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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15 January, 2016

The case for isolationism

Isolationism was the traditional stance of American conservatives.  America was led into WWI, Korea and Vietnam by Democrat Presidents, even though America had not been attacked. And it has long been held that FDR provoked an attack from Japan in order to take America into WWII.  Conservatives held that America should go to war only if America had been directly attacked -- which explains the invasion of Iraq under GWB.   Economic historian Martin Hutchinson draws on history to make a case below for a revival of isolationism

Saudi Arabia and Iran lurched into a dangerous situation last week, with Saudi Arabia executing a Shia cleric and Iranian militants the attacking the Saudi embassy, which has now been closed. The United States is inevitably involved, with troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet it's difficult to see what vital U.S. interests are at stake, now that fracking has made the country more or less independent of the Middle East as a source of energy. Isolationism is used as a term of abuse in U.S. politics, but may well represent the best way of protecting U.S. interests in a difficult world.

The term "isolationism" got a bad reputation in U.S. politics in 1939-41, when those fearing another world war failed to take a stand against the threats of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Once war came, the isolationists' reputation was destroyed, as was that of the British "appeasers" who had similarly attempted to keep the country out of the coming inferno in 1936-39. Yet the stance of both isolationists and appeasers was at least arguable, and the mess of the late 1930s was a unique one, caused by huge policy errors in previous decades.

The century of Pax Britannica showed examples in both directions on the question of isolationism. At one extreme, Robert, Lord Salisbury, late in the century, coined the term "splendid isolation" and used it to describe a policy in which Britain had no strong attachments on the Continent of Europe, and acted purely defensively to defend its gigantic empire. Since the country also pursued a policy of unilateral free trade, its isolationism was at the same time internationalist; there were no tariff or other barriers cutting off Imperial markets from foreign competition, or favoring British goods.

Britain's abandonment of Salisbury's isolation proved fatal. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, quite strongly pro-British but an unstable personality, feared above all else the encirclement of Germany by her enemies. The 1907 Triple Entente, by which Britain aligned with France and Russia and held secret (from the British Cabinet, but not from the Kaiser, whose spies were typically efficient) military conversations on how to resist a German attack on France, convinced the Kaiser and the belligerent German military brass that encirclement was happening and that Germany should act before Russian strength was built up. Hence the disaster of 1914.

At the other extreme, Henry, Lord Palmerston in 1850 propounded the principle of "Civis Romanus sum" by which "As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say "Civis Romanus sum," so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him from injustice and wrong." In practice, the manic interventionism to which this policy would have led was rejected by the House of Lords at the time and was scaled back by Palmerston himself in 1863-64, when he failed to protect Denmark's Schleswig-Holstein against the advances of the powerful Prussia.

The originators of the two streams of British 19th Century foreign policy were Robert, Lord Castlereagh and George Canning, in the years after 1815. Castlereagh sought to preserve good relations with the major powers and to intervene only on a multilateral basis, when the good order of Europe was threatened, and then only to prop up existing regimes (under the principles of the 1820 Troppau Protocol.) Canning went to the other extreme; he dissolved Castlereagh's relations with the major "autocratic" powers of Europe and meddled in liberation movements in South America and Greece, seeking to impose British ideas of free institutions on polities that lacked the preconditions for them.

Turning from this discussion of the 19th century to the problems of the 21st, it is immediately clear that the United States is not currently in anything like as strong an economic, political or moral position as was Palmerston's Britain for a few short years around 1850. In the 1990s, when the U.S. economy was at its peak of innovation and success, it enjoyed the same global position as did Britain's economy in the peak years of the Industrial Revolution around 1850, when its industrial output, built up by innovation and successful policies in the years since 1815, was many times that of its competitors. Morally also, the U.S. in the 1990s like Britain in 1850 enjoyed the prestige of victory in a global war (albeit a "cold" one). Further, as with Britain in 1850 it appeared that rival powers were both generally friendly and much more limited than itself in geopolitical potential.

Today, the U.S. economic, political and military position is much closer to the declining and threatened global position that Britain occupied in the 1890s under Salisbury. Industrial supremacy, so effortless in the U.S. in 1999 and in Britain in 1850, has been threatened by poor subsequent policies (unilateral free trade in Victorian Britain, over-regulation and both monetary and fiscal folly in today's U.S.) New economic and geopolitical rivals have sprung up or turned more hostile: Germany, Russia and the United States for 1890s Britain; China, Russia, India and ISIS for today's U.S.

Just as Palmerston himself discovered after 1860 that unlimited interventionism was too expensive and indeed reckless a strategy for the no longer invincible Britain to follow, so today the United States is reassessing its foreign policy in the light of new threats and diminished power. It is no longer possible to follow the "Civis Romanus Sum" approach, in which like George Canning's Britain and George W. Bush's U.S., the country plunged into difficult situations worldwide under the na‹ve belief that insults to British/U.S. interests should always be avenged, while British or U.S. values and political structures could easily be imposed on different cultures.

Instead an approach like Salisbury's is much more appropriate. Under this approach, the U.S. would remain in isolation, splendid or otherwise, avoiding as far as possible all military entanglements and with no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, preserving its moderate strength and economic power while other countries perhaps dissipate theirs in fruitless adventures. The difficulty in Salisbury's isolation is that it was not permanent and it gave Britain a false sense of security while the country persisted with unilateral free trade and its power, economic and otherwise, steadily diminished even as events like the Diamond Jubilee regatta proclaimed its supremacy to the world. Eventually, when Britain was faced with its first real military test in the Boer War, its decline became evident to its competitors. British policymakers' chosen solution to this problem, the Triple Entente, was disastrous, but after the Boer War even if Salisbury had lived Britain would have been very vulnerable to an attack by a combination of its competitors.

For Britain, the correct policy after Salisbury came to power in 1885 would have been that proposed by Joseph Chamberlain in 1903 and finally implemented by his son Neville in 1932: one of Imperial Preference, in which a modest common tariff among Britain's Empire and Dominions would have provided a modest blockade against tariff-protected foreign imports and a large enough market for British heavy industry to achieve economies of scale to achieve optimal economies of scale. By such a means, Britain's relative industrial decline could have been reversed and its strength preserved for the challenges of the 20th Century.

Similarly for the United States today a policy of isolation must thus be combined with a rectification of the economic mistakes that have caused U.S. economic power to diminish so sadly since the 1990s. The jungle of over-regulation, which has reduced U.S. productivity growth from 2.8% per annum in 1948-73 to 0.6% in 2011-15, must be slashed back with the most draconian of machetes, or preferably torched. The fiscal deficits must be eliminated; they have caused U.S. public debt to soar and its financial position to become vulnerable to any rise in interest rates. Immigration, both legal and illegal, must be reduced to a level which the economy can easily absorb, and skewed towards the higher-skill labor that adds value to the economy. Above all, the insane policy of negative real interest rates must be reversed, so that U.S. savings can once again recover, the country's elderly have a sufficiency to retire on, its young people be weaned off state welfare and loan schemes, and its small businesses capitalized as they should be with accumulated private savings.

Salisbury recognized in 1885 that Britain's relative power had diminished sufficiently so that, while the country's military strength should be rebuilt after the depredations of Gladstonian economy, it could no longer afford to intervene, whether to promote British values or otherwise. Had he possessed the political power to rebuild Britain's economic strength at the same time (he was dependent on the free-trading votes of the Liberal Unionists), his successors might not have felt forced to enter into fatally entangling alliances with other powers.

Similarly, a wise U.S. administration will disentangle itself from the Middle East (in which the energy self-sufficient U.S. has no vital interests) and will rectify its economic errors to rebuild its power. Otherwise, within the next decade or so it will find itself so economically and militarily enfeebled that it will feel forced to enter into an entangling alliance - at which point a new and even more devastating 1914 will most likely be only a few years away.

Isolation may not be splendid, but it is sometimes necessary. The U.S. no longer has the strength to pursue an interventionist policy effectively, and should learn from its own 21st Century follies and Britain's 19th Cen

SOURCE

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Potential for new border crisis prompted immigrant raids

Clinton Opposes Obama's Immigration Policies

A spike in families and children arriving at the US southern border from Central America has prompted fears of another crisis like the one that dominated national news during the summer of 2014. That could roil an already tumultuous presidential race, giving more momentum to Republican front-runner Donald Trump while creating problems for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

The number of Central American families and unaccompanied minors arriving at the border this fall more than doubled from the year before, according to the most recent figures. The numbers could go even higher beginning in February and early spring, when arrivals traditionally increase, potentially eclipsing the levels that produced the 2014 crisis.

Such concerns helped prompt the Department of Homeland Security, with the close involvement of the White House, to initiate crackdowns on migrants in several states over the holidays, picking up 121 people for deportation. In some instances, people were detained during surprise early morning home raids that have infuriated the president's Democratic allies.

Clinton broke with Obama on the issue at an Iowa forum Monday night, calling for an end to the raids that she said "have sown fear and division in immigrant communities across the country."

"We have laws and we must be guided by those laws, but we shouldn't have armed federal officers showing up at people's homes, taking women and children out of their beds in the middle of the night," she said in a statement.

Such images remain vivid to policymakers, and avoiding a repeat is a priority. This time it would come in the middle of a presidential campaign where immigration is already a fraught topic, with Trump insisting he would deport everyone here illegally while senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida exchange barbs about who has the stronger record on this issue.

And officials defend the controversial raids, which have been denounced by the other Democratic presidential candidates in addition to Clinton while drawing praise from Trump, who also took credit for them. Although Democrats question whether such crackdowns will deter desperate women and children, White House officials said the tactics are in line with new deportation policies outlined by the Obama administration that prioritize criminals and recent arrivals. All those targeted had arrived after 2014 and had exhausted their legal options.

"Our desire to make clear that individuals should not embark on the dangerous journey from Central America to the Southwest border, that's a case that we've tried to tell in a variety of ways," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

"It was only after individuals had exhausted the legal remedies available to them . . . was a decision made to remove them," he said.

Several of the detention raids were conducted in Georgia, and stories are circulating about immigration officials banging on doors and rounding up families.

"People are very confused; they don't know what's going on," Nicholls said. "We are not happy with Obama."

Obama himself had pleased many Latinos by issuing executive actions in 2014 sparing millions from deportation, though that plan is now being challenged in court. It was a turnaround after he was labeled "deporter-in-chief" earlier in his administration for presiding over record removals, seen as an effort, ultimately unsuccessful, to win over Republicans to enact comprehensive immigration legislation.

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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 January, 2016

Satirical site debunks Snopes.com

I have over the years had various gripes with the Leftward lean of Snopes.com (e.g. here and   here and   here and   here).  They do a useful job of debunking myths, hoaxes and legends but they are far too quick to brand something favorable to conservatives as either false or undetermined.  They even have their own contemptuous word for a sentimental story favorable to conservatives.  They call it a "glurge".

So I was delighted to read the latest from The People's Cube -- a well-known satirical site run by Oleg Atbashian, a former Soviet citizen. And with that background it is easy to understand that Oleg skewers Leftism savagely.  I read most of his posts and have occasionally quoted them.

The gist of his latest is that Snopes have apparently taken some of his posts seriously.  Although his posts are perfectly transparent (they would not be good satire otherwise) they fooled the humorless Leftists running Snopes!  Talk about being hoist with your own petard!  Snopes did however eventually  wake up but continued their debunking of Oleg's "dangerous" humor.  For a while they gave the People's Cube as the source of the story but now they give no source at all.  The whole thing has tickled Oleg's funnybone and below is an excerpt fom his latest post in which he half-seriously lists his gripes with Snopes:


Snopes falsely described us as "a clickbait web site known for spreading malware," which is slanderous misinformation.

While our satire was clearly a response to Zakaria's asinine article gloating over the premature deaths of white males, which we extrapolated to the extermination of white females through Jihad, rape, and sex slavery, the Snopes's "debunking" omits this point entirely, stating only that "There was nothing to the report" and that "it was just another fake news item that apparently originated with a clickbait web site known for spreading malware."

At the very bottom of the page, however, the Snopes article is tagged as "satire" and "The People's Cube," while none of these words appear in the body of the article, which is what most people will read. Thus, Snopes was well aware that this was satire and who the author was, but it knowingly withheld this information from its readers, which is called "intentional misleading."

For a self-described fact-checking website that claims to be "the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation," such biased, slanderous, and intentionally misleading misinformation constitutes malpractice, as it violates public trust.

In addition to being unprofessional, slanderous, and misleading, this under-debunking was also plain stupid: if you want to lie about something, at least make sure you flush the evidence and wash your hands afterwards.

The author of the article is listed as one Jeff Zarronandia, "an American author and journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for numismatics in 2006 and was one of four finalists for the prize in 2008. He was also the winner of the Distinguished Conflagration Award of the American Society of Muleskinners for 2005."

While this is obviously an attempt at a joke, this joker seems to deny the right to a joke to others. Besides, the very idea of listing made-up prizes, awards, and societies as his credentials on a fact-checking resource surpasses unprofessionalism and approaches imbecility. Perhaps Snopes should do some fact-checking on its authors before it attempts fact-checking satirical fiction.

SOURCE

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Donald Trump's big tent

The GOP should stop fooling itself. Trump is reaching more than just undereducated, angry white men

Republicans explain away their unwelcome poll-leader by dismissing his supporters as a loud but narrow network of angry white men and celebrity chasers.

It's not true. A POLITICO review of private and public polling data and interviews with GOP pollsters shows a coalition that certainly begins with conservative, blue-collar men now extends to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration.

Indeed, the uncomfortable truth, for the pundits and fellow Republicans who turned their noses up at Trump, is that his appeal has spread over seven months so far beyond a rabble-rousing, anti-establishment rump to encompass the very elements of the American electorate the GOP has been eager to reach. And while it's no majority, it's a bigger group than anything the rest of the fragmented Republican field has galvanized.

"His coalition is not all angry working white males," said Adrian Gray, a Republican pollster. "It's all stripes. It's a pretty big coalition. And among other demographics where he's doing worse, he's still leading or in the top two."

Certainly, non-college-educated men have formed his base. Every one of 10 recent Iowa, New Hampshire, and national polls of Republicans shows Trump with more male support than female support and significantly more support from non-college graduates than those with degrees.

Trump's robust performance with this group, however, has deflected attention from the breadth of his coalition. Though Trump has less support with women and educated men, he's still at or near the top of the GOP field in those categories. And, exposing the depth of the GOP establishment's misunderstanding of Trump's support network, his coalition includes far-right conservatives as well as people who hardly register on Republican radar.

Trump's supporters skewed significantly against the GOP grain on abortion, for instance, in an internal poll of Iowa caucus-goers conducted for a rival presidential contender last summer. Respondents who identified themselves as "pro-choice" were three times more likely than "pro-life" voters to support Trump, according to a Republican strategist with knowledge of the survey.

One large dataset shows Trump excelling above all with voters who call themselves Republicans even though they aren't officially registered as Republicans.

Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm founded by veterans of President Barack Obama's campaigns, built a model based on over 11,000 phone interviews with self-identified Republicans in 2015, part of a wider polling project. The data, first reported by The New York Times, shows Trump getting the support of 29 percent of registered Republicans but 36 percent of registered independents and 43 percent of registered Democrats, who in some states can still participate in GOP primaries.

The Civis data projects Trump's support by congressional district, showing that Trump is especially strong in the rare pockets of the country where Obama performed worse while winning the 2008 presidential election than John Kerry did while losing in 2004, according to a POLITICO analysis.

In the Civis' model, Trump runs ahead of his 33-percent national average in 30 of the 40 districts where Kerry matched or exceeded Obama's performance, even though Obama ran about 5 points ahead of Kerry nationally.

Those districts are largely contained in a band running through Appalachia, from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, and then across the Deep South to Arkansas and Oklahoma. Once Democratic strongholds, voters there have sloughed off the party in recent decades - a trend that accelerated rapidly under Obama. Now, Trump is giving a voice to some of their protectionist concerns about immigration and trade.

"Essentially, the old base of the Democratic Party, non-college whites in the Midwest and Appalachia, have been cut loose and are floating like an iceberg in the middle of the electorate," said one Republican strategist supporting another presidential candidate. "And they've glommed onto the Republicans because it's a two-party system. But they have no affection for the Republican Party as an institution."

Now, they form a key piece of the Trump puzzle.

The pro-Trump crowd's varied background is matched by equally diverse reasons for supporting him. But even though it has faded in intensity as an issue since Trump burst on the political scene this summer with an incendiary announcement speech, immigration is still driving a core base of voters into Trump's camp.

In WBUR's most recent poll of the New Hampshire primary, Trump's favorability numbers jumped from 46 percent overall to 62 percent among those who said that illegal immigration posed a "major threat" to "you and people you know." While 27 percent of all respondents said they plan to vote for Trump in New Hampshire's February primary, his support rose to 35 percent among the GOP voters most concerned about immigration.

In Iowa, where Cruz has caught or even surpassed Trump in many recent Republican caucus polls, Trump still maintained a double-digit lead over Cruz among "immigration voters" in the most recent Quinnipiac University survey there. Among everyone in the poll, though, the two were essentially tied (28 percent for Cruz to 27 percent for Trump).

"There's a segment of the population, white working middle-aged men, that has felt three big changes in America - globalization, technology, and demographics - that are changing everything we do on a daily basis," said Gray. "In a lot of ways, this group has felt left behind by each of those."

But "even people above the median income feel insecure, sometimes financially insecure because of these changes," Gray continued. "That's what builds the coalition beyond low-income and downscale."

Trump also runs particularly well with people looking for a "strong leader." While Cruz dominated among Quinnipiac poll respondents in Iowa who wanted a candidate who "shares your values," Trump got 40 percent of those looking for a strong leader. Fox News' most recent Iowa poll showed Trump getting 39 percent of those voters, too.

Focus groups of GOP voters help explain how and why. One such exercise, conducted by Data Targeting, a GOP consulting firm in Florida, recently interviewed a uniformly downcast group of Republicans about the direction of the country and its government. Two gave replies of "stagnant" when asked to describe it. Other replies included "mess," "weak," and "bought."

The focus group illustrated how some typical political responses to government dysfunction have lost currency, opening a door into the presidential campaign that Trump barged through. When one participant said, "Democrats and Republicans need to work together," another immediately replied, "That's my worst nightmare!" "They're all puppets," another participant chimed in.

"Nearly every candidate running on the Republican side has made an effort to present themselves as not of Washington," said Jim Hobart, a Republican pollster. "No one has a more credible message on that than Donald Trump. When he says it, it's really true. It's tough to out-anti-Washington Donald Trump."

This makes for an uncomfortable truth for the GOP. But there's enough discomfort to go around. For Trump's camp, it's unclear just how many of his supporters will actually cast a ballot for him - or anyone else - when caucuses and primaries finally begin next month.

Almost uniformly, GOP political professionals have discounted Trump's chances of turning the full measure of his support into actual primary and caucus votes, and later delegates to the Republican National Convention. Public polls, they argue, are vastly oversampling nonvoters caught up in the mania surrounding Trump, distorting the picture of a more traditional Republican electorate that does not back him as heavily.

