, you need 95% probability for evidence to be considered significant.  Delworth and Knutson have only 4.8%.  There is a 95.2% probability that their theory is wrong.  Their paper was published in Science only because all concerned, including the editors of Science, are true believers in global warming and will embrace any evidence that supports their belief, no matter how weak.  (It is also an unproven assumption that chaotic variation in climate models mimics the chaotic variation in the Earth’s climate.)

Einstein said on more than one occasion that God does not play dice with the universe.  The global warmers seem to think that the dice are loaded in their favor.  Chaotic variation is invoked to explain the recent absence of global warming as well as the robust early-century warming.  Whenever it is convenient, chaotic variation is used, and whenever it is inconvenient, it is ignored.

Protocols for the proper use of computers, computer models, and statistics do exist.  The temptation to abuse those protocols is irresistible.  Scientists are tempted by the desire to manufacture scientific progress, the desire to publish, and the desire to justify ideological visions like global warming.  Science, which should be an objective interpreter of the world, is reduced to a crude tool of politics and is put to political use by scientist trade unions, like the National Academy of Science.

When bad science is buried in computerese, it becomes difficult for anyone to figure out what is real and what is nonsense.

NORMAN ROGERS

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Environmental Defense Fund backs “carbon pollution” controls rooted in pseudoscience and deception

The Environmental Defense Fund—the Hollywood-connected left-wing group depicted as green heroes in such sitcoms as How I Met Your Mother and Curb Your Enthusiasm—has a new series of ads promoting President Obama’s so-called “climate agenda.”

The President’s plan includes the War on Coal—an effort to shut down all coal-fired power plants—and other strict restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide. If fully implemented, those restrictions will cripple the U.S. economy in a fruitless attempt to fight Manmade Global Warming. (If one accepts the projections of the plan’s supporters, the temperature reduction by the end of the century will be about 1/189th of a degree, compared with doing nothing.)

The EDF advertisements are aimed primarily at Republican members of the U.S. Senate. According to Politico, online ads will target Republican senators in Arizona, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, as well as Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania). The ads are not aimed just at EDF’s foes.  In some cases, the ads are intended to shore up the positions of Senators who might waver in their support for the environmentalists.

Reportedly budgeted initially at $400,000, the campaign includes a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post and ads blanketing the subway stop at Union Station near the U.S. Capitol.

Here’s one of the ads:

sja Image from EDF ad 130923

[See the ad on the EDF website here. A backup copy is here.]

Every sentence in that ad is a lie except perhaps for the claim that “Unlimited pollution isn’t good for any of us.” Come to think of it, even that line is misleading, because the EDF uses a definition of “pollution” that defies science and good sense.

Let’s go through the ad line by line. First, the headline: “Should we have reasonable limits on carbon pollution from power plants? Or no limits at all?”

At what point since the creation of government controls on power-plant pollution have there been “no limits” on carbon emissions?

Most normal Americans see the word “carbon” and think of the black carbon stuff that you find in a fireplace (which, when it gets into the air as fine particles, we call “soot”). Or perhaps they think of carbon monoxide, which people sometimes use to commit suicide. But when the EDF uses the term “carbon pollution,” the group is referring not to those things, which have long been subject to government restrictions, but to carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is neither soot nor something one would use in a suicide; it is an odorless, invisible gas that makes up 1/2557th of the earth’s atmosphere, that is emitted by humans and all other animals when they breathe (and by plants at night), and that serves as the basis for life as we know it.

The ad continues: “Right now there are no limits at all on the largest source of carbon pollution.” Note the subtle shift in language. The headline says “no limits at all” on “carbon pollution from power plants,” but the first line of the smaller text says “no limits at all on the largest source of carbon pollution,” which means something very different. If one accepts environmentalists’ claim that CO2 is part of “carbon pollution,” a category that presumably includes other forms such as soot and carbon monoxide, then it’s true that, in the past, there was no limits on “the largest source of carbon pollution.” That’s because CO2 is the biggest source of such alleged pollution by volume.

Again, the effectiveness of the ad depends on people not knowing the difference between carbon dioxide—the tiny amount of odorless, invisible carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—and other forms of carbon such as carbon monoxide or black carbon (soot).

The ad continues: “The Administration has proposed changing that [the lack of limits on carbon pollution], with a plan that even the utility American Electric Power says can reduce pollution ‘without a major impact to customers or the economy.’” Putting aside the further reference to as “pollution,” that statement is false because the quote doesn’t reflect what the AEP spokesman actually said.

