DISSECTING LEFTISM MIRROR
Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

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19 December, 2014

WHY do the old swing Right?

Back in 1985, I reported, in one of the academic journals, the results of a large body of attitude surveys that showed what beliefs were characteristic of older people.  Both in what they favoured and in what they rejected, old people were shown to be very conservative. 

Most people do swing rightwards as they get older, with the best-known examples being, of course, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill.  Reagan was even a union official in his early days and yet became arguably the most beloved conservative leader of all time.

And there are other examples.  The person may not always change party loyalties but their views may evolve within that loyalty.  A good example comes from my home state of Queensland, in Australia.  Following is a brief excerpt from his Wikipedia entry:

Edward Michael (Ned) Hanlon (1887 - 1952) was Premier of Queensland from 1946 to 1952. After leaving school, he worked in the railways, and soon became a union official. In the 1912 Brisbane General Strike he played a prominent part as a militant....  Over the years Hanlon's outlook mellowed, and he shifted to the political right. He ended up, as [Labor Party] Premier, sending the police to suppress union demonstrations during the 1948 Queensland Railway strike.

So, again, why?  It couldn't be simpler: The essence of conservatism is caution.  And underlying that caution is a perception that the world is an unpredictable place.  So change has to take place in small steps if its objectives are to be achieved.  Massive changes such as Obamacare are to be avoided in case large unforeseen negative consequences emerge -- consequences  of the sort that emerged rapidly in the case of Obamacare.

And as we get older that unpredictability of the world is forced upon us -- and that makes us cautious.  Experience conservatizes us.  And that is why the young tend to be Leftist:  They lack experience.  Shielded by their parents, they have yet to realize that the world is full of surprises -- many of which are unpleasant.

That is only part of the reason for the differences I found, however. The world has undergone large changes in the last couple of hundred years or so, with a big swing towards socialism in many countries in the middle of the 20th century, ending in a decisive swing worldwide back to broadly free-market economic policies after that.

The large economic upswing   -- greatly increased prosperity -- that began with the abandonment of socialist economic policies in the Reagan/Thatcher years, however, had consequences as well.  As economic concerns became less pressing for most of the population, the policies and attitudes that accompanied economic struggle became less pressing too.  People could afford to reduce greatly the strategies they saw as needed to put bread on the table.  So there was an upsurge in permissiveness all-round.  Survival was no longer a harsh master.  So social (non-economic) attitudes liberalized  -- reaching rather absurd lengths as time went by -- as with the idolization of homosexuality in the early 21st century.

So the age-related attitude differences noted in my research also partly reflected the era in which the individuals concerned were born.  People who grew up in times of economic stringency acquired attitudes appropriate to that.  Homosexuality, for instance, had to be anathematized because it threatened the survival of the family.  And the family is of course the original social security safety net. 

And so people who grew up in times of economic ease formed the more permissive attitudes allowed by that.  People acquire attitudes in their youth which tend to last for the rest of their life  -- unless powerfully contra-indicated by life-experiences  -- which is the sad fate of many who enter adulthood with socialistic ideas.

A FOOTNOTE:  The USA is a very successful country economically and yet also has large pockets of social conservatism.  Why?  It's at least partly because many Americans don't FEEL economically secure.  And why is that?  Because the only way many Americans can find to keep their families reasonably safe is to engage in "white flight".  They need to get away from the extraordinarily high rate of violent crime that pervades black or partly black neighborhoods. 

But the only presently legal (post-segregation) way to get away from such neighborhoods is to move to the more expensive suburbs that blacks can rarely afford.  And that takes money, rather a lot of money.  So Americans are economic strivers at a huge rate.  The pursuit of money is America's biggest religion.  It's a great pity that their society makes Americans so unrelaxed

The truth of all that can be seen in Australia.  Australia's largest non-European minority is hard-working and law-abiding East Asians  (mostly Han Chinese) -- at about 5% of the population.  And Australia is also an economically prosperous place with very conservative economic policies.  Australian Federal governments even bring down surplus budgets on some occasions!  Contrast that with the trillions of debt run up by the Obama administration.   So a prosperous but safe country should have a very relaxed population.  And that is exactly what Australia is known for.

Apropos of that, I remember reading about 30 years ago (in "The Bulletin", I think) that Australia had at that stage the world's highest proportion of half-millionaires.  Once they had accumulated that much, smart  Australians tended to hop off the treadmill and retire to more recreational pursuits.  Americans, by contrast, stayed on the treadmill for much longer -- because money is at least part of their religion.  They reject St. Paul's view that the love of money is the root of all evil.  They know money as the root of all safety.  Even in their churches, Americans are often subjected to a prosperity gospel that would do Calvin proud. -- JR.

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An American bureaucracy at work

In June, NASA finished work on a huge construction project here in Mississippi: a $349 million laboratory tower, designed to test a new rocket engine in a chamber that mimicked the vacuum of space.

Then, NASA did something odd.  As soon as the work was done, it shut the tower down. The project was officially “mothballed” — closed up and left empty — without ever being used.

The reason for the shutdown: The new tower — called the A-3 test stand — was useless. Just as expected. The rocket program it was designed for had been canceled in 2010.

But, at first, cautious NASA bureaucrats didn’t want to stop the construction on their own authority. And then Congress — at the urging of a senator from Mississippi — swooped in and ordered the agency to finish the tower, no matter what.

The result was that NASA spent four more years building something it didn’t need. Now, the agency will spend about $700,000 a year to maintain it in disuse.

“What the hell are they doing? I mean, that’s a lot of people’s hard-earned money,” said David Forshee, who spent 18 months as the general foreman for the pipefitters who helped build the tower. Like other workmen, he had taken pride in this massive, complicated project — only to learn that it was in mothballs.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that, you know, you thought you’d done something good,” Forshee said. “And all you’ve done is go around in a damn circle, like a dog chasing his tail.”

SOURCE

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The VA is a bureaucracy too

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provided lawmakers with misleading and inaccurate information when they first detailed the number of veterans who were harmed by long wait times, according to a new report by the Office of Inspector General.

The VA released a “fact sheet” in April 2014 that summarized an internal, system-wide review of unresolved consults or additional requests for services that remained “open or active” after 90 days.

The review was carried out over the course of two years. According to the summary it evaluated “all consults since 1999” and identified 23 deaths of veterans related to delays in gastrointestinal care.

In a report released on Monday, investigators now say the “fact sheet” was filled with misleading information that raises questions as to whether or not the cases were ever “appropriately reviewed or resolved.”

“By early May 2014, when facilities were expected to have completed their reviews, the number of unresolved consults had decreased considerably,” the report notes. “However, because [Veteran Health Administration] did not implement appropriate controls, we found it lacks reasonable assurance that facilities appropriately reviewed and resolved consults; closed consults only after ensuring veterans had received the requested services, when appropriate; and, where consult delays contributed to patient harm, notified patients as required by VHA policy.”

Additionally, inspectors found that “several key statements related to the scope and results of the [agency’s] review were misleading or incorrect,” including things as basic as the stated timeframe.

Instead of reviewing cases open since 1999, inspectors found that facility managers were told to “review consults that had been unresolved for more than 90 days but less than 5 years.” If a case “had been unresolved for more than 5 years” the managers could “close those without review.”

The instructions meant that the VA only reviewed open consults beginning in September of 2007, eight years later than what they wrote in their “fact sheet.”

Miller said in a statement the report shows that cases unresolved for more than five years were “simply closed out … en masse and without proper review,” and VA officials made “undeniably false” claims that their review went back to 1999.  “We may never know the actual number of veterans affected by gaps in the VA system that existed for years,” Miller said.

SOURCE

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Jonathan Gruber Thinks Like Most Liberals: You Are Too Stupid to Run Your Own Life

Key Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has been under a hot spotlight recently for disparaging comments he made about his fellow citizens.

In a series of videos taken at various conferences and lectures between 2010 and 2013, Gruber claimed that the effects of Obamacare had to be hidden from Americans because of “the stupidity of the American voter.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor said that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in writing such legislation and likened its critics to “my adolescent children.”

    Gruber was echoing a common sentiment among the American Left: You are too stupid to run your own life.

Adding, well, injury to the insult, it’s been discovered that Gruber received almost $6 million in taxpayer dollars for his various services in designing and consulting on Obamacare.

This rolling disgrace culminated Tuesday in a particularly stern hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which gave the penitent Gruber a thorough dressing-down.

Ouch.

While I hate to disagree with the formidable Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.,  I think Gruber should be given a medal for honesty!

Don’t get me wrong: Gruber’s erstwhile opinions about his fellow Americans are despicable. But he was only echoing a common sentiment among the American Left: You are too stupid to run your own life. It’s just rare that they tell us directly.

The attitude of the Washington political establishment in general—and liberal elites in particular—is that Americans aren’t smart enough to make their own decisions. The public must be cajoled, misled, threatened and flat-out lied to in order to achieve the greatest good.

Take, for example, Gruber’s assessment of the tax/fee argument at the heart of Obamacare’s passage and later Supreme Court fight:

    This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Ok, so it was written to do that.

This is absolutely true. Everyone in Washington—on both sides of the aisle—knows that this was a key maneuver in getting Obamacare passed. The scandalous thing here is not what Gruber said, but that he dared to admit it.

He follows in a grand tradition of progressives who posture themselves as champions of the common man, only to realize that the common man doesn’t necessarily share the same goals. Thus, regular Americans must be duped into acting a certain way. It’s for their own good, don’t you know!

This is a profoundly undemocratic mindset but all too common amongst those in power. Earlier this year the Associated Press recognized the Obama administration as the least transparent in history. This administration has prosecuted whistleblowers, attacked journalists and had the IRS put the squeeze on activist groups. It excuses this behavior with a “father knows best” attitude.

If you assume that your political opponents merely “cling to guns or religion” out of bitterness, it’s much easier to rationalize impinging upon the First and Second Amendments. If you’re convinced that folks couldn’t possibly live a healthy lifestyle on their own, you end up micromanaging their lunches or downsizing their beverages.

You might even be tempted to mandate their healthcare options.

Thinking you know what’s best for the American people—better than they do, in fact—leads to a far greater violation of their best interests: taking away their freedom to decide for themselves.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more people in government who think like Jonathan Gruber.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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18 December, 2014

Cromnibus in review

Congressional passage of the $1.1 trillion CRomnibus (part omnibus, part continuing resolution) package last weekend may have prevented a government shutdown, but it created a variety of divisions between and among Republicans and Democrats that could flare up in grand style in the next Congress.

The package funds most of the government through fiscal year 2015, pulling together 11 appropriations bills that cover many areas, except the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only until Feb. 27. Much of the spending adheres to budget caps put in place last year, with additional emergency spending that falls outside the caps – including $64 billion for overseas military operations such as the fight against ISIL and $5.4 billion to combat Ebola.

Republicans achieved their objectives in some areas. The Dodd-Frank financial regulation law was partially relaxed to allow banks to directly engage in derivatives trading. Some school nutrition standards pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama were also rolled back, in large part because school districts are having serious trouble complying with the new regulations – not to mention the near-mutiny among students. Another provision loosens contribution limits for national political parties. The Democrats balked at this provision, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling it “egregious,” but they’ll be perfectly happy with it when leftist one-percenters pour out their money for the 2016 election.

Democrats also won some things in the bill as well. ObamaCare funding remains intact at current levels, despite the long history of GOP threats to defund it. The Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions, was renewed, but since ObamaCare calls for funding of abortions that amendment remains pretty much moot.

One bright spot for free enterprise was in the extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which puts off for another year a bureaucratic free-for-all that would blitz online retailers with new taxes, regulations and paperwork. If Congress has any sense at all, it will enact a clean, stand-alone extension of the act in January.

There was rancor among Democrats over passage of the bill because of its rollback of Dodd-Frank and the relaxed political party funding. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led the charge against the CRomnibus from the liberal side, but she was swamped by the larger Democrat contingent eager to pass the bill. Her actions may not have amounted to much, but her popularity saw a boost. She is increasingly considered a viable alternative presidential candidate to Hillary Clinton, complicating the latter’s second White House run.

Warren found an unusual ally in her fight against the spending package in Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, if for an entirely different reason. Along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cruz hoped to derail the package by introducing a symbolic point-of-order vote condemning the unconstitutionality of Barack Obama’s executive action on illegal aliens.

“If you believe President Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional, vote yes,” Cruz told his colleagues. “If you think the president’s executive order is constitutional, vote no.” Well, 74 senators believed the latter – or at least wouldn’t admit the former – among them the full Republican leadership.

As he did with his box-canyon shutdown strategy last year, Cruz managed to draw significant ire from his GOP colleagues. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said, “Suffice it to say, I’m not happy with the strategy [Cruz] has come up with. I think it’s totally counterproductive.” Cruz has been accused of grandstanding for the sake of his own popularity before, but many conservatives also praised him for standing his ground.

Did Cruz’s actions cause more trouble than they were worth? The temporary funding of DHS means the immigration issue will be revisited early next year anyway. Cruz and Lee were faulted for outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pushing cloture on a series of stalled nominees because the procedural vote allowed Reid to turn to other matters. That’s a stretch, considering that executive and judicial nominations were going to be on the calendar anyway at some point between now and the end of the session. Remember, Reid didn’t trigger the nuclear option for nothing.

The real reason that Cruz’s actions caused such a stir is probably best encapsulated by the fact that senators' weekend holiday plans had to be put on hold. But as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw wrote, “The fact that any of them had to show up on Saturday and couldn’t head home from work two weeks before Christmas and stay there until early January isn’t exactly tugging at my heartstrings.”

Republican and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate must be suffering tennis elbow after all the self-congratulatory pats on the back for passing the CRomnibus. Republican voters may be asking themselves, though, why the GOP went for a long-term budget deal when they could have just passed a 60-day continuing resolution and negotiated a full budget package from a position of strength in January.

SOURCE

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Media Struggle to Save Obama, Not the Country



A story in Thursday's Washington Post about establishing Obama's "foreign policy legacy" goes a long way toward explaining why the Senate Democrats and the media have been trashing the Bush administration's very productive enhanced interrogation program as "torture."

Titled "Obama's foreign policy plans collide with wars abroad and politics at home [1]," the story by Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin made it clear that CIA director John Brennan's defense of the agency had thwarted Obama's plan "to move the country beyond what he [Obama] has described as the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era." While Obama has banned what he calls "torture," he has failed to close the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Gitmo), established by the Bush administration to house terrorist suspects. Other problems outlined in the Post article include the continuing war in Afghanistan and a new war in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.

What Obama calls "torture" is what the media call "torture." If you needed any more proof of a pro-Obama media bias, just look at how regularly the personalities on CNN, supposedly more moderate than MSNBC, have adopted his terms of the debate. This is the media's way of saying that Obama was right and that it's good he has banned this way of getting information from terrorists. Never mind that Obama's way of murder through drone strikes is decidedly more "harsh." Bush grilled them, Obama kills them.

Without a foreign policy "legacy" of some kind, Obama's two terms will look like a failure and the Democrats will be doomed in 2016.

Domestically, his only real "accomplishment" at this point looks like the Eric Holder policy of suspending enforcement of federal marijuana laws. This will be a "legacy" of interest to fellow pothead members of Obama's "Choom Gang" in Hawaii, and the emerging cannabis industry.  But it's doubtful most people will appreciate this historic development.

Obama's signature "accomplishment" in domestic affairs, Obamacare, has been exposed as a massive fraud and deception. According to a new CBS News poll, race relations have dramatically deteriorated under the first black president. It's true he is moving forward unconstitutionally with amnesty for illegal aliens. But House Republicans are promising to do something about that next year. The economy is still lackluster. So foreign policy is really his only hope of doing anything positive, and he's running into the facts of life there, too. The terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans is only one part of his legacy. The legacy of that attack hurts both Obama and Hillary Clinton, his former Secretary of State and likely 2016 Democratic candidate. And it's doubtful that an Iran with nuclear weapons would qualify as a positive foreign policy legacy for Obama, either.

One can suppose that Obama will try to claim he was the one who got Osama bin Laden. But Brennan made it clear on Thursday that the enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) from the Bush-era played a role in killing the terrorist kingpin. Brennan said, "It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against bin Laden. Again, intelligence information from the individuals who were subjected to EITs provided information that was used in that. Again, I am not going to attribute that to the use of the EITs; just going to state as a matter of fact, the information that they provided was used."

What Brennan is saying is that he cannot pinpoint with any degree of accuracy that a particular form of interrogation led to the terrorists divulging certain information. That's because nobody was taking precise notes on when terrorist X or Y said one thing or another at any particular time in the interrogation process. But the record is clear that the EITs contributed to the terrorists getting to the point where they decided to spill their guts.

CNN, which is increasingly trying to sound like MSNBC, headlined the Brennan news conference as "Brennan: No Proof Harsh Tactics Led to Useful Info." How can his phrase that "intelligence information from the individuals who were subjected to EITs provided information that was used" to get bin Laden be interpreted as "proof" that it wasn't useful? CNN was lying. CNN gave the opposite impression of what he actually said.

Before he held his news conference, Brennan met with Obama and was probably instructed to finesse his language somewhat so that a certain amount of ambiguity could be left in some minds. CNN and other media tried to take advantage of that for Obama's sake. Still, Brennan's statement was a vindication of the Bush policy. That means that any attempt by Obama to claim credit for the death of bin Laden will ring hollow. There goes his foreign policy legacy.

These facts help explain the desperation of the media and why they have adopted Obama's rhetoric on "torture." They must figure that if they use the term often enough, many people will assume that the techniques were, in fact, torture. In order to drive that point home, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News used the Brennan news conference to mention some of the techniques. She referred to "waterboarding, near drowning, slamming people against the wall, hanging them in stress positions, confining them in small boxes or coffins, threatening them with drills, waving guns around their head as they are blindfolded..."

She could have mentioned the horrible deaths suffered by those in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or Flight 93 on 9/11. She could have mentioned the 9/11 jumpers-the people who jumped from the towers rather than be burned to death.

But Mitchell didn't think it was worth mentioning any of that.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper have been fixated by a phrase in the Senate Democratic report on "rectal rehydration." Tapper called it a form of torture. In fact, it's a medical procedure to keep the terrorists alive when they resist sustenance. Would Tapper have preferred that the terrorists be allowed to die? Then the program would have come in for even stronger criticism. This goes to show that all of this discussion is just another attempt to tarnish the Bush presidency and make Obama look good by comparison. Tapper said he was dumbfounded by the talk of "rectal rehydration."

No, he was just dumb.

Obama, the Senate Democrats and the media look foolish and unpatriotic. It looks like they are deliberately playing into the hands of America's enemies in order to score partisan political points. Obama has abandoned proven techniques to get information from, and about, terrorists and has adopted in their place a policy of killing the terrorists and their families through drone strikes that don't yield any intelligence data at all. How on earth does this make any sense?

From an objective point of view, does a Hellfire missile hitting a human being look more or less "harsh" than waving a gun over someone's head, turning on a drill, or pouring water on a terrorist?

The answer should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. But most of our media are so determined to save Obama's presidency that they can't think clearly.

The Post and other media are desperate to construct a "legacy" for America's first black president. The real concern should be saving the country, not Obama's presidency.

SOURCE

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Another example of the famous "fact-checking" that the MSM claim they do

Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Islam wants you to think he's a big shot. On his website, Ettaz Financial, he wears a pair of fogged-over glasses, expression serious, sporting a red tie on a snowy day. The New York high-school junior says he got interested in the financial industry "at the tender age of eight", quickly fell into the third-rate world of penny stocks before graduating to the futures market after finding "a love for risk and volatility". How much has he made? Millions, he said. His net worth has soared into the "high eight figures".

The world is filled with teenagers like Mo Islam, who now says he never made a dime on the stock market. They play fast and loose with facts. But they don't usually get the treatment Islam just got in Sunday's issue of New York Magazine.

The article, reported and written by staff writer Jessica Pressler, begins with a rumour. Someone - it's unspecified who - said Mo had pocketed $US72 million ($87.6 million) by trading penny stocks. "An unbelievable amount of money for anyone, not least a high school student, but as far as rumours go, this one seemed legit," Pressler wrote. The original headline: "A Stuyvesant Senior Made $US72M Trading Stocks on His Lunch Break."

Coming on the heels of Rolling Stone's disastrous story of a University of Virginia gang rape, though nowhere near as serious in its consequences, the story unravelled almost as quickly as it went viral. While the New York Post, the Daily Mail and the Guardian did their versions, New York Magazine's was getting pounded in its comments section: "How dumb do you have to [be] to believe that this kid made $US72 million trading stocks during lunch?"

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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17 December, 2014

Some notes about the Sydney siege by a now dead Muslim nut on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS

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Genes can be to blame for violent behaviour

But it's all caused by "poverty", Leftists say.  They even said it about the 9/11 attacks.  It took several months of people telling them that Osama bin Laden was actually a billionaire before they started showing signs of reality contact

You may not have been born a criminal, but a combination of genes and environment could control your fate when it comes to anti-social behaviour.  This is according to a recent study which found that experiences, such as divorce and sexual abuse, could affect gene expressions that control a person's predisposition to delinquency.

The study used a survey of 1,337 students aged 17 or 18 in Västmanland, Sweden, who anonymously completed questionnaires reporting on their behaviour.

As well as their behaviour, they spoke about past family conflict, experiences of sexual abuse, and the quality of their relationship with their parents.

They also provided a sample of saliva from which the researchers extracted DNA. One of the genes examined was Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA).

This gene is a key enzyme which breaks down and releases energy in brain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. The transmitter be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness

'About 25 per cent of Caucasian men carry the less active variant of MAOA,' explained Professor Sheilagh Hodgins, a researcher at the University of Montreal.  'Among them, those who experience physical abuse in childhood are more likely than those who are not abused to display serious anti-social behaviour from childhood through adulthood.

'Among females it is the high activity variant of the MAOA gene that interacts with adversity in childhood to increase the likelihood of anti-social behaviour.'

Another gene examined was BDNF, which impacts neuronal plasticity. This refers to the brain cells' ability to reorganise pathways and connections throughout our lives.

'The low expressing variants of BDNF are carried by approximately 30 per cent of individuals and some previous studies had shown that this variant was associated with aggressive behaviour if carriers were exposed to aggressive peers,' said Professor Hodgins.

The third gene variant studied was the serotonin transporter 5-HTTLPR, which is carried by approximately 20 per cent of individuals.

'Among carriers of this low activity variant, those exposed to adversity in childhood are more likely than those who are not to display antisocial and aggressive behaviour,' said Professor Hodgins.

Overall, the study found that the three genetic variants interacted with each other and with family conflict and sexual abuse to increase the likelihood of delinquency.

