Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Never Ending War Against The Pirates

5. As for historical revisionism, for example, Obama professed to "know that Islam has always been a part of America's story," referring -- though one would never know it -- to America's war against the Barbary pirates. (Andrew McCarthy has more here.) If Islam has always been a part of America's story, it is because Islam's war on American has always been a part of America's story. Does Obama know what he is talking about, or does he feel free to take great liberties with the truth?


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TOM MAGUIRE: “Republicans leak vague generalities about a classified briefing on the efficacy of the enhanced interrogation program and Dems burst into tears. . . . I understand the political importance to the Dems of keeping the results of the 2002/2003 era enhanced interrogations secret; the actual national security significance eludes me, since the techniques have been well publicized by Obama.”


Before she became the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, Christina Romer demonstrated in a research paper prepared for the National Science Foundation in 2007 that it costs the private-sector economy $4 ($1 of tax and nearly $3 of economic damage) to provide the government with $1 to spend.

In a research paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2006, former CEA Chairman Martin Feldstein concluded that the private-sector cost of an additional dollar of income-tax revenues for the government is $2.50 ($1 of tax and $1.50 of economic damage).

Paying off Obama's 10-year string of deficits that add up to $9.3 trillion with income tax increases of $9.3 trillion over 10 years would cost the private sector $23 trillion (Feldstein) to $37 trillion (Romer).

In effect, American families would over time lose an amount greater than an entire year of GDP — a blow far more severe than the damage being done to them by the current recession.

But He Probably Will

Barack Obama has fatally undermined our currency, our solvency, our financial stability and -- ultimately -- our economy, all to spend money that has had no economic effect!

Is Obama a failure? Not by his lights. His goal was never to stimulate the economy. His goal was to expand government spending, and he used the recession as an excuse to do so. And, by this standard, he is a raging success. With the stimulus spending, the government proportion of gross domestic product will rise from about 35 percent to about 40 percent, and with health care "reform" it will go soaring into the mid-40s, bringing us to parity with Germany en route to France!

But the results are in: None of Obama's spending is doing anything to help the economy.

Of course, the process of household savings, designed to pay down debt, is very healthy.

And, eventually, that will lead to a real recovery -- if Obama doesn't wreck the currency and bring on mega-inflation before then (but he probably will).

Isn't Happening

But while personal income was rising, household savings (which includes paying down credit-card balances, mortgages, student loans, car loans, etc.) rose by $132 billion -- $10 billion more than the rise in income. So personal consumption dropped 0.1 percent.

The stimulus package was a total and complete failure. As predicted, as happened with Bush's 2008 tax cut, as happened with the Japanese stimulus packages of the '90s, fearful consumers sat on their money and wouldn't spend it. Keynesian economics didn't work. Again.

But the debt sure piled up. The deficit quadrupled and is sending interest rates soaring, as the government elbows aside businesses and consumers at the loan window, all in a desperate effort to borrow enough money to spend enough money to stimulate the economy, which isn't happening.

Keynesian economics doesn't work.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Obama Card

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The State Media: Self-Absorbed Narcissist Drivel

THOMAS: ... Obama is 'we are above that now.' We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial. We stand for something - I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above - above the world, he's sort of God. He's-


THOMAS: He's going to bring all different sides together.

Yes, that's Obama all right--"standing above the world." Good Lord. Reporters are often compared to teen-age girls with crushes on Obama, but, as the father of three present, former or about-to-be teen-age girls, I object to the analogy. I personally have never seen a teen-age girl make a fool of herself over a boy the way many--most--mainstream reporters have over Barack Obama.

D-Day's Dresden Disaster Dodged


To be fair, though, Obama has not gone overboard on this trip as he did on his first apology tour of Europe. In fact, contrary to my prediction, he managed to get in and out of Dresden without apologizing for the city's WWII bombing. That's a good thing. I assume it reflects his awareness of the negative reaction the apology tour engendered. If he's learned from that experience, he should be commended.

Dwarves And Elves

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Leftists are fantasy driven. They create elaborate fantasies and then force everyone else to argue for reality against the fantasies.
The leftist fantasy argument that annoys me most is the fantasy of “alternative energy.”
It has no tradeoffs whatsoever.
Even more annoying, alternative-energy advocates feel entitled to paper over any obvious shortcomings of their favored technology by evoking future technological breakthroughs, but they won’t let you postulate future technological breakthroughs that would make non-alternative energy even more attractive.
if you point out that nuclear technology currently in development could create nuclear power systems that would completely recycle their waste, they will respond that we shouldn’t make any plans for nuclear power unless we have absolutely proven that the technology works. (Oh, and let’s cut funding for the research that would prove it works.)