The AEP quote apparently originated in an Associated Press story written by an Associated Press energy/environment reporter (either Jonathan Fahey or Matthew Daly; the following paragraph has been used in articles by each):

Nick Akins, CEO of Ohio-based American Electric Power, one of the nation’s largest utilities, said in an interview Tuesday that as long as utilities like his are given enough time to transition to a cleaner fleet of power plants, Obama’s plan can be carried out “without a major impact to customers or the economy.”

The context is unclear, given that the reporter’s interview with Akins was reduced to a single nine-word partial quote, but it’s obvious that Akins qualified his remark. He said that there would be no major impact to customers or the economy provided that, in the reporter’s paraphrase of Akins, “utilities like his are given enough time to transition to a cleaner fleet of power plants.”  In other words, the President’s proposals are good provided that the bad parts are left out. That’s a ringing endorsement, isn’t it?

Other remarks by Akins are consistent with the idea that the “without a major impact” comment is conditional.  For example, Dan Testa of SNL Power Daily wrote:

“If you get into greenhouse gas requirements too quickly on existing units, you are going to take a broad swath of the entire coal fleet in this country out, and that is not where we need to be,” AEP President and CEO Nick Akins said. . . .

The crux of Akins’ position on new greenhouse gas standards for existing power plants was that any new regulations need to be done gradually, and with consideration for grid reliability, as well as for the regressive impact of higher electricity rates on low-income customers.

“Certainly from a recovery perspective, we are going to see plants retired, jobs go away, in 2014, ’15 and ’16 based upon HAPs/MATS [so-called Hazardous Air Pollutants and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards regulations] at this point. You would just further exacerbate that situation if we move too quickly with greenhouse gas on existing units,” he said. “So I’m hopeful that people have learned a little bit in this process about the impacts it has on the grid.”

As for the Business Roundtable quote that supposedly indicates support for the President’s proposals, here’s the relevant part of the Roundtable’s press release:

“Business Roundtable recognizes the potential consequences of climate change and supports both government and private sector actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally,” said Dave Cote, Chairman and CEO of Honeywell and Chair of Business Roundtable’s Energy and Environment Committee.

“The President’s proposals today are a mix of commonsense steps we can all support – such as increasing energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy – and measures that will require additional careful attention to ensure they can be deployed in an equitable and effective global framework. For instance, we look forward to reviewing how the Administration plans to regulate emissions from existing power plants. Partnering with industry and stakeholders will be critical to a smart, economically sound approach.

“The Roundtable has advocated for increased permitting of alternative energy projects and collaboration between the public and private sectors on technology, efficiency and transmission investment, and is pleased to see a renewed commitment from the President.

“Significant changes to the U.S. tax code should be made only within the context of comprehensive tax reform, not on an ad hoc basis targeting specific industries.”

The Roundtable’s position is that “The President’s proposals today are a mix of commonsense steps we can all support – such as increasing energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy – and measures that will require additional careful attention to ensure they can be deployed in an equitable and effective global framework” etc.

Read that again: “a mix of commonsense steps we can all support . . . and measures that will require additional careful attention . . . ”

In other words, the President’s proposal has some aspects that the Roundtable supports and some that it doesn’t support.

By taking a small portion out of context, leaving out the rest of the sentence and the rest of the press release, EDF makes it seem that the Roundtable was endorsing the President’s proposals, when it fact the organization was diplomatically announcing its opposition to critical aspects of the Obama plan. Think of the member of Congress who says that “My esteemed colleague makes some good points, but some of his arguments do not bear strict scrutiny” as a polite way of saying, “What a moron!”

(As an aside, it should be noted that the Roundtable bears some responsibility for confusion about its position. Its statements related to Manmade Global Warming are literally nonsensical, i.e., written so that either a Manmade Global Warming fanatic or a Manmade Global Warming skeptic can see the organization as endorsing his or her position.)

Because their arguments are so weak, radical environmentalists rely on deception to get their way. Their goals have little to do with pollution and a lot to do with power—the kind of power that comes with controlling carbon dioxide, which is emitted by all humans and by every plant and animal in the forest.

Anyone with power over carbon dioxide has power that is virtually unlimited. Giving such power to unelected, unaccountable, anonymous bureaucrats, some of whom were attracted to government “service” because of the rush they get from controlling the lives of others, is suicide for our economy. Doing the bidding of EDF zealots is like starting up your car’s engine with the garage door closed.

