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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31 August, 2015

America's race war hotting up

Once again, a white is killed because he is white

A serial criminal has been arrested in connection with the 'senseless' and 'cold-blooded' killing of a sheriff's deputy who was shot dead during a gas station ambush.

Darren Goforth, a 47-year-old father of two, was pumping fuel into his patrol car at a Chevron station Friday night when a man crept up behind him and opened fire.

Shannon J Miles, 30, who has a long criminal record which includes firearms offences, was arrested on Friday night and has been charged with capital murder. He is being held in Harris County Jail and is expected to be arraigned on Monday.

After Goforth fell to the ground, the suspect allegedly kept firing bullets into his body in what colleagues described as a 'cold-blooded and cowardly' execution.

No definitive motive has been put forward for the killing - but Harris County sheriff Ron Hickman pointed the finger at the Black Lives Matter protest group for their 'out of control rhetoric' against law enforcement.

In a press conference Saturday afternoon, Hickman said that the group had 'ramped up' public sentiment against officers like Goforth, helping create the conditions for the attack.

He said: 'We've heard black lives matter, all lives matter - well, cops' lives matter too. Why don't we just drop the qualifier and say "lives matter".'

More HERE 


Anchor Babies: A new big issue for Republicans

America is still a welcoming country for immigrants, but the sentiment for pulling up the welcome mat is gaining steam. Failure to secure our borders, lax enforcement of immigration laws by a federal government that therefore tacitly encourages border crossing and overstay of visas, the perception that illegal aliens are sponging off the welfare system, and immigrants' growing lack of assimilation has angered millions of Americans.

Enter Donald Trump, who has made immigration a key part of his platform. His latest vow is to get illegal immigrants “out of there day one … out so fast your head will spin.” With his corresponding surge in the political polls, the national conversation on the topic has shifted focus to the phrase “anchor babies.” It’s the term describing the effect of birthright citizenship, which itself is based on a faulty interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment when applied to children born to those here illegally.

The number of those who have come to the United States to give birth is increasing. While the Pew Hispanic Center says four out of five children of illegal aliens were born in this country, it’s now estimated that one out of 10 American births overall would fall under the description “anchor babies.” Most are the offspring of illegal immigrants who understand current deportation policy gives them a “get out of jail free” card once the child is born — along with a claim to our generous public treasury. But some anchor babies are born to “birth tourists” who arrive weeks before birth and do so specifically in order to have an American passport holder in the family to make securing their own visas easier.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party has factions on both sides of the immigration debate. Many of the other 16 presidential hopefuls align more or less with the hardline stance Trump has taken, yet it was immigration moderate Jeb Bush who became a lightning rod for Democrat criticism for using the term “anchor baby.”

In typical Jeb fashion, he tried to walk it back, saying, “What I’m talking about is the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts — frankly, it’s more related to Asian people — coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of that noble concept which is birthright citizenship.”

Needless to say, that muddled attempt at clarity didn’t work, and Democrats stuck to their marching orders.

“The ‘anchor baby’ narrative is politics at its worst,” wailed Rep. Linda Sanchez, chair of the all-Democrat Congressional Hispanic Caucus, in a Washington Post op-ed. It serves “mostly as a Republican dog-whistle,” she added, “tapping into an implicit racial sentiment that suggests children of color are less than fully American or they’re just a vehicle for gaming the system.”

Bush had no support from Asians, either. Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said, “All that is accomplished through talk of anchor-babies — be they from Latin America, Asia, Europe, or Africa — is to use xenophobic fears to further isolate immigrants. It’s time for our country to return to a substantive discussion on immigration.”

But shouldn’t a “substantive discussion” on immigration include more than identity politics? Birthright citizenship is a legitimate topic for consideration, yet Democrats never fail to blow their own dog whistle by crying “RACIST!” at anyone who broaches the subject. Rule of Law is essential to a free country, but Democrats (and too many Republicans) are more interested in craven pandering.

Like him or not, one can’t deny Donald Trump’s impact on the 2016 campaign, which is largely the result of his willingness to raise issues that establishment Republicans would rather sweep under the rug. At least some Americans are listening now.



Mark Levin: Federal Government Is ‘Stealing From Unborn Babies’

Popular radio show host Mark Levin says when it comes to out of control entitlement spending, the federal government is “stealing from unborn babies.”

“Future generations don’t vote, they don’t exist yet so they keep stealing from them,” Levin explains to The Daily Signal. “They keep robbing from them which means they are going to have limited liberty, they’re going to have limited opportunity, limited wealth creation and we’re spending it all today … we are stealing from unborn babies.”

Levin details the problem in his new book, “Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future.” While Levin has written books before about the woes of a massive federal bureaucracy, this new venture aims directly at the younger generation and the impact it will have on them, especially when it comes to federal spending on entitlements.

“My concern is that your children and my children are going to be left holding the bag and there will be no way out.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

Levin points out how the two Social Security trust funds used to pay out benefits essentially have no money in them, filled with a bunch of IOU notes.

“I don’t even think people who receive these benefits know what’s going on. Many of them don’t know that the money doesn’t exist. All that money that they paid into the system, there is no system. That money was taken and it was spent the second it was taken on other government projects and other government programs.”

Levin says he’s sick and tired of establishment politicians talking about the need to reform entitlement spending. He says there are always plenty of proposals out there but President Barack Obama and GOP leadership don’t want to touch them.

“If we don’t start discussing them then those who claim to defend these programs, they’re the ones who are going to be responsible for their collapse.”



The unsinkable "anti-oxidant" religion takes some big hits

Vitamins are good for us. We have grown up with this as a basic fact of health. That's why it seems like common sense to take supplements and to use creams with vitamins C and E to keep our skin looking young.

These vitamins have gained renown for working as antioxidants. Supplement-makers promise that antioxidants protect the cells that make up our skin and internal organs from being damaged by free radicals - molecules produced by our bodies as we process oxygen, which can also be inhaled from polluted air and cigarettes. They claim that this damage is a significant cause of ageing.

However, disturbing evidence is emerging that shows antioxidant supplements are not only often unnecessary, they may also do more harm than good.

New studies reveal that taking supplementary vitamins C and E can switch off the body's ability to protect itself against disease and damage - increasing our danger of premature death. These two vitamins may even prevent us benefiting from exercise.

Vitamins C and E are key to the multi-million-pound anti-ageing beauty industry, which markets them as a magical 'elixir of youth'. But a new investigation has reported that they can instead make skin age faster.

It has been thought that free radicals can break down our cells' protective membranes and damage the DNA inside. This in turn may make the cells age faster, as well as increasing the risk of cancerous mutations developing.

However, the California-based Buck Institute for Research on Ageing this month published work suggesting that free radicals are essential for skin healing and healthy regeneration in people under 50.

When the scientists bred mice with excess free radicals, they expected to see their skin wrinkle prematurely. But instead the opposite happened: their skin quality improved.

Dr Michael Velarde, the study's lead author, says that while scientists previously believed free radicals to be harmful to skin, it seems that nature has harnessed their powers to 'optimise skin health' - though the precise workings of the process are not yet understood.

It is only once we pass the age of 50 that our cells' energy stores get depleted and wear out, and the free radicals' benefit ebbs away, the researchers said. So women under 50 who use vitamins C and E to keep their skin young may actually be making it age faster.

It is just one of the latest studies to show that we should stop treating free radicals as the 'enemy'.

They may pose a challenge to our cell health, but it appears that our cells need to be challenged in order to remain robust. It's rather like they need regular workouts in the gym in order to stay buff.

Michael Ristow, a professor of energy metabolism at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, has found that our bodies create free radicals when we exercise intensely. This prompts our bodies to mount better defences against those free radicals, effectively strengthening our cellular defences and making our mitochondria - the tiny powerhouses that generate the energy within our cells, which we need to survive - work harder.

In 2009, Professor Ristow reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that if we take antioxidant vitamins, the strengthening system is blocked and fails to work. Meanwhile, in June, research reported to the American Diabetes Association warned that giving vitamin C and E supplements to diabetic patients could increase their risk of dying prematurely.

Kumar Sharma, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, who led the study, believes this is because diabetic patients' mitochondria tend to underperform. Therefore, they suffer particularly badly if their cells are not stimulated into behaving energetically by free radicals. In turn, vital organs can become extremely susceptible to damage.

Professor Sharma adds there is another danger; regular physical exertion can improve the control of insulin in diabetics, but they fail to get any benefit from their exercise if they take vitamins C and E.

A further worry is evidence suggesting that antioxidant pills may actually make our bodies age faster - making vitamins C and E a shortcut to an early grave.

We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets

There are also concerns that high doses of vitamin E can significantly raise the risk of cancer. Last year, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle warned that men should not take high doses of the vitamin because it increases their risk of developing prostate cancer by up to a fifth.

Now, evidence is emerging that may help to explain what is going on. Researchers at McGill University in Canada, writing in the journal Cell, say that free radicals can make our cells live longer by altering a mechanism called apoptosis - a process in which damaged cells are instructed to commit suicide when necessary, for example to avoid becoming cancerous when their DNA has mutated, or to kill off viruses that have invaded the cell.

The scientists have found from laboratory tests that free radicals can stimulate this 'suicide mechanism' to do something completely different in healthy cells - to bolster their defences and increase their lifespan.

Importantly, the concerns centre around taking antioxidants in supplements rather than through diet. Antioxidants are found in foods, but in much lower amounts than in supplements, and experts agree these have a protective effect. Foods also provide a variety of antioxidants that work together in tandem - rather than giving an unnaturally high dose of one vitamin.

Nevertheless, manufacturers of cosmetics, foods and supplements are continuing to make grand claims about 'health-enhancing', 'age-defying' benefits of antioxidant vitamins in man-made products.

But be aware these benefits are far from proven.



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)


30 August, 2015

Obama's Injustice Dept

They were determined to get convictions against New Orleans Cops -- by fair means AND foul.  The convictions they got have now been voided because of the egregious prosecutorial misbehaviour.  There is no respect for either law or justice in the Obama administration

As we've previously observed, the Obama jihad to fundamentally transform America's police, spearheaded by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, proceeds from the premise that police departments are corrupt institutions, beset by a culture of racism and law-breaking. This week, after a federal appeals court's exposé of a breathtaking prosecutorial conspiracy to deprive indicted cops of their civil rights, and then cover it up, it is again time to ask: Which is the corrupt institution beset by a culture of racism and law-breaking - the nation's police, or the Justice Department, which presumes to tame them?

To remember how we got here: Under the stewardship of Eric Holder, and now Loretta Lynch, Justice pounces on every tragedy that Al Sharpton's shock troops mau-mau into a racial crisis. Inevitably, the racism angle melts away under the spotlight of investigation, but that does not stop DOJ. Exploiting the intimidating power of its bottomless budget - out of which the Republican-controlled Congress has not sliced a thin dime - Justice extorts municipalities with the threat of prosecutions and costly civil suits until they say "Uncle," agreeing to adopt Obama-compliant policing. (Recall that in 1997, when former terrorist Bill Ayers penned a polemic that likened the American justice system to South Africa under apartheid, then-state senator Obama blurbed it as ";a searing and timely account.")

Predictably, the result is police paralysis, a condition Heather Mac Donald diagnoses as the ";Ferguson effect." It has led to rising crime across the nation, particularly in municipalities that have signed consent decrees (i.e., that have surrendered on the Civil Rights Division's terms). The principal victims are minority communities that bear the brunt of law enforcement's retreat.

Into this setting drops an explosive ruling by the U.S. Court of appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It has upheld the reversal of civil-rights convictions against five New Orleans police officers. The court's painstaking opinion concludes that, despite the severity of the charges, the district judge properly threw out the convictions because of Justice Department corruption so shocking that "words like ‘incredible' and ‘novel' and ‘unprecedented' were no longer enough" to describe it.

The case arose a decade ago, from what the court describes as "the anarchy following Hurricane Katrina." After a report of shots being fired at New Orleans police on the Danziger Bridge, additional cops were rushed to the scene. In the chaos, police shot and killed two men who turned out to be unarmed (one, developmentally disabled). Four other civilians were wounded. All of the victims were black. Though four of the seven officers eventually charged are black or Hispanic (the other three are white), Sharpton's "National Action Network" quickly labeled the incident "a racial tragedy."

The Justice Department took over the case against the police after Louisiana state prosecutors botched it into a mistrial. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans (USAO) filed a 25-count indictment alleging serious civil-rights and firearms felonies. There were also obstruction-of-justice charges, to which several officers admitted in guilty pleas.

A tense, racially charged atmosphere enveloped the case, no small thanks to self-styled community activists who sought to condemn not just the defendants but the entire New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). This modus operandi has become all too familiar: When the facts of a case debunk the libel that racism motivated police action - either because some of the cops involved are black or because the evidence proves cops were responding to aggression rather than instigating it - the Left reverts to its theory that racism is institutionally endemic. Even unwitting minority cops act on racist assumptions, we are told, because police culture is to blame.

In New Orleans, this campaign played out in the media, including widely read blogs. It turned out that a prodigious agitator was Sal Perricone, a high-ranking prosecutor in the USAO. As the appellate court recounts, even before the Justice Department filed its indictment, Perricone, using assumed names, began posting commentary on Nola.com, the website of the Times-Picayune, that "castigated the defendants and their lawyers and repeatedly chastised the NOPD as a fish ‘rotten from the head down.'";

This is serious prosecutorial malfeasance. All lawyers who are members of a court's bar have an obligation to promote the integrity of the court's proceedings - including to ensure that cases are decided by the application of law to facts proved in court, not by inflaming juries with mob passions. Prosecutors, moreover, have a higher ethical obligation to safeguard the rights of the accused - to ensure that even those who deserve to be convicted are afforded a fair trial with their lawful rights respected.

In New Orleans, Perricone's disgraceful conduct was not uncovered until after the defendants were convicted in July 2011, following a two-week trial. Naturally, they moved for a new trial, arguing that the assiduous campaign had poisoned public opinion, and thus the jury pool, against them.

Initially, Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, who had presided over the trial and harshly sentenced the convicted officers, was skeptical of this defense claim. After all, district U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, flanked by his first assistant, Jan Mann, had assured him at a post-trial hearing of the "Gospel truth" that no one else in the USAO knew about, much less encouraged, their colleague Perricone's smear campaign. Plus, as a show of good faith, Letten assigned Ms. Mann - who was also chief of the office's criminal division, the supervisor of all prosecutions - to conduct a vigorous internal investigation designed to assuage the court's concerns.

After this probe, Mann solemnly represented to Judge Engelardt that Perricone was the sole culprit. Except it turned out he wasn't.

Mann's investigation was full of holes and screamingly obvious leads that were not followed. Judge Engelhardt became increasingly alarmed that it didn't add up. He asked more questions, and was troubled by the Justice Department's evasive responses. Finally, there came a grudging, stunning admission: Mann, too, had been in on the anti-police smear campaign. Blogging under a pseudonym, she too had posted attacks on the NOPD, ratcheting up public pressure for guilty verdicts and encouraging other bloggers to belittle the defense being offered by the cops' lawyers. It emerged that Mann's husband, Jim, another supervisory prosecutor in the USAO, was the best friend of her accomplice, Perricone.

These revelations left the judge aghast. He persisted, demanding to know how widespread the anti-cop agitation had been . . . and whether Main Justice in Washington, which typically has hands-on involvement in civil-rights prosecutions, had been complicit.

Engelhardt found he was asking the same questions multiple times, while the Justice Department's answers - when there were answers - seemed ever dodgier. Finally, one detail became so clear it could be concealed no longer: Karla Dobinski, a longtime veteran of Holder's Civil Rights Division in Main Justice, had also posted inflammatory commentary under an assumed name - or, I should say, at least one assumed name. As the Fifth Circuit relates, "Dobinski is disturbingly vague . . . about how many other people in her department were aware of her commenting and whether ‘Dipsos' was her only moniker.";

What is apparent is that revelation of Dobinski's complicity in the smear campaign was late coming, owing to the Justice Department's wagon-circling. What is appalling is that Dobinsky was involved in the case as part of a DOJ "taint team" - the prosecutors specifically assigned to protect the civil rights of the indicted defendants. And what is contemptible is the signature pattern of Obama-administration lawlessness and obstruction.

The appeals court reports that the government's internal probe "simply refused to follow up" on indications of press leaks by officials knowledgeable about the investigation. And you'll be shocked, shocked to hear that the Obama Justice Department somehow managed to "lose" data from key Internet portals for the years 2010 and 2011. The Fifth Circuit found that this purge meant Judge Engelhardt's "attempt to discover other online prosecutorial misconduct was . . . undermined.";

Despite these defiant impediments, the judge pried enough information to learn that at least one defendant had been coerced into pleading guilty, while defense witnesses had been intimidated and threatened with prosecution - inducing them to refuse to testify on behalf of the police. Furthermore, the appellate court found that sentences to which prosecutors agreed in plea deals were "shockingly disparate" from what they sought for those who went to trial - a telltale sign that the Justice Department may have abused its charging discretion to camouflage weaknesses in its case or improprieties in its methods.

In September 2013, in a scathing and meticulous 129-page ruling, Judge Engelhardt acknowledged that the remedy of vacating convictions over prosecutorial misconduct is extraordinary and rarely invoked. But it was a small price to pay in this case, he opined, to safeguard the criminal-justice system from Justice Department conduct he described variously as "bizarre," "appalling" and "grotesque." Now, after studying this shameful episode for nearly two years, the Fifth Circuit has concurred.

So what has become of the prosecutors at the center of this sordid affair - at least the few who have been identified? Perricone resigned shortly after he was found out. Letten, having indignantly told the court and the public that the sole culprit was Perricone, later stepped down. The Fifth Circuit tartly observes that "both Jan Mann and her husband Jim retired with their panoply of federal benefits intact" - and, evidently, with no prospect of being prosecuted for obstruction of justice.

And what of "Dipsos" herself, Karla Dobinski, the Justice Department lawyer at the center of the corrupt scheme to gut the civil rights of police officers? She is still merrily on the job in the Civil Rights Division, having received nothing but a lip-service reprimand. She perseveres in the fundamental transformation mission, schooling America's cops in the Obama administration's rather different practice of "law enforcement."



Costly Regulations Will Reduce Your Retirement Options

The Department of Labor is pushing a new regulation that will limit consumer choice when it comes to retirement savings, and like everything the government does, it’s going to wind up costing you a lot of money.

The rule would impose greater regulations on brokers of retirement accounts such as 401ks and IRAs, to whom people turn for investment advice. Why are stricter rules needed? The proposed rule claims it’s because people generally cannot “prudently manage retirement assets on their own” and therefore the government has to come in and do it for them.

This profoundly condescending attitude is typical of big government regulators. The common man is too dim-witted to function on his own, so he must be controlled. It’s the same sort of reasoning that led to the increased regulations on what kinds of plans insurance companies could offer under the Affordable Care Act, a fact which led John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to dub the rule, “Obamacare for your IRA.”

Many managers of retirement accounts receive what are essentially advertising payments from mutual funds, some of which they then recommend to their customers. Current law already requires that they disclose these payments as conflicts of interest, but the proposal concludes that, “Disclosure alone has proven ineffective” and calls for stricter regulations. The assumption here is that brokers are deliberately sacrificing their clients’ interests by recommending inferior funds. But such a practice would be professional suicide in a competitive market, when customers who are shortchanged can easily flee to the competition.

In fact, these payments allow brokers to charge their customers lower fees, making a service available to Americans who might not otherwise be able to pay for them. Stopping these payments through regulation would drive up prices significantly, not to mention the economic harm that would come from fewer people being able to afford investment advice.

What’s more, a new report from the Financial Services Institute found that the proposed rule will cost taxpayers $3.9 billion – nearly 20 times the estimate used by the Department of Labor. This cost is only for initial implementation of the rule, and doesn’t take into account ongoing compliance costs, or the costs associated with less access to investment advice.

The most frightening thing about the proposed rule, beyond its effect on retirement brokers and their clients, is that it has the potential to lead to direct regulation of retirement plans, preventing certain types of less conventional investments through 401ks or IRAs. The customer who wants to put retirement funds into precious metals or real estate may soon find such investments “unapproved” by the government. This would make the fund custodians liable for losses resulting from the choices of their clients. It’s hard to imagine any custodian being eager to offer such an option, with the knowledge that he will be on the hook if it goes south.

The kind of paternalism that holds that Americans are too stupid to make their own investment choices without government approval ultimately leads to higher costs and fewer options for investors, and a total loss of wealth across the economy. The administration knows this, which is why the Department of Labor dramatically understated the cost of the rule. Having failed to legislate effectively, the Obama administration is now trying to use regulations to advance its agenda. But you can’t regulate your way to prosperity. What you can do is get government out of the way and let people choose how to manage their investments without interference from paternalists who think they know better.



These Are The Words Used To Describe Hillary Clinton

 The top three words voters think of to describe Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are "liar," "dishonest," and "untrustworthy," according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released Thursday.

Clinton does have some positive word association. The next few words on the list are "experience" and "strong." But others include "crook," "untruthful," "criminal" and "deceitful."

Clinton continues to struggle on the issue of trust given the ongoing scandal involving her use of personal email, and her decision to erase thousands of emails that she insists were private and personal, and not work-related.

According to the poll, 61 percent of voters say Clinton is not trustworthy, while 54 percent of voters say the same of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.



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)


28 August, 2015

This has got to stop

The story below surely shows once and for all how disastrous is the race rhetoric of Democrats and black race hustlers like Sharpton and Obama.  The rhetoric has created a great upsurge of hate among blacks towards whites -- by telling blacks that every bad thing any black suffers is the result of white racism. 

So whites  as a class are in danger, regardless of anything they may have done as individuals.  We are constantly told that all Muslims are not to  blame for the actions of a Muslim minority but blacks have absorbed the opposite lesson about whites.

But I don't suppose that the Left will readily let go of all that delicious hate.  It may need blacks to kill a few  of the Leftist elite to get some caution out of them

Mr Obama could help by announcing emphatically that black disadvantage is NOT due to white racism.  He could also point out that black deaths at the hands of whites are a rarity compared with the other way around.  But he won't.  To renounce the white racism story would go against one of his own basic tenets.

So what is he doing instead?  Blaming guns:  As brainless and as irresponsible as ever.

A man who was fired from his job as a television reporter two years ago took revenge against the small-town Virginia news station by executing two of his former coworkers on live television, and then posting disturbing first-person video of the attack on social media.

Viewers of WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Moneta, Virginia, watched in horror this morning as Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, shot dead 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on live TV as the two were filming a light-hearted segment at 6:45am.

After carrying out the shocking on-air execution, Ward fled and posted video of the attack on social media while also writing about his grudges against the two young journalists in a Twitter rant.

He also faxed a 23-page manifesto-cum-suicide note to a national news station outlining his motives for the attack, saying he bought the handgun he used following the Charleston Church killings, adding: 'my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them'.

Five hours later, police cornered Flanagan a three hours drive northeast in Fauquier County, Virginia where he shot himself in an attempt to commit suicide. Flanagan initially survived the gunshot wound, but died not long after at approximately 1:30pm



How Nazism Explains ‘Moderate’ and ‘Radical’ Islam


If Islamic doctrines are inherently violent, why isn't every single Muslim in the world-that is, approximately 1.5 billion people-violent?

This question represents one of Islam's most popular apologias: because not all Muslims are violent, intolerant, or sponsor terrorism-a true statement-Islam itself must be innocent.

Let's briefly consider this logic.

First, there are, in fact, many people who identify themselves as Muslims but who do not necessarily adhere to or support Islam's more supremacist and intolerant doctrines.  If you have lived in a Muslim majority nation, you would know this to be true.

The all-important question is, what do such Muslims represent?  Are they following a legitimate, "moderate," version of Islam-one more authentic than the terrorist variety?  That's what the media, politicians, and academics would have us believe.

The best way to answer this question is by analogy:

German Nazism is a widely condemned ideology, due to its ("Aryan/white") supremacist element .  But the fact is, many Germans who were members or supporters of the Nazi party were "good" people.  They did not believe in persecuting Jews and other "non-Aryans," and some even helped such "undesirables" escape, at no small risk to themselves.

Consider Oskar Schindler.  An ethnic German and formal member of the Nazi party, he went to great lengths to save Jews from slaughter.

How do we reconcile his good deed with his bad creed?

Was Schindler practicing a legitimate,  "moderate," form of Nazism?  Or is it more reasonable to say that he subscribed to some tenets of National Socialism, but when it came to killing fellow humans in the name of racial supremacy, his humanity rose above his allegiance to Nazism?

Indeed, many Germans joined or supported the National Socialist Party more because it was the "winning" party, one that offered hope, and less because of its racial theories.

That said, other Germans joined the Nazi party precisely because of its racial supremacist theories and were only too happy to see "sub-humans" incinerated.

Now consider how this analogy applies to Islam and Muslims: first, unlike most Germans who chose to join or support the Nazi party, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world were simply born into Islam; they had no choice.  Many of these Muslims know the bare minimum about Islam-the Five Pillars-and are ignorant of Islam's supremacist theories.

Add Islam's apostasy law to the mix-leaving Islam can earn the death penalty-and it becomes clear that there are many nominal "Muslims" who seek not to rock the boat.

That said, there are also a great many Muslims who know exactly what Islam teaches-including violence, plunder, and enslavement of the kafir, or infidel-and who happily follow it precisely because of its supremacism.

In both Nazism and Islam, we have a supremacist ideology on the one hand, and people who find themselves associated with this ideology for a number of reasons on the other hand: from those born into it, to those who join it for its temporal boons, to those who are sincere and ardent believers.

The all-important difference is this: when it comes to Nazism, the world is agreed that it is a supremacist ideology.  Those who followed it to the core were "bad guys"-such as Adolf Hitler.  As for the "good Nazis," who helped shelter persecuted Jews and performed other altruistic deeds, the world acknowledges that they were not following a "moderate" form of Nazism, but that their commitment to Nazism was nonchalant at best.

This is the correct paradigm to view Islam and Muslims with: Islam does contain violent and supremacist doctrines.  This is a simple fact.  Those who follow it to the core were and are "bad guys"-for example, Osama bin Laden.  Still, there are "good Muslims."  Yet they are good not because they follow a good, or "moderate," Islam, but because they are not thoroughly committed to Islam in the first place.

Put differently, was Schindler's altruism a product of "moderate Nazism" or was it done in spite of Nazism altogether?  Clearly the latter.  In the same manner, if a Muslim treats a non-Muslim with dignity and equality, is he doing so because he follows a legitimate brand of "moderate Islam," or is he doing so in spite of Islam, because his own sense of decency compels him?

Considering that Islamic law is unequivocally clear that non-Muslims are to be subjugated and live as third-class "citizens"-the Islamic State's many human rights abuses vis-à-vis non-Muslims are a direct byproduct of these teachings-clearly any Muslim who treats "infidels" with equality is behaving against Islam.

So why is the West unable to apply the Nazi paradigm to the question of Islam and Muslims?  Why is it unable to acknowledge that Islamic teachings are inherently supremacist, though obviously not all Muslims are literally following these teachings-just like not all members of any religion are literally following the teachings of their faith?

This question becomes more pressing when one realizes that, for over a millennium, the West deemed Islam an inherently violent and intolerant cult.  Peruse the writings of non-Muslims from the dawn of Islam up until recently-from Theophanes the Confessor (d. 818) to  Winston Churchill (d. 1965)-and witness how they all depicted Islam as a violent creed that thrives on conquering, plundering, and subjugating the "other."  (Here are Marco Polo's thoughts).

The problem today is that the politically correct establishment-academia, mainstream media, politicians, and all other talking heads-not ones to be bothered with reality or history, have made it an established "fact" that Islam is "one of the world's great religions."  Therefore, the religion itself-not just some of its practitioners -is inviolable to criticism.

The point here is that identifying the negative elements of an ideology and condemning it accordingly is not so difficult.  We have already done so, with Nazism and other ideologies and cults.  And we know the difference between those who follow such supremacist ideologies ("bad" people), and those who find themselves as casual, uncommitted members (good or neutral people).

In saner times when common sense could vent and breathe, this analogy would have been deemed superfluous.  In our times, however, where lots of nonsensical noise is disseminated far and wide by the media-and tragically treated as serious "analysis"-common sense must be methodically spelled out: Yes, an ideology/religion can be accepted as violent or even evil, and no, many of its adherents need not be violent or evil-they can even be good-for the reasons discussed above.

This is the most objective way to understand the relationship between Islam as a body of teachings and Muslims as individual people.  It's also the best way to respond to the apologia that, if Islam is inherently supremacist and violent, why isn't every single Muslim so.



The Struggle for Economic Liberty

By Walter E. Williams

Here's my taxi question. If a person is law-abiding, has a driver's license, has a car or van that has passed safety inspection, and has adequate liability insurance, is there any consumer-oriented reason he should not be able to become a taxicab owner/operator? Put another way: If you wish to hire the services of such a person, what right does a third party have to prevent that exchange?

Many cities have granted monopoly power to taxi companies — the right to prevent entry by others. Sometimes this monopoly takes the form of exclusive government-granted rights to particular individuals to provide taxi services. In other cases, the number of licenses is fixed, and a prospective taxi owner must purchase a license from an existing owner. In New York City, such a license is called a taxi medallion. Individual medallions have sold for as high as $700,000 and corporate medallions as high as $1 million. In other cities — such as Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston — taxi licenses have sold for anywhere between $300,000 and $700,000. These are prices for a license to own and operate a single vehicle as a taxi.

Where public utility commissions decide who will have the right to go into the taxi business, a prospective entrant must apply for a "certificate of public convenience and necessity." Lawyers for the incumbent taxi owners, most often corporate owners or owner associations, appear at the hearing to argue that there is no necessity or public convenience that would be served by permitting a new entrant. Where medallions are sold, the person must have cash or the credit standing to be able to get a loan from a lender, such as the Medallion Financial Corp., that specializes in taxi medallion purchases. Medallion Financial Corp. has held as much as $520 million in loans for taxi medallions.

So what are the effects of taxi regulation? When a person must make the case for his entry before a public utility commission, who is likelier to win, a single individual with limited resources or incumbent taxi companies with corporate lawyers representing them? I'd put my money on the incumbent taxi companies being able to use the public utility commission to keep the wannabes out.

Who is handicapped in the cases in which one has to purchase a $700,000 medallion in order to own and operate a taxi? If you answered "a person who doesn't have $700,000 lying around or doesn't have the credit to get a loan for $700,000," go to the head of the class.

A natural question is: Who are the people least likely to be able to compete with corporate lawyers or have $700,000 lying around or have good enough credit to get such a loan? They are low- and moderate-income people and minorities. Many own cars and have the means to get into the taxi business and earn between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, but they can't overcome the regulatory hurdle.

Enter Uber and Lyft, two ride-hailing services. Both companies use freelance contractors who provide rides with their own cars. The companies operate mobile applications that allow customers with smartphones to submit trip requests, which are then routed to Uber or Lyft drivers, who provide taxi-like services with their own cars. The legality of these companies has been challenged by taxi companies and politicians who do the bidding of established taxi companies. They allege that the use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs is unsafe and illegal.

Uber and Lyft drivers like the idea of working when they want to. Some have full-time jobs. Picking up passengers is an easy way to earn extra money. Everyone is happy about the arrangement except existing taxi companies and government officials who do their bidding.

Taxi companies retain much of their monopoly because Uber and Lyft are prohibited from cruising. They are also prohibited from picking up passengers at most train stations and airports. But that monopoly may not last much longer. Let's hope not.



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)


27 August, 2015

Trump update

Any hope the Republican Party might have had that Donald Trump might soften his stance on illegal immigrants evaporated in the opening minutes of a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday night.

