Friday, November 21, 2014

Bad News

I can’t find an American news network that has worldwide coverage even close to matching Aljazeera’s.  I watched the main news summaries on several American morning shows – Morning Joe, Good Morning America, CBS Morning.  None of them mentioned the fact that VP Joe Biden is in Ukraine.  Even if he is not doing much, he presence is news, especially his helping President Poroshenko mark the one year anniversary of the protests that ousted Putin buddy President Yanukovych.  I thought that Charlie Rose was going to add some substance to the CBS morning show, but he hasn’t added much.  Nevertheless, I think it has somewhat better news coverage than ABC or NBC. 

Recently Aljazeera has had good environmental reports on the plight of elephants and rhinos in Africa.  I haven’t heard the US networks mention that, although the NYT has covered the environmental group’s report that was the basis of the elephant story. 

Aljazeera reporting on the Middle East is extensive, but probably questionable because of Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Muslim movements.  However, it seems to be making an effort to be balanced.  On its main nightly news show John Seigenthaler recently interviewed a Jewish correspondent about the situation in Jerusalem.  I worry that American newsrooms are dominated by Jews, who may skew their news coverage on the Middle East in an anti-Muslim direction. 

Mainly, the American networks no longer have correspondents stationed around the world as Aljazeera does.  The networks have a few foreign correspondents that they fly around to wherever the hotspots are, but they don’t have correspondents on the ground who have some personal information about the situation.  By and large, the American network guys and girls just stand in front of some local landmark and report what they have gotten from a recent press briefing.  Each American network has one or two correspondents who spend lots of time in the Middle East (e.g., Richard Engel), but Aljazeera appears to have dozens who go places the Americans never visit.  Martha Raddatz used to be very good on covering the military in the Iran and Afghan wars, but since the wars have wound down and she has lost her military contacts, she seems to be relegated to the same rote reports as the other correspondents. 

I don’t watch CNN much anymore because it just seems to have pundits and talking heads arguing about news that somebody else reports.  Aljazeera is what CNN used to be before it self-destructed. 

The American network morning shows always have lots of reports on the weather.  I think it is because weather is easy to do.  They just send some reporter to stand in the wind, the rain, or the snow, and talk about how bad it is.  If they are really lazy, they just use a local reporter rather than sending a national one.  They know Americans probably care more about the weather than about foreign affairs or the economy.  CNBC and Bloomberg do a fair job of reporting on the economy, but the evening and morning news tend to concentrate on easy topics, like the price of gas.

The one American news show that matches or exceeds Aljazeera is the PBS News Hour.  Although it does not have its own overseas correspondents, it uses ITN's.  It covers international and economic news much better than the commercial networks.  Margaret Warner's coverage of international issues is superb.  She travels frequently, and when she does, she interviews senior news makers, rather than just reporting press conferences.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Soviets and the Holocaust

Jewish screaming about the horrors of the Holocaust and the evil indifference of the Allies in not coming to their aid soon enough has obscured the important role of the Soviet Union in winning World War II.  If Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union and brought them into the war, Hitler may have solidified his domination of Western Europe even if he had not been able to invade England or the US.  The result would have been that many more Jews would have died and the status of Jewry in the world would have been greatly diminished.  Israel would probably never have been created.

The Soviets suffered the most casualties of any nation in the War, about double what the Jews suffered in the Holocaust.  But the Jews spit on the Soviet sacrifices although they probably saved millions of Jewish lives by defeating the Germans.  It is unlikely that the US and UK alone could have invaded Western Europe on D-Day if the Soviets had not defeated a major part of the German army on the eastern front.

Even in America, we have a World War II memorial because the Jews made the war about the Holocaust.  American GIs thought their victory over Hitler would have ensured their legacy, but the Jews perverted it by accusing them of delaying the invasion of Europe while Jews died in German prison camps.  The Jews portray American leadership from FDR down as morally and militarily weak.  America had to create World War II memorials to offset the Jewish defamation of World War II veterans.  While Americans did fight valiantly and were probably a deciding factor in the defeat of Germany, the Soviets were also essential, but they get even more Jewish derision than American veterans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oligarchy versus Free Markets

            To function well, capitalism requires a free market.  Markets in America are becoming progressively less free as they become more oligopolistic.  Antitrust is basically dead.  Mergers and acquisitions are becoming more frequent and much larger, highlighted by this Wall Street Journal story.  A market dominated by a few huge players is not free.  It’s bad for customers, who cannot bargain with so few alternatives, and for employees, who are hugely overmatched by the power of management.  It tends to stifle innovation, because in many cases small companies cannot compete with the market giants, who will drive new competitors out of business by cutting prices or other punitive measures.   