'Among carriers of the low activity variants of all three genes, those exposed to family conflict or sexual abuse or both reported high levels of delinquency while those who reported a positive and warm relationship with their parents reported little or no delinquency,' said Professor Hodgins.

'These findings add to those from other studies to show that genes affect the brain, and thereby behaviour, by altering sensitivity to the environment,' Professor Hodgins said.

SOURCE

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Fat Class Warfare

There was a time when fat was in and thin was out. Obesity was the privilege of wealth and being thin meant being poor. In simpler societies, before slumming became a romantic pose, there was nothing attractive about not having enough to eat.

To be fat was to be part of the leisure class. Thin meant you were on the road to the poorhouse or to consumption, which meant your body was being consumed, not that you were the one doing the consuming.

Then agriculture was revolutionized and the values flipped. No one in the West was starving to death and the poorest man could still grow fat. By the time the social programs kicked in, weight no longer meant leisure.

With packaged foods widely available and jobs shifting from the factory to the desk, it was entirely possible to work hard and get fat.

On the other side of the aisle, exercise meant leisure time. The standard was set by movie stars who struggled to meet unrealistic standards because they had the time and disposable income to do it.

Fat no longer meant upper class gentry. Instead it meant lower class peasant. As with art, the widespread availability turned minimalism, and eventually the worthless and overpriced, into class signifiers. Conspicuous consumption of that which was widely available was lower class.

The overflowing table made way for micro portions and exotic but barely edible foods. Thin was in on the plate and the waistline.
In many Third World countries where feudalism never ended, the values never flipped. Instead of anorexia, teenage girls suffer from being force fed to make them more marriageable. The wealthy are fat and the feasts at the top never end.

In the West, weight stands in for class, at a time when explicit classism has become politically incorrect. When Europeans sneer at how fat Americans are, and American coastal elites sneer at the rest of the country for being fat, it's a class putdown.

And no one traffics in class putdowns like the left.

Liberalism has become an engine of class repression, with the super-rich pushing down the rich and the rich liberal undermining the middle class. Its regulatory regime limits social mobility and locks in class privileges even while spewing rhetoric about these and income inequality.

Obesity is a classic moral crusade whose real purpose is to inflate the sense of moral superiority of a particular elite. With the moral codes of sex and drugs having been dismantled by that same elite, obesity is one of the few remaining class signifiers, aside from cigarettes, that it's safe to hold a moral crusade about.

The War on Fat echoes the same old obsessions of Prohibitionism, a paranoid concern about the inability of the lower classes to care for themselves that verges on bigotry, an imaginary crisis blown out of all proportion in order to justify abuses of power and the self-congratulatory superiority lurking behind the curtain.

Their obesity concern trolling is a combination of classism and nanny statism that brings to mind the days when their ideological forebears thought that the way to deal with the poor was to sterilize those who seemed less capable than the rest to improve the breed. The breed being culled while the elites try to teach their less evolved cousins to survive by eating their arugula.

Finding moral failings in a manufactured underclass justifies endless abuses of power by demonstrating the inferiority and unfitness of those below. Obesity fits into that same template.

The solutions never work. Michelle Obama's botched school lunch program and ObamaCare lawsuits over fitness rewards once again show that the technocratic nanny state can never achieve the goals of the moral crusade. But slimming down isn't really the goal. Bloomberg's soda ban wasn't a serious solution. It was an expression of disdain and most of those on the receiving end understood that.

Barack and Michelle Obama lecture on food while gorging themselves at banquets. The lecture is the point. Cutting calories isn't. It's easier to oppress those who are manifestly inferior. Every elite needs these hypocritical justifications of their own superiority. The nanny state is not an act of concern.

It's an act of contempt.

The nanny state is built on a technocratic confidence in the ability to create one size fits all solutions, overlaying that on a map of the current medical wisdom leads to the creation of single standards, which often have less to do with health than they do with the status symbols of the leisure class. 19th century popularized medicine created so many of these fads that some of them are still around today. The 20th century created even more of them. And the 21st century is only getting started.

Death though is not only inevitable, but it cannot be dodged with a one size fits all standard. Fitness guru Jim Fixx who helped kickstart the running craze died in his early fifties of a heart attack. Fixx had quit smoking and lost weight, and still died at an early age. Jackie Gleason who spent his life looking like a walking health attack, smoking and drinking, outlived him by nearly twenty years.

Medicine is individual and the collectivization of medicine is a technocratic solution that leads to broad stroke solutions, like adding calories to menus and other rats in a maze tactics designed to modify human behavior on a national level. The targeting of fast food restaurants, public school meals and food stamps reeks of the same elitist arrogance that drives the nanny state.

The politicization of food by the elites of the left always comes down to class, no matter how it may be disguised in liberal colors. From exotic to locally grown, the trajectory of food politics follows the upselling of food prices  The only difference is that the dominance of the left has wrapped the added cost with no added value in their own politics. The more affordable food becomes, the more the left finds ways to add cost to food, without adding value.

But the politicization of food goes beyond the fair trade and locally grown fetishes of the politically correct elites, the more politics ends up on your plate, the more the elites are driven to involve everyone else in their food fights. What begins as a way of raising prices while diminishing value to assert wealth and privilege becomes imposed on everyone in the name of their political morality.

Once everyone else is paying more and getting less, then the classist left demands new ways to set its superior moral eating habits apart. Instead of everyone ending up with more food, everyone ends up with less.

Lefty culture practices conspicuous consumption, but the consumption has to be disguised with conspicuous political pieties. The food may cost twice as much, but it's locally grown on a farm run by handicapped union workers who visit Cuba to receive free health care or by the indigenous peoples of Tuba-Tuba with the proceeds going to a complete sonic library of their chants and ceremonies. It's a meaningfully meaningless hairshirt that disguises the consumption underneath.

Conspicuous consumption is now for the poor while conspicuous political consumption is for liberal elites. Al Gore may live in a mansion but he still has the carbon footprint of a mouse. The problem is the truck driver whose vehicular emissions are killing the planet. Whole Foods is just fine, but we need to do something about White Castle.

In a moment of horrifying tone deafness that makes Marie Antoinette seem enlightened, the left is cheering that fewer Americans are eating meat, without seeming to understand that it's because fewer Americans are able to afford it because of the left's economic policies.

What the left's food police can't accomplish with nudges and shaming, they can finish off with policies and regulations that raise the price of food or make it too difficult to sell. When the left fails to sell the public on conspicuous political consumption as a status symbol, it brings in the heavy bureaucratic artillery.

It isn't unusual for elites to use the legal system to enforce their own values on the general public, though it was the kind of thing that the universal franchise was supposed to put a leash on, but there is something grim about their growing preoccupation with the habits and mortality of the population. It's the kind of concern that has a habit of ending in eugenics and the more medicine is universalized, the easier it is to start cutting off access to medical treatment for those who haven't been nudged far enough in the right direction.

Social medicine politicizes food consumption and a globalized economy politicizes food production. And the politicized American plate has less on it and at a higher price. While the left obsessively pursues its mission of destroying fast food in the name of lowering socialized medicine costs, they are taking affordable and filling food off the shelves, as they have done with countless other products that they have targeted.

By the time the left was done with Russia, it had gone from a wheat producer to a wheat importer and many basic food staples were hard to come by even in a country filled with collective farms. Finding modern day examples of that isn't hard. We only have to look as far south as Venezuela to see empty store shelves under the weight of government food policies.

But one day that may be the local grocery store if the left gets its way.

SOURCE

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EterniTax.Con

Some taxpayers remain unaware that government-employee unions run the state of California, but the evidence is not hard to find. Sure enough, Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, fired the first salvo to make a temporary tax hike permanent. “Proposition 30 is the best thing to happen to public education and the economy in California in a generation,” the union boss rhapsodizes. Not only is there more money for “public education,” that is, teacher salaries, but “the state economy and budget have improved.” Nobody is fleeing the state, and happy days are here again. “Contrary to the anti-tax and anti-government rhetoric popular in some quarters, Proposition 30 is working, and has provided a road map for other states.” Therefore, “it is imperative that the state Legislature and the governor act to make it permanent.”

Tax_200Not so fast, responded Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: “For those who don’t remember, Proposition 30, titled the Temporary Taxes to Save Education Act, imposed the highest income tax rate in America. It also bumped up the sales tax—a tax that hits the lower and middle classes particularly hard—to tops in the nation.” California’s unemployment rate is “third-highest in the nation,” its supplemental poverty ranking is the “worst in the country,” and statistics show that “upper income individuals are fleeing the state in response to high taxes.” And as Coupal notes, nobody know how many stuck around on the grounds that the temporary tax hikes would expire. Coupal also finds “compelling evidence that California today would be enjoying a bigger slice of the national economic recovery had we not passed Proposition 30 at all.”

This all makes sense, but the surge for permanence has precedent. In the 1970s, Californians voted for a temporary Coastal Commission. Under governor Jerry Brown, legislators quickly made it permanent. Current governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation that gives the powerful, unelected Commission the power to bypass the courts and impose fines directly.

Taxpayers will find the same ruling-class ruse at work with Proposition 30. Pechthalt wants the governor and legislators to make the call, not the voters. They might vote down permanent higher taxes, as they did with Proposition 13, and the ruling class won’t stand for that. So Jerry Brown and the new crop of legislators will likely take their marching orders from a union boss, not the people.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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16 December, 2014

Torture report was just Democrat self-praise

Charles Krauthammer nails it pretty well below.  What I would add is that terrorism is unlikely to be successfully dealt with by normal police and judicial procedures. It is a category of behaviour all its own and it may need a level of ruthlessness similar to its own to be successfully countered.  We may need to fight fire with fire

The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report’s preamble of the shock and “pervasive fear” felt after 9/11.

It’s a common theme (often echoed by President Obama): Amid panic and disorientation, we lost our moral compass and made awful judgments. The results are documented in the committee report. They must never happen again.

It’s a kind of temporary-insanity defense for the Bush administration. And it is not just unctuous condescension but hypocritical nonsense. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was nothing irrational about believing that a second attack was a serious possibility and therefore everything should be done to prevent it. Indeed, this was the considered opinion of the CIA, the administration, the congressional leadership and the American people.

Al-Qaeda had successfully mounted four major attacks on American targets in the previous three years. The pace was accelerating and the scale vastly increasing. The country then suffered a deadly anthrax attack of unknown origin. Al-Qaeda was known to be seeking weapons of mass destruction.

We were so blindsided that we established a 9/11 commission to find out why. And we knew next to nothing about the enemy: its methods, structure, intentions, plans. There was nothing morally deranged about deciding as a nation to do everything necessary to find out what we needed to prevent a repetition, or worse. As Feinstein said at the time, “We have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”

Nancy Pelosi, then ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was briefed about the interrogation program, including the so-called torture techniques. As were the other intelligence committee leaders. “We understood what the CIA was doing,” wrote Porter Goss, Pelosi’s chairman on the House committee. “We gave the CIA our bipartisan support; we gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.”

Democrat Jay Rockefeller, while the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked in 2003 about turning over Khalid Sheik Mohammed to countries known to torture. He replied: “I wouldn’t take anything off the table where he is concerned.”

There was no uproar about this open countenancing of torture-by-proxy. Which demonstrates not just the shamelessness of Democrats today denouncing practices to which, at the time and at the very least, they made no objection. It demonstrates also how near-consensual was the idea that our national emergency might require extraordinary measures.

This is not to say that in carrying out the program there weren’t abuses, excesses, mismanagement and appalling mistakes (such as the death in custody — unintended but still unforgivable — of two detainees). It is to say that the root-and-branch denunciation of the program as, in principle, unconscionable is not just hypocritical but ahistorical.

To make that case, to produce a prosecutorial brief so entirely and relentlessly one-sided, the committee report (written solely by Democrats) excluded any testimony from the people involved and variously accused. None. No interviews, no hearings, no statements.

The excuse offered by the committee is that a parallel Justice Department inquiry precluded committee interviews. Rubbish. That inquiry ended in 2012. It’s December 2014. Why didn’t they take testimony in the interval? Moreover, even during the Justice Department investigation, the three CIA directors and many other officials were exempt from any restrictions. Why weren’t they interviewed?

Answer: So that committee Democrats could make their indictment without contradiction. So they could declare, for example, the whole program to be a failure that yielded no important information — a conclusion denied by practically every major figure involved, including Democrat and former CIA director Leon Panetta; Obama’s current CIA director, John Brennan; and three other CIA directors (including a Clinton appointee).

Speaking from the Senate floor, Senate Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) outlined the four categories of the 20 findings in a report released Tuesday regarding CIA interrogation techniques used between late 2001 and Jan. 2009. (AP)
Perhaps, say the critics, but we’ll never know whether less harsh interrogation would have sufficed.

So what was the Bush administration to do? Amid the smoking ruins of Ground Zero, conduct a controlled experiment in gentle interrogation and wait to see if we’d be hit again?

A nation attacked is not a laboratory for exquisite moral experiments. It’s a trust to be protected, by whatever means meet and fit the threat.

Accordingly, under the direction of the Bush administration and with the acquiescence of congressional leadership, the CIA conducted an uncontrolled experiment. It did everything it could, sometimes clumsily, sometimes cruelly, indeed, sometimes wrongly.

But successfully. It kept us safe

SOURCE

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Leftist hate again

I realize life is too short to read everything the Crazy Left disgorges from its white-hot core of resentful hatred, but Michael Tomasky’s latest rant at the Daily Beast is just too good to miss, especially if you are a) sane, b) an American and c) live in the Deep South. Reacting to Mary Landrieu’s crushing defeat in the Louisiana Senate runoff on Saturday, Tomasky rushed to his computer and penned this instant classic:

    "I don’t remember a much sadder sight in domestic politics in my lifetime than that of Mary Landrieu schlumpfing around these last few weeks trying to save a Senate seat that was obviously lost. It was like witnessing the last two weeks of the life of a blind and toothless dog you knew the vet was just itching to destroy. I know that sounds mean about her, but I don’t intend it that way. She did what she could and had, as far as I know, an honorable career. I do, however, intend it to sound mean about the reactionary, prejudice-infested place she comes from. A toothless dog is a figure of sympathy. A vet who takes pleasure in gassing it is not.

    And that is what Louisiana, and almost the entire South, has become. The victims of the particular form of euthanasia it enforces with such glee are tolerance, compassion, civic decency, trans-racial community, the crucial secular values on which this country was founded… I could keep this list going. But I think you get the idea. Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they’re such nice people! (I truly mean that.)

    With Landrieu’s departure, the Democrats will have no more senators from the Deep South, and I say good. Forget about it. Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise. The Democrats don’t need it anyway."

And there you have it, the Narrative in full cry. Southerners — white Southerners — are crazed racists (for voting against a white candidate), nutcase Christians (for following their faith) and stump-toothed hillbillies who shop at Wal-Mart (for following their economic self-interest). In other words, they’re not a bit like Northeastern or West Coast liberals, and whose idea was it to give them the vote, anyway? Tomasky concludes his crying jag like this:

    "It’s lost. It’s gone. A different country. And maybe someday it really should be. I’ll save that for another column. Until that day comes, the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying. If they get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway."

It may be worth pointing out to Tomasky that there is not a single Republican senator from the West Coast at the moment, and only two from New England. So what? Regional divisions are nothing new in these United States.

SOURCE

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When 'justice' trumps accuracy, journalism loses

by Jeff Jacoby

JOURNALISTS, SAYS Jorge Ramos, shouldn't make a fetish of accuracy and impartiality.  Speaking last month at the International Press Freedom Awards, Univision's influential news anchor told his audience that while he has "nothing against objectivity," journalism is meant to be wielded as "a weapon for a higher purpose: justice." To be sure, he said, it is important to get the facts right — five deaths should be reported as five, not six or seven. But "the best of journalism happens when we, purposely, stop pretending that we are neutral and recognize that we have a moral obligation to tell truth to power."

As it happens, Ramos delivered those remarks soon after the publication of Sabrina Erdely's 9,000-word story in Rolling Stone vividly describing the alleged gang rape of a freshman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity party. Erdely had reportedly spent months researching the story, and its explosive impact was — at first — everything a tell-truth-to-power journalist could have wished: national attention, public outrage, campus protests, suspension of UVA's fraternities, and a new "zero-tolerance" policy on sexual assault.

But Rolling Stone's blockbuster has imploded, undone by independent reporting at The Washington Post that found glaring contradictions and irregularities with the story, and egregious failures in the way it was written and edited. Erdely, it turns out, had taken Jackie's horrific accusations on faith, never contacting the alleged rapists for a comment or response. In a rueful "Note to Our Readers," managing editor Will Dana writes: "[W]e have come to the conclusion … that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story."

To a layman, that "conclusion" might seem so excruciatingly self-evident that Rolling Stone's debacle can only be explained as gross negligence, or a reckless disregard for the truth. But much of the journalistic priesthood holds to a different standard, one that elevates the higher truth of an overarching "narrative" — in this case, that a brutal and callous "rape culture" pervades American college campuses — above the mundane details of fact. Erdely had set out in search of a grim sexual-assault story, and settled on Jackie's account of being savaged by five men (or was it seven?) at a fraternity bash was just the vehicle she'd been looking for. Why get tangled in conflicting particulars?

"Maybe [Erdely] was too credulous," suggests longtime media critic Howard Kurtz in a piece on Rolling Stone's journalistic train wreck. "Along with her editors."

Or maybe this is what happens when newsrooms and journalism schools decide, like Jorge Ramos, that although they have "nothing against objectivity," their real aspiration is to use journalism "as a weapon for a higher purpose." Somehow it didn't come as a shock to learn that when Dana was invited to lecture at Middlebury College in 2006, his speech was titled: "A Defense of Biased Reporting."

Even after the UVA story began to collapse, voices were raised in defense of the narrative over mere fact.

"This is not to say that it does not matter whether or not Jackie's story is accurate," Julia Horowitz, an assistant managing editor at the University of Virginia's student newspaper, wrote in Politico. But "to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake."

Well, if the "narrative" is what matters most, checking the facts too closely can indeed be a huge mistake. Because facts, those stubborn things, have a tendency to undermine cherished narratives — particularly narratives grounded in emotionalism, memory, or ideology.

Rolling Stone's article on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia — meant to illustrate the "rape culture" that supposedly pervades college campuses — turned out to be an egregious journalistic debacle.

It's a temptation to which journalists have always been susceptible. In the 1930s, to mention one notorious example, Walter Duranty recycled Soviet propaganda, assuring his New York Times readers that no mass murders were occurring under Stalin's humane and enlightened rule. Duranty is reviled today. But the willingness to subordinate a passion for accuracy to a supposedly higher passion for "justice" (or "equality" or "fairness" or "diversity" or "peace" or "the environment") persists.

Has the time come to give up on the ideal of objective, unbiased journalism? Would media bias openly acknowledged be an improvement over news media that only pretend not to take sides?

This much is clear: The public isn't deceived. Trust in the media has been drifting downward for years. According to Gallup, Americans' confidence that news is being reported "fully, accurately, and fairly" reached an all-time low this year. Would you be astonished to see that number sink even further next year? Me neither.

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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15 December, 2014

America isn’t polarized about politics. It’s polarized about personal responsibility

Charles Murray below notes an immature and even infantile attitude that is common on the Left:  Anything unpleasant that happens to us is someone else's fault.  It's just another form of Leftist reality denial -- JR

That’s my working hypothesis anyway, prompted by a Twitter adventure a few days ago. Deluged with all the media back-and-forth about the sexual culture on campus, I tweeted the following two nights ago: “If you are drunk or high, to what degree can you say you are a victim when something bad happens to you? A question to take seriously.”

I was trying to get at the issue of victimhood, which takes the following general form: when we do stupid things that are within our control, to what degree are we obliged to say to ourselves, “That was really stupid of me” when we don’t like the outcome? The outcome could be waking up in a strange bed with someone you don’t know after passing out the night before. It could also be getting fired for a mistake that doesn’t seem bad enough to warrant getting fired—but you also know you were goofing off. The outcome could be your abandonment by a spouse for no obvious reason, but you also know you didn’t put enough effort into the marriage.

That was my topic. Almost nobody got it.  Fifteen minutes after I posted the tweet, I already had dozens of replies. Within a few hours, I had hundreds, perhaps thousands, if you include all the retweets. Here’s a sampling:

“Good to know, Chuck. So you’re giving anyone permission to assault you if they see you when you’re drunk?”

“I hope Charles lets us know next time he has a few drinks so that I can take a good whack at him.”

“Do you think it should be legal to murder drunk people? A question to take seriously.”

“Sooo, are you condoning taking advantage of people who are drunk & high? Is it OK to take their wallets too? How about kidneys?”

“So if have a few drinks in my house and a tree smashes my roof, it’s my fault? That’s where this logic is going.”

And then there was the discussant who looked on the bright side: “Some of the replies to Charles Murray’s horrific ignorant tweet are pretty great. May be hope for humanity yet, based on the response.”

I’ve omitted the more creative and unprintable replies, but you get the drift. Few of the replies responded to the point of the tweet. We’re not talking about a 60–40 split, but more like 99–1. And, of course, you guessed it: it didn’t cross my mind (though it should have; stupid of me; shouldn’t tweet after I’ve had a martini) that I was implying aggressors have the right to take advantage of people who are drunk or high.

I’m not trying to infer what proportions of the people who saw my tweet did and didn’t notice what it was about. These were Twitter replies, not a Gallup Poll. But the experience did add to my recent preoccupation with the thought that it’s not politics that polarizes us, but something deeper.

That deeper something lies in the personal characteristics that Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” explicates so well. What my Twitter adventure clarified is the degree to which I think a single characteristic, assumption of personal responsibility, is key.

I have plenty of friends, not to mention relatives, who support Obamacare, want the US to take the lead in combating climate change, and think a living Constitution is just dandy. But my knowledge of them also leads me to believe that they share the indispensable virtue: their first instinct is to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions. I don’t mean that they wouldn’t file a police complaint against someone who stole their wallet while they were drunk, but that they would also say to themselves “Wow, it was stupid to put myself in that situation.” They aren’t Randian individualists. They just don’t go through life expecting someone else to pick up after their mistakes.

I can overlook a lot of political disagreements with people who share that first instinct. It’s the same reason I retained a certain affection for Jesse Jackson far too long because in the 1970s I heard him tell high school students in inner-city schools, “It’s not your fault if someone knocks you down, but it’s your fault if you don’t get up.” And it’s the same reason I was so offended by President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” line—it wasn’t the politics of the thing, but its denial of responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

So that’s my working hypothesis: it’s not merely that politics is an epiphenomenon and that deeper personal qualities account for what we call political polarization, but that one specific dimension—our respective attitudes toward personal responsibility—accounts for a huge proportion of the polarization all by itself.