One of America's most prominent Mexican-Americans, Jorge Ramos, the leading news anchor for the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, stood to ask him about his plan to deport undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants.

"Excuse me," said Mr Trump, who is leading polls of contenders vying to be the party's presidential candidate. "Sit down. You weren't called. Sit down."

Ramos ploughed on.  "I'm a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen," he said. "I have the right to ask a question."

Mr Trump responded with the bluntness that has marked his campaign. "Go back to Univision," he said, signalling to one of his security guards who then removed Ramos from the room.

Later Mr Trump allowed Ramos to return to his seat and the exchange continued, with Ramos telling Mr Trump that his policy was unworkable.

As far at the Republican establishment was concerned, this was not the way primary campaign was supposed to unfold.

After losing the last election in part due to overwhelming support for Democrats among minorities, the GOP had expected supporters to fall in behind Jeb Bush, who has the backing of much of the the party's traditional donors class and who is well known and well regarded by American Hispanics.

Instead, the GOP is confronting what has become known as "the summer of Trump".

Earlier in the day a new poll found that Mr Trump was now leading the field in New Hampshire – a state in which moderate Republicans normally fare well – with support three times higher than that of his closest competitor.

According to the research by Public Policy Polling, Mr Trump is leading the polling with an overwhelming 35 per cent of the vote in that crucial state, followed by Ohio governor John Kasich, who comes in second at 11 per cent.

Mr Bush languishes in third on 7 per cent in equal place with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

And on Monday night Mr Trump had launched another attack on the high-profile Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who had angered him during the first Republican debate by asking him about his history of making apparently misogynist comments.

"Was afraid to confront Dr Cornel West. No clue on immigration!" he tweeted on Monday night, following up with another dig, "I liked The Kelly File much better without ?@megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!"

Mr Trump had earlier suggested that Kelly pursued her aggressive line of questioning against him because she was menstruating.

These new tweets prompted Roger Ailes?, the Fox News chairman and one of the most powerful conservatives in the country, to come out in defence of his reporter.

"Donald Trump's surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing," Mr Ailes said on Tuesday afternoon.  "Donald Trump rarely apologises, although in this case, he should."

Mr Trump responded immediately.   "I don't care about Megyn Kelly," he said during a news conference. "She should probably apologise to me, but I just don't care."

The ongoing focus on Mr Trump has served not only to throw the Republican primary into confusion, but to distract from controversy surrounding the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton.



Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be? After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes.

The crisis in world markets seems related not only to a sinking Chinese economy, but also to what Beijing is saying to the world; i.e., China will save herself first even if it means throwing others out of the life boat.

Disbelievers in New World Order mythology have long recognized that this new China is fiercely nationalistic. Indeed, with Marxism-Leninism dead, nationalism is the Communist Party's fallback faith.

China has thus kept her currency cheap to hold down imports and keep exports surging. She has run $300 billion trade surpluses at the expense of the Americans. She has demanded technology transfers from firms investing in China and engaged in technology theft.

And the stronger China has grown economically, the more bellicose she has become with her neighbors from Japan to Vietnam to the Philippines. Lately, China has laid claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and all its islands and reefs as national territory.

In short, China is becoming a mortal threat to the rules-based global economy Americans have been erecting since the end of the Cold War, even as the U.S. system of alliances erected by Cold War and post-Cold War presidents seems to be unraveling.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the European Union, was divided until recently on whether Greece should be thrown out of the eurozone. German nationalists have had enough of Club Med.

On issues from mass migrations from the Third World, to deeper political integration of Europe, to the EU's paltry contributions to a U.S.-led NATO that defends the continent, nationalistic resistance is rising.

Enter the Donald. If there is a single theme behind his message, it would seem to be a call for a New Nationalism or New Patriotism. He is going to "make America great again." He is going to build a wall on the border that will make us proud, and Mexico will pay for it.

He will send all illegal aliens home and restore the traditional value of U.S. citizenship by putting an end to the scandal of "anchor babies."

One never hears Trump discuss the architecture of our rules-based global economy.  Rather, he speaks of Mexico, China and Japan as tough rivals, not "trade partners," smart antagonists who need to face tough American negotiators who will kick their butts.

They took our jobs and factories; now we are going to take them back. And if that Ford plant stays in Mexico, then Ford will have to climb a 35-percent tariff wall to get its trucks and cars back into the USA.

To Trump, the world is not Davos; it is the NFL. He is appalled at those mammoth container ships in West Coat ports bringing in Hondas and Toyotas. Those ships should be carrying American cars to Asia.

Asked by adviser Dick Allen for a summation of U.S. policy toward the Soviets, Ronald Reagan said: "We win; they lose."

That it is not an unfair summation of what Trump is saying about Mexico, Japan and China.

While the economic nationalism here is transparent, Trump also seems to be saying that foreign regimes are freeloading off the U.S. defense budget and U.S. military.

He asks why rich Germans aren't in the vanguard in the Ukraine crisis. Why do South Koreans, with an economy 40 times that of the North and a population twice as large, need U.S. troops on the DMZ?  "What's in it for us?" he seems ever to be asking.

He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk. He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

Trump says he would insure that Iran lives up to the terms.

While his foreign policy positions seem unformed, his natural reflex appears nonideological and almost wholly results-oriented. He looks on foreign trade much as did 19th-century Republicans.

They saw America as the emerging world power and Britain as the nation to beat, as China sees us today. Those Americans used tariffs, both to force foreigners to pay to build our country, and to keep British imports at a price disadvantage in the USA.

Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant.



GOP Should Worry Less About Trump and More About Itself

By David Limbaugh

Commentators and political consultants are working overtime to divine why Donald Trump's candidacy is explosively successful despite his breaking all the established rules. They're outthinking themselves.

They say he is a flash in the pan, the darling of disaffected independents, the tea party's dream, a Clinton plant or the right wing's narcissistic alternative to Barack Obama.

Folks, it's not that difficult. For many Americans — who knows what percentage? — the Republican Party is not an antidote to President Obama's seven-year wrecking ball.

They look at the GOP and occasionally see strong rhetoric but mostly observe a lack of inspiration, energy and any sense of urgency about the current state of affairs. They recall that when Republicans didn't have control of Congress, they asked for patience until they recaptured the House. In the meantime, we were not supposed to rock the boat and jeopardize the upcoming elections.

Since winning back Congress, they've offered a similarly tired excuse: We don't have control of the presidency. Just wait until 2016, and we'll really turn things around. But for now, let's be calm.  Calm? What is there to be calm about?

Those living outside the Beltway wonder why there isn't universal horror over the $18 trillion debt and $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities threatening our kids' future, the gutting of our military, the government's destruction of the world's best health care system, the assault on American businesses and the energy industry, Obama's runaway Environmental Protection Agency, his managed invasion of our borders, his war on Christians' religious liberty, his mistreatment of Israel, the Iran deal, and the government's funding a notorious abortion factory.

It's true; Republicans don't have control of the executive branch. But that doesn't mean they have no power. They have the power of the purse. They didn't have to forfeit their constitutional power on the nuclear arms deal with Iran.

Obama hasn't had the power to do many of the things he's done, either — from granting selective exemptions on Obamacare to granting amnesty to "Dreamers" — but nothing has stopped him.

Likewise, the same-sex marriage lobby didn't have anywhere close to a majority when it started bullying its way toward societal and legal legitimacy, but it proceeded fearlessly. And it got results.

Even if you believe that Republicans have no power, is that any excuse for their always having their tail between their legs? Some see little evidence that the Republican Party believes in its own ideas anymore.

But that's not the case with Donald Trump. Even if he isn't a Reagan conservative, at least he's got the courage to take on the status quo — the outrages of the Obama administration, the complacency of establishment Republicans and the tyranny of political correctness.

Trump is standing up, shaking his fist at the Beltway elite and saying he is tired of the intentionally managed decline of America and the impotence and apparent indifference of Republicans. In contrast with much of the GOP ruling class, he is high-energy, is in your face, has no tolerance for excuses and is vigorously proud of America. He refuses to take no for an answer, unlike most Republicans, with a few notable exceptions, who seem to lust after any excuse for inaction and avoid confrontation at all costs. Trump may get more slack because he's an outsider, but it's time that our risk-averse people took some chances themselves.

Trump is filling a void, which he couldn't do if one didn't exist. Like him or not, he is shaking things up, sounding an alarm and showing other candidates what appeals to voters.

Some look at establishment Republicans and see those comfortable with Obamacare lite. They pretend to favor full repeal but in the end will only tweak it. They say they're fierce free-marketers, but they'll barely reform the tax code. They acknowledge that entitlements are bankrupting us, but they don't have the guts to make the case for restructuring them. They promise to cut government spending, but they think that means shaving pennies off the rate of increase. They say they'll protect the borders, but they spend half their time trying to prove they're not xenophobes.

When Ronald Reagan was vying for the Republican nomination, he didn't muzzle himself for fear of scaring off moderates. He said what he believed. Leadership is presenting ideas you believe in and selling them even to a minority. It is not keeping your powder dry until the next election. Do you ever see the wildly successful left doing that?

Trump is showing leadership, whether or not you like him or believe in his authenticity or his ideas. Before you complain too much about him, you should ask yourself what his success says about the establishment's prescription of sitting on our hands and biding our time.

Trump is hardly my first choice, but he is doing a lot of good right now, including showing the value of confidently presenting your ideas and how "making America great again" is a message that still strongly resonates with voters.

Let's quit spending so much time worrying about Trump and focus on regaining confidence in our own ideas and presenting them to the American people.



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)


26 August, 2015

The Quiet Revolution: How the New Left Took Over the Democratic Party

The decay of faith has cleared the way for a Godless religion

By Scott Powell

Frustration with division and gridlock in Washington lead many Americans to impugn both political parties for the current broken and ineffective state of government. There is plenty of blame to go around, but below the surface there has been a quiet revolution going on in only one of the two parties — the Democratic Party — which is the main source of today’s irreconcilable division and moral confusion.

What’s remarkable is how the political and cultural center of American values has collapsed in the last two and a half decades with the Democratic Party having moved dramatically to the left. Recently, Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not explain the difference between the modern Democratic Party platform and that of socialism, while at the same time gushing over the prospect of Socialist Bernie Sanders having a prominent place at the 2016 Democratic Party convention.

If people today could somehow be transported back to the time of Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy, they would swear those standard bearers were Republicans with little in common with today’s Democratic Party.

America’s two major political parties have always been fundamentally different. The Republican Party has been rooted in the moral principles and transcendent values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Democratic Party acknowledges that the starting point of the country may have been the Declaration and the Constitution, but since Woodrow Wilson many Democratic Party leaders have contended that progress requires constant adaptation, changing morals, and liberal interpretations of law and history.

The progressive philosophy that the Democratic Party has come to embrace now has its roots less in the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of individual happiness and more in the tenets of race and class identity, equal outcomes, and an expanding welfare state. Since individuals vary in talent, ability, and motivation and the free market system produces unequal outcomes of success, a core principle of the Democratic Party is now redressing this disparity through the redistribution of wealth.

The strongest critique of early industrial capitalism came from the German philosopher Karl Marx, who believed that the contradictory forces of labor and capital inevitably bring about class struggle. This in turn, he argued, causes the working class proletariat to rise up and overthrow the capitalist order, seize the means of production, eliminate private property and create a new order that would equitably distribute resources from each according to his ability, and to each according to his need. The notion of conflict of interest between labor and capital, class warfare, and the need for redistribution of wealth, which has made its way into the Democratic Party, has its roots in Marx.

The proletariat never did revolt successfully en masse in any advanced industrialized state. Instead, Marx’s political and economic revolution was first staged in the largely agrarian nation of Russia, carried out by Marxist revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. Lenin made major contributions to Marx’s theories, so much so that Marxism-Leninism became the dominant theoretical paradigm for advancing national liberation movements, communism, and socialism wherever in the world radical revolutionary movements arose.

Among Lenin’s contributions was the theory of the vanguard. Since it was apparent that the proletariat masses were unlikely to rise up, Lenin argued that it was necessary for a relatively small number of vanguard leaders — professional revolutionaries — to advance the revolutionary cause by working themselves into positions of influence. By taking over the commanding heights of labor unions, the press, the universities, and professional and religious organizations, a relatively small number of revolutionaries could multiply their influence and exercise political leverage over their unwitting constituents and society at large.

It was Lenin who introduced the concept of the “popular front” and coined the phrase “useful idiots” in describing the masses who could be manipulated into mob action of marches and protests for an ostensibly narrow cause of the popular front, which the communist vanguard was using as a means for a greater revolutionary political end.

As Lenin was consolidating power in Russia, Antonio Gramsci was emerging as a leading Marxist theoretician in Italy and would found the Italian Communist Party in 1921. After being imprisoned by Mussolini, the Fascist prime minister of Italy, Gramsci authored what came to be called the Prison Notebooks, partially published in 1947 and in complete form in 1975, a legacy that made him one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the 20th century. Gramsci argued that communists' route to taking power in developed, industrialized societies such as Europe and the United States would be best achieved through a “long march through the institutions.” This would be a gradual process of radicalization of the cultural institutions — “the superstructure” — of bourgeois society, a process that would in turn transform the values and morals of society. Gramsci believed that as society’s morals were softened, its political and economic foundation would be more easily smashed and restructured.

Cultural Marxism was also in vogue at the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University in Germany — that is until 1933 when the Nazis came to power. Many members of the “Frankfurt School,” such as Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkeimer, and Wilhelm Reich fled to the United States, where they ultimately found their way into professorships at various elite universities such as Berkeley, Columbia, and Princeton. In the context of American culture, “the long march through the institutions” meant, in the words of Herbert Marcuse, “working against the established institutions while working in them.”

While the Frankfurt School was neo-Marxist, many of its adherents were less interested in economics and redistribution of wealth than in remaking and transforming society through attitudinal and cultural change. They incorporated Marxist class theory into sociology and psychology while also assimilating Freud’s theories on sexuality. Thus, Marx’s theory of the dialectic of perpetual conflict was joined together with Freud’s neurotic ideas, creating a sort of Freudian-Marxism. Their stated goal was a total transformation of society by breaking down traditional norms and institutions such as monogamous relations and the traditional family. This was to be accomplished by promoting and legitimizing unhinged sexual permissiveness with no cultural or religious restraint.

The countercultural influence of radicals like Marcuse and Gramsci has been advanced more by insinuation and infiltration than by confrontation. Their “quiet” revolution to remake society was intended to be diffused throughout the culture gradually over a period of time. Gramsci argued that alliances with non-communist leftist groups would be essential to the collapse of the capitalist bourgeois order. Marcuse believed that radical intellectuals needed to ally themselves with the socially marginalized substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and ethnicities, the unemployed and the unemployable.

While the influence of Marcuse and the Frankfurt School and Marxists like Gramsci was greatest in intellectual circles in a strategic sense, Saul Alinsky arrived on the scene in Chicago in the 1930s with the tactical tools for the foot-soldiers of social and political revolution — the community organizers and non-academic labor and single-issue activists.

Alinsky had a certain charm and appeal to wealthy funders, and had no trouble raising considerable sums to establish the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago from department store mogul Marshall Field and Sears Roebuck heiress Adele Rosenwald Levy, as well as Gardiner Howland Shaw, an assistant secretary of state in Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.

Alinsky also had other benefactors in Washington and Wall Street. Eugene Meyer, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933, bought the Washington Post at a bankruptcy sale in 1933 for $825,000. During the difficult years of the Depression that followed, the Post carried stories that legitimized Saul Alinsky and his ideas.

In keeping with Lenin’s famous quote that “capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” Alinsky once boasted, “I feel confident that I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed on Monday.”

Alinsky’s tactics had more in common with Gramsci and Marcuse than the revolutionary and violent approaches of Russian Marxists Lenin and Stalin. Alinsky, too, believed in gradualism and subversion of the system through infiltration rather than confrontation and revolution.

Alinsky believed that politics was war by other means, stating specifically that “in war the end justifies almost any means.” But he was more than a nihilistic progressive revolutionary. Alinsky’s handbook, Rules for Radicals, first published in 1971, included an admiration for the prince of darkness, Lucifer, noting that he was “the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom…”

By the 1960s Marcuse and Alinsky were recognized as two of the most influential leaders of the New Left, which gained strength and numbers by taking a leading role in the anti-Vietnam War movement. However, Alinsky and Marcuse were critical of the violent and confrontational tactics of many of the anti-war radicals, such as Bill Ayers and the Weathermen, preferring instead that radicals work behind the scenes and bore into the establishment. This was seen later in the 1960s with Alinskyites positioned to take advantage of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” programs, to direct federal money into various Alinksy projects.

Alinksy succeeded in what would be a crowning achievement: the recruitment of young idealistic radicals — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — who would go on to climb to the top of political power in the Democratic Party. Hillary wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College in 1969 on Alinsky’s methods and remained a friend of Alinsky until his death in 1972. A decade later, Barack Obama was trained in the methods and Rules for Radicals in the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago.

Camouflage and deception are key to Alinsky-style organizing. When Barack Obama was organizing black churches in Chicago and was criticized for not attending church himself, he pivoted and became a regular church attendee, ultimately becoming a member at Jeremiah Wright’s radical Trinity United Church of Christ.

The New Left did not simply fade away when the troops came home from Southeast Asia. It went mainstream, with many of the 60s radicals deciding to follow Alinsky’s counsel to clean up their image, put on suits and infiltrate the system. They would become professional revolutionaries who landed jobs in the knowledge industry: the universities, foundations, and the media and special interest activist groups.

By winning “cultural hegemony,” the acolytes of Gramsci, Alinsky, Marcuse, and the Frankfurt School believed that the wellsprings of human thought could be largely controlled by mass psychology and propaganda. One of Alinsky’s unique contributions, explained as the seventh Rule for Radicals, was the tactic to avoid debate on the issues by systematically silencing, ridiculing and marginalizing people of opposing views. At the same time, allies in the media provided cover and a framework of acceptance for radical issues and leaders. Traditional values of morality, family, the work ethic and free market institutions were made to appear outdated — even reactionary, unnecessary, and culturally unfashionable. Ultimately this evolved into what has become known as political correctness, which now envelops the culture.

By 1980, the counter-cultural alliances would include radical feminist groups, civil rights and ethnic minority advocates, extremist environmental organizations, and advocates of liberation theology, anti-military peace groups, union leaders, radical legal activist organizations like the ACLU, human rights watch-dog organizations, community organizers of the Alinsky model, national and world church council bureaucracies, anti-corporate activists, and various internationalist-minded groups. Working separately and together, these groups could count on a sympathetic media and favorable coverage, which facilitated building bridges to the Democratic Party and becoming vocal constituencies deserving attention and legislative action.

The New Left in America realized that it was neither necessary nor desirable to own the means of production as originally envisioned by Marx. Redistribution could be accomplished through progressive taxation that was enshrined by an enlightened Democratic Party. Corporate priorities could be redirected through sensational and biased media exposure, proxy contests, mass demonstrations, boycotts, activist lawsuits and regulatory actions. No need to be responsible for the means of production, when you could advance Marx’s anti-capitalist agenda from the sidelines by indicting individual corporations and the system of capitalism itself.

By the early to mid-1980s a third of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives supported the budgetary priorities and the foreign policy advocated by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the leading revolutionary Marxist think tank in the United States, located Washington, D.C. Robert Borosage, the director of IPS, was succeeding in one of his stated goals to “move the Democratic Party’s debate internally to the left by creating an invisible presence in the party.” The particular genius of Borosage and IPS was their strategy to spawn a myriad of spinoffs and coalitions, a force multiplier that took propaganda and the Leninist popular front strategy to a level never seen before in America.

Fast forward to 2008, and we find the long march through the institutions resulting in the New Left being embedded in constituencies that provided a base of support and policy positions for the Obama presidential campaign. And while Barack Obama had a very unconventional background of lengthy associations with Marxists and anti-American radicals throughout his formative years and early adulthood, a nearly twenty-year membership in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “hate America” church, and an extreme left-wing voting record, the major media–now enveloped with the blinders of political correctness–made little effort to report on his background or examine his substantive qualifications. Barack Obama was both the culturally cool and articulate black candidate who provided a means for national redemption for a racist past, while also being the one candidate who provided a blank slate upon which people could project their own desires for hope and change.

Upon assuming office, President Obama had no problem bypassing the Constitutional advise-and-consent role of Congress in his appointment of a record number of czars, many of whom were so radical they would have failed to pass Senate confirmation. One of the offshoots of former IPS director Robert Borosage was the Apollo Alliance, an organization that he co-founded in 2001. Apollo saw its political clout increase dramatically with the election of Barack Obama. Van Jones, a self-described communist and an Apollo Alliance activist, was appointed Green Jobs czar by President Obama. A month after inauguration, a centerpiece of Apollo’s policy agenda was packaged right into the $787 billion stimulus bill, which directed $110 billion to green jobs programs. At the time of the passage of that bill — what came to be known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “The Apollo Alliance has been an important factor in helping us develop and execute the strategy…”

In a free society, extreme and derivative ideologies from the destructive legacy of Marx, Lenin, and the Frankfurt School can find some appeal to the alienated and disaffected. A constitutional republic like the United States should have sufficient strength to withstand most contradictions and absurdities held by a relatively small minority.

The problem today is threefold: the Left’s wholesale domination of much of the knowledge industry, a growing uninformed and disengaged electorate, and a failing two-party system. The normal process of checks and balances, which is made possible when compromise can be accomplished between the parties, simply no longer works. With the long march through the institutions having resulted in one of those parties no longer sharing much in the way of common ground — in terms of a philosophical heritage and values of liberty, private property, and limited government — compromise has become nearly impossible. The radicalization of the Democratic Party has so affected Congress and the current president as to render bipartisan solutions and reconciliation all but impossible.

In the end, what is important for Americans to realize is that the experiment with a left-wing president, like Barack Obama, is less an aberration than the logical outcome of the transformation of both the Democratic Party and the American culture. And the election of Hillary Clinton, a student of Alinsky and well-schooled and practiced in his teachings of deceit and camouflage would take the United States further along its trajectory of decline. Hillary’s election would effectively constitute an Obama third term.

The big question is whether the nation can survive and prosper if the culture remains fractured with a majority adrift from the heritage, morality and values of liberty and personal responsibility that are at the heart of the Declaration and the Constitution.

Edward Gibbon, the renowned historian, published his first of six-volumes of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in 1776, the year Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. Gibbon described six attributes that Rome embodied at its end: first, an overwhelming love of show and luxury; second, a widening gap between the rich and the poor; third, an obsession with sports and a freakishness in the arts, masquerading as creativity and originality; fourth, a decline in morals, increase in divorce and decline in the institution of the family; fifth, economic deterioration resulting from debasement of the currency, inflation, excessive taxation, and overregulation; and sixth, an increased desire by the citizenry to live off the state.

One might hope that awareness of factors associated with Rome’s fall would prompt an awakening in America. But so many are now disengaged and relatively few people read books, let alone possess the capacity to reflect deeply about causality and historical parallels.

Reestablishing the ascendency and authority of first principles that are at the heart of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is a monumental task. Accomplishing it would no doubt unleash an enormous amount of energy, leading to a more vibrant and bountiful economy that would in turn go a long way in securing other vital national needs, from restoring fiscal solvency to rebuilding the military and securing lasting peace.



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)


25 August, 2015

The Tragic and Complete Collapse of Racial Relations in America

Polls show that racial relations have gotten much worse under Barack Obama. Why has that happened?
by Victor Davis Hanson

Why do polls show that racial relations have gotten much worse under Barack Obama, who won the White House with over 95% of the black — and 45% of the white — vote?

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll just revealed that about 60% of Americans feel race relations are not good. Some 40% think that they will become even worse. Yet when Obama was elected, 66% of those polled felt race relations were generally OK. All racial groups, according to recent polling, believe that Obama’s handling of racial relations has made things worse since 2009. Another recent Pew poll confirms these tensions, and suggests whites are now about as pessimistic as blacks.

What has happened to racial relations?

Crime. A small cohort of urban African-American males under fifty — no more than 3-4% of the general population — is responsible for about 50% of many of the violent crimes committed. Blacks are 5-8 times more likely to commit rather suffer an interracial crime, which makes up less than 10% of most violent crime. Both the analysis and solution have become taboo subjects. Writing the above is a near thought crime.

The non-African-American community of all races largely feels that if blacks were committing crimes commensurate to their percentages in the general population, the police would come into contact with young black males with much less frequency, diminishing the opportunities for jaded police-community flare-ups. In turn, would crime decline in the inner city if there was more emphasis on curbing illegitimacy, drug use, and single-mother families, while privileging study and academic excellence over sports and the cult of machismo?

Black leaders counter that racism is still the engine that drives a sense of despair, which insidiously is at the root of all pathology. Equality-of-result federal programs are ultimately seen as the answer that will catapult the disadvantaged into the middle class. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow is said to trump the horrors that other immigrant and minority groups experienced — the Irish who were declared to be inhuman by mid-nineteenth-century essayists, the Asian exclusionary laws and the Japanese internment, the Holocaust and the deliberate polices of the State Department and War Department to refuse entry of Jews fleeing the gas chambers, the Native Americans who lost their tribal landscapes, and on and on.

One can see why this back-and-forth argument about cause and effect has no solution by reading a typical story about black crime in any online mainstream newspaper or wire-service report. The journalistic narrative is embedded within politically correct tip-toeing around the race of the perpetrator, with interviews of family members attesting to complete astonishment that a son, brother, or friend, with a previous arrest or criminal record, would ever do such a heinous thing. Police overreaction is thematic. Crimes such as assault are downplayed. Little concern is accorded to a victim who was robbed, murdered, or raped. The news accounts of black crime are the written versions of the edited George Zimmerman 911 tape, his photoshopped picture, and his new identity as a “white Hispanic.”

But read what follows these daily crime stories in the online comments section. (Do the usually censorious PC editors encourage uncensored commentary in their news websites, in the sense of bread-and-circuses entertainment or efforts to gin up sagging readership?) The readers’ editorialization could come right out of the Old Confederacy. If elites doctor our news to massage racial themes, the mass displays a furor at the political-correctness and lying. And in their wrath, online commentators ironically end up confirming stereotypes that many whites are getting angry to the point of becoming racists.

Obama never seriously raised the topic of inordinate black crime other than a few ephemeral pre-election throat-clearings about personal responsibility. We were left instead with his administration’s cheap editorializing on Trayvon, Ferguson, “nation of cowards,” and “punish our enemies.” Few see resolution of the half-century-old argument, except that much of non-white America (Asians, East Asians, Arabs, Latinos, etc.) does not yet see racism as the cause of a lack of parity; e.g., so far there is not a Korean Al Sharpton, a Latino Jesse Jackson, or a Punjabi Louis Farrakhan.

As the country moves beyond the old 90/10% white/black binary, race becomes more complex, and the charge of racism less effective as an exegesis for pathology. We fear the familiar script of 2014-5 will play out for the rest of our lives: a young Michael Brown-like inner-city African-American, with a past record of felonies and often unarmed, will be manhandled or perhaps even shot during a police encounter, usually as a result of either resisting arrest or attacking the officer. He will be immediately lionized as “gentle” or “on his way to college,” and become emblematic of reckless government violence in a way hundreds of murders each month of blacks by blacks are not indicative of inner-city pathologies. Mention of rap sheets will remain taboo.

The media insists that more numerous examples of police shooting whites (who comprise a larger population, but are far less likely on a percentage basis to be arrested for suspicion of committing a felony) are irrelevant; so are black-on-white instances of crime, or black officers killing those of other races. Police will react by pulling back from the inner city in fear their careers will be ruined should they use greater force to counter initial force. Black community leaders will fire back that derelict racist officers are not protecting the community. Police will reenter the inner city in proactive fashion. Another Freddie Gray or Michael Brown case will follow, with demands that police leave the community alone.

The cases quickly become iconic and mythographic: Obama evokes “Ferguson” as an example of racism, without any context that Michael Brown resisted arrest, was under the influence and walking down the middle of the street — after recently committing a felony. If the president’s own attorney general can exonerate Officer Darren Wilson and the president can still persist in referencing Ferguson, racial relations, as the polls suggest, are going to get even worse.

So far we have read only in the elite media about black furor over white privilege. Yet the white elite that most certainly has Ivy League pedigrees, Washington/New York insider leverage, and corporate/Wall Street Clintonian-like help seems to encourage black anger as a sort of personal penance. Yet the elite has no clue of the growing anger of the white middle class and underclass that has no white privilege, and is tired of hearing that it does and being smeared as Neanderthal racists. When those who have no privilege hear “white privilege” from those who most certainly enjoy it, their reaction is similar to Denzel Washington’s in Man on Fire, who tires of hearing ad nauseam only “I’m just a professional.”

Jobs. A second problem is the static pyramidal Obama economy that has made labor participation historically low. Overregulating and overtaxing are fine for elites, who have enough money to either pay or find ways to avoid higher taxes. They don’t care much if their power, gas, or health costs go up — at least if they are led to believe that is the proper green atonement to pay for cooling the planet, putting a bait fish back into a delta, or shutting down a coal plant.  Obama in recompense for favoring the aristocratic elite feels that by expanding food stamps, disability insurance, housing, legal, and education subsidies, etc., the lower classes will be satisfied in lieu of a high-paying job on a fracking rig, in construction, or welding on the Keystone pipeline.

Yet in such a fossilized European system, the subsidized lower classes still see little chance of getting all the stuff they see advertised on television and computers, or the opportunities of the middle classes, and don’t wish to accept that their smart phones, Kias and air conditioning make them princes compared to the wealthy of 1970. Throughout history, the absence of parity, not the lack of means, has been the criterion for revolution. I’d go further: the more affluent the consumer underclass becomes due to Chinese-made goods, inexpensive high-tech appurtenances, and federal and state largess, the angrier it become that others have even more. Looters focus on sneakers and electronic goods, not flour and vegetables.

Should Obama cut taxes, lift regulations, become pro-energy and pro-growth, and reform entitlements and the tax code to expand the economy at 5-6% growth per annum, would not all sorts of new opportunities open up for African-Americans?

If 1 million illegal aliens a year were not pouring across the border, would not employers vie for labor rather than seek to import it cheaply? Instead, the Democratic Party is mostly about an elite on top that, as penance for its privilege, supports subsidies for the mass below that remains distant and out of sight and mind. By that cheap fillip, I mean the Obama daughters don’t walk into the inner city any more than Chelsea Clinton lives in Jamaica Queens or Barbara Boxer has a granddaughter in the Madera city schools.

The Implicit Bargain. African-American elites envision the urban underclass the same way that some La Raza third-generation Latinos view impoverished illegal immigrants from Oaxaca. Social disparities among the poor become arguments for affirmative-action leverage for elites, as if Barack Obama getting into Harvard Law or Lisa Jackson serving as EPA administrator will lower the crime rate in Baltimore or help change attitudes about illegitimacy in Oakland.

Until we confess class is a greater barometer of privilege than race, I see no solution to the escalating tensions. How odd that upscale, one-percent African-Americans at NPR, the New York Times, and MSNBC monotonously blast white privilege, as if their own lives are always far more hurtful than those in Appalachia or rural Oklahoma.

Progress is Impossible? Ta-Nehisi Coates writes that he has no affinity with the firemen and police who were incinerated on 911, given his grievances over endemic racism and the inability of blacks to gain parity with the majority due to systematic exclusion, formerly overt, today insidious.