Dr. Steven J. Allen

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The BBC’s humiliation of Robbie Fowler shows that football is fair game for censorship

On Saturday the BBC made its football commentator and former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler apologise on air for describing two footballers as „fighting like girls”. It made for uncomfortable viewing. It was obvious to any viewer with more than one brain cell that Fowler’s comment, made about a tussle between Fernando Torres and Jan Vertonghen during the Tottenham-Chelsea game, was entirely innocent, intended only to condemn Torres and Vertonghen’s childish antics and not to salnder the female sex. Yet minutes later, having clearly had a word in his ear from PC producers, a red-faced Robbie was making an embarrassing climbdown and telling the nation he was „deeply sorry” for apparently offending womankind. It was an ugly and humiliating spectacle.

There is something unedifying about forced public apologies, especially when the only „crime” the penitent has committed is to have spoken out of turn, to have said something controversial, rude or potentially offensive (potentially being the operative word in the case of Fowler’s unremarkable remark). That the BBC thought it appropriate to behave like a Stalinist official outraged by the temerity of a political upstart, and to strong-arm Fowler into apologising effectively for offending public decency, shows how crazily cautious it has become in recent times. Still smarting from the Savile scandal, and from various accusations of offensiveness made by the shrill offence-takers who plague modern Britain, the BBC is petrified of saying or showing anything saucy or untoward in its programmes – to the extent that it would rather publicly humiliate one of its commentators than run the risk of receiving a handful of complaints from easily offended feminists who police the use of the word “girls”.

The humiliation of Fowler confirms that footballers, and their fans, are fair game for censorship in contemporary Britain. They’re the most gagged, banned and shutdown section of society. If you think it’s bonkers that Fowler should have been humiliated for innocently using the word girls, then consider this: his old club, Liverpool FC, has a guidebook for its staff telling them which words are unacceptable in Anfield stadium. They range from genuinely offensive words – such as the n-word – to words only a nun could find offensive: poof, fairy, midget, spaz. Even phrases like “Man up” and “You play like a girl” are now frowned upon at Anfield – and, it seems, at the BBC, where Fowler has discovered that using the age-old phrase “behaving like girls” to describe immature behaviour in adults can now earn you a severe public shaming.

Beyond Liverpool, other footie fans are forbidden from singing certain songs or chanting certain phrases. In Scotland, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act makes it a crime for Celtic and Rangers fans to sing “sectarian” or even political songs. Last month it was announced that every single footballer in the Premier League will have to attend lessons about the use of homophobic and racist language, presumably to cleanse their dumb, working-class brains of their foul prejudices. The Football Association has declared war on the use of homophobic language at football grounds, which includes obliterating not only offensive words like “queer” but also, once again, jokey phrases about “girls” and “manning up”. The FA is also trying to stop Tottenham Hotspur fans from referring to themselves as Yids and the Yid Army, something they’ve done for years. The Crown Prosecution Service itself has warned football clubs not to allow their fans to “cross the line [into] inappropriate crowd behaviour and chanting”. But who decides what is appropriate and inappropriate chanting? Surely it should be fans themselves rather than the snobby, censorious suits and PC phrase-police who have become an ugly blot on the beautiful game in recent years?

If any other group of people were treated as censoriously as football fans are, there’d be outrage. If writers were forced to make public apologies for having said something offensive, Index on Censorship would go crazy. If political activists were forbidden from singing songs that politicians found offensive, Liberty would be weeping on the floor of the European Court of Human Rights. But football fans’ right to freedom of speech? Nah, we’re not interested in that. Gag their jokey phrases, squish their songs, police their minds – no one will kick up a fuss. But we should. Because freedom of speech doesn’t mean a thing unless it is enjoyed by everyone, however gruff you might find them, however offensive you think they are, however much you consider them to be “knuckle-dragging cretins” – the term used by a Guardian writer to describe offensive football fans. Robbie Fowler should have told the BBC to stick its apology, and fans across Britain should be telling the lawmakers and do-gooders who want to curb their chants and silence their un-PC chatter to get stuffed (or maybe something a bit stronger).

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Keeping the Poor Poor (Until They’re Not)

Government data indicate that the U.S. remains far from winning the longest war in its history: the war on poverty.

The latest line of argument from defenders of the welfare system is that we are measuring poverty inaccurately; counting welfare as income, they suggest, would show that we are winning the war on poverty.  Proponents of changing the way we classify the data on America’s poor would accomplish little more than a subterfuge to distract from glaring flaws with the status quo of government social welfare programs.