"It's one thing to have support from people in all these different groups," said Mark Stephenson, a Republican data and analytics expert who was the chief data officer on Scott Walker's presidential campaign. "It really is another thing to turn them into a Trump voter, or especially a Trump caucus-goer, on election night."

Trump's most natural supporters are some of the people most disillusioned with politics. In the run-up to the 2014 elections, the Pew Research Center asked a broad group of Americans to rate their financial security on a sliding scale. As whites fall from the highest levels of financial security to the lowest levels, their support for Republican candidates plummeted from 51 percent to 21 percent. (Democrats' support stayed constant around one-third.)

The remainder shifted almost fully into the "other/not sure" category, rather than moving into the Democratic column. Nearly all said they did not plan to vote that year. Trump's candidacy may have activated a group of them, but converting them into voters remains difficult.

Meanwhile, the Civis Analytics data showing Trump at his strongest with registered voters who are not registered Republicans won't be a barrier in every state primary, but it is a real obstacle nevertheless, starting in the first caucus state of Iowa. Only a small number of first-time participants usually join every four years, though Trump's campaign is aiming to drive a generation of first-time caucus-goers and GOP primary voters into the process starting this February.

In a recent survey conducted for a different presidential campaign, Trump still ran ahead of Ted Cruz in Iowa - but only among voters who both could caucus in 2016 and have never actually shown up to one before. Past Republican caucus-goers, on the other hand, gave Cruz a solid first-place finish. One reason Trump's polling lead in New Hampshire has proven more durable is that the state has an open primary system, instead of Iowa's closed (and complicated) caucus.

Trump has been overcoming supposedly insurmountable obstacles since his presidential campaign began. But now that he has amassed these supporters, converting them from Trump fans into Trump voters may be the biggest one yet.

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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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13 January, 2016

Fascism in America



Mussolini prophesied that the 20th century would be the century of Fascism -- and libertarians believe that came true.  Fascism was just a Leftist sect and modern-day Leftists have put a straitjacket on what Americans can and must do that is very reminiscent of what Mussolini did.  And the picture above symbolizes that.  It is of course a picture of the platform in the House of Representatives from which Obama will give his State of the Union address imminently.

Note that there are Roman Fasces (bundles of rods) on either side of the picture.  Mussolini too used that symbolism, which is why his political party came to be called the Fascist party.  Obama is as Fascist as any democratic leader today in his endeavour to rule like a king so it is very fitting that he will deliver his speech between two Fasces.

Background on Italian and American Fascism here and here.

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Uproar on Trump's Muslim ban; silence on Abbas's Jewish ban

A major uproar exploded across the political scene recently when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Conversely, there has been a remarkable, deafening silence on the official position proclaimed by Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas: "If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won't agree to the presence of one Israeli in it."

"Israeli," of course, means "Jew." Abbas has no problem with Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship living in a Palestinian state. This is purely a racist policy aimed at ensuring the absence of Jews, because they are Jews. And Abbas is in power; Trump is not, so Abbas's statement has real meaning.

This Palestinian policy has been reiterated by senior figures like PA top negotiator Saeb Erakat (who recently refused to address a New York conference unless the flag of Israel, the country he claims to recognize and with which he asserts in English a desire to live in peace, was removed).

It has also been reiterated by former PA `prime minister' Ahmad Qurei; PLO ambassador Maen Areikat; and putative moderate academic Sari Nusseibeh, who even went so far as to explicitly urge that Jews be ethnically cleansed from the eastern half of Jerusalem.

Many, ourselves included, think Trump's suggestion to exclude any and all Muslims from coming to America excessive and ill-conceived. For all that, some proportion is in order. Trump was speaking of a major security threat and was proposing an explicitly temporary measure ("until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on").

After all, the refugees pouring out of Syria pose a national security problem.

According to FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, the minority of Islamic State hardened jihadists and ISIS supporters among them are largely undetectable.

Unlike Trump's proposal, this Palestinian policy is not proposed as a temporary measure. Nor is it about responding to security threats. It's about excluding Jews, about a future state of Palestine being judenrein.

In short, the PA policy is one of unadulterated Jew-hatred.

The same glaring anti-Israel contradiction emerges in other guises. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated during his 2015 election campaign that a Palestinian state couldn't be created under current conditions, the international outcry, including from President Barack Obama, was loud and relentless.

Compare that to Obama's reaction in March 2014, when Abbas told Obama that he will neither accept Israel as a Jewish state, nor conclude a comprehensive peace if it means signing an `end of claims' clause. How did Obama react? He praised Abbas for having "consistently renounced violence... consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security."

Or again, compare that to this past September, when Abbas told the UN that the Oslo Accords were dead. There was no sputtering of outrage, no dressing-down from Obama, no threat to curtail US aid to the PA. There was none again this week, when the State Department was informed of PA pensions to Jew-murdering terrorists and their families. Rather, it ignored this, saying that the need to "calm current tensions" somehow required leaving open the PLO's Washington office, even as the PA is funding and promoting the murder of Jews.

Compare too, the international silence over Abbas' incitement of the recent wave of Palestinian violence and terror attacks in Israel.

Abbas not only falsely alleged that Jews were conducting a "fierce attack . against al-Aksa Mosque," but also urged Palestinians to prevent Jews visiting Judaism's holiest, site, Jerusalem's Temple Mount, saying "The al-Aksa [Mosque] is ours ... and [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet ... We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem ... blood spilled for Allah."

Last week, Abbas described the daily onslaught of stabbings, car-rammings and other murders, claiming the lives of 24 Jews, as "justified popular unrest."

Had Abbas' words, suitably adjusted, been uttered by an Israeli leader, newspapers around the world would carry detailed reports on their front pages; parliaments around the world would vote to condemn him and the society that tolerated such words; human rights organizations would organize petitions and rallies condemning Israel; international leaders would issue statements of condemnation and the United Nations would surely be called into special session to consider formally condemning Israel in the harshest terms.

Today, however, we rail on Trump's temporary immigration proposals while ignoring the vilest anti-Semitic hate speech and Muslim supremacism of the PA, which receives over $500 million annually from the US tax-payer.

Such is the combination of indifference and acquiescence to Jew-hatred and fear of offending Muslims in which we debate vital matters. Presumably, we will still be arguing in this vein when terrorists strike next, here and in Israel.

SOURCE

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MY! How the worm turns!

I have been saying statins do more harm than good for many years -- in the face of official denials. Below is another recent report in support of that. What will it take for the government position to crumble?  Your government will NOT protect you!

Statins, which are designed to help protect people from heart failure, can actually increase the risk of a heart attack according to a new study.

Researchers say the drugs, which are taken by around 12 million patients in the UK, are more likely to cause calcium deposits in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.

Statins were developed to lower cholesterol, but they also block a molecule needed to produce vitamin K, which prevents calcification of the arteries.

The author of the report, published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, says there is 'no evidence to support people taking statins', which opponents say also cause other health issues including skeletal weakness and muscle pain.

Professor Harumi Okuyama, of Nagoya City University, Japan, told the Sunday Express:'We have collected a wealth of information on cholesterol and statins from many published papers and find overwhelming evidence that these drugs accelerate hardening of the arteries and can cause, or worsen, heart failure.'

Similarly, Dr Peter Langsjoen, a heart specialist based in Texas who is co-author of the study, said: 'These drugs should never have been approved for use. The long-term effects are devastating.'

However, there is plenty of support for statins within the medical profession and the drugs are considered to generally lower cholesterol levels by 25 to 35 per cent.

The medications Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and other statins have been the standard treatment for lowering cholesterol for more than 20 years.  Those pills work by curbing the production of cholesterol in the liver.

Statins have also long been recommended for people who already have heart disease and have been credited with helping to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

A spokesman for MHRA, the Government drug regulator, said: 'The benefits of statins are well established and are considered to outweigh the risk of side effects in the majority of patients.'

Last year, NHS watchdog NICE encouraged GPs to prescribe the cholesterol-busting drugs to anyone with a 10 per cent chance of having a heart attack.  That change has resulted in 17million adults - nearly all people over the age of 40 - now being eligible to take the drugs.

SOURCE  

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N.Y. Restaurant Owners Plead for Mercy as Gov. Cuomo Tightens Screws on Wages

More than 100 restaurant owners in the state of New York are begging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) not to force them to pay their waiters and waitresses $15 an hour. But it's doubtful he heard them over the roar of union workers at rallies Jan. 4 supporting Cuomo's call for a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage.

Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, can see the $15 an hour wage coming, but she's hoping for a five-year moratorium for people who make their livings on tips.

She said her organization's members would be crushed by a $15 an hour wage mandate, on top of the 50 percent increase in wages for what are known as "tipped workers" that went into effect the last day of December 2015.

The cash wage for tipped employees was raised from $5.00 to $7.50 on Dec. 31.

"The industry needs time to adjust to this dramatic increase," Fleischut said.

She warned that if Cuomo follows the Dec. 31 raise with a mandate to double wages for tipped workers, the same people Cuomo says he wants to help are going to lose their jobs.

Fleischut said restaurant owners were already looking for ways to cut back because of the Dec. 31 wage edict, like telling customers they no longer need tip servers to replacing wait staff with tablets at every table.

"It's hard to imagine any business giving half of their labor force a 50 percent raise overnight, but that's the reality the hospitality industry is facing at the moment," said Fleischut. "Any further increase will just exacerbate these problems."

American Action Forum economists Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Ben Gitis believe job losses in New York's restaurants could be just the beginning of a boomerang nightmare of unintended consequences.

They warned the state of New York could lose as least 200,000 jobs if a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage is imposed. Other economists warn the state could see close to 600,000 people thrown out of work.

But none of those scenarios is playing into Cuomo's thinking.

SOURCE

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Obama should look in mirror on gun enforcement

"If Obama's contention is that he is merely enforcing the law as written with his so-called executive action on firearms, and that he believes doing so can prevent more shootings, then Obama must be admitting that his apparent failure to enforce existing law makes him culpable for gun-related murders. Of course, Obama should enforce existing laws. He's the President after all.

"Unfortunately, Obama's record is of declining enforcement actions against illegal firearm dealers with only his Justice Department only generating about 200 convictions a year of illegal unlicensed gun sales. There is no loophole that prevents federal law enforcement officials from going after illegal unlicensed gun trafficking, otherwise, there would not be any convictions at all. Obama should urge the Department of Justice to aggressively investigate and prosecute real gun trafficking crimes involving real criminals and stop the politicized rhetoric against law-abiding gun owners.

"What is even more distressing is that while Obama blames law-abiding gun owners for violence, he hypocritically is releasing tens of thousands of felons from federal prisons, increasing the risk of repeated crimes. It would seem that with his tepid prosecution record and his felon release program that all Obama needs to do to find out who's at fault is look in the mirror."

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)

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








12 January, 2016

Notes on a Phenomenon

by Mark Steyn

On Tuesday night, my daughter and her friends went down to Claremont, New Hampshire to see Donald Trump in action. She and her chums range from the not terribly political to those with the usual enthusiasms of youth, so they went mainly because Trump's a hot ticket, and we don't get a lot of those in the Granite State. Her only other candidate encounter this season was at the North Haverhill Fair last summer when Lindsey Graham pounced outside the 4-H barn, no doubt with an eye to recruiting her for one of his "rotating first ladies".

At any rate, after hearing my daughter's account of the night, my sons said they wanted to see Trump, too. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic, having wasted far too much of my time in New Hampshire on campaign events, going all the way back to the oxymoronic "Dole rallies" of 1996. But they persisted. So we checked out the schedule and discovered that he was due to be in Bernie Sanders' socialist fortress of Vermont on Thursday. Which is how we wound up crossing the Connecticut River and traversing the Green Mountain State, and eventually found ourselves in an unusually lively Burlington. Herewith, a few notes on what I saw:

~THE VENUE: When was the last time a GOP presidential candidate held (in the frantic run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire) an event in Vermont? Every fourth January, Republican campaigns are focused on the first caucus and the first primary states, as Bush, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Huckabee, Fiorina et al are right now. But in fact the Green Mountain primary is on March 1st, and its delegates count as much as any other state's. In recent cycles, the American electoral system has diminished and degraded itself by retreating into turnout-model reductionism and seriously competing only over a handful of purple states. Even if he's only doing it as a massive head-fake, Trump understands the importance of symbolism: By going into Berniestan, he's saying he's going for every voter and he's happy to play down the other guy's half of the field.

~THE PROTESTS: On the closed block of Main Street outside the Flynn Theatre there was something of a carnival atmosphere. On the south side the thousands of Trump supporters snaked down the sidewalk and round the corner. On the north side the hundreds of protesters waved the usual signs: "DUMP TRUMP", "TRUMPISM IS FASCISM", "TRUMP: AMERICAN IDIOT", etc. Marginally more inventive were "TRUMP IS THE REAL TERRORIST" and the elliptical "TRUMP - THE OTHER WHITE MEAT". My older boy ran into high-school pals who were variously there to attend the rally and there to protest it. The media like to play up the anti-Trump demonstrations, but even this works to his benefit, since they come almost exclusively from the leaden clich‚s of college-debt social justice. For a six-year bachelor's degree in orientation studies, you'd think these fellows could work up something other than chants that were stale back when Pete Seeger was wondering where all the flowers went. A couple of straggle-bearded hipster dweebs wandered around waving "NO BORDER" signs, which would be a tougher sell in, say, downtown Cologne. A bossy girl of vaguely sapphic mien led us all in a "Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!" chant, which is pretty funny on a street that's 99.99999999999 per cent white. If black lives matter that much, you'd think they could have bussed one in. As enthusiasm faltered, she segued deftly into "Don't give in to racist fear! Immigrants are welcome here!" I must say, as an immigrant myself, I've never found Vermont that welcoming, but perhaps I'm insufficiently exotic for their tastes.

There were a few ill advised ventures into wit. The local toup‚e salesman wandered around with a big sign recommending Trump try his range of non-flyaway wigs and weaves: This would have been a cuter joke six months ago, but this far in felt a bit like a bad rug, forced and awkward. Still, he was a pleasant chap, so we all pretended to be amused. The guy from the "Vermont Comedy Club" passed out free tickets inviting us to "Comb Over To A Real Show!" for "Trumprov" - a night of Trump improv comedy he'd scheduled to compete with the main event.

~THE MUSIC: In Claremont, my daughter had been bewildered by the songs played beforehand: a loop of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera and Cats alternating with Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" and "Rocket Man", occasionally punctuated by the Beatles' "Hey, Jude"... Listening to the same tape in Burlington, it occurred to me the unifying feature might be that they're all tenants of Trump's at Trump Tower (I know Andrew is, and Sir Elt), or it might just be that British pop stars are more easygoing about being associated with Republican candidates. You'll recall that Sam & Dave and Isaac Hayes told Bob Dole to quit using his version of "I'm A Soul Man" ("I'm A Dole Man") and Heart did the same re Sarah Palin and "Barracuda". Evidently, Andrew Lloyd Webber is more relaxed about the title song of Phantom, and certainly its descending haunted-house organ motif is unlike any other warm-up music for a presidential nominee: "The Phantom of the Op-e-ra is here ...inside your mind!" Very true.

~THE ESTABLISHMENT: The reserved seating at the front of these events is usually held for the big donors. Trump has no donors, so there are no money guys who've paid for access hogging the best seats. Instead, they were taken by folks who'd been backing him the longest. One couple were there because they were tootling along with a Trump sticker on the back of the car (something of a rare sight in Vermont) and at the stop sign an appreciative campaign staffer behind had leaped out and offered them VIP tickets. The only real VIP in the seats was a former finalist at "The Apprentice" whom Trump had asked along.

That said, while the donor class continues to hurl bazillion-dollar checks at Mike Murphy's "Right-to-Risibility" Bush campaign, at the state level of the GOP establishment Trump is not without supporters: He was introduced on stage by Deb Billado, the Chittenden County chair for the Vermont Republican Party (Chittenden is the state's most populous county - and the most Ben & Jerrified), and prowling the aisles you could spot the occasional New Hampshire state rep. So if, as some of the dottier rumors suggest, the Republican establishment is planning to run third-party if Trump gets the nomination, it's not clear how much of the state apparatus they'll be taking with them. "If Trump were the nominee, the GOP would cease to be," declares Michael Gerson. The state legislators and volunteers present on Thursday would disagree.

~BACKSTAGE: I did check out the action backstage, and I'll say this: It was unlike any other candidate event I've been to. By comparison with, say, presidential campaigns such as Lamar Alexander's or Orrin Hatch's, Trump is very lightly staffed, and entirely unmanaged. Twenty minutes before the event, backstage is usually a whirl of activity with minions pretending to look busy and frantically tippy-tapping away on their phones over some vital matter or other. Deputy speechwriters and assistant campaign managers bustle about saying things like, "Mike's seen the Egyptian Prime Minister's response to the Secretary of State, so we're working on a sentence to add to the nuclear-proliferation section." There's none of that around Trump. He's meandering around back there shooting the breeze, posing for pics, totally relaxed - and so are his press secretary and campaign manager, too. If you've seen any of those inside-the-campaign movies, from Robert Redford in The Candidate to George Clooney in Ides of March, it looks all wrong: There's far too few people, and there's none of the fake busyness.

And then the announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Donald J Trump..."

~THE SHOW: He's very good at this. Very good. On the same day as Trump's speech, Peter Shumlin, the colorless dullard serving as Vermont's governor, came to the State House in Montpelier to deliver his "State of the State" address. He required two prompters so he could do the Obama swivel-head like a guy with good seats at Wimbledon following the world's slowest centre-court rally. Two prompters! In the Vermont legislature! And for the same old generic boilerplate you forget as soon as you've heard it.

Trump has no prompters. He walks out, pulls a couple of pieces of folded paper from his pocket, and then starts talking. Somewhere in there is the germ of a stump speech, but it would bore him to do the same poll-tested focus-grouped thing night after night, so he basically riffs on whatever's on his mind. This can lead to some odd juxtapositions: One minute he's talking about the Iran deal, the next he detours into how Macy's stock is in the toilet since they dumped Trump ties. But in a strange way it all hangs together: It's both a political speech, and a simultaneous running commentary on his own campaign.

It's also hilarious. I've seen no end of really mediocre shows at the Flynn in the last quarter-century, and I would have to account this the best night's entertainment I've had there with the exception of the great jazz singer Dianne Reeves a few years back. He's way funnier than half the stand-up acts I've seen at the Juste pour rires comedy festival a couple of hours north in Montreal. And I can guarantee that he was funnier than any of the guys trying their hand at Trump Improv night at the Vermont Comedy Club a couple of blocks away. He has a natural comic timing.

Just to be non-partisan about this, the other day I was listening to Obama's gun-control photo-op at the White House, and he thanked Gabby Giffords, by explaining that her husband Mark's brother is an astronaut in outer space and he'd called just before Mark's last meeting at the White House but, not wishing to disturb the President, Mark didn't pick up. "Which made me feel kind of bad," said the President. "That's a long-distance call." As I was driving along, I remember thinking how brilliantly Obama delivered that line. He's not usually generous to others and he's too thin-skinned to be self-deprecating with respect to himself, but, when he wants to get laughs, he knows how to do it. Trump's is a different style: He's looser, and more freewheeling. He's not like Jeb - he doesn't need writers, and scripted lines; he has a natural instinct for where the comedy lies. He has a zest for the comedy of life.