Currently, blacks make up about 12% of the population. The president of the United States, the present (and former) attorney general of the United States, the secretary of Transportation, the secretary of Homeland Security, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the head of NASA are African American. Twenty-one percent of the Postal Service employees are African-American; seventeen percent of the entire federal work force is black. Seventy-eight percent of the NBA are African-American. Sixty-seven percent of NFL players are black. Sixteen percent of the teams have African-American head coaches; twenty-four percent of the teams have black general managers.

Has the definition of diversity become that overrepresentation in some areas (the Left’s word, not mine) of African-Americans, based on percentages in the general population, is still diversity, while underrepresentation of blacks in the physics department at Caltech is proof of endemic racism?  Or does a physics professor enjoy more perks and money than a NFL general manager?

We are asked to believe that Mr. Coates encounters crippling racism more so than my quite dark, quite accented, and quite turbaned Punjabi neighbor, who lives in a sea of non-Punjabis. We are asked to believe that an entire generation of lower middle-class white and mixed-race Americans who came of age not during Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, but during the half-century of affirmative action and diversity set-asides are guaranteed winning slots in American because of their  “white privilege.” 

When I see the local, broke, and white tire-changer, somehow I don’t think his coming of age in the 1980s was easier than that of Jeh Johnson or Eric Holder. When I see a video in which a privileged young white elite at $65,000-per-year Wellesley or Amherst confesses to “white privilege,” I wonder how many hours he has welded in Tulare or she has done data entry in a carrel in San Jose.

Many of our problems derive from black elites feeding off the guilt of compatriot white elites of a like class in a similar landscape, who claim to speak for all whites, as if they shared something when in fact they share nothing much at all. I suspect that more white males feel an affinity, a stronger one based on shared ideas, with Ben Carson than any affinity on the basis of race with Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

Because of our dishonesty on matters of race and the elite’s use of it for their own privilege, we will see not only little progress, but also much retrogression. Look at the world abroad: anytime a man or woman identifies by race, violence mounts and chaos follows. The times they are a changing — for the worse.



Restoring the Sovereignty of the States

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". - The Tenth Amendment
Restoring the Sovereignty of the States

America’s Founders feared the arbitrary and coercive powers of government, and constructed our Constitution to limit and disperse those coercive powers, which are often referred to as the checks and balances of our governmental system. The Tenth Amendment is one of the most important checks and balances and is otherwise known as our Bill of Rights. Essentially, the powers not delegated to the United States Federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the States respectively...or to the people.

Unfortunately, our Federal government has coerced (actually bribed the States) to enact legislation that is properly the States' domain. President Obama has accelerated the coercion and bribes within our government, and has recently mandated every state to reduce CO2 emissions from their power plants. Knowing our Constitution does not give him the authority to force States to comply, our President bribed the States with money. Of course, Obama’s bribery monies are the taxes paid by every Federal taxpayer. So, how does our President intend to coerce compliance?

Well, first, our President announced, “Over the next few years each state will have the chance to put together their plans to cut carbon pollution. And we’ll reward the states that take action sooner rather than later.” The message sounds innocuous, but isn’t. However, every governor knows their state will receive a boatload of money from the Federal government if they comply with the President’s demand. If a state refuses to comply with the President’s command, their citizens will lose a boatload of money. Thus, the bribe forces compliance.

Harmfully, this coercion tactic was used in ObamaCare. Obama, Reid, Pelosi and other Democrats ordained that states must expand Medicaid (healthcare for the poor) or the States would lose all of their Federal Medicaid funding. Federal Medicaid transfer payments are a major component of every state’s budget, which would have been forfeited if the States did not meet the expansion ordained in Obamacare. The Supreme Court which abhors overruling government edicts said this was too coercive, and violated sovereignty of the States.

Very harmful, this Federal bribery and coercion over the states has existed forever, and is how the Federal government has mandated unemployment insurance, obliterated Parens Patriae in juvenile law, expanded Medicaid, sold Common Core, set highway speed limits, and the list goes on.

To counter the CO2 coercion, several states have filed or are about to file lawsuits contesting the mandates, and many governors are contemplating not complying and rejecting the bribe.

What's most important is our need to restore our Constitution, the Rule of Law and stop government by edict. Counter-vailing the force against the corrupt usurpation of power in the States, which requires citizens to appreciate and respect our Constitution and the separation of our powers. It requires governors and State legislators to reject any and all coercion.

Needless-to-say this will be a big and expensive fight, but it is absolutely essential to restore the sovereignty of our States and is critically important to our Republican-form of government as well as our personal freedom. Fortunately, a political initiative exists that will unite our States in order to counter our arrogant, Federal government. The Compact for a Balanced Budget is our ticket to forming a better State-system, and I further explain it's importance in my next blog.


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


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)


24 August, 2015

A traitor President

Every time you think it can’t get any worse, another gaping hole appears in the world powers’ dismal Swiss cheese of a deal on Iran’s rogue nuclear program.

From the get-go, it seemed intolerable that the negotiations with Iran did not require, as early conditions, that the regime acknowledge its previous illegal efforts toward producing a nuclear weapon. But the sad fact is Iran was not required to come clean.

From the get-go, it seemed intolerable that the negotiations did not require the Iranian leadership to halt its relentless incitement for the destruction of the United States and Israel. Yes, one has to negotiate with one’s enemies. But apart from being demeaning and lacking in all self-respect, it is also inefficient to negotiate with enemies who continue to seek your demise. And yet, even as the talks proceeded, and since they were concluded, the poisonous rhetoric — rhetoric with inevitable violent consequence — has continued unabated.

From the get-go, it seemed intolerable that the negotiations did not also require that Iran cease its encouragement, training and arming of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. But Iran makes plain every day that its ongoing support for the “resistance” — as in, those who resist the notion of Israel continuing to exist — is not limited by the accord and will not cease.

As the deal itself took shape, it seemed intolerable that the US-led P5+1 powers had shifted from the imperative to neutralize and dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities and instead opted to content themselves with freezing and inspecting the Iranian program. But shift they did.

Even the Iranians plainly didn’t think they’d get away with a deal this ridiculous. It’s akin to having Bernie Madoff scrutinize his own business practices, or Tour de France cyclists conduct their own doping tests… except it has global life-and-death implications
As elements of the deal became public, it seemed intolerable and unthinkable that the regime would be allowed to continue its R&D on ever-faster centrifuges. Criticisms of this and other clauses were haughtily dismissed by senior Obama Administration officials as being premature and/or inaccurate. But the complaints and concerns proved all too justified.

When the deal was finalized, it seemed unthinkable that the negotiators had abandoned the demand for “anytime, anywhere” inspections of suspect facilities. But abandon that vital demand they most certainly did. Trying to understand the deliberately convoluted clauses of the accord that relate to inspections, one can only conclude that they empower the regime to maintain whatever secrecy it deems necessary at the military sites where it has pursued and will pursue work towards a nuclear arsenal.

After the deal became public, it seemed unthinkable that the flawed inspection clauses would be rendered still more problematic by related side deals that further neutralize effective inspection. But so it is proving. First, Iran indicated — and the US grudgingly acknowledged — that no American inspectors would be allowed into Iran. Then Iran asserted — and no denial has been forthcoming from the P5+1 — that it retains the right to veto any inspectors it doesn’t like the look of. Such assertions underline what has now become a depressingly familiar feature of the negotiation process: Iran’s descriptions of what has been agreed on have proven accurate; Western assurances, markedly less so.

Satellite image of the Parchin facility in April (photo credit: Institute for Science and International Security/AP)
Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012. (AP/Institute for Science and International Security)

Which brings us to Wednesday’s Associated Press report that one of the side deals reached between Iran and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency provides for Iran to carry out its own inspection work at the Parchin military facility where the IAEA has long alleged it experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms. The Iranians have been strenuously attempting to sanitize the site for years — which is bitterly amusing, since they evidently need not have bothered. Even the Iranians plainly didn’t think they’d get away with a deal this ridiculous. It’s akin to having Bernie Madoff scrutinize his own business practices, or Tour de France cyclists conduct their own doping tests… except it has global life-and-death implications.

And, again, the Obama administration would seem to have misrepresented what was agreed. It had indicated that the IAEA-Iran side deals were technical, unremarkable documents. While IAEA chief Yukiya Amano insisted Thursday that “the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices,” Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, told the AP on Wednesday he could recall no previous instance where a country being probed for nuclear wrongdoing was allowed to conduct its own investigation.

On both sides of the aisle, the current conventional wisdom is that opponents of this abysmally negotiated, dangerous accord have the votes to reject it next month but not to overcome a presidential veto.

What has hamstrung key anguished Democrats thus far has been the “what if?” question — as in, what if we do defy our own president and vote with the Republicans to override the veto? Yes, it’s a lousy, lousy deal — which cements a vicious regime in power, gives it vast funding to foster terrorism and regional chaos, and paves its path to the bomb with a mixture of inadequate oversight, absurdly legitimized ongoing nuclear work and sunset clauses. But what happens if we strike it down? Does the rest of the world just ignore us and proceed with it anyhow? Would it constitute a pointless act of protest that could doom our careers? Would Iran get its sanctions relief anyway? Is there any prospect of a more competent deal being negotiated?

Good questions, not all easy to answer.

But one question can be answered with increasing confidence: Is this, as President Obama claims, the best possible deal?

Yes, indeed, it is. The best possible deal for the Iranians.

They continue enriching. They maintain their R&D to enable a speedier breakout to the bomb when they so choose. They can keep the inspectors at bay. They never have to come clean on past nuclear weapons work. They can continue missile development. They get their sanctions relief. Their coffers are swelled. The prospect of the regime being ousted by domestic reformers, already small, is reduced still further; they can now throw money at any domestic problems. They can merrily orchestrate terrorism and intimidate regional foes.

Truly, it is the best deal Iran could possibly have imagined — to an extent that becomes clearer to the rest of us with each passing day. You don’t have to be a war-monger or a lobbyist to see that. You just have to read the small print, to listen to the leadership in Tehran, and to watch developments in our bloody region. And don’t forget, there’s a second IAEA-Iran side deal whose details have yet to come to light.

That “what if” question is a tough one, indeed. What if we vote against? What if we defy the president?

But there’s another side to that question, which those anguished, responsible Democratic legislators must also ask themselves: What if we let this bad joke of a deal go through?



The war on Donald Trump is not a policy war

It's a culture war, where no rational argument is entered into

There are plenty of good reasons to take issue with Donald Trump’s politics. On immigration, he’s restrictive and anti-freedom. On the unravelling of the Middle East, he’s gun-totingly interventionist. If this is how the real-estate-magnate-turned-reality-TV-star, and now Republican presidential candidate, promises to ‘make America great again’, he deserves a political rebuttal.

But no political rebuttal has been forthcoming. There have been ripostes, of course, and hair-referencing takedowns and wives-citing putdowns. But nothing that has tackled Trump’s views as political views. And that’s because this is public debate at a time when personality politics trumps political argument, an era in which the Culture Wars have supplanted anything approaching a battle of ideas. As a result, what’s being attacked in Trump’s case, what’s being debated, are not his political views, but his cultural attitudes. So it’s not a question of what Trump would do about immigration; it’s a question of how he feels about migrants. It’s not a question of Trump’s abortion policy; it’s a question of how he views women. It’s not a question of his energy policies; it’s a question of his sceptical attitude towards manmade global warming. And so on and so on. Today, a politician’s views remain significant, not because of what they reveal about his or her political, public intent, but because of what they say about him or her as a person. Treated as cultural attitudes, a politician’s views are a marker of his or her virtue, a test of his or her eligibility for public life.

This is politics as culture war, a campaign waged by virtue-signalling, sin-seeking politicos. So, as Trump steams ahead of his rivals in the race for the Republican nomination – he’s more than 10 per cent ahead of Ben Carson, his nearest challenger – opponents beyond the GOP have attempted to label-and-shame him out of existence. He’s a bigot, we’re told. And a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe. Whatever progress is, Trump is on the wrong side of it. He is the walking, talking, combed-over embodiment of the wrong sort of person, the sort of person with the sort of attitudes who shouldn’t be allowed to speak so loudly and so frequently in public. And this is where it gets darker: his views are treated not as ideas to be debated, but as an index of his bad character, of his inappropriateness for political life, an indication that he ought to be shunned. Which is exactly what has happened as a raft of businesses and broadcasters has severed ties with Trump.

It’s almost as if Trump is failing the political and media elite’s personality test. To his every public utterance, his myriad antagonists respond with an open-mouthed ‘I can’t believe you think that’. There was his opening anti-immigration gambit in June, when he said that Mexico was ‘sending people [over the border] that have lots of problems… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.’ To this, one commentator shouted ‘hate crime’, and another retorted that ‘this whole business with Trump being a flaming bigot won’t just go away. He’s Donald Trump – he doesn’t stop talking.’ And, of course, there was his flip tweet that Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle was responsible for what he perceived as her tough questioning during the first GOP presidential debate. To this, countless critics denounced his chauvinism, his bigotry, his ‘gross history of misogyny’. ‘Trump lacks the emotional or intellectual character to be our nation’s next leader’, concluded one such commentary.

It’s a chilling move. Trump is being deemed unfit for public life because he holds the wrong sort of attitudes. That is how Trump appears to the other side in the Culture Wars, the liberal, climate-change-aware, gay-marriage-supporting side, the side that, as its dominant political and cultural position shows, is winning the Culture Wars. To them, Trump appears wrong, and not just wrong, but incomprehensibly, automatically wrong. His attitudes are on the PC equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum - their wrongness is clear for the right-thinking congregation to see. Hence the proliferation of listicles that don’t even bother making an argument against Trump, preferring instead just to regurgitate what he said as if his wrongness is self-evident (which to his culture-war opponents, it is): ‘The most egregious statements made by Donald Trump’; ‘Eight of the sleaziest things Donald Trump has said’; ‘Trump confidently says more colossally stupid things’; ‘Here’s all the sexist things that Donald Trump has ever said’. No wonder one columnist concluded that ‘by being on the opposite side of [Trump] you win the argument by default’.

But what makes the carnival of anti-Trump smugness even more destructive to public debate is the way Trump’s wrongness is conjured up as a way of dismissing and shunning those who support him. They are racist bigots, with a penchant for casual misogyny, too. They don’t have political views; they have backward attitudes. They don’t have ideas; they have prejudices. One columnist wrote of a pick-up driver displaying the confederate flag (‘a symbol of hate and racism’) on his truck: ‘I didn’t ask who he supported in the primary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he favoured Donald Trump, based on his recent surge in the polls and outspoken bigotry.’ Another concluded that support for Trump ‘is about the Republican Party and its very dark soul when it comes to immigration… [Trump supporters] see [a champion] in Trump, a Mussolini with a comb-over, who is now as much admired for the enemies he’s making as for his inflammatory statements on immigration.’ The UK-based Economist simply called Trump ‘a poor-man’s idea of a rich man’.

These aren’t political arguments; they’re cultural judgements. They’re judgements on the type of person Trump is, on his attitudes, complete with the obligatory epithets ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ and ‘homophobic’. And, deeper still, they’re judgements on the type of person who supports Trump, the supposedly racist, sexist and homophobic.

This personalised form of politics, this culture war against those with unspeakable attitudes, impoverishes political debate. It suggests that only the right sort of people ought to be allowed to participate, those, that is, who have passed the cultural litmus test, those who support gay marriage, who profess their feminism, who pity migrants’ plight. And in doing so, it not only narrows debate, it spurs on those excluded, those who fail the litmus test, to embrace outrage. The Donald, then, is as much a product of the stifling climate of political conformity as he is its brash opponent.



Poor Pebbles

Pebbles Hooper (@PebblesHooper) is another victim of the culture wars.  She is a fashionable young New Zealand woman who unwisely but quite insightfully made an unsympathetic comment about some stupid behaviour by a Maori family.  She lost her job as a columnist at a NZ newspaper over it.  On her Twitter site she now lists herself as follows: "Contributing fashion editor at Remix Magazine. Illustrator. Satan"

Good to see she has not lost her sense of humor.  She is herself a quarter Chinese.  Her Facebook site is 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)


23 August, 2015

Left-Right Differences on right and wrong

Dennis Prager is right below but seems only dimly aware of the philosophical difficulties in the idea of moral truth.  The basic problem is:  "How do we check it?"  Where is the information that confirms what we think?  If I think that a dog has four legs, that is easy to check. I just look.  But where do we look if we think abortion is wrong?  Under a rock somewhere?  A statement "X is wrong" sounds like "grass is green" but is clearly very different.  There is no obvious way to check it.  That it is just an opinion is the obvious conclusion. And that is where Leftists get their claim that "There is no such thing as right and wrong".

Christians of course have no such difficulties.  The Ten Commandments say: "Thou shalt not kill" so abortion is clearly wrong.

But many conservatives (particularly in Australia) are not religious.  Even if they believe in God, the idea that the churches know any more about him than anyone else just seems implausible.  So what do they do about morality?

They view morality as having evolved.  Moral standards are what have enabled us to survive as social creatures.  They are what has been found to work in building a civilized society.  If we abandon them we embark on a voyage without a compass and without a map. And the sorry results of abandoning them are often seen. When, for instance, standards of restraint, moderation and self-discipline are abandoned in favor of "me, me, me" we often find people descending into drug abuse and early, miserable death.  Most people would wish not to end that way.

The only really interesting question concerns the very long time humans have had to acquire ideas about what has survival value and what has not.  As far back as history takes us, we know that formal moral codes have changed little over the last 4 or 5 thousand years.  The code of Hammurabi (who died around 2000 BC) has a lot in common with the book of Leviticus. So the ideas of right behavior that have guided us to where we are today are pretty clear.  Successive generations and successive societies have come to pretty similar conclusions about what aids survival and the good life.  There are differences of detail but the basics alter little.

But does the encoding of those ideas go back even further?  It does.  It goes back a very long way indeed.  Chimpanzees have been observed to have behaviour customs that assist the survival of their troop.  And it seems that some of the behaviours concerned are learned --  but not all.  Chimps still behave in chimp-like ways even if brought up in isolation from other chimps.  So some instincts of right behaviour have apparently become genetically coded and transmitted among chimps.  How much more so should that have happened in us? 

And it has.  We very often have an instinctive response that something is "Just wrong" (harming babies, for instance).  The "authority" for the rightness or wrongness of something is within us, not anywhere outside of us. We cannot find it under a rock or anywhere else. It is a large part of what is called our "conscience".  It is our evolutionary wisdom.  It is a set of responses that comes from deep within the past of our (human) race. Morality really is in our genes. The history of our species is encoded in us.

It is of course not a perfect guide to adaptive behaviour any more than any law is.  There are always situations that a law does not fit well, and our instincts of rightness can be swamped by powerful external influences -- such as a belief in Islam.  That explains why Muslim parents can rejoice in their children blowing themselves up as suicide bombers.  All normal parental instincts are swamped by mental conclusions about what has value. 

So there will always be debate about what is right and wrong.  For non-psychopathic individuals, however, moral instincts will be our best guide, particularly when supported and supplemented by verbal traditions such as the Ten Commandments.  We abandon our  past at our peril.

There are, of course, no unchallengeable answers in philosophy.  A moral rejectionist might, for instance, say:  "What's all this bit about survival?  That doesn't bother me.  I just want to enjoy myself while I am here.  Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse!"  There is no good answer to that if it is a sincerely held view but it rarely is.  I could, for instance, reply: "Then you will not object if I put a bullet through your brain right now".  That will normally induce some hesitancy.

We see something similar when Leftists say that "There is no such thing as right and wrong".  They will very often follow that immediately by a claim that racism, inequality or something else  is wrong.  Racism is something that does not exist??  Moral rejectionists have their own very large philosophical problems -- which is why they need Freudian neurotic strategies such as denial and compartmentalization to remain (marginally) sane

How can we determine what is morally right? The answer to this question — the most important question human beings need to answer — is a major difference between Left and Right.

For conservatives, the answer is, and has always been, that there are moral truths — objective moral standards — to which every person is accountable. In America, this has meant accountability to the Creator, the God of the Bible, and to Judeo-Christian values.

For the Left, the answer has always been — meaning since Karl Marx, the father of Leftism — that there is no transcendent source of morality. On the contrary, as Marx wrote, “Man is God,” and therefore each human being is the author of his or her own moral standards.

There are, of course, both religious leftists and secular conservatives, but the secular-religious difference explains many of the fundamental differences between Right and Left.

As a rule, leftists fear and have contempt for people who base their values on a transcendent source such as religion and the Bible. Such people, in the Left’s view, “can’t think for themselves — they need a God and a religion to tell them what’s right and wrong.” Leftists contrast these conservatives with themselves, people who think issues through and do not need God or religion.

This ideal of thinking everything through for oneself sounds admirable. And to a certain extent it is. People should think things through. And too often, religious people can sound like they haven’t done so.

But if there is no God and religion, there are no moral truths, only moral opinions. Without God and religion, good and evil, right and wrong, don’t objectively exist. They are subjective terms that just mean “I like” or “I don’t like.”

Therefore, no matter how much one thinks things through, without God and religion — specifically, the God of and the religions based on the Bible — the individual’s conclusions about what is right or wrong can only be opinions about what is right or wrong. Without God and religion, morally speaking, there is no fixed North or fixed South. The needle points wherever the owner of the compass thinks it ought to point.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Recently, in The New York Times, a professor of philosophy wrote about this complete absence of moral truth among younger Americans:

“What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun or cheat on tests? Would you be surprised? I was.

"The overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.

"Our public schools teach … there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.

"It should not be a surprise that there is rampant cheating on college campuses: If we’ve taught our students for 12 years that there is no fact of the matter as to whether cheating is wrong, we can’t very well blame them for doing so later on.”

So, then, if there is no moral truth, how do most secular people arrive at moral decisions?  According to how they feel. On the Left, personal feelings usually supplant objective standards.

Many liberal parents and teachers do not tell their children what is right and wrong. Rather, they ask their children and students, “How do you feel about it?”

In fact, feelings often supplant reason, not just moral truths. On the Left, feelings for the poor, for selected minorities, for the downtrodden, gays, women, Muslims and others are frequently all that is necessary to formulate policy.

For the conservative, as important as feelings may be, feelings are just not as important as standards in making social policy. But for the contemporary liberal, feeling — or “compassion,” as the Left puts it — is determinative.

As much as one may — and should — feel about historic injustices committed against black Americans, the conservative will not eliminate standards. Therefore, conservatives oppose lowering admissions standards at academic institutions for black students; liberal compassion is for it.

Conservatives generally oppose changing the marital standard of one man-one woman; liberals' compassion for gays supports it. Indeed, given the supplanting of standards with feelings, liberals will find it difficult to oppose polygamy. If love between people is the criterion for marriage, two people who love a third person should not be denied the right to marry that person.

Conservatives oppose abolishing the biological standard of gender identity and therefore oppose allowing men who identify as women to play on women’s sports teams; liberals have compassion for the transgendered and therefore drop the athletic standard.

Conservatives' commitment to a standard of true and false means identifying terrorists as Islamic; liberals feel for the many good Muslims in the world and therefore often refuse to identify Islamic terror by name.

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington’s most famous speech, the first president perfectly expressed the conservative view on the need for God and religion for moral standards and for societal standards generally:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports … these firmest props of the duties of Man and citizens.”



Your toddler's vocabulary at age TWO can predict their success in later life

Early speech acquisition and large vocabulary are strongly correlated with high IQ so these results are another confirmation of the wide-ranging effects of IQ, and its status as just one feature of biological good functioning

Your child's vocabulary at age two could reveal their future success, researchers have claimed.

They found children with better academic and behavioural functioning when they started kindergarten often had better educational and societal opportunities as they grew up.

They say children entering kindergarten with higher reading and math achievements are more likely to go to college, own homes, be married, and live in higher-income neighbourhoods as adults.

Gaps in oral vocabulary were evident between specific groups of children as young as age 2.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, Irvine, and Columbia University, who analysed nationally representative data for 8,650 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, and appears in the journal Child Development.

Two-year-olds' vocabularies were measured via a parent survey, and their academic achievement in kindergarten was gauged via individually administered measures of reading and math.

Kindergarten teachers independently rated the children's behavioural self-regulation and frequency of acting out or anxious behaviour.

Researchers took into account a wide range of background characteristics (such as sociodemographics) and experiences (such as parenting quality) to more fully isolate the role of vocabulary growth.

They looked at whether 2-year-olds with larger oral vocabularies achieved more academically and functioned at more optimal levels behaviourally when they later entered kindergarten.

Gaps in oral vocabulary were evident between specific groups of children as young as age 2, with children from higher-income families, females, and those experiencing higher-quality parenting having larger oral vocabularies than their peers.

Children born with very low birthweight or from households where the mother had health problems had smaller oral vocabularies.

When the researchers examined the children three years later, they found that children who had a larger oral vocabulary at age 2 were better prepared academically and behaviourally for kindergarten, with greater reading and maths achievement, better behavioural self-regulation, and fewer acting out or anxiety-related problem behaviours.

This oral vocabulary advantage could not be explained by many other factors, including the children's own general cognitive and behavioural functioning and the families' socioeconomic resources.

'Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary's theorized importance as a multifaceted contributor to children's early development,' said Paul Morgan, associate professor of education at the Pennsylvania State University, who led the study.

Adds George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, who coauthored the study: 'These oral vocabulary gaps emerge as early as 2 years. 'Early interventions that effectively increase the size of children's oral vocabulary may help at-risk 2-year-olds subsequently enter kindergarten classrooms better prepared academically and behaviourally. 'Interventions may need to be targeted to 2-year-olds being raised in disadvantaged home environments.'

Farkas is an opinionated idiot.  These differences are inborn so no "intervention" is likely to have any lasting effect -- as has repeatedly been shown.  Note the abject failure of "Head Start", for instance.  Farkas neither presents any evidence for his assertions nor is interested in any -- JR



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)


21 August, 2015

Will American Fascism ever be defeated?

Here's a statement that few Americans will recognize as true:

"America started out as a Communist society but declined into a Fascist society. And like all Fascist societies it spilt a lot of blood getting power into the hands of its elite"

A bizarre statement?  It's certainly unorthodox but very solidly based in history.  We all know that the Founding Fathers were devout religious communists with all land owned in common until a third of them died of starvation.  Only then did they reinstate private property.  Communists don't relinquish control easily.

But what's this decline into Fascism?  That is clearly set out in America's most famous document. Most Americans have clearly not read the Declaration of Independence.  They know the few grand statements at the beginning of it but that is all.  So before I say anything more, I ask readers to read it. It is here.

What's all that stuff in the middle of it about laws?  Just some old stuff that is no longer relevant?  To the contrary, that is the nitty gritty of the document.  What it says is that the colonial legislators were busily making laws to tell their citizens what they must and must not do.  And that pesky libertarian King kept over-ruling them!  The King stood in the way of the colonial elite having power over the people.

And regulating everything is what Fascists do.  Fascists believe in strong central power -- for the "good" of the people, of course.  Mussolini prophesied that Fascism would rule the 20th century -- and he was right.  All countries are now Fascist.  They now all have governments that try to regulate all sorts of minutiae in peoples' lives. They in fact try to regulate more than the 20th century Fascist regimes ever did -- diet, for instance.

And the marginalization and prosecution of dissent is very Fascist.  And that is well underway -- with Christians in particular losing their jobs and being fined for articulating and standing by their Biblical beliefs.

And Fascist bloodshed?  We have seen that the War of Independence was really a war for the power of the colonial legislators and Abraham Lincoln himself, in his famous letter to Horace Greeley,  admitted that he waged his war not for the slaves but only for "the union" -- i.e. control of the whole territory of the USA by the central government.

And Fascist wars?  How about Bill Clinton waging war on the Christian Serbs in defence of Muslim Kosovars? And what good did the Iraq intervention do? And don't get me started about FDR and Pearl Harbor.  The Afghanistan involvement was a response to attack from there so that war was advisable.  But it was still a vast loss of fine American lives for no gain.  Just dropping a big one on Kandahar was all that was needed. An indiscriminate attack in response to an indiscriminate attack would simply be to answer the adversary in a language that it would understand.

Libertarians are vocal opponents of government power but are too few to limit it. I am of course one of those

One can only hope that conservative legislators come to realize the company they are in when they support or fail to oppose  regulation of various kinds  -- and ask themselves what right they have to tell others what to do. They have no right.  All they have is might.  And Leftists, of course, deny that there is anything such as right and wrong at all.  They are nihilists whose only motive is destruction.  And laws can be very destructive.


High IQ people better looking

This is actually an old finding but it again shows how pervasive the influence of IQ is.

Our strongest personality traits can be deduced simply from our facial features, scientists believe.  Research shows those with higher IQs are usually good-looking, while those with wider faces are usually perceived as being more powerful and successful.

There is even evidence that sexual deviancy can be picked up from facial features, with paedophiles more likely to have minor facial flaws.

The new evidence means the judgments we make when we meet strangers - which is usually concluded in less than a tenth of a second - are often accurate.

Mark Fetscherin, professor of international business at Rollins College, Florida, has recently found a link between company profits and the shape of its chief executive's face.

In his new book, CEO Branding, Mr Fetscherin describes how the executive tended to have wider faces than the average male.

A wider face means that the person is viewed as dominant and successful, Mr Fetscherin said. He also found a positive link between that shape face and the profits of the company.

He told The Sunday Times: 'Facial width-to-height ratio correlates with real world measures of aggressive and ambitious behavior and is associated with a psychological sense of power.'

Elsewhere, scientists also believe people can decipher negative attributes from a person's face. At Cornell University, scientists showed subjects mugshots of those who were guilty and innocent and found the majority could tell them apart.

Researchers have also found that those with a high IQ tend to be better looking. An example is Kate Beckinsale, who won poetry awards as a teenager, then studied Russian literature and English at Oxford.

Actress Natalie Portman also graduated with a psychology degree from Havard in 2003. 

Leslie Zebrowitz, professor of social relations at Brandeis University, near Boston, said the trend was due to the high quality of DNA, with few mutations, that those people have inherited.  [Zeb gets it -- JR]



Why the establishment fears Trump

By Robert Romano

establishment puzzled by trumpCritics of a Donald Trump presidential candidacy have made two separate, contradictory claims regarding his electability in the 2016 general election.

First, that if he is nominated by the Republican Party, he would repel too many Independents, and lose handily in a general election. Second, that if he is not nominated, and instead runs as an Independent, he would siphon off too many Independents, costing the Republican candidate the election.

How can both be true? Either, Trump has broad appeal to Independents, which could fuel a third party run, or he does not.

Let us assume the latter conventional wisdom, that if Trump were to run as an Independent, it would splinter the vote, dramatically increasing the odds that the Democrat nominee would win. For this to be true, he would have to attract enough Independents to his campaign to steal votes from one or both of the major parties.

Ross Perot did that in 1992, garnering 19.7 million votes in the general election. Let’s leave aside the question of whether this actually cost George H. W. Bush the election, a debatable topic. Roughly half of Perot supporters were voters who otherwise might not have voted in the election. How do we know that?

Voter turnout exploded in 1992 by nearly 13 million to 104.4 million, a 12.27 percent increase from 1988. All that while the growth of the voting age population was slowing down — it had only increased 6.7 million that cycle.

In addition to Perot’s 19.7 million votes, Democrats increased their 1988 vote total by 3.1 million to 44.9 million, while Republicans lost 9.7 million supporters down to 39.1 million.

Meaning, Perot’s presence in the race may have brought as many as 5 to 10 million voters to the polls who would have stayed home if he were not in the race. He expanded the voter universe.

Besides the dramatic growth of the national debt, Ross Perot’s big issue in 1992 was being against the pending North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump’s big issue besides illegal immigration is trade, as he led the opposition to granting trade authority to President Barack Obama to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both are economic populists.