Two can play this game. My dwarf can take their elf any day. 

I'm Pretty Sure Too

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But as Shannon Love writes, “Non-Leftist Reality Versus Leftist Fantasy”, never the best of buddies (see also Union, Soviet) are sharing an increasingly uneasy coexistence these days in the US:

Leftist always claim that the economic crisis du jour indicates the failure of the free market. Embedded in the assertion is the unstated premise that if leftist ran everything, we would never have economic crises. This in turn reveals the leftist’s wildly exaggerated sense of their own understanding of the economy and everything else.

The left’s critique of Friedman in this context is especially silly because I’m pretty sure setting up giant government sponsored enterprises to buy up half the residential mortgages in the country and thereby distorting the markets assessment of risk, isn’t a plan that Friedman would have come up with.

Yup, three clips from that article. Must have been a good one.

The Wilson Challenge

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More from Jonah:

I don’t think Obama wants a brutal tyranny any more than Hillary Clinton does (which is to say I don’t think he wants anything of the sort). But I do think they honestly believe that progress is best served if everyone falls in line with a national agenda, a unifying purpose, a “village” mentality expanded to include all of society. That sentiment drips from almost every liberal exhortation about everything from global warming to national service. But to point it out earns you the label of crank. As I said a minute ago about that “We’re All Fascists Now” chapter, I think people fail to understand that tyrannies — including soft, Huxleyan tyrannies — aren’t born from criminal conspiracies by evil men; they’re born by progressive groupthink. I have an abiding faith in the liberty-loving nature of the American people. But I think we are laying down the foundation for a challenge to that nature the likes of which we haven’t seen since Wilson was in office.

OCorporatism: The Economic Policy Of Fascism

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If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level. That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism. [More on that here -- Ed] When you listen to how Obama is making economic policy with “everyone at the table,” he’s describing corporatism, the economic philosophy of fascism. Government is the senior partner, but all of the other institutions are on board — so long as they agree with the government’s agenda. The people left out of this coordinated effort — the Nazis called it the Gleichschaltung — are the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, the ideological, social, or economic mavericks who don’t want to play along.

Dirigiste Ohoy

In the 1980s, America flirted with industrial policy and protectionism to meet what was regarded as a Japanese economic threat. But our entrepreneurial bias prevailed in the end: While the Japanese bureaucracy was directing that country’s technology giants to dominate the manufacture of computer memory chips, perceived as the "strategic" resource of the 21st century, Silicon Valley was mostly left to its own chaotic, mercurial devices — and ended up focusing on microprocessors, software, multimedia, and networking. Given birth were the personal computer industry and, in due course, the internet. Try to imagine Microsoft or Google springing from the plan of a bureaucrat at Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

That’s a nonmistake we apparently won’t make again.

It is likely to end badly, as such dirigiste overreaching always does.

The Obamas On The Obamas

What Racism Actually Looks Like


In any case, we are happier waking up as alien duplicates. At least no one is dying in Iraq that we know of. Our Predator drones no longer kill anyone besides terrorists. Military tribunals, renditions, and wiretaps are a-okay. GM and Chrysler are finally "readjusting." The Muslim world likes us now. If $2 trillion deficits are okay, why not $3 trillion? Terrorists are unmentioned and so no longer exist. Europeans ask why can't they have their own Obama. Even the likes of Pravda and Hugo Chávez swear that we are more leftist and PC than they they ever were. No more silly movies like Rendition or Redacted, since both protocols are now approved. Everyone is proud of the U.S. again. We've got a president who finally cares enough to remind us to inflate our tires and wash our hands.

It's Not That The Mohammedans Don't TRY To Patent Anything

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Barack Obama recounted the contributions of Islam yesterday during his speech in Cairo. This may not have been what he was talking about:

German media outlets reported last week that a Saudi inventor’s application to patent a “killer chip,” as the Swiss tabloids put it, had been denied.

The basic model would consist of a tiny GPS transceiver placed in a capsule and inserted under a person’s skin, so that authorities could track him easily.

Model B would have an extra function — a dose of cyanide to remotely kill the wearer without muss or fuss if authorities deemed he’d become a public threat.

For some extra calibration, Jews have won 184 Nobel prizes from a population hovering around only 12 million worldwide. Muslims have won only 9 Nobels from a population now hovering around 1.4 Billion -- and one of them [Arafat] was a blood drenched ruthless killer. The shock never ends.