To be sure, some of the gags can be a little - what's the word? - mean-spirited. The performance was interrupted by knots of protesters. "Throw 'em out!" barked Trump, after the first chants broke out. The second time it happened, he watched one of the security guys carefully picking up the heckler's coat. "Confiscate their coats," deadpanned Trump. "It's ten below zero outside." Third time it happened, he extended his coat riff: "We'll mail them back to them in a couple of weeks." On MSNBC, they apparently had a discussion on how Trump could be so outrageous as to demand the confiscation of private property. But in showbusiness this is what is known as a "joke". And in the theatre it lands: everyone's laughing and having a ball.

That's the point. I think it would help if every member of the pundit class had to attend a Trump rally before cranking out the usual shtick about how he's tapping into what Jeb called "angst and anger". Yes, Trump supporters are indignant (and right to be) about the bipartisan cartel's erasure of the southern border and their preference for unskilled Third World labor over their own citizenry, but "anger" is not the defining quality of a Trump night out. The candidate is clearly having the time of his life, and that's infectious, which is why his supporters are having a good time, too. Had Mitt campaigned like this, he'd be president. But he had no ability to connect with voters. Nor does Jeb ("I've been endorsed by another 27 has-beens") Bush.

~THE HORSE RACE: Trump always talks about the polls - or "the ratings", as he calls them. For example, he suggested it was time for Rand Paul to get out because his ratings are "horrible". Pundits complain that Trump spends time in his speeches scoffing at his rivals' numbers rather than laying out his ten-point plan for capital-gains tax reform. But these same pundits go on cable TV shows where the same polls are pored over in great detail - Carson's down five in Iowa, Christie's up three in New Hampshire. So presumably the media feel this horse-race stuff is of interest to their general audience. In that case, why shouldn't it be of interest to people so into it that they've spent all day lining up in freezing temperatures to see their preferred candidate? And Trump is funnier on the horse-race stuff than most of the professional analysts: He'd noticed in one poll that George Pataki had been at zero, but then he saw that next to the "0" was the "less than" symbol ("<"), and he wondered how that was even possible, even for George Pataki. That's a very endearing feature of his act: He's done Miss Universe and "The Apprentice" and he understands that the conventions of the nominating system are more ridiculous than either.

~MESSAGE DISCIPLINE: In fairness, he is (or was) actually competing against Pataki, and still is (just about) against Rand Paul. But he also did a couple of minutes on Martin O'Malley. He'd been talking about the crowds he's been getting, and he'd said that when he goes back home his wife asks him how the speech went and whether anyone was there. Because the cameras stay directly focused on him and never show the audience. And he thought at first this was because they were fixed and hammered into place - until a protester starts yelling and then suddenly the cameras are twisting around like pretzels, no matter what corner of the room they're in. Anyway, at some point, he mused on a Martin O'Malley rally at which apparently only one person showed up. So O'Malley talked with him one on one for an hour, and at the end a reporter asked the guy whether he would be supporting O'Malley. And the fellow said no.

And we all laughed, as did Trump.

Now, short of the mullahs nuking Hillary in Chappaqua and the following day Kim Jong-Un nuking Bernie in Burlington, there is no conceivable scenario in which Trump will be facing off against Martin O'Malley. So talking about him is a complete waste of time - and Karl Rove says that campaigning is all about the efficient use of the dwindling amount of time you have this close to Iowa and New Hampshire. So doing ten minutes of knee-slappers on Martin O'Malley is ten minutes you could have used to talk about Social Security reform that you'll never get back.

Maybe Rove is right. But as a practical matter it's led to the stilted robotic artificiality of the eternally on-message candidate - which is one of the things that normal people hate about politics. And Trump's messages are so clear that he doesn't have to "stay on" them. People get them instantly: On Thursday he did a little bit of audience participation. "Who's going to pay for the wall?" And everyone yelled back, "Mexico!" He may appear to be totally undisciplined, yet everyone's got the message. Likewise, his line on an end to Muslim immigration "until we can figure out what the hell's going on" is actually a subtle and very artfully poised way of putting it that generates huge applause. Trump has such a natural talent for "message" that it frees up plenty of time to do ten minutes of Martin O'Malley shtick.

~AUTHENTICITY: Traditionally in American politics the way you connect with voters is to pretend you're just as big a broken-down loser as they are. One recalls Lamar Alexander and his team flying in to Manchester, New Hampshire and just before touchdown changing out of their Brooks Brothers suits and button-down shirts into suspiciously pressed and unstained plaid. In this cycle, it's been John Kasich doing his slickly produced, soft-focus "son of a mailman" ads. So much presidential politicking is now complete bollocks, as rote and meaningless as English panto or Chinese opera conventions. Trump doesn't bother with any of that. Halfway through, he detoured into an aside about how he was now having to go around in an armored car, and how many rounds it could take before the window disintegrated, and how the security guys shove you in and let the reinforced door slam you in the ass. And the thing's ugly as hell. "If I win," sighed Trump, "I'll never ride in a Rolls-Royce ever again." And all around me guys who drive Chevy Silverados and women who drive Honda Civics roared with laughter. Usually, a candidate claims, like Clinton, to feel our pain, but, just for a moment there, we felt Trump's.

What is "authenticity" in contemporary politics? Is it a man who parlayed a routine Congressional career into a lucrative gig at Lehman Brothers presenting himself as the son of a mailman? Or is it a billionaire with a supermodel wife dropping the pretense that he's no different from you stump-toothed losers in the rusting double-wides? Trump's lack of pandering extends to America, too. He doesn't do the this-is-the-greatest-country-in-the-history-of-countries shtick that Mitt did last time round. He isn't promising, like Marco Rubio, a "second American century". His pitch is that the American dream is dead - which, for many Americans, it is. In 1980, Jimmy Carter's "malaise" was an aberration - a half-decade blip in three decades of post-war US prosperity that had enabled Americans with high school educations to lead middle-class lives in a three-bedroom house on a nice-sized lot in an agreeable neighborhood. In 2015, for many Americans, "malaise" is not a blip, but a permanent feature of life that has squeezed them out of the middle class. They're not in the mood for bromides about second American centuries: They'd like what's left of their own lifespan to be less worse.

That's the other quality on display: at certain points - for example, when Trump started talking about "beautiful Kate in San Francisco" being killed by an illegal immigrant - I turned around and saw men and women tearing up.

~IDEOLOGY: Is Trump "conservative"? Peggy Noonan:

Mr. Trump's supporters don't care if he's classically conservative. Doctrinal purity is not the story this year.

If the national GOP is a vehicle for ensuring that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have a car and driver and a Gulf emir-sized retinue, then it's very effective. If it's a vehicle for advancing conservative principles, then it's a rusted-up lemon on cinder blocks. At an event with Newt Gingrich about a decade ago, one of my neighbors asked why the Republicans were so ineffectual. Newt said it was because they're still getting used to being the majority party. Somebody responded, "So the Iraqis are supposed to get the hang of self-government after six months, but the Republican Party still can't manage it after ten years?"

For many conservative voters, 2014 was the GOP's last chance, and they blew it. For those conservative voters whose priority is immigration, 2016 is America's last chance, and Trump's the only reason anyone's even talking about that.

~IT'S CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA: One of the loudest cheers came from another diversion in the midst of China trade talk or whatever: a pledge that under a Trump Administration people would be saying "Merry Christmas!" again. At a certain level it seems an odd thing to be talking about on January 7th, but in a broader sense it resonates because people understand that at the municipal, school and county level the culture wars never stop. Christmas concerts become "winter" and "holiday" concerts. Department stores issue elaborate instructions on approved seasonal greetings. School districts declare the American flag culturally insensitive. "Cinco de Mayo" is a wonderfully diverse and inclusive way of celebrating the Mexican contribution to America, but nobody thinks of marking "Victoria Day" to help Canadians feel welcome. Powerline's John Hinderaker has a note on whether or not Trump is aware that he can't sign an executive order abolishing gun-free zones in American schoolhouses. Yes, he knows that. But he also knows that using the bully pulpit to push back against the remorseless one-way cultural warfare of the left is one of the most powerful tools a president has - and one that, for example, President Bush chose not to use, to disastrous effect.

~THE DIFFERENCE: Trump has already demonstrated that he knows how to change the conversation. Peggy Noonan:

He changed the debate on illegal immigration. He said he'd build a wall and close the border and as the months passed and his competitors saw his surge, they too were suddenly, clearly, aggressively for ending illegal immigration.

At least until they can see him off, and get back to talking about "comprehensive reform" and bringing people "out of the shadows" and how family values "don't stop at the Rio Grande". But until then Trump has so dramatically moved the needle on this subject that in The New York Times Thomas L Friedman is now calling for "controlling low-skilled immigration".

He moved the meter on the "war on women", too. Mrs Clinton pulled out the card, and Trump flung it right back in her face with her sleazy sociopath of a husband's four decades of abuse against vulnerable women. Hillary's now backed off.

On Thursday, because of Obama, gun control was in the news. Trump's pushing back on that, too:

You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That's bait.

~THE WINNOWING: It's assumed by the GOP establishment that once the field narrows Trump will bump up against his natural ceiling. I think the opposite is true. Trump has essentially sat out these stupid ten-man TV debates and then resumed his rise once they're over. If it came down to a four- or three- or two-man race, the man I saw on Thursday night would be a formidable debate opponent. And I don't doubt he could hold his own against Hillary.

~THE END: What can stop Trump? The establishment want him gone, and are pinning their hopes on an alleged lack of precinct captains in the fiendishly difficult caucus state of Iowa. If that doesn't work, they're building a southern firewall. Peggy Noonan again:

In Virginia the state Republican Party wants a so-called loyalty oath in the March 1 presidential primary. Virginia is an open-primary state-any registered voter can vote in either primary-but the GOP apparently wants to discourage independents and Democrats from voting for Mr. Trump. So they've decided voters should sign a statement of affiliation with the GOP before they get to cast a ballot. This is so idiotic it's almost unbelievable. When Democrats and independents want to vote in your primary you should be happy. Politics is a game of addition! You want headlines that say "Massive GOP Turnout." You don't greet first-time voters with an oath but with cookies, ginger ale and balloons.

So, for all the post-2012 talk about outreach to Hispanics and gays, in the end the GOP would rather have the old, safe, depressed-turnout model than a bunch of first-time Republican voters coming in and monkeying about with their racket.

The headline in Friday's local paper read: "BURLINGTON TRUMPED". That's what his fans liked. In the liberal heart of a liberal state, the supporters streaming out of the Flynn Theatre, waving genially to the social-justice doofuses across the way, couldn't recall a night like it. Not in Vermont. In New Hampshire, sure. In South Carolina. But not in Vermont. It felt good to be taking it to the other side's turf. And they'd like a lot more of it between now and November.

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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 January, 2016

Leftist hate and self-righteousness observed

To the man I sat next to on my way in to Boston:

When I boarded the commuter rail, you were already in the midst of a spirited phone conversation and didn't seem to care about how loud you were talking. You were talking with someone about the Paris train attack and the growing epidemic of gun violence in America.

You spoke about the "murderous NRA" and "bloodthirsty gun nuts" who were causing our schools to "run red with blood." You spoke profanely of the Republicans who opposed President Obama's call for "sensible gun control," and you lamented the number of "inbred redneck politicians" who have "infiltrated Capitol Hill."

I found myself amazed at the irony of the situation. While you were spewing your venom, I sat quietly next to you with my National Rifle Association membership card in my wallet and my 9mm pistol in its holster. You were only 12 inches away from my legally owned semiautomatic pistol. I suppose I didn't look like the "bloodthirsty gun nut" you thought I should be. It apparently didn't register to you that I could so cleverly disguise myself by wearing a fleece coat, Patriots hat, and khakis.

So, to the angry liberal who sat next to me on the commuter rail: I don't hate you. I don't have any ill feelings toward you. I don't wish to do you harm. And I don't regret sitting next to you. On the contrary; I feel bad for you. It must hurt carrying that much hate inside of you.

You obviously have strong opinions about this hot topic. So, let me say this as plainly as I can: If a bad guy with a gun had decided to walk onto that train and start shooting people, I would have been prepared and able to use my gun to defend my own life and the lives of everyone else on that train, including yours. Although you may hate me, a gun owner, I would risk my life for you.

Opinions and ideologies make a pretty thin shield against the bullets of a madman. Your liberal self-righteousness and ignorance may have made you feel superior and comfortable, but during that 40-minute train ride to Boston, my gun kept you safe.

SOURCE

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"Erosion", undermining Israel through lies and deception

REVIEW of a short and clear book aimed at the reclamation of the good name of the Jewish state

The year 2016 seems as though it will be more of the same, only more so.

Massacres, murders and mayhem in the West, massacres, murders and chaos in Syria, kidnappings in Africa, Shiite-Sunni violence (hopefully not the bomb), stabbings and shootings in Israel - and no one, except the Zionist Jews are able to see that there is a straight line leading from Islam to Islamists to Islamic terror in all of the above.

The world insists on separating Israel from the rest of the terror that is trying to destroy anyone who is deemed an infidel. That has happened because years of well funded Arab propaganda laced with a good dose of hereditary anti-Semitism have convinced people that there is "a reason, a rationale," as  US Foreign Secretary John Kerry egregiously explained after the Paris massacre, for killing Jews.

It wasn't always like that vis a vis the world and Israel, but worldwide support for Israel has eroded to the point where it is acceptable to talk about the disappearance of the Jewish state, a state voted into being by the United Nations, as if that is not such a terrible thing.  Delegitimization now poses an ominous threat and, as Per Ahlmark delineated: "In the past, the most dangerous anti-Semites were those who sought to make the world Judenrein, free of Jews, but today the most dangerous anti-Semites are those who want to make the world Judenstaatrein, free of a Jewish state."

Thus, the new anti-Semitism differs from the old in that it is directed against the country of the Jews instead of against only individual Jews or communities - and has added new excuses for hate to its malevolent litany.

Since the world has not yet realized that the war against Israel's existence is part of the Islamic  war to conquer the world, with many believing the anti-Israel canards instead, it is important to gain tools to fight this new anti-Semitism.

How does one do this?  Professor Alex Grobman, whose advanced degrees in Contemporary Jewish History were earned at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, feels, correctly, that a good part of the solution lies in combating ignorance, by knowing the answers to the lies propagated about the Jewish State.

His book, "Erosion, Undermining Israel through Lies and Deception" is an easily read work of less than 100 pages (the thoroughly researched footnotes make it 115 pages altogether) that puts paid to the most serious of those lies. The book's title is an apt one - the early Zionists reclaimed a land whose soil had eroded for thousands of years, and now their progeny must reclaim Zionism's good name, eroded by clever propaganda machines.

Reading "Erosion" is important for giving informed self-confidence to those committed to the state of Israel, for giving them thoroughly backed-up answers to false accusations, but even more for those Jews and non-Jews who don't even realize that they are being fed lies.

The pro-Palestinian propaganda all sounds so plausible - and it works because most Westerners do not believe that someone will knowingly tell a lie, a big lie of historical magnitude or significance.  But that is just what the anti-Zionists (read anti-Semites), do. Witness the Palestinian Authority textbooks that claim that Israel rejected the UN Partition Plan. Today, who, except for historically conscious Zionists, remembers that Israel accepted that 2-state plan that created an impossibly small Jewish state and the Arabs rejected it out of hand? And if the books are not changed, that lie will be accepted as fact in another few years.

Ruth Wisse, as the writer quotes, has observed that even without that ill-fated partition plan, pre-1967 Israel had only 8000 square  miles and is the only homeland for the Jewish people.  That land's population is already 20.6 % Arab. The ratio of lands in Arab hands to that of Israel is 640:1. Why do the Arabs think they merit more, she asks? And why are the Arab conquests which resulted in that ratio forgotten, as they portray themselves as victims and Israel as the oppressor, Prof. Grobman adds.

And why does the world not realize that the war against Israel's existence, lies and all, is part of the Islamic  war to conquer the world?

The impetus for turning lies into "facts" is fueled by anti-Semitism, and its success has given rise to that new anti Semitism that transcends social systems, borders, ethnic groups and political affiliation.

British publicist Melanie Phillips said it succinctly: Israel inspires an obsessional hatred of a type and scale that is directed at no other country.

"Erosion" analyzes the facets of that obsession. It shows the reader clearly how double standards are applied when dealing with Israel and the rest of the world, a fact not realized by most observers who do not have comparisons at hand.

It draws the demarcation line on the far side of which criticism of Israel's actions is not true criticism, but unacceptable anti-Semitism.

The book leads to awareness of how cyberspace makes it easy to spread lies, to bring the crazies out of the closet and keep their messages of hate online.

The reader learns about the methods by which this is done, such as the "War of Analogy", Defense Minister Yaalon's term for comparing Israel to all that is reprehensible in history and human behavior, and how to combat these baseless lies. Especially spurious is the comparison to Nazis - and the ridiculous accusation of apartheid in a state where you have as much chance of being treated by an Arab doctor as by a Jewish one.

It tells about London's role in harboring anti-Israeli organizations, about how terrorist acts are far from random and about the civil rights masquerade, today's excuse for hating Jews.

The reader will understand what BDS, the third attempt to destroy Israel when wars and terror did not do the job, is really about.

And he will learn the truth about specific charges against Israel: The history of the water issue, a commodity scarce in this area of the world,  used as a weapon turned against Israel when the truth is exactly the opposite; the idea behind targeted killings of terrorists carried out by Israel, automatically condemned when they are actually the way to avoid civilian casualties; the rationale that built the security fence and checkpoints and their place in the context of world defense systems.

Readers of "Erosion" will find that the hour or two it takes to read this book will enrich their ability to defend Israel - to themselves and others  - immeasurably. And then they can look for the writers other books. I suggest starting with "BDS: the movement to destroy Israel", a discriminatory practice that the EU, chillingly aping Nazi Germany, has so recently embraced.

SOURCE

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Cruz's Iowa Success Endangers Corn Lobby

Children of the corn?

Could the corn lobby's stranglehold on political rhetoric be cracking? With just weeks until the Iowa caucuses, presidential candidate Ted Cruz is leading the field, polling at 31%. He's also an aggressive critic of the ethanol mandate. Known as the Renewable Fuel Standard; the mandate requires a massive amount of ethanol be used in the nation's gas supply, and it sends a very lucrative stream of money flowing to corn producers. And Iowa is the nation's largest producer of the stuff.

Thus, Cruz's lead has given the corn lobby a bit of heartburn. As the Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney wrote, "If Cruz wins Iowa, especially if he wins big, it will confirm that the subsidies and mandates for ethanol are very important only to a sliver of the population (largely the lobbyists and executives of the giant agribusinesses that receive the lion's share of the benefit). . If the ethanol lobby is a paper tiger, then the federal ethanol mandate is not long for this world."