Only two other times in modern electoral history has there been such a marked increase in voter turnout exceeding the growth rate of the voting age population at a time when the population growth rate was slowing. In 1984 and 2008, when Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, respectively, increased their party’s voting bases and, thus, overall voter turnout substantially.

In 2000 and 2004, the growth of voter turnout also exceeded the growth rate of the voting age population, but that occurred at times when the voting age population was surging. That said, the George W. Bush campaigns were highly successful at increasing the number of Republicans. In fact, Republican voter identification peaked in 2004 at 39 percent, according to Gallup.

The trouble for Republicans is that it has sunk ever since, down to 23 percent in July. Independents, on the other hand, have risen markedly to near an all-time high at 46 percent of voters.

What emerges is a Republican Party that is — or should be — desperate to increase its numbers with unaffiliated voters after getting drubbed in 2008 and 2012. In fact, Republicans still have not been able to surpass George W. Bush’s 62 million vote total in 2004.

The question with Trump — and every other GOP candidate — is if that person will build the voter base of the party, without which Republicans cannot hope to win in 2016. A key question may be whether they bring the Ross Perot voters home.

A hint could come in a recent Rasmussen poll, which found a full 36 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Independents and 19 percent of Democrats say they would support Trump — even if he ran third party. His threat to run as an Independent notwithstanding, that is not a bad place to start.

Perhaps what the party’s establishment fears the most, then, is that either as a Republican or an Independent, Trump could actually win. And they can’t control him.



How US Sugar Policies Just Helped America Lose 600 Jobs

The manufacturer of Oreo cookies recently announced plans to move production of Oreos from Chicago to Mexico, resulting in a loss of 600 U.S. jobs.

This should be a wake-up call to defenders of the U.S. sugar program and other job-destroying trade barriers.

The leading ingredient in Oreos is sugar, and U.S. trade barriers currently require Americans to pay twice the average world prices for sugar.

Sugar-using industries now have a big incentive to relocate from the United States to countries where access to their primary ingredient is not restricted.

If the government wants people making Oreo cookies and similar products to keep their jobs, a logical starting point would be to eliminate the U.S. sugar program, including barriers to imported sugar.

This obvious connection between the lost jobs and sugar quotas was missed by many observers. According to one online commenter: “This is why tariff[s] on products coming to U.S must be raised.”

That’s backwards. When protectionist policies like the U.S. sugar program lead to offshoring, the response shouldn’t be to pass new laws to discourage such offshoring or to raise tariffs even higher. The response should be to eliminate government policies that encourage offshoring in the first place.

The loss of Oreo cookie jobs should reinforce a lesson on the job-destroying aspect of protectionist trade policies.

According to a 2006 report from the government’s International Trade Administration: “Chicago, one of the largest U.S. cities for confectionery manufacturing, has lost nearly one-third of its SCP manufacturing jobs over the last 13 years. These losses are attributed, in part, to high U.S. sugar prices.”

That lesson appears to be lost on unions that are supposed to represent the workers losing their jobs in Chicago.

For example, The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union consistently has opposed free trade agreements with sugar-producing countries like Australia, Brazil, and Mexico —the kind of trade deals that just might protect their members’ jobs.

So that’s how the cookie crumbles.



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)


20 August, 2015

Fast moving bad news builds prosperity

Free markets automatically create and transmit negative information, while socialism hides it

Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted: "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.”

This drew a response: "The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.

It is simple really: When the "Great Leader" builds a new stadium, everyone sees the construction. Nobody sees the more worthwhile projects that didn’t get done instead because the capital was diverted, through taxation, from less visible but possibly more worthwhile ventures — a thousand tailor shops, bakeries or physician offices.

At the same time, markets deliver the bad news whether you want to hear it or not, but delivering the bad news is not a sign of failure, it is a characteristic of systems that work. When you stub your toe, the neurons in between your foot and your head don’t try to figure out ways not to send the news to your brain. If they did, you’d trip a lot more often. Likewise, in a market, bad decisions show up pretty rapidly: Build a car that nobody wants, and you’re stuck with a bunch of expensive unsold cars; invest in new technologies that don’t work, and you lose a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. These painful consequences mean that people are pretty careful in their investments, at least so long as they’re investing their own money.

Bureaucrats in government do  the opposite, trying to keep their bosses from discovering their mistakes.

Likewise, the pricing system tells people things that they can’t know directly. In a command economy, where bureaucrats set production targets, if someone uses more pig iron than expected, there’s a shortage. In a market, prices for pig iron go up, which sends two signals: To pig iron producers, the signal is produce more pig iron. To pig iron consumers, the signal is don’t use more pig iron than you have to. Both ways, the prices tell people things that they need to know, without any direct communication required. This is why market economies do better than command economies, as historical examples ranging from the old Soviet Union to today’s Venezuela demonstrate over and over again.

Why is there so much support for government controls? What’s wrong with markets? In short: insufficient opportunities for graft.

In a command economy, the bureaucrats who set production quotas and allocate supplies have a lot of power. So do their political bosses. When supplies get short, people wheedle (i.e., bribe) them to get more. The market can’t be wheedled.

And, of course, intellectuals, as Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey observes, "have always disdained commerce.”

Why?  As Mackey says,  “It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy, and if you live in a more business-oriented society, like the United States has been, then you have these business people, (whom the intellectuals) don’t judge to be very intelligent or well-educated, having lots of money, and they begin to buy political power with it, and they rise in the social hierarchy.

Whereas the really intelligent people, the intellectuals, are less important. And I don’t think they like that. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why the intellectuals have usually disdained commerce. They haven’t seen it, the dynamic, creative force, because they measure themselves against these people, and they think they’re superior, and yet in the social hierarchy they’re not seen as more important. And I think that drives them crazy.”

As Megan McArdle has observed, journalists particularly suffer from this problem: “Everyone you write about makes more than you. Most of the people you know make more than you. ... Your house is small, your furniture is shabby and you can't even really afford to shop at Whole Foods. Yet you're at the top of your field, working for one of the world's top media outlets. This can't be so.” Suddenly, systems that reward people through political influence look better.

Markets make people better off, but they don’t provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they’re unpopular with politicians and intellectuals. The real question is why anyone else listens to the self-interested claims of politicians and intellectuals. Maybe because the subject of what works and what doesn't in economics is mostly written by journalists?



Trump's Immigration Plan Is Exactly Why He's So Appealing

Trump is economically unsophisticated but his errors are unlikely to do much harm -- JR

As news broke over the weekend of yet another illegal alien accused of a triple homicide in Florida, the overwhelming sense for conservatives is that something has to be done about illegal immigration. While most Republican presidential candidates appear equivocal on the issue, as do Republican congressional “leaders,” Donald Trump is clear on his objections, and that resonates with a lot of Americans.

Trump has been the go-to candidate on the issue since his June 16 announcement speech, when he opined, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump has now released the details of his plan, and it’s a master stroke to answer voter frustration.

He begins with three solid principles, the first of which is a direct quote from Ronald Reagan.

* A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.

* A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.

* A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

That such principles are so controversial is a mark of how dire our predicament really is, and the weakness of other GOP candidates in espousing them has left an opening for Trump.

Those principles are followed by several planks. “Make Mexico pay for the wall” is the first. How would he accomplish that? Increase the fees for legal immigration, which seems counterintuitive.

“Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards — of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].”

If that idea (and the generally unhelpful antagonism toward Mexico) isn’t quite satisfactory, his other points are appealing — tripling the number of ICE officers, nationwide e-verify, mandatory deportation of criminal aliens, detention instead of catch-and-release, cut off federal funds for sanctuary cities, penalizing visa overstays, and, perhaps most important, end birthright citizenship.

As we have noted before, any debate about immigration is useless unless it begins with a commitment to securing our borders first. Trump appears to be seriously, if imperfectly, addressing this need.

We have also argued that birthright citizenship is a gross misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, and Trump is right to target it. Such a move will, of course, be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, but it’s a worthy fight. [Congress can exclude SCOTUS from considering it]

In June, Trump said, “Give [illegal immigrants] a path [to citizenship]. You have to make it possible for them to succeed.” His plan now calls for allowing “the good ones” to come back once they’ve been deported. “I would get people out,” he said, “and I would have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.”

While Trump’s plan is solid on Rule of Law and heavy on enforcement, where he comes up short is emphasizing that Liberty is colorblind. It’s not a “white thing.” Minorities could be forgiven for thinking Trump’s plan translates more closely to, “We don’t want any Mexicans here.” That may resonate with some in the GOP base, but it’s not going to expand that base.

Because Liberty transcends all racial, ethnic, gender and class distinctions, it will appeal to all freedom-loving people when properly presented. That said, it’s going to be awfully hard for any other GOP candidate to trump The Donald’s plan in the eyes of primary voters. The question of why it’s taken the rest of them so long to even try to address the issue is a baffling one.



Democrats Panic in Response to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is panicking in response to billionaire and 2016 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan, which is designed to get Americans back to work instead of putting foreigners and special interests ahead of Americans as so many politicians do.

The DNC was so freaked out at Trump’s plan, they rushed out a statement from Pablo Manriquez—their “Director of Hispanic Media”—filled with grammatical errors. The statement, which is nothing more than typical Democratic Party talking points in favor of illegal aliens, accidentally doesn’t capitalize “Trump” in one instance and does the same thing when talking about “Democrats.”

“Trump has reignited the GOP’s longstanding obsession with mass deportation,” Manriquez said. “Like his fellow GOP candidates Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  and others, GOP front runner trump [sic] dismisses a full and equal pathway to citizenship for hardworking immigrants. The GOP should quit treating these families as second class citizens and join democrats [sic] who support immigrant families and want to keep them together.”

Trump’s immigration plan is something that used to be bipartisan. Even Senate Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) back in the early 1990s, supported the major tenets of the plan—putting American workers first when it comes to immigration. Now the entire Democratic Party and most of the Republican Party has abandoned American workers in favor of special interests seeking cheap foreign labor and political interests seeking a different and more liberal voting base.

There are a handful of leaders left in Congress still fighting for Americans when it comes to immigration, though, and chief among them is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. Trump consulted Sessions while writing his immigration policy plan.



Missing Clinton emails magically found

State Department officials have uncovered 17,855 emails sent between a former Hillary Clinton spokesman and reporters that the agency long claimed did not exist.

The trove was among more than 80,000 emails belonging to Philippe Reines, a Clinton aide, that were discovered on his State Department account, officials said in court filings Aug. 13.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Gawker Media in 2013, the State Department said it had no responsive records. Gawker was seeking official correspondence between Reines and reporters from 33 news outlets.

But State officials responded Thursday with the news that they had inexplicably found 81,159 emails on Reines' ".gov" email account despite asserting two years ago that none existed. Twenty-two percent, or 17,855, of the emails were likely related to Gawker's request.



Hildabeest dodging and weaving

While speaking with Fox News host Bill Hemmer on Wednesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of purposefully trying “to control access to the public record” so as to evade facing justice.

“This was not about cooperation. And, Bill, frankly, it’s not about convenience,” Gowdy said. “It’s about control.”

Gowdy pointed to the way in which Clinton repeatedly refused “to turn over her server to a neutral, detached third party for independent forensic examination.”

Instead Clinton convinced the State Department to allow her to decide for herself which emails should be made public.

According to Clinton, she set up this “unusual email arrangement” (as Gowdy referred to it) for her “convenience,” in that she did not want anybody else reading her personal emails about yoga, bridesmaid dresses and whatever.

But why should anybody believe her, especially given that she lied in March when she said, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.”

“She almost got away with it, but she didn’t,” Gowdy pointed out.  He added, “If she were interested in cooperation, she would not have done any of the things she has done to date.”

Clinton is a conniving liar who is trying to weasel her way out of trouble. She apparently believes, and always has, that Lady Justice should hold her to a different set of standards than everybody else

We’re sorry to break it to you, Madame Secretary, but if you did the crime, you will do the time, regardless of who you are and how hard you try to evade justice.



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)


19 August, 2015

U.S. Acquiescence To A Bad Iran Deal Was No Mistake

By Capt Joseph R. John

In the below listed Op Ed, Admiral James L. Lyons, former Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, highlights a whole range of Obama policies that have intentionally weakened the Republic militarily and economically over the last 6 ½ years, with little opposition from members of the US Congress.  Obama’s dangerous intent to “Change” the very nature of the United States from a Republic to a Socialist State has also been free from exposure because the left of center liberal media establishment has been in league with Obama. 

Admiral Lyons exposes the Iranian initiative which Obama and Valerie Jarrett initiated in 2008 to change alliances in the Middle East in favor of Iran.   It didn’t matter that Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, had been killing and maiming thousands of members of the US Armed Forces for the past 35  years and continues in that policy today in Afghanistan—any agreement that didn’t simply demand that Iran stop killing members of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan is a bad agreement on the face of it. 

Iran’s ultimate goal is to destroy the state of Israel, then attack the United States with nuclear weapons atop intercontinental ballistic missiles.  It has taken Obama nearly 7 years, but now it appears Obama and the Democratic side of the isle in Congress are well on their way to facilitating an international agreement to allow Iran to become a nuclear power, while giving them $150 billion to continue their international terrorism.  The agreement permits Iran to be within a danger thrust away from the hearts of the United States’ traditional Sunni allies in the Middle East, who are now developing their own nuclear weapons in self-defense.  

In the 2016 election, the American voters must go to the polls and remove members of Congress who continue to repeatedly make false promises to the voters in their Congressional Districts and states, but have no intention to protect and defend the US Constitution following their elections, especially those members in Congress who are supporting Obama’s dangerous Iranian International Nuclear Weapons Treaty, called an Agreement because of the failure by the Republican leaders in Congress.   The Obama administration will promote voter fraud once again, as they have in the last two presidential elections, and we will watch to see if the Republican establishment will finally get off dead center and spend some of the millions of dollars they raise to do anything about it, instead of just feathering their nests.

The leaders in Congress have not safeguarded the US Constitution on International Treaties with both this Iranian International Nuclear Weapons Treaty and the unconstitutional TPA International Trade Treaty that permits Obama to negotiate the Fast Track Trade Promotional (TPP) in Secret with 11 other Pacific Rim countries (which no American has been ever permitted to view since it was signed into law in June 2015).  That International Treaty will eliminate US sovereignty in favor of International Tribunals and effectively destroy the US Immigration system by allowing million Illegal Immigrants to enter the US from 50 countries, and be issued Work Permits, including allowing a new crop of millions of Illegal Mexican workers; those millions of Illegal Immigrants with work permits will unfairly compete at lower wages with 104 million unemployed Americans and undermine The Free Enterprise System.

We encourage you to read Admiral Lyons below listed riveting article and provide support for the endorsed and elected Combat Veterans For Congress listed on the Endorsements page of our Web site, and for a new slate of endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress who we will be endorsing leading up to the 2016 election.  Those we endorse are Combat Veterans who previously repeated put their lives on the line to protect their fellow comrades, and to also protect and defend the US Constitution and our way of life; they will work tirelessly to continue to protect and defend the US Constitution.

Copyright 2015, Capt. Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. This material can only be posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author.  It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission from the author.  

U.S. acquiescence to a bad Iran deal was no mistake

By James A. Lyons

There is no shortage of critics of the recently concluded nuclear agreement that President Obama has reached with the evil Iranian theocracy. All the "known concessions" by the Obama administration should come as no surprise. Make no mistake — these concessions were not due to incompetence nor the inability to negotiate. They are part of the president's planned agenda to fundamentally transform America by diminishing our stature and credibility. It is another example of his misguided view that America must be humbled for the many "problems" we have caused throughout the world.

Mr. Obama's game plan on how to negotiate with the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had its genesis in the summer of 2008. According to scholar and author Michael Ledeen, around the time when candidate Barack Obama received the Democratic Party's nomination, he opened a secret communication channel with the Iranian theocracy. The go-between was Ambassador William G. Miller, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who spoke fluent Farsi from his previous tours of duty in Tehran.

The message was, "Don't sign an agreement with the Bush administration. Wait until I am president — you will get a much better deal! You will like my policies. I am your friend." Here is a country that has cost thousands of American lives. Furthermore, all Americans should never forget that it was Iran that provided the key material and training support to the September 11 hijackers. Without that support the attack could not have been carried out, and some 3,000 innocent Americans who were doing nothing more than going to work would be alive today. Yet our president told this regime that he was their friend.

This borders on treason and most certainly violated the Logan Act, which forbids private citizens from interfering in government diplomacy.

The endless Kabuki dance that went on in Geneva and Vienna was not only an embarrassment for all Americans, but more importantly, it "conceded America's honor," an honor that has stood on bedrock principles which hundreds of thousands of Americans have paid the ultimate price to protect. Our nation was humiliated. This treaty must be rejected.

While being challenged throughout the world, the Obama administration continues with its senseless unilateral disarmament of our military forces, thereby jeopardizing our national security. As if disarmament were not enough, our military is being forced to train the military forces of our potential enemies. Specifically, Chinese infantry troops are being trained in the United States. Moreover, the Chinese navy was invited to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific fleet exercise and has been invited again to participate in the 2016 fleet exercise to be held off the coast of Hawaii, alongside all of our major Pacific allies. We clearly are compromising our tactics, techniques and operations.

Compounding the problem is the use of our military as a social engineering laboratory to advance Mr. Obama's political and social agenda. With regard to the promotion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyle, my late friend M. Stanton Evans in his monumental 1994 book "The Theme is Freedom" had it right when he called it a return to the "pagan ethic."

Clearly, the Obama administration is attacking the American way of life from all aspects. Our open border policy makes absolutely no sense. We have anywhere from 11 million to possibly as many as 30 million illegal immigrants within our borders. Sanctuary cities are also in clear violation of immigration laws. The welcome mat has been put out by the administration so that the more recent illegal immigrants are able to draw upon a wide range of taxpayer benefits, including food stamps, health care and earned income tax credit for three years, all at the American taxpayers' expense. However, the overwhelming majority of immigrants come here as the result of our visa policies. The U.S. issues the treasured "green card" to approximately 1 million immigrants per year, most of whom are unskilled. They are immediately entitled to numerous benefits at taxpayers' expense. Congress must act to limit the number of green cards issued.

Releasing illegal immigrants from jail with criminal records is a deliberate affront to all Americans. Seeding throughout the country Muslim immigrants who have no intent to assimilate is another affront and tears at the fabric of our society.

Compounding the immigration crisis, is the Obama administration's inclination to divide Americans by race and class. This is unconscionable. You are either an American entitled to all the benefits that being an American conveys, or you are not. Those are the only two classes. The first one is sacred.

The corruption of our government agencies, fostered by the Obama administration, should not be overlooked. The selective enforcement of our laws and traditions has lowered Americans' respect and trust of those agencies. However, taken in the aggregate, the fundamental transformation of America is taking place with no objections from Congress and the Supreme Court, which are supposed to prevent illegal and unconstitutional acts by an out-of-control president. Congress and the high court, and for that matter, our military leadership, are complicit in these illegal actions by not faithfully executing their oaths of office. This cannot stand. As Thomas Paine stated, "These are the times that try men's souls." With our corrupt leadership, it is now time to take back America.



No more costly mandatory minimum sentences

Recent rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and Obamacare are high-profile reminders that there is not much the left and right agrees on in this country. But yet another new bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, introduced recently by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) with the support of almost two dozen other Republicans and Democrats, shows that one thing we do agree on is that this country locks too many people up for too long at too high a price.

The bill, the SAFE Justice Act (H.R. 2944), has a little bit of something for everyone, from mandatory minimum sentencing reform to getting a handle on the proliferation of federal crimes and regulations that can snare even the most well-intentioned citizens.

The increase in overly broad and vague criminal laws has enabled overzealous prosecutors to bring charges against Americans who inadvertently violate one of them. More often, however, government lawyers have aggressively pursued those acting in the gray areas between “business as usual” and unlawful activity.

White-collar suspects have become especially popular targets for prosecutors due to populist anger at Wall Street. Netting high-profile, corporate whales is a time-tested method for ambitious prosecutors to boost their political careers. 

Independent federal judges are often the only hope white-collar defendants have to resist groundless charges when they are innocent and to avoid excessive punishment when found guilty. Last December, for example, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stopped cold the government’s effort to jail two hedge fund managers who had received information on the financial outlook for two computer companies from personal friends who worked there that the court found they had no reason to know was not public information.

Judges have also sought to restore some common sense and greater justice to white-collar sentencing. The U.S. Sentencing Commission, when drafting the first sentencing guidelines for judges, determined that corporate wrongdoers should be sentenced to short but definite prison terms. Economic crime offenders are less likely to reoffend than drug dealers and other street criminals, but the Commission thought prison time would deter others.

Beginning in the early 2000s, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and Congress reacted to high-profile frauds by launching an arms race that has more than doubled prison sentences for individuals convicted of economic crimes. The Sentencing Commission began the bidding by enacting several changes to the federal sentencing guidelines that, among other things, called for higher sentences based on the dollar amount involved.

A couple of years later, fueled by the collapse of Enron and WorldCom, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which raised the maximum statutory penalty for fraud from five years to twenty and forced the Commission to further increase its recommended prison terms for economic fraud.

The result: economic crime guidelines are nearly useless for judges whose job is to impose fair sentences based on the total circumstances of an offense (not simply the loss amount) and the characteristics of the defendant.

Judges have been unusually vocal in pointing out the guideline’s shortcomings, labeling it “a black stain on common sense” and “patently absurd on their face.” The guideline frequently contains terrible guidance. Why, for example, should a scheme that resulted in a $100 loss to 250 victims warrant a sentence more than three times as high as a fraud that caused a $25,000 loss to a single victim? It makes no sense.

Congress and the Sentencing Commission need to rethink their zeal to ratchet up prison terms for everyone who runs afoul of Congress’s vague criminal laws and better distinguish among those who intentionally defrauded others from those who were simply negligent or could have been more conscientious in managing money.

While those who steal from others or defraud the market should be punished, imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for these crimes would be a mistake.  Our existing mandatory sentencing laws –aimed largely at drug offenders - already force us to spend billions of dollars on prisons overflowing with nonviolent offenders who pose little risk to public safety.  They have devastated countless families and communities and have diverted resources from more important law enforcement priorities.  Mandatory minimum sentences replace a system of individualized justice delivered locally by independent judges with a one-size-fits-all, politicians-know-best sentencing scheme.

It is bad enough that Congress has surrounded the American people with an increasingly complex maze of laws and regulations that are almost impossible to avoid violating. Lawmakers should not add insult to injury by subjecting every misstep to a mandatory and lengthy prison term.



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)


18 August, 2015

My Alternative Wikipedia

Over the years I have on various occasions attempted to make contributions to Wikipedia.  Whatever I put up there, however, gets wiped.  Wikipedia editors are clearly Left-leaning so I can understand that they wipe anything written from my libertarian/conservative viewpoint.  But even stuff with no obvious political slant disappears.

From what I can see, Wikipedia editors in fact spend most of their  day deleting what others have put up.  So there is clearly an informally-specified  Wikipedia culture that you have to conform to if you wish your writings to appear there.  It also seems likely that, once you have been identified as a bad egg, you are just totally black-banned, no matter how good what you want to post may be.

That is something of a pity as some of the information I try to put up is not found anywhere else in English. My major recreational interest these days is Austro/Hungarian operetta.  I spend a couple of hours nightly watching it.  Rather frivolous, I guess, but I have the privilege of reading and writing serious stuff all day so light relief has its place.

So I have come to know rather a lot about it.  Being the academic type, I also research the shows as well as watching them.  I look at who is singing, who the artistic director is and other details.  I try to accumulate biographical information about the singers, about the historical background, and information about particular notable performances.

Operetta does have a worldwide audience but it is almost all sung and written in German and the information about it, including libretti, is also mostly in German.  So if English Wikipedia does have any information at all about (say) a particular singer, it will mostly be pretty bare-bones.  Wikipedia in German, and sometimes in Italian, will have much more information.  And German Wikipedia is only a start. There are many music-oriented German-language sites that include operetta information.

Since I can read German and Italian (the latter with difficulty) I can however usually find out quite a lot more about a singer than most people in the English-speaking world would be able to. And I am inclined to pass on that information in English.  But Wikipedia won't let me.

So I have set up My Alternative Wikipedia to draw together my posts on matters that I think have reference interest.  It's not all operetta but mostly so.  And that may be a useful approach.  Most of the performers in operetta are from Europe and have European names -- such as Ingeborg Hallstein or Dagmar Schellenberger -- that would rarely be encountered in English-language sources.  So a Google search on those names should lead quickly to my site.

And having an operetta database can lead you to the unexpected. If, for instance, you Google the very popular "Ivan Rebroff", you will find a multitude of well-deserved references to him as a jolly Russian bass singer of both popular and operatic works. But without a comprehensive reference to operetta, you may not realize that he was also a brilliant comic actor.  His performance of red-faced rage at the rejection of his "daughter" in a 1970s performance of  Zigeunerbaron is far and away the best I have seen.  His whole life was an act, in fact.  He was a German, not a Russian.  And he died a Greek.  As all conservatives know, reality is complicated.

First, however, we have to get Google to index my site.  They  do not so far appear to have done so.  So I would be much obliged if anybody reading this would put up a link to my new site on any site that they may run. The more links there are to it, the more likely it will appear in Google searches.

And I should perhaps note that Austro/Hungarian operetta is very politically incorrect these days.  It was written around 100 years ago so reflects a more natural set of values.  Membership of the military is, for instance, treated with great respect, and even is to some extent glorified.  No modern Leftist would applaud that.  But, as a former Sergeant in the Australian army, I do myself have every respect for the military.

And we also see monarchist sentiments at times -- but only inhabitants of a monarchy -- and I am one -- will understand that.


Minnesota Considers Scrapping Health Insurance Exchange

In King v. Burwell, the Court did not just ignore plain meaning of the words “established by the State,” but opened up a whole new can of worms as well.

After the King decision, states can now get rid of their health exchanges and move their citizens to the federal exchange without forcing them to give up their subsidies. Since insurance exchanges are costly and often more trouble for politicians than they are worth, states may now decide it is better just to shut down their own exchange. Minnesota is considering just this move.

Minnesota’s state exchange, MNsure, has faced billing problems and low enrollment numbers. After the King decision, Representative Matt Dean (R), calls MNsure an “unnecessary problem.”

It was recently announced that a software problem with MNsure forced 180,000 Minnesotans to have their MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance renewals delayed. This created a dilemma for politicians: deny coverage to people in need, or contribute to the insurance of some ineligible people, typically 5 to 10 percent of enrollees. Not surprisingly, the politicians choose the second route.

Another problem with MNsure is that 24,000 Minnesotans did not even receive a bill for a full half-year. This has created two problems. First, there is uncertainty over how much each individual should be required to pay. Second, many individuals that had to budget for each month’s premium will now be required to come up with a half-year’s worth of premiums.

MNsure is scheduled to cost $229.6 million through June 2017. However, most of this will be covered by the federal government, Minnesota will only pay $16.5 million. For this price, the state has received software that cannot update basic life changes such as marriage or birth of a child.

Minnesota has created a new 33-person task force, the MNsure Advisory Task Force, that will begin meeting this month to discuss the future on MNsure and MinnesotaCare. The task force is to make recommendations to make the health insurance exchange more efficient and sustainable, which are due January 15.

Republicans have been actively calling for the end of MNsure and a switch to the federal exchange. “We’ve had three years of failures, of failures with MNsure and sometimes in life you just have to admit it failed. It didn’t work,” stated Representative Greg Davids (R). He continued, “[w]e should get over to the federal exchange and stop wasting Minnesotans’ money.”

Members of the DFL have also acknowledged problems with the state exchange but are in less of a hurry to switch to the federal exchange. “To just say outright, ‘ok we’re going to the federal exchange’ is kind of premature. But [we] certainly wouldn’t take it off the table,” said Representative Tina Liebling (DFL). “Obviously it’s not working for the people it’s supposed to be working for and that’s really frustrating for everybody.”

It is not just Minnesota that is considering getting rid of their state health insurance exchange. Arkansas has already scrapped their partnership exchange in favor of dumping its citizens on the federal exchange. In addition, Vermont and Rhode Island are considering dropping their state exchanges in a post-King world.

The King decision was not only poor legal reasoning, it opened up the door for states to scrap their exchanges and move their citizens to the federal exchange. This is just another step towards a single-payer health care system.



Juvenile justice reforms would save money and spare nonviolent youths

In the 2013 documentary Kids for Cash, director Robert May told the stories of several young offenders from Pennsylvania whose lives were up-ended by the dysfunctional juvenile-justice system.

Presented in the young offenders’ own words, their stories are compelling.  They will also make your blood boil.

Judges, seemingly without much thought of the lifelong consequences, unnecessarily exposed these children to the system as adolescents, putting them at risk of being trapped in an endless cycle of crime.

Among the young offenders profiled in the documentary is Justin Bodnar. In December 2001, when he was 12-years-old, Bodnar got into trouble when he hurled obscenities at the mother of another student.

Despite his colorful language, which his mother tried hard to curb before this particular incident, Bodnar is an intelligent and talented young man. His mother consented to having him arrested in hopes that it would put a stop to his frequent profane speech and prevent any future embarrassing incidents.

To her surprise, Justin was charged with making “terroristic threats” and sentenced to a juvenile-detention facility. Over the next seven years, Bodnar would spend time inside the juvenile system, where he tried marijuana and heroin for the first time.

These are experiences he might have avoided had he not been exposed to the system at such an early age.

“[What] you see first is fences — 20-foot tall fences with rows of razor wire, like I’m a convicted criminal, like I’m a murderer. And that’s what it feels like. You feel like I’m now one of those people you see in the movies,” Bodnar said, recalling his first trip to a juvenile-detention facility.

“I woke up in a nice bed with my family, and I went to sleep with cockroaches and criminals. Every time you went into a room, you had to do a roach look, like to make sure there are no roaches anywhere. It’s dirty, and there are stains on the walls.”

Bodnar, who is struggling to put his life on the right track, and many of the other young people in the documentary were “status offenders” — adolescents charged with a crime that would not otherwise be a crime if they were adults.

Too often, judges, in closed-door hearings deemed necessary to protect the young offender, take tough stances in a purported attempt to scare them straight.

The good news is that the number of crimes committed by juveniles is at record lows. In 2012, about 1.3 million young people were arrested, down 40 percent from 2006.

For those who do make mistakes, however, any exposure to the justice system, including arrest, can actually increase the likelihood of a young person becoming a repeat offender. Residential placement is ineffective, and out-of-home placement is expensive and fails to produce better outcomes than alternatives.

The question policymakers should be asking is this: How can they effectively treat and rehabilitate young offenders and put them on a path to productive lives while cutting costs?

The answer can be found in different states.

Functional Family Therapy, an evidence-based, family-centered intervention program, has proven to be an effective alternative to placement in juvenile-detention facilities. At a cost of up to $4,000 per youth, this approach can reduce the chance of a young person from becoming a repeat offender by one-third.

States that have used evidence-based approaches have seen their juvenile-detention populations fall. Texas and Ohio, for instance, experienced declines of 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively, since 2006. Both states saw repeat-offender rates fall even while commitments to state facilities dwindled.

The savings from this innovative approach to juvenile justice allow states to focus on rehabilitation for higher-risk young people who remain in detention facilities.

Congress can also step up to protect young people who are unnecessarily caught up in the juvenile-justice system. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have already introduced legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 with a series of long-overdue reforms, including phasing out remaining situations in which a status offender can be detained.