This means that on a per capita basis, the average Jew is approximately 2,400 times -- for the numerate, that's over 3 orders of magnitude! -- more likely to win a Nobel prize than the average Muslim. Put another way, there would be over 24,000 Muslim Nobel prize winners if the average Muslim was as likely to win one as the average Jew.

Perhaps O Duce isn't quite up to the latest facts on Muslim enlightenment? Ya think?

The "Independence" Joke

But when you talk to traders and economists, the whisper story is that Bernanke and the Fed are no longer truly independent of the Obama White House and Treasury. As a result, Bernanke will not be able to slow down the printing presses and gradually lift the near-zero target rate in a timely and effective manner. Already the Fed has created more than $1 trillion in new cash, and the M2 money supply is growing at its fastest pace in 25 years.

This week, German chancellor Angela Merkel launched a broadside against the Fed, saying she views the Fed’s powers “with great skepticism.” It was an important rebuke. Here’s the elected leader of a major country actually telling a central bank to stop the printing presses and avoid creating yet another inflationary bubble during the next recovery cycle. In other words, it’s the printing presses, stupid.

economists and most politicians do not understand that excess money is the root cause of inflation, spiking rates, and a bad, unwanted dollar.

OHistory = Zero History

Obama called himself a "student of history" yesterday during his apology speech to the Muslim World in Cairo.
Unfortunately, this student of Far Left nutwackery was wrong on the Iranian coup history he mentioned during his speech.
Judith Apter Klinghoffer at History News Network reported:

Yes, the US instigated a coup against Iranian prime minister Mosaddeq but President Obama was wrong to assert that "the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government." Far from it, the US overthrew a wannabe dictator who came to power because his predecessor was assassinated by Islamists, yes Islamists and following an election he suspended for fear he would lose it. Does anyone in the administration have access to the internet? I found this on a most obscure source known as Wikipedia.

OGenocide Update With A Triple Backflip

"Preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there."

Barack Obama
Sunapee, N.H.
June 20, 2007
"The international community has an obligation, even when it's inconvenient, to act when genocide is occurring."

Barack Obama
Dresden, Germany
June 5, 2009

A Hockey Stick We Can Believe In

In any case, here is the new number for May: 9.4%, which is 0.2% higher than we had shown in the chart from a few days ago:*


I recall in 2002-2004, during the “jobless recovery”, whenever claims filed would drop, that was treated as a bad thing by the MSM, because they decreed, ipse dixit, that that was because disspirited workers had just given up looking for work.

Ditto for the productivity index. An increase in that was spun as no big deal, since so few people are working, blah blah blah.

Now, not so much. Suddenly, this drop in claims is heralded as something good by the MSM.

Finally–a hockey stick we can believe in.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Welcome To The 30 Year Lost Decade

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In reality it all comes down to power, or the illusion of power, and politics. Short-term politics with no real eye on the future impact of actions taken today. And these actions are based in a false premise that the market is not self-correcting and that it must be both controlled and tweaked by government.

Japan bought into that premise, and so has the US:

The principle of creative destruction—the economic mutation that continuously breaks down old forms and creates newer, more productive and efficient ones—was ignored in the hope that legacy corporations could somehow save Japan. From Wall Street to Detroit, under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the American government has been equally unwilling to let once-formidable companies fail.

And that, in my opinion, will see us repeat the Japanese experience

Frankly Government Motors

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Politics and special interests now run General Motors - a company which should be making business decisions based on what is best for the company and its future and not what is best for some politician:

Rep Barney Frank (D-Mass.) won a stay of execution on Thursday for a General Motors plant in his district that the automaker had announced it would close.

No other lawmaker has managed to halt the GM ax. As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Frank oversees the government’s bailout program, known as TARP. Frank’s staff said the lawmaker spokes with GM CEO Fritz Henderson on Wednesday and convinced him to keep the Norton, Mass. plant open for at least 14 months.

Because what happens in about 14 months boys and girls?

The 2010 midterms. And who controls all the bailout programs? Why the guy who was able to change Government Motors mind on the plant in his district.

COTD: Hayek On The Missing Bourgeoisie

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It is a common mistake to regard National Socialism as a mere revolt against reason, an irrational movement without intellectual background. If that were so, the movement would be much less dangerous than it is. But nothing could be further from the truth or more misleading. The doctrines of National Socialism are the culmination of a long evolution of thought, a process in which thinkers who have had great influence far beyond the confines of Germany have taken part.
It was not merely the defeat, the suffering, and the wave of nationalism which led to their success. Still less was the cause, as so many people wish to believe, a capitalist reaction against the advance of socialism. On the contrary, the support which brought these ideas to power came precisely from the socialist camp. It was certainly not through the bourgeoisie, but rather through the absence of a strong bourgeoisie, that they were helped to power.