At the beginning of this presidential race, we saw the power the corn lobby had. In March, former candidate Scott Walker hired Liz Mair as a communications consultant but fired her hours later after the Iowa GOP machine skewered her because she wrote several tweets disparaging Iowa and how it hamstrung national policy. Reading between the lines, she was clearly referencing subsidies for ethanol. Meanwhile, the great ethanol boondoggle is an inefficient waste of food and natural resources all in the pursuit of corny science.

Update: "The RFS is scheduled to expire in 2022," Cruz said in Cherokee, Iowa. "When I said we should phase it out, I said it should be a five-year phase out. A phase-out from 2017 to 2022 is a five-year phaseout."

SOURCE

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Last Year, Murder Spiked in Liberal Cities

The nation's largest cities and bastions of liberal government are supposed to be the cities on the hills, the shining examples of how compassionately the Left can govern, right? But the crime statistics coming out of places like Washington, DC, Baltimore and Chicago tell a different story.

While overall crime is down, homicides across the nation spiked in 2015. For example, 344 homicides occurred in Baltimore last year. Most of these crimes were black-on-black crime committed with firearms and, as Hot Air's Jazz Shaw notes, most of these crimes happened after the Freddie Gray incident.

In Chicago, police are shooting fewer people, but that comes as Chicago residents are shooting each other more, as about 3,000 people were shot in the Windy City in 2015. As with many questions of crime statistics, the story behind the numbers is murkier than a blanket assessment that the protests over policing have had a chilling effect over the ability for law enforcement to do its job.

2015 saw the rise of a heroin epidemic and gangs jumped into the emerging black market, for example. While liberals worry about greenways and clean energy, they forget the basics of governance. Primarily, government's foremost task is providing general safety. And the bottom line is that guns aren't the problem; leftist policies are.

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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 January, 2016

Is there an inverse relationship between caution and emotionality?

I think it stands to reason that there is.  Emotion can easily make you throw caution to the winds and you need to be pretty  level-headed to be cautious.  Caution is about thinking ahead and weighing up the possibilities. And that requires cool reflection.  You cannot reasonably do that in the heat of emotions

And that explains something basic about the Left-Right divide.  Conservatives have always characterized themselves as cautious -- as wary of rushing into things -- whereas Leftists are clearly in the grip of strong emotions and throw caution to the winds.  I think we can show that Leftist beliefs and policies make no rational sense but they do make emotional sense. An example of emotionality that any conservative blogger will be familiar with is the choleric rage that Leftists hurl at him or her in the form of emails and online comments.  By contrast, conservatives are less emotional and are thus able to provide an anchor of rationality to public discourse.

The Leftist obsession over equality can only be called a passion.  Equality between different people has never happened, cannot happen and will not happen.  But a push for equality pervades Leftist thinking and policy.  And Leftist are prepared to break heads to achieve their aim of equality. From the French revolution to Soviet Russia and Maoist China they slaughtered millions in support of the deeply felt need for equality that they obviously felt.

Soviet Russia was in fact grossly elitist. Only the Nomenklatura had access to living standards that were normal in the West.  The rest of the population lived very restricted lives with abysmal accommodation and very limited choice of food and clothing.  Even mass murder could not carve a path to equality.  But Russian Leftists were prepared to go to that length to achieve it.

And global warming is another belief that can only be explained by an emotional commitment.  The correlation between global temperature and CO2 levels has repeatedly been shown to be zilch yet Leftists still believe that CO2 causes warming.

And, of course, conservatives are often amazed by the way in which no presentation of facts can budge the beliefs of a Leftist.  You can't reason with emotions.  A Leftist's beliefs serve his emotional needs so a presentation of facts that challenge that belief is met with anger rather than interest.  So the conservative habit of opposing Leftist beliefs with facts is futile.  In doing that, one is challenging deeply felt emotional needs.  The Leftist NEEDS to believe the crazy things he does in order to legitimate deeds and policies that he NEEDS to carry out.

What the emotions are will of course be variable.  Many Leftist voters are presumably genuinely compassionate people who are so deeply moved by what they see as evils in the world about them that they will vote for ANY policy that purports to ameliorate the evil concerned. 

Leftist leaders, on the other hand, may start out that way but because of their greater involvement with the issues concerned will either become wiser and swing Right (as Churchill and Reagan did) or will become bitter and angry at the impossibility of great change in the world's existing arrangements -- and will conclude that no progress towards the Good is possible until the whole existing system is smashed -- which is what drove the French and Russian revolutions.  The Leftist becomes so frustrated at the impossibility of bringing about his dream world that he comes to hate the existing world and to be angry at those who enable or defend it.

So I predict that if a good measure of emotionality can be devised it will be shown to differentiate the Left and Right well. Conservatives will be shown to have milder emotions that enable them to think things through while Leftists will be shown to be emotion dominated.  And I am sure that there are degrees of both orientations and that both extremes are maladaptive.  I have met  Right-leaning people who are so emotionally insensitive that  they are social misfits.  And I have met very emotional Leftists who are a neurotic mess.

Self-report measures of emotionality

There are of course some existing self-report measures of emotionality but self-report measures of politically-relevant variables cannot withstand the characteristic Leftist talent for defensiveness, particularly the defences of compartmentalization and denial.  Leftists are largely incapable of admitting anything dismal or adverse in their thinking.  They usually cannot admit their anger and the bleak thoughts it inspires.

I found just that in my many years of research into attitudes to authority.  I have probably done more published research on that than anyone else alive or dead.  A liking for authority is definitional of Leftism, with Communist countries being the indubitable example of that.  But even in Western countries it is Leftists who are the big advocates of more and more government control over practically everything we do.  They need central power to bring about the changes they want.

Their latest craze is to cut off all reliable sources of electricity in the name of their global warming fantasy.  But no-one in the modern world would voluntarily leave themselves without a reliable source of electricity. So the big problem for Leftists is that, left to themselves, people don't behave in the way that Leftists dream of. So they must be FORCED to do as the Leftist wants. 

And only a very strong central government can achieve that.  Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  Mr Obama's declaration on February 16, 2008, that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America was nothing if not authoritarian. And what could be more authoritarian than one of the more intelligible utterances of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the founder of European Leftism and  guru to Karl Marx? Hegel said:  "All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State."

And, just judging by what they advocate, a Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not

So in questionnaires about attitude to authority Leftists should show a distinct tendency to approve of authority, even a love of it.  But they don't. I repeatedly found in my surveys that Leftists were no more likely to approve of authority than were conservatives. And the reason for that is plain.  Authoritarianism has a bad name.  Everyone knows about Communist brutality. So putting yourself anywhere in that league is resisted.  If they are to have any credibility or popularity at all, Leftists have a desperate need to dissociate themselves from authoritarianism.  So any liking for big authority has to be denied.

The denial is so strong and so fundamental that even social desirability indexes don't pick it up.  Leftists genuinely believe that they are good people and don't think they are faking anything in claiming that.  The evil side of their wishes is brushed aside into a compartment that they don't enter.  They don't confront the viciousness of which they are capable. They desperately need to think well of themselves, as T.S. Eliot observed long ago.  My hypothesis can only reasonably be tested neurologically

There does seem to be real progress in an understanding of the brain so it's possible that my neurological theory above will one day be confirmed. I think I have shown that it explains a lot

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This is the charming Far-Leftist that Britain nearly got as Prime Minister


The charmer is Ed Miliband.  His father was Ralph Miliband  -- a Polish Jewish expert on Karl Marx -- and Ed did not fall far from the tree.  Ed is the former leader of the British Labour Party -- who was routed at the last British general election. Lucky Britain

SOURCE

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Trump speaks simple sense on guns

Donald Trump wasn't going to wait until Barack Obama's charade of a 2nd Amendment townhall was over to challenge the President's radical anti-gun policy and the worst inclinations of the authoritarian left:

    "As President Obama was at a CNN town hall meeting discussing his passion for gun control, Donald Trump vowed to end gun-free zones.

    The billionaire presidential candidate was hosting a campaign rally in Burlington, Vermont at the same time as Obama’s televised meeting, juxtaposing the two events.

    Perhaps it was no mistake then that Trump chose to talk about gun control at the end of his speech.

    “I will get rid of gun-free zones in schools — you have to — and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed. My first day – there’s no more gun free zones,” Trump told supporters as they cheered wildly"

    Trump pointed out that gun-free zones were dangerous because they attracted people considering a mass shooting.

    “You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko?” Trump asked. “That’s bait.”

    He lamented that soldiers were killed by terrorists in a military recruitment center and at a military base because they were not allowed to have weapons – even though they were trained to use firearms.

This is common sense to most Americans outside of the Beltway and the coasts. Good for Trump for understanding.

SOURCE

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Confirmed: Obama Let Terrorist Refugees into the Country!

Yesterday, two Middle Eastern refugees were arrested here in the United States on terrorism charges.

Remember when the Left said that there weren’t ever any refugees in the United States arrested for terrorism? We just had two in one day.

And they weren’t connected, mind you. One arrest was made Sacramento, CA and the other was made in Houston, TX. These were two separate lone wolf incidents.

These men came into the country as refugees, underwent “rigorous” background checks according to the President, and then turned to jihad. The fact that we caught them is a miracle.

In the coming week, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have promised a vote on a bill to block Middle Eastern refugees from entering the country until full background checks are guaranteed. The President says that the system is good enough and he’s ok with terrorists slipping through.

This is madness!

Both of the men arrested are Palestinians who were born in Iraq. One of them came to the United States in 2009 and the other in 2012.

They were here for years. One agent working on the case has come out and said that their arrest has saved countless lives.

This isn’t about racism. This isn’t about sticking it to a certain group of people and spitefully keeping them out.

Listen… at the end of the day, before you go to bed, you lock your front door. Is it because you hate everyone on the outside? Of course not. You lock your doors because you love everyone on the inside.

We, as a country, need to lock our door and only open it when we know exactly who is trying to get in.

How many more terrorist refugees are already here? How many are concealing themselves and are currently in the application process?

We have said it from the beginning, that even allowing one terrorist to slip through would be a complete failure. Well, the FBI just arrested two in one day.

The American SAFE Act passed Congress with a veto-proof majority earlier in the year. It is up to you and every other patriotic American to hold Congress’ feet to the fire and force members in both parties to vote for this bill!

They passed the bill once already. Demand that Congress halt refugee entries until the Obama administration certifies the background checks!

The Director of the FBI has admitted that the background check system is incomplete and that they cannot fully weed out terrorists. You can’t just pick up the phone and ask the Syrian government for records. There is a civil war ravaging the country. The arrests in Houston and Sacramento prove that terrorists slip through.

We’re just starting to learn of the brutality facing many European communities after letting in unlimited numbers of unvetted refugees. Groups of Arab men roam the streets mugging and sexually assaulting their victims. That is what Obama plans on bringing here.

The fact of the matter is that Obama is moving forward anyway, knowing that he is allowing terrorists into the US anyway, all in the name of political correctness. It isn’t a lot to ask that we verify the identities and intentions of people we let into this country. But Obama won’t delay. He’s on a mission to bring as many of them here as possible and he doesn’t care how many terrorists slip through.

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)

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




8 January, 2016

Blatant crocodile tears

Liberal networks were super impressed with the waterworks display put on by President Obama the other night. The reluctant commander in chief is using the latest terror attack on American soil as an excuse to grab guns from law abiding Americans, and his emotional display and supposed "evolution" to a policy position he's held for decades impressed a lot of people. But it didn't impress Mark Levin:

    “Did Obama cry when the precious young lady was murdered in cold blood in San Francisco, a sanctuary city? We didn’t hear from him for 48 to 72 hours,” Levin said Tuesday. “Did Obama cry when an American reporter was decapitated on tape? No, 10 minutes later he was seen laughing and going off to play golf.”

    “Did Obama cry when in the mass murder in San Bernardino, California when he made his statement? No. And he got around and going and visiting the area, and those folks on the way to his vacation,” he said. “I’m sorry, I can’t put up with this crap!”

    “Obama has made this a more violent, crime ridden, terrorist target, this nation. He absolutely has. And what did he do to our police departments? What has he done to them? From Ferguson to Chicago to Baltimore,” Levin argued the police officers are “treated like crap!”
    
Levin is right. Obama reserves both his outrage and his effort for instances that fit into his pre conceived view of the world and advance his liberal narrative. Nothing else matter

SOURCE

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Russian Church Replaces Rome as the Center of Christianity?

Christians worldwide turn to Russia for protection

At no time in history has the persecution of Christians been as intense and widespread as it is now.  Christians in the Middle East are in dire need of a champion, which, in today’s world can only be a great power, and it is Russia that has taken on that responsibility.

With its secular ideology, the West can no longer protect Christian interests in the world as it did for centuries. Although the USA has a higher percentage of church goers than other Western countries, it underestimates the importance of religion in the countries it targets for regime change. Turning a blind eye to beheadings, child rape and other atrocities, it has created a hell on earth for Christians all over the Middle East.

And with the Arab Spring, things went from bad to worse, as ISIS’ success in Iraq inspired similar groups. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabaab in Somalia are all committing atrocities against Christians.

Obsessed by its Constitution, the US assumes that it can impose the separation of church and state on a world where cultural and religious traditions run deep.  Its failure to realize that these traditions contribute to a rejection of Western-style democracy, and similarly, to notice  the spiritual dimension of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, including his standing among persecuted Christians, gives Russia a decisive advantage.

Vladimir Putin knows that modernity’s separation of politics from religion inspires many across the globe to return to their religious roots. In February 2012, he made a solemn vow to the Russian Orthodox Church to protect persecuted Christians all over the world, a commitment that has even caught the attention of America’s powerful Evangelicals.

Syrian Christians are thrilled and grateful for Russia’s decisive response to the slaughter they have endured for more than four years. But to understand the true significance of this initiative, you have to know that aside from Russia, Georgia and Armenia, there are Orthodox communities in fifteen European and near Eastern countries for whom Putin is increasingly looking like a 21st Century Constantine.

That 4th century Roman emperor converted to Christianity,  put an end to the persecutions Christians had suffered under his predecessors. and granted the Church privileges that allowed it to become a worldwide power. Notwithstanding the electrifying presence of Pope Francis, in future we could see the Eastern Church replace Rome as the center of Christianity.

This will happen without the help of the media. Incapable of imagining the spiritual development that has taken place in Russia since the demise of Communism, it portrays Putin’s assertions of faith as geopolitical opportunism. Yet in his autobiography “First Person”, published in 2000, the Russian President declared that the first line in every Russian law should refer to moral values. He wants Russia to be as aware of its spiritual heritage as it is of its political and geographical position.

President Putin is convinced that spirituality has a profound effect on the way a culture develops, providing an indispensable moral compass that goes deeper than passing political expediency and secular “freedom”.

As increasing numbers of Christians across the spectrum turn toward Russia, its global influence can only grow.

SOURCE

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Health expenses surging in Mass.

Consumers and businesses across Massachusetts will have to pay more for health care in 2016, as insurance rates rise at a faster clip and some premiums soar by double digit rates.

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s biggest commercial insurer, premiums will rise an average of 5 percent this year. Rates are set to increase between 3 and 7 percent at Tufts Health Plan, 6 to 12 percent at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and as much as 17 percent at Fallon Health.

The jumps in premiums come as insurers pass on the costs of rising drug prices, insurers and analysts said, and grapple with the cost of expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most of the state’s major health insurers are sharply raising premiums for individuals, small firms, and big businesses, according to a Globe review of figures provided by the insurers and the state Division of Insurance.

For many, the upward trend is troubling.

“People cannot sustain the amount of money they’re paying for health care, ” said Joshua Archambault, senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute, a right-leaning Boston think tank. “At some point, people really can’t afford it.”

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, more people have coverage, and as a result they are using more medical services and prescription drugs, analysts said. In addition, they said, insurers may be passing along the costs of millions of dollars in taxes and fees to finance the expansion of health coverage.

Several insurers and the state Division of Insurance, which approves rates for individual and small-business plans, attribute rising premiums in part to a controversial element of the federal health care law. That program, called risk adjustment, requires insurers with healthier members to make payments to companies with sicker members in order to share the risks and cost of insuring people with a lot of medical needs. It is designed to prevent insurers from boosting profits by enrolling only healthy members.

When the program went into effect in 2015, most insurers ended up paying money to their largest competitor, Blue Cross, which received more than $51 million in risk adjustment payments. Tufts Health Plan received more than $8 million.

The program aims to smooth and stabilize insurance rates, but some insurers say it is having the opposite effect. Companies, including Harvard Pilgrim, which made about $4 million in payments, Fallon, which paid about $11 million, and Neighborhood Health Plan, which paid about $28 million,said they raised rates more in 2016 because of risk-adjustment.

One portion of the market, health plans for individuals and small businesses, shows the steepness of some increases. Harvard Pilgrim raised premiums 8.7 percent for these plans in 2016, compared with a 1.4 percent decline in rates in 2015. Fallon’s rates are up 16.5 percent, compared with a 4.9 percent increase a year earlier. At Neighborhood Health, premiums rose 9.4 percent in 2016, compared to 5.9 percent a year earlier.

The national insurer United HealthCare raised rates 13 percent in 2016, after raising them 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Blue Cross, on the other hand, said the payments it received to help cover its higher population of sicker members helped it keep its premium increases modest: rates for individuals, small businesses, and large businesses are up about 5 percent this year, compared with 4.2 percent in 2015.

SOURCE

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Burying Negative Polls

Network news outlets conduct their own polls. They also bury the poll results when they don't like them. On PBS on Jan. 1, liberal pundit Mark Shields brought some very bad news for the left. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 73 percent say they want the next president to take a different approach from President Obama's.

So NBC, both the creator of the poll and a relentless cheerleader of Obama, chose not to air that bombshell. Instead, they buried it deep in an article on the "Meet the Press" website. "This will become a high hurdle for the Democrats at some stage of the 2016 election," Democratic pollster Fred Yang declared in that piece.

So what did they pluck out of their December polling to report instead? Take a look.

Dec. 10: "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt promoted "brand-new" results that 57 percent of America opposed Donald Trump's notion to ban (temporarily) Muslim immigration to America. On screen, a graphic showed it was 57 percent opposed, and only 25 percent in favor.

Dec. 11: "Today" doubled down. Peter Alexander reported "the firestorm over Trump's proposed Muslim ban keeps raging. Our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows nearly 6 in 10 Americans oppose Trump's proposal. But Republicans are divided, 42 percent in favor, 36 percent against."

Dec. 13: Both "Meet the Press" and "Nightly News" touted NBC's poll showing Trump on top of GOP race, with 27 percent to Ted Cruz's 22 percent. Still no mention of the current president's unpopularity.

Dec. 14: On "Today," Peter Alexander repeated the Trump/Cruz findings, then added: "There are some new numbers from our NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out just this morning that show Hillary Clinton would trounce Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup. It's much closer though between Clinton and Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson."

But there's no mention that if she runs on Obama's platform, she too would be crushed.

That evening, "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt reported, "In our brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll [apparently their polls never age], 40 percent say the federal government's top priority is national security and terrorism. That number has more than doubled since April, and 29 percent say they're worried that they, or a loved one, will be the victim of a terror attack. But today, for the second time in just over a week, President Obama argued that his strategy against ISIS is working."