Other efforts, such the Redeem Act, which would allow a young person to have their record expunged if they stay out of trouble, is an idea that lawmakers should explore as they seek to give offenders the opportunity to prosper in their adult lives.

The “scared straight” approach may’ve been attractive at one time, but it has proven to be a costly failure and one that deprives young people of opportunity, because it exposes them to the justice system before they’ve fully mentally developed.

With the approach to corrections changing for nonviolent offenders, there is a tremendous opportunity to put young lives on the right path, ending the cycle of crime before it starts.



Burt Prelutsky on "Cecil"

Finally, there’s no way that a Minnesota dentist is going to kill an African lion without my commenting on it. I’m not as outraged as most people seem to be. After all, it was a lion, even if someone decided to name it Cecil. It wasn’t someone’s pet. It wasn’t our dog Angel. It was a lion, for heaven’s sake, and five minutes before the dentist hired a couple of schmucks to lure it off a reserve so he could hit it with a spotlight and shoot it with an arrow, it was probably gnawing on Bambi.

Still, there is something comforting in the fact that a guy can blow $50,000 killing an animal in the most pathetic way imaginable and wind up, not with a lion’s head on his wall, but with his own dumb mug on the front page.

There is an old saying that doctors should cure themselves. In the case of this dentist, it seems that before packing for this safari, Walter Palmer should have paused to fill the cavity between his ears.

I understand that a lot of you are hunters, and regard yourselves as sportsmen and would never do the chickenshit stuff the dentist did, but, assuming you’re not hunting in order to feed your families, I confess I don’t grasp the appeal of getting the best of dumb animals. I admit that I don’t shy away from matching wits with liberals, but at least I don’t leave their bloody carcasses lying around to frighten their wives and children.



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)


17 August, 2015

Hitler's Leftism and Jewish Leftism

Hitler called his political party, "The National Socialist German Worker's Party", Nazi for short. And all Socialist Worker's Parties that I know of are to at least some degree Trotskyist, meaning far Leftist. Even the Soviet Union was not socialist enough for Trotsky. He called it "Bonapartist", which is an enormous insult in Marxist circles. Bonapartism was an early form of Fascism. So Hitler placed himself very firmly in the socialist camp.

But those who know something about it sometimes say that Hitler was more of a nationalist than a socialist and there is truth in that. Nazism was actually a fairly coherent doctrine and in it socialism actually sprang from its nationalism. And Hitler was quite explicit about that. He saw Germans as a family and family members look after one-another.

Have a look at the 1939 Nazi propaganda placard below (a "Wochenspruch" for the Gau Weser/Ems). The placard promotes one of Hitler's sayings. The saying is, "Es gibt keinen Sozialismus, der nicht aufgeht im eigenen Volk" -- which I translate as "There is no socialism except what arises within its own people".

Like Bismarck before him, Hitler was a pan-German nationalist. He saw all Germans as one family ("Volk") that was sadly disunited and wanted to re-unite them as one big happy family. He was not as wise as Bismarck, however. He didn't quit while he was ahead. Bismarck waged a short sharp and very successful war (the Franco-Prussian war of 1870) and then spent the rest of his days avoiding war -- ushering in what came to be known as the "Belle Epoque", a time of general European peace which produced a great flowering of the arts, a period that lasted until 1914.

So by the time Hitler came along, Germany was largely united into a single legal entity. Bismarck had accomplished that. But it was a very fragile unity. The Laender (states) that were formed out of the old German kingdoms and principalities still retained the prime loyalty of most Germans. They thought of themselves (for instance) as Bavarians first and citizens of the Deutsches Reich second. And, even worse, there were still some German speaking lands that were outside the Deutsches Reich, Austria in particular. And Hitler was an Austrian.

But far worse than those elements of disunity were the class enmities and struggles of his day. Even before WWI, there was a lot of unrest in Vienna.  And that intensified in the wake of the WWI defeat, when Germany was in turmoil. The Marxists exploited that turmoil. There were even minor revolutions on some occasions. And the central element of Marxist thinking is of course social class and class war was their explicit aim.

That filled Hitler with horror. To have Germans making war on one another was the very antithesis of what he wanted. The Marxists wanted bloody revolution while Hitler wanted one big happy family.

Fascism is now dead but the Marxist-inspired Leftism of Hitler's day is still with us. It is what we recognize as Leftism today. Nobody preaches "one big happy family" Leftism today but a diluted form of class-war is still very much with us. Modern-day Leftists too want to rip down the customs and arrangements of our society and replace that with some incoherently conceived utopia. Democracy restrains them but they introduce as many destructive policies as they can get away with.

So if you don't like the sound of modern Leftism, you might have some understanding of how the version of that in Hitler's day sounded to Hitler. It sounded demonic. But it was clearly threatening to all he stood for so he studied it.

And before he came from his home in Linz to "the big smoke" (Vienna) he says he had no particular thoughts about Jews, regarding them as just another religion.

But let Hitler speak for himself about his years in prewar Vienna (From Chap. 2 of Mein Kampf). First we read of his horror at the nihilism of the Austrian Social Democrats, at that time a heavily Marxist party but with some rather startling parallels to modern-day mainstream Leftism. Then we read what he found about the leading lights in that party. Key excerpts :

My first encounter with the Social Democrats occurred during my employment as a building worker. These men rejected everything: the nation as an invention of the 'capitalistic' (how often was I forced to hear this single word!) classes; the fatherland as an instrument of the bourgeoisie for the exploitation of the working class; the authority of law as a means for oppressing the proletariat; the school as an institution for breeding slaves and slaveholders; religion as a means for stultifying the people and making them easier to exploit; morality as a symptom of stupid, sheeplike patience, etc. There was absolutely nothing which was not drawn through the mud of a terrifying depths

More than any theoretical literature, my daily reading of the Social Democratic press enabled me to study the inner nature of these thought-processes.

The greater insight I gathered into the external character of Social Democracy, the greater became my longing to comprehend the inner core of this doctrine.

The official party literature was not much use for this purpose. In so far as it deals with economic questions, its assertions and proofs are false; in so far as it treats of political aims, it lies. Moreover, I was inwardly repelled by the newfangled pettifogging phraseology and the style in which it was written. With an enormous expenditure of words, unclear in content or incomprehensible as to meaning, they stammer an endless hodgepodge of phrases purportedly as witty as in reality they are meaningless. Only our decadent metropolitan bohemians can feel at home in this maze of reasoning and cull an 'inner experience' from this dung-heap of literary dadaism.

However, by balancing the theoretical untruth and nonsense of this doctrine with the reality of the phenomenon, I gradually obtained a clear picture of its intrinsic will.

At such times I was overcome by gloomy foreboding and malignant fear. Then I saw before me a doctrine, comprised of egotism and hate, which can lead to victory pursuant to mathematical laws, but in so doing must put an end to humanity.

I gradually became aware that the Social Democratic press was directed predominantly by Jews; yet I did not attribute any special significance to this circumstance, since conditions were exactly the same in the other papers. Yet one fact seemed conspicuous: there was not one paper with Jews working on it which could have been regarded as truly national according to my education and way of thinking.

I swallowed my disgust and tried to read this type of Marxist press production, but my revulsion became so unlimited in so doing that I endeavoured to become more closely acquainted with the men who manufactured these compendiums of knavery. From the publisher down, they were all Jews.

I took all the Social Democratic pamphlets I could lay hands on and sought the names of their authors: Jews. I noted the names of the leaders; by far the greatest part were likewise members of the 'chosen people,' whether they were representatives in the Reichsrat or trade-union secretaries, the heads of organizations or street agitators. It was always the same gruesome picture. The names of the Austerlitzes, Davids, Adlers, Ellenbogens, etc., will remain forever graven in my memory. One thing had grown clear to me: the party with whose petty representatives I had been carrying on the most violent struggle for months was, as to leadership, almost exclusively in the hands of a foreign people

And once the Marxist Jews of prewar Vienna had fired him up, Hitler began to see a malign influence of Jews everywhere, as later chapters of Mein Kampf reveal and as at least some historians document and as was common in Germany anyway.

Apologies for the long quote but I wanted to let Hitler speak for himself before putting his thinking into my words. And much of what he said does have resonance today. It is surely fascinating that much of what he says about the Social Democrats (the mainstream Leftists of his day) could equally be said of modern-day Leftists.  When he described Leftist theoretical writing as gibberish, he could well be talking about much of what is taught in American universities today.

And that similarity should give Leftist Jews pause for thought. By embracing hostility to existing German society in the inter-war years, they eventually brought down on their heads a terrible vengeance from a charismatic patriot. They found that hate sometimes hurts the hater most of all. Is it not possible to learn from that? American Jews are still overwhelmingly Leftist and hence hostile to the society that has given them a safe place. Would it not be more appropriate and decent to support rather than contest the arrangements that have been so beneficial to them?

Hitler arose in one of the most civilized and enlightened countries on earth. And no-one foresaw his advent. So how can we be sure that another charismatic patriot will not arise in America? Donald Trump is no Hitler but he does show that a charismatic and angry patriot can come out of nowhere and win a totally unexpected level of support.

And note that the frontrunner for leadership of Britain's major Leftist party at the moment is a neo-Marxist antisemite and open supporter of jihadists.  His popularity has surprised everyone.  Reassuring?

If the steady pace of destruction that Obama has been inflicting on America continues long enough, there could be an anti-Left rebellion that sheds much blood. Conservatives have the guns, after all.  And the military is deeply conservative.  And America has had two civil wars already.  And I think that the Left are more dangerous to American welfare and prosperity than either the British or the Southerners ever were. And any rebellion that had Leftists in its sights would ipso facto have many Jews in its sights. Jews always lose in any upheaval. It is in their interests to prevent an upheaval, rather than encouraging it. 

I just hope that what I have said is not prophetic. Just over 70 years ago, the many haters among them set Jewry up for the most ghastly retaliatory blow.  Has nothing been learned? Will the hate ever stop?  I regret to say that I am not optimistic.


More evidence of IQ as just one aspect of physical good functioning

IQ has a large range of physical correlates.  Odd for something that Leftists say does not exist

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, a study reveals.

Researchers at the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen have studied the association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent physical performance, aged 48-56. The study comprised 2,848 Danish males born in 1953 and in 1959-61, and the results have just been published in the scientific Journal of Aging and Health.

"Our study clearly shows that the higher intelligence score in early adulthood, the stronger the participants' back, legs and hands are in midlife. Their balance is also better. Former studies have taught us that the better the results of these midlife tests, the greater the chance of avoiding a decrease in physical performance in old age", says PhD student Rikke Hodal Meincke from the Center for Healthy Aging

With a 10-point increase in intelligence score, the results revealed a 0,5 kg increase in lower back force, 1 cm increase in jumping height - an expression of leg muscle power, 0.7 kg increase in hand-grip strength, 3.7% improved balance, and 1.1 more chair-rises in 30 seconds.



States should copy winning policies for economic growth

Instead of doubling down on outdated policy ideas such as raising taxes and increasing government spending, state governments facing budget crises should look to successful states for ideas on how to jumpstart their own economies and reverse population declines. Fortunately, there are resources they can use to make the case for innovation in government.

This year’s edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Rich States, Poor States report shows the economic outlooks of states such as Illinois and Kentucky improved significantly since the release of ALEC’s 2014 report, as their respective leaders learned from the examples of other states.

The report measures and ranks states’ relative economic performance using three criteria: the state’s gross domestic product output, the net number of people domestically relocating to or from the state, and the state’s nonfarm payroll employment numbers. State policies strongly affect these three factors, the report explains.

The report also details 15 “policy variables” that impact how and why capital—not only money, but people—moves from one state to another. These variables include marginal corporate and personal income tax rates, the progressivity of personal income tax structures, and the ratio of government employees to total population.

“Generally speaking, states that spend less—especially on income transfer programs, and states that tax less—particularly on productive activities such as working or investing—experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more,” the report says.

Those observations really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but too few states embody them in their taxing and spending policies. In addition, the numbers do have some instructive details.

For example, Kentucky’s economic output was lower than that of 29 states, reflecting past fiscal sins, but the state’s migration numbers, which react directly to current conditions, were better than almost two-thirds of the states.

Also on a positive note, Kentucky’s property tax burdens are among the lowest in the nation, as Kentucky homeowners were charged an average of $20.29 in property taxes per $1,000 of personal income. The state’s relatively low sales taxes and personal income tax structures helped boost the state’s economic ranking.

On the other end of the scale, Illinois, led by incoming Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, is an example of how states can learn from other states’ examples to bring success home.

In 2014, Illinois was near the bottom of the pack, ranking 48th out of 50. In 2015, Illinois climbed eight spots thanks to recently legislated tax reforms. One of those changes was a decision to allow income tax hikes enacted in 2011 to expire.

Speaking of Illinois’ jump in the rankings, ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Director Jonathan Williams told Watchdog.org, “Sometimes you have to celebrate those small victories,” referring to how the state got it “less wrong” than in past years.

As Rich States, Poor States proves, attracting new residents and new businesses—and in turn new tax revenue—is not rocket science.

By keeping tax burdens low and government small, states can encourage businesses and residents of other states to relocate, bringing their capital with them. Kentucky is on the road to prosperity, Illinois is improving, and states following in their footsteps will prosper as well.



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)


16 August, 2015

Your genes WON'T make you wealthy: Becoming rich is more about nurture than nature, study finds (?)

I add some skeptical comments at the foot of the report below.  The usual finding is that high IQ people tend disproportionately to be high income earners.  And IQ is of course highly hereditary

If your parents are rich, then you’re more likely to be wealthy too.

Scientists have long debated whether this is down to genetics or the culture in which children are raised.  Now, a new study claims to have finally settled the debate; nurture, it says, is far more important that nature when it comes to amassing wealth.

‘Innate biology is only a small factor in wealth’, Kaveh Majlesi, a professor of economics at Lund University in Sweden and co-author of the study told fivethirtyeight.com

Previous studies have attempting to find a ‘rich gene’ which might explain how genetic characteristics that cause people to be wealthy are passed down.

The latest research, however, found that the wealth of an adopted child – before receiving an inheritance – is similar to that of their adoptive parents, rather than their biological ones.

The study included data from 2,519 Swedish children who were adopted between 1950 and 1970.

The researchers then compared this to data on adults’ overall wealth in Sweden between 1999 and 2007. This allowed scientists to compare the wealth of the adult adoptees to the wealth of potential biological and adoptive parents.

The biological parents were tended to be younger, poorer and less-educated than the adoptive parents.

Researchers found the adoptive parents had 1.7 to 2.4 times more of an effect than the biological parents did on the adopted child’s adult wealth.


I hate to rubbish a very carefully and laboriously done study but it is important to note that this is a study of WEALTH, not income. It is derived from data collected by the Swedish government for the purposes of its wealth tax. 

I have read the whole original study ("Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth") and note that it showed great statistical care. 

It does not show much knowledge of people however.  It covers gifts in the form of bequests but otherwise omits the issue of gifts altogether.  The authors seem quite unaware that well-off people tend to give their kids money on various occasions and for various reasons.  My son, for instance, does well every birthday.

And since the adoptive parents in the study above were richer than the natural parents, it is almost certain that the adopted kids got more gifts -- thus accounting entirely for the finding that those kids had more wealth.  The study therefore tells us nothing about any biological effect -- including the influence of genes.

I might add the general point that wealth taxes of any kind are quite like other taxes in that they provoke avoidance (legal)  and evasion (illegal).  And the standard way of avoiding wealth taxes is to transfer funds to later generations in the form of gifts.  Gift taxes hinder but do not prevent that. So the fact that the data originate from official Swedish wealth tax statistics is rather unfortunate for this study.  It guarantees that a LOT of intergenerational giving did go on.  So the findings in this study would seem to be largely an artifact of Swedish law.

The data of the study is therefore not capable of supporting the conclusions of the study.  I can't say I am surprised by social scientists who know nothing about people.  I had a lot of fun pointing out the follies of my fellow social scientists during my own 20-year research career.  But I guess I shouldn't laugh!


The Extreme Party

During last Thursday night's inaugural 2016 Republican presidential debate, Fox News' Megyn Kelly got into a spat with Donald Trump over his history of vulgar comments about women. Trump followed up that tiff by dropping a thinly veiled reference to Kelly's menstruation in the media. Those comments prompted Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton to praise Kelly — a woman with whom she would never deign to do an interview — bash Trump, and then lash out at Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whom she perceives as the most serious threat to her presidential aspirations.

"Yes, I know [Trump] makes great TV," said Clinton. "I think the guy went way overboard - offensive, outrageous, pick your adjective. But what Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact in terms of where the Republican Party is today as anybody else on that stage."

What, pray tell, was Rubio's great sin? He said that he believed the Constitution protects the unborn: "What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States."

According to Clinton and her allies in the media, this makes Rubio — and any Republican who agrees with him — too extreme for the general public. And it's not just abortion. Polls show that 52 percent of Americans say that the Republican Party is more "extreme" in its positions than the Democratic Party; just 35 percent say the reverse.

But is that true?

On abortion, for example, the Republican Party platform states that the Constitution warrants protections for the unborn; the Democratic Party position states that taxpayers should foot the bill for the killing of unborn children at every stage of pregnancy, including partial-birth abortion, a gruesome procedure in which children are pulled feet-first out of their mother's wombs, their skulls pried open and brains sucked out. Then the Democrats want to fund Planned Parenthood to carve up those babies for organ sale.

Which position is more extreme?

On same-sex marriage, the Republican Party wants to pass a Constitutional amendment to enshrine traditional marriage as the only governmentally rewarded form of marriage; until such time, Republicans acknowledge that same-sex marriage is legally a state's rights issue. The Democratic Party wants to force religious Americans to participate in homosexual weddings without recourse to the Constitution. Which is more extreme?

On health care, Republicans want Americans to be able to choose the healthcare they receive and pay for; Democrats want to force Americans to pay into a system from which they receive less than they would if they expended their dollars privately. Extremism, anyone?

The list goes on and on. Democrats want no major changes to the educational system, except for spending more money on corrupt teachers' unions; they also want to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize students majoring in useless subjects at second-tier colleges. Republicans want to allow Americans to keep more of their own money, and they want American parents to be able to spend that money as they see fit on the education of their children. Democrats want to dramatically increase taxes; Republicans want to decrease them. Democrats want no meaningful enforcement of America's immigration system; supposedly, Republicans want to enforce immigration laws.

Yet the media portray Republicans as the extremists. That rhetorical trick has its desired effect: Republicans are seen as nasty and unpleasant, even while Democrats move so far to the left that an open socialist is now their second leading contender for the presidency. Republicans counter by insisting that they are kind and generous, wonderfully moderate. This strategy is destined to fail. But Republicans have no idea how to fight extremists, even as the left portrays them consistently as America's most extreme political party.



The F35 debacle

The F35 is a political compromise.  Different services wanted different things in a new jet.  To keep them all happy, the F35 was designed to do everything -- resulting in it doing nothing well. 

The reliance on stealth is truly tragic. Stealth has basically had its day.  Both China and Russia have demonstrated stealth nullification via radar improvements and other means.  They've had a long time to work on it and they have succeeded. 

The only consolation is that Russia won't have many T-50s.  But they may not need many against the F35. And what if Russia sells the T-50 to China and China devotes its huge industrial base to building them?

I predict that if ever the F35 flies into a real combat situation, the airforce will soon realize the uselessness of its stealth attempts and will abandon them.  That will free the planes armorers to equip it with a full external weapons load  -- which would certainly make the plane more survivable and may even enable it to do some damage to the enemy

CAN the F35 beat this? Possibly not. Video footage of Russia’s new T-50 stealth fighter shows the extreme manoeuvrability the F-35 is up against.  Earlier this year a damning report from an F-35 test pilot revealed the troubled $400 billion dollar single-seat stealth fighter was easily outmanoeuvred by a two-seat 1980s vintage F-16D combat jet.

As recently as last week, the success of modern Russian designs appear to have won some vindication when Indian Russian-made Su-30 combat jets went toe-to-toe with British Typhoon fighters in a competitive training exercise: It was a 12-0 clean-sweep victory, in favour of the Indians.

The T-50 is the latest incarnation of Russian combat jet doctrine.  It purports to blend stealth with extreme manoeuvrability, and an extensive suite of sensors and weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to have the jets operational by 2020, though an initial order for 50 of the aircraft has since been cut back to just 12.

The Tu-50 is just one of several new fighter types the F-35 Lightning may eventually face.

Despite its advanced sensors and avionics, the fighter’s single engine simply isn’t powerful enough to push the bulky and overweight airframe through the air all that fast — or accelerate it away from danger.

The F-35’s supporters argued that dogfighting was not what the next-generation stealth fighter was built for:  “The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations,” a Lockheed Martin statement reads.

“The challenge, chivalry and thrill of ‘guns-only’ dogfighting is clearly of a bygone era,” a 2007 US Air Force article reads.
Detractors, however, point out we’ve heard that argument before — with near disastrous results.

US Navy jets went into Vietnam without cannons, such was the confidence they had in their ultra-advanced new missiles. Every jet designed and built since then has had them included due to the lessons learnt at the hands of the Russian-built jets the US came up against.

Detractors also argue F-35s long-range, stealth fighting style is also suspect.

To survive against a T-50, the F-35 must be stealthy. To be stealthy, the F-35 cannot carry any weapons or fuel under its wings. This reduces its capabilities and flexibility considerably.

Even if the F-35 is able to evade new visual and heat-seeking sensors developed specifically in the past decade to find it, it is totally reliant upon the success of its two air-to-air missiles. These must find — and then hit — targets which are capable of both hiding through stealth and countermeasures while using extreme manoeuvrability to dodge.

Once those two missiles are fired, the comparatively slow and sluggish F-35 is entirely dependent on its stealth capability to slink away from the battlefield to refuel and rearm.

And it’s not all that stealthy from behind. If it’s spotted, the questions remain: Can it run? Can it turn? Can it fight?



Court Strikes Down the FDA's Speech Regulations

The FDA is preventing you from learning about medical treatments that could save your life

They say that knowledge is power, that knowing is half the battle; and the explosion of knowledge that has emerged in the information age has undoubtedly made the world and its citizens far, far richer. Knowledge saves lives and elevates people from rags to riches. You would think that government would then be interested in promoting the spread of knowledge to as many people as possible, to maximize well-being among its citizens. You would think wrong.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exercises strict controls over what information drug companies are allowed to publicize, and in many cases, these limitations result in needless deaths.

This was the issue in a recent court case in which a New York district judge ruled that some of these limitations violate the right to freedom of speech. The restrictions in question limit what is known as “off label marketing.” What this means is that a drug company can only market its products for uses approved by the FDA, even if it turns out that the drugs have other benefits as well.

For example, suppose a company had gone through the rigorous approval process to get the FDA to sign off on a new drug for, let’s say, insomnia. The FDA agrees that the pill helps people sleep, and allows the company to market it for that purpose. Suppose then that further research emerges showing that the sleeping pill can shrink cancerous tumors as well. Current law forbids drug companies from publicizing this information to consumers, to doctors, or to anyone else who might find it useful. Cancer treatment is an “off label” use for the drug, and therefore forbidden.

The problem with these laws is obvious. There may exist many effective treatments for life threatening diseases, but we would have no way of knowing it, since that fact is not allowed to be advertised. It’s impossible to estimate the number of needless deaths resulting from such suppression of knowledge, but it is sure to be significant.

The court’s decision is an important victory, not only for our constitutional rights, but also as a first step in removing some of the regulatory barriers that are making health care less available and more expensive. The FDA’s regulations have consistently held back innovation and kept prices higher than they need to be. If we really care about improving health care in America, permitting more freedom in the market would be a good place to start.



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)


14 August, 2015

An extreme Leftist nut in Britain

Jeremy Corbyn is the leading contender as new leader of the British Labour Party, Britain's main party of the Left.  The Conservatives are hoping that he gets the job. Corbyn likes pigeons a lot better than people

Runaway Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn once backed a House of Commons motion welcoming the 'inevitable' end of human life on earth in an asteroid strike, it emerged today.

The veteran socialist signed the controversial motion, attacking people as 'obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal', after it emerged MI5 were planning to use pigeons as flying bombs in combat.

Mr Corbyn is a long-term campaigner against 'pigeon prejudice' – and has insisted the birds are 'intelligent and gentle creatures' which are cleaner than cats and dogs.

In 1996, his love of the birds moved him to attack plans to try to remove them from city centres.  The Islington MP criticised plans to force them out of Trafalgar Square and urged people to see the birds as 'friends rather than enemies'.

The rebellious backbencher, whose has never been a minister or held a shadow ministerial role, has backed a host of left-field causes including a ban on 'war toys' for boys, homeopathy in the NHS and a ban on working in hot weather.

In 2003 Mr Corbyn signed a motion attacking the 'lack of gratitude' for carrier pigeons during the Second World War.

In 1991 he campaigned for British Rail staff to be allowed to keep 'calming' beards after new rules proposed banning facial hair. Mr Corbyn joined with 14 MPs to call for the rules to be scrapped. He said: 'This House further believes that beards are healthy and create the sympathetic image necessary for staff dealing with deeply distressed passengers.'

In 1995 he called for a ban on adverts for 'war toys' for boys - like Action Man figures - where there is 'a connection between such toys and male violence'.

He has also called for the legalisation of the possession of cannabis and dismissed the Serbian massacres in Kosovo as a 'genocide that never existed'.

Mr Corbyn also backed a motion welcoming England's success in the 1996 European Championships but criticised the 'jingoism and nationalism in the pages of sections of the tabloid press'.  It added it was 'reminiscent of Hitler's use of sport to enhance his evil regime in the 1930s'.

This year Mr Corbyn launched a bid to ban work in temperatures above 30C – or just 27C for physical jobs like on building sites.

Mr Corbyn has previously attracted criticism for describing the leaders of militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah as his 'friends'.

And he was embroiled in a new controversy earlier this week, as it emerged he had defended controversial Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, who was disciplined by the church for posting a Facebook link to an article suggesting Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

It emerged that Mr Corbyn wrote a letter during the furore earlier this year, defending Reverend Sizer and claiming he was 'under attack' because he had 'dared to speak out against Zionism'.

A shock poll suggested Mr Corbyn had doubled his lead in the Labour leadership race and was on course for a 'knockout victory'.   The YouGov poll of those eligible to vote in the contest gives Mr Corbyn 53 per cent of the first preference votes – enough to win a majority in round one.



Conservatives Vs. 'The Real World'

As she runs to hold on to her base against an openly declared socialist in the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton is declaring she intends to go even further than President Obama and his radical executive amnesty efforts. She continues to defend Planned Parenthood even after those horrific videos documented the ghastly sale of baby body parts for profit. She is wrapping herself in a gay agenda, viciously attacking religious freedom.

But it's the Republicans that are the extremists.

Check out The Washington Post. On the front of the August 8 Post came the headline "For GOP candidates, a rush to the right." Reporter Sean Sullivan harped on abortion and immigration as issues where it could "cause the eventual nominee problems with a more moderate electorate."

Sullivan claimed on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, "much of the Republican field has now taken positions that are at odds with mainstream American opinion. For example, three out of four Americans say a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of rape."

The problem for the Post? The Republican candidates and the Republican platform haven't really changed on abortion since the last campaign. What's changed on the Abortion Extremism Meter is liberals demanding Democrats like Clinton defend Planned Parenthood removing "intact fetal cadavers" for sale to the highest bidder. Avoiding this ugliness is where the Post's yellow-dog Democrat bias comes through.

In Sunday's paper, here was another headline: "A platform for conservative views: RedState Gathering gives nine GOP presidential candidates - without Trump — room to expand on hard-right positions from Thursday's debate." Reporter David Weigel also used that "hard right" lingo in the news story.

As an example, Weigel cited Mike Huckabee deriding "paid transgender surgery for members of the military." It is somehow extremist for Huckabee to warn of the next step of left-wing extremism. Obama's Pentagon is surging toward the radicals intent on shredding the "gender binary," the military rank and file are furious — but to even discuss it is "hard right."

Doom for the GOP is all over the Post's pages. Above Weigel's story in the Post was a story headlined "A look at Donald Trump's history of flippant misogyny." On the next page was the headline "Trump's behavior may imperil GOP chance at White House."

In the world of the liberal media, everything is always "imperiling GOP chances."

Saturday's top editorial in the Post really underlined the media tendency to exile conservatives in their own minds. The headline on the Web was "Only a handful of GOP candidates are living in the real world." After the first debate, the party was divided by the "electable ones" — Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham — and everyone else on the "GOP fringe," those who are "frighteningly out-of-touch."

So the tendentious Post classifies every conservative as incapable of "living in the real world." But in the real world, Ronald Reagan in 1980 was certainly considered "hard right" and outside the left-tilting political spectrum of the 1970s, and yet he won in a landslide ... twice.

How the Posties must recoil at the NBC poll over the weekend. The top five: Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carla Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Who, exactly, is "frighteningly out of touch" here?



Jindal puts the emphasis on assimilation

by Jeff Jacoby

BOBBY JINDAL'S presidential quest may not take him all the way to the White House. But if his time on the campaign trail helps put assimilation back at the heart of the nation's immigration debate, he will have rendered his country a valuable service.

The 44-year-old governor of Louisiana was born and raised in Baton Rouge. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Punjab in northern India, and Jindal's election in 2007 made him the first Indian American chief executive of any state in US history.

But Jindal didn't run for governor as an Indian American, and he isn't running for president as an Indian American, either. Throughout his career he has championed the value and virtue of what used to be called "Americanization" — the patriotic integration of immigrants and their descendants into the American nation, so that they become Americans not just legally, but culturally and socially as well.

"We must insist on assimilation," Jindal said in the closing moments of the Republican "undercard" debate in Cleveland last week. "Immigration without assimilation is an invasion." A TV commercial aired in Iowa by Believe Again, a super PAC promoting Jindal for president, highlights the governor's emphasis on making immigrants into Americans.

"I am tired of hyphenated Americans," Jindal says in the ad, which features clips of a recent speech. "We're not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We're all Americans." Instead of obsessing, as so many Republican candidates do, on the legal status of those who cross the border, Jindal emphasizes the importance of embracing the norms and mores of their new homeland. Immigrants, he declares, "should adopt our values, they should learn English, and they should roll up their sleeves and get to work."

For most of American history, the belief that immigration should go hand-in-hand with assimilation was all but universally shared. There were debates aplenty about the most effective means of Americanizing the foreign-born, and there have always been restrictionists who argued that immigrants from certain countries were incapable of blending into the mainstream. When the Supreme Court upheld the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1889, it accepted the government's claim that immigrants from China had "remained strangers in the land, residing apart by themselves," and that they were unlikely "to assimilate with our own people or to make any change in their habits."

Whatever one's views on the ideal number or nationality of immigrants, however, it was taken for granted until very recently that those who came to America should want to be American. What the conservative Jindal says on the subject in the 21st century is hardly different from what the liberal Louis Brandeis was saying a century ago. In a speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston in 1915, Brandeis argued that "the immigrant is not Americanized unless his interests and affections have become deeply rooted here" — until he comes to "possess the national consciousness of an American."

In its 1912 platform, Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party explicitly included immigrants in promising workers "a larger share of American opportunity," even as it pledged "to promote their assimilation, education, and advancement." Americanization activities were taken up by public schools and private corporations, by nonprofit organizations and chambers of commerce. Not all assimilation programs were successful. Some relied too much on conformist pressure rather than on affectionate encouragement. But on the whole, Americans thought it only natural that immigrants should strive to become American, and immigrants of all backgrounds could feel that they were part of a single national family.