The Splendor Of Control

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The primary concept behind ownership is that of exclusivity, such that if I own real property, for example, I can by right exclude all others. Without the ability to exclude, my “ownership” is something less than complete and the use, enjoyment and alienation (a fancy word for selling, trading or giving away) of property is limited.

To illustrate the idea, consider that you own a piece of real property (Blackacre) which is rich with gold and silver mines, oil, and an abundance of flora and fauna. In short, it is a little slice of heaven and it is all yours. Or at least it would be if were not for the fact that the flora are mostly designated as protected, the fauna are all listed as endangered, and the mineral deposits are tightly regulated, all to the extent that you cannot make any real use of your land except to look at it from a neighbor’s yard in humble admiration for its splendor.

In short, you may own Blackacre in title, but you have very little, if any, control.

Bush Again

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The recession is driving the safety net of government benefits to a historic high, as one of every six dollars of Americans' income is now coming in the form of a federal or state check or voucher.

Benefits, such as Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance and health care, accounted for 16.2% of personal income in the first quarter of 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That's the highest percentage since the government began compiling records in 1929.

In all, government spending on benefits will top $2 trillion in 2009 — an average of $17,000 provided to each U.S. household, federal data show. Benefits rose at a 19% annual rate in the first quarter compared to the last three months of 2008.

The recession caused about half of the increase, according to the report. Unemployment insurance nearly tripled in the past year. The other half is the result of policies enacted during President George W. Bush's first term.

spending soared to pay for the Medicare drug benefit

Do You Speak Mandarin? Sayonara

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June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive
Officer Steven Ballmer said the world’s largest software company
would move some employees offshore if Congress enacts President
Barack Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’
foreign profits.

“It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,” Ballmer said in an
interview. “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving
them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the

Ballmer estimated that higher taxes under the proposal
would reduce profits for companies that comprise the Dow Jones
Industrial Average by between 10 and 15 percentage points.

“It’s just a question of how much will the Dow come
down,” Ballmer said. “It’s not about companies anyway; we’re
talking about shareholders.”


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There’s evidence, though, that Buffett is awake to
America’s problems. He says there will be no quick rebound in
consumer spending, the economy has “fallen off a cliff,” and
we are now “fighting a war.” Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s real-
estate arm just estimated that the backlog of unsold houses is
double the official figures.

Buffett doesn’t enjoy watching Berkshire labor under the
burden of U.S. regulations and litigiousness, pay taxes that
fund expensive military commitments overseas, and struggle
against the financial quicksand of the health-care system.
Recently, Berkshire’s profits have been hurt by a U.S. economy
with too few jobs and over-reliance on debt-driven consumer


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As budget analyst Fred Silva told Capitol Weekly, solving California’s budget woes is not as simple as turning back the budget clock to 2004, largely because of locked-in—and crippling—pension and health care spending obligations. Certain cuts in health care, for example, would lead to the loss of federal revenue. And unions and state employees have no intention of making the state's solvency any easier.

State contributions to the government pension fund have, as Reason Foundation Policy Analyst Adam Summers notes, “jumped from $321 million in 2000-01 to $7.3 billion last year." It costs California nearly twice as much to house a prisoner per year as it costs Florida. Contemplating those facts, it’s obvious that the basic survival of the accoutrements of civilized living are not at stake in California’s fiscal crisis.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


During the 2008 Campaign Barack Obama's website claimed that Obama's father was an agnostic or atheist:

“Barack” is the candidate’s Kenyan father’s name; Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” is his grandfather’s name. Obama has described his father as atheist or agnostic.
Today we find out his father Barack Obama Senior was indeed a Muslim.
Jake Tapper reported:

During a conference call in preparation for President Obama's trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said "the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to -- or before he's been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world -- you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago."
But, this past month we learned that this "Christian" grandmother is going to attend The Hajj.

Sanctified HypOcrisy

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Le Monde is reporting that Barack Obama told France’s Canal + Tuesday that “les Etats-Unis sont l’un des plus grands pays musulmans“. My French is not as good as it used to be, but I sure know what that means without recourse to a dictionary or Google: The United States is one of the largest Muslim countries on the planet.

Is that the USA of the 57 states?