Holt (and NBC) deliberately skipped numbers revolving around this issue that are far more important. Obama has his lowest approval rating since right before the 2014 midterm wipeout, at 43 percent. More to the point, just 37 percent approve and 57 percent disapprove of the president's handling of foreign policy, and only 34 percent approve and 60 percent disapprove of his handling of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

NBC's pollsters said these low numbers on foreign policy were comparable to George W. Bush's numbers at this point in his second term. In addition, only 20 percent of the public believes the country is headed in the right direction, versus a whopping 70 percent who think it's on the wrong track.

The networks constantly hammered George W. Bush with bad polling results like these in the long war on terrorism. But for Obama, NBC and the other networks routinely and shamelessly spike these awful numbers to preserve his "legacy" and to keep Clinton "inevitable" in November.

SOURCE

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Inside the garden of Political Town Hall Plants

On Thursday, CNN will host a town hall with President Obama as part of his "final-year push to make gun control part of his legacy." In addition to sitting down with liberal anchor Anderson Cooper, the network says Obama will "take questions from the audience."

Uh-oh. Get out your best pruning shears and trowels. In an age of micromanaged partisan stagecraft and left-wing media enablers, there is no such thing as a spontaneous question.

CNN has a long history of allowing political plants to flourish in its public forums.

At the cable station's Democratic debate in Las Vegas in 2007, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as "ordinary people, undecided voters." But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, and a far left anti-war activist who'd been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.

At a CNN/YouTube GOP debate two weeks later, the everyday, "undecided voters" whose questions were chosen included:

—A member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Americans For Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.

—A young woman named "Journey" who questioned the candidates on abortion and whom CNN failed to properly identify as an outspoken John Edwards supporter.

—A supposed "Log Cabin Republican" who had declared his support for Obama on an Obama '08 campaign blog.

—A supposedly unaffiliated "concerned mother" who was actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers — which had endorsed Edwards for president.

—A supposed "undecided" voter who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, but who had already publicly declared his support for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's Democratic presidential bid.

—A staffer for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; a former intern for Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and a former intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Once a manipulative gardener, always a manipulative gardener. During the push for Obamacare, Democrat plants spread like kudzu across town hall propaganda events.

More HERE

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

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)

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






7 January, 2016

Does poverty reduce your IQ?

Only in America, allegedly.  That poverty CORRELATES with low IQ has long been known.  Poor people are often that way because they make dumb decisions -- spending all their money on beer, drugs and cigarettes, for instance.  A much more interesting question, therefore is whether poverty CAUSES low IQ.  We know that low IQ causes poverty but does poverty cause low IQ?

A recent very extensive and very sophisticated study set out to examine that -- and the results have been reported enthusiastically -- as showing that poverty DOES have an effect on IQ.  I reproduce a popular report of it below.

I have however, in my usual pesky way, gone back to the underlying academic journal article and read it. I have even looked at the numbers!  Despite its great methodological care and statistical complexity, it is an amusing example of failing to do something that the best journals now recommend:  Pre-register your expectations.  Studies that do not do that are very prone to data dredging effects -- looking for any correlation in the data that seems large and changing your hypothesis to say that's what you expected all along.

And the authors below did not pre-register their expectations.  They data-dredged.  After all the hard work they did in gathering and analysing their data, they initially found NO EFFECT of poverty on IQ.  So they desperately looked at their data to see what was in fact going on.  And they found that if they used U.S. data only, there was a weak effect in the direction expected. 

Findings that were not pre-registered can of course still be accepted and there are long-standing procedures to allow for data dredging -- adopting an experiment-wise error-rate approach, for instance.  That is however very rarely done in fact.  It would take all the fun out of a lot of research. But some approach to allowing for that sort of thing is now being given emphasis in journal review policies.  In simple words, a much stronger effect is required for an unplanned relationship to be taken seriously. A weak relationship could be just a random oscillation.

The effects reported below were however very slight so I think that by current academic standards we should accept the null hypothesis.  We should conclude that poverty does NOT demonstrably affect IQ.

I don't like to flog a dead horse but a second defect in the study is that the findings were not controlled for race. Could race alone account for the aberrant U.S. results?  Knowing as we do how atypical are the IQs of persons with sub-Saharan African ancestry ("blacks", to use non-academic language) the researchers  should clearly have excluded blacks from all analyses on the grounds that they are a quite separate population requiring study in their own right.  The authors admit this but did not do it

The original study is rather misleadingly titled:  "Large Cross-National Differences in Gene × Socioeconomic Status Interaction on Intelligence"



Poverty has long been linked with lower levels of intelligence, especially among children, but a new study has suggested its impact may depend on where you live.

Scientists believe a person's intelligence is formed by a complex interplay between the genes they inherit from their parents and the environment they grow up in.

But a study of twins has determined that childhood poverty appears to 'dampen down' the potential contained within a person's genes - and the situation varies from country to country.

The study, conducted by researchers at University of Texas at Austin and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, found people born in the US tend to suffer the effects of poverty more.

Elsewhere, the link between poverty and a lower IQ was less noticeable in Western Europe and Australia, and in fact the opposite may be true in the Netherlands.

The study, which is published in the journal Psychological Science, analysed the findings of 14 peer-reviewed papers.

Combined, they drew upon almost 25,000 sets of twins and siblings from the US, Australia, England, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.

The researchers said the differences between the US and European countries may be due in part to more universal access to healthcare, which has helped to close some socioeconomic gaps.

Differences in the education systems in the countries may also play a role.

The researchers behind the study added that the results could prove useful in helping to tackle gaps between socioeconomic groups.

They said that providing more uniform access to education and healthcare can counter and even reverse the negative effect of poverty on genes involved in IQ.

More HERE

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Oregon standoff: Militia occupy wildlife refuge for fourth day

The Leftist attempt to brand these people as "terrorists" is typical Leftist absurdity.  Terrorists kill people.  Who have these people killed?  Similar groups agitating for Leftist causes would be called "protesters" -- and that is what these people are.  And, to use more leftist terminology, what they are doing is a "sit in"

AMMON Bundy, the militiaman leading a standoff at a remote US wildlife centre in Oregon now in its fourth day, has hit back at claims he is a domestic terrorist.

Saturday’s takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside the town of Burns, Oregon, was spurred by the imprisonment of two ranchers for setting fires that spread to federal land. The occupation marked the latest protest over federal management of public land in the west, long seen by political conservatives in the region as an intrusion on individual freedom and property rights.

Bundy, 40, whose father’s ranch in Nevada was the scene of an armed standoff against federal land managers in 2014, said his group was defending the Constitution and personal liberty against the federal government.

Online, public opinion was sharply split on what was quickly dubbed the #Oregonstandoff, with many branding the takeover an act of domestic terrorism, while others saw an act of resistance against government oppression.

A CNN reporter approached Bundy on Monday night and asked him about people saying his group is committing terrorism.

“There’s been a lot of social media discussion about what you all are doing out here,” the reporter said. “They’ve used words like ‘Ya’ll Qaeda’ and ‘Vanilla ISIS.’  And while they sound like funny names, they are basically calling you terrorists. How do you respond to these kinds of accusations?”

Bundy responded: “Well I would just encourage — well, one, I think that is the minority. But I would encourage people to look into what is really happening and find out who is truly doing the terrorising,” he said.

“Who has been taking ranches? This refuge alone, over 100 ranches have been taken so they can make this refuge.”
Ammon Bundy CNN interview

The protesters say they aim to protect the rights of ranchers and start a national debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy that they hope will force the federal government to release tracts of western land.

The FBI said it was working with state and local law enforcement for a peaceful resolution.

The ranchers whose cause Bundy’s group has embraced — Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son, Steven — surrendered to federal authorities in California on Monday after being resentenced to longer prison terms for arson.

While turning themselves in they complained their five-year terms were “far too long” and announced they would seek rare clemency from President Barack Obama.

A Gallup poll released last month showed a majority of Americans view “big government” as the biggest threat to the nation in the future, when asked to choose between that, big labour and big business.

SOURCE

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Crocodile tears

PRESIDENT Barack Obama wiped away tears as he condemned gun violence across the US and announced a new plan to tighten gun rules.

Mr Obama delivered a powerful address in the White House on Tuesday, surrounded by family members of people killed in shootings. His voice rose to a yell as he said the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms needed to be balanced by the right to worship and gather peacefully.

“People are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice,” he said. “That is why we are here today. Not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to prevent the next one.”

Mr Obama has often said his toughest time in office was grappling with the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut.  “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Mr Obama said, tears rolling down his cheek.

Mr Obama laid out executive action he is taking to require more gun sellers to get licences and more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

More HERE

Commentary

Obama plans to allow health care providers to provide information about mentally ill patients to the FBI for its background check system. No one wants a mentally ill and potentially violent person to be able to buy a firearm in order to hurt or kill people, but we expect that Obama telling states and agencies to violate HIPAA and snitch on patients isn't going to survive in court. The sticking point has always been what constitutes sufficient mental problems to override Second Amendment rights. Furthermore, Obama's implied assertion that this will deter "gun violence" is dubious.

The background check provision is both worrisome and peculiar, in that it could have some interesting effects that Obama didn't' intend.

Obama will direct the ATF to focus on what it means to be "engaged in the business" of selling firearms. "Quantity and frequency of sales are relevant indicators," the White House fact sheet says. "There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement."

In other words, Obama took a vague requirement and ... did nothing to make it more specific. Instead, it will be left to the ATF to look for people "engaged in the business." As The Truth About Guns' Nick Leghorn put it, "Either the Executive Action is simply Obama paying lip service to 'closing the gun show loophole' by appearing tough on private gun sales while actually doing nothing, or this is Obama being purposefully vague to allow his ATF to go after as many people as possible."

On the other hand, Obama, already Gun Salesman of the Decade, might also become "kitchen table FFL dealer" creator of the decade. If he's going to blur the line around what constitutes "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, then more Americans than ever could soon become not only gun owners but licensed firearms dealers.

Complicating the process by which trusts obtain items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) targets already law-abiding gun owners, not criminals. If you try to find examples of NFA-regulated items being used in crimes, you'll have to go back at least a decade. Even then there's some disagreement since the federal government doesn't track those crimes, likely because then they'd have to admit crime with such items isn't a real problem.

In short, there is absolutely no rationale for Obama changing anything related to NFA items. It's just a way to say "screw you" to the most enthusiastic gun owners — the "bitter clingers," if you will. Most people can't afford a $30,000 fully automatic M16, but most of the people who can are likely Republicans who donate heavily to the NRA.

Obama has done nothing to deter crime. Does anyone expect the gang bangers of Chicago, for example, to suddenly engage in only lawful firearms transactions? Murder is against the law, no matter the weapon used. Criminals won't comply or be deterred by this new hoop.

It's also worth reiterating that these measures wouldn't have stopped a single recent mass shooting, from Newtown to San Bernardino. Obama knows that, which simply means he's aiming for what's beyond the target.

Meanwhile, one positive change is that people will no longer need permission from their local Chief Law Enforcement Officer to obtain an item regulated under the NFA, like suppressors. In some states, that's a big deal, because individuals can't procure NFA items when their sheriff or police chief refuses to approve any and all NFA applications.

Obama wants to appropriate "funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws." As we have noted previously, enforcement under Obama has become lax. We're hardly in favor of expanding bureaucracy, but if enforcing the laws already on the books becomes a focus, then it might be a welcome change.

Far more worrisome than the specific proposals themselves, Obama's actions continue a tyrannical trend: He demands his ideological preferences be passed into law, and when Congress declines, he takes action to do it anyway. As House Speaker Paul Ryan put it, Obama "is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will." Ryan added, "This is a dangerous level of executive overreach."

Specifics aside, this lawlessness not only is a grossly unconstitutional executive overreach in itself, but it sets a precedent and a legacy that is dangerous to our Republic.

More HERE 

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mostly about political correctness and the Cecil Rhodes controversy

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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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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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6 January, 2016

High doses of Vitamin D can be bad for you

I often wonder whether the Left or the Right are more likely to be health freaks. In particular, who is more likely to be a pill popper?  I was amused to see how science fiction author and conservative blogger Bill Quick was attached to his "supplements".  He clearly believed that his daily dose of vitamins etc kept him healthy.  When I made skeptical comments about that (Me, skeptical?) he got on his high horse and unfriended me on Facebook and put a block on my email access to him. I was mightily amused by that act of religious devotion.  He even called me unscientific.  When a novelist calls an actual much-published scientist unscientific, that is amusing too.  It would have been interesting if he had tried to prove it but he did not

Anyway, there is plenty of literature showing that too much of anything tends to be bad for you.  I think the craze for high doses of vitamin C has now run its course by now, for instance.

The recent study below is only a small one but getting any significant effect from such a small sample over a short period is interesting. The point of the study was to find out if you could make oldsters (like Bill Quick) less shaky on their pins by dosing them up with a pile of vitamin D. Sadly, the hi-dose  vitamin just made them fall over MORE.

Some kind person should pass on a link to this to poor old Bill Quick. His site is Daily Pundit.  If it is of any interest, at age 72 I take no pills of any kind.  I have a weakness for gin, though



Monthly High-Dose Vitamin D Treatment for the Prevention of Functional Decline: A Randomized Clinical Trial

By Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, et al.

ABSTRACT

Importance:  Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with poor physical performance.

Objective:  To determine the effectiveness of high-dose vitamin D in lowering the risk of functional decline.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  One-year, double-blind, randomized clinical trial conducted in Zurich, Switzerland. The screening phase was December 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, and the last study visit was in May 2011. The dates of our analysis were June 15, 2012, to October 10, 2015. Participants were 200 community-dwelling men and women 70 years and older with a prior fall.

Interventions:  Three study groups with monthly treatments, including a low-dose control group receiving 24?000 IU of vitamin D3 (24?000 IU group), a group receiving 60?000 IU of vitamin D3 (60?000 IU group), and a group receiving 24?000 IU of vitamin D3 plus 300 ?g of calcifediol (24?000 IU plus calcifediol group).

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary end point was improving lower extremity function (on the Short Physical Performance Battery) and achieving 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL at 6 and 12 months. A secondary end point was monthly reported falls. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index.

Results: The study cohort comprised 200 participants (men and women ?70 years with a prior fall). Their mean age was 78 years, 67.0% (134 of 200) were female, and 58.0% (116 of 200) were vitamin D deficient (<20 ng/mL) at baseline. Intent-to-treat analyses showed that, while 60?000 IU and 24?000 IU plus calcifediol were more likely than 24?000 IU to result in 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL (P?=?.001), they were not more effective in improving lower extremity function, which did not differ among the treatment groups (P?=?.26). However, over the 12-month follow-up, the incidence of falls differed significantly among the treatment groups, with higher incidences in the 60?000 IU group (66.9%; 95% CI, 54.4% to 77.5%) and the 24?000 IU plus calcifediol group (66.1%; 95% CI, 53.5%-76.8%) group compared with the 24?000 IU group (47.9%; 95% CI, 35.8%-60.3%) (P?=?.048). Consistent with the incidence of falls, the mean number of falls differed marginally by treatment group. The 60?000 IU group (mean, 1.47) and the 24?000 IU plus calcifediol group (mean, 1.24) had higher mean numbers of falls compared with the 24?000 IU group (mean, 0.94) (P?=?.09).

Conclusions and Relevance: Although higher monthly doses of vitamin D were effective in reaching a threshold of at least 30 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, they had no benefit on lower extremity function and were associated with increased risk of falls compared with 24?000 IU.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 04, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7148

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A new financial meltdown looming?

By economic historian MARTIN HUTCHINSON

Imagine a game of Monopoly(™ Parker Brothers) in which the money supply for each player was infinite. You would see a glut of houses on all available spaces, followed in due course by a glut of hotels. Players would never go bankrupt, and all available spaces would be built until they could not physically hold any more wooden house/hotel tokens. Relaxing the normal constraints would make it a very dull game, with little suspense involved.

Well, that’s basically where we are today with the Fed’s monetary policies. The glut of houses happened in 2007; we are now seeing the glut of hotels. Needless to say, just as the housing glut became a deep depression with massive loss of wealth, so too today’s glut of hotels will shortly come to an unpleasant end.

The hotels glut has been building for several years. Having spoken at a hotel conference in 1999, I am the lucky recipient of a weekly newsletter, the International Hotel Investment News, detailing bids, deals and expansion in the global hotel industry. This has been extraordinarily bullish for about five years now, and last week reported that 2015 was yet another record year for lodging transactions, with deal volume up 56% in the first half of the year worldwide and 73% above last year’s level in the United States. Total deal volume in 2015 is expected to come in at $68 billion. The largest of these transactions, Marriott’s takeover of Starwood, is expected to create the world’s largest hotel company with 1.1 million rooms. Overall, IHIF described 2015 as a “dead sprint toward high occupancy and record rates.”

While business and leisure travel have also been increasing year by year, the world’s slow economic growth must put a cap on them – as evidenced by the positively spooky deserted nature of a large luxury hotel in Stamford, CT. in which I spent a day just before Christmas. Not the high season, admittedly, but Stamford is a very prosperous town and a major nexus of the hedge fund and financial sectors – in other words one of the world’s solidest and best hotel markets.

The problem is worldwide; Hong Kong retail sales are reported to be down in absolute terms this year because of a dearth of Chinese tourists. You can bet that Hong Kong hotels, an exuberantly overbuilt market, will also be hurting badly. The Macao casino business, also, is down by about two thirds following China’s crackdown on corruption.

What’s more the hotel space is being disrupted by Airbnb, the agency for private apartment and room lettings, which currently has only $900 million in projected revenues this year but in 2015 raised $1.5 billion in new venture capital on a $25.5 billion valuation, double the valuation of Starwood, the object of the year’s largest hotel M&A transaction. As we know from the retail business in 2008-09, that kind of disruption has to produce bankruptcies somewhere, either of the disruptor (unlikely with such a well-funded operation) or among the disrupted.

You would expect a hotel bubble. The Fed had ensured that banks have oodles of money to lend at ultra-low interest rates, generally below the rate of inflation before the risk premium is added in. That has naturally caused a surplus of investment in real estate, which has apparently stable cash flows that can surplus gigantic amounts of debt if the interest rates are low enough. In 2004-07 the surplus went into housing. Then the market crashed, negating participants’ assumptions about the invulnerability of home values to market decline.

This time around, the memory of pain from housing is too recent, so that sector has remained relatively controlled (though a price rise of 5.2% nationwide in the year to October, at a time when general inflation is about zero, indicates that exuberance has not entirely disappeared.) Retail real estate, too, had produced a lot of losses in 2008-09, as the Internet shook up the sector and consigned major operations such as Blockbuster Video to irrelevance. The hotel sector, on the other hand, has no recent history of major disaster and apparently had the right sort of steady income, especially in the luxury sector, which could be used to support a mountain of debt. Thus in November 2015 the number of hotel rooms under construction was 21% above the previous year (which was already a buoyant market), with some markets such as Los Angeles/Long Beach up over 100%.