The rise of militant multiculturalism undermined this consensus. Today's "progressives" tend to regard the old ideal of patriotic assimilation as a form of cultural suppression. Instead of celebrating a common American culture, they pursue "diversity," and elevate racial, sexual, and ethnic identities over national identity. E pluribus unum has been turned on its head.

Because Jindal rejects the tribal politics that the left expects minorities to uphold, he has been attacked as an Indian Uncle Tom and mocked in a Twitter campaign linked by the hashtag #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite. "There's not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal," a University of Louisiana professor sneered to The Washington Post.

That might be a grievous shortcoming, were Jindal running for office in India. But he is running in his own country, which he makes no apology for loving. "My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans," Jindal says. "If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India."



Tide Turns in Favor of Greece’s Shipping Industry

An article in WSJ highlighted the Greek shipping industry, which it says has "emerged largely unscathed" from the nation's recent financial troubles.

The reports say that shipping companies in Greece are buying vessels from cash-strapped competitors and German banks, and are poised to grab even more market share - but bailout-related tax hikes could lead shipowners to seek cheaper waters.

Greek owners, who operate almost a fifth of the global fleet of merchant ships, are paying rock-bottom prices for competitors' vessels. Shipping employs more than 200,000 people in Greece and contributes around 7.5% of Greece's gross domestic product. The industry is dominated by a small circle of family-run companies that control almost a fifth of the world's shipping fleet-long a source of national pride.

According to Basil Karatzas, a New York-based maritime adviser, as the global financial crisis took hold and the freight market gradually collapsed, the Greeks stayed above water as they were not overly leveraged and stood on cash generated during the boom years before 2008.



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)


13 August, 2015

Another meltdown of official wisdom

People who eat lots of butter or cream are no more likely to have an early death than anyone else, a study suggests.

Researchers trawled through the health records of hundreds of thousands of patients and found no statistical link between eating saturated fat and falling ill with heart disease, strokes or type 2 diabetes.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, raise further doubts about 32-year-old guidelines that warn people to avoid butter, full-fat milk and other meat and dairy products with high levels of saturated fats.

Britons were advised in 1983 to cut their fat intake to 30 per cent of their total energy, and saturated fat intake to 10 per cent, while increasing the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

But the latest evidence suggests that saturated fats may not be bad for you after all.



What Does It Mean to Be a Democrat?

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd identified four factions that make up the Republican Party: the Tea Party, libertarians, social conservatives and establishment Republicans. Note that three of these groups are identified almost exclusively by how they think. Arguably the fourth is as well. The Republican Party definitely attracts people who take ideas seriously.

What about the Democratic Party? It’s tempting to say that Democrats are liberal. But did you know that the base of the party — those that are the most reliable supporters of Democratic candidates — are not particularly liberal at all?

According to Pew research, among self-identified Democrats the most liberal are the ones with high incomes and post graduate degrees — a tiny minority. But among blacks, among people who have no more than a high school education and among those who make less than $30,000 a year, a majority consider themselves neither “liberal” nor “mostly liberal.” Among Hispanics it’s about fifty-fifty. And remember: this was a poll of people who call themselves Democrats.

Matt Vespa, writing at Townhall, quotes New York Times analyst Nate Cohn as saying:

"The majority of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are self-described moderates or even conservatives, according to an Upshot analysis of Pew survey data from 2014 and exit polls from the 2008 Democratic primary.

Some of these self-described moderates hold fairly liberal views. But the “mostly liberal” Democrats barely outnumber Democrats with “mixed” or conservative policy views, according to the Pew data, which classified respondents based on how consistently they agreed with Democratic policy positions. Only about a quarter of Democratic-leaners hold the consistently liberal views that would potentially put them to the left of Mrs. Clinton."

Well if liberalism isn’t what unites Democrats, could it be something else, like concern for the least fortunate? You might think so if you are a regular reader of the columns of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. But the facts don’t bear that out either. A study by American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks finds that conservatives are consistently more charitable than liberals. As one reviewer put it:

"Brooks finds that households with a conservative at the helm gave an average of 30 percent more money to charity in 2000 than liberal households (a difference of $1,600 to $1,227). The difference isn’t explained by income differential — in fact, liberal households make about 6 percent more per year. Poor, rich, and middle class conservatives all gave more than their liberal counterparts.

And it wasn’t just money. The conservatives gave more time, more blood, etc.

These findings are consistent with my own anecdotal experience. For many years I was an attentive viewer of C-Span’s morning show — where callers could call in on a “Democratic” or “Republican” line. Sometimes lines were labeled “liberal” or “conservative.” What I found striking was how rarely anyone on the Democratic or liberal line advocated a position I regarded as unambiguously liberal. I don’t recall a single caller saying we should all (including the caller) pay higher taxes so that we could have universal pre-school or universal long term care or so we could pay for some other government spending project.

Instead, I heard teachers arguing for more pay for teachers, seniors wanting more out of Social Security and Medicare, union members wanting trade protection, blacks wanting more for blacks, etc. In other words, what I heard a lot of was selfishness. The Democratic line attracted a lot of people who want government to intervene for their benefit at everyone else’s expense.

Is it possible that raw economic self-interest is what attracts voters to the Democratic Party? Certainly that is one way to view the Franklin Roosevelt political coalition. At Roosevelt’s behest, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which attempted to regulate the entire economy, based on the Italian fascist model. In each industry, management and labor were allowed to collude to set prices, wages, output, etc. Every industry or trade was ordered to conspire to pursue its own interests at the expense of the public. The Supreme Court put an end to the NIRA, but it didn’t put an end to the ideas behind it.

If economic selfishness is what unites Democrats, could that model be in danger of falling apart? Trade unions, occupational licensing, and other attempts to monopolize trades and professions are very much in the Roosevelt tradition. But none of this attracts high income, highly educated liberals who back charter schools in their fight against the teachers' unions and who back Uber in its fight against the taxi cab monopoly.

Even more stunning is the recent Obama administration broadside against occupational licensing. It points out that one of every four jobs in the country requires a government license and reflects the concern of economists that these laws protect the producers, not consumers, and that their effects are eerily similar to medieval guilds.

At the state and local level, Republicans appear to have been as bad as Democrats in yielding to these special interest pressures. For Republicans, this is inconsistent with their free market rhetoric. However, for Democrats, it’s consistent with the Roosevelt model.

There is a potential rupture within the Democratic Party that has been largely ignored by the pundits.



Christian Refugees Get the Cold Shoulder

One of the great traditions of American foreign policy has been to protect the oppressed against those who would do them harm. Yet throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, we have seen time and again how that policy has been abandoned for the sake of politics and The One’s own personal aggrandizement.

The most recent example is the revelation that 28 Chaldean Christians have been sitting in a San Diego immigration detention facility while bureaucrats decide whether to let them seek asylum in America or be returned to Iraq, where Christians are facing widespread persecution under the Islamic State and an indifferent and corrupt Iraqi regime.

The Chaldean Christians hail from one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, and the more than two dozen people who now sit in a barbed wire compound in San Diego faced a perilous trek to avoid being jailed and murdered at the hand of barbarians who seek nothing less than their conversion to Islam or their death. Twelve have already been given deportation orders, though their final destination and fate remains unknown.

While illegal immigrants with horrendous criminal records run rampant on American streets committing heinous crimes that the administration and the Leftmedia try to downplay, Christians who want nothing more than the freedom to practice their faith are being detained.

“In Iraq, they only had three choices: convert to Islam, death by the sword or leave the country,” Mark Arabo, head of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation, told Fox News. “They’ve refused to convert, escaped slavery and death — only to be imprisoned by our broken immigration system.”

Arabo, whose parents came from Iraq to the U.S. in 1979, went on to note a sad truth under the Obama administration: “The disheartening thing is it seems that our border is open to anyone unless you’re a Christian fleeing genocide.”

Since Obama abandoned Iraq in 2009, leaving that country to the wolves and spitting on the graves of the 4,000 American soldiers who gave their lives to secure that country, more than a million Iraqi Christians have been exiled. Some 300,000 still remain, and they live in constant fear of displacement, rape, murder and a number of other brutalities at the hands of the Islamic State, which has made significant military gains in the absence of an American military presence.

John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to George H.W. Bush, recently noted, “There seems to be an indifference in Washington to what is happening here.”

Sununu is being too kind.  Former Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia was more accurate, saying, “This administration is fundamentally anti-Christian.”

Obama is not just indifferent to the plight of Iraqi Christians or the Christians in Syria and Egypt and many other nations around the world who are being persecuted and murdered in record numbers by jihadis. We think his sustained record of inaction and turning a blind eye to the massacres taking place across the globe belies an underlying disdain for the Christian faith.

Consider Obama’s words since taking office. From his inaugural “apology” tour in 2009 to mandating Christians pay for abortive drugs through health insurance to his open browbeating of Christians over the Crusades during the National Prayer Breakfast in February to his support for the Rainbow Mafia’s persecution of Christians over marriage, he has demonstrated not only ignorance of history but contempt for the Christian religion and its place in the world.

At every turn, Obama has chosen to play down the horrific actions of the Islamic State as it burns people alive, decapitates nonbelievers en masse, and drives people of other faiths from the homes their families have lived in for generations. Instead, he callously dishes out revisionist history of atrocities committed by Christians hundreds of years ago in an attempt to lay out some twisted morally equivalent worldview that is logically and morally bankrupt.

As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in February, “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson… Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives… The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

But that is not Obama’s M.O. He is acting on a lifelong contempt for Western values that was instilled in him by his mentors of hate. He sees the threats that face America as some sort of punishment for a perceived injustice that our nation has perpetrated on the world.

It cannot be denied that some Christians acted poorly in the past (and sometimes the present), nor can it be denied that America has awful scars in its history. But our country learns from its mistakes, and it remains as always the single brightest beacon of freedom and hope for people around the world who want to practice their faith in peace and with dignity. Obama’s twisted worldview has done America no favors, and it has rolled back the march toward universal freedom. Who can say how long it will take to undo the damage he has wrought?



Minimum wage Restaurants Suffer Worse Job Loss Since The Great Recession

According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs — the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.

“The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession,” AEI Scholar Mark J. Perry noted in the report.

The citywide minimum wage increase was passed in June of last year. The measure is designed to increase the city minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by 2017. The first increase under the plan was to $11 an hour in April. According to the report, Seattle restaurants have already faced severe consequences as a result. In contrast, in the six years since the 2009 financial crisis, the industry has been recovering in areas without the $15 minimum wage.

“Restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period,” the report also noted. “Restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs.”

Supporters of the $15 minimum wage often argue it will help the poor and stimulate economic activity. Opponents, however, argue such policies will actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. How little or how much of either outcome usually depends on the study. Nevertheless, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees at least some job loss is expected.

Studies also show that industries with low profit margins, like restaurants, are more likely to be hit the hardest. A June report from the investor rating service Moody’s claims the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur.



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 August, 2015

The recent large pivot Leftward of the Democratic party

But why did they move that way?  Because they can.  The American electorate was once economically conservative, so the Democrats matched that to stay in office.  In recent years, however, the rusted-on vote of the minorities gives them a freer hand.   Mitt Romney was a lackluster candidate yet won an amazing 59 percent of the white vote.  It was monolithic minority votes that handed the Presidency to Obama.  So they can now do much more of what they basically want: Control.

“We Democrats believe that our economy can and must grow at an average rate of 5% annually, almost twice as fast as our average annual rate since 1953....We shall bring in added Federal tax revenues by expanding the economy itself.” -- 1960 Democratic Party Platform

“We will continue to use tax policy to maintain steady economic growth by helping through tax reduction to stimulate the economy when it is sluggish.” – 1968 Democratic Party Platform

“We reject ..the big government theory that says we can..tax and spend our way to prosperity..We honor business as a noble endeavor.” -- 1992 Democratic Party Platform

“Today's Democratic Party knows that the era of big government is over. Big bureaucracies and Washington solutions are not the real answers to today's challenges. We need a smaller government.” – 1996 Democratic Party Platform

“We have ended the era of big government; it’s time to end the era of old government…Democrats believe in supporting the startups, the small businesses, and the entrepreneurs that are making the New Economy go.” -- 2000 Democratic Party Platform

“We promise to cut taxes for 98% of Americans…We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation.”  -- 2004 Democratic Party Platform

Up until 2000, Democrats routinely used buzzwords like “tax cuts,” “smaller government,” and “growth” in their platforms,” beginning in the John F. Kennedy era, even through Al Gore’s “reinventing, downsize the government” campaign. Though Democrats kept the caveat that it would resort to higher taxes, as it did in 1960, if the “unfolding demands of the new decade” necessitated them, President John F. Kennedy still cut taxes and famously declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

But since 2008, the Democrats have lost their ideological bearings. The Obama Administration and now Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton are pursuing a course the polar opposite of the modus operandi of prior Democratic Administrations, when tax cuts were about igniting growth first, redistribution later. But both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to put redistribution and big government first at the expense of growth, and end up getting neither.

Both are about raising taxes when the government routinely fails to deliver a budget. For the first time in six years, both houses of Congress last May adopted concurrent budget resolutions, notes FOX News Channel’s information specialist Stephen Scarola, as the federal government continues to mistake emergency stabilization plans to handle the housing crash as growth plans.

And now, Hillary Clinton proposes a mind-boggling capital gains tax plan that involves a half-dozen rates, a plan which nearly doubles the rate for investments held less than six years.

A flip flop from when Mrs. Clinton said of the capital gains tax rate in the 2008 Democrat presidential debates: “I wouldn’t raise it above the 20% if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton Administration.”

We’ve got a U.S. tax code undermining the economy that sits at 77,000 pages, with all the statutes and regulations factored in, at seven times the length of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” Americans spend 6.1 billion hours every year attempting to comply with the revenue code, at an all in monetary cost of about $168 billion, estimates the Tax Foundation, about the size of Vietnam's GDP.

It’s a tax code written in an incomprehensible tongue and neurotically fiddled with by politicians doing the paid bidding of rent seekers seeking privileges their competitors don’t get. Entire, multi-billion dollar, unproductive industries are built, and wasted, on either complying with the code, or chasing elected officials who dole out tax privileges.

“We will protect the rights of all taxpayers against oppressive procedures, harassment and invasions of privacy by the Internal Revenue Service,” reads the 1976 Democratic Party platform. “At present, many federal government tax and expenditure programs have a profound but unintended and undesirable impact on jobs and on where people and business locate. Tax policies and other indirect subsidies have promoted deterioration of cities and regions. These policies should be reversed.”

However, now both President Obama and Hillary Clinton are about bigger government, even though the economy grew at less than 2% since 2008 and just 1.5% in the first half of 2015, a virtual standstill.

That first half performance is less than half the average growth the U.S. economy experienced, at just over 3%, from World War II to 2007.

This isn’t just the worst growth rate since World War II. It’s the worst rate of growth since the modern concept of GDP was first developed in 1934. When about half the time from 1950 to 2000, 4% growth was the norm. Most every recession since World War II saw higher economic growth, including the cataclysmic 1981 recession that saw a severe banking collapse when big money center banks, including Citibank (C), faced insolvency due to Latin American debt crisis.

That 3% growth rate would toss off another $600 billion in annual economic growth, estimates show, which would mean more jobs and higher incomes.

Today we’ve got a federal government whose spending annually equates to about 24% of GDP, up from the 19% average from 1950 to 2000. That’s a lot of capital sucked out of the private markets away from job-creating entrepreneurs who could develop the next, hot technology or medical cures, capital for the politicians to use instead to pick and choose how it’s deployed.

Taxpayers continue to pay for federal waste, anywhere from $125 billion to $200 billion, due to duplicative spending, even after the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ official watchdog, made 440 recommendations since 2009 for cut backs in 180 areas. Less than a third, 29%, of the GAO’s recommendations were fully addressed.

This, as the 2008 Democratic platform said the party would be all about “eliminating waste in existing government programs” and “pay as you go budgeting rules.”



Support the re-election of Canada's PM HARPER

A group of Canadians living in Israel has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper win re-election this October.

“As Canadians, we believe Harper is good for Canada, he is good for the Jewish community, he is good for Israel, and he is good for the world. We want to help him stay in office,” said the leader of the campaign, Dan Illouz, a strategic consultant and CEO of Di Consulting.

The crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise $20,000. The group plans to use the funds to send 10 people to Canada just prior to the election to get out the vote for Harper Canadian Jewish communities.

“One of the greatest Jewish values is to know how to say ‘thank you’ when someone does something good for you. This campaign is here to say thank you to Prime Minister Harper. People all around the world have the opportunity to participate and donate and to help us say thank you,” Illouz said.

Under Harper’s leadership, Canada has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in international bodies such as the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in June that Israelis believe the Jewish state has “no better friend than Canada.”

Harper, who leads the Conservative Party, faces a tough re-election campaign against Tom Muclair’s New Democratic Party and Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party. The election comes Oct. 19.



Why Socialist Bernie Sanders Is Wrong about Health Care Being a Human Right

People who make up human rights run a risk.  Someone else might follow on by making up a human right to (say) kill all socialists.  Socialists have repeatedly shown that they think they have a right to kill anyone they want to

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." ~Alexis de Tocqueville

Last week, National Nurses United (NNU) hosted a rally to celebrate the anniversary of Medicare. During the rally, NNU took the opportunity to host Independent-Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Sander's speech to the crowd shed further light on his socialist views on the future of healthcare in the United States.

In his speech, Sander's stated that “healthcare is a right, not a privilege of all Americans", which is far from the truth. The debate over whether or not the right to life correlates with the right to health care has been an issue since the late 1800's. The truth of the matter is that while you do have the right to your life (meaning no one has the right to murder you, force you into slavery, dictate the terms of your existence through coercion or forced aggression), this right is what is known to philosophers as a negative right; while the right to purchase and receive health care is a positive right. First, we must define what is a right, before we go any further.

According to the Markkula Institute for Applied Ethics:

" What is a right? A right is a justified claim on others. For example, if I have a right to freedom, then I have a justified claim to be left alone by others. Turned around, I can say that others have a duty or responsibility to leave me alone. If I have a right to an education, then I have a justified claim to be provided with an education by society."

Based on that definition, a negative right is a claim against being interfered with; while a positive right is a claim that requires positive action on the part of someone else. The American system is based on the idea that we have negative rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but not positive claims on others. For example, you have the right to worship as you please without interference (a negative right) but you don't have the right to force someone else to use their labor or money to accommodate you in your worship (a positive right). Philosophy expert Leonard Piekoff, PH.D touched on this issue by showing a more exaggerated example of what people feel they have the right to:

"...the American viewpoint continues, are the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. That's all. According to the Founding Fathers, we are not born with a right to a trip to Disneyland, or a meal at Mcdonald's, or a kidney dialysis (nor with the 18th-century equivalent of these things). We have certain specific rights [mentioned in the Bill of Rights]—and only these."

Thus the pretense of Sanders' statement is entirely incorrect, since no one owes you luxury cars, food, clothes, or health care. For the sake of driving this point home even further, voters in the upcoming election must realize that it is fundamentally wrong to keep anything that you have not created that others need to survive. Socialized health care is not "compulsory charity" as Democrats and Socialists (if there is any difference between the two anymore) would guilt you into believing. Its taking the financial resources of individuals to give to someone else, and in turn giving many people a poor product they didn't want to have in the first place.

An important concept to consider is that, if Americans are so focused on patient access and protection through medical coverage, who will look out for the best interest of the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals? After all, medicine is something that many students throughout the nation spend incredibly large amounts of money and many hours committing themselves to getting their degrees and becoming medical services professionals. So the greater question should be whether or not you have a right to dictate the uses of their skills and talents. Medical practices are like any other commodity or service, they come with a very real costs since doctors become doctors not simply because they just want to help people, but because they want to make a profit and a living in the process of doing so. If there isn't a way to make a living and earn a humble profit, doctors and other medical professionals would be going against their own rational self-interest by entering the profession. A looming issue with the expansion of ObamaCare is the drastic shortage in doctors the US is facing. According to a recent report covering this disturbing fact:

"... The analysis finds that exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals. Importantly, care provided by out-of-network providers does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits put in place by the ACA."

What this shows is that people are as obligated to give you health care as much as they are obligated to give you their efforts and labor as a form of economic indentured servitude. A free market approach to health care reform is the best way to allocate services and products to patients, but also looks out for health care providers so that they can work to satisfy customers while satisfying their bottom line.

In conclusion, if we all have the right to health care, then using that logic we should all have the right to drive and own a Mercedes.



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)


11 August, 2015

An analysis of the Left from the Left

James Bloodworth, a British Trotskyist, unleashes below a broadside at "Comrade" Jeremy Corbyn, the current hero of the British Left. He rightly excoriates Corbyn for his antisemitism and sympathy for tyrants. Bloodworth's major point is that too much Leftist thinking is simplistic, something that is undeniably true. 

It is simplistic to the point of sheer ignorance a lot of the time.  For instance, anybody who says that rent control is a good way of providing housing for the poor clearly hasn't got a blind clue about housing provision. It is in fact a good way of HALTING new housing provision.

The major form of simplistic thinking that Bloodworth identifies is the Leftist view that "capitalism" is the source of all the world's ills and that America is the home of capitalism.  So  America is public enemy no. 1.

That the government grab for the health system and the ever-more onerous regulations of the EPA have made America under Obama very little different from most European countries has escaped their notice.

Extremely simplistic thinking does have a lot of appeal. The vast bulk of the population is very poorly informed politically so simple answers can easily appear right to them.  Simplistic thinking is a good vote winner.  It will probably grab the majority of votes from welfare dependants and people in humble occupations.  And there are a lot of those.  So Corbyn and the Left generally are probably not as obtuse as they seem.  Their motto is "keep it simple and say it often". It's like a Coca Cola advertisement.  And, like Coca Cola, it sells.

Bloodworth, however, appears to be more principled and less cynical.  He actually believes that there are some groups of people that  need protection and help -- and thinks that helping them is what Leftism is all about. Like all Leftists, he thinks that taking money off "rich" people is how you do the helping but he does not lose sight of the objective.

I actually think Bloodworth is too optimistic.  I think the Left have a bigger problem than simplistic thinking.  Bloodworth seems unaware of how deeply angry many of his fellow Leftists are.  They relish destruction of the world they hate.  Their "caring" is just camouflage  for their hate.  So people who really do destroy capitalism around them -- such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez -- do genuinely seem like good guys to many Leftists, such as Corbyn.  Bloodworth underestimates Corbyn's hate motivation.  Bloodworth has the handicap of being a genuine and principled Leftist rather than being just a hater.

Until mid-2011 I was a member of a small London-based Trotskyist group. Early in that same year, as part of my propaganda efforts on behalf of the group I ended up at a meeting of the Labour Representation Committee, a left-wing faction of the Labour party, where I listened to Jeremy Corbyn deliver a rousing speech on the then raging war in Libya.

From memory, the speech was not so much anti-war, which would have been perfectly reasonable considering talk at the time of Nato intervention, as pro that country's dictator, Colonel Gaddafi. I do not remember the exact contents of the speech – it took place when Corbyn was an obscure backbencher – only that audible groans filled enlightened corners of the hall, including my own, when the left-winger began to reel off what he considered the "achievements" of the Gaddafi regime.

You might call my experience of that day the beginning of my education in the left-wing case against Jeremy Corbyn, who since then has risen from obscure backbencher to likely next leader of the Labour party.

No, Corbyn is striking a chord with Labour activists because in many respects he is correct: a Britain built on finance capitalism and property speculation will never work in the interests of the majority. That isn't Bolshevism; it's the ABC of social democracy. The problem with Labour's so-called modernisers, or Blairites, or whatever you want to call them, is that they appear to have forgotten much of this.

The best case against Corbyn is not that he is a wild-eyed socialist, but instead goes back to my initial reminiscence: he is remarkably good at proffering apologetics for dictatorship and tyranny. As well as Gaddafi, Corbyn has in recent years championed/made excuses for Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez, Russian gay-basher Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Bosnian Muslims Slobodan Milosevic and the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

He has also worked for Iranian state broadcaster Press TV (home of Holocaust deniers and other cranks) and has referred to fascistic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as his "friends".

It is this, rather than any desire to make the British economy more like that of Germany – the horror! – which ought to prevent Labour members from voting for Corbyn in the upcoming Labour leadership election. A person cannot conceivably be anti-establishment when they are so willing to line up behind some of the most atrocious "establishments" in the world.

This matters perhaps more today than it did in the past. Large swathes of the world are currently convulsed by war and/or under the boot of dictatorship. The world urgently requires a vocal and internationally minded left – a left which, while recognising imperialist follies such as the war in Iraq, never grovels to religious fascists and whose instinctive reaction to tyranny is one of revulsion rather than reverential talk about the "achievements" of this or that thuggish dictatorship – however "left" the posture of the regime in question

Unfortunately, Corbyn's indulgence of tyranny is invariably where politics takes you if you accept the increasingly fashionable view that the US is the world's most malevolent power. In building up the US as public enemy number one, the left must invent disagreements with it – and by extension Britain – to prop up an increasingly tortuous ideological house of cards.

Thus because the US is the beating heart of capitalism, it must always and everywhere be the "root cause" (you will hear that phrase a lot) of the world's problems; and by deduction, any movement that points a gun in its direction must invariably have something going for it.

To agree with David Cameron [British PM] about, say, the threat from Islamic State (Isis) is to admit there are nastier forces in the world than George Osborne [British treasurer]  and the Daily Mail [popular conservative newspaper]. And if this turns out to be true, the main enemy might not be capitalism after all – and thus the illusions begin to melt away.

It may be accurate that, as his supporters like to point out, Corbyn "actually believes in something". And yes, ideology can at times inspire tremendous good. But it can also make a person believe that a goldfish is a racehorse

This is how Comrade Corbyn, a nice man who loathes tyranny and anti-Semitism, ends up on platforms lavishing praise on tyrants and anti-Semites. And it is how some of the very best now find themselves willing on a man who consistently gives succour to some of the very worst.

The truth is that, however much a Corbyn-led Labour party might claim to be standing up for the most vulnerable, it will always and everywhere be willing to sacrifice the very people it ought to stick up for – the world's democrats, secularists, Jews, gays and women – on the ideological alter of anti-Americanism. This, as I will never tire of pointing out, ought to make Corbyn persona non grata for any principled person of the left.



China's illegals

In a tribute to capitalism, China is now a destination for illegal immigrants.  China's capitalism is far from perfect, even less perfect than U.S. capitalism, but even some capitalism has dramatic effects.  Who would ever have thought that "low wage" China would become so remunerative that people from nearby countries break Chinese law to get there?

On a quiet river bend on the China-Vietnam border, a group of people clambered up a muddy bank. They had just glided across the river from the Vietnamese side in a longboat, guided by men on both banks signaling with flashlights.

The passengers scurried over to a group of men standing by their motorcycles, climbed aboard the bikes and disappeared into the night. Two Chinese police officers in uniform, stationed at a small post near the crossing point in the border town of Dongxing, watched impassively as they rode past.

"We come every night," said one young biker with spiky hair before he rode off. "Sometimes we carry (smuggled) goods into town. Sometimes we carry Vietnamese workers."

The bikers’ illicit cargo on that late summer night last year was illegal laborers. They were headed on a 700-kilometre (440 miles) journey to the economic powerhouse of Guangdong. The province, filled with factories making goods for export, has been dubbed “the workshop of the world.”

The smuggling of illegal workers from Vietnam across the 1,400-km (840-mile) border into China is growing. Labor brokers estimate that tens of thousands work at factories in the Pearl River Delta, which abuts Hong Kong. Workers from other Southeast Asian nations are joining them.

Visits by Reuters to a half-dozen factory towns in southern China revealed the employment of illegal workers from Vietnam is widespread, and authorities often turn a blind eye to their presence. Workers from Myanmar and Laos were also discovered to be working in these areas.

Reuters found that employers supply these illegal workers with fake identity cards and sometimes confine them to factory compounds to keep them out of sight of the authorities. Chinese human smuggling syndicates, known as “snakeheads", work with Vietnamese gangs to control the lucrative trade, workers and labor brokers in China said. The syndicates take a cut of the workers' monthly wages - up to 500 yuan ($80) a month in some cases, according to one broker - and charge factory owners a fee.



Baltimore Homicide Spike Is the Harvest of Leftism

Chicago rightfully gets headlines for being America’s most prolific murder city, but three months after Baltimore erupted in flames following the death of criminal suspect Freddie Gray, the city’s total number of homicides has set an all-time city record for a three-month timeframe. The 116 homicides recorded in Baltimore from May through July included last month’s total of 43, which was its highest monthly toll since 1972.

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has already ousted her police chief and called in federal help to combat a thriving drug trade, but the city is still feeling the effects of April’s unrest — not to mention half a century of Democrat rule.

As one beleaguered city resident put it, “The ones doing the violence, the shootings — they’re eating Percocet like candy and they’re not thinking about consequences. They have no discipline, they have no respect. They think this is a game. How many can I put down on the East side? How many can I put down on the West side?”

In practically every Baltimore case, though, it was black-on-black crime that inflated the murder rate. “Black Lives Matter” has been a handy slogan for the race-baiters who descended on Baltimore, Ferguson and New York and shouted down a former mayor of Baltimore whose delusions of grandeur make him believe he’s presidential material. But one has to ask if those lives matter enough to people in the city who refuse to relinquish their status as victims.

The answer would seem to be “no.” Black lives seem to matter only when the race-baiters can make a show of things, not when blacks kill other blacks, or otherwise destroy their own neighborhoods.

There doesn’t seem to be an appreciation of life in the minds of those who feel the need to deal with their pain through overuse of narcotics — a supply bolstered by the stock taken from the 32 pharmacies looted in April. Nor is it among those who willingly mow down their drug-dealing competition in turf wars that occasionally snare an innocent victim. These are the tragedies that matter.

A few days after the riots, we observed, “For Baltimore to change, its people must change.” It’s folly to expect all the needed change can occur in three months' time, but by the same token it’s discouraging to see the city going in the opposite direction. Just getting back to normal would be fine for most situations, but the city of Baltimore cannot long function if citizens only return to the status quo that led to a city on fire.

The solution is really not difficult to grasp — better schools, more job opportunities and in-tact homes. Residents must turn away from a “thug” culture to one that values the stability of a two-parent family and works to cut down on the illegitimate birth rate. After all, seven of every 10 black lives start out from an unmarried mother and absentee father. That’s if the black lives even make it out of the womb. Without this shift in culture, Baltimore (and other Democrat-run inner cities like it) will continue to murder its future at a rate of more than one per day. It’s a grim toll, and America — the land of Liberty — can do better.




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


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)


10 August, 2015

Hate-filled do-gooders

Twitter and other social media outlets seem to have a disinhibiting effect on what people say.  Writers there reveal sides of themselves that we would not normally see.  The comment from Australia below is therefore interesting for showing how often do-gooders reveal on social media that they are also great haters who lash out in all directions.  Their belief in their own righteousness seems to unshackel them from all tolerance and decency -- and replace that with a frighteninmg savagery.

What we are seeing there, of course, is Leftism in the wild, Leftism red in tooth and claw, Leftism with the gloves off, Leftism with the mask off.  Leftists too are great do-gooders.  Do-gooding is their stock in trade.  Presenting themselves as "compassionate" is what they do.

And in power they too are great haters and destroyers.  Mrs Obama liked nothing about America until her husband became president. And Obama's pastor ranted about "AmeriKKKa".  Obama himself is too wily to let  his hatred be seen -- though we can readily infer it.  In countries where their power and influence can cease at the next election, Leftists in a democracy have to be cautious like that.