            Outsourcing and automation have increased the power of the already powerful market giants.  .  Very little is manufactured in America, despite ABC TV’s efforts to find things made here.  Bank tellers are one of the latest entry level jobs to go the way of the dodo bird, replaced by on-line banking and ATMs.  Management of these large companies is furiously trying to bring labor costs to zero.  They have enlisted the Republican Party to help them break unions.  There are almost no unions left in the manufacturing sector; the most powerful ones are in the public sector, particularly teachers.  For lobbyists’ money, Republicans politicians have taken on the task of destroying the teachers’ union, which would probably be the death knell for unions across the country.  Republicans already dislike education; how many times did Republicans say, “I am not a scientist,” during this last election.  They are uneducated and proud of it, but they also have an economic agenda behind their efforts to destroy schools and teachers. 

            The heart of the matter is that Republicans love money and love people with money.  This is why they are willing to outsource the defense of the country to their friends who supply private armies for money.   That’s why they want to lower taxes, and end regulations that in any way hinder their patrons from making a quick buck.  That’s why we have even government healthcare like Medicaid run by private insurance companies, of which there are only a few giants who dominate the market. 

            The American people sense these dislocations.  They recognize that American business is not the same as it was a generation or two ago.  That is one reason they don’t have faith in the current economy.  They see, either objectively or subjectively, that the American economy is not a free market.  It is stacked in favor of the rich, who get their taxes lowered, their political influence strengthened.  At the moment, relatively few people are starving; we are not on the verge of a French Revolution, but we seem to be moving toward that sort of climax, rather than away from it. 

            The most recent episode of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” with federal agents swarming the newsroom floor, was no doubt intended to be reminiscent of France’s “Le Miserables” or perhaps even Nazi-era Germany.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Problems with 501(c)(4) Organizations

The recent elections point out how corrupting the influence of 501(C)(4) organizations is.  The organizations are the means of protecting the use of dark money in elections which cannot be traced to any individual or organization.  The IRS was right to investigate applications for 501(c)(4) organizations; almost everyone involved in them is corrupt and is corrupting the American elections process. 

To qualify under 501(c)(4), an organization must be a nonprofit organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.  It is not supposed to be a political advocacy organization, except to the extent that something like historical preservation or child welfare might get involved in the political process in order to further its social aims.  It may engage in lobbying for its cause as its primary activity; however, political activities may not be the organizations “primary activities.”  Presumably this means that political activities cannot constitute more than 50% of its activities, probably determined by how it spends its money. 

The web site list the following as the main 501(c)(4) spenders in the 2014 campaign:

Crossroads GPS
NRA Institute
Patriot Majority USA
League of Conservation Voters
American Action Network
Kentucky Opportunity Coalition
Carolina Rising
Americans for Prosperty

An Ohio State College of Law article on 501(c)(4)’s states that they must file a Form 990 with the IRS.  While the 990 includes information regarding contributors who give at least $5,000, that information is not made public.  In discussing the IRS controversy pursued by Congressman Issa, the article says: 

When Congress passed the disclosure provisions in § 527, it required disclosure by organizations that intervened in political campaigns. Some organizations that engage in significant political activity have claimed that their activities are not political but are social welfare activities. If organizations primarily engaged in political activity are classified as social welfare organizations, then Congressional intent regarding disclosure will be flouted. Determining the primary purpose of the organization, therefore, requires the IRS to examine the political activities of the organizations seeking status as a social welfare organization and to determine whether those organizations are social welfare organizations or political organizations.

In discussing the IRS investigation, the article goes on to say:

It is very difficult to determine the primary purpose of an organization. The questions asked of these organizations were clearly designed to try to examine the organizations’ activities. Obviously, an organization seeking status as a social welfare organization that is familiar with the legal rules in this area is not going to state that its primary activity is intervention in a political campaign. If it did so, it would be a § 527 political organization. The IRS needs to examine an organization that applies for recognition under § 501(c)(4) to determine its true purpose. To take an extreme example, if the organization spent $10,000 on social welfare activities but had 1,000 volunteers who engaged in campaign intervention activities, the primary purpose of the organization would likely be political, despite the fact that it spent more money on social welfare activities. It is understandable how an agent thinking about investigating an organization would ask these types of questions. It is also understandable that in the aggregate these questions were unduly intrusive. 