The junk bond market is already in trouble, largely because of energy sector financing that depended on $100 oil. During the course of 2016, it is likely to see wave after wave of defaults and downgrades, as companies run into difficulties and discover that their cash flow is insufficient and refinancing possibilities have dried up. The tightening in the junk bond market and the leveraged loan market will also affect the hotel sector, as companies with unexpectedly tight cash flow and big expansion plans find themselves unable to raise the necessary finance.

The result will be a credit market Armageddon, similar to that of 2007-08, but this time not confined to housing. Just as in 2007-08, financial institutions will find themselves caught in the resulting backwash. This time, however, the biggest losers will not be the investment banks caught in the intricacies of securitized housing finance but the banks themselves, which will have lent directly against energy and hotels, without having laid off all the risk on unfortunate German regional banks through securitization. The downturn will prove that it is not necessary to be large and financially sophisticated to get into difficulties; if the Fed pursues extreme monetary policies even the simplest bank business strategy can go drastically wrong.

Monopoly™ was originally invented to show the evils of real estate speculation, and popularize Henry George’s (1839-97) eccentric theories on land ownership, which held that all land should be held in common with any increases in its value taxed at 100% to contribute to the needs of the state. The game failed to move the needle much on the popularity of George’s beliefs, but we can expect that a real financial crisis, which will appear to have been caused by excessive property speculation, will bring George’s theories very much back into vogue.

In 2008, the left asserted that the crisis had been caused by a lack of sufficiently detailed bank regulation, rather than by a combination of crazed Fed monetary policies and Federal meddling with the housing market to achieve social goals thought to be desirable. This time around, apart from a general demand for more regulation and more state spending, it seems unimaginable that we will escape demands for higher taxes. Thus a George tax on land value appreciation (without the George preference for abolishing all other taxes to make way for it) seems a likely demand, concentrated on the rich and with a certain amount of plausibility in the claim that it is relatively economically un-damaging.

Monopoly™ is realistic in that it is an excess of money in the game which produces bankruptcies; if money is limited the smart player concentrates on acquiring railroad stations and reaping the modest but steady rewards from those genuine operating businesses. Only when the amounts of money in the game become huge does the concentration of hotels become excessive and the game become a form of financial Russian Roulette with massive, indeed excessive rewards for the winners and total wipeout for the losers. Sound familiar?

The solution to the current cycle of massive overbuilding in real estate and speculative projects, producing massive and destructive bankruptcy cycles once a decade is simple as in Monopoly™ – reduce the supply of money and make it more expensive to borrow. Our current economy, if operated with sound money and light regulation, would produce all the productivity gains of the halcyon period 1948-73.

SOURCE

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Scotland: Another prominent Leftist who thinks she is above the restrictions she wants to place on others

Self-love is very big among Leftists

A nationalist MP who campaigned against the sell-off of social housing has been accused of 'shameless hypocrisy' after buying up ex-council flats.

Dr Lisa Cameron makes thousands of pounds from renting the properties to her constituents, who pay more than tenants in identical homes still in public hands.

A Scottish Daily Mail investigation has uncovered the details of her £628,000 portfolio of seven properties, which includes five ex-local authority dwellings in impoverished areas – three of which were repossessions, sold off at bargain prices after previous owners could not keep up their mortgage payments.

The homes are now rented out on the private market for up to £400 a month – around £150 more than the average council rent for the East Kilbride area she represents.

Dr Cameron's husband, who was declared bankrupt less than three years ago, is responsible for the day-to-day running of the flourishing business.

But at a General Election hustings in April, 43-year-old Dr Cameron vowed to 'oppose the sale of housing association homes', arguing: 'We need to make sure we have affordable homes for people within our communities. We would end austerity to the most vulnerable people and support them in finding homes.'

In recent years there have been up to 4,000 people on the housing waiting list in East Kilbride, and South Lanarkshire Council has struggled with a shortfall of affordable housing.

In 2013, Nicola Sturgeon scrapped the popular right-to-buy policy for council tenants in an effort to prevent the further sell-off of homes.

The First Minister, who has said it is 'absolutely vital that people can access social housing when they need it most', will come under intense pressure to take action against her MP.

The party is still reeling after it suspended another MP, Michelle Thomson, amid a police investigation into allegations of mortgage fraud involving property deals.

On top of the £74,000 Westminster salary to which she is entitled, Dr Cameron receives £150 a month from her company, Psychological Services Scotland, for five hours' work supervising the reports of an assistant forensic psychologist.

More HERE 

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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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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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5 January, 2016

Trump Popularity Soars With Group Democrats Fear Losing Most

Ever since Donald Trump shook the foundation of our voting population in the middle of 2015, it’s been all Trump ever since. We know that he takes a solid 25 percent or more in most Republican primary polls. We know that the other primary candidates are often asked about Trump and his comments. We know that the Republican establishment still hasn’t figured out how to respond to him.

But what happens when we add Democrats, independents and unaffiliated voters into the mix?

According to new data by Civis Analytics, those who identify as Republicans but are actually registered as Democrats support the real estate mogul at a higher rate than registered Republicans.

While we do know that not all Democrats will support Trump, this graph is a testament to the bipartisan appeal of his common-sense solutions and his “git-er-done” attitude.



Hot Air derived two important — and possibly contradictory — conclusions from this data:

“If you’re a Trump fan, here’s the smoking gun that he really is a new Reagan, the guy who’s going to broaden the tent and sweep to victory in November by bringing centrist Democrats into the GOP.”

Hot Air also had some choice words about the Obama administration’s effect on the Democrats:

“During the Obama era, many of these voters have abandoned the Democrats. Many Democrats may now even identify as Republicans, or as independents who lean Republican, when asked by pollsters — a choice that means they’re included in a national Republican primary survey, whether they remain registered as Democrats or not.”

After seeing a chart like this, I can’t help but think that Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns may morph into an effort to salvage and revive their lukewarm Democrat voter base.

Honestly, I can’t wait to see what the average Democrat does when they receive their next health insurance bill, which will be sky-high under 2016 mandates. A lot of questions will be asked and a lot of hard truths will be told — and more of the Democrats’ failed policies will be fully exposed.

SOURCE

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Obama Releasing The Worst Terrorist Yet!

The President is pushing to release as many prisoners from Guantanamo Bay as fast as possible. The next terrorist slated for release is Haji Hamidullah. Let me tell you a little bit about this scumbag.

Previously, Obama has released lesser terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden's bodyguards. But now, he is going for it all.

Haji Hamidullah first popped up on our radar when American forces discovered his plan to smuggle shoulder-fired rockets into the Kabul Airport to start taking down commercial and military planes. In January, a raid on his compound discovered that he did in fact obtain rockets for an attack on the airport. This is a man who was potentially days away from shooting down commercial airliners.

Hamidullah was implicated in a number of high profile Taliban attacks before he was ultimately captured in the summer of 2003.

When he was interrogated, Defense Department officials determined that he had a high intelligence value and a high likelihood of returning to fight if ever released. That’s the determination of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo. If Haji Hamidullah was ever released, innocent people would once again wind up in his crosshairs. Their recommendation in 2007 was ongoing detention.

Now, President Obama is preparing to let him go. Obama is going to send him back to some third world prison where he’ll surely escape. And then he’ll be back on the battlefield killing Americans and our allies.

What is Obama thinking?!

Luckily, the Pentagon is fighting back. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve learned that Pentagon officials have been deliberately delaying and sabotaging the President’s Guantanamo releases.

For example, one prisoner was slated to be released to another country but needed to pass a physical before being allowed across the border. The country demanded the terrorist’s medical records and Pentagon officials simply refused, citing health privacy laws. That's not a joke. The Pentagon used HIPAA to stop the President from setting these monsters free.

A handful of bureaucrats were able to stall long enough to call off the transfer.

But the White House is getting wise to this. When someone gets in the way of their goals to put terrorists back onto the battlefield, they replace them with a loyalist who will happily push their agenda.

Rumor has it that was one of the reasons that former-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was forced out.

The truth is that as we speak, opponents to Obama’s plans are being reassigned and the prisoner releases are being put back on schedule.

SOURCE

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Under pressure, Hildabeest finally recognizes genocide when she sees it

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she now believes the Islamic State group’s persecution of Christians, the Yazidi minority and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East should be defined as “genocide.”

Her declaration came Tuesday night in response to a voter at a town hall in New Hampshire, her last campaign event of 2015. Clinton said she’s been reluctant to use the term in recent months because calling something “genocide” has broad implications.

The voter who asked Clinton to use the term “genocide” to describe the Islamic State killings cited world leaders including the Pope and various advocacy groups that are using the phrase to define the extremist group’s killing of Christians, Yazidis, Kurdish Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minorities.

“Will you join those leaders, faith leaders and secular leaders and political leaders from both the right and the left, in calling what is happening by its proper name: Genocide?” the voter asked.

“I will because we now have enough evidence,” Clinton replied.

The Islamic State group’s actions, she said, are “deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives, but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS.”

SOURCE

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Hillary's Marxist Agenda

Hillary Clinton is running a new series of radio ads in South Carolina that were originally written by Karl Marx.

The ads declare America’s capitalist economy to be a rigged game and vow punitive government actions against job creators to make salaries equal.

They’re intended to sap support from her nearest rival Bernie Sanders, a U.S. Senator from Vermont and member of the Socialist Party.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has begun airing radio ads in Iowa and South Carolina that sound off against income inequality — the same platform on which her top rival Bernard Sanders has been running.

“On average, it takes 300 Americans working for a solid year to make as much money as one top CEO,” one ad whines. “It’s called the wage gap.”

“Boosting incomes for hardworking families so they can afford a middle class life is the defining economic challenge of our time,” wails another. 

SOURCE

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Many a true word ...



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Last, the good news

2015 – By John Stossel

We reporters focus on bad news, but at year’s end, let’s remember what went right. 2015 was a better time to be alive than most any prior point in history.

The rich got richer. Some people think that’s a problem, but why? Do rich people sit on their piles of money and cackle about how rich they are? Do they build giant houses that damage the environment? Well, they sometimes do.

But mostly they invest, hoping to get richer still. Those investments create jobs and better products and make most everyone else richer. Even if the rich leave money in banks, banks lend it to people who put it to productive use.

Sure, income inequality has grown – but so what? The rich don’t get richer at the expense of the poor. Poor people’s income grew 48 percent over the past 35 years. Bernie Sanders says that “the middle class is disappearing!” But that’s mainly because many middle-class people moved into the upper class. Middle class incomes grew 40 percent over the past 30 years.

This year we heard more horror stories about bad schools and students who don’t learn. But take heart: Seven more states passed education choice legislation.

That means more students can opt out of bad schools and pick better ones, and over the long haul competing schools will have to get better at what they do. That will lead to a brighter future for all students – and for society, which will benefit from their improved skills.

In 2015, two more states and Washington, D.C., legalized marijuana. Authorities are always reluctant to give up control, but gradually the end of the expensive, destructive and futile drug war will come.

Meanwhile, real crime – violence and thefts – continue to fall. We cover horrible mass shootings and spikes in crime in cities like Baltimore and St. Louis, but overall, crime is down – over the past 20 years, down by about half.

Unfortunately, terrorism has increased – mainly because of ISIS in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there are far fewer deaths from war and terror than there were 30 years ago, and in America, the odds of you or your family being killed by a terrorist are infinitesimal compared to disease, accidents and a thousand more-ordinary threats.

Marriage is good for civilization. This year the Supreme Court declared that gay people may get married. Government shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all, since marriage is a contract between individuals, but if it’s going to wade into that issue, it’s better to have one clear rule instead of ugly ongoing fights about it.

Ending the political squabble means we can all go back to minding our own business and worrying about our own marriages.

In 2015, women in Saudi Arabia got to vote.

More countries elected leaders, rather than inheriting them.

The picture isn’t all rosy. As I mentioned, terrorism is up. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on track to lead America into bankruptcy. We have eternal problems like hunger and disease.  But even those “eternal” problems are closer to being solved than they used to be.

Thanks to better vaccines, 6 million fewer children under the age of 5 die each year compared to 30 years ago.

Twenty-five years ago, 2 billion people lived in extreme poverty – that meant surviving on about a dollar a day, often with little access to basic needs like water and food. “Experts” predicted that number would rise as the population grew. Happily, thanks to the power of free markets, they were wrong. In the space of a generation, half the people most in need in the world were rescued.

Ten percent of the world’s people still live in dire poverty, but the trend is clear: Where there is rule of law and individual freedom, humanity is better off. As Marian Tupy of HumanProgress.org puts it, “Away from the front pages of our newspapers and television, billions of people go about their lives unmolested, enjoying incremental improvements that make each year better than the last.”

So enjoy it. Happy New Year!

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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 January, 2016

Did Mohammed exist?

Islam claims that, during his lifetime, Mohammed took a night journey on a flying steed, called al Buraq, to Jerusalem to the Farthest (al-Aqsa) Mosque.  The irony is that, according to Muslim sources, there was no mosque in Jerusalem for Mohammed to visit.  So why are they fighting over what never was?

Official Muslim history says Mohammed died in 632 AD – if one uses the Islamic calendar, the year 10.  Of this, there is no debate among imams, mullahs, Shi'a, Sunni, Wahhabi, Sufi, etc.  By every account, Western or Islamic, Arab armies did not reach Byzantine Roman Christian Jerusalem until 636 AD of our calendar, to immediately set a siege.  The Arabs did not enter in until 637 AD, when Christians finally surrendered the city.

Almost five years after Mohammed's death.  Five years!

Even were one to accept Islam, there were no mosques in Jerusalem until after Mohammed's death.  Whenever and wherever Mohammed made his night journey, al-Aqsa could not have been in Jerusalem.

This is only if one accepts Islam.  If one does not accept Islam, the story unravels even further.

Western deconstructionists now question the very existence of Islam's Mohammed.  The British historian Tom Holland and America's Robert Spencer  have done masterful jobs pointing out that the Mohammed of the Koran is a collection of biographic myths, appended centuries later.  The Christian apologist Jay Smith has made a career of deflating Islamic claims.  All three trace the legends of Mohammed back to the fertile imagination of Abd al Malik, the fifth caliph of the new Arab Empire – an empire that did not even call itself Muslim originally.

Was there even a Mohammed?

Probably!  But the Koran exaggerates and inflates his life.  And his teachings?  In fact, much of Koranic doctrine can be traced to then centuries-old Gnostic texts that arose after the birth of Christianity.

That is it. Soon after Christianity started, counterfeit Gnostic gospels arose in the second century.  These were discredited early on by the Church, but the ridiculous legends remained floating around among the Arabs.  Mohammed plagiarized from counterfeits for his own political motives.  Hence, the Koran, rather than being revealed wisdom from God, was rather a bastardized recompilation of earlier counterfeits, which Mohammed jumbled for his own ends.  What astounds us is that Mohammed used such ridiculous sources to counterfeit from.

Further aggravating this are the Koranic references to Mecca that have been shown could apply only to the Nabateans in Petra.  The Koran mentions olives, which do not grow in Mecca.  The earliest mosques pointed to Petra, not Mecca.

Did Mohammed exist?  If he did, was Mohammed from Petra, or did he borrow Petra sources?  We know he borrowed from the Gnostics.  And why doesn't Mecca show up on any maps until 900 AD?

But now, for the absolute coup de grace: "The 'Birmingham Koran' fragment that could shake Islam after carbon-dating suggests it is OLDER than the Prophet Muhammad"

Islam, and its prophet, may be a total fraud.

Of course, a lot of this is arcane stuff.  The average Westerner is not going to learn Arabic, nor its myriad ancient dialects, to source this myth out.  Nor, for that matter, will the modern Muslim.

But a Muslim can be asked this one simple question.  If official Muslim history says Islam entered into Jerusalem during Mohammed's lifetime, how could al-Aqsa (The Farthest Mosque) possibly be in Jerusalem?  How could Mohammed visit a mosque that did not exist?

Concerning religion, one can argue whether Buddism's Mahabodhi Temple bears a real connection to the Budda or is primarily a British reconstruction, but Buddism does not rise or fall based on the Mahabodhi Temple.  Catholicism does not require Rome; during the 14th century, the pope was based in France.  Eastern Christianity does not require Constantinople.  Protestantism does not require Geneva.

But Islam's claim to al-Aqsa requires that a mosque existed in Jerusalem during Mohammed's lifetime.  Muslims even admit that the present al-Aqsa site was originally built in 705 AD, over seventy years after Mohammed's death.  Islam has a real problem.  Their own history contradicts their claim.

The mosque on the Temple Mount should therefore be referred to as "the Southern Mosque," given its location on the Temple Mount at the southern end.  No one should indulge this Islamic error.  Media commentators should be called out for even saying "al-Aqsa" at all.  Every Muslim must hear the truth – if not from their leaders, then from the West.

SOURCE

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The ‘Refugee Crisis’: Muslim History vs. Western Fantasy

Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it

Raymond Ibrahim

One of the primary reasons Islamic and Western nations are “worlds apart” is because the way they understand the world is worlds apart.  Whereas Muslims see the world through the lens of history, the West has jettisoned or rewritten history to suit its ideologies. 

This dichotomy of Muslim and Western thinking is evident everywhere.  When the Islamic State declared that it will “conquer Rome” and “break its crosses,” few in the West realized that those are the verbatim words and goals of Islam’s founder and his companions as recorded in Muslim sources —words and goals that prompted over a thousand years of jihad on Europe.

Most recently, the Islamic State released a map of the areas it plans on expanding into over the next five years.  The map includes European nations such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, and parts of Russia.

The reason these European nations are included in the Islamic State’s map is simple.  According to Islamic law, once a country has been conquered (or “opened,” as it’s called in the euphemistic Arabic), it becomes Islamic in perpetuity.

This, incidentally, is the real reason Muslims despise Israel.  It’s not due to sympathy for the Palestinians —if so, neighboring Arab nations would’ve absorbed them long ago (just as they would be absorbing all of today’s Muslim refugees). 

No, Israel is hated because the descendants of “apes and pigs” —to use the Koran’s terminology —dare to rule land that was once “opened” by jihad and therefore must be returned to Islam.  (Read more about Islam’s “How Dare You?!” phenomenon to understand the source of Islamic rage, especially toward Israel.)

All the aforementioned European nations are also seen as being currently “occupied” by Christian “infidels” and in need of “liberation.”  This is why jihadi organizations refer to terrorist attacks on such countries as “defensive jihads.”

One rarely heard about Islamic designs on European nations because they are large and blocked together, altogether distant from the Muslim world.  Conversely, tiny Israel is right in the heart of the Islamic world—hence why most jihadi aspirations were traditionally geared toward the Jewish state: it was more of a realistic conquest. 

Now, however, that the “caliphate” has been reborn and is expanding before a paralytic West, dreams of reconquering portions of Europe—if not through jihad, then through migration—are becoming more plausible, perhaps even more so than conquering Israel.

Because of their historical experiences with Islam, some central and east European nations are aware of Muslim aspirations.  Hungary’s prime minister even cited his nation’s unpleasant past under Islamic rule (in the guise of the Ottoman Empire) as reason to disallow Muslim refugees from entering. 

But for more “enlightened” Western nations—that is, for idealistic nations that reject or rewrite history according to their subjective fantasies—Hungary’s reasoning is unjust, unhumanitarian, and racist.  