But where they have untrammelled power we see what Leftists really are.  It took the loudly do-gooding Leftist Hugo Chavez to reduce oil-rich Venezuela to poverty -- where no amount of  money can buy many basics, such as toilet paper, and where most cars have to be bought secondhand at exorbitant prices.  And forget freedom of the press in Venezuela of course.  The more influence Leftism has, the more its hates are impoverishing and destructive.

And that regime most beloved of America's Left, Cuba, is another case in point.  Under Fulgencio Batista, Cuba was a middle-income country, on a par with Belgium.  Now, of course it is a poor country, with the basics strictly rationed and in short supply.  And Castro himself lives more opulently than Batista ever did.

I grew up in a region of Australia that produces large amounts of sugar for export.  There were three sugar mills in the town where I was born. And Cuba too was once a big sugar exporter.  So when Fidel Castro took over and was so destructive in his hates as to reduce Cuban sugar production to a trickle, there were many people in my town who had a kind word for him.  By noticeably reducing the world supply of sugar, he bumped up prices for it.  A lot of Australian sugar farmers were able to pay off their debts at that time.

So the association between do-gooding and aggressive hate has long been with us.  It has always been visible on the political scene for anyone with eyes to see.  Only now has it become so visible on the individual level.  We will see more of it

WHAT is it about goodwill that makes people go feral?  “Give, but give until it hurts,” the always well-meaning Mother Teresa taught us. But in a couple of perplexing examples just this week, that touching sentiment seems to have been somehow misinterpreted as: “Give ... until you’re inspired to hurt someone”.

Just this week, a do-gooding current affairs program inspired thousands of Australians to reach out to a suffering family, but also — probably unwittingly — inspired a bit of corporate hate.

Sharon Chan’s ordeal is tragic. The story of the pregnant Sydney mum — whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack last week, leaving her to raise two sons, one with Down syndrome and leukaemia, and another child due any day — touched so many viewers that the Rotary page set up to take donations for the family repeatedly crashed.

But the charity site wasn’t the only online victim of this injustice. Well-meaning Australians, filled with rage at Ms Chan’s situation, took to the Facebook pages of major supermarkets and other television shows as, it seemed, they felt the need to direct their frustration towards The Man.

“Give to Sharon and her boys from the ACA current affair program,” one post to Coles’ Facebook page read. “Give free groceries for her and her boys ... petrol, money, something ... show people you are not a heartless company out for profits.”

And there were others demanding the corporate giant mirror their goodwill. "Everyone in Australia is on board and you should be too. Show people you are not just about profit ... deliver free groceries for a year, or give free petrol ... you decide.”

Conservationists, also with good intentions, have been pushed to the point of being abusive this week.  Glamorous American game hunter Sabrina Corgatelli was accused of rubbing salt in the wound as animal lovers reeled from the killing of Cecil the lion.

Their protests at her posing with a dead giraffe and sharing the image online were valid — some people don’t want to see innocent and protected animals hunted for sport.

But how does Photoshopping the woman’s head onto the slain animal’s lifeless body help the cause? And then there were the shocking death threats over her proposed visit to New Zealand: “We should all book on these (hunting tours) and then when we go don’t hunt the animal hunt the **** Sabrina!!!”, “We’ll have a hunting party ready and waiting for YOU. Evil b****”, and “I will personally cut your head off and mount the **** on my wall”.

The logic here appears to be that threatening to hunt and murder a woman, and make a trophy of her genitalia, makes up for the hunting of a giraffe.

It’s charity driving us to hypocrisy and it’s all a bit weird.



More forgotten history:  The atomic bombing of Japan was just another act of bloodthirsty Leftism

It is uncontroversial that the Democrats under FDR and his successor were far-Leftists in economic policies, but it is equally true that, in Truman, they produced a great Leftist murderer in  foreign policy.  I have been arguing for years that the blockade alone had already made Japan harmless by the time the bombs were dropped but the detail below from sources from the time reveals just how unneccessary the bombing was.  A quarter of a million people -– mostly children, women, and old men – needlessly suffered horrible deaths in the blasts and firestorms. Truman didn't get as many as Hitler or Stalin but it was still mass-murder on a gigantic scale

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the atomic age, inaugurated in a radioactive blast at Hiroshima, know that the information below, which will prove shocking to some, has previously been collected, developed, verified in both newspapers and research tomes. It has been reported by time-tested journalists and noted historians. It has been confirmed and declared by top military figures and world famous political leaders. It is information that belongs to the American people, but it is information that is virtually lost to us, "disappeared" from what is well-described as our "court history," written not to shed light on events but to burnish the ideologies that be. Yes, more American betrayal.

Today's subject, then, is not only the two atomic bombs that the US dropped first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki, but also the fairy tales we tell each other about them.

To be honest, I used to believe and tell these fairy tales, too. I used to believe that the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan was a display of heroic presidential strength -- a gruelingly difficult but also moral and strategically empowering decision that ended the war in the Pacific against Imperial Japan as quickly as possible, and, most important, saved one million American men from becoming casualties in a dreaded military invasion of the Japanese main island.

If the choice is between dropping the A-bomb or losing one million Americans, there is no choice. That is, drop the Bomb and save American lives -- and countless Japanese lives which would also have been lost in any such major military onslaught. But what if there were other ways, less harmful ways, to get the Japanese to sign that surrender?

Our customary focus on the up-down decision by Truman -- see, for example, the WSJ's Bret Stephens' "Thank God for the Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't merely horrific, war-ending events. They were life-savers" --  has had the effect of blinding us to the timeline preceding Hiroshima that is marked by Japanese peace bids (in itself a shocking concept), and, post-Hiroshima, suprisingly high-level military objections to the notion that the Bomb ended the war in the first place.

Japanese peace overtures included a set of surrender terms laid out in a document sent by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to FDR in January 1945, two days before the president set off for the disastrous Yalta conference (where FDR and Churchill would, among other things, bless Stalin's seizure of territories in China and elsewhere in exchange for five days of war-fighting against Japan). FDR turned down the January 1945 surrender terms. They are, however, virtually identical to those accepted by President Truman in August 1945. In between, of course, there was more to the Pacific war than the two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. In between came the epically costly American assaults on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the liberation of the Philipines.

A terrible question forms: Was this bloody final phase of Allied and Japanese carnage actually necessary to bring World War II in the Pacific to an end? The answer that the record-less-traveled strongly suggests is, No, probably not.

It was the Chicago Tribune's Walter Trohan, who, just after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, first broke the January 1945 Japanese peace bid story. His source, later revealed, was impeccable: Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR's chief of staff. In 1965, Trohan wrote again about this January 1945 surrender bid, which was re-confirmed by MacArthur in 1953 (American Betrayal readers will relate to Trohan's discovery that the original MacArthur document had disappeared from defense department archives). His article also includes highlights from the pre-Hiroshima Japanese attempted-surrender saga that had emerged since.

The Trohan story headline on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Japanese surrender reads: "Ignored Japanese Peace Bids Plague U.S., West, with What Might Have Been." 

And what might have been?

Trohan reports on a November 1944 peace bid conveyed by Swedish ambassdor to Tokyo Widar Bagge. He notes also that in 1948, Rear Adm. Ellis M. Zacharias, wartime director of the office of naval intelligence, revealed that Japan had made five secret peace bids through the Vatican and the Kremlin.

In 1947, Trohan writes, " the Japanes disclosed in Tokyo that Premier Kuniaki Koiso proposed to discuss peace with Britain and the United States in 1944 and 1945. After the Koiso government fell, it was replaced by the government of Adm. Kantaro Suzuki, who undertook the negotiations for peace through Russia."

A disastrous idea, Trohan succinctly explains:

Russia stalled the [peace] negotiations in her determination to secure a dominant position in the Orient.

Aha. As discussed in American Betrayal, Stalin, unlike his British and American allies, was not fighting only to destroy Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan (further, he was not fighting Imperial Japan at all, not until the last five days the Pacific war). Stalin was fighting to supplant them. This is a big difference, but it is seldom pondered. It means that as far as Stalin was concerned, war could easily have ended too soon -- before the Red Army had fought its way *safely* outside Soviet borders; before Communist allies were ascendant; in the case of Japan, before Stalin could enter the Pacific war under favorable conditions and, more important, seize the territories promised him at Yalta. This is something to keep in mind when trying to assess Stalin's actions, also those of his agents and assets covertly embedded in Allied (also Axis) governments, regarding the strategy, pace and scope of the Allied fight.

And what about the role the Bomb is supposed to have played in ending the war in August 1945?

Today's Gospel-shorthand tells us it was the A-Bomb, and only the A-Bomb, that forced Japan to surrender, but that is not at all what many leading military and political lights of the day believed.

The following quotations come from Herbert Hoover's history of WWII, Freedom Betrayed:

On August 19, 1945, the AP reported:

Secretary of State ... Byrnes challenged today Japan's argument that the atomic bomb had knocked her out of the war.

He cited what he called Russian proof that the Japanese knew that they were beaten before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Foreign Commissar Vyacheslaff M. Molotoff informed the Americans and British at the Berlin [Potsdam] Conference, Mr, Byrnes said, that the Japanese had asked to send a delegation to Moscow to seek Russian mediation for the end of the war -- an act that Mr. Byrnes said interpreted as proof of the enemy's recognition of defeat.

On September 20, 1945, Major General Curtis LeMay, who directed the air attacks on Japan, stated to the Associated Press:

The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war ... The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians coming in and without the atomic bomb.

Hoover adds: "There were present at this interview two American Generals who were engaged in action against Japan -- General Barney Giles and Brigadier General Emmett O'Donnell -- both of whom agreed with General LeMay."

On October 5, 1945, Admiral Chester Nimitz told the Associated Press "he was convinced that the end of the war would have been the same without the atomic bomb or the entry of the Russians into the war:" On the same day Nimitz told Congress:

The atomic bomb did not end the war against Japan. The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war. ...

Hoover quotes the memoirs of White House chief of staff Admiral Leahy, who wrote:

It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon against Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

It was my reaction that the scientists and others want to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project ...

Here is one final quotation from Admiral Zacharias from How the Far East Was Lostby historian Anthony Kubeck. In a 1950 Look magazine article called "How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender," Zacharias wrote:

The Potsdam declaration, in short, wrecked everything we had been working for to prevent further bloodshed and insure our postwar strategic position. Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia. ... I contend that the A-bombing of Japan is now known to have been a mistake ... It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds. ...

I could go on, but I think the cracks in the consensus are clear. Bomb-love is blind to the historical record.

SOURCE.  Another commentary on the matter here


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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)


9 August, 2015

The Donald and an excerpt from a Left/anarchist conspiracy theory

It's clear that democratic politics has to be centrist.  It's the only way for a politician to maximize his vote.  It's the uncommitted voter who decides who wins an election.  And by the very virtue of being uncommitted, such voters are mostly pretty centrist.  So no politician wants to rock many boats.

That process can go too far, however, so that the options at election time often seem to have a great sameness and stand for nothing distinctive.  Both options seem boring and uninspiring.  Mitt Romney was arguably one of those last time round.  Like many conservatives, I certainly could not get enthused by him.  And politics in both Britain and the USA at the moment are seen by many as very bland.  Similar trends in the two countries are not uncommon -- perhaps because of their common demographic origins. Britain has just got a Conservative Party government with full control of both the administration and the parliament so that is a good augury for America in 2016.

And for the bored voter right now there is Donald Trump in America and the unapologetic socialist Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. Both have seen huge popularity surges.  Jeremy Corbyn will almost certainly get nowhere but Trump does clearly have prospects.  Both men are seen as believing in something and saying what they mean.  Ronald Reagan is the last successful American politician with a forthright and "incorrect" personal style so that can sometimes be a big winner.  Trump is no Reagan but he could win for similar reasons.

A bland facade does not of course mean that the actions of a politician, once elected, will be bland.  Barack Obama is the past-master of presenting a bland, commonsense facade but his actions have undoubtedly been very impoverishing for Americans.  Despite continuing technological progress, it is a long time since general living standards rose in America. And that is largely because of the way Obama and his congressional allies have obstructed and destroyed job creation. A far smaller proportion of the population are in employment these days than has been the case for a long time. Finding a job has become so difficult that many people have simply given up looking for one.  Obama's statisticians count that as a policy success and remove such people from the unemployment statistics!  See:  Record 93,770,000 Americans Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Matches 38-Year Low

Even some informed political commentators fail to understand all that, however. Norman Pollack (writing below) is from the anarchist Left and what he sees is deliberate conspiracy.  He is right to see that there is what some call an Overton window of what is possible politically but simply abuses it rather than trying to understand it.  Conspiracy theories are the recourse of people who don't really understand what is going on.  They are a substitute for real enquiry. So Leftists have always been big propagators of them.  This guy sounds off his head.  He absolutely oozes hate.  He hates everybody, Democrats and Republicans alike

Republicans have had a bad rap, Democrats being equally if not more responsible for unleashing the structure, planning, and energies of militarized capitalism. Obama is the perfect embodiment of the American comprador [intermediary], a black president, an added convenience to liberals in sanctioning policies of intervention, conquest, and at home corporate consolidation (all of which he has exemplified as well if not better than any president in memory), his compradorean stature earned as the intermediary for the American war machine, foreign policy establishment, and as the mock-regulator of the business system, the seemingly benign, because of race, representative of America’s ruling class—yes, despite liberals’ denials, a ruling class to which some are members and others gladly serve.

Liberalism here is political psychopathology carried to Everest-heights, an utter sham, unworthy of even the possessive individualism Macpherson so well described emanating from a Lockean philosophic base. Our liberalism is warmed-over market imperialism zipped up militarily to stabilize a world order in which counterrevolution becomes the modus operandi to stave off decline—the more gargantuan the military forces the more safety we feel. Every push for democratization, incremental or large, is perceived as a mortal threat.

The problem is, the world can’t wait on our neuroses, actually, psychoses, after seventy years of stirred-up anticommunism which has taken its toll of shifting the political-ideological spectrum rightward. Greetings, 2016: a leadership choice so pitiful, reactionary, confrontational as to provide a macabre shadow over the land. Pity the Republicans, they do not enjoy a monopoly on war-preparation and feelings, a subservience to wealth, despisement of the environment, etc. Democrats will do in a pinch, if not already crowding them out.



Best of the First Republican Confab

By Mark Alexander

OK, the "debates" Thursday were endurance exercises, given the number of candidates on both the early and then prime-time stage. We heard from a lot of great Republicans, most of whom are conservatives and connect well with grassroots Patriots across the nation. Because, in both instances, they were answering different questions, there is not an easy "apples to apples" comparison but, as promised, I have compiled a handful of remarks from candidates on the prime-time stage that best represent their platforms.

I commend Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace for asking many good and tough questions — which you would not have heard from CNN moderators if only Democrats were on stage. I note there were some fratricidal bait questions, but most of the candidates avoided attacking each other, and focused on the serious issues threatening Liberty — the result of Barack Obama's failed domestic policies, and the abysmal failure of Obama/Clinton foreign policies.

I have only one observation about the debate between the second-tier candidates. In my assessment there was one candidate who absolutely shined above all others, and that would be Carly Fiorina, who has earned her way into the first tier. Among other things, she is the "corporate" alternative to Don Trump.

So in order of their poll rankings entering the first debate, here are just a few remarks that say something significant about each candidate, followed by my own brief assessment of who gained ground on the main stage. (You can read a full annotated transcript of the debate is posted at The Washington Post.)

Donald Trump: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. ... We don’t have time for tone. We have to go out and get the job done. ... We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly. And I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people to come into this country legally. ... [A single-payer health care system] works in Canada, it works incredibly well in Scotland. ... I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said, 'Be at my wedding,' and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice because I gave."

Note: I chose these remarks because Trump's popularity is based almost solely on his indifference to "PC" and "tone." However, the most telling thing about Trump was not in his answers, but in this question from Kelly: "Mr. Trump, in 1999, you said you were, quote, 'very pro-choice,' even supporting partial-birth abortion. You favored an assault weapons ban as well. In 2004, you said in most cases you identified as a Democrat. Even in this campaign, your critics say you often sound more like a Democrat than a Republican, calling several of your opponents on the stage things like clowns and puppets. When did you actually become a Republican?" In response, Trump said, "As far as being a Republican is concerned, I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see some of the negatives."

Jeb Bush: "I’m going to have to earn this. Maybe the barrier — the bar’s even higher for me. That’s fine. I’ve got a record in Florida. I’m proud of my dad, and I’m certainly proud of my brother... I am my own man. I governed as a conservative, and I governed effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way, and people rose up. ... The new normal of 2% [GDP] that the Left is saying you can’t do anything about is so dangerous for our country. There’s six million people living in poverty today, more than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part-time, most of whom want to work full-time. We’ve created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people, and the net result is we’re not growing fast, income is not growing. A 4% growth strategy means you fix a convoluted tax code. You get in and you change every aspect of regulations that are job killers. You get rid of ObamaCare and replace it with something that doesn’t suppress wages and kill jobs."

Scott Walker: "Let’s be clear, we should be talking about Hillary Clinton ... because everywhere in the world that Hillary Clinton touched is more messed up today than before she and the president [came to power]. ... It’s sad to think right now, but probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton’s email server than do the members of the United States Congress. ... This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and once and for all, we need a leader who’s going to stand up and do something about it."

Mike Huckabee: "It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who’s very high in the polls, that doesn’t have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead. Of course, I’m talking about Hillary Clinton. ... The problem is we have a Wall Street-to-Washington access of power that has controlled the political climate. The donor class feeds the political class who does the dance that the donor class wants. And the result is the federal government keeps getting bigger. Every person on this stage who has been a governor will tell that you the biggest fight they had was not the other party. Wasn’t even the legislature. It was the federal government, who continually put mandates on the states that we had to suck up and pay for. And the fact is there are a lot of things happening at the federal level that are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of the Constitution."

Ben Carson: "America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation. And that’s what will get us on the right track now, as well. ... If I was trying to destroy this country, what I would do is find a way to drive wedges between all the people, drive the debt to an unsustainable level, and then step off the stage as a world leader and let our enemies increase while we decreased our [military capability]."

Ted Cruz: "I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth. If you’re looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain’t your guy. ... We see lots of 'campaign conservatives.' But if we’re going to win in 2016, we need a consistent conservative, someone who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative. ... We need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling the utter the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.'"

Marco Rubio: "This election cannot be a résumé competition. It’s important to be qualified, but if this election is a résumé competition, then Hillary Clinton’s going to be the next president because she’s been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight. ... Here’s what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced. ... God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one. ... What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. Future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave the chance to live. ... I run for president because I believe that we can’t just save the American dream; we can expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before."

Rand Paul: "This is what’s wrong. [Mr. Trump] buys and sells politicians of all stripes... He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons. He’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians. ... The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence, and I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights. ... I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington."

Chris Christie: "I’m the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the ... Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted and investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th. ... This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. ... I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. ... If we don’t deal with [entitlement reform], it will bankrupt our country or lead to massive tax increases — neither one that we want in this country."

John Kasich: "The court has ruled [on same-sex marriage], and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them."



Trump: ‘I Would’ Shut Down the Gov’t to Defund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare

Donald Trump said he would support congressional action to defund Planned Parenthood even if it involved shutting down the federal government, and added that he supported doing the same to cut off funding for the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Because there were not enough votes to move the Planned Parenthood defunding bill forward in the Senate, some lawmakers have called for tying the defunding to the spending legislation needed to fund the government past Sept. 30, whether through an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

While such a legislative arrangement potentially could pass in the GOP-dominant House and Senate, the White House has stated it would veto legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. That scenario could lead to a government shutdown.



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 August, 2015

IQ as a symptom of general biological fitness again

People with poor thinking skills may be at higher risk of heart attack or stroke, a study has shown. Scientists made the discovery after monitoring the progress of almost 4,000 individuals with an average age of 75 for three years.

At the start of the study, participants had their high-level thinking skills evaluated by tests and were graded accordingly.

Those in the lowest test score group were 85% more likely to have a heart attack and 51% more likely to have a stroke than members of the highest group.

Lead researcher Dr Behnam Sabayan, from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said: 'These results show that heart and brain function are more closely related than appearances would suggest.  'While these results might not have immediate clinical translation, they emphasise that assessment of cognitive function should be part of the evaluation of future cardiovascular risk.'

Dr Sabayan added: 'Performance on tests of thinking and memory are a measure of brain health. Lower scores on thinking tests indicate worse brain functioning.

'Worse brain functioning in particular in executive function could reflect disease of the brain vascular supply, which in turn would predict, as it did, a higher likelihood of stroke.

'And, since blood vessel disease in the brain is closely related to blood vessel disease in the heart, that's why low test scores also predicted a greater risk of heart attacks.



Hero who defied Stalin's 'useful idiots' (who still exist on the British Left) to expose true horrors of Communism

Not long after the collapse of Communism — an event he had long predicted — historian Robert Conquest was preparing a new edition of his masterpiece The Great Terror, which charted the horror of life under Soviet dictator Stalin.

When his publishers asked him for a new title, Conquest’s friend, the novelist Kingsley Amis, had the perfect answer. ‘How about I Told You So, You F****** Fools?’ he suggested.

Those words would make a fine epitaph for a man whose intellectual honesty and moral courage placed him among the greatest writers of the last century. And while very few historians can genuinely claim to have changed the world, Robert Conquest, who has died at the age of 98, did.

In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place.  Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear.

It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War seemed. Across the Western world, many doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.

What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (father of Ed and David, a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the regime whenever it was criticised.

Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood.

It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.

At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, he had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment.

On Stalin’s orders, secret police had ripped millions of men and women from their homes, locked them in dank cells without light, food or water, tore out their fingernails, beat them black and blue, and finally dispatched them with a bullet in the back of the head.

At the peak of the Great Terror in the late Thirties, they were murdering 300,000 people a year — all for the crime of not being true Stalinist believers.

In one mass grave in Butovo, Moscow, Stalin’s secret police buried the bodies of 20,000 murdered political prisoners in less than 12 months.

Another in Bykivnia, Ukraine, holds the bodies of an estimated 200,000 people, victims not merely of Stalin’s paranoia, but of a crazed ideological cult that sacrificed men, women and children in the name of Marxism.

‘Who’s going to remember all this riff-raff in ten or 20 years time?’ Stalin once remarked, gazing at a list of people to be shot. ‘No one.’  But he was wrong. Robert Conquest did. And he knew what he was talking about as he had once been a man of the Left.

Born in Great Malvern to an American father and British mother in 1917, he had been a Communist at Oxford University in the Thirties, when many bright young men were seduced by Stalin’s false utopia.

But unlike some contemporaries, such as the so-called Cambridge Spies, Conquest saw Communism for what it was. As a British intelligence officer in Bulgaria during World War II, he was horrified by the cold-blooded ruthlessness with which the local Soviet-backed Communists seized power.

Working for the Foreign Office in the Fifties, Conquest poured out a stream of papers telling the truth about the horrors in Eastern Europe. When an American liberal academic accused him of ‘black propaganda’, Conquest simply asked him to identify a single distortion. There were none.

It was Conquest’s close attention to detail that made his expose of Communism so devastating. The Great Terror was based on hundreds of accounts by Soviet dissidents and work camp inmates. He showed that life under Stalin’s regime had been even worse than outsiders suspected.

After assuming supreme power in the late Twenties, the pockmarked Georgian dictator unleashed a reign of terror that almost defied belief.

From the state-sponsored famine in Ukraine in the early Thirties to the execution of huge numbers of ordinary people later, Conquest showed Stalin’s regime was built on the deaths of at least 20 million.

But even that does not include the tortured men, the raped women, the brutalised children, the broken minds, the hopes and happiness sacrificed to the demented cult of Marxist-Leninism.

In Ukraine, the enforced collectivisation of farms left millions starving. While Stalin’s torturers ate lavish meals, desperate peasants lived on grass, frogs, dogs and cats. Some parents, on the brink of death, threw their children onto passing trains in the hope that strangers might adopt and feed them. Others, almost incredibly, were driven to kill and eat their own children to survive.

Even decades later, the Soviet state sent dissidents to toil in Siberian work camps in sub-zero temperatures. Writers and artists who questioned the Communist system were proclaimed mad and thrown into lunatic asylums.

In the camps, thousands froze to death overnight. Women were regularly gang-raped; one inmate recalled that at her camp in the Kolyma region, the guards would line up, 12 to each woman.

‘When it was over, the dead women were dragged away by their feet; the survivors were doused with water from buckets and revived,’ she wrote. ‘ Then the lines formed again.’

Reading all this, Left-wing critics, not surprisingly, were outraged. Many simply refused to believe it. But Conquest stuck to his guns, and among the wider public, his book was a sensation.

Even today, The Great Terror is a chilling read and an unforgettable record of the bloody consequences of ideological utopianism. It is hard to read about the starving children in Ukraine or about the ordinary men and women frozen and tortured in the Siberian camps without a shudder of horror.

Some of Conquest’s critics on the Left insisted Stalin had been an aberration, and that his predecessor, Lenin, had really been much cuddlier. But Conquest showed this was nonsense.

Lenin, he argued, was the real father of the Stalinist genocide. It was he who had called for the extermination of the middle classes, who had first unleashed the Red Terror and who had first turned vast swathes of Europe and Asia into blood-soaked killing grounds.

Conquest composed a limerick that encapsulated his point: ‘There was a great Marxist called Lenin/ Who did two or three million men in./ That’s a lot to have done in,/ But where he did one in,/ That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.’

The Right treated Conquest as a hero, and Margaret Thatcher rewarded him with champagne for helping with her speeches.

To many British Leftists in the Sixties and Seventies, though, his name was mud.

But as his friend Kingsley Amis had so pithily observed, he was right and they were wrong.

In 1990, with the Communist regime collapsing in chaos, Conquest was asked to Moscow for a conference and Russian academics lined up to shake his hand.

The KGB even invited him to inspect their chilling headquarters, the Lubyanka, while the newly opened Soviet archives showed that far from exaggerating the Communist death toll, he had, if anything, underestimated it.

‘It was extraordinarily nice to have lived to see it all, to have been vindicated completely,’ Conquest said wryly.

Many of his critics, however, never really abandoned their discredited views. Indeed, the tradition of blaming the West for the world’s ills, and bending over backwards to appease dictators, extremists and terrorists, has never gone away.

More than any other writer of his generation, Robert Conquest drew the line between freedom and repression, good and evil. And although the man himself has been taken from us, his qualities of intellectual honesty and moral candour are more precious today than ever.



Levin: Obama ‘Seeks to Cut the Connection from One Generation to the Next’

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin, while discussing his new book, Plunder and Deceit, on his July 31 broadcast, said that President Obama “seeks to cut the connection from one generation to the next.”

“That’s why Obama will talk endlessly about the Confederate flag and not say one word about the harvesting of human parts,” said Mark Levin.

Here’s a transcript of what Levin said:

“This is the civil society that I’m defining. A harmony of virtuous interests, informed by tried and true traditions, customs, values, and institutions, cultivated within families and the larger community, preserves and improves the human condition, one individual at a time, one generation to the next. It’s true.

“So when you hear Barack Obama say, in essence, anything that’s older than 50 years, of course, except for Marxism -- except, apparently, for the Crusades -- anything that’s older than 50 years isn’t to be paid attention to, he means it.

“He seeks to cut the connection from one generation to the next, from one age to the next! Everything that we’ve learned, everything that we’ve experienced, everything that we’ve created is in turmoil, is in doubt, is in question, to empower him and his surrogates, so these despotic ideologues can advance their agenda -- having wiped America clean of its heritage. 

“That’s why Obama will talk endlessly about the Confederate flag and not say one word about the harvesting of human parts. It’s not in his political interests to say anything about the harvesting about human parts.”



Another ethically deficient Leftist: The President of the University of Oklahoma

Grabbing other people's property comes naturally to Leftists

Democrats may face another Confederate flag-like problem in the state of Oklahoma as former governor David Boren (D) continues to fight to keep stolen Nazi artwork from the family that is acknowledged to have had it stolen by Hitler’s thugs.
The Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma doesn’t deny that they possess and exhibit a donated painting that was stolen from the Jewish claimants. Instead, Boren’s representatives play a legal game of arguing that the victims did not claim the art in time, and besides it was given in good faith to the University’s museum anyway.

Will he, as President of the University, continue paying lawyers in a fight to keep the piece which the school received for free?

Will he, as President of the University, set a good example for the student body by doing the right thing, or will he cling to loopholes and deny a Holocaust survivor her property?

It’s time for Democrats to walk the walk, and for David Boren that means returning his stolen Nazi art back to its rightful owner.



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)


6 August, 2015

Arrogant, Incompetent, Criminal Government

In last week's column defending Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) Establishment Republican takedown, I further explained Americans were also disgusted with a status quo in Washington, DC, that has given us de facto one party government. It is that status quo, along with an equal amount of public contempt directed at a corrupt media — so elitist and out-of-touch they don’t realize every time they bash Trump they add another fan to his side — that promises to make the 2016 presidential campaign anything but ordinary.

It’s time to throw another log on that populist fire. Because if there’s something about government that enrages people more than the insufferable arrogance of that ruling class, it would be the gargantuan level of incompetence accompanying that arrogance that infests virtually every government department at every level. And if there is one primary culprit fueling that arrogant incompetence, unaccountability goes right to the top of the list.

In short, we have a unionized, federal workforce chock full of no-account hacks.

The poster child for such unaccountability is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A report provided to the Huffington Post by Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, and a past whistleblower who had previously testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, reveals that such unaccountability has produced deadly results. As of April 2015, there were 847,822 veterans listed as waiting to be enrolled in VA health care. While they were waiting, 238,657 of those veterans died before being enrolled.

The VA’s fallback excuses? The number may represent people who had died years ago (which the VA has no way of knowing because it has no mechanism to purge the list of dead applicants), some vets may have never completed the application but remain listed anyway, and because the data are “decades old,” vets may have found other insurance, insisted VA spokeswoman Walinda West.

Or not. Davis disputed West on every point.

Remember when Congress was “outraged” by this scandal? Remember when we were promised they would do something about it, as in cleaning house, when this kind of nonsense was first bought to the public’s attention? Anyone still remember the devastating report produced by former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) detailing “waiting list cover-ups and uneven care reflective of a much larger culture within the VA, where administrators manipulate both data and employees to give an appearance that all is well?” A report that was released more than a year ago?

So, how’s that “house cleaning” going? In February, current VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who replaced Eric Shinseki following his “resignation,” told NBC he had fired 900 people since he took the job, including 60 “who have manipulated wait times.” Unfortunately for McDonald, in late April New York Times reporter Dave Phillips revealed that a VA internal document shows the number of terminated employees is a tad lower — as in three.

It gets worse. “The documents given this month to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, which provided them to The New York Times, show that the department punished a total of eight of its 280,000 employees for involvement in the scandal,” Phillips wrote. “One was fired, one retired in lieu of termination, one’s termination is pending, and five were reprimanded or suspended for up to two months.” And the one person who was unambiguously axed was Sharon Helman, director of VA facility in Phoenix, the location that first brought this scandal to the nation’s attention. Removed for manipulating the wait times? Nope. Terminated for receiving “inappropriate gifts,” according to the department.

Seriously now, do you feel like you’re one of the “bosses” of government employees?

I don’t know about you, but every boss I worked for made more money than his employees. What about “our” employees? A 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study revealed federal employees earned an average of 16 percent more in total compensation, meaning pay and benefits, than workers in private sector companies. And a Heritage Foundation study reveals they work three hours less per week and approximately one month less per year than private sector workers.