The law appears to be designed to facilitate misuse and thereby contribute to the corruption of elections.  My opinion is that anyone who uses a 501(c)(4) organization is probably undermining the American electoral system.  It is a bad law and should be repealed.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Chaos in the Middle East

I am disgusted by US policy in the Middle East.  It appears to be the US policy to overthrow every government and replace it with chaos.  We have created an enormous, fertile breeding ground for terrorism.  Afghanistan pre-9/11 was a relatively safe, orderly country compared to Syria today, and thanks to the US policy of destroying governments that might have helped contain the chaos in Syria things are getting worse. 

The most recent target of US destabilization is Turkey.  Whether rightly or wrongly, Turkey perceives the Kurds, particularly under the leadership of the PKK, as terrorists who want to form a greater Kurdistan that would take away part of Turkey, or ideally for the Kurds, overthrow the Turkish government.  The US is supporting the Kurds despite the protests of the Turkish government.  Because of Turkey’s fear of the PKK, the US came up with the idea of bringing Kurds from Iraq to fight in Kobani, because Turkey doesn’t care of the Kurds create a Kurdistan in Iraq; that is not their problem.  The US currently seems much more favorably disposed toward creating a Kurdistan from Iraq than it did when Biden first proposed it years ago. 

But Turkey is only the most recent target of US destabilization attempts.  We have already destabilized Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt (especially the Sinai), Libya, and Yemen.  While Tunisia looks better, having just completed fair elections, it is a big source of recruits for ISIS.  Regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, Iraq is already going down the tubes, and Afghanistan looks set to follow after we leave.  Several recent articles have compared the Iraq and Afghan wars to Vietnam, especially to the battle of Khe Sanh, positing the idea that American soldiers won every battle, but the political leadership lost the war. 

It’s still not clear which way the battle for Kobani will go, but today there are reports of the defeat of the American proxies, the Free Syrian Army around Idlib in Syria, with the bad guys, reportedly al-Nusra, capturing anti-tank weapons, after ISIS captured some of the supplies we dropped for the Kurds in Kobani.  The American news reports of this on TV tonight were particularly bad.  ABC’s Martha Radditz, who is usually good on military issues, looked like she didn’t know what she was reporting on.  Tom Friedman’s recent column in the NYT raised the pertinent issue that because of the threats to news reporters in these hot spots, we don’t have good information about what is going on.  We are often depending on propaganda posted on Twitter or Facebook, or on reports from ordinary people like refugees, who may not be reliable sources.  Hopefully our intelligence agencies with all the billions we spend on them have some humint, sigint and photint that the news people don’t have.  And hopefully they will leak some sanitized information to the news media that is not entirely spin supporting the administration’s policies.  But it’s hard to verify. 

I think that we are making things worse in the Middle East.  If we had let nature take its course in getting rid of Saddam, Mubarak, Kaddafi, Assad, etc., we might have more stability there and less terrorism.  I worry that the instability is a plus for Israel.  Certainly al-Sisi’s takeover in Egypt has been good for Israel.  If the Israelis believe this, then influential American Jews may be pushing America to pursue policies that are good for Israel, but not necessarily good for America.  

Monday, November 03, 2014

Is Jerusalem in Israel?

I have just learned of the Supreme Court case Zivotofsky v Kerry (see, which asks the State Department to list the country of birth as Israel for Americans born in Jerusalem.  Currently the State Department lists the country as Jerusalem because of international disputes over the legal status of Jerusalem.  The UN resolution creating Israel did not include Jerusalem as part of Israel.  In the years since, Israel has conquered most of East and West Jerusalem, but international law has not recognized the authority that Israel has claimed.  A number of UN resolutions have criticized Israel for its violation of international law.  See  

During the Bush II administration Congress passed a law requiring the State Department to list Israel as the place of birth for people born in Jerusalem it they want it so listed.  Bush signed the law but issued a signing statement saying he would not enforce this provision because it impinged on Presidential power.  

The US has resisted recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel, because Israel took it in violation of international law.  Jews and Gentiles in Congress who are dependent on Jew money to get elected want the US to ignore international law and recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. This Supreme Court case is another effort to reach the same result through another path. 

I don't think that the Supreme Court should have taken this case either the first time or the second time.  The District Court was correct.  This is a foreign policy issue, not a domestic legal issue.  To me it indicates that for all Jews, including those on the Supreme Court, Israel is the country that comes first, before the United States.  The expatriate American plaintiffs bringing this case live in Israel, not in America.  Former White House chief of staff Raum Emanuel served in the Israeli army rather than the American army.  Jews are racists at heart, and Supreme Court justices are no exception.  American GIs have largely gotten over Vietnam and gone on with their lives.  Jews are still consumed with World War II, the Holocaust and hatred of Germans, FDR (for not invading Europe sooner), and everything related to them.