The economic downturn that began in 2007 has officially been over since June of 2009, but the end of the recession did not mark the beginning of meaningful prosperity for many Americans.  With the coming of the debt ceiling and proposed reforms to the government’s food stamp program, there is a serious debate unfolding about what the government should do to bring people out of poverty.

Census data for 2012 have just been released showing that poverty levels have remained persistently high at 15 percent.  Nearly 48 million Americans find themselves on the food stamp rolls, and the numbers have been on an upward trajectory.  At the same time, Republicans in Congress are pushing through changes to the food stamp program that would create stronger work requirements, time limits, and stricter eligibility requirements for those receiving other government benefits.  The food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is currently projected to cost $764 billion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  The proposed reforms are expected to reduce spending by $39 billion over that time and remove several million people from eligibility for the program.

As the political battle over food stamps was being joined, the New York Times published an opinion piece, by Sheldon H. Danziger of the Russell Sage Foundation, attempting to justify the government’s outlays in fighting the war on poverty in light of the recent Census Bureau report.  His thesis was that spending on government programs such as food stamps has been successful in reducing poverty; the problem is that we are not measuring the data properly.  Programs such as food stamps are working, despite the depressing numbers from the Census Bureau, or so the argument goes.

Mr. Danziger took aim at Republican arguments that social welfare programs are both too expensive and ineffective, typified by Congressman Paul Ryan’s statement that „[w]e have spent $15 trillion from the federal government fighting poverty” and remain stuck with the highest poverty rates in a generation.  Mr. Danziger countered that if programs such as food stamps and a myriad of others were counted as actual income to recipients, the poverty level would be much lower.  For example, counting food stamps as income would mean that 4 million people were no longer below the poverty level.

Such a new measure of poverty, in fact, will be released by the Census Bureau in October.  It will help show that decades of expensive government programs fighting poverty haven’t been a waste (the reasoning goes).  Looked at in this light, programs such as food stamps are responsible for removing millions of people from poverty.

Mr. Danziger is pushing sophistry.  And he was recently joined by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who made a similar argument about the measure of poverty.  Their purpose is to obscure failures for which the economic data lay responsibility plainly at the feet of the government anti-poverty programs they support.

Imagining welfare to be income does not change the reality of people’s poverty.  It is not winning any battle in the war on poverty.  The rate of poverty should rightly be a measure of those people in need of assistance because they have little or no income of their own.  Removing them as the focus of our measure of poverty would mean sweeping the issue under the rug.  Proclaiming that the program has lifted 4 million people from poverty would be deliberately misleading, but for those who have a vested interest in proving the wisdom of the war on poverty, it is a seductive argument.

Measuring poverty in this way does nothing to rebut the policy argument that Mr. Danziger attacks — namely, that trillions of dollars in federal government spending have done nothing to win the war on poverty.  Economic dependency is hardly something to be celebrated or tolerated.  Most Americans would agree that winning the war on poverty would mean getting people jobs.

The undercurrent of Mr. Danziger’s piece is that government welfare programs shouldn’t be touched because they still help people.  So, one might argue, if the money is helping people who are currently poor, why reform the program?  Why seek to strike more people from the food stamp program?

The negative uproar over the reforms to the food stamp program gives insufficient consideration to the negative externalities of welfare spending in general.  The current system of government welfare, of which SNAP is but one piece, distorts incentives to such a degree that it effectively discourages people from joining the workforce.  A recent Cato Institute study found that in 35 states, a recipient of typically available welfare support would be receiving more income than that available through a minimum-wage job or other entry-level positions.  In 13 states, welfare pays more than a $15-per-hour job, and in 11 states, it pays more than the average first-year wage for a teacher.  In 39 states, welfare pays better than the starting salary for a secretary; in 3 states, it pays more than a position as an entry-level computer programmer.

Limited and prudent support for individuals experiencing periods of unemployment makes sense, morally and economically; but the data indicate that there is a point at which that support siphons away the economic incentive for a recipient to find a job and the programs become self-defeating.  In short, this is how you lose a war on poverty.

A new measure of poverty that renames failure as success won’t help anyone, though it may fool some.  At bottom, it reflects an attitude that sees more people receiving government aid as a policy victory, not a problem to be remedied.  Those concerned about the plight of people struggling below the poverty line should see the current debate over food stamps as a cause for a rigorous reexamination of the nation’s welfare programs as a whole, and seek ways to reform them to serve their intended function of ending poverty.

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