But they work really hard, right? At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a top level employee was discovered by investigators to have watched porn two to six hours a day while at work — since 2010. And despite the reality those investigators found 7,000 porno files on his computer — and even caught him in the act of watching it — he was still on the payroll as of March 2015. That’s because government workers have a civil service protection system known as the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) that ostensibly prevents them from getting fired for political reasons, and gives employees the right to appeal any termination.

That appeal process can take as long as two years.

Remember the General Services Administration (GSA) scandal in 2012, involving $822,000 of taxpayer funds spent on a lavish blowout in Vegas that included high-end meals and plenty of entertainment? The two managers fired for that abuse got their jobs back when the MSPB reversed the decision. The appeals board was nice enough to admit that extravagance has “no place in government,” but insisted the GSA failed to prove the two managers “knew or had reason to know of these ill-advised planning and purchasing decisions.” Not only were they ordered to be reinstated, they were given back pay plus interest. The organizer of the event? Allowed to retire, presumably with his pension and benefits intact.

Just before they left for summer recess, the House passed the VA Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1994), a bill that would give the VA the ability to fire or demote an employee based on misconduct or performance, and greatly compress the appeals process timeline. Obama promised to veto it, if it reached his desk. The Senior Executives Association (SEA), a “tax exempt, non-profit corporation representing the interests of career federal executives and committed to effective, efficient and productive leadership in government” (read protectionism), was equally aghast. “HR 1994 represents a series of unnecessary legislative ‘fixes’ to a system that already provides the VA and every other federal agency the power to fully address performance and conduct problems in its workforce,” it said in a statement. “The system that exists today is fair and reasonable, but may not be used to its greatest potential. Congress should not pass another mean spirited piece of legislation designed to promote more anti-public worker sentiment and further demoralize the federal workforce.”

No one is more demoralized about the state of our federal workforce than the American public.

Beth Moten, the legislative and political director of the American Federation of Government Employees, added insult to injury. “Under H.R. 1994, every whistleblower, along with every other VA employee, would become at-will employees,” Moten wrote. “Without due process rights no VA employee who wishes to keep his or her job will ever feel safe blowing the whistle in the workplace or at the Congressional witness table.”

The bet is here is the overwhelming majority of Americans would like nothing better than a government chock full of “at will” employees — as in people who could be held directly responsible for their behavior.

Instead we have a system chock full of protectionism that breeds incompetence. It also breeds unabashed lying. Remember when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computer hacks were first revealed? We were initially told that 4.2 million Americans had their Social Security numbers and other sensitive information stolen. That’s because Obama administration officials avoided disclosing the true severity of the breach by defining it as two separate breaches — and revealing only the smaller one. The two breaches combined? We now know that 25 million Americans data were hacked.

Incompetence and lying also breeds potentially criminal arrogance. Remember when the IRS told us Lois Lerner’s emails were irretrievably destroyed? We now know that even the backup tapes were destroyed by the “Media Management Midnight Unit” located in Martinsburg, W. VA. And they were destroyed after an agency-wide preservation order and a congressional subpoena were issued. We also know Lerner’s hard drive was physically damaged. Moreover, both the IRS commissioner and Department of Justice of attorneys have been threatened with contempt of court charges by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who characterized the excuses for their refusal to turnover ordered documentation as "indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.“

And then there’s the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an agency so intent on facilitating Obama’s illegal amnesty agenda, its name is rapidly becoming an oxymoron. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen was incensed that DHS officials continued to implement that agenda after he ordered a halt to it.

I could go on (and on and on) but you get the picture. From the lowest workers on the unionized civil service food chain, to the highest echelons of political appointees, a deep-rooted culture of incompetence and corruption has made it virtually impossible for government to function fairly and efficiently. And because most government employees are shielded by layers of protection, they couldn’t care less. Never before in the history of this nation has there been a greater divide between a self-serving federal leviathan and millions of Americans who are closer to feeling like slaves than the "bosses”.

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” Ronald Reagan reminded us during his inaugural address in 1981. Nothing’s changed since then, with one exception: It’s gotten far worse



Creating a Case for Conservatism

Being conservative in a politically correct culture has never been easy. Whether you’re a politician trying to explain a controversial sound-bite, or a voter attempting to defend your stance on a hot-button issue to co-workers, you either grow a thick skin — or learn to keep quiet.

Sadly, you get used to having your motives impugned by people who assume that no one could possibly believe what you believe. You must have some ulterior motive, right? Say, for example, we need less regulation, and you’ll be accused of shilling for some corporation. Call for more defense spending, and you’re a warmonger.

It’s an old trick, clearly designed to save the accuser from having to marshal any actual evidence for his position. But it usually works. Everyone retreats to their corners, leaving us with poorly thought-out policies that wind up helping no one.

Small wonder, then, that the phrase “compassionate conservative” entered the political lexicon at one point. The defensive character of that label is understandable, but think about it: It only resonates if you assume that conservatives lack compassion in the first place.

Yes, some of them do (you find flawed human beings on both sides of the aisle), but only the most superficial analysis could conclude that conservatism attracts only those who don’t care about their fellow citizens. In fact — irony alert — conservative solutions often spring from a genuine desire to help people.

Take welfare reform. If you criticize a huge government program that hands out checks with virtually no strings attached, opponents say you must hate the poor. On the contrary: If you care about your fellow man, you know that turning him into a passive welfare recipient robs him of his dignity and often dooms his children to a soul-deadening cycle of poverty. Making sure that welfare is a true hand-up and not a hand-out is, in fact, the true compassionate stance.

The problem is that many conservatives fail to frame the issues this way. As American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks points out in his new book, “The Conservative Heart,” we need a new approach.

“The only way to set things right is for conservatives to show we care and offer a new vision for the country,” he writes. “This new vision must be guided by the optimism of opportunity. It must declare peace on a prudent, reliable safety net for those who truly need it. It must harness the tools of private entrepreneurship, acknowledge the profound value of hard work, and echo the moral clarity of the Good Samaritan.”

Mr. Brooks introduces us to people who illustrate all too well what happens when government policies run amok. Take Jestina Clayton. When she moved to Utah from Sierra Leone, she decided to pursue her piece of the American Dream by starting an African hair-braiding business for children adopted from her native land.

Jestina had been braiding hair since she was five, and the business was soon providing a steady paycheck. Then someone told her that it was illegal to do such work without a cosmetology license which would take 2,000 hours of classes and cost $16,000. And all for something she already knew how to do.

It took a lot of work and a successful lawsuit for Jestina to get her happy ending. (A federal judge ruled that such a requirement, which far exceeded the ones for many other professions, was unreasonable.) But as Mr. Brooks notes, she’s one of the lucky ones.

“Millions of Americans without her drive, grit — and the help of a law firm — have little hope to rise in America,” he writes. “Currently, all they are offered are promises that the government will stick it more to the rich through higher taxes and greater redistribution. But this will never help a poor American climb out of poverty, find a better job, and get a good education — let alone start a business.”

As conservatives, we know that our policies help provide opportunity for all. But we can never assume others know that. It’s time to take “heart” — and make sure they do.



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)


5 August, 2015

Taking vitamin D supplements is useless

It is going to upset a lot of people but that is the latest finding -- below

How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Deborah Grady, MD, MPH


There is ongoing controversy regarding the definition of vitamin D insufficiency and the optimal treatment goal: should treatment aim to maintain a serum vitamin D level above 20 ng/mL or above 30 ng/mL? We found the randomized clinical trial by Hansen et al1 informative because it enrolled women with low vitamin D levels and tested both a lower-dose treatment to maintain vitamin D levels greater than 20 ng/mL and a higher-dose treatment to maintain levels greater than 30 ng/mL. After 1 year of treatment, randomization to a higher dose of cholecalciferol resulted in slightly better fractional excretion of calcium compared with low-dose cholecalciferol or placebo, but these differences are not clinically meaningful. Of more clinical importance, neither dose of cholecalciferol improved bone density, strength, muscle mass, functional status, or fall rate. It is possible that treatment beyond 1 year would result in better outcomes, but these data provide no support for use of higher-dose cholecalciferol replacement therapy or indeed any dose of cholecalciferol compared with placebo.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 03, 2015


Why Obama and Hillary Must Stop Donald Trump at All Costs

(Including even more vote-rigging than usual?)

By Wayne Allyn Root

Someone is getting very nervous. Obama. Valerie Jarrett. Eric Holder. Hillary Clinton. Jon Corzine…to name just a few. And I know why.

I wrote a book entitled, “The Murder of the Middle Class” about the unholy conspiracy between big government, big business and big media. They all benefit by the billions from this partnership and it’s in all of their interests to protect one another. It’s one for all, and all for one.

It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich. Everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies.

But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. I’ve never seen them this outraged…this vicious…this motivated…this coordinated. NEVER in all my years in politics, have I seen anything like the way the mad dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

When white extremist David Dukes ran for Governor of Louisiana even he wasn’t treated with this kind of outrage, vitriol and disrespect. When a known fraud, scam artist and tax cheat like Al Sharpton ran for President, I never saw anything remotely close to this. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened like never before.

Why? Because David Duke was never going to win. Al Sharpton was never going to win. Ron Paul was never going to win. Ross Perot was never going to win as a third party candidate. None of those candidates had the billion dollars it takes to win the presidency. But Donald Trump can self fund that amount tomorrow…and still have another billion left over to pour into the last two week stretch run before election day.

No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business and political elite understand that Donald Trump is no joke and could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

It’s no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy Donald. No this is a coordinated conspiracy led by President Barack Obama himself. Obama himself is making the phone calls and giving the orders- the ultimate intimidator who plays by the rules of Chicago thug politics.

Why is this so important to Obama? Because most of the other politicians are part of the “old boys club.” They talk big, but in the end they won’t change a thing. Why? Because they are all beholden to big money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, multi-national corporations like Big Pharma or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock stock and barrel by foreigners- like George Soros owns Obama, or foreign governments own Hillary with their Clinton Foundation donations.

These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But one man- and only one man- isn’t beholden to anyone. One man doesn’t need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Autoworkers, or the Teachers Union, or the SEIU, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slavemasters.

Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why Boehner and McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama? Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet they’ve never tried to defund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal Executive Action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

Well first, I’d guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs…or secretly gay…or stealing taxpayer money…the NSA knows everything.

Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money, from his own bank account. Trust me- the NSA, SEC, IRS and all the other 3-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They know everything.

Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called “racists.” So they are scared to ever criticize Obama, or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment.

Fourth, why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a “good boy” you’ve got a $5 million dollar per year lobbying job waiting.

The big money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose…they win.  But Donald Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice cozy relationship between big government, big media and big business. All the rules are out the window if Donald wins the presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides. But not Donald.

Remember Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama’s birth certificate. He questioned Obama’s college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university.

Now he’s doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do- question our relationship with Mexico …question why the border is wide open…questioning why no wall has been built across the border…questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests…questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes yet are not deported…questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

Donald Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick? Good question.

I’m certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michele Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare web sites. By the way that tab is now up to $5 billion.

Trump will ask if Obamacare’s architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. He will ask if Obama himself committed fraud when he said, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”

Trump will investigate Obama’s widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama’s college records.

Trump will prosecute Hillary Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover-up Benghazi before the election.

How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election.

Obama, the multi-national corporations and the media need to stop this. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Donald could wake a sleeping giant.

Trump’s election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Donald would dare to prosecute. Donald Trump will not hesitate. Once Donald gets in and gets a look at “the cooked books” and Obama’s records, the game is over. The gig is up. The goose is cooked.

Eric Holder could wind up in prison. Valerie Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Jon Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.

Hillary Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails …or accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State …or for “misplacing” $6 billion as head of State Department …or for lying about Benghazi.

The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison. Obamacare will be defunded and dismantled. The Obama Crime Family will be prosecuted for crimes against the American people. And Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters.

Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved…just for fun. That will all happen on Trump’s first day in the White House.

Who knows what Donald will do on day #2?

That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump. That’s why we must all support Donald. This may be our only shot at saving America, uncovering the crimes committed against our nation and prosecuting all of those involved.



The Left Should Listen to Camille Paglia

Paglia is a self-described “dissident feminist,” after all — a creature of the Left who has found a niche criticizing her own side.

“Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!” Paglia told Salon in a three-part interview. “Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers. It’s so simplistic!”

Here are a few issues where Paglia punches a hole in the Left’s ideology.

When it comes to feminism, Paglia predicts that Hillary Clinton faces an old problem: Monica Lewinsky. The former first lady was complicit in her husband’s actions, going so far as to attack the people criticizing her playboy husband. That will not bode well with 20-something feminists.

“Monica got nothing out of it. Bill Clinton used her. Hillary was away or inattentive, and he used Monica in the White House — and in the suite of the Oval Office, of all places. … Hillary has a lot to answer for, because she took an antagonistic and demeaning position toward her husband’s accusers. So it’s hard for me to understand how the generation of Lena Dunham would or could tolerate the actual facts of Hillary’s history.”

Furthermore, she said: “The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S. … did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was.”

Paglia is pro-abortion. She supports Planned Parenthood, but she was disgusted by the Leftmedia’s groupthink silence on the story.  “It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media. That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional. The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it.

Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights. But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials.”

As for the Left’s aversion to religion, simply worshiping skepticism and treating most religions as cartoons of what they really are, the Left’s monoculture doesn’t hold a candle to the beliefs that have developed over thousands of years of human experience.

“I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society.”

What would become of the Democrat Party if its members took Paglia’s thoughts to heart? The current Democrat Party, with its arguments against the exercise of religion when it comes to same-sex marriage, or its arguments against the First Amendment when the issue of super PACs arises, is no friend of Liberty of any kind.



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)


4 August, 2015

Salt: killer or scapegoat?

"New Scientist" is fighting a rearguard action to reduce salt in our diet, despite a lot of evidence that salt does no harm.  I reproduce the key passages below.  I will add my comments following that

In 2009, cardiologist Francesco Cappuccio of the University of Warwick, UK, pooled all the data and found a strong relationship between a salty diet and cardiovascular disease (BMJ, vol 339, p b4567).

 Another way is to intervene directly in people's diets - take two groups of people, get one of them to eat less salt for a while and see what the outcome is. These trials take more work than observational studies but several have been done. The biggest managed to get thousands of people to cut down on salt by about 2 grams a day for up to four years and saw a 25 per cent fall in cardiovascular disease (BMJ, vol 334, p 885).

 Or you can look at whole countries, taking the before-and-after approach. Fifty years ago northern Japan had one of the world's biggest appetites for salt - an average of 18 grams a day per person - and shockingly high numbers of strokes. The government implemented a salt reduction programme and by the late 1960s average salt consumption had fallen by 4 grams a day and stroke deaths were down by 80 per cent.  Finland, another salt-guzzling nation, achieved similar gains in the 1970s.

However, the evidence is not always so clear. In July the Salt Institute was presented with its biggest PR coup for years when the Cochrane Collaboration, an internationally renowned body dedicated to assessing medical evidence, published a long-awaited study on salt and cardiovascular disease. As is usual for Cochrane, the study was a "meta-analysis", pooling the results of all the best-designed randomised controlled trials that have been done, the highest standard of proof in medicine.

Seven trials met the quality criteria, with over 6000 subjects in total. The analysis did show that people who cut back on salt have slightly lower blood pressure and are less likely to die from heart attacks and strokes. But, crucially, the effect on deaths wasn't big enough to be statistically significant. The Cochrane team could not rule out the possibility that the reductions had happened by chance.

The research was published simultaneously by Cochrane and the American Journal of Hypertension (vol 24, p 843), whose editor-in-chief Michael Alderman is a long-time critic of salt reduction. In an accompanying editorial (vol 24, p 854), Alderman, who was once a paid consultant for the Salt Institute, repeated his oft-stated claims that there is not enough evidence for salt reduction. Sensing a story, many newspapers ran with his line.

 Is Alderman correct? Not surprisingly, MacGregor thinks not. For one thing, he claims the Cochrane study is flawed. When he reanalysed the same data in a slightly different way, he found a reduction that was statistically significant (The Lancet, vol 378, p 380). Alderman criticises this as "salami epidemiology", but even in the original analysis the link between salt and death rates only just slipped below statistical significance. Far from casting doubt on salt reduction, some argued that the findings supported it.

The Cochrane report wasn't the end of it. Last month Alderman's journal published a further meta-analysis purporting to show that salt reduction could actually be harmful (doi:10.1038/ajh.2011.210). It concluded that while cutting salt lowered blood pressure, blood levels of certain hormones and lipids were increased, which could theoretically raise cardiovascular risk.

But many of the studies included in the analysis lasted just a few days and involved big salt reductions. MacGregor accepts that sudden and steep salt reduction can lead to counterproductive hormonal changes, but says that modest reductions, say from 8 to 6 grams, do not. "There's no evidence whatsoever that a modest reduction does any harm," he says.

 Even the chief author of the Cochrane study, statistician Rod Taylor at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, agrees with MacGregor that the findings lend further support to salt reduction. "Our results do not mean that asking people to reduce their intake of salt is not a good thing," he says. "We have much stronger evidence for salt than we do for fat, for the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables or losing weight," argues MacGregor.


Most of the studies  that found harm from salt were epidemiological and what such studies show is always contestable.   Let me illustrate:  The authors above use Japan to argue for salt reduction.  I can use Japan in exactly the opposite way.  Even after the various anti-salt campaigns, the Japanese are still huge salt consumers.  If ever you have tasted Japan's favourite sauce -- soy sauce -- you will know why.  It's almost solid salt.  Yet Japan is renowned for it multitude of centenarians and long life generally.  So, on that evidence, heavy salt consumption is clearly not harmful and may be beneficial. 

So in that context the Cochrane study is all-important.   It filtered out the most contestable findings and zeroed in on the findings that are least contestable.   And that study showed no statistically sigificant harm from salt ingestion.

"New Scientist" acknowledges that but argues that a different analysis of the Cochrane data DOES produce statistical significance.  But to argue that way fails to understand what statistical significance does.  It compares a given result with what would happen by chance alone.  And if a result is on the borderline of conventional significance -- whether a bit above or a bit below -- hardly matters for policy decisions.  In any case, the effect is tiny. 

If there were any kind of robust effect going on, statistical significance would hardly be worth calculating.   So the key thing that Cochrane showed was not the statistical  significance or otherwise of the result but rather that any effect from salt consumption was TINY -- and hence not worth bothering with.

And since anecdotes tend to be more persuasive than statistics, let me report that I have always put PLENTY of salt on my food  -- and yet my blood pressure is within the accepted safe range.  My blood pressure was up a bit once but I started doing a walk around the block most evenings and that fixed my blood pressure.  If you are worried about your blood pressure do some light exercise.  Exercise matters far more to your blood pressure than any trivial effect of salt.  UPDATE:  There's an article here which confirms the significant benefit of  light exercise.

A final comment:  I liked the last sentence in the excerpts above:

"We have much stronger evidence for salt than we do for fat, for the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables or losing weight," argues MacGregor."

That rightly shows that all the other food fads are even more poorly founded.  LOL.

Further reading:  A big European study showed that LOW salt in your blood is most likely to lead to heart attacks.  See JAMA. 2011;305(17):1777-1785.  More here and here and here for similar findings.  Salt is harmless but a deficiency of it is not.  We need it.  See also here


FOIA reveals unions assisted Labor Dept. with absurd regulations

By Richard McCarty

For decades, companions who sit with the elderly and infirm have been exempt from overtime and the minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2013, Obama’s Department of Labor issued new regulations determining which companions would continue to be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime. These new regulations exceeded what Congress had intended when it passed the legislation, and the regulations were so complex that young and healthy people would have struggled to determine who was exempt, much less the elderly and infirm.

Just how bad were the new regulations? Companions would have been limited in how many times they could help an elderly person change their clothes. Companions would have been unable to use a vacuum cleaner if an infirm person were to create a safety hazard by spilling food on the floor. Companions would have been unable to prepare food for anyone other than the elderly person they were caring for, and any food that they did prepare would have had to have been consumed in their presence. If these rules weren’t exactly followed, then the new regulations would have required the companion to be paid more.

Because Medicare and Medicaid pay for the vast majority of the care provided by companions, it could be expected that the costs for those programs — which are already increasing rapidly — would rise even more quickly. Furthermore, it’s quite likely that some elderly or infirm people would be unable to pay their portion of costs for companion care. And it’s quite likely that some sick people would have had to suffer alone or with a reduction in needed care. Perhaps they would have had to remain in soiled clothes for hours or have missed a meal thanks to these regulations.

And who helped the Labor Department with planning for these absurd rules? Unions — the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Association of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Americans for Limited Government, the U.S. Department of Labor turned over a stack of documents showing how these unions are colluding with the Department on this subject.

On January 9, 2014, a senior SEIU staffer emailed a 60-page memo on large home care programs likely to be affected by the new companionship regulation to a list of senior Department of Labor officials and other union officials from SEIU and AFSCME. Also included was a 10-page chart summarizing the memo.

Carol Golubock (SEIU’s Policy Director) addressed this email to Laura McClintock (Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor), Michael Artz (AFSCME’s Associate General Counsel), Sally Tyler (AFSCME’s Senior Health Policy Analyst), Mary Beth Maxwell (then-Deputy Chief of Staff at the Labor Department), Patricia Smith (Solicitor for the Department of Labor), Malvina Ford (sic) (Senior Policy Advisor for the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division), Jennifer Brand (Associate Solicitor for Fair Labor Standards), Ryan Griffin (an attorney with James & Hoffman, who was working on an FLSA case against McDonalds around this time period), Laura Fortman (Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division), and Elizabeth Royal (SEIU’s Senior Policy Coordinator).

It appears that this information had been requested by one or more of the recipients: SEIU’s Golubock wrote, “I didn’t imagine it would take us this long to get you this mapping of large home care programs likely to be impacted by the new companionship rule, but gathering and checking the information took much longer than we had anticipated… Thank you all for your patience and hope this proves to be helpful.”

Shortly before guidance on the new companionship regulation was issued, Golubock set up a meeting to discuss the issue with an employee in the Office of the Secretary of Labor. On March 5, 2014, Golubock emailed the following to Mary Beth Maxwell (who took over as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy that month): “Are we on for Friday? To discuss companionship rule?” Maxwell responded, “Yes!” less than a half-hour later.

So complex were the regulations that the Obama Administration announced that it wouldn’t bother to enforce them for the first six months after they were to take effect. Fortunately, the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia blocked the regulations. However, the case is now on appeal, and final resolution of the issue will not happen for some time.



Donald Trump and the Fed-Up Crowd

Watching Trump’s rise, America’s middle class “fed-up crowd” is enjoying the comeuppance of an elite that never pays for the ramifications of its own ideology
by Victor Davis Hanson

Donald Trump — a former liberal and benefactor of Democrats — is still surging. But his loud New York lingo, popular put-downs of obnoxious reporters and trashing of the D.C. establishment are symptoms, not the catalyst, of the growing popular outrage of lots of angry Americans who are fed up.

The fed-up crowd likes the payback of watching blood sport in an arena where niceties just don’t apply anymore. At least for a while longer, they enjoy the smug getting their comeuppance, as an uncouth, bullheaded Trump charges about, snorting and spearing liberal pieties and more sober and judicious Republicans at random.

Perhaps they don’t see the abjectly crude Trump as any more crude that Barack Obama calmly in academic tones assuring Americans that they all could keep their doctors and health plans when he knew that was simply untrue or announcing to the nation that his own grandmother was a “typical white person” or advising supporters to “get in their face.”  They see Trump as no more vindictive that Harry Reid lying about Mitt Romney’s tax returns (and then bragging that such a lie helped defeat him), or a Sen. Barbara Boxer publicly attac­­king the single, non-parental status of then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And they certainly don’t see Trump as uncouth as an Al Sharpton — former presidential candidate, chief advisor on matters of race to Barack Obama, and current TV news show host. Trump’s crass bombast is enjoyed by the fed-up crowd as the proper antidote to the even greater bombast of the Left, who created Trump’s latest manifestations.

The conservative base is tired of illegal immigration. Their furor peaked with the horrific killing of Kate Steinle by a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported illegal alien.  They are baffled that one apparently exempt and privileged ethnic group can arbitrarily decide to ignore federal law. They are irate that they are lectured about their supposed racism from an open-borders movement predicated on La Raza-like ethnic chauvinism. They do not want to hear about nativism from a lobby that so often at rallies waves the flag of the country that none of the protestors seems to wish to return to, a country whose authoritarianism is romanticized as much as their host country is faulted for its magnanimity. Call this what you will, but emotion over neglecting federal law is much less worrisome than cool calculation over violating it.


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


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 August, 2015

What social and medical science has to say about Obama's push to "desegregate" white suburbs

In their constant determination to go against the grain of what they see in the society around them, Leftists have long argued that contact  between people of different races is a good thing.  They started that ball rolling not long after WWII, when it emerged that black/white contact in the American military during WWII had fostered some inter-racial friendships, even though the forces were at that time largely segregated racially.  That the military is not much like society at large and that war is not peace were  "overlooked".

So the "contact hypothesis" was born and thrived for many years in social science writing.  As early as 1974, however, I was arguing in the academic literature that the converse is true: The more you see of other races, the less you like them.  Nothing I wrote in the research literature on the subject had any influence, however.  It took Robert Putnam to blow the nonsense out of the water. 

Putnam was a well-credentialled Leftist whose early illustrations of declining "social capital" in the USA had attracted a lot of interest.  In that work he showed how social interactions outside  the home had shrivelled up since the '60s.  People were "hunkering down" and "bowling alone".  People were increasing less trustful of their environment and reluctant to set foot outside their own front door. 

He proposed several reasons for this effect but omitted the obvious one:  The "liberation" of blacks accomplished by the Civil Rights Act and the destruction of racial segregation that took place in the '60s.  Whatever else it did, Jim Crow kept blacks significantly subdued and, in particular, not dangerous to whites.  A black man getting "uppity" could in some cases end up hanging from a tree in those days.  The incidence of violence among groups of sub-Saharan Africans is uniformly high at all times and in all nations so there was still a high level of crime among blacks in the Jim Crow era but it was almost entirely black-on-black, as, indeed, it still largely is.

I am not of course defending Jim Crow or advocating a return to it.  I am simply being a good social scientist and noting that, after it abolition, life became more dangerous for whites.  And it was because the world outside was more dangerous that white Americans, in particular, became more hesitant about setting foot outside their front door, particularly at night.  They watched TV instead.

Eventually, however, Putnam felt he had to address the racial facts that kept bobbing up in his data.  After years of hesitation,  he dropped his bombshell: The more ethnic diversity there was in a community, the less was the social interaction and co-operation.  It was when you had black neighbors that you stayed at home as much as you could.  So much for the contact hypothesis!

So "diversity" brings on social isolation.  But social isolation is a very bad thing.  Ever since the work of sociologist Durkheim in the late 19th century, researchers have known that alienation from those around you has serious psychiatric consequences.  It is, for instance, a major cause of suicide.

And if social isolation is troublesome to us in advanced societies, it is even more troublesome in less sophisticated societies.  Australian Aborigines are, for instance, compulsively social.  They have a strong need for the physical company of others of their kind. Put one in isolation in jail and he will do his level best to kill himself.  An erring Aboriginal can be "sung" to death by his tribe.  The singing consists of the men of the tribe sitting down together and chanting disapproval of the person for hours on end.  The target of such chanting will simply die. 

So from the literature of both anthropology and sociology, we know that social isolation is bad for your health  -- bad to the point of being fatal.  I was pleased therefore to see the article from the medical literature below which confirms how fatal social isolation can be.  It's no wonder so many Americans avoid "diversity" by "white flight" and it's very threatening that Obama is trying to "diversify" existing white suburbs. 

So an obscure article in a medical journal has great relevance to a current "hot" political issue.  Under the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH), announced by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently, Obama wants to plop down "affordable" housing in the middle of better-off communities. In conjunction with Putnam's findings, the article below would suggest that more white  suicides will result if he succeeds. Leftism can be fatal in all sorts of ways -- large and small.

Association Between Social Integration and Suicide Among Women in the United States

By Alexander C. Tsai, MD et al.


Importance:  Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of mortality among middle-aged women. Most work in the field emphasizes the psychiatric, psychological, or biological determinants of suicide.

Objective:  To estimate the association between social integration and suicide.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing nationwide prospective cohort study of nurses in the United States. Beginning in 1992, a population-based sample of 72?607 nurses 46 to 71 years of age were surveyed about their social relationships. The vital status of study participants was ascertained through June 1, 2010.

Exposures:  Social integration was measured with a 7-item index that included marital status, social network size, frequency of contact with social ties, and participation in religious or other social groups.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome of interest was suicide, defined as deaths classified using the codes E950 to E959 from the International Classification of Diseases, Eighth Revision.

Results:  During more than 1.2 million person-years of follow-up (1992-2010), there were 43 suicide events. The incidence of suicide decreased with increasing social integration. In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression model, the relative hazard of suicide was lowest among participants in the highest category of social integration (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.23 [95% CI, 0.09-0.58]) and second-highest category of social integration (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.26 [95% CI, 0.09-0.74]). Increasing or consistently high levels of social integration were associated with a lower risk of suicide. These findings were robust to sensitivity analyses that accounted for poor mental health and serious physical illness.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Women who were socially well integrated had a more than 3-fold lower risk for suicide over 18 years of follow-up.



The IRS Is Still Targeting Conservatives!

The political targeting of Americans violates our most basic rights.


In a stunning abuse of power, the IRS has been targeting the donors to conservative political organizations for audits, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. The documents released via a Freedom of Information Act request as part of an investigation by Judicial Watch show that the agency specifically singled out individuals who gave to groups with words and phrases like "tea party" in their name for audits.

This is a continuation of the scandal that began in 2013, in which the agency targeted the groups themselves. At that time, Lois Lerner took most of the heat for the targeting, with officials claiming it was an isolated incident that didn't go any higher up. Clearly, that was not the case.

The fact that this sort of thing goes on in our government is an outrageous assault on our most basic liberties. America was founded on the idea that we should be free to express our political opinions without the government punishing us for them. This was an important distinction to draw from previous autocracies, where dissent from the ruling class could land you an indefinite stay in cold, dark cell. It has not yet gotten that bad in America, but the idea of using government power to to intimidate, bully, and harass those of us who think that the government has grown too large and oppressive, apart from proving our point, should offend any American who values the freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution.

This scandal has been brewing for two years now, and still nothing meaningful has been done. Lois Lerner no longer works at the IRS, true, but a low level official falling on her sword to protect her superiors is no longer an acceptable solution. We have to send a message that this sort of corruption will no longer be tolerated in the land of the free.

The IRS has spent much of the last two years attacking conservative non-profit groups. Apart from the continuing targeting scandal, there was also a proposed regulation that would have effectively destroyed the ability of non-profits to conduct political organizing. The IRS is supposed to do one thing - collect revenue, not serve as an attack dog for the Democrats against any and all political opposition.

The IRS continues to justify its status as the most hated of all government agencies.



Mayor de Blasio Calls off Uber Cap Bill

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” -Milton Friedman

New York City, NYC- Capitalists and customers throughout the country are celebrating a major free market victory as news that progressive NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he will not continue to push a city council bill that would have placed a cap on the number of Uber drivers allowed to operate in the city. The news coming from the Mayor's office came in several days after Uber general manager, Josh Mohrer, publicly announced that he wanted to hold a live streaming debate between himself and de Blasio in order to discuss the bill for the public at large to witness; in addition to Mohrer's challenge, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who recently called Uber “one of the great inventions of this new economy”, which struck a more political blow to de Blasio, seeing how Cuomo has always supported the populist progressive mayor in the past. There are four key points to understand about this whole situation:

Lessons from de Blasio's war on Uber:

1) If de Blasio, the