To be sure, most of Europe has experience with Islamic depredations.  As late as the seventeenth century, even distant Iceland was being invaded by Muslim slave traders. Roughly 800 years earlier, in 846, Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim raiders.

Some of the Muslims migrating to Italy vow to do the same today, and Pope Francis acknowledges it.  Yet, all the same, he suggests that “you can take precautions, and put these people to work.”  (We’ve seen this sort of thinking before: the U.S. State Department cites a lack of “job opportunities” as reason for the existence of the Islamic State).

Perhaps because the U.K., Scandinavia, and North America were never conquered and occupied by the sword of Islam—unlike those southeast European nations that are resisting Muslim refugees—they feel free to rewrite history according to their subjective ideals, specifically, that historic Christianity is bad and all other religions and people are good (the darker and/or more foreign the better).

Indeed, countless are the books and courses on the “sins” of Christian Europe, from the Crusades to colonialism.  (Most recently, a book traces the rise of Islamic supremacism in Egypt to the disciplining of a rude Muslim girl by a European nun.)

This “new history”—particularly that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians—has metastasized everywhere, from high school to college and from Hollywood to the news media (which are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from one another). 

When U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama condemned medieval Christians as a way to relativize Islamic State atrocities—or at best to claim that religion, any religion, is never the driving force of violence—he was merely being representative of the mainstream way history is taught in the West.

Even otherwise sound books of history contribute to this distorted thinking.  While such works may mention “Ottoman expansion” into Europe, the Islamic element is omitted.  Thus Turks are portrayed as just another competitive people, out to carve a niche for themselves in Europe, no differently than rival Christian empires.   That the “Ottomans” (or “Saracens,” or “Arabs,” or “Moors,” or “Tatars”) were operating under the distinctly Islamic banner of jihad —just like the Islamic State is today —that connection is never made. 

Generations of pseudo history have led the West to think that, far from being suspicious or judgmental of them, Muslims must be accommodated —say, by allowing them to migrate into the West in mass.  Perhaps then they’ll “like us”? 

Such is progressive wisdom.

Meanwhile, back in the school rooms of much of the Muslim world, children continue to be indoctrinated in glorifying and reminiscing over the jihadi conquests of yore —conquests by the sword and in the name of Allah.  While the progressive West demonizes European/Christian history —when I was in elementary school, Christopher Columbus was a hero, when I got into college, he became a villain —Mehmet the Conqueror, whose atrocities against Christian Europeans make the Islamic State look like a bunch of boy scouts, is praised every year in “secular” Turkey on the anniversary of the savage sack of Constantinople. 

The result of Western fantasies and Islamic history is that Muslims are now entering the West, unfettered, in the guise of refugees who refuse to assimilate with the “infidels” and who form enclaves, or in Islamic terminology, ribats —frontier posts where the jihad is waged on the infidel, one way or the other.

Nor is this mere conjecture.  The Islamic State is intentionally driving the refugee phenomenon and has promised to send half a million people —mostly Muslim—into Europe.  It claims that 4,000 of these refugees are its own operatives: “Just wait….  It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah [Allah willing].”

It is often said that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.  What does one say of those who rewrite history in a way that demonizes their ancestors while whitewashing the crimes of their forebears’ enemies?

The result is before us.  History is not repeating itself; sword waving Muslims are not militarily conquering Europe.  Rather, they are being allowed to walk right in.

Perhaps a new aphorism needs to be coined for our times: Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.

SOURCE

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Some history of the "Jim Crow" laws:  They were Leftist laws



Leftists tend to object to points such as the above on the grounds that the Southern Democrats were in fact conservative -- as is allegedly shown by the strong showing that the GOP now has in the South.  But that is false. The Southern Democrats for the first two thirds of the 20th century may have differed in some ways from Northern Democrats but both were Leftist.  They both were anti-business and strong believers in government intervention in daily life.  The Jim Crow laws were one such intervention.  The Jim Crow laws were certainly different from current Democrat policies but in their own way they were just as much Big Government as the Democrat policies of today. 

That great Leftist hero, FDR, was President in the Jim Crow era and he was the biggest interventionist since Lincoln -- and his base of support was in the South. He was notable for turning away Jews trying to flee Nazi Germany.  Fortunately, many Southerners seem to have learnt to distrust secular Messiahs eventually.


FDR vote in blue.  The South voted solid Leftist in the Jim Crow era

And that other great "progressive" hero of the Jim Crow era, Woodrow Wilson, was also solid in the South.  When he came to power as President he resegregated Washington government agencies, after the GOP had desegregated them.  He too was a Leftist racist


1912 election

And the Left are still racist to this day.  Affirmative action is nothing if not racist.  They will never realize Martin Luther King's dream.  King was a Republican, after all.

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

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)

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




3 January, 2016

Q. Why Are There No Muslim Terrorists in Japan?

A. Because there are virtually no Muslims in Japan

And all strata of Japan, from the prime minister to the working class, intend to keep it that way

There are countries in the world, mainly in Europe, that are presently undergoing significant cultural transformations as a result of Muslim immigration. France, Germany, Belgium and Holland are interesting examples of cases where immigration from Muslim countries, together with the Muslims’ high fertility rate, effects every area of life.

It is interesting to know that there is a country in the world whose official and public approach to the Muslim matter is totally different. This country is Japan. This country keeps a very low profile on all levels regarding the Muslim matter: On the diplomatic level, senior political figures from Islamic countries almost never visit Japan, and Japanese leaders rarely visit Muslim countries.

The relations with Muslim countries are based on concerns such as oil and gas, which Japan imports from some Muslim countries. The official policy of Japan is not to give citizenship to Muslims who come to Japan, and even permits for permanent residency are given sparingly to Muslims.

Japan forbids exhorting people to adopt the religion of Islam (Dawah), and any Muslim who actively encourages conversion to Islam is seen as proselytizing to a foreign and undesirable culture.

Few academic institutions teach the Arabic language. It is very difficult to import books of the Qur’an to Japan, and Muslims who come to Japan, are usually employees of foreign companies. In Japan there are very few mosques. The official policy of the Japanese authorities is to make every effort not to allow entry to Muslims, even if they are physicians, engineers and managers sent by foreign companies that are active in the region. Japanese society expects Muslim men to pray at home.

Japanese companies seeking foreign workers specifically note that they are not interested in Muslim workers. And any Muslim who does manage to enter Japan will find it very difficult  to rent an apartment. Anywhere a Muslim lives, the neighbors become uneasy. Japan forbids the establishment of Islamic organizations, so setting up Islamic institutions such as mosques and schools is almost impossible. In Tokyo there is only one imam.

In contrast with what is happening in Europe, very few Japanese are drawn to Islam. If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim, she will be considered an outcast by her social and familial environment. There is no application of Shari’a law in Japan. There is some food in Japan that is halal, kosher according to Islamic law, but it is not easy to find it in the supermarket.

The Japanese approach to Muslims is also evidenced by the numbers: in Japan there are 127 million residents, but only ten thousand Muslims, less than one hundredth of a percent. The number of Japanese who have converted is thought to be few. In Japan there are a few tens of thousands of foreign workers who are Muslim, mainly from Pakistan, who have managed to enter Japan as workers with construction companies. However, because of the negative attitude towards Islam they keep a low profile.

There are several reasons for this situation:

First, the Japanese tend to lump all Muslims together as fundamentalists who are unwilling to give up their traditional point of view and adopt modern ways of thinking and behavior. In Japan, Islam is perceived as a strange religion, that any intelligent person should avoid.

Second, most Japanese have no religion, but behaviors connected with the Shinto religion along with elements of Buddhism are integrated into national customs . In Japan, religion is connected to the nationalist concept, and prejudices exist towards foreigners whether they are Chinese, Korean, Malaysian or Indonesian, and Westerners don’t escape this phenomenon either. There are those who call this a “developed sense of nationalism” and there are those who call this “racism”. It seems that neither of these is wrong.

And Third, the Japanese dismiss the concept of monotheism and faith in an abstract god,  because their world concept is apparently connected to the material, not to faith and emotions. It seems that they group Judaism together with Islam. Christianity exists in Japan and is not regarded negatively, apparently because the image of Jesus perceived in Japan is like the images of Buddha and Shinto.

The most interesting thing in Japan’s approach to Islam is the fact that the Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam. They make a clear distinction between their economic interest in resources of oil and gas from Muslim countries, which behooves Japan to maintain good relations with these countries on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Japanese nationalist viewpoints, which see Islam as something that is suitable for others, not for Japan, and therefore the Muslims must remain outside.

Because the Japanese have a gentle temperament, and project serenity and tranquility toward foreigners, foreigners tend to relate to the Japanese with politeness and respect. A Japanese diplomat would never raise his voice or speak rudely in the presence of foreigners, therefore foreigners relate to the Japanese with respect, despite their racism and discrimination against Muslims in the matter of immigration.

A Japanese official who is presented with an embarrassing question regarding the way the Japanese relate to Muslims, will usually refrain from answering, because he knows that a truthful answer would arouse anger, and he is both unable and unwilling to give an answer that is not true. He will smile but not answer, and if pressed, he will ask for time so that his superiors can answer, while he knows that this answer will never come.

Japan manages to remain a country almost without a Muslim presence because Japan’s negative attitude toward Islam and Muslims pervades every level of the population, from the man in the street to organizations and companies to senior officialdom. In Japan, contrary to the situation in other countries, there are no “human rights” organizations to offer support to Muslims’ claims against the government’s position. In Japan no one illegally smuggles Muslims into the country to earn a few yen, and almost no one gives them the legal support they would  need in order to get permits for temporary or permanent residency or citizenship.

Japan is teaching the whole world an interesting lesson: there is a direct correlation between national heritage and permission to immigrate: a people that has a solid and clear national heritage and identity will not allow the unemployed of the world to enter its country; and a people whose cultural heritage and national identity is weak and fragile, has no defense mechanisms to prevent a foreign culture from penetrating into its country and its land.

SOURCE

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Greece Illustrates 150 Years of Socialist Failure in Europe

Greece cannot pay its debts ... ever. Nor can several other members of the European Union. That’s why Europe’s elite are loath to place Greece in default. If Greece is allowed to abrogate its debts, why should any of the other debtor members of the EU pay up? The financial consequences of massive default by most of the EU members is hard to predict, but it won't be pretty. Europe has built a financial house of cards, and the slightest loss of confidence will bring it crashing down.

The tragedy of Europe has socialism at its core. Europe has flirted with socialism since the late nineteenth century. Nineteenth century Bismarckian socialism produced two world wars. Leninist socialism slaughtered and enslaved hundreds of millions until it collapsed, mercifully without a third world war. Yet, not to be deterred, in the ashes of World War II, Europe’s socialists embarked on a new socialist dream. If socialism fails in one country, perhaps it will succeed if all of Europe joined a supra-national socialist organization. Oh, they don't call what has evolved from this dream “socialism,” but it is socialism nonetheless.

Socialism will not work, whether in one country, a multi-state region such as Europe, or the entire world. Ludwig von Mises explained that socialism is not an alternative economic system. It is a program for consumption. It tells us nothing about economic production. Since each man's production must be distributed to all of mankind, there is no economic incentive to produce anything, although there may be the incentive of coercion and threats of violence. Conversely, free market capitalism is an economic system of production, whereby each man owns the product of his own labors and, therefore, has great economic incentives to produce both for himself, his family, and has surplus goods to trade for the surplus product of others. Even under life and death threats neither the socialist worker nor his overseer would know what to produce, how to produce it, or in what quantities and qualities. These economic cues are the product of free market capitalism and money prices.

Under capitalism, man specializes to produce trade goods for the product of others. This is just one way of stating Say’s Law; i.e., that production precedes consumption and that production itself creates demand. For example, a farmer may grow some corn for his family to consume or to feed to his own livestock, but he sells most of his corn on the market in exchange for money with which to buy all the many other necessities and luxuries of life. His corn crop is his demand and money is simply the indirect medium of exchange.

Keynes attempted to deny Say’s Law, claiming that demand itself — created artificially by central bank money printing — would spur production. He attempted, illogically and unsuccessfully, to place consumption ahead of production. To this day Keynes is very popular with spendthrift politicians, to whom he bestowed a moral imperative to spend money that they did not have.

We see the result of 150 years of European socialism playing out in grand style in Greece today. The producing countries are beginning to realize that they have been robbed by the EU’s socialist guarantee that no nation will be allowed to default on its bonds. Greece merely accepted this guarantee at face value and spent itself into national bankruptcy. Other EU nations are not far behind. It’s time to give free market capitalism and sound money a chance: it’s worked every time it’s been tried.

SOURCE

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Dear Media: Stop Trying To Teach Christians Theology

Christianity obviously doesn’t mean what you think it means. So stop making yourself out to be televangelists.

Every journalist in America has been secretly attending seminary, and now understands Christianity better than most Christians do. This is the only conclusion I can draw after months of theology lectures from reporters whose most recent encounter with religious terminology was Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.”

To those of us for whom church isn’t a metaphor for sex, it’s been a frustrating few months. First, the chattering class endlessly assured Christian bakers, restaurant-owners, photographers, and florists that Jesus would be totally down with making same-sex nuptials fabulous (and presumably, with paying the $135,000 fine for those who felt differently).

Then, in the wake of June’s gay “marriage” decision at the Supreme Court, we got an earful about how mean and un-Christian it would be not to attend same-sex “weddings.” (Wouldn’t you know it, we’ve been reading the Bible wrong all these centuries!) Then the Kim-pocalypse struck, and we were treated to smug editorials on how the Kentucky clerk’s faith represents the dark side of Christianity, while those who ignore tertiary topics like—say—God’s design for human sexuality in favor of social justice issues, are the good Christians. (I once was blind, but now I see!) But this month, the media got an opportunity to bestow their theological insights on us like never before. Did they ever.

Shock: Christian College Upholds Christianity

When Wheaton political science professor Larycia Hawkins was suspended after wearing a hijab during Advent, writers at outlets like The Huffington Post thought this headline was too good to resist: “A Christian College Placed a Professor on Leave for Wearing A Hijab.”

Except, they didn’t. Wheaton has made it clear that it has no policy regarding Islamic religious garb, or as Hawkins calls it, “embodied solidarity” with Muslims. Instead, the administration suspended Hawkins for her bizarre explanation of the stunt:

“I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind—a cave in Sterkfontein, South Africa that I had the privilege to descend into to plumb the depths of our common humanity in 2014. I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

Putting aside for a moment the question of how many Muslims would agree that mankind crawled from a cave in South Africa, Wheaton points out that its faculty and staff “make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion, and theological clarity.” As part of the faculty’s jobs, the college asks them to “faithfully represent the College’s evangelical statement of faith.” In other words, what Wheaton professors say in front of students has to be recognizably evangelical. Obviously, the administration felt Hawkins failed this test by equating the God of Christianity with the god of Islam.

Ruth Graham at The Atlantic published a much-needed clarification that seemed like it might quell the cries of “bigotry” and “Islamophobia.” Alas, shifting attention from Hawkins’ headscarf to her statements only gave the media the chance to don again their theology professor bowties.

I Don’t Like Your Religion, So Change It

“Instead of debating the wisdom of bringing guns to campus to kill potential terrorists,” sneered David R. Wheeler at CNN, referring to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s recent remarks, “what about listening to the actual words of Jesus, such as ‘love your enemy’? What about 1 John 4:18: ‘There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear’?” (It’s a good thing we have CNN contributors to apprise us of these obscure Bible passages!)

Wheeler says a few rare-as-snow-leopards Christians still live by Jesus’ words—Christians like Larycia Hawkins—“But they get punished,” he writes, for exercising such virtues. In a huff over Wheaton’s decision to suspend Hawkins, he sermonizes: “She didn’t say Islam and Christianity were the same religion…She didn’t say Muslims believe in the divinity of Christ…All she said was that they worship the same God.”

Evidently, he believes this should be no problem. Wheeler, like so much of the mainstream media, has scrutinized the situation with the eye of a trained theologian and after much deliberation concluded that—surprise!—evangelical Christians are just being meanies.

We could multiply articles in the Christians-are-meanies-and-I-know-the-Bible-better-than-they-do genre like St. Peter multiplied the animals after they left Jonah’s Ark. But it wouldn’t change the fact that the Most Holy Synod of Journalists doesn’t have an inerrant track record on religion. For instance, they sometimes need reminders that the resurrection is an actual thing Christians believe happened.

More HERE 

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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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)

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






2 January, 2016

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

Excerpt below from  Robert Nozick, considered by some to have been the foremost libertarian intellectual.  I have some coments at the foot of the excerpt

It is surprising that intellectuals oppose capitalism so. Other groups of comparable socio-economic status do not show the same degree of opposition in the same proportions. Statistically, then, intellectuals are an anomaly.

Not all intellectuals are on the “left.” Like other groups, their opinions are spread along a curve. But in their case, the curve is shifted and skewed to the political left.

By intellectuals, I do not mean all people of intelligence or of a certain level of education, but those who, in their vocation, deal with ideas as expressed in words, shaping the word flow others receive. These wordsmiths include poets, novelists, literary critics, newspaper and magazine journalists, and many professors.

Wordsmith intellectuals fare well in capitalist society; there they have great freedom to formulate, encounter, and propagate new ideas, to read and discuss them. Their occupational skills are in demand, their income much above average. Why then do they disproportionately oppose capitalism? Indeed, some data suggest that the more prosperous and successful the intellectual, the more likely he is to oppose capitalism. This opposition to capitalism is mainly “from the left” but not solely so. Yeats, Eliot, and Pound opposed market society from the right.

Intellectuals feel they are the most valuable people, the ones with the highest merit, and that society should reward people in accordance with their value and merit. But a capitalist society does not satisfy the principle of distribution “to each according to his merit or value.” Apart from the gifts, inheritances, and gambling winnings that occur in a free society, the market distributes to those who satisfy the perceived market-expressed demands of others, and how much it so distributes depends on how much is demanded and how great the alternative supply is. Unsuccessful businessmen and workers do not have the same animus against the capitalist system as do the wordsmith intellectuals. Only the sense of unrecognized superiority, of entitlement betrayed, produces that animus.

The Schooling of Intellectuals

What factor produced feelings of superior value on the part of intellectuals? I want to focus on one institution in particular: schools. As book knowledge became increasingly important, schooling—the education together in classes of young people in reading and book knowledge—spread. Schools became the major institution outside of the family to shape the attitudes of young people, and almost all those who later became intellectuals went through schools. There they were successful. They were judged against others and deemed superior. They were praised and rewarded, the teacher’s favorites. How could they fail to see themselves as superior? Daily, they experienced differences in facility with ideas, in quick-wittedness. The schools told them, and showed them, they were better.

The schools, too, exhibited and thereby taught the principle of reward in accordance with (intellectual) merit. To the intellectually meritorious went the praise, the teacher’s smiles, and the highest grades. In the currency the schools had to offer, the smartest constituted the upper class. Though not part of the official curricula, in the schools the intellectuals learned the lessons of their own greater value in comparison with the others, and of how this greater value entitled them to greater rewards.