Through the end of the 19th century, it was not an issue on which Americans differed. Americans’ assumption of personal responsibility for their actions was a foundation stone of our civic culture, agreed upon by Federalists, Whigs, Republicans, and Democrats. We all bragged about it endlessly. Now we do disagree, and that disagreement surfaces in all sorts of public policies. But it’s not really the policies themselves that make so many Americans unable to abide the company of someone on the other side of the ideological divide.

Which leads to the point that that I have discussed elsewhere and needs contemplation: actually, there are lots of people on the other side of the political divide whose company we can not just abide but enjoy. The good guys and bad guys aren’t defined by liberal and conservative but how they as individuals see their own responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

SOURCE

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In Defense of A Troublesome Inheritance

Nicholas Wade points below to how scientifically vacant attacks on his book about race have been

Three attacks on my book A Troublesome Inheritance have appeared on The Huffington Post's blog this month. For readers puzzled by the stridency and personal animus of these compositions, I'd like to explain what is going on.

The issue is how best to sustain the fight against racism in light of new information from the human genome that bears on race.

My belief is that opposition to racism should be based on principle, not on science. If I oppose racism and discrimination as a matter of principle, I don't care what the science may say because I'll never change my position. As it happens, however, the genome gives no support to racism, although it does clearly show that race has a biological basis, just as common sense might suggest.

Many social scientists, on the other hand, have long based their opposition to racism on the assertion that there is no biological basis to race. I doubt they personally believe this and suspect that they oppose racism on principle, just as I do. But they believe that other people, less enlightened and intelligent than they, will not abandon racism unless told that everyone is identical beneath the skin. So whenever someone points out that race is obviously biological, defenders of the social science position respond with attacks of whatever vehemence is necessary to get the inconvenient truth-teller to shut up.

For many years this tactic has been surprisingly effective. It takes only a few vigilantes to cow the whole campus. Academic researchers won't touch the subject of human race for fear that their careers will be ruined. Only the most courageous will publicly declare that race has a biological basis. I witnessed the effects of this intimidation during the 10 years I was writing about the human genome for The New York Times. The understanding of recent human evolution has been seriously impeded, in my view, because if you can't study the genetics of race (a subject of no special interest in itself), you cannot explore the independent evolutionary histories of Africans, East Asians and Europeans.

The attacks on my book come from authors who espouse the social science position that there is no biological basis to race. It is because they are defending an ideological position with a counterfactual scientific basis that their language is so excessive. If you don't have the facts, pound the table. My three Huffington Post critics -- Jennifer Raff, Agustín Fuentes and Jonathan Marks -- are heavy on unsupported condemnations of the book, and less generous with specific evidence.

Despite their confident assertions that I have misrepresented the science, which I've been writing about for years in a major newspaper, none of these authors has any standing in statistical genetics, the relevant discipline. Raff is a postdoctoral student in genetics and anthropology. Fuentes and Marks are both anthropologists who, to judge by their webpages, do little primary research. Most of their recent publications are reviews or essays, many of them about race. Their academic reputations, not exactly outsize to begin with, might shrink substantially if their view that race had no biological basis were to be widely repudiated. Both therefore have a strong personal interest (though neither thought it worth declaring to the reader) in attempting to trash my book.

It would try the reader's patience to offer a point-by-point rebuttal of the three reviews, so I will address just the principal arguments raised by each. Let's start with Raff, who asserts, "Wade claims that the latest genomic findings actually support dividing humans into discrete races." In fact, I say the exact opposite, that the races are not and cannot be discrete or they would be different species, but it's easier to attack an invented statement.

The human genome points to the overriding unity of humankind. Everyone has the same set of genes, so far as is known. Genes come in the alternative versions known as alleles, so one might expect next that races would be demarcated by alleles. But even this is not the case. In fact, the races are not demarcated at all. They differ only in relative allele frequency, meaning that a given allele may be more common in one race than in another. How that translates into the familiar differences in physical appearance between human races is a matter I explain in my book.

Because of these characteristic differences in allele frequency, geneticists can analyze the genome of someone of mixed race -- an African American, say -- and assign each segment to an African or European ancestor, an exercise that would be impossible if races did not exist. Also because of differences in allele frequency, researchers analyzing human genetics around the world have found in surveys dating back to 1994 that people cluster in groups that coincide with their continent of origin.

Raff and Marks take issue with one of these surveys, Rosenberg et al. 2002, which used a computer program to analyze the clusters of genetic variation. The program doesn't know how many clusters there should be; it just groups its data into whatever target number of clusters it is given. When the assigned number of clusters is either greater or less than five, the results made no genetic or geographical sense. But when asked for five clusters, the program showed that everyone was assigned to their continent of origin. Raff and Marks seem to think that the preference for this result was wholly arbitrary and that any other number of clusters could have been favored just as logically. But the grouping of human genetic variation into five continent-based clusters is the most reasonable and is consistent with previous findings. As the senior author told me at the time, the Rosenberg study essentially confirmed the popular notion of race.

The chief point extractable from Fuentes' review is that since I don't say exactly many races there are, races can't exist. This is a misunderstanding of the nature of continuous variation. People may disagree on the number of colors there are, but that doesn't mean colors don't exist. Humans cluster into five continental groups or races, and within each race there are further subclusters. So the number of human races depends on the number of clusters one wishes to recognize. Contrary to Fuentes' belief, this has no bearing on whether or not races exist.

The wider issue arising from these three reviews is that the social science position on race that they represent is obscurantist, counterfactual and outdated. As I show in my book, understanding the nature of human racial variation lends no support to racism. But such understanding is essential for the simple reason that there is not one story of recent human evolution but at least five different stories, given that the populations on each continent have evolved largely independently of one another since the dispersal from Africa some 50,000 years ago.

By denying the existence of race, social scientists are intimidating biologists from pursuing this path. This is particularly exasperating given the fallacious nature of the belief that race must be denied if racism is to be quelled. The geneticist Theodore Dobzhansky observed, "People need not be identical twins to be equal before God, before the law, and in their rights to equality of opportunity." Unlike identical twins, we are not all clones. We exist as different races by virtue of our evolutionary histories. The recovery of this history is a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry, and from this advance of knowledge unimagined benefits may accrue.

SOURCE

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Ferguson Riots and looting encouraged by the Left remind Rabbi Lapin of Germany's Kristallnacht in the 1930s

.... When Hitler's National Socialists encouraged their followers to loot and destroy Jewish property.  The Left are fundamentally destructive

Scholar, best selling author, and talk radio host Rabbi Daniel Lapin said the rioting and looting in Ferguson, Mo., over the non-indictment of the police officer who shot Michael Brown were the result of the “dark pathology of liberalism” and, in its “delight in destruction,” echoed the “Kristallnacht in Germany.”

"When the liberal project, when the dark pathology of liberalism -- not so much a doctrine as a sick and twisted pathology -- manages to strip Judeo-Christian belief out of American society, congratulations guys, welcome to Ferguson, you succeeded,” said Rabbi Lapin on the Dec. 3 Glenn Beck Program.

Beck then said that, “Nobody seems in the press to notice that this is the Occupy Wall Street movement all over again.”

Lapin said, “Yes, it is, exactly the same people. The same people, same beliefs, same nihilism, same delight in destruction. You know, it's Kristallnacht in Germany.”

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, occurred on Nov. 9-19, 1938, in Germany and Austria when Nazi strormtroopers went through numerous cities and towns smashing the windows of Jewish-owned stores and synagogues, while the government police authorities did not intervene.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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14 December, 2014

Japanese north–south gradient in IQ predicts differences in stature, skin color, income, and homicide rate

By Kenya Kura 

A fascinating academic journal article from Japan below.  The Japanese and Chinese are less politically correct in talking about race than Americans are -- if only because they mostly believe that THEY are a superior race.  And in average IQ terms, they are.

And the finding below, that high IQ people in Japan are taller, richer and less prone to crime and divorce, agrees well with American findings going back as far as the 1920s.

Not mentioned in the Abstract below but mentioned in the body of the article, is that the Koreans and Chinese score a touch higher on IQ than the Japanese do  -- only by about one or two points but that is in the opposite direction to what one would expect.  The Japanese are more Westernized than the Chinese are  -- though that difference is diminishing rapidly -- so if there were any "Western" bias in the tests (which Leftists often assert there is), one would have expected the Japanese to be slightly ahead.  Clearly, any "bias" in the tests is not detectable in the far East  -- being detectable only by American Ivy League "wisdom".

But there is one point inferable from the findings below that seems at first completely regular  -- the finding that the closer you get to the equator, the browner and dumber you get.  The Japanese archipelago does cover a very considerable North/South range so there is plenty of room for that to emerge. So the really smart Japanese are in the Northern Prefectures of Honshu while the dumbest are in Okinawa.

And in South-East Asia we find the same phenomenon.  Filipinos and Malaysian Bumiputras are notably browner and less bright than North-East Asians.

But that is not as regular as one might think.  There are a number of exceptions to the rule.  South Africa has a climate similar to Europe (if you have experienced a Bloemfontein winter you will know what I mean) yet the Bantu (South African negroes) are no brighter than any other Africans as far as we can tell.  But that is only a superficial puzzle.  The Bantu are recent immigrants originating in central Africa.  The whites in fact arrived in South Africa before the Bantu did.

The Bushmen (original inhabitants) of South Africa are a little more of a puzzle as they are very primitive indeed.  They are short of stature and live these days in extremely arid regions.  Perhaps they always did live in arid regions to escape the many fierce predators in the rest of Africa.

And Tasmanian Aborigines were also at an extremely low civilizational level (they did not even use fire) before white-man diseases killed them all off.  Yet Tasmania has a climate quite similar to England.  Tasmania is however a rather small island that was cut off from the rest of Australia for many millennia -- and isolated populations are often backward.  It appears that lots of invasions are needed to perk up average IQ  -- which is why Eurasia is home to all the high IQ populations.  Invaders can very easily sweep for long distances across Eurasia -- as Genghis Khan showed.

So the "exceptions" I have noted so far are all explicable by special factors.  But there is one exception that absolutely breaks the rule:  South India.  South Indians can be very dark in skin color indeed.  Yet they are far and away the brightest populations in India. The computer programmers, scientists and technologists in India come overwhelmingly from the South.  The recent amazing Indian Mars shot was almost entirely the work of Southerners.  It is no coincidence that Bangalore, India's science and technology hub, is in the South. 

So what went on in the South to push them up the IQ scale is hard to say.  The nearest I can come to an explanation is to note that they all hate one-another.  The various regions have different languages and were often at war with one-another over the centuries.  So perhaps invasions did the trick there too. But then West Africans are are always fighting one-another as well ... 

So perhaps we have to draw into the discussion that some evolutionarily recent DNA mutations affecting brain complexity did not spread to Africa.  Evolution can of course work either via natural selection or via mutations -- or both

A final note about the correlations reported below.  They seem unusually high.  That is common in "ecological" correlations (correlations between groups rather than individuals). It was Prefecture averages that formed the raw data below.  Individual correlations between similar variables can normally be expected to be much lower -- JR


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Abstract

Regional differences in IQ are estimated for 47 prefectures of Japan. IQ scores obtained from official achievement tests show a gradient from north to south. Latitudes correlate with height, IQ, and skin color at r = 0.70, 0.44, 0.47, respectively. IQ also correlates with height (0.52), skin color (0.42), income (0.51) after correction, less homicide rate (? 0.60), and less divorce (? 0.69) but not with fertility infant mortality. The lower IQ in southern Japanese islands could be attributable to warmer climates with less cognitive demand for more than fifteen hundred years.

SOURCE

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REAL torture



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Study: Minimum-wage hikes made the Great Recession worse for low-skill workers

More evidence the economic impact from raising the minimum wage is hardly as benign as supporters contend. Far from it, in fact.

A new NBER working paper from Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither of the University of California, San Diego, suggests that the 30% increase in the average effective minimum wage over the late 2000s “reduced the national employment-to-population ratio — the share of adults with any kind of job — by 0.7 percentage point” between December 2006 and December 2012.

That works out to 14% of the total working-age decline during that period. Clemens and Wither basically looked at what happened to workers in states that were affected by federal minimum wage hikes versus what happened in states that weren’t. They also adjusted for the differing state-level impact of the Great Recession.

Now what’s particularly interesting in what Clemens and Wither found is that the minimum wage hikes made it harder for low-income workers to climb the ladder. From “The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence of Effects on the Employment and Income Trajectories of Low-Skilled Workers“:

 … we find that binding minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers. Lost income reflects contributions from employment declines, increased probabilities of working without pay (i.e., an “internship” effect), and lost wage growth associated with reductions in experience accumulation….

We also present evidence of the minimum wage’s effects on low-skilled workers’ economic mobility. We find that binding minimum wage increases significantly reduced the likelihood that low-skilled workers rose to what we characterize as lower middle class earnings. This curtailment of transitions into lower middle class earnings began to emerge roughly one year following initial declines in low wage employment. Reductions in upward mobility thus appear to follow reductions in access to opportunities for accumulating work experience.

Of course it’s strangely settled science on the left that raising the minimum wage is an unquestioned win-win all around. As Hillary Clinton said at a rally back in October, “And don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure.” 

But this paper is one of several recently that have outlined the negative employment effect of minimum wage hikes. In “More on Recent Evidence on the Effects of Minimum Wages in the United States,” researchers David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas, William Wascher conclude “the best evidence still points to job loss from minimum wages for very low-skilled workers – in particular, for teens.”

And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office find that a $10.10 federal minimum wage option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent” in 2016. And although  increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting  from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, according to CBO,  just 19% of the $31 billion would go to families  with earnings below the poverty threshold.

But, good news, there just might be a better way.  Clemens and Wither on the Earned Income Tax Credit:

By contrast, analyses of the EITC have found it to increase both the employment of low-skilled adults and the incomes available to their families (Eissa and Liebman, 1996; Meyer and Rosenbaum, 2001; Eissa and Hoynes, 2006). The EITC has also been found to significantly reduce both inequality (Liebman, 1998) and tax-inclusive poverty metrics, in particular for children (Hoynes, Page, and Stevens, 2006). Evidence on outcomes with long-run implications further suggest that the EITC has tended to have its intended effects. Dahl and Lochner (2012), for example, find that influxes of EITC dollars improve the academic performance of recipient households’ children. This too contrasts with our evidence on the minimum wage’s effects on medium-run economic mobility.

Or as AEI’s Michael Strain has put it, “The EITC channels social resources to meet a social goal. And it does so a helluva lot better than the minimum wage.”

SOURCE

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Crippling Children by Selling Them Racism

The recent “rash” of police officers killing blacks is prompting “civil rights activists” to describe America – despite the election and re-election of a black president – as still a simmering caldron of racism. Never mind that according to the CDC, in 2012 (the most recent year with available data) 140 blacks were killed by cops – versus 386 whites killed by cops.

This dreary movie scene comes from a film about inner-city black teens called “Menace II Society.” A black high school teacher speaks to two former students: “Being a black man in America isn’t easy. The hunt is on, and you’re the prey! All I’m saying is … all I’m saying is – survive! Alright?” In case the identity of the alleged “hunter” is unclear, we hear a police siren in the background. Cops are out to get young black men.

Ridiculous.

But that gloomy narrative tracks closely with Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that America suffers from “pernicious racism.” And a few weeks after the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting happened, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “Blacks are under attack.”

Absurd.

In 1997, CNN and Time conducted a poll that asked white and black teens about “racism.” Question: Is racism a major problem in America? Both black and white teens said, “yes.” But when black teens were asked if racism is a “big problem,” a “small problem” or “no a problem at all” – in their own lives – 89 percent called racism a “small problem” or “not a problem at all” for themselves.

In fact, 17 years ago, not only did black teens see racism as an insignificant problem in their own lives, but nearly twice as many black teens than white teens called “failure to take advantage of available opportunities” a bigger problem than racism.

What damage do “activists” inflict by convincing young black men that cops – or, for that matter, Republicans, tea party members and black conservatives – are out to get them? This emotion-based paranoia has real-world consequences. Fear and paranoia hurt potential and careers.

In the ‘60s, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman developed the theory of “learned helplessness” – when a person learns to believe and act helpless when, in fact, they do have control over their own negative circumstances but fail to exercise it. He then devoted most of his studies to “positive psychology” and the effect of happiness and optimism in people’s lives. He produced an equation, H=S+C+V, where a person’s genetic capacity for happiness (S), plus their circumstances (C) and factors under their voluntary control (V) equal their happiness (H).

His extensive research discovered that a low “C” – adverse circumstances like poor health or poverty – matters very little if a person has a high “V,” a positive, optimistic outlook and a belief in himself. For example, he found that an upbeat wheelchair-bound factory worker often leads a happier life than a robust, wealthy CEO.

Psychologists called this the “emotional quotient” factor, or EQ: a measurement of a person’s ability to monitor his or her emotions, cope with pressures and demands, control his or her thoughts and actions, and one’s ability to assess and affect situations and relationships with other people. Salesmen, for example, with “high EQ” for a strong positive outlook outsold those with higher traditional aptitude, but with lower EQ. High EQ people engage in positive behavior, which leads to positive results.

George Foreman, the former heavyweight boxing champion, is one of the most successful pitchmen of our generation. A spokesperson for products ranging from Meineke mufflers and Doritos to his own low-fat indoor grill, which earned him $138 million when he sold the grill’s naming rights in 1999, Foreman has an estimated net worth of $250 million. A high school dropout, Foreman recently wrote this about the value of optimism:

“This life, this country, is about HOPE.  "My first two jobs were about selling: Four hours of putting out sale papers, on doors, cars and handed out. Then at a fruit stand. Texas watermelon season was the best. Competition was great – we had to (as boys) have a variety of melons and a lot of charm.

"The ability to sell is about the best asset one can pass on to a generation to come. And the most critical and influential product anyone can deal or trade is 'Hope.’

"No matter who we lose, every young doctor is optimistic we will win this one. And many a time we do. Not a whole lot is new, just the same old Hope. … When things go wrong in this life our sole obligation to our children is to sell them on Hope. Sure, beating our head against the wall is an option. But time and life must proceed. Anger and disappointment bring more dark clouds. Oh, but HOPE is the sunshine that every child needs for play. … Teach them Hope. And BELIEVE there is Hope.  "It’s our duty.”

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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12 December, 2014

America is well on the way to despotism

To paraphrase the sage of Oklahoma, Will Rogers, liberals used to be people who did good with their own money.

To paraphrase former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, liberals learned that, by doing so, they would quickly run out of their own money. Whereas, through government, they could satisfy either their altruism or their guilt and do good on a much larger scale using other people's money.

Unfortunately for them, implementing "social justice" by legal mandate, that is, transforming a liberal philosophy into liberal politics, forced them to swim in the same dogmatic waters as communists, where liberals had difficulty drawing a distinction between their policies and those endorsed by the communists.

That dilemma was temporarily resolved by the Great Depression, an economic calamity arguably caused by government through the inappropriate action of the Federal Reserve, which resulted in the "throw out the bums" election of liberal Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ironically promoted government as the solution. Knowing they could not be elected to high office by truthfully articulating their aims, American communists joined the Roosevelt Administration in droves.

As the Depression dragged on, the size and scope of government increased in a manner not unlike the humorous anecdote about business consultants "if you're not part of the solution, there is good money to be made in prolonging the problem."

Although liberal policies invariably failed and its theoretical basis collapsed, the rhetoric managed to survive, but becoming steadily more extreme in order to nourish a constituency of evolving grievances, from "Income Inequality" to the "War on Women" to the newly-minted "White Privilege."

One subsidiary of the liberal grievance industry is the Congressional Black Caucus, a group seemingly driven by resentment and the desire for revenge, who exploit black "victimhood" to promote policies that, in the end, maintain the victim population and themselves in Congress. Often fervent to the point of hysteria, they are habitually wrong at the top of their lungs.

It is not injustice that troubles them so much about Ferguson, for example, but justice, and facts that do not validate their "Pre-Rage" or conform to their narrow, race-centric views.

Liberalism fosters a form of political solipsism, which is a philosophical theory where only the self exists, generating an extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings and desires.

It drives liberals to commit, as H.L. Mencken noted, the greatest and most costly of all human follies, to believe passionately in what is palpably not true.

The Obama Administration represents the final stage of liberal descent into totalitarianism with the adoption of 1960s radicalism as the core strategy, an approach that both then and now advocates a rapid fundamental transformation of the United States through confrontation with little respect for the Constitution or the democratic process.

That would not, however, be an issue if there were some resistance to such an ominous trend.

The Republican establishment, confining itself to token, emotionally satisfying gestures of opposition, does not contest that trend because they do not want to challenge the status quo; they want to remain part of it. They do not oppose Democrats, but seek to be more like them. The Republican leadership long ago jettisoned any semblance of principle in favor of election prospects as junior partners in a ruling class.

The federal government has become an entity unto itself operating outside of Constitutional constraints and unaccountable to the American people.

Power rests, not with the citizens, but with a relatively small group of politicians and financiers, who enhance their personal wealth and privilege by looting the country through a self-serving legislative process. They retain their authority by adjusting the levers of government and using the media to manipulate public perception and opinion to preserve the illusion of representative government.

It is what Israeli historian J. L. Talmon described as totalitarian democracy, a political system in which lawfully elected representatives rule a nation state whose citizens, although granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of government.

Well on their way to despotism, our political and media elite have discarded truth and persuasion for the more expedient lies and coercion.

SOURCE

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Some rare honesty from a Democrat

At a time when Ferguson, Missouri, has been under siege, the president unilaterally brought millions of illegal immigrants “out of the shadows,” the so-called Islamic State beheaded another American, an architect of Obamacare admitted the law was conceived and birthed in deception, and the secretary of defense was unceremoniously dumped, it’s no wonder that a speech by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. – the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – didn’t get the coverage it deserved.

But for political junkies, Schumer’s speech at the National Press Club is a marvel to behold. It is at once one of the most impressive acts of political truth-telling from a major politician in our lifetimes and a sophomoric explication of political philosophy. Let’s start there. “Democrats must embrace government. It’s what we believe in; it’s what unites our party,” Schumer explained. “If we run away from government, downplay it, or act as if we are embarrassed by its role, people won’t vote for our pale version of the Republican view.”

Somewhere, a straw man’s ears are burning. Barack Obama is the most pro-government president since FDR and Woodrow Wilson. Throughout his presidency so far, to the cheers of the news media, he has passionately made the case for the state as the cure for whatever ails us.

His greatest hits are familiar to anyone who has paid attention. From “you didn’t build that” to “government is us,” Obama has cast government as the engine of progress. His 2012 campaign’s “Life of Julia” ad was a tech-friendly updating of Wilson’s progressive vision of getting the individual to “marry his interests to the state.” Obama laid out that vision in great detail in his second inaugural and countless other speeches. More important, he has pushed policies – from Obamacare to tax hikes – to back up his rhetoric.

In Schumer’s telling, however, the Democrats must “embrace government.” What movie was he watching? This is the essence of ideological liberalism: Government is always the answer. It would be fun to see Schumer as a contestant on Jeopardy responding to every category, “What is proof we need more government?”

Because liberals lack philosophical diversity on the role of government, all they have left to disagree about is tactics. And that’s where Schumer’s speech is a breath of fresh air. The senator has no principled objection to a government takeover of health care; what he objects to now is the timing. Back in 2009-10, he was a vocal champion of the law.

Last week, he said, “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem – health care reform.”

The senator said he still favors Obamacare’s goals, but “it wasn’t the change we were hired to make.” Voters wanted Obama and his party to fix the economy. Indeed, in a remarkable moment of honest cynicism, Schumer went into great detail lamenting how the law was designed to help mostly poor people who for the most part don’t vote.

Morally, this is a fascinating admission. In Schumer’s hierarchy of needs, winning elections for Democrats matters more than helping the truly needy. Call it uncompassionate liberalism.

The great irony here is that Schumer is widely seen as a blocking tackle for Hillary Clinton, whose path to the presidency depends on her ability to distance herself from the president and a politically disastrous law. The hope seems to be that Schumer’s broadside against the tactical failures of the Obama administration will create space for Clinton to criticize her former boss' stewardship while still embracing the unquestioned primacy of liberal-run government over everything.

The irony is that Clinton’s appeal is that she will reincarnate the alleged successes of her husband’s presidency. The hitch: Bill Clinton’s governing style didn’t exactly jibe with the philosophy of Obama, Schumer or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton. It did, briefly, after he was elected and Hillary Clinton pushed an earlier version of Obamacare known back then as “Hillarycare.”

After losing Congress in the wake of Hillarycare’s wreckage, Clinton instead admitted he had moved too far left and subsequently embraced welfare reform, banking deregulation and proclaimed “the era of big government is over.”

And that, for Schumer, Obama and Hillary Clinton’s party, is nothing less than heresy.

SOURCE

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Senate Democrats Torture the Facts



The administration and Senate Democrats have released a report spanking the CIA for waterboarding terrorists.

The report was written by Democrat staffers, whose “expert” findings include:

Enhanced interrogation techniques don’t work.

The CIA provided inaccurate information to the Bush administration about its interrogation program.

Management and oversight was negligent.

The program was more brutal than represented.

All horse manure. Brutal is when you saw off the head of a civilian noncombatant captive, as ISIL is fond of doing.

According to former POW Sen. John McCain, “I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence.”

First of all, waterboarding is nothing like what McCain endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese. And as several other highly decorated POWs have noted, waterboarding did work in some cases – and they approve. It did produce “good intelligence,” including, according to the CIA, intelligence that helped to disrupt plots, led to the capture of other terrorists, and led to Osama bin Laden’s courier, who ultimately led to bin Laden.

Former CIA Director Michael Haden confirmed, “Enhanced interrogation contributed to the wealth of knowledge that we needed to [get to bin Laden].” Without such techniques, Obama would not have been able to walk to that microphone and say “we got him.”

Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., a 31-year veteran of the CIA, likewise noted that interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed resulted in more than 2,000 intelligence reports, including contributing info leading to Osama.

And for the record, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, along with deputy directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes, recount in The Wall Street Journal many of the CIA’s other numerous successes, as well as criticizing Senate Democrats' profound errors in producing this one-sided, incomplete and out-of-context report.

No CIA officials were interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee because Attorney General Eric Holder refused to coordinate those interviews on the basis that the Justice Department had its own ongoing investigation. (Apparently Rolling Stone followed the Senate Intelligence Committee model by refusing to interview the accused.) Note that the DOJ investigation produced no charges.

The DOJ investigators who reviewed the Senate investigation confirmed they found nothing that would warrant bringing criminal charges against CIA officers and operatives. And that investigation ended two years ago – which is to say Democrats could have called CIA witnesses.

Update: Given that officials were not interviewed before the report, they have now issued a fact-sheet rebuttal.
Now Obama administration officials have placed military and law-enforcement personnel on high alert, acknowledging the report may spawn terrorist attacks.

According to Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “We have U.S. personnel, both intelligence officials and military special operators, in harm’s way. Why would we release [this report] now? What did we have to gain? All of this has been debated. All of this has been settled. … Clearly the administration knew it was going to cause trouble as they sent out warnings all across the world.”

Joe Biden insisted it was just the kind of transparency for which this administration is decidedly not known: “We made a mistake. We made a big mistake. … [This report] is a badge of honor.”

On the other hand, George W. Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, described the report as “a crock.” Cheney said of intelligence officials, “They deserve a lot of praise. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be decorated, not criticized.”

Obama’s current CIA director, John Brennan, agreed with Cheney. According to Brennan, the CIA interrogations “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives.” That assessment directly challenges the core assertions in the Senate Democrats' report. Brennan threatened to resign over the report, but we believe he remained in place to defend the agency.

The White House insists that Obama has full confidence in Brennan as CIA director. But the problem is Brennan has little or no confidence in Obama as president and commander in chief – and he is not alone.

Outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss said, “The majority side of the intelligence committee has spent the last five years and over $40 million focused on a program that effectively ended over eight years ago, while the world around us burns.”

Chambliss concluded, “It seems as though the study takes every opportunity to unfairly portray the CIA in the worst light possible, presupposing improper motivations and the most detestable behavior at every turn.”

In fact, the CIA briefed Congress on its efforts roughly 30 times along the way. Senate Democrats were last briefed on the CIA’s methods in 2006 and the last interrogations were in 2007. Democrats could have stopped the interrogations then. Notably, Nancy Pelosi was fully briefed on the CIA operation in 2002, despite claiming later she had no knowledge of it (these memory lapses are an issue with Pelosi).

In conclusion, the group of former CIA directors and deputy directors wrote, “Between 1998 and 2001, the al Qaeda leadership in South Asia attacked two U.S. embassies in East Africa, a U.S. warship in the port of Aden, Yemen, and the American homeland – the most deadly single foreign attack on the U.S. in the country’s history. The al Qaeda leadership has not managed another attack on the homeland in the 13 years since, despite a strong desire to do so. The CIA’s aggressive counterterrorism policies and programs are responsible for that success.”

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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11 December, 2014

Emery Barcs -- 1905-1990

Emery Barcs (born Imre Bruchsteiner) was a Hungarian Jewish journalist who escaped to Australia in 1938  -- fleeing Fascist persecution.  He seems to have acquired English easily and in my youth I often read newspaper articles by him.  He was especially informative about the Communist world.  Something he wrote in 1961 will ring a bell:  "Under Communism if theory clashes with facts then it's just too bad for the facts".

As a belated acknowledgement of my debt to him, I have just put 12 of his old newspaper articles online  -- written between 1950 and 1970.  There are no other articles of his online that I know of -- though diligent mining of Trove might turn up something.  See my collection of his articles here.  If he had been pro-Communist, every word he ever wrote would already be online, of course.

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CIA torture report: ‘Harsh’ tactics against suspects didn’t work, Senate Democrats allege

What about this guy? Thought it worked with him. . .
 
The CIA misled Congress and the White House about the scope and effectiveness of the agency’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program after 9/11, and the harsh treatment of terrorism suspects produced no key evidence in the hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to a long-awaited report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee released Tuesday.

The document, culminating a years-long battle between the CIA and lawmakers who investigated the program presents the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the agency’s use of interrogation techniques that human rights groups have described as torture at “black sites” in Europe and Asia.

While an actual 6,000-page report produced by the Intelligence Committee remains classified, the roughly 500-page executive summary released Tuesday concludes outright that “the CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.”

The agency told the White House, as well as the CIA Office of Inspector General and Congress, “that the best measure of effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was examples of specific terrorist plots ‘thwarted’ and specific terrorists captured as a result of the use of the techniques,” states the executive summary, which adds that a subsequent investigation by Democrats proved such claims to be wrong.

The CIA, which fiercely resisted the summary’s release to the public, pushed back Tuesday against the report’s findings.

“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom [enhanced interrogation techniques] were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement Tuesday morning. “The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.”

More HERE

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Bush Interrogated Terrorists to Get Information; Obama Kills Them With Drones

What's the difference between harsh CIA interrogation techniques and drones that kill civilians, a reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday. The reporter noted that the lethal use of drones has "actually increased under this administration."

Earnest did not explain the difference, except to say that the U.S. works in "close consultation and cooperation with local governments and making sure that it's local forces that are taking the fight on the ground to these extremist elements."

Earnest also said the U.S. military and intelligence community takes "enormous precautions" when targeting terrorists to eliminate or minimize the impact on civilian populations.

According to Human Rights Watch, "Targeted killings have been a hallmark of this administration's counterterrorism strategy. Obama sharply increased the use of armed drones (begun under George W Bush), which have conducted lethal strikes against alleged terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The strikes have killed hundreds of people, including civilians, and some have clearly violated international law."

Human Rights Watch complained that the Obama administration "has long refused to disclose basic information about the program, from its full legal basis to how it identifies targets."

SOURCE

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A Russophobic Rant From Congress

Hopefully, Russians realize that our House of Representatives often passes thunderous resolutions to pander to special interests, which have no bearing on the thinking or actions of the U.S. government.  Last week, the House passed such a resolution 411-10.

As ex-Rep. Ron Paul writes, House Resolution 758 is so "full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War."

H. R. 758 is a Russophobic rant full of falsehoods and steeped in superpower hypocrisy.  Among the 43 particulars in the House indictment is this gem: "The Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008."

Bullhockey. On Aug. 7-8, 2008, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a tiny province that had won its independence in the 1990s. Georgian artillery killed Russian peacekeepers, and the Georgian army poured in.

Only then did the Russian army enter South Ossetia and chase the Georgians back into their own country.

The aggressor of the Russo-Georgia war was not Vladimir Putin but President Mikheil Saakashvili, brought to power in 2004 in one of those color-coded revolutions we engineered in the Bush II decade.

H.R. 758 condemns the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia, which also broke from Georgia in the early 1990s, and in Transnistria, which broke from Moldova. But where is the evidence that the peoples of Transnistria, Abkhazia or South Ossetia want to return to Moldova or Georgia?

We seem to support every ethnic group that secedes from Russia, but no ethnic group that secedes from a successor state.  This is rank Russophobia masquerading as democratic principle.

What do the people of Crimea, Transnistria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Luhansk or Donetsk want? Do we really know? Do we care?

And what have the Russians done to support secessionist movements to compare with our 78-day bombing of Serbia to rip away her cradle province of Kosovo, which had been Serbian land before we were a nation?

H.R. 758 charges Russia with an "invasion" of Crimea.  But there was no air, land or sea invasion. The Russians were already there by treaty and the reannexation of Crimea, which had belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great, was effected with no loss of life.

Compare how Putin retrieved Crimea, with the way Lincoln retrieved the seceded states of the Confederacy — a four-year war in which 620,000 Americans perished.

Russia is charged with using "trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure" and interfering in Ukraine's "internal affairs."

This is almost comical.  The U.S. has imposed trade barriers and sanctions on Russia, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Congo, Sudan, and a host of other nations.  Economic sanctions are the first recourse of the American Empire.

And agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries, our NGOs and Cold War radios, RFE and Radio Liberty, exist to interfere in the internal affairs of countries whose regimes we dislike, with the end goal of "regime change."

Was that not the State Department's Victoria Nuland, along with John McCain, prancing around Kiev, urging insurgents to overthrow the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych?

Was Nuland not caught boasting about how the U.S. had invested $5 billion in the political reorientation of Ukraine, and identifying whom we wanted as prime minister when Yanukovych was overthrown?

H.R. 578 charges Russia with backing Syria's Assad regime and providing it with weapons to use against "the Syrian people." But Assad's principal enemies are the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and ISIS. They are not only his enemies, and Russia's enemies, but our enemies. And we ourselves have become de facto allies of Assad with our air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

And what is Russia doing for its ally in Damascus, by arming it to resist ISIS secessionists, that we are not doing for our ally in Baghdad, also under attack by the Islamic State?  Have we not supported Kurdistan in its drive for autonomy? Have U.S. leaders not talked of a Kurdistan independent of Iraq?

H.R. 758 calls the President of Russia an "authoritarian" ruler of a corrupt regime that came to power through election fraud and rules by way of repression.

Is this fair, just or wise? After all, Putin has twice the approval rating in Russia as President Obama does here, not to mention the approval rating of our Congress.

Damning Russian "aggression," the House demands that Russia get out of Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria, calls on Obama to end all military cooperation with Russia, impose "visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions," and send "lethal ... defense articles" to Ukraine.

This is the sort of ultimatum that led to Pearl Harbor.

Why would a moral nation arm Ukraine to fight a longer and larger war with Russia that Kiev could not win, but that could end up costing the lives of ten of thousands more Ukrainians?

Those who produced this provocative resolution do not belong in charge of U.S. foreign policy, nor of America's nuclear arsenal.

SOURCE

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These 7 Revealing Emails Show Federal Officials Scheming to Target Legal Businesses

Senior officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation actively sought to crack down on legal businesses that the Obama administration – or the officials themselves – deemed morally objectionable, a new congressional report finds.

Released today by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the 20-page investigative report details how the FDIC worked closely with the Justice Department to implement Operation Choke Point, a secretive program that seeks to cut off the financial lifeblood of payday lenders and other industries the administration doesn’t like.

The FDIC is the primary agency responsible for regulating and auditing more than 4,500 U.S. banks.

Emails unearthed by investigators show regulatory officials scheming to influence banks’ decisions on who to do business with by labeling certain industries “reputational risks,” ensuring banks “get the message” about the businesses the regulators don’t like, and pressuring banks to cut credit or close those accounts, effectively driving enterprises out of business.

The House panel’s investigation, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, cites confidential briefing documents that show senior Justice Department officials informing Attorney General Eric Holder that, as a consequence of Operation Choke Point, banks are “exiting” lines of business deemed “high risk’” by regulators.

“It’s appalling that our government is working around the law to vindictively attack businesses they find objectionable,” Issa, chairman of the Oversight Committee, said in a press release. Issa added:

"Internal FDIC documents confirm that Operation Choke Point is an extraordinary abuse of government power. In the most egregious cases, federal bureaucrats injected personal moral judgments into the regulatory process. Such practices are totally inconsistent with basic principles of good government, transparency and the rule of law".

For example, email reveals FDIC employees opposing the payday lending industry on “personal grounds” and attempting to use their agency’s supervisory authority to drive the entire industry out of business.

One email from Thomas Dujenski, FDIC’s Atlanta regional director, to Mark Pearce, director of the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, was particularly concerning to investigators.

In it, Dujenski writes:  "I have never said this to you (but I am sincerely passionate about this) … but I literally cannot stand the pay day lending industry … I had extensive involvement with this group of lenders and was instrumental in drafting guidance on stopping abuses".

In another example, a senior official insisted that FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg’s letters to Congress and talking points always mention pornography when discussing payday lenders and other targeted industries, in an effort to convey a “good picture regarding the unsavory nature of the businesses at issue.”

Payday loans are small, short-term loans supposedly made to hold borrowers over until their next payday.

Norbert Michel, research fellow in financial regulations at The Heritage Foundation, said payday lenders, along with some other industries targeted by Choke Point, all have been criticized for taking advantage of the poor or financially strapped by charging exorbitant fees or leaving customers in more debt than they started with.

The Obama administration contends that Operation Choke Point combats unlawful, mass-market consumer fraud. However, an earlier report by the House Oversight Committee found that the Justice Department initiative’s targets included legal businesses such as short-term lenders, firearms and ammunition merchants, coin dealers, tobacco sellers and home-based charities.

Today’s report, investigators said, confirmed that the FDIC originated the controversial list of “high risk” industries that it posted on its website, as previously reported by The Daily Signal.

Critics of the program argue that equating legal industries such as ammunition and lottery sales with explicitly illegal or offensive activities such as pornography and racist materials transforms the FDIC into the moral police.

Apparently, FDIC officials were aware of the “inherent impropriety” of these policies, the report indicates. In another email, David Barr, assistant director of the FDIC’s public affairs office, wrote:  "[S]ome of the pushback from the Hill is that it is not up to the FDIC to decide what is moral and immoral, but rather what type of lending is legal".

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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10 December, 2014

Genetic determination of social class

Using twin studies, Charles Murray showed 2 decades ago that IQ is mainly genetically inherited and that IQ underlies social class.  The rich are brighter;  the poor are dumber.  The findings below reinforce that. The researchers were able to identify the actual DNA behind that relationship.  High IQ people and high status people had different DNA to low status and low IQ people. 

The research also showed something else that people find hard to digest: That family environment matters hardly at all.  That repeatedly emerges in the twin studies but flies in the face of what people have believed for millennia: That your kid's upbringing matters.  It may matter in some ways (value acquisition?) but it has no influence on how bright the kid will be.  So now we have confirmation from a DNA study which shows that both IQ and social status are genetically determined.  Home environment has nothing to do with it.  The genes which give you a high IQ are the same ones that lead to high social status. 

People can perhaps accept the genetic determination of IQ but accepting the genetic determination of social status will be more jarring.  The wise men all tell us that a good upbringing will make you more likely to get rich.  It won't.  What you have inherited in your genes (principally IQ) is what will make you rich or poor

To specify exactly what was found:  In a representative sample of the UK population, children from high status homes were found to be genetically different from children from low status homes -- and the DNA differences concerned were also determinant of IQ


Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children's intelligence

Maciej Trzaskowskia et al.

Abstract

Environmental measures used widely in the behavioral sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioral measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children's development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children's environment such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in a family. Here, using a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children's IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children's IQ.

SOURCE

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Let’s Try Honest Healthcare Reform

When MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Tuesday, don’t expect the Obamacare health-policy advisor to double-down on the remarks that landed him in hot water—quips about the “stupidity of the American voter” and comments about tax subsidies being available only through the state-based exchanges. But don’t expect Gruber to retreat from his support for Obamacare or to put forward new ideas on how to restore confidence in the American healthcare system, either. For such insights, look instead to the economist that top-tier news media should be interviewing daily: Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman. As Goodman explains in a recent op-ed, sound healthcare reform doesn’t require deception; it requires honesty. And honesty means prioritizing the worst problems in our broken healthcare system, and offering solutions that might rub collectivist ideologues and other special interests the wrong way.

In particular, three honest reforms would go a long way toward fixing the worst of Obamacare’s problems, according to Goodman. For starters, replacing the Affordable Care Act’s complex and arbitrary schedule of mandates and subsidies with a universal tax credit that is the same for everyone (“about $2,500 for an adult and $8,000 for a family of four”) would bypass the many problems that plague the online insurance exchanges. That’s because those problems arise from a single cause: the technically complex challenge of corroborating an applicant’s eligibility for tax subsidies by pulling data from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor, and state Medicaid programs.

Second, Goodman calls for allowing Medicaid (or private-insurance equivalents) to compete with other insurance; low-income enrollees shouldn’t be relegated to a low-performing system. Third, Goodman calls for denationalizing and deregulating the Obamacare exchanges. Deregulating them and lifting the mandates would end the insurers’ “race to the bottom,” i.e., their offering policies meant to attract healthy customers and avoid the sick. Ending the mandates and implementing a uniform, universal tax credit for the purchase of health insurance would also lift the perverse incentives for employers to stifle job growth or limit their workers’ hours. Goodman writes: “There you have it: Three easy-to-understand, not very difficult changes, and millions of problems vanish in a heartbeat.”

SOURCE

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Obama has made the American security services into a new Stasi (the social control apparatus of the old East Germany)

This column has provided much evidence that government has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse. None is more chilling than what former CBS television journalist Sharyl Attkisson describes in her new book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. Unlike most of what emerges from the old-line establishment media, her reports on the Benghazi scandal were at odds with Obama administration propaganda that a video caused the death of four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stephens.

Attkisson describes writing on her computer when it is suddenly taken over and material starts to disappear. She has the presence of mind to grab her phone and take a video. Experts conclude that her computer has been infiltrated by means of spyware proprietary to government agencies such as the CIA, FBI and NSA, now conducting surveillance against all Americans. She also finds the intruders planted classified information on her computer. That adds “the possible threat of criminal prosecution” to the author’s list of delay, denial, obstruction, intimidation, retaliation, bullying, and surveillance from the government. The supposedly transparent Obama administration has transformed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies into a Stasi deployed against Americans. The author notes that federal snoops knew about the Boston Marathon bombers but did nothing. But when it comes to a persistent journalist, they take action to intimidate and silence.

Stonewalled also notes the waste from the government public-relations hacks who “thinks they personally own your tax dollars.” She finds teams of “taxpayer funded media and communications specialist” including 1200 at the USDA. A White House hack named Dag Vega even tries to strong-arm C-SPAN.

For their part, the old-line media tend to believe that government is always benevolent, and they tend to recycle what the government hands them on everything from “Fast and Furious” to Obamacare. As the author notes, CBS removed from her story the information that HUD’s own inspector general had found $3.5 billion in waste and fraud at the federal agency in a single year. CBS bosses also deleted a fraud case in the same story. Attkisson doesn’t work at CBS any more, and the nation is much better off as a result.

SOURCE

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California version of Obamacare has huge problems too

As we have noted, Covered California is the Golden State’s wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare and similarly dysfunctional, insecure, and wasteful. Even so, some people managed to sign up, the largest group ages 55 to 64. Now, according to Emily Bazar of the Center for Health Reporting, many are finding it impossible to leave. Enrollees secured the tax credits available under Covered California, but when they turn 65 and go on Medicare they become ineligible for those same tax credits. As Bazar explains, “you will owe money to the government if you keep getting the credits after Medicare begins.” That could be $1,000 a month.

Bazar advised people to cancel their Covered California plan. Unfortunately, she explains, “I’ve heard from Californians and insurance agents across the state who have tried mightily—and failed—to do just that. Instead, their premiums just keep on coming.” One reader had been trying since August and says “This is a NIGHTMARE!” One insurance agent found that “terminating coverage with Covered California has proven impossible.”

Bazar learned that Covered California controls eligibility and cancellation of its health plans, “which means plans must wait for direction from the agency before terminating coverage.” They have not done so, likely because that would lower the numbers of people Covered California can claim are enrolled. People can simply stop paying their premiums, but they still face a “grace period” of 90 days, and that method of cancellation reflects badly on the individuals themselves.

Covered California blames a “programming problem” with the agency’s troubled $454 million computer system. So it’s all just another glitch. Those wishing to cancel should contact Covered California. “How helpful,” says Bazar, “That’s exactly what these consumers tried to do.” So here’s the deal.

Those consumers couldn’t keep the plans they like before Obamacare. Now they have to keep the Covered California plan they don’t like and need to cancel. A statist scheme stripped individuals of their freedom to choose, so no surprise that it should throw up a Berlin Wall to keep those people captive. Doubtless, it will soon be leaving sick people to get well on their own or just drop dead.

SOURCE

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Latest Federal Mandate On 'Fair Housing' Is Anything But

In the eyes of the Obama administration, Americans are not the best judges of where they should live and raise their families

Patrick Henry, an ardent supporter of a smaller, local government, once said: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." Something tells me that he would not utter such a statement were he alive in 2014.

Henry and many other Founding Fathers are likely rolling over in their graves as a result of the incessant intrusion into local affairs by our current president and the federal government.

In the eyes of the Obama administration, Americans are not the best judges of where they should live and raise their families. At least that's the message coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Just when you thought the administration's Orwellian sovereignty had reached its limits, HUD has declared that our nation's suburbs aren't diverse enough and that local governments may not be the best arbiters of housing and zoning regulations.

To remedy this perceived cultural malaise, the administration has issued a new proposed regulation that mandates a barrier for individuals and families on where they can choose to live.

In so doing, the president and his administration are encroaching on the rights of local governments and again needlessly injecting race into public policy issues, setting the stage for even further division and animosity.

To accomplishing this goal, the president has proposed a rule known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which according to Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will "push Americans into living how and where the federal government wants.

"It promises to gut the ability of suburbs to set their own zoning codes. It will press future population growth into tiny, densely packed high-rise zones around public transportation, urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities."

The administration fails to appreciate a unique American value: mobility. We practically invented the modern open road, symbolizing our freedom to choose where we live. The president's rule would restrict that freedom.

Washington bureaucrats would tell us where we can live and whom we can live next to, all in the name of social justice and ideological utopianism. Nothing could be more wrong and un-American.

Just like we don't need the government choosing our doctors, neither do we need it choosing our neighbors.

The 1968 Fair Housing Act already makes discrimination illegal in the "sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin." The act was amended in 1988 to add disability and familial status as covered conditions.

But apparently that's not enough to provide everyone with equal opportunity in housing. What the administration wants is equal outcomes, and the only way to achieve that is for the federal leviathan to force itself on local jurisdictions.

No one should ever be targeted for exclusion from a neighborhood because of their ethnicity or any other protected category. But neither should there be quotas for neighborhoods to achieve some sort of racial balance that would not happen naturally. A level playing field that lets Americans choose where they live gives zoning authority to local governments is the wisest policy.

To curb this federal overreach, I sponsored an amendment in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would block funding for the president's rule on AFFH.

Some colleagues and I have issued a new call to action, asking appropriators to include the same defunding language that passed the House of Representatives in any appropriations package we vote on and send it to the president. If the rule is implemented and municipalities do not comply with AFFH, community development grant money will be withheld.

The sad truth about this Obama social engineering proposal is that HUD conducted its own study in 2011 that concluded that moving people living in poor neighborhoods into suburban neighborhoods neither helps children do better in school nor decreases their family's dependence on welfare — the goal of the proposed AFFH rule.

A compelling reason to defund this regulation is that it will have the opposite impact on the people it is intended to assist, increasing their likelihood of government dependency.

This is an encroachment into the domain of local governments, even bypassing state governments, and violates the basic intent of our Founders. So if you hear reports of a minor earthquake near Patrick Henry's resting place in Charlotte County, Va., it should be easy to locate its epicenter.

SOURCE

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Something to cheer us all up



(www.youtube.com/embed/QK3Eo9cScEQ)

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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9 December, 2014

MEGA-PESKY for the Left!  Republicans found to be brighter than Democrats

Leftists never give up asserting that they are the brightest but the research results below are well founded and are clearly against them.  The findings even held among whites only.  And the ardent Democrats were dumbest of all!  The author is a bit apologetic about measuring mainly verbal ability but verbal ability is the best proxy for IQ as a whole so that need not detain us. 

The final comment below about different types of Republicans is just a speculation.  It was not examined in the research. 

The differences found were slight, however so are not something for anyone to hang their hat on.  The findings are primarily useful for shooting back at Leftist claims of superiority -- claims which are in fact intrinsic to Leftism.  They claim to "know best"

For my previous discussions of  IQ and politics see here and here and here and here


Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States

Noah Carl

Abstract

Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1–3 IQ points, 2–4 IQ points and 2–3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.

SOURCE

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The good that results from US 'boots on the ground'

by Jeff Jacoby

IT HAS ALWAYS made Americans uncomfortable to think of their nation as the world's policeman.

John Quincy Adams avowed nearly two centuries ago that the United States "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy"; today, Barack Obama declares that America's focus must be on "nation-building here at home." A broad swath of public opinion shares that view — 52 percent of Americans in a Pew survey last winter agreed that the US should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."

Influential Americans regularly argue that US intervention abroad does more harm than good. "Every time the US touches the Middle East, it makes things worse," insists Harvard's Stephen Walt in a recent essay. The same has been said about America's military involvement everywhere from Latin America to Indochina. Samantha Power, currently the US ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in 2003 that America is justifiably seen as "the very runaway state international law needs to contain," resented for its "sins" and "crimes" in using its power to harm others.

Tim Kane, an economist at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, begs to differ.

In an eye-opening essay in the current issue of Commentary, Kane refutes the notion that American military deployments have been a force for ill. That view isn't just wrong, he emphasizes, "it is tragically wrong." He backs up his claim with data: "Having compared growth and development indicators across all countries of the world against a database of US 'boots on the ground' since 1950, I've discovered a stunning truth: In country after country, prosperity — in the form of economic growth and human development — has emerged where American boots have trod."

America's war record has certainly been mixed, acknowledges Kane, an Air Force veteran who has written — sometimes controversially and at book length — about the military's stifling personnel policies and its strategic shortcomings in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troop deployments haven't always ended well. US forces haven't always lived up to our highest standards.

But American military engagement worldwide goes far beyond battlefields. Between 1950 and 2010, more than 30 million US troops were stationed overseas, Kane writes, and except for four years at the height of the fighting in Vietnam, most troop deployments were not to nations at war. The great majority have typically been in "allied countries, stationed in permanent bases, and cooperating in peace." Some host countries are well known: Japan, Korea, Germany. But Americans in uniform have been based in many other countries, too, from Bahrain to Kyrgyzstan to Panama to the Philippines.

And when the data is crunched, what emerges is extraordinary: US boots on the ground are a startlingly robust predictor of higher growth rates and longer lives.

Since the 1950s, research by Kane and economist Garett Jones of George Mason University has shown, "countries hosting more American forces experienced much faster economic growth than their peers" — an increase in per-capita growth of about 1 percentage point per year, after controlling for other numerous other factors linked to economic growth. The statistical correlation between US military presence and economic growth is found even when "high-growth outliers," such as South Korea or Germany, are excluded.

Just as dramatic is the rise in life expectancy and reduction in child mortality in countries where US service personnel are based. The effect shows up, Kane says, even for countries growing at the same rate. To be sure, life expectancy has increased almost everywhere over the past two generations. "But it improved more quickly in countries that hosted American troops, and more slowly elsewhere."

What Kane dubs the "good country effect" isn't entirely understood. Why, for example, should a tenfold increase of US troops over 20 years in a typical host country lead to a reduction in children's mortality by 2.2 percentage points and a 1 percentage point gain in life expectancy? Access to more US dollars isn't a sufficient explanation: The improvements remain statistically significant even after accounting for economic aid. And plainly the United States doesn't undertake military deployments in pursuit of an imperial growth scheme aimed at creating wealth. "There was no material advantage to saving South Korea, a bloody and costly war that ended well," Kane observes. "And there was nothing to be exploited in Vietnam, an even bloodier and more costly war that ended badly."

The empirical advances in human welfare spurred by the presence of US forces can be linked to factors as specific and tangible as the proliferation of telephone lines, which — besides being necessary for military communications — helps connect remote rural communities with medical workers and emergency assistance. They may also be linked to the proliferation of cultural ideas and civic institutions. With American military engagement come American ways of doing business, of training police forces, of resolving local disputes, of strengthening democracy and the rule of law.

Economic analysis won't end the debates over America-as-Globocop, nor should it. Foreign and national-security policymaking is complex, and every deployment of troops must be justified on its own terms.

Nevertheless, the data underscore a reality we ought not lose sight of: The projection of US power has been a remarkable force for good in the world. Where American boots tread, prosperity and better lives generally result.

SOURCE

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When the Law Is a Drag

In the Ferguson disaster, the law was the greatest casualty. Civilization cannot long work if youths strong-arm shop owners and take what they want. Or walk down the middle of highways high on illicit drugs. Or attack police officers and seek to grab their weapons. Or fail to obey an officer’s command to halt. Or deliberately give false testimonies to authorities. Or riot, burn, and loot. Or, in the more abstract sense, simply ignore the legal findings of a grand jury; or, in critical legal theory fashion, seek to dismiss the authority of the law because it is not deemed useful to some preconceived theory of social justice. Do that and society crumbles.

In our cynicism we accept, to avoid further unrest, that no government agency will in six months prosecute the looters and burners, or charge with perjury those who brazenly lied in their depositions to authorities, or charge the companion of Michael Brown with an accessory role in strong-arm robbery, or charge the stepfather of Michael Brown for using a bullhorn to incite a crowd to riot and loot and burn. We accept that because legality is becoming an abstraction, as it is in most parts of the world outside the U.S. where politics makes the law fluid and transient.

Nor can a government maintain legitimacy when it presides over lawlessness. The president of the United States on over 20 occasions insisted that it would be illegal, dictatorial, and unconstitutional to contravene federal immigration law — at least when to do so was politically inexpedient. When it was not, he did just that. Now we enter the Orwellian world of a videotaped president repeatedly warning that what he would soon do would be in fact illegal. Has a U.S. president ever so frequently and fervently warned the country about the likes of himself?

What is forgotten about amnesty is that entering the U.S. illegally is not the end, but often the beginning of lawlessness. Out here in rural central California we accept a world where thousands drive without insurance, licenses, and registration. Fleeing the scenes of traffic accidents earns snoozes. There is no such thing as the felony of providing false information on government affidavits or creating made-up Social Security numbers. Selling things without paying taxes and working off the books while on assistance are no longer illegal. The normative culture is lawlessness.

Amnesty, granted through a lawless presidential act, will not stop but only encourage further lawlessness. If someone has become used to ignoring a multitude of laws without consequences, there is no reason why he should suddenly cease, given that punishment for breaking the law is still considered a politically-incorrect rather than a legal act — and that even with amnesties it will still be far easier and cheaper to break than obey the law. Who will deport an illegal alien beneficiary of amnesty when he again breaks the law? Amnesty will be seen as both reactive and prophylactic, a waiver for both past and future behavior.

More disturbingly, we have engendered a strange culture of justifiable lawlessness: those who are deemed exploited in some ways are exempt from following the law; those without such victim status are subject even more to it. Executive authorities compensate for their impotence in not enforcing statutes for some by excessively enforcing them on others.

I accept that if I burn a single old grape stake that has been treated with a copper-based preservative, I will be facing huge fines by environmental protection agencies, whose zeal will not extend to nearby residents who have created illegal compounds of rental Winnebagos with jerry-rigged wiring and stop-gap sewage or who dump wet garbage along the side of the road. In the old days the dumpers at least used to sift out incriminating documents with names on them; now they leave them in, without worry over the consequences.

Our bureaucrats thirst for the single infraction by the law-biding citizen who can pay — to compensate for their impotence amid endless crimes by the law-breaking who are deemed unable to pay. That idea of redistributive enforcement permeates the entire federal government.

When Americans receive that dreaded letter from the IRS in the mail, demanding that they pay additional taxes with interest — or else — they cannot act in the way the IRS now acts: ignoring government requests, losing documents, hiding emails, taking the Fifth Amendment. If Americans were to follow the lawless culture of Lois Lerner and her associates at the IRS, then the IRS and the entire system of voluntary tax-compliance would simply implode. Try the following when the IRS calls:

“Sorry, I need two more years to find those documents.”
“You never sent me that tax notice!”
“My accountant, not me, did it.”
“Oh, oh, I lost that receipt.”
“I plead the Fifth and can’t give you that information.”
“Nope, those are private communications and I won’t hand them over.”

Indeed, the problem with the Obama administration is that the government’s own bureaucracies — the IRS, VA, Secret Service, GSA, EPA, Justice and State Departments — have so serially broken their own statutes and lied about their misconduct, that it is now almost impossible to reassure Americans that they, too, cannot do what their own government sees as some sort of birthright.

The fuel of lawlessness is untruth. What amazes about President Obama is not that he occasionally misstates facts — every president has done that — but that he so serially says things that are untrue and yet he must know are so easily exposed as untrue. When the president on over 20 occasions swears he cannot legally grant amnesty and then does so, or when he swears he cannot comment on an ongoing criminal case when he habitually has done just that, or when he insists that Obamacare will not result in higher premiums and deductibles or loss of doctors and health plans when it does precisely that, or when he asserts to the world that a mere demonstration over a video caused an attack on our consulate in Benghazi when he knew that it did not, or when he utters iron-clad red lines, deadlines, and step-over-lines that he knows are mythical or denies he has done just that — when he does all this, then almost everything he asserts must be doubted.

We now live in an era when we expect a federal bureaucrat — whether the attorney general or the secretary of Defense or the secretary of Labor — to illegally jet on family or political business at the public expense, or the president of the United States to pick and choose which elements of the law he finds useable and therefore are to be enforced and which bothersome and therefore ignored.

For this administration, the law is a drag.

What separated the United States from a Peru or Nigeria or Mexico or Laos or Russia was the sanctity of the law, or the idea that from the highest elected officials to the least influential citizen, all were obligated to follow, according to their stations, the law. Under Obama, that sacred idea has been eroded. We live in a world of illegal immigration and amnesties, Ferguson mythologies, and alphabet government scandals, presided over by a president who not only does not tell the truth, but also seems to be saying to the public, “I say whatever I want, so get over it.”

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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8 December, 2014

Church-goers are NOT dumber

That people are religious because they are stupid has been a  frequent assertion, particularly from the Left.  Some recent high-quality research (below), however, refutes that.  They found no association between church-going and IQ but did find a weak association between non-committed religiosity and IQ.  And religious people are also NOT more likely to go ga-ga as they get older.  See also here and here

Religiosity is negatively associated with later-life intelligence, but not with age-related cognitive decline

Abstract

A well-replicated finding in the psychological literature is the negative correlation between religiosity and intelligence. However, several studies also conclude that one form of religiosity, church attendance, is protective against later-life cognitive decline.

No effects of religious belief per se on cognitive decline have been found, potentially due to the restricted measures of belief used in previous studies. Here, we examined the associations between religiosity, intelligence, and cognitive change in a cohort of individuals (initial n = 550) with high-quality measures of religious belief taken at age 83 and multiple cognitive measures taken in childhood and at four waves between age 79 and 90.

We found that religious belief, but not attendance, was negatively related to intelligence. The effect size was smaller than in previous studies of younger participants. Longitudinal analyses showed no effect of either religious belief or attendance on cognitive change either from childhood to old age, or across the ninth decade of life.

We discuss differences between our cohort and those in previous studies – including in age and location – that may have led to our non-replication of the association between religious attendance and cognitive decline.

SOURCE

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A dark cloud with a silver lining

Obama is amazing. He is rebuilding the American dream!

1. Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary's presidential aspirations - something no Republican was ever able to do.

2. Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

3. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes! Dennis Moore had never lost a race. Evan Bayh had never lost a race. Byron Dorgan had never lost a race. Harry Reid - soon to be GONE! These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed. By the end of 2014, dozens more will be gone.

Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and gave the House and the Senate - back to the Republicans.

4. Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are. Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge. Obama is bringing home the lesson very well: Liberals tax, borrow and spend. Liberals won't bring themselves to protect America. Liberals want to take over the economy. Liberals think they know what is best for everyone. Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

5. Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan. In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans. Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America!

6. Obama, with his "amazing leadership," has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.

7. In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life. Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going. I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about. My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

8. When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them! Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans! Again, I want to say: "Thank you, Barack Obama!" After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!

9. He made Jimmy Carter happy since Jimmy is no longer the worst president we've ever had.

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It’s official: America is now No. 2

Chinese economy overtakes the U.S.’s to become the largest

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.  It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.

I reported on this looming development over two years ago, but the moment came sooner than I or anyone else had predicted. China’s recent decision to bring gross domestic product calculations in line with international standards has revealed activity that had previously gone uncounted.

These calculations are based on a well-established and widely used economic measure known as purchasing-power parity (or PPP), which measures the actual output as opposed to fluctuations in exchange rates. So a Starbucks venti Frappucino served in Beijing counts the same as a venti Frappucino served in Minneapolis, regardless of what happens to be going on among foreign-exchange traders.

PPP is the real way of comparing economies. It is one reported by the IMF and was, for example, the one used by McKinsey & Co. consultants back in the 1990s when they undertook a study of economic productivity on behalf of the British government.

Yes, when you look at mere international exchange rates, the U.S. economy remains bigger than that of China, allegedly by almost 70%. But such measures, although they are widely followed, are largely meaningless. Does the U.S. economy really shrink if the dollar falls 10% on international currency markets? Does the recent plunge in the yen mean the Japanese economy is vanishing before our eyes?

Back in 2012, when I first reported on these figures, the IMF tried to challenge the importance of PPP. I was not surprised. It is not in anyone’s interest at the IMF that people in the Western world start focusing too much on the sheer extent of China’s power. But the PPP data come from the IMF, not from me. And it is noteworthy that when the IMF’s official World Economic Outlook compares countries by their share of world output, it does so using PPP.

Yes, all statistics are open to various quibbles. It is perfectly possible China’s latest numbers overstate output — or understate them. That may also be true of U.S. GDP figures. But the IMF data are the best we have.

Make no mistake: This is a geopolitical earthquake with a high reading on the Richter scale. Throughout history, political and military power have always depended on economic power. Britain was the workshop of the world before she ruled the waves. And it was Britain’s relative economic decline that preceded the collapse of her power. And it was a similar story with previous hegemonic powers such as France and Spain.

This will not change anything tomorrow or next week, but it will change almost everything in the longer term. We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. since at least 1945 and, in many ways, since the late 19th century. And we have lived for 200 years — since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 — in a world dominated by two reasonably democratic, constitutional countries in Great Britain and the U.S.A. For all their flaws, the two countries have been in the vanguard worldwide in terms of civil liberties, democratic processes and constitutional rights.

SOURCE

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LA Landslide: Republican Bill Cassidy Gains Ninth GOP Senate Seat in Win Over Landrieu

The 18-year long reign of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has finally come to an end in Louisiana. In a landslide victory in Saturday’s runoff election, Republican Bill Cassidy defeated the incumbent and captured the ninth Senate seat for the GOP, capping off a victorious midterm election for his party. Cassidy pulled in 56 percent of the vote, to Landrieu's 44 percent.

The road was rocky for Landrieu from the start. The public found out about her improper use of taxpayer funds, then the fact she doesn’t even own a home in Louisiana. Then, she dissed her constituents. Because of all her missteps and Cassidy’s growing lead, Democrats quickly gave up on Landrieu after the general election on November 4. Now, it’s clear Louisianans have given up on her as well.

And with that, this very long midterm election is over.

SOURCE

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Progressivism Claims Another Life

Eric Garner died in July because he resisted arrest, forcing police to take him down the way they take down thousands of suspects daily. Only Garner wasn’t an average suspect. He had allowed himself to become morbidly obese and had diabetes, heart disease and who knows what other self-imposed health problems. Still, he never should have died that summer day.

Big government killed Eric Garner. Police were just the weapon.

Garner was selling “illegal cigarettes” that day, or “loosies” – individual cigarettes from a pack. Why would anyone buy individual cigarettes? Because government, in this case New York, both city and state, have, through exorbitant taxation, made buying a whole pack too expensive for many.

Government’s heavy hand incentivized the creation of a black market for cigarettes. But government’s heavy hand also made selling cigarettes outside of its approved, and taxed, avenues a crime. Government, like the mafia, doesn’t like competition. The mafia will execute you; the government will arrest you.

In Garner’s case, he resisted that arrest and died because his body could not tolerate the force he brought on himself from police. But the police would not have been there had progressive officials and activists not made what Garner was doing into a crime.

Had reselling cigarettes, individually or in packs, not been criminalized by a government wanting its “taste of the action,” Eric Garner still would be alive.

Police have better things to do with their time, more important crimes to investigate, than selling cigarettes individually. But, unlike the newly discovered powers of the president to pick and choose which laws to enforce, when cops get a call, they have to respond—no matter how stupid they may think the “crime” is.

The race-baiting progressives saw an opening in the Garner case and took it. The media, either unwilling or incapable of seeing their philosophy caused this and many other deaths and arrests, followed their lead and made this story about race. Garner is still dead, and repealing the laws that led to his death isn’t even being discussed.

Neither Mayor Bill De Blasio, President Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder killed Eric Garner. Progressive governance that criminalizes everyday activities did. And so did Garner himself. He didn’t deserve to die by any stretch of the imagination, but he did it to himself.

Not the selling of “loosies.” He didn’t create the stupid law he was breaking, but he resisted arrest. Once he started flailing his arms, he sealed his fate.

If you watch the video, the officer did not put Garner in a “chokehold.” He hooked under his right armpit and around his neck. That is a restraint, not a chokehold. Garner’s right arm was incapacitated, leaving the others to deal with only his left arm. Garner’s decision to continue to struggle caused the officer to lose his grip, which he re-established around his neck.

The officer was perfectly in the right to do that as Garner was fighting, not complying. Letting him go at that moment would’ve put every officer involved in danger. It wasn’t held long, and it wouldn’t have happened at all had Garner, who was no stranger to police or arrest, not caused it to happen.

It’s an inconvenient truth, and a truth very few people want to admit. But it’s a truth nonetheless.

But the deeper truth still holds—it was progressive big government, the overregulation and taxation of everything—that was the first domino to fall in the events that caused Eric Garner’s death.

The mayor of New York is pushing “re-education” of the police so they can “better” interact with minority communities. That sounds an awful lot like “separate but equal” application of the law. Black people have different melanin levels, they aren’t a different species. But to progressives they might as well be.

It’s a sick, sad “soft bigotry of low expectations” that would make Goebbels blush. Goebbels famously said, “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

SOURCE

*********************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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7 December, 2014

Kids from affluent families start out smarter than the poor and the gap between them and the poor widens further as they grow up

It has long been known that the rich are smarter.  Charles Murray got heavy flak when he showed that two decades ago but it's logical that people who are in general smart should also be smart with money.  But the gorgeous Sophie von Stumm has amplified that in the research below.  My previous comments about some of her research were rather derogatory but I find no fault with the work below.

Explaining the finding is the challenge.  An obvious comment is that measuring the IQ of young children is difficult  -- but not impossible -- and that the widening gap simply reflected more accurate measurements in later life. 

I would reject the explanation that the better home life in a rich family helped improve the child's IQ -- because all the twin studies show that the family environment is a negligible contributor to IQ -- counter-intuitive though that might be. 

The present findings do however tie in well with previous findings that the genetic influence on IQ gets greater as people get older.  People shed some environmental influences as they get older and become more and more what their genetics would dictate



Sophie von Stumm

Poverty affects the intelligence of children as young as two, a study has found - and its impact increases as the child ages.  Deprived young children were found to have IQ scores six points lower, on average, than children from wealthier families.

And the gap got wider throughout childhood, with the early difference tripling by the time the children reached adolescence.

Scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London compared data on almost 15,000 children and their parents as part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds).  The study is an on-going investigation socio-economic and genetic links to intelligence.

Children were assessed nine times between the ages of two and 16, using a mixture of parent-administered, web and telephone-based tests.

The results, published in the journal Intelligence, revealed that children from wealthier backgrounds with more opportunities scored higher in IQ tests at the age of two, and experienced greater IQ gains over time.

Dr Sophie von Stumm, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who led the study, said: 'We’ve known for some time that children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES had not been previously shown.  'Our research establishes that relationship, highlighting the link between SES and IQ.

SOURCE

Socioeconomic status and the growth of intelligence from infancy through adolescence

By Sophie von Stumm &  Robert Plomin

Abstract

Low socioeconomic status (SES) children perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES has not been adequately investigated. Here, we use latent growth curve (LGC) models to assess associations between SES and individual differences in the intelligence starting point (intercept) and in the rate and direction of change in scores (slope and quadratic term) from infancy through adolescence in 14,853 children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), assessed 9 times on IQ between the ages of 2 and 16 years. SES was significantly associated with intelligence growth factors: higher SES was related both to a higher starting point in infancy and to greater gains in intelligence over time. Specifically, children from low SES families scored on average 6 IQ points lower at age 2 than children from high SES backgrounds; by age 16, this difference had almost tripled. Although these key results did not vary across girls and boys, we observed gender differences in the development of intelligence in early childhood. Overall, SES was shown to be associated with individual differences in intercepts as well as slopes of intelligence. However, this finding does not warrant causal interpretations of the relationship between SES and the development of intelligence.

SOURCE


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Hollywood Hypocrites

The actor and comedian Russell Brand has certainly tried to brand himself. "Messiah Complex" was the name of his last tour. His new book is titled "Revolution." On "The Tonight Show," he told Jimmy Fallon he's inspired by Jesus, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Che Guevara. He thinks he's like them. In Tinseltown, they're the Fab Four revolutionaries for the downtrodden.

So it's shocking to him — and no surprise to us — when he gets exposed by the British press as a fraud. He's just another champagne socialist playacting.

On Dec. 1, he led an angry march to No. 10 Downing Street in London to take a petition to the prime minister's residence protesting skyrocketing rents in the city. In particular, he was protesting for tenants of the New Era apartments, recently bought by an American investment company. The demand for downtown real estate has caused prices to soar, leaving the middle class in dire straits.

Raise a glass to Paraic O'Brien of Channel Four, a publicly owned channel with a crusading edge that could teach a lesson or two to their American counterparts. He put the question directly to Brand: "Part of the problem is the super rich buying property in London. Isn't it? How much did you pay for your place?" Brand said his place is rented, as if that answered anything. So O'Brien asked how much he paid a month in rent.

Brand took offense and became mighty defensive, sticking his face inches from the reporter and replying passionately, "I'm not interested in talking to you about my rent, mate! I'm here to support a very, very important campaign. And you, as a member of the media, have an important duty to help represent these people, not to reframe the argument!"

That's just priceless: He believes the media's role is to promote for what he's not, not expose him for what he is. O'Brien wasn't intimidated in the slightest and kept pushing: "You're part of that problem, aren't you?" Brand said "absolutely not...I'm part of the solution!" He then claimed not to know how much he paid in rent.

Maybe we can jog his memory a bit. Brand lives within a mile of the trendy apartments he was protesting about — in a fancy loft that rents for $8,000 a month. He sold his house in northwest London for $3.5 million in 2010, and last October, he bought a $2.2 million Hollywood mansion that once belonged to Sir Laurence Olivier. Not exactly "struggling," are we, mate?

It sounds a lot like documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, that great baseball-capped American populist whose recent divorce revealed he felt his wife was a "spendthrift" who embarrassed him by building a lakefront mansion in northwestern Michigan. The radical Moores were mocked for their act of conspicuous construction. Divorce papers showed that "The couple's real estate holdings include a total of nine properties in Michigan and New York. The duo co-owns a Manhattan condo that was created through the combination of three separate units."

Being "a voice for the voiceless" is so rewarding — financially rewarding — as long as no one pries too much into just how rewarding it gets.

The late radio star Casey Kasem really demonstrated this type 25 years ago as he organized a "Housing Now" march on Washington for the homeless. The Los Angeles Times reported with a wink that Kasem and his wife Jean "turned their opulent $20,000-a-month, seven-room apartment at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel into the headquarters" for this cause. While they demanded more tax money for the poor, "They drive matching black Mercedes equipped with car phones. ... And this summer, Kasem bought his wife a little something for her birthday — specifically, a three-bedroom, five-bath mansion in Holmby Hills complete with tennis court and swimming pool and $6.8-million price tag." Reportedly they proudly declared they'd sent the leftovers down to the street for the homeless.

The Times called them "penthouse progressives." The rest of us call them Hollywood hypocrites.

SOURCE

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Racist Cops -- or Liberal Slander?

We have found the new normal in America.  If you are truly outraged by some action of police, prosecutors, grand juries, or courts, you can shut down the heart of a great city.

Thursday night, thousands of "protesters" disrupted the annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, conducted a "lie-in" in Grand Central, blocked Times Square, and shut down the West Side Highway that scores of thousands of New Yorkers use to get home.

That the rights of hundreds of thousands of visitors and New Yorkers were trampled upon by these self-righteous protesters did not prevent their being gushed over by TV commentators.

Watching cable, I saw one anguished man cry out from a blocked car that he was trying to get his sick dog to the vet. But his rights were inferior to the rights of protesters to block traffic, chant slogans and vent their moral outrage to TV cameras.

From New York to Washington to Oakland, crowds acted in solidarity to block main arteries at rush hour.

Has President Obama condemned this? Has Eric Holder?

Remarkable. Underlings of Gov. Chris Christie have been under investigation for a year for closing off lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Contrast liberal indignation at Christie, with liberal indulgence of the lawbreaking Thursday night, and you will see what people mean when they talk of a moral double-standard.

What were these protests about? A grand jury on Staten Island voted not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner last July. As the video that has gone global shows, Pantaleo sought to arrest Garner, a 6'5", 350-pound man arrested many times before.

What was Garner doing?  Selling cigarettes one by one on a main street, a public nuisance for the stores and shops in front of which he plied his trade, but not a felony, and surely not a capital offense. A misdemeanor at most.

As Garner backed away and brushed aside attempts to handcuff him, Pantaleo grabbed him from behind by the neck to pull him down, as other cops swarmed in.

Repeatedly, Garner cried, "I can't breathe!" On the ground he again cried, "I can't breathe!" And he died there on the sidewalk.

Undeniably, terrible and tragic. Undeniably, not a natural death. And, undeniably, the way Garner was brought down and sat upon, an arm around his neck, contributed to, if it did not cause, his death.

Yet Garner did not die by strangulation.  According to the city medical examiner, he died from the "compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."  The cops were holding him down by sitting on him.

As Rep. Peter King said Thursday, "If [Garner] had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, he would not have died." The Washington Post reports that the medical examiner seemed to confirm this, describing "Garner's asthma and hypertensive cardiovascular disease as contributing factors."

Why would a Staten Island grand jury not indict Pantaleo for murder or manslaughter in the death of Eric Garner?

In a word, intent.  Did Pantaleo intend to kill Eric Garner when he arrived on the scene? Did Pantaleo arrive intent on injuring Eric Garner? No and no.

Pantaleo was there to arrest Garner, and if he resisted, to subdue him and then arrest him. That was his job.

Did he use a chokehold, which the NYPD bans, or a takedown method taught at the police academy, as his lawyer contends?

That is for the NYPD to decide. The grand jury, viewing the video, decided that the way Pantaleo brought down Garner was not done with any criminal intent to kill or injure him, but to arrest him.

Garner's death, they decided, was accidental, caused by Pantaleo and the other NYPD cops who did not intend his injury or death, with Garner's asthma and heart disease as contributing factors.

Now that grand jury decision may be wrong, but does it justify wild allegations of "racist cops" getting away with "murder"?

This reflexive rush to judgment happens again and again.  We were told Trayvon Martin was shot to death by a white vigilante for "walking while black," and learned that Trayvon, when shot, had been beating a neighborhood watch guy nearly unconscious, "martial arts style," while sitting on top of him.

We were told that Ferguson cop Darren Wilson gunned down an unarmed black teenager for walking in the street, and learned that Michael Brown just robbed a convenience store, attacked Wilson in his patrol car, and was shot trying to wrestle away the officer's gun.

Liberals are imprisoned by a great myth — that America is a land where black boys and men are stalked by racist white cops, and alert and brave liberals must prevent even more police atrocities.

They live in a world of the mind.  The reality: As of 2007, black-on-white violent crime was nearly 40 times as common as the reverse. But liberals can't give up their myth, for it sustains their pretensions to moral superiority. It defines who they are.

SOURCE

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Why Cops Focused on Garner

Another twist in the Eric Garner saga. According to New York Congressman Peter King, “The district attorney of Staten Island is a man of unimpeachable integrity. … The highest ranking officer at the scene was an African-American female sergeant [Kizzy Adoni]. She was there the whole time. The reason that the cops were there that day is the local merchants – this is a minority neighborhood, these are minority business people – went to police headquarters and the chief of the department, who is an African-American.

They complained that Eric Garner was disrupting the area and preventing people from coming into their stores. [Police] were there at the request of minority shop owners, under the direction of an African-American police chief, and under the supervision of an African-American sergeant.”

King added, “I’ve seen a number of people taken down – this was a takedown. If someone is resisting arrest it often takes four or five cops to get them down. You have to subdue the person on the ground. The officers said, ‘Put your hands behind your back,’ and he wouldn’t. … I’ve seen guys held down. … If they had let up on the tension and he got up it would’ve started all over again.” If those facts don’t undermine the Left’s race-bait narrative, we don’t know what does.

SOURCE

*********************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

****************************





5 December, 2014

The Mediterranean myth again

For years health freaks have been claiming that a Mediterranean diet increases your lifespan.  So how come Australians are one of the world's longest-lived groups (longer than any Mediterraneans) and yet traditionally live on a diet that is just about opposite to a Mediterranean one? 

A traditional breakfast often includes fried bacon and eggs -- and steak and eggs was pretty common once too, particularly in country areas.  Lunch is big on hamburgers, beef pies and sausage rolls (which often ooze fat).  Dinner consists of "meat and 3 veg" -- meaning various forms of red meat, usually fried, plus boiled vegetables.  All accompanied by bread and butter and followed by "pudding" -- a very sugary dessert of infinite variety. 

And the result?  Almost all Australian families have (or have had) a nonagenerian tottering around among them -- after having lived all their lives on the diet I have described.  Japan has its centenarians.  Australia has legions of nonagenarians.  And the result in both cases is long and roughly comparable average lifespans.

The Australian diet has of course changed in recent years but not perhaps as much as one might think.  I asked one of my young stepdaughters last night what she mostly cooked for dinner.  She promptly replied "meat and 3 veg".  So both her kids and her husband could live to 90!

So what is the foundation of the claims below?  It follows the unfortunate precedent set by Ancel Keys long ago.  It looks at just part of the picture rather than the whole.  Keys showed that Mediterraneans have much less frequent heart attacks but forgot to look at other causes of death

The Harvard galoots below looked at telomere length only, which is even more specific than what Keys did.  There is indeed some correlation between telomere length and lifespan but it is miles short of a 1 to 1 relationship -- leaving plenty of room for other factors to come into play  -- including "meat and 3 veg"!


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A Mediterranean diet increases life expectancy by protecting the DNA from damage, research shows

Harvard academics studied 4,676 middle-aged women comparing their typical eating habits with the make-up of their cells.

Importantly, they looked at their telomeres – biological caps which are found at the ends of chromosomes that protect the DNA inside.

As we get older, our telomeres get progressively shorter, causing the DNA to become damaged and raising the odds of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer' s, diabetes and heart disease.

The research – published in the BMJ – found that women whose diets were generally low in fat and high in fruit and veg had longer telomeres.

But this was even more pronounced for those who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, veg, nuts and pulses.

SOURCE

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Those who live in glass houses...



The presidential pardon of a turkey or two every Thanksgiving is just one of the silly events the Washington elite do every year – just like the softball games in summer and the cherry blossom princesses in the spring. But let’s not blame Barack Obama’s daughters Malia and Sasha Obama for being bored by the event.

Elizabeth Lauten, the Communications Director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), critiqued the two teens on Facebook, writing, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play.” It was a cheap shot, but the Leftmedia jumped down Lauten’s throat: How dare someone say such a thing to the children of the president. Lauten apologized and then resigned from her position.

Yet her criticism was nothing compared to the mockery Slate spewed about Rick Santorum’s daughters, and let’s not forget how the Leftmedia cackled over the Palin family’s birthday party brawl or speculated over Trig Palin’s parentage. Double standard much?

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Leftists can do no wrong

If real estate mogul and deep-pocketed White House donor Terry Bean were a Republican, he’d be a household name by now.

Bean’s face would be splashed all over the covers of grocery-stand newsweeklies. The garrulous hostesses of ABC’s “The View” would be haranguing the GOP to return his campaign contributions. Child-welfare advocates would be demanding his resignation from top political advocacy and civic groups.

Media satellite trucks from NBC’s “Today” show would be parked outside the Lane County, Ore., Circuit Court on Dec. 3 for his first appearance.

And The New York Times archives would be teeming with thousand-word editorials and multiple lead stories about his grand jury indictment on horrifying sexual abuse allegations involving multiple victims – including a 15-year-old boy.

Instead, a search for “Terry Bean” on the left-wing paper of record’s website on Tuesday yielded exactly one story dated Jan. 16, 1880, about a Westchester County, N.Y., elder with that name – plus a sponsored advertising link to retailer L.L. Bean.

So, who is Terry Bean? He’s a wealthy, high-flying liberal and celebrated gay-rights activist who co-founded the influential Human Rights Campaign organization. He is also a veteran member of the board of the HRC Foundation, which disseminates Common Core-aligned “anti-bullying” material to children’s schools nationwide.

Bean shelled out more than $500,000 for President Obama and the Democrats in 2012. He was rewarded with an exclusive Air Force One ride with Obama. The president also gave the developer a special shout-out at an opulent fundraiser in Portland, where Bean’s family had established a longstanding political and corporate fiefdom. Bean gleefully rubbed elbows with first lady Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton – and made sure everyone on his Flickr photo-sharing site knew it.

A relentless schmoozer, the campaign finance bundler introduced the commander in chief to his 25-year-old ex-boyfriend, Kiah Lawson. The pair posed for a cozy snapshot beneath an august portrait of George Washington in the White House library in 2013.

Late last month, however, the former lovebirds posed for a seedier set of pics: their creepy mug shots at the Multnomah County, Ore., Detention Center. After a sweeping investigation led by the Portland police department’s sex crime units and two county district attorney’s offices, authorities charged Bean with two felony counts of third-degree sodomy and one misdemeanor count of third-degree sex abuse. Lawson was indicted on third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse.

Allegations of Bean’s lurid sexual trysts with young men, which Lawson says the Democratic donor secretly videotaped, first surfaced in the local Willamette Week newspaper in June. Police say the pair enticed a 15-year-old boy to a hotel in Eugene, Ore., after meeting him through the iPhone app Grinder, which helps men locate “local gay, bi and curious guys for dating.”

Consider this: Harry Reid has taken to the Senate floor to repeatedly demonize GOP donors and upstanding businessmen Charles and David Koch for exercising their First Amendment rights. Hollywood celebrities Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner, Jason Alexander and Stephen Colbert have all targeted conservative Citizens United for its historic role in protecting political free speech. All are mute on a powerful Democratic donor actually accused of heinous sexual abuse crimes against a child.

While The New York Times has spilled gallons of ink on the campus rape epidemic, the GOP’s Mark Foley underage page scandal and the Catholic Church’s pedophilia problem, it has remained silent the past six months on the alleged child rape scheme of one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent campaign contributors and activists.

On Tuesday, the paper saw fit to run a 652-word A-section story on an obscure GOP aide who was forced to quit her job after criticizing Obama’s daughters on her Facebook page.

Nothing on Terry Bean.

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Can Racial Discrimination Explain Much?

In the medical profession, there is the admonition primum non nocere, the Latin expression for “first, do no harm.” In order not to do harm, at the minimum, requires accurate diagnostics. Suppose a patient presents with abdominal pains, and the physician diagnoses it as caused by the patient’s ingrown toenails. If that isn’t the cause, the physician can spend all the resources he wants treating the patient’s ingrown toenails and not remedy the patient’s abdominal pains.

The decency of accurate diagnosis should be given to analyzing the problems of a large segment of the black community. Very often, major problems are erroneously seen as being caused by racial discrimination. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The question that’s relevant to policy, as well as resource allocation, is: How much of what we see is caused by discrimination?

Let’s apply this question to the tragic state of black education. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation’s report card, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. In some cities, there’s even a larger achievement gap. If, as some people assert, this is the result of racially discriminatory education funding, then demonstrations, legal suits and other measures might be taken to promote funding equity. Also, resources could be spent to politically organize and elect black people as mayors, city councilors and school superintendents.

If the cause of the black/white achievement gap has little to do with racial discrimination, then focusing on discrimination will lead us to ignore or downplay factors that do affect black education. In some school districts, 700 teachers are annually assaulted and threatened. At one time, Philadelphia employed 500 school police officers. Similar stories of school violence can be told in other cities with large black populations, such as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, California, and Newark, New Jersey. How useful is it to spend resources on discrimination while allowing unsafe and chaotic educational environments to exist?

Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he’s poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep. Someone has to fix him a wholesome breakfast and ensure that he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers. Here’s my question: Which one of those basic requirements can be accomplished through a presidential executive order, a congressional mandate or the edict of a mayor, a superintendent of schools or a teacher? If those basic requirements aren’t met, whatever else that is done in the name of education is for naught.

Spending more money on education is not a substitute. If it were, black academic achievement wouldn’t be a problem. For example, in 2012, Washington, D.C., public schools led the nation in spending per pupil, at $29,409. In terms of academic performance, “the nation’s report card” shows that over 80 percent of D.C.’s predominantly black eighth-graders scored either “basic” or “below basic” in reading and math. “Basic” indicates only partial mastery of the knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at grade level, and “below basic” means that the student doesn’t even have partial mastery.

Other devastating problems that are faced by many blacks and cannot be attributed to racial discrimination are a high crime rate – featured by a homicide victimization rate of 51 percent – over 70 percent of blacks being born to single females and only slightly more than 30 percent of black children being raised in two-parent households.

Solutions to these truly challenging problems will not be found in the political arena or in government programs. For black politicians, civil rights leaders, the intellectual elite and others to blame racial discrimination for the problems of today is dereliction. If a medical practitioner made the same kind of incorrect diagnosis, we’d indict him for malpractice.

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Americans Are Spending 42 Percent More on Health Insurance Than They Did in 2007

Data on consumer spending show that spending on health insurance surged 42 percent from 2007 to 2013, according to analysis by the Wall Street Journal. The rise reflects the increasing cost of health insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone buy extensive health insurance.

Another feature shown by the data is the movement away from home ownership and associated costs. Families are more likely to rent than in 2007, so mortgage spending is down and rent spending is up. Some of the other categories where spending fell – appliances and furniture – are complements to home-owning.

Spending increases are not the same as cost increases. Home internet and mobile phones are the fastest growing expenditure categories because new services are available, not because of rising costs on old services. It’s a good thing when increased spending comes from more people choosing to buy better services.

As any Black Friday shopper can tell you, consumers are happy when they get more goods for lower unit costs. Congress can augment buying power by repealing policies that raise costs, such as trade barriers, the fuel ethanol mandate, and of course Obamacare. Reducing the cost of food, gasoline and health insurance would give American consumers more choice and extra disposable income.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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4 December, 2014

Progressivism's Last Gasp

Early Sunday morning, 32-year-old Bosnian man Zemir Begic was killed in a hammer attack in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. The murderous assault was perpetrated by three or four teens, described as “black and Hispanic.” Approximately 50 people, mostly, if not all Bosnians, staged a demonstration on Gravois Avenue at Itaska Street on Sunday night to protest the killing. No stores were burned, no businesses were looted. The mainstream media was nowhere to be found.

A picture of Begic can be seen here. And while he is clearly of the Caucasian persuasion, the media that have covered the story prefer to use the term “Bosnian” to describe him. More than likely that is the case because the word “white” would force them to consider the possibility that Begic was killed because of his race, or as a spillover reaction to the jury verdict and subsequent rioting in Ferguson.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson immediately dismissed those possibilities when he spoke with the protesters. He insisted Begic was not targeted because of his race or ethnicity. "There is no indication that the gentleman last night was targeted because he was Bosnian,“ Dotson said. "There’s no indication that they knew each other.”

One is left to wonder how Dotson could reach that conclusion so quickly. Two of the four suspects, ages 15 and 16, are in custody, and police claim to know the nickname of a third suspect still at large, and believe a fourth man may have been involved in the carnage as well. Thus it stands to reason the only way Dotson can be sure there was no racial motivation involved in this murder is to take the word of the alleged murderers themselves in that regard.

One is reminded the entire “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” movement, that reached the heights of absurdity when members of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams entered the field for Sunday’s game with their hands in the air, was based on similar reassurances from eyewitness Dorian Johnson. It was Johnson who insisted that “gentle giant” Mike Brown had been shot in the back while he had his hands up in surrender. And it was the mainstream media, for whom truth and accuracy take a back seat to ratings-driven heat and light, that ran with the lie repeated often enough it became the truth.

Suad Nuranjkovic, 49, was with Begic when he was killed. They were heading home from a bar when Begic’s car was surrounded by at least five teens who began banging on it. Nuranjkovic fled to a nearby parking lot and hid. “I was afraid that if one of them had a gun, they were going to shoot me, so I didn’t know what to do,” he explained. Begic’s wife of six months, Arijana Mujkanovic, was also at the scene and witnessed her husband’s death. “The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me,” she revealed.

Begic was beaten with hammers, striking his head, face and abdomen. After the attack he was taken to SLU Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died.

Remarkably – or perhaps predictably – Begic was not the first victim allegedly attacked by this group of thugs. Seldin Dzananoic, 24, was also targeted by a group of teens with hammers on the same street about an hour earlier. He escaped with only minor injuries. “I’m just lucky,” he said. “God is on my side.” And in true keeping with today’s media, it remains unclear if there was a third victim. According to St. Louis’s NewsChannel 5, they spoke with a man who encountered “one of the groups,” who insulted one of his family members. The victim, who asked not to be identified, claims someone struck him with a hammer when he went after them.

His statement following the encounter was chilling. “One of them told me they were doing it for fun, just for the heck of it,” he said. “I’m shaken because it’s the first time I’ve got into a confrontation. I was just trying to protect my family, that’s all.”

Perhaps the most pathetic assessment of this murder and subsequent protest by the Bosnian community was perpetrated by the Huffington Post. “The demonstrations over Begic’s death join the nationwide protests over the grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown on Aug. 9,” the Post stated.

Really? People protesting a clear-cut case of murder by black and Hispanic thugs are part of the nationwide protests engendered by an out-and-out lie, along with a grand jury’s courageous effort not to be intimidated by a bloodthirsty mob? “We’re just angry because we’re trying to protect our community,” said protester Mirza Nukic, 29, of St. Louis. “We’re just trying to be peaceful.”

Begic’s sister, Denisa 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., illuminated the bitter irony attached to her brother’s death.  "We come from Bosnia because we were getting killed and our homes and families were getting destroyed,“ she said. "Never in my life did I think he would get murdered.”

Denisa also displayed a remarkable sense of proportion in the face of tragedy. "(Zemir) loved everybody. I don’t know what to think of it. It’s so wrong what they did. They didn’t just hurt Zemir’s family. They also hurt their own family because I’m pretty sure their moms will never see them again,“ she said. "I hope justice is served for my brother because he didn’t deserve this at all,” she added.

Justice has a split personality these days. The racialist undertones that from the heart of the Ferguson protests have already been dismissed here. The same media that descended on Ferguson en masse, in all their fact-free, hysteria-inducing, narrative-perpetrating glory, will be nowhere to be found. The thugs who roamed the streets with hammers, “just for the fun of it,” will never have a bounty placed on their heads, or be forced to go into hiding in fear of their lives. Attorney General Eric Holder will not descend upon the scene to determine the motives of those thugs, or conduct a follow-up investigation to see if Begic’s civil rights were violated.

Al Sharpton and his traveling band of racial arsonists will make no grand gestures or statements about the black American thug culture that drives such attacks. Attacks whose percentages dwarf those of every other ethnic group. Attacks in which black-on-white murders far outnumber white-on-black murders. President Obama will not inject himself into the incident, nor will he hold three separate White House meetings to address the concerns of a Bosnian community living in fear. There will be no white equivalent of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urging his followers to “tear this goddamn country apart!” or telling the parents of white teenagers to “teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can,” in reference to Molotov cocktails.

Instead Begic will have a quiet funeral held in Iowa, funded in large part by a GoFundMe page on the Internet set up for that purpose. Perhaps at some later date, there will be minimal media coverage of the trial, buried in the back pages of the local papers, or posted on relatively obscure Internet sites. Soon after that, Zemir Begic will be completely forgotten – which is exactly what happens to countless victims whose narrative cannot be exploited by an American left whose pathways to power and relevance rely upon keeping Americans at each other’s throats, irrespective of facts, common sense – or common decency.

Yet in the midst of the current mayhem, I remain very hopeful. Hopeful because the despicable over-reach of the American left remains on display, day in, day out. It is a display that reeks of progressive desperation and hysteria, aided and abetted by a media that no longer hides its affection for it. Either you’re with the mob, or you’re racist collaborator hiding behind “anachronistic” concepts such as law and order, innocent until proven guilty, or resisting the siren song of looting and pillaging. Looting and pillaging, according to Time Magazine’s execrable columnist Darlena Cunha, that are “a necessary part of the evolution of society” and peaceful protesting “is a luxury only available to those safely in mainstream culture.”

It is precisely that mainstream culture rightly appalled by the latest outburst from the usual suspects. One that has no interest in the "fundamental transformation" of their nation into a Third World banana republic as "atonement" for the "sin" of being the greatest nation on earth. It is they who will ultimately prevail, people of all ethnicities, religions, and genders, tired of being told what to think by those who believe they’re too “stupid” to think for themselves. Progressive bankruptcy is unsustainable and headed for the ash heap of history.

One race-bating, riot-inciting demagogue after another.

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Opinions Versus Facts

Thomas Sowell

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.

Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.

Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

Three different medical forensic experts – one representing Michael Brown’s parents – examined the physical facts. These facts included the autopsy results, Michael Brown’s DNA on the door of the police car and on the policeman’s gun, photographs of the bruised and swollen face of policeman Darren Wilson and the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown was shot.

This physical evidence was hard to square with the loudly proclaimed assertions that Brown was shot in the back, or was shot with his hands up, while trying to surrender. But it was consistent with the policeman’s testimony.

Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.

The riots, looting and setting things on fire that some in the media are treating as reactions to the grand jury’s decision not to indict the policeman, actually began long before the grand jury had begun its investigation, much less announced any decision.

Why some people insist on believing whatever they want to believe is a question that is hard to answer. But a more important question is: What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri and has spread around the country?

The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people – many of them black or members of other minorities – who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.

But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.

Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths – 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people – both black and white – also fled.

Harlem was one of many ghettos across the country that have still not recovered from the riots of the 1960s. In later years, a niece of mine, who had grown up in the same Harlem tenement where I grew up years earlier, bitterly complained about how few stores and other businesses there were in the neighborhood.

There were plenty of stores in that same neighborhood when I was growing up, as well as a dentist, a pharmacist and an optician, all less than a block away. But that was before the neighborhood was swept by riots.

Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.

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ObamaCare isn't working: Americans are putting off medical care on cost grounds

Though President Barack Obama and administration officials still insist that ObamaCare is keeping healthcare costs down, the percentage of Americans who have put off seeking medical care for themselves or family due to cost concerns has reached an all-time high, according to a survey released last week by Gallup.

In an October speech at Northwestern University, President Obama touted the "dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of healthcare," tying the phenomenon to ObamaCare. The suggestion, repeated ad nauseam by supporters of the law, is misleading to say the least. An analysis published this summer in Health Affairs concluded that the slowdown in healthcare spending is primarily a result of the Great Recession.

Still, though, the myth continues to be pushed. "[B]ecause the insurance marketplaces we created encourage insurers to compete for your business, in many of the cities that have announced next year's premiums, something important is happening – premiums are actually falling," said President Obama. "That's progress we can be proud of."

Gallup, however, finds that 33 percent of Americans have put off medical care because of cost, the highest figure in the 14-year history of the question. "Last year, many hoped that the opening of the government healthcare exchanges and the resulting increase in the number of Americans with health insurance would enable more people to seek medical treatment," writes Rebecca Riffkin of Gallup. "But, despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure."

Among the most notable findings is percentage of Americans with private health insurance who are putting off treatment. The survey found that 34 percent of those with private health coverage put off medical care in 2014, up from 25 percent in 2013.

While fewer households earning less than $30,000 are putting off medical care, Gallup shows that more middle class Americans are. Thirty-eight percent of Americans earning between $30,000 and $74,999 and 28 percent earning $75,000 or more report foregoing care in the last 12 months, up from 33 percent and 17 percent last year.

Though most of the focus has been on premiums and subsidies, health plans on the exchanges are notorious for eye-popping out of pocket costs, the average of which increased by 42 percent compared to pre-ObamaCare plans. An Associated Press survey released in October found similar results, noting that Americans with high-deductible plans were more likely to forgo seeking care in the event of a major medical problem. For its part, Gallup notes that the percentage of those with private coverage putting off care "may reflect high deductibles or copays that are part of the newly insured's plans."

No one disagrees that healthcare costs needed to be addressed, but ObamaCare -- with its expensive mandates and overbearing regulations -- only exacerbates the problem, creating a dangerous atmosphere for patients who have real medical needs that may go unaddressed because they're been priced out of seeking care.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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3 December, 2014

Mayhem's Clueless Enablers

If a column by Georgetown University senior Oliver Friedfeld is any indication, the old bromide, “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged,” no longer applies.

“I Was Mugged and I Understand Why” graced the Nov. 18 issue of university newspaper The Hoya, revisiting Friedfeld’s and his housemate’s experience with a gunpoint mugging the week before. During the incident, Friedfeld was “forced to the floor,” patted down and relieved of his phone.

One would think such an experience would engender a string of emotions including fear, relief and ultimately anger at the thought of being completely vulnerable to thuggery – or far worse. In Friedfeld’s case, one would be completely wrong. Asked by a reporter if he was surprised he was mugged in Georgetown, perhaps the toniest neighborhood in Washington, DC, he was adamant. “Not at all,” Friedfeld replied. “It was so clear to me that we live in the most privileged neighborhood within a city that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal. While we aren’t often confronted by this stark reality west of Rock Creek Park, the economic inequality is very real.”

Friedfeld goes on to cite the statistics he firmly believes were the impetus behind his takedown, noting that Washington is ranked as one of the “most unequal” cities in the nation, where the wealthiest 5% earn approximately 54 times what the poorest 20% do. Yet in Friedfeld’s addled mind, impetus quickly becomes justification:

“What has been most startling to me, even more so than the incident itself, have been the reactions I’ve gotten. I kept hearing ‘thugs,’ ‘criminals’ and ‘bad people.’ While I understand why one might jump to that conclusion, I don’t think this is fair.

"Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. They wanted my stuff, not me. While I don’t know what exactly they needed the money for, I do know that I’ve never once had to think about going out on a Saturday night to mug people. I had never before seen a gun, let alone known where to get one. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld’s own universe is light years removed from common sense. Without any way of knowing, he embraces the “root cause” argument first entertained in the 1960s. It is the one where well-meaning but equally addled people were far more concerned with what drove criminals to perpetrate crimes than the victims who endured them. He simply assumes his two assailants have no support system similar to his own, be it “parents who willingly sat down with me and helped me work through (my struggles in school),” or “countless people who I can turn to for solid advice.”

Those assumptions lead directly to guilt. “Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” Friedfeld explains. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Young Oliver remains willfully oblivious to the reality that he and his housemate were the ones being “otherized” by a couple of young punks looking for a couple of easy marks. Furthermore, he has no idea how lucky he is. While he points to statistics regarding inequality, he fails to note that, according to 2012 FBI data, Washington, DC, had the eighth highest murder rate among cities with a population of 500,000 or more, and that rate increased sharply from 2013 to 2014. Moreover, it is virtually certain that some of those victims were every bit as “okay” as Friedfeld.

He briefly acknowledges reality after speaking with a DC cop who came from “difficult circumstances, and yet had made the decision not to get involved in crime.” But he quickly dismisses that officer as an anomaly, insisting that the decision to steal is tied directly to one’s economic circumstances – as opposed to the moral choices Friedfeld reserves solely for the victims. “As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges,” he concludes. “Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.”

Last week, the entire nation was forced to “get comfortable” with a plethora of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, courtesy of people more than willing to “otherize” vast swaths of that city and its residents. Those rioters, looters and building-burners were driven by an equally contemptible sense of “morality” arising from an equally specious narrative, one that engendered “justified mayhem” as the price to be extracted for the failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the “murder” of “gentle giant” Michael Brown.

It was a price seemingly accepted by Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon, who refused to deploy the National Guard prior to, or during, the initial outbreak of violence, allowing rioters a free hand in the destruction of scores of businesses – the majority of which were minority-owned. It was a move Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder attributed to pressure from the Obama administration, who “leaned on” Nixon to “keep them out.” Kinder insisted, “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in there to stop this before it started.”

The mindset epitomized by Friedfeld’s column might be a good place to look for that reason. It is a mindset that purports itself as enlightened, even as it reeks with the kind of bigotry that maintains certain segments of society cannot possibly be held to the same standards of civilization as everyone else. And not because of their failings, but ours.

Oliver Friedfeld may be willing to take one for the societal team, but one suspects most Americans would pass on the opportunity to trod this particular “path to enlightenment” – or the morgue. As for the violence in Ferguson, we have witnessed scores of young black Americans assuming all the characteristics of a wannabe lynch mob, continuing with the passing out of posters reading “Wanted for Racist Murder” following Wilson’s resignation from the force. If there is a greater historical irony than that, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.

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Income Inequality Is by itself a meaningless statistic

You can show as much or as little of it as you like, just by choosing the group within which you measure it. And even a very rich society within which no-one was poor, could still show large inequalities. Inequality by itself tells you nothing. Most Bangladeshis would probably argue that no-one is poor in the United States.  It all depends on your frame of reference.

By Robert Higgs 

The past year or so has witnessed a tremendous outpouring of commentary about income inequality. Pundits and politicians have huffed and puffed about it, mainly about its alleged evils and what governments should do to diminish it. Mainstream economists have devoted a great deal of attention to dissecting French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a book focused on income inequality—and also a book whose shoddy craftsmanship would have repelled such attention had the book dealt with a different topic.

All of this is unfortunate because it only helps to mislead the public and hence to increase support for pernicious economic policies to deal with a problem that, truth be known, is not even a real human condition, much less one that cries out for political remedy.

Income inequality is a statistical artifact, not a real human condition. As Thomas Szasz might have said, “Show me the lesion.” If you were to conduct autopsies on a random collection of human beings, you would find nothing to show that some of them had lived in societies with a high degree of income inequality and others in societies with a low degree of income inequality. The personal (or family or household) distribution of income is not a human condition. It is only, to repeat, a statistical artifact. It is a measure such as the Gini coefficient for describing the degree of inequality of the values of individual observations in any aggregate of such observations.

The aggregate of the measurement is arbitrary: why, for example, should inequality be measured for the entire U.S. population, rather than for population of the city or state in which one lives, the entire North American population (including Mexico), the entire Western Hemisphere population, or indeed the entire world population? The answer is that the measurement is done for certain political units with an eye to “doing something about” the measured inequality, which is always to say, doing something to reduce it, whatever it now happens to be. Thus, this topic is and always has been a hobbyhorse for socialists and others whose ideologies rest on a psychological foundation of envy, of seeking to justify taking from high-income recipients and giving to low-income recipients.

Income inequality has no necessary connection with poverty, the lack of material resources for a decent life, such as adequate food, shelter, and clothing. A society with great income inequality may have no poor people, and a society with no income inequality may have nothing but poor people. Coercively reducing income inequality by fiscal measures may do nothing to reduce the extent of real poverty and may indeed—to tell the truth, almost certainly will—create incentives that increase the extent of real poverty (and many other social ills).

Probably no subject in the social sciences has created so much unnecessary heat. Yet, at the same time, economists actually know a great deal about it and can dispel the public’s confusion about it if they try. Sad to say, many (such as Piketty) do not try in a competent fashion, but only add to the confusion and feed the already raging fires of envy. These economists are therefore acting as ideologues, rather than economists, in such work.

Twenty years ago I wrote an essay on this subject. Although some of the examples I gave are no longer up to date, the analysis has lost none of its pertinence.

SOURCE

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Who Suffers? Race Riots, Then And Now

They riot and loot because they are allowed to. All blacks must be "respected", no matter what they do.    And who cares about the little-guy businesses that lose the lot?  Pity they tend to be black too

The fire in the streets of Ferguson is reminiscent of the urban riots that burned nearly all major U.S. cities in the 1960s. Black rioters burning down black neighborhoods. Once again, there is a false assertion that the rioting is an expression of outrage against “the system.” Sadly, there has been a lack of police or National Guard protection for the real victims of rioting, then and now: small business owners, including many African American business owners and their employees.

Today’s “warrior cops” are better armed with military gear and riot control training, yet the urban policy remains the same: “it is better to let them loot than shoot.” As long as this is the policy of city leaders, riots will continue whenever there is an excuse for young people to loot pharmacies and liquor stores, torch hair salons or furniture stores and wipe out the livelihoods of their neighbors. We have learned nothing from the well-documented tragedies of the 1960s.

Looting and arson in the 1960s wiped out entire business districts in black neighborhoods. Many riots were precipitated by encounters with police, such as a police raid on an illegal after-hours bar in Detroit — an incident that resulted in the destruction of over 2,000 small businesses and buildings. This cycle played out in cities across the nation resulting in 200 deaths and enormous property damage. The physical and emotional scars of those riots remained decades after the fires expired.

Although police were often, rightly or wrongly, blamed for precipitating conflict with black youth, their role was even more important for what they did not do: protect the business owners and the vast majority of blacks who disapproved of the rioting. In the 1960s, civil leaders ordered police to step aside because they lacked discipline, often shot indiscriminately, and had no understanding of riot control. The pages of business magazines were filled with stories of mom-and-pop business owners having an entire lifetime of work destroyed. Their employees (almost always black) were casualties as well when they lost their jobs. And so the same scene plays out in Ferguson despite years of improvements in crowd control.

After four “long hot summers” of riots (1965-1968), police departments developed SWAT teams trained in controlling them. This time the police were better equipped to respond and protect the businesses that serve the community. Nevertheless, the lack of a National Guard presence, combined with a passive role by the police allowed looters and arsonists to prey on unarmed business owners. The police did not retreat from the area (as they did in the 1992 Rodney King riot) but they lacked the presence to protect property owners.

Rioters did not represent the will of their communities, either then or now. Most of those surveyed in Ferguson would agree with the statement made by community activist Jerry G. Watts after the 1992 Los Angeles riot: “rioting is not a democratic act. … Had the rioters polled their neighbors they may have discovered that the majority of the local residents, who were not participants in the rioting, did not want their neighborhood burned down.”

Small business owners did not kill Michael Brown. Self-employed mothers are not “the system” that “social justice” activists say needs changing. How does one explain to Natalie Debose, African American owner of Natalie’s Cakes and More, that her smashed-up store is the result of pent-up anger directed at police? Debose’s fate is a sad repeat of that experienced by business owners in the 1960s: “This is America?” one elderly woman cried, after witnessing the destruction of her family clothing store in 1968. “My husband and I worked 40 years to build this place and now they’ve gone and taken everything we had.” Debose had just started her cake store but her pain is just as real.

Then and now, let us put faces on the riots: also the gleeful grins of rioters as they pour out of stores with goods, juxtaposed with the crying eyes of business owners who baked cakes, styled hair, and otherwise provided something of value to the community. The eyes of the police, covered by riot masks, look on indifferently to the fates of those victimized. “This is America?” Indeed.

SOURCE

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Tax piranhas never give up

It may not be baseball season, but outfielder Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has signed a 13-year contract for $325 million, reportedly the richest deal in the history of sports, at least in North America. That contract reflects the willingness of baseball fans to plunk down their money to see Stanton play. But as Eben Novy-Williams of Bloomberg news observes, there will be less to the contract than meets the eye.

Federal, state, city and payroll taxes will grab $141 million, a full 43.3 percent of the total, nearly half. Giancarlo Stanton will also pay $8.5 million due to the “jock tax” some states levy on visiting professionals. One of those states is California, which shakes down out-of-state athletes for their “duty days” in the Golden State. Taxing out-of-state athletes like residents reportedly brings in some $100 million a year, including $163,000 alone from a three-day trip by the New York Knicks and $106,000 from the 2006 sojourns of Yankee infielder Alex Rodriguez. This confiscatory activity is not limited to athletes.

The California tax also applies to a blues singer from Chicago, a home-care nurse from Nevada, and a novelist from Montana. An out-of-state salesman earning $50,000 a year, about $200 a day, would owe about 9 percent of that, some $18 a day, to California. These types are not as easy to track as Giancarlo Stanton, but all should be clear that the Pillage People are out to grab as much as they can.

As Dan Walters notes in the Sacramento Bee, some years ago Californian Gilbert Hyatt patented a microchip and moved to Nevada, which has no state income tax, before any royalties came in. California’s Franchise Tax Board pursued Hyatt relentlessly and he sued for harassment, winning a judgment of nearly $500 million. Now 76, he charges that California is taking aim at his estate. So the Pillage People are after everybody, for as much as they can grab, and their quest doesn’t end when the taxpayer dies. Government greed is eternal.

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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2 December, 2014

After Ferguson: no, the US is not ‘congenitally racist’

Following the news that a grand jury had decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for a crime related to the shooting of Michael Brown, many people in Ferguson, Missouri took to the streets to protest and riot. Demonstrations also followed in cities around the US and internationally, including Toronto and London. Protesters carried placards that read ‘Hands up: don’t shoot’ and ‘Black lives matter’.

In the aftermath, Americans expressed a wide range of opinions as to whether justice was carried out, and what Ferguson means for race relations in the country. It seems like the only thing we agree on is that Brown’s death is a tragedy.
America’s race problem

Ferguson cast a spotlight on race in America, and has made clear that this country has a problem. It has been a reminder that, for all of its progress, the US still has unfinished business.

In light of Ferguson, many have noted that blacks are more likely to be killed by police. A ProPublica investigation found that young black males faced a 21 times greater risk of being shot dead by police than whites. Blacks make up 13 per cent of the US population, but 39 per cent of prison inmates. African-Americans are more likely to face longer jail sentences than whites for the same crimes. Behind this disparity in treatment by the police and legal system is a disparity in economic standing: black unemployment is more than twice that for whites, and black poverty is about double that for the US as a whole.

The reaction to the Ferguson shooting itself has revealed that blacks and whites can hold widely divergent views. According to a Pew Research Center survey in August, about two thirds of blacks said the police response in Ferguson went too far, compared to one third of whites. About half of whites said they were confident in the investigation, compared to only 18 per cent of blacks. As President Obama said after the grand jury decision: ‘The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of colour.’ Such distrust is less likely to be found among whites.

Of course, recognition of such differences in views and outcomes between blacks and whites does not, in itself, prove one way or another that traditional racism (with features such as assumed inferiority, thorough social discrimination and a coherent ideology from the top down) is at work. But it does indicate that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

The Brown-Wilson altercation: a faulty prism

Although Ferguson certainly raises important questions, this single event, in itself, was never going to be a useful lens through which to assess the extent of racial discrimination in America.

Supporters of Michael Brown were quick to slot the Ferguson shooting into a narrative about racism, and said this tragedy was symbolic of all that was wrong. Much of the media selected certain evidence and testimony to fit this narrative.

The early reports sought to present Brown as a passive victim, a ‘gentle giant’; but we now know that he was actively engaged, and perhaps hostile, in his altercation with Wilson. The shooting was said to have been unprovoked; but we now know that Brown reached into Wilson’s car and tried to grab his gun. We were told that Brown was shot multiple times in the back; but we now know that was untrue. The most famous detail – Brown putting his hands up, to plead ‘don’t shoot’ – is disputed among eyewitnesses. Do we know everything about the confrontation that day? No, and despite the evidence released by the prosecutor, we may never know the full story. But it is more complicated than the media and campaigners led us to believe.

Writer and Columbia professor John McWhorter, who sympathises with the Ferguson protests, admits ‘I’m not sure that what happened to Michael Brown – and the indictment that did not happen to Officer Darren Wilson – is going to be useful as a rallying cry about police brutality and racism in America’. After describing how the evidence didn’t fit the original narrative, McWhorter says he fears that ‘the facts on this specific incident are too knotted to coax a critical mass of America into seeing a civil rights icon in Brown and an institutionally racist devil in Wilson’. He worries ‘that we have chosen the wrong tragedy to wake this country up,’ and suggests perhaps others – like John Crawford, who was killed for handling a BB gun in an Ohio Wal-Mart – would make a better example.

But maybe the search for single events that can be ‘teachable moments’ that will ‘wake up’ people is misguided. It certainly didn’t work with another would-be symbol, Trayvon Martin, where similarly a simplistic story didn’t hold up after scrutiny. By claiming that one case is a microcosm of a larger problem, there is a temptation to jump to the conclusion that the accused is guilty. And there is a risk it will backfire: the unconvinced might conclude that, if this particular case wasn’t clear-cut racial discrimination, then maybe the campaigners are also exaggerating about the extent of racial inequality. Perhaps it would be better to assume that people can appreciate extended arguments, not just morality tales.

Justice without an indictment?

By the time the grand jury convened, many were already convinced of Wilson’s guilt. Some believed anything less than putting Wilson behind bars would show the system is racist and unjust. This point of view is similar to the one you hear expressed with respect to accusations of rape today: we don’t need to have a trial; we already know the accused is guilty.

In this regard, it is disappointing that the case will not go to trial. A trial would have led to the sifting through of evidence and testimony, held people to cross-examination, and so on. For our public discussion of Ferguson, it would be more transparent and superior to the prosecutor’s dump of materials afterwards.

That’s why I have some sympathy with criticisms of the prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, and how the grand jury operated. This view is not necessarily allied with the ‘we know Wilson is guilty’ crowd; it simply seeks a fair process. As many have pointed out, there were anomalies with this grand-jury process compared with a typical one: it was longer, had more witnesses and evidence, included defendant testimony, and the prosecutor did not recommend a specific charge. It seems pretty clear that McCulloch didn’t think he had a strong case, and took it to the grand jury rather than make a unilateral non-indictment decision, because of the high-profile nature of the case. In providing the full evidence, and releasing it afterwards, McCulloch also seemed to be covering his back.

At the same time, most legal experts I’ve read who have reviewed the materials – with their ambiguous evidence and conflicting accounts – have concluded that it would be hard to imagine that the prosecutor could have proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. It appears that the jurists had grounds to conclude that the case did not rise to a ‘probable cause’ for a trial.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the original principle behind grand juries (leaving aside how they work in practice) is a good one: they are meant to protect the accused from having to endure an unnecessary trial. The aims of public education or soothing community unrest over a controversial case like Ferguson shouldn’t trump an individual defendant’s rights. Perhaps a better demand is to ensure that black defendants have their rights as thoroughly upheld as Darren Wilson did.

It should also be recognised that the absence of a trial and guilty verdict does not make it right. The shooting may not have been a crime, but many would agree that, if the outcome is a dead citizen, then the police have not handled the situation properly. Especially if it’s happening too often across the country.

Furthermore, if you don’t hinge the entire argument on this one case, then the lack of indictment doesn’t mean that there aren’t broader problems of policing and race relations in the US.

The myth of America as irredeemably racist

In response to the grand-jury decision, many seem to want to squeeze events in Ferguson into pre-existing narratives. Some focus only on the rioting and looting, and blame blacks for criminal behaviour. Others believe Ferguson shows an unbroken continuity of racism, in a country built on slavery and Jim Crow.

Such a divide was found in analysis of 200,000 tweets about Ferguson in the run-up to the grand-jury announcement. The most retweeted comment from the ‘red’, or conservative, side was: ‘#Ferguson I would feel safer, any day, to encounter #DarrenWilson on the street, than to meet #MichaelBrown or half of those now protesting!’ From the ‘blue’, or liberal, side, the most popular was: ‘Governor calls State Of Emergency. National Guard waiting. FBI giving warnings. KKK issuing threats. What ’effing year is this? #ferguson.’

As it happens, neither of these views is accurate. Many black Americans face real socioeconomic hurdles. And as black communities are more likely to be at the sharp end of heavyhanded police tactics, they have good reason to distrust law enforcement. Complaints cannot be waved away as victim-mongering or apologies for criminal behaviour.

But the idea that America is irredeemably racist – a view that seems very popular among demonstrators nationwide and internationally – is also wrong. In the aftermath of the Ferguson grand-jury decision, Ta-Nahesi Coates called the US a ‘congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labour, and land’.

This outlook ignores the real progress that has been made. The US is far more tolerant than it was 50 years ago; it takes historical amnesia to think today is anything like the pre-civil rights era. Since that time we’ve seen the creation of a black middle class in the US, and there are now seven black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. There are many more black elected officials than before, including, today, 47 black members of Congress, and of course a black president, which was unimaginable not that long ago. Not enough? Yes, but it hasn’t been one sorry slog of ‘congenital’ racism from the days of slavery to today.

Those who point to Ferguson to argue that America is therefore soaked with prejudice from coast to coast also overlook the specifics in that Missouri town that have made race relations particularly antagonistic. As I have pointed out on spiked before, Ferguson has a distinctive history, shifting from being a predominantly white to predominantly black suburb in recent years, while having a mostly white police force in a mostly black town. For years, poor black people in Ferguson have been routinely harassed by police who charge them with petty offences that produce fines to fill local coffers.

There has also been a notable vacuum of political and community leadership – both white and black – in the area; as one commentator put it: ‘Civil society made up of churches and volunteer groups works with local government, which gets help from the state government, which itself works in concert with and sometimes independent of the federal government. But in Ferguson, nothing seemed to be working. Indeed, the poor local civil society response to Ferguson was one of the reasons why Brown’s tragic death and the subsequent social unrest occurred.’ Ferguson is not one of a kind, especially when it comes to police shootings; but it is not the typical community that black Americans live in either.

The view of America as incorrigibly racist not only ignores history and the local particularities – it is also deeply pessimistic. Indeed, many anti-racists after Ferguson are imbued with fatalism. Writing in the Guardian, Syreeta McFadden sighs: ‘Today, Mike Brown is still dead, and Darren Wilson has not been indicted for his murder. And who among us can say anything but: “I am not surprised”?’

For too many of today’s protesters, racial divisions are not so much the result of specific economic circumstances, state policies or police methods. Instead, disparities are understood to arise from deep-seated prejudice in the hearts of whites, an inability to confess ‘white privilege’, and radically divergent cultural experiences of white and black people. Rather than address specific social improvements, they blame the masses for being inhumane towards blacks, for not believing that ‘black lives matter’. And, of course, if that’s how the problem is conceived, then it is no wonder that the possibility of bridging divisions among races appears hopeless.

Given wider recognition of racial disparities, and the sea change in attitudes in recent decades, there is no need to be pessimistic. Already, a consensus for criminal-justice reforms seems to be emerging between certain Democrats and the more libertarian-minded Republicans like Rand Paul. But progress will take more than reforms.

The only way to break through the current impasse is to embark on rip-roaring economic growth and transformation that will open up opportunities for working people of all colours. Both blacks and whites would benefit from more jobs, better education, better homes – not just as a way of improving living standards, but as a way of delivering a greater sense of autonomy, too. But unfortunately we don’t see a lot of leadership and big ideas for growth today (if anything, we’re more likely to see the brakes being put on growth in the name of ‘sustainability’).

Indeed, too much of today’s race discussion takes for granted that we must make do with a stagnant, rather than dynamic, economy and society. That backdrop is why the discussion often displays an inward, self-flagellating quality: it ends up being a zero-sum fight over scarce resources, and a blame game for why we don’t get along.

SOURCE

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The Truth About Thanksgiving

Ben Shapiro takes a look at the true story of Thanksgiving – not the multiculturalism and socialism pushed by leftists every November

Every Thanksgiving we are treated to the usual dumbed down version of the Thanksgiving story: white Europeans landed in America fleeing religious persecution, were too dumb to farm, and relied on the wise Native Americans to help them. Then they had a meal together and learned to share, after which the white Europeans genocided the Native Americans. Let’s watch some football!

The whole story is much more interesting. And it’s also not particularly friendly to leftists.

The Puritans who came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower weren’t emissaries of religious tolerance. They actually left liberal Holland to push for “the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith,” as it says right in the Mayflower compact. Turns out that Christianity was more important than multiculturalism to the heroes of Plymouth Rock.

And Christianity, not multiculturalism, saved the Puritans. The first winter, half the new settlers died. That was because of drought and plague, and failure to understand the crops. Then Squanto showed up.

Squanto wasn’t just a Native American refugee from the Disney movie Pocahontas. He was a Christian. Apparently, Squanto was just a boy when he met the English for the first time – he was captured and sent back to England for training as a guide. In 1614, he returned to America with John Smith – but he was then kidnapped again by one of Smith’s men, sent back to Spain, and sold into slavery.

Spanish monks bought him and taught him Christianity. He somehow ended up in England, and earned the respect of an Englishman who paid for his passage back to the New World. In 1619, Squanto went home.  But by the time he got back, his entire village had been killed by disease.

One year later, the Pilgrims showed up, settling in Squanto’s devastated village. Governor William Bradford wrote that Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good…[he] never left us till he died.”

It was Christian Squanto, not “native Americans” generally, who taught the Pilgrims how to farm.

With Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621. When he died one year later, he asked Bradford to pray for him so that he could “go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.”  But that wasn’t the end of the story, either.

The Pilgrims had set up a massive obstacle for themselves: their idea of a religious utopia was a giant commune. And like all communist organizations, it failed spectacularly.

Governor William Bradford wrote: “The failure of that experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men, proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times – that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God…community of property was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit.”

Both men and women refused to work. Stealing became rampant.

So, what did the Puritans do? Bradford described it: in 1623, after the first Thanksgiving, they trashed the system: “The Governor, with the advice of the chief among them, allowed each man to plant corn for his own household…So every family was assigned a parcel of land. This was very successful.”

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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1 December, 2014

There is NO American Dream?

Gregory Clark is very good at both social history and economic history.  His latest work, however, leans on what I see as a very weak reed.  He finds surnames that are associated with wealth and tracks those surnames down the generations.  And he finds that in later generations those surnames continue to be associated with wealth. 

That is all well and good but he is using only a very small sampling of the population so can tell us nothing about the society at large.  The well-known effect of a man making a lot of money only for his grandchildren to blow the lot is not captured by his methods. 

So if the American dream consists of raising up a whole new lineage of wealth, we can agree that such a raising up is rare, though not unknown.  But if we see the American Dream as just one man "making it" (regardless of what his descendants do) Clark has nothing to tell us about it.  And I think that latter version of the dream is the usual one.

But his findings that SOME lineages stay wealthy is an interesting one.  And he explains it well.  He says (to simplify a little) that what is inherited is not wealth but IQ.  As Charles Murray showed some years back, smarter people tend to be richer and tend to marry other smart people.  So their descendant stay smart and smart people are mostly smart about money too.

And note that although IQ is about two thirds genetically inherited, genetic inheritance can throw up surprises at times.  I once for instance knew two brown-haired parents who had three red-headed kids.  The hair was still genetically inherited (there would have been redheads among their ancestors), but just WHICH genes you get out of the parental pool when you are conceived seems to be random.  So you do get the phenomenon of two ordinary people having a very bright child.  And that child can do very well in various ways -- monetary and otherwise.  I was such a child.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It has powered the hopes and dreams of U.S. citizens for generations.  But the American Dream does not actually exist, according to one economics professor.

Gregory Clark, who works at the University of California, Davis, claims the national ethos is simply an illusion and that social mobility in the country is no higher than in the rest of the world.

'America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden,' he said. 'That’s the most difficult part of talking about social mobility - it's shattering people's dreams.'

After studying figures from the past 100 years and applying a formula to them, Mr Clark concluded that disadvantaged Americans will not be granted more opportunities if they are hard-working.

Instead, they will be stuck in their social status for the rest of their lives - and their position will, in turn, affect the statuses of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he said.

'The United States is not exceptional in its rates of social mobility,' the professor wrote in an essay published by the Council on Foreign Relations.  'It can perform no special alchemy on the disadvantaged populations of any society in order to transform their life opportunities.'

Speaking to CBS Sacramento, he added: 'The status of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren will be quite closely related to your average status now.'

However, not all of Mr Clark's students agree with his findings, with some pointing out that although parents' wealth has an effect on a child's life, 'it is not the ultimate deciding factor'.

 SOURCE.  More HERE.

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Does ambien make a sleepwalking criminal out of you?

I took some of this stuff for a little while and I don't believe the claims below.  When millions of people are taking the stuff a small percentage of them will be sleepwalkers (with or without the pill).  And that is all we see, I think.  There doesn't even seem to be a proper epidemiological study below.  It is just anecdote piled on anecdote.  As far as I can see, Zolpidem is just a whipping-boy for faults that lie elsewhere.  It is just a convenient scapegoat for various unknowns.  After all it is made by a DRUG COMPANY and they make PROFITS!  Unforgiveable!

Sleeping pills taken by celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Tiger Woods – and prescribed widely in Britain – could be to blame for numerous cases of dangerous and even criminal behaviour.

Zolpidem [Ambien; Stilnox], which is handed out to 750,000 NHS patients seeking treatment for insomnia each year, has been found to be a factor in dozens of instances of people breaking the law while sleeping.

They include 43 instances of driving, nine rapes, eight assaults, ten murders or manslaughters, and burglaries – all of which were claimed to have been carried out while the perpetrator was apparently asleep. In most cases they also had no memory of the event.

Neurologist Professor Mark Mahowald, of Sleep Forensic Associates, a US-based organisation of doctors who help those who break the law while still asleep, says: ‘It appears that one part of the brain responsible for complex activities, like driving or cooking, is awake, while another, involved in memory, is not.

Numerous studies have reported rare instances of patients driving, eating, making telephone calls and even having sex while under the influence of the medication.

One report, by doctors at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, claimed that up to one per cent of patients had a sleep-eating problem after taking the sedative. The only clues to their nocturnal feasting were morning leftovers and crumbs in the bed [Handy to blame snacking on Zolpidem}.

Patients being prescribed Zolpidem are already warned that changes in sleep behaviour, including sleepwalking, are a possible side effect, but this is the first time data on criminal behaviour linked to the drug has been comprehensively collected.

Mild and fleeting, so-called confusional arousals, such as waking up in a hotel room with no idea where you are, are common, especially in people who are over-tired.

Some researchers say the events seen in users of the drug occur during these arousals, and point out that no drug has ever been shown in laboratory studies to cause sleepwalking, a phenomenon that happens when the cortex is asleep but areas of the brain concerned with movement are active.

SOURCE

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Countering the Big Lie

There was a time during one of the so-called intifadas (forgive me for not remembering if it was the first, second, or in-between; all that savagery and murder runs together seamlessly in my head these days) that the Palestinians claimed that the Jews had no connection at all to Jerusalem, or the land of Israel. A statement like that, similar to denying the Holocaust, is so insane it leaves one sputtering in wordless confusion. It’s like being asked to prove you aren’t dead.

Were we not living in a world unspeakably degraded by dumbed-down college programs, propaganda pamphlets parading as newspapers, and the general degradation of moral and intellectual levels in every strata of society all over the world, such lies could be ignored. Given the reality, we ignore it at our peril.

Palestinian big lies seem to be gaining more, not less, steam. According to David Meir Levi in his book History Upside Down, Arafat, a puppet of the KGB, was taught these skills by the Communists: “Using Soviet methods, Arafat reframed attacks on the Jews that had been ongoing since the 1920s motivated by religious obligations of jihad, as secular nationalism motivated by a quest for political self- determination.”

Since then, the Arabs have never attacked the Jews – they have always ‘resisted them.’ General Giap [Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist] told Arafat that: “the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: ‘Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.’”

Similarly, Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of Romanian intelligence who defected to the West, wrote: “In March 1978, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. ‘You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel – over, and over, and over,’ Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time…”

Another propaganda tool Palestinian leadership learned from the Soviets was “turnspeak,” i.e., disseminating information that is the exact opposite of truth. It was a tool used to great effect by Adolf Hitler to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia: Whose fault was it that Hitler had to invade? Why, the Czechs of course, who were trying to provoke a regional war by attempting to claim their land as their own.

You will hear the same claims now being made against Israel by its American “friends” for daring to build in its capital, Jerusalem. “Israelis don’t want peace,” the State Department under Muslim-sympathizer Barack Hussein Obama is now claiming, shaking its finger.

Winston, the hero of George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984, is employed changing history by changing old newspaper records to match the new truth as decided by the Party, whose slogan is “He who controls the past, controls the future.” It’s a method Palestinian leadership has perfected.

The Israeli government, and many of its politicians, have never understood this, and in their ignorance have allowed these big lies to gain momentum without any credible challenge. Thankfully, private individuals whose passion for truth and love for Israel burns brightly have tried to take up the slack. One of them is Gloria Z. Greenfield, a documentarian and filmmaker who has dedicated her life to combatting these lies with her passionate, skillful films. Greenfield’s latest documentary “Body and Soul” premiered at the Begin Center on October 20.

Like her previous films, “The Case for Israel, Democracy’s Outpost” and “Unmasked Judeophobia,” this third offering presents the Jewish case to the world through the arguments of eminent men and women scholars, and through photographs and illustrations, trying to explain what even a generation ago would have needed no explanation, i.e., that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined and have been for more than three thousand years.

While the film may not convince those brainwashed to ignore historical fact, it will certainly help most normal people to understand the connection between the Jewish people, the Torah, and the Land of Israel, all three being fundamental pillars of our faith and our identity as Jews. Some might deride that as preaching to the converted, but what I always tell people who use that expression is that even the most pro-Israel person needs to be shored up and strengthened against the gale winds of hatred and disinformation blowing our way these days.

The panel discussion after the film was in itself a truly memorable event. Exquisitely moderated by the inimitable Melanie Phillips, British author, journalist and incomparable defender of the Jewish State and her people, whose sharp wit and brilliant grasp of the facts have punctured the hot air balloons of many a jihadi sympathizer, the panel consisted of Professor Eugene Kontorovich, expert in International Law, Yoram Hazony, Shalem Center Founder and president of the Herzl Foundation, and Professor Robert Wistrich, holder of the Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1989, described by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism as “the leading scholar in the field of antisemitism study.”

According to Dr. Kontorovich, after World War I the old Ottoman Empire, which comprised the Middle East, was divided up into mandates that were to be helped to independence. The Jews were to be given the Mandate of Palestine. Well so far so good, you’ll say, you know this. Yes, but what you don’t know is that the international law hasn’t changed. If the mandate that created Israel is no longer legal (and that mandate included all of the West Bank and Jordan and all of Gaza) then the mandates that created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen are also invalid.

Unlike our long-held assumption that it was the U.N. vote on the partition that created Israel, it was the League of Nations mandate. The U.N. partition plan merely gave 77% of the Mandate land meant for the Jewish State to Palestinians, creating Jordan. So why was there dancing in the streets of Israel? Kontorovich calls it “Jewish joy,” at being left anything at all.

As for the West Bank, Jordan’s occupation prior to 1967 was illegal under international law which operates under the premise of “stability of borders.” Thus, Kontorovich explained, even though Crimea is filled with ethnic Russians, and was handed over to the Ukraine in a completely arbitrary and dysfunctional way, still International Law decrees that Crimea belongs to the Ukraine now.

Through this looking glass, the claims of Palestinians that the land of Israel should belong to them because of their ethnicity has no validity under International Law. All borders in the present Middle East were created the same way. To claim Israel has no rights to her land, would mean that neither does any other country in the Middle East.

Yoram Hazony made it clear what narrative we Jews must promote to overcome the lies. “Our story must not be defensive …The book connects the land to the people,” he states, reminding us how even the secular Zionist founders of Israel studied the Bible. “AIPAC needs to say this out loud. Birthright needs to say it out loud …Our Bible has been vilified. German academics said it was full of religious nonsense …Our book gave so much light to the world …We need to respect our Book and ourselves, and to stop apologizing for who and what we are.”

Melanie Phillips summed it up: “Palestinians were given a fictional national identity, a national identity invented solely for the purpose of destroying a true one … Many people subscribe to this mad narrative who are not irrational or haters of Jews, but believe in justice. They believe lies, that illegality is law. Many millions have been fed a big lie.”

This lie is two-fold: that the Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel prior to 1948, and that Judaism is unconnected to Israel-Zionism. It will not be easy, but every one of us must do what we can, in every way we can, to counter those lies. Promoting Gloria Greenfield’s film “Body and Soul” is a good start.

SOURCE

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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them.

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His excellent short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.


MYTH BUSTING:


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Two examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course



R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"



IN BRIEF:

The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY HAS DONE MORE TO IMPEDE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THAN ANY ONE THING KNOWN TO MANKIND -- ROUSSEAU

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."



The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"


Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean


It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out



JEWS AND ISRAEL

The Bible is an Israeli book

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope


ABOUT

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation


My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way




Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
"Paralipomena 3"
Western Heart
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.
"Paralipomena 2"
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)



Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)



Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/42197/20121106-1520/jonjayray.comuv.com/