I guess it depends on what your definition of “one of” is. According to Wikipedia, the US ranks thirty-eighth with a Muslim population of some 4.5 million

Islam, which is, in his words, a religion that has always “evolved along with progress.” I suppose that’s true if you disregard women’s rights, gay rights and the basic democratic need for the primacy of state law for all citizens, not to mention a host of other values we could group under the rubric of the Enlightenment.
We also know what dhimmi law is… and taqqiya.
The WikiIslam defines it as “sanctified hypocrisy.” That is Barak Obama to a T.

Because It Would Impede The Brainwashing Program

The eight a.m. NPR news update today included word of the fatal shooting of one soldier and the wounding of another outside an army recruiting station in Arkansas. The news reader, Nora Raum, outlined the incident and stated that the shooting appeared to have "religious motivations." She did not name the suspect, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, or tell NPR listeners what those religious motivations might be. In other words, it could have been a radical Unitarian who gunned down the soldiers, or possibly a violent Presbyterian.

Why the shyness? Why not tell people what is actually happening in the world?
The extremist Christian beliefs of George Tiller's alleged murderer are certainly relevant to that case, and no one in my profession is hesitant to discuss them. Why the hesitancy to talk about the motivations of the man who allegedly killed Pvt. William Long?


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Unconventional monetary policies being pursued by the world’s main central banks could aggravate rather than ease the economic crisis, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, suggested on Tuesday.

Her surprisingly strong attack on the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank was remarkable coming from a leader who had so far scrupulously adhered to her country’s tradition of never commenting on monetary policy.

“What other central banks have been doing must be reversed. I am very sceptical about the extent of the Fed’s actions and the way the Bank of England has carved its own little line in Europe,” she told a conference in Berlin.

“Even the European Central Bank has somewhat bowed to international pressure with its purchase of covered bonds.”

She added: “We must return to independent and sensible monetary policies, otherwise we will be back to where we are now in 10 years’ time.”

Laughter Reprise

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When Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told a group of students in China on Monday that their country's U.S. dollar holdings are "very safe," the crowd broke into laughter. Holding more than $1 trillion in U.S. debt, China's concerns are justified. In March, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao admitted he too was "concerned about the safety of our assets." In stark terms, a former Chinese central bank advisor warned Monday that "another financial crisis triggered by a dollar crisis could be inevitable" if the U.S. fails to reduce deficits and increase savings. Hou Huimin of the China Gold Association relates the discussion back to gold: "the US dollar … may retreat from being the international reserve currency. If that happens, whoever holds gold will be at an advantage."
Precious metals analysts see China's accumulation signaling a "broader shift in central banks' attitude towards gold," potentially "re-igniting gold's relevance as a monetary asset."

The One Car Endorsed By President Obama

Loud Laughter

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China is the biggest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds.
U.S. data shows that it held $768 billion in Treasuries as of
March, but some analysts believe China's total U.S.
dollar-denominated investments could be twice as high.

"Chinese assets are very safe," Geithner said in response to
a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied
Chinese as a student in the 1980s.

His answer drew loud laughter from his student audience,
reflecting scepticism in China about the wisdom of a developing
country accumulating a vast stockpile of foreign reserves
instead of spending the money to raise living standards at home.

More Communist Than China (Part 3,595)

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This is easier said than done. If China stops financing the US deficit or US consumers stop spending too rapidly, the crisis will enter a new, darker chapter. In the longer term, making China less parsimonious and the US less voracious means re-engineering both economies. Re-establishing habits of thrift in America will be painful; no one wants to cut consumption.

Chinese demand is limited by workers’ income, which is a mere 40 per cent of national output. Demand also suffers because, lacking a robust social security system, Chinese consumers save up as insurance against illness and unemployment. Building a social safety net and redistributing money from Chinese corporations to workers would mark a generational shift with serious consequences for the elite.

Bet you didn't know why the Chinese saved so much, eh?

Have you ever even considered the fact that Social Security is just yet another moral hazard working against savings? And by logical extension, investment?

Under New Management

What could such statements possibly mean-- in any context-- other than the new and fashionable racism of our time, rather than the old-fashioned racism of earlier times? Racism has never done this country any good, and it needs to be fought against, not put under new management for different groups.

The very idea that a judge's "life experiences" should influence judicial decisions is as absurd as it is dangerous.

It is dangerous because citizens are supposed to obey the law, which means they must know what the law is in advance-- and nobody can know in advance what the "life experiences" of whatever judge they might appear before will happen to be.

It is absurd because it flies in the face of the facts. It was a fellow Puerto Rican judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals-- Jose Cabranes-- who rebuked his judicial colleagues for the cavalier way they dismissed the white firefighters' case.

Laws are made for the benefit of the citizens, not for the self-indulgences of judges.