The wider market society, however, taught a different lesson. There the greatest rewards did not go to the verbally brightest. There the intellectual skills were not most highly valued. Schooled in the lesson that they were most valuable, the most deserving of reward, the most entitled to reward, how could the intellectuals, by and large, fail to resent the capitalist society which deprived them of the just deserts to which their superiority “entitled” them? Is it surprising that what the schooled intellectuals felt for capitalist society was a deep and sullen animus that, although clothed with various publicly appropriate reasons, continued even when those particular reasons were shown to be inadequate?

In saying that intellectuals feel entitled to the highest rewards the general society can offer (wealth, status, etc.), I do not mean that intellectuals hold these rewards to be the highest goods. Perhaps they value more the intrinsic rewards of intellectual activity or the esteem of the ages. Nevertheless, they also feel entitled to the highest appreciation from the general society, to the most and best it has to offer, paltry though that may be. I don’t mean to emphasize especially the rewards that find their way into the intellectuals’ pockets or even reach them personally. Identifying themselves as intellectuals, they can resent the fact that intellectual activity is not most highly valued and rewarded.

The intellectual wants the whole society to be a school writ large, to be like the environment where he did so well and was so well appreciated. By incorporating standards of reward that are different from the wider society, the schools guarantee that some will experience downward mobility later. Those at the top of the school’s hierarchy will feel entitled to a top position, not only in that micro-society but in the wider one, a society whose system they will resent when it fails to treat them according to their self-prescribed wants and entitlements. The school system thereby produces anti-capitalist feeling among intellectuals. Rather, it produces anti-capitalist feeling among verbal intellectuals. Why do the numbersmiths not develop the same attitudes as these wordsmiths? I conjecture that these quantitatively bright children, although they get good grades on the relevant examinations, do not receive the same face-to-face attention and approval from the teachers as do the verbally bright children. It is the verbal skills that bring these personal rewards from the teacher, and apparently it is these rewards that especially shape the sense of entitlement.

Central Planning in the Classroom

There is a further point to be added. The (future) wordsmith intellectuals are successful within the formal, official social system of the schools, wherein the relevant rewards are distributed by the central authority of the teacher. The schools contain another informal social system within classrooms, hallways, and schoolyards, wherein rewards are distributed not by central direction but spontaneously at the pleasure and whim of schoolmates. Here the intellectuals do less well.

It is not surprising, therefore, that distribution of goods and rewards via a centrally organized distributional mechanism later strikes intellectuals as more appropriate than the “anarchy and chaos” of the marketplace. For distribution in a centrally planned socialist society stands to distribution in a capitalist society as distribution by the teacher stands to distribution by the schoolyard and hallway.

This unintended consequence of the school system, the anti-capitalist animus of intellectuals, is, of course, reinforced when pupils read or are taught by intellectuals who present those very anti-capitalist attitudes.

Stated as a general point, it is hardly contestable that the norms within schools will affect the normative beliefs of people after they leave the schools. The schools, after all, are the major non-familial society that children learn to operate in, and hence schooling constitutes their preparation for the larger non-familial society. It is not surprising that those successful by the norms of a school system should resent a society, adhering to different norms, which does not grant them the same success. Nor, when those are the very ones who go on to shape a society’s self-image, its evaluation of itself, is it surprising when the society’s verbally responsive portion turns against it. If you were designing a society, you would not seek to design it so that the wordsmiths, with all their influence, were schooled into animus against the norms of the society.

More HERE 

I have put up this essay from  1998 because I think Nozick is describing and explaining a problem that is still a big one for conservatives.  If all the big talkers are against us, how do we get our points across?  I have myself previously looked at the problem here and my conclusions are similar.  It may help to neutralize Leftist intellectuals if we repeatedly accuse them of being mean souls motivated by jealousy

A small personal note:  I have exactly the background that should make me a Leftist intellectual -- doing well at school etc.  So how come I did not become one?  An important fact, I think, is that I am totally devoid of envy.  I am PLEASED to see other people doing well.  I don't get burnt up by it


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Terrorism is the symptom, ideology the disease

By John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations

THE DEMOCRATIC and Republican presidential primary campaigns are now approaching the ultimate reality: voters actually voting. Given the priority of international terrorism in their minds, this is a critical opportunity to test whether the candidates truly understand the threat of radical Islam.

The central question for US policy makers is how the terrorists (and their state sponsors and other accomplices) see us, and how we should see them. Too often, especially among Democrats but also for some Republicans, there is serious confusion about radical Islam’s true ramifications, thereby blinding us to the magnitude of its danger. Even worse, our misperceptions tie our hands in developing ways to protect innocent civilians at home, and our interests and allies abroad.

Although communism and radical Islam differ in countless ways, they share one critical element: they are ideologies driven by an obsession to force the real world to match their preconceptions, whether of class conflict or superior religious belief. Terrorist attacks are simply manifestations of the ideology, the symptoms of the threat, not the threat itself. Accordingly, US policies that ignore the ideological driving force will fail, because they are not addressing the real menace.

In his classic work, “Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin,’’ George Kennan observed, “Many people in the Western governments came to hate the Soviet leaders for what they did. The Communists, on the other hand, hated the Western governments for what they were, regardless of what they did.” Even considering the profound differences between communism and Islamism, Kennan’s insight is a lodestar for would-be presidents.

In the West, there is nearly universal revulsion at the bestiality of Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and their mass murdering of innocent civilians, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. But their barbarism extends beyond slaughtering noncombatants. It also includes forced marriages, selling women and children into slavery, medieval punishments for alleged heresy and apostasy, and beguiling and then brainwashing the unwary. As heinous as these acts are, however, they are not isolated aberrations. They are symptoms of the underlying radical-Islam disease itself, and it is that disease which should be our principal target.

Similarly, terrorist propaganda against the West is filled with hatred for specific targets: Mohammed cartoons and videos, the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, women’s education, and more, all of which supposedly offend the radicals’ tender sensibilities. “Offensive” though these examples may be, they are merely pretexts. If they were eliminated, there would be others: the presence of US forces in Muslim lands (even when protecting Muslims from terror and oppression), for example.

Those who neither recognize nor understand the terrorist ideology react to the radical Islamists at the capillary level, and their perception of how the West should respond also reflects an instinct for the capillary. Like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, they believe that if we only stopped referring to “Islamic terrorism,” if we only closed Gitmo, or stopped making offensive cartoons and videos, the terrorist threat would recede.

This approach is pure fantasy. Our actions did not cause radical Islamists to hate us. Western efforts at appeasement will not induce more “moderate” policies from them.

We cannot remain crouched in the fetal position, hoping not to offend anyone, or respond to terrorism’s global reality only after we are attacked. We could make innumerable “reforms” to Western behavior that the radicals deem offensive, but it would not alter their ideology. If anything, it would only convince them that many in the West have lost faith in their basic values and philosophy of freedom. Our efforts at appeasement, in this uncomfortably accurate light, are simply evidence of the underlying decay of Western culture itself.

Similarly, ad hoc law-enforcement responses to individual terrorist acts are insufficient. There are simply too many aspiring San Bernardino shooters; too many Tsarnaev brothers; too many Major Nidal Hasans; too many Boko Harams; too many terrorists in Benghazi, the Islamic State, and Afghanistan. Even legitimate law-enforcement surveillance efforts, themselves under assault, will never suffice to protect the United States and our allies against an army of hostile, ideological terrorists.

Refusing to acknowledge that we face an ideologically motivated foe is not a grand strategy. It has already failed for almost 30 years, even as the radical ideology fueling terrorism has spread, gaining countless new adherents. In the war we are in, not of our choosing but because we are being attacked, the only long-term strategy is to destroy the enemy, not try to appease it. That is what the voter should be demanding to hear from the presidential candidates. For as Winston Churchill said, confronting the Nazi ideology, “without victory, there is no survival.”

SOURCE

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Obama Announces Radical Executive Order on immigrants?

The President has just announced a new executive order to rewrite immigration law and bring even more foreigners here to compete with Americans for jobs. Not only that, but it will save immigrants slated for deportation and give them work permits as well.

The new executive action is going to explode the number of work permits and green cards given to foreign aliens. It will allow hundreds of thousands of foreigners to come here with little-to-no questions asked!

Here is the regulation that was added to the Federal Register today. It is 181 pages long. It will open the floodgates and automatically grant work permits to foreign college graduates. Not only that, but it will spare immigrants already ordered to be deported.

It is hard enough for Americans to find jobs. Now, with the stroke of a pen, Obama is making American workers compete with hundreds of thousands of skilled foreigners.

More HERE

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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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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 January, 2016

Good Riddance To 2015, The Year Of The Big Lie

Thomas Sowell

How shall we remember 2015? Or shall we try to forget it? It is always hard to know when a turning point has been reached, and usually it is long afterwards before we recognize it. However, if 2015 has been a turning point, it may well have marked a turn in a downward direction for America and for Western civilization.

This was the year when we essentially let the world know that we were giving up any effort to try to stop Iran — the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism — from getting a nuclear bomb. Surely it does not take much imagination to foresee what lies at the end of that road.

It will not matter if we have more nuclear bombs than they have, if they are willing to die and we are not. That can determine who surrenders. And ISIS and other terrorists have given us grisly demonstrations of what surrender would mean.

Putting aside, for the moment, the fateful question of whether 2015 is a turning point, what do we see when we look back instead of looking forward? What characterizes the year that is now ending?

More than anything else, 2015 has been the year of the big lie. There have been lies in other years, and some of them pretty big. But even so, 2015 has set new highs — or new lows.

This is the year when we learned, from her own e-mails, after three long years of stalling, stonewalling and evasions, that Secretary of State Clinton lied, and so did President Barack Obama and others under him, when they all told us in 2012 that the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was not a terrorist attack, but a protest demonstration that got out of hand.

"What difference, at this point, does it make?" as Mrs. Clinton later melodramatically cried out at a congressional committee hearing investigating that episode.

First of all, it made enough of a difference for some of the highest officials of American government to concoct a false story that they knew at the time was false.

It mattered enough that, if the truth had come out, on the eve of a presidential election, it could have destroyed Barack Obama's happy tale of how he had dealt a crippling blow to terrorists by killing Osama bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy's SEALS).

SOURCE

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No, leftists don't think like conservatives. Blame Plato

Liberals do not think like conservatives. You have probably noticed this.

Liberals [claim to] believe that human nature is essentially good, while conservatives believe that man is a flawed creature, and that we must exert great effort to be good.

The first Western philosopher who left a significant paper trail was a liberal. His name was Plato, and what modern liberals believe to this day can be traced back to his ideas.

Plato's Republic is the earliest written defense of the idea that men are basically good, and that they are prevented from doing good by, “Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil."

This is why people on the Left call us on the Right stupid or evil. Obviously, if you were smart, you would not disagree with them, and if you were good, you would be one of them.

Since liberals believe that human nature makes us good and ignorance make us bad, they seek to purify the world of ignorance. This is their rationale behind everything from “sensitivity training” for those who dare to dissent from political correctness to state-sponsored "re-education" camps and gulags.

The Left's fear of ignorance explains why they tend to oppose the free exchange of ideas: Some of those ideas might be "bad" and therefore dangerous. (Whereas conservatives are usually more worried about bad actions, not thoughts.)

The Left's obsession with criminalizing "hate speech" is an example of their fear of bad ideas. Professor Richard Moon -- whose name might be familiar -- told me that "hate speech" deserves less Charter protection because it does not "positively contribute to social discourse." He was referring to R. v. Keegstra.

Then he raised Bill Whatcott’s case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that since truth can be used to spread lies, truth is no defence, either. The Left says truth does not add value to the marketplace of ideas if that truth is inconvenient.

The Left’s fear of "ignorance" is also why they wish to control your child’s education. Plato suggested taking children from their parents to be raised away from their parents' contaminating influences.

In the recent past, a child’s education focused upon learning from the experience of the preceding generations -- not just abstract traditional moral truths but also hands-on skills, passed on through apprenticeships.

Today, however, children are separated not just from their parents, but from children of different ages and even from society itself, and all formal education takes place in a classroom rather than an artisan's workshop. (Nowhere are ideas more important and actions less significant than in a place where there is little action and lots of thought.)

Which is why the State is so concerned about homeschoolers “poisoning” their children with incorrect thinking. In State schools, kindergarteners can be taught to accept “gay marriage," and shielded from the "historical racism" of Huckleberry Finn; you can now graduate with a degree in English from UCLA without having ever taken a course on (potentially offensive) Shakespeare.

(And notice what the "corrupting influences" are currently considered to be? “Homophobia”, Euro-centrism and the past.)

It's not surprising that my transition from liberal to conservative began a few years ago, after I read about how the modern education system, a la Plato, was designed to turn children against their parents' values. Learning about how I and so many others had been brainwashed was the first step in rejecting this aspect of my "education."

Today's fashionable, Plato-inspired “Values Clarification” education doesn't teach children about the difference between right and wrong. In fact, teachers must even refrain from making comments such as "That’s good" or "That’s bad" when responding to a child’s idea. The rationale for “values clarification”? Again, the Left's presumption that people basically good, and when they use reason, they will choose good values because good values are more rational.

And of course, if you fail to "choose good values," the Left will pressure you to do so whether you want to or not.
Conservatives do not believe in this approach and neither did Aristotle, Plato’s student

SOURCE

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Has America’s social fabric been torn asunder?

The government depends upon mass, voluntary compliance with the law for it to be able to enforce the rules on society as a whole.

Simple things like a general agreement that if the speed limit says 55 miles per hour, that we will travel somewhere in the general proximity of that posting, with the outliers risking a ticket.

The understanding that we drive on the right hand side of the road and that slower vehicles stay to the far right on multi-lane highways make the free flow of traffic possible.

But events over the weekend make a reasonable person wonder whether the constant fraying of the social contract has finally created a tear that is rapidly becoming irreparable.

In malls across the country, thousands of people congregated, not for the purposes of shopping, going to a movie or simply enjoying each other’s company, but instead with the goal of disrupting people from using the already hard pressed brick and mortar stores for their intended purpose.

At Minneapolis’ Mall of America, the radical Black Lives Matter group even went so far as to feint a protest so there would be a heavy police presence, allowing them to shut down part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport during the height of the Christmas travel season.  Beyond the obvious problem that their actions caused hundreds of people to miss their flights home, they deliberately placed thousands at an additional risk of a terrorist attack due to distracted security.

Mall disruptions also were reported in New Jersey, Kentucky and elsewhere around the country.  When combined with flash mob convenience store robberies and random assaults by mobs playing the “knockout game”, it would be hard to not notice that something is badly amiss.

Even our assumed driving rules are under attack.  On the Washington, D.C. Beltway, a group of approximately fifty motorcyclists caused a delay as they uniformly slowed down across all the lanes bringing traffic to a standstill. As they got moving again, they aggressively cut cars off from passing, and even went so far as to drive north bound up the south bound lanes.  There did not appear to be any political or other message in the motorcycle foolishness, but instead the mass act of civil disobedience seems to have been done just because they could. However, it reveals the fragility of our common understanding about the need to follow the rules.

While it is usually dangerous to draw broad societal assumptions based upon flash mobs at malls, roadways or even political protests blocking bridges, it is safe to note that these occurrences are becoming significantly more frequent.

And it is fair to tie this civil disobedience to President Obama’s continued attack on the law as a whole.  When the President doesn’t enforce the nation’s immigration laws, people naturally believe that if the law isn’t going to be enforced then it is null and void, and the fabric of our nation’s social contract is torn.

When Obama nullifies sentencing decisions for thousands of drug dealers and others, releasing them back into their former neighborhoods it sends a message that the system was wrong and the fabric tears a little more.

When Democrats in Congress urge Obama to use his pen and phone to circumvent Congress, they send a powerful message to their constituents that the rule of law doesn’t matter, and the tear grows.

And when the left and some on the right make those who seek to enforce the laws, targets for attack and murder, creating a schism of fear between the protector and the protected, the fabric itself becomes unrecognizable.

The social fabric that binds America together as one has always been fragile, and to complete the fundamental transformation that Obama strives to achieve, it must be torn asunder from top to bottom in a wholesale surrender of the current rule of law to another set of laws composed not through consent, compromise and agreement, but instead through forced acquiescence.

America should not worry about getting on a slippery slope away from rule by the consent of the governed, because we are already half-way down the slide and few have noticed.

As more and more people read the news and wonder what is happening to their country thinking that the craziness that seems to ooze from our government is an anomaly rather than the forced new normal under Obama, a ballot box response erupts if there is a trusted alternative.

Something to think about as we head into the presidential primary season.

SOURCE

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The Greatest Murder Machine in History

When one thinks of mass murder, Hitler comes to mind. If not Hitler, then Tojo, Stalin, or Mao. Credit is given to the 20th-century totalitarians as the worst species of tyranny to have ever arisen. However, the alarming truth is that Islam has killed more than any of these, and may surpass all of them combined in numbers and cruelty.

The enormity of the slaughters of the "religion of peace" are so far beyond comprehension that even honest historians overlook the scale. When one looks beyond our myopic focus, Islam is the greatest killing machine in the history of mankind, bar none.

"According to some calculations, the Indian (subcontinent) population decreased by 80 million between 1000 (conquest of Afghanistan) and 1525 (end of Delhi Sultanate)". -- Koenrad Elst as quoted on Daniel Pipes site

80 Million?! The conquistadors' crimes pale into insignificance at that number. No wonder Hitler admired Islam as a fighting religion. He stood in awe of Islam, whose butchery even he did not surpass.

Over 110 Million Blacks were killed by Islam.  "... a minumum of 28 Million African were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East.  Since, at least, 80 percent of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave market, it is believed that the death toll from 1400 years of Arab and Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been as high as 112 Millions.  When added to the number of those sold in the slave markets, the total number of African victims of the trans-Saharan and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 Million people". -- John Allembillah Azumah, author of The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa: A Quest for Inter-religious Dialogue

Add just those two numbers alone together, and Islam has surpassed the victims of 20th-century totalitarianism. However, it does not end there. Add the millions who died at the hand of Muslims in the Sudan in our lifetime.

Much of Islamic slavery was sexual in nature, with a preference for women. Those men who were captured were castrated. The mulatto children of the women were often killed, which explains why Islam was not demographically shifted towards the black race, unlike slaves in the West, who bore children to breed a mestizo class. Add in those dead children; and we arrive at well over 200 million.

Remember that in the 7th century, North Africa was almost totally Christian. What happened to them?

We know that over 1 million Europeans were enslaved by Barbary Pirates. How many died is anybody's guess.

More HERE 

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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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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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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.

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

Leftism in one picture:



Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

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 clever 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"

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

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"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

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

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often theories fail badly.

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a prominent Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.



"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

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

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

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!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

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.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

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"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.



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 wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

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.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"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.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

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!)


The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

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





DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"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
Paralipomena (2)
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)




Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Alt archives
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
Dagmar Schellenberger
General Backup
My alternative Wikipedia
General Backup 2



Selected reading

MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM

CONSERVATISM AS HERESY

Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Lakoff
Van Hiel
Sidanius
Kruglanski
Pyszczynski et al.





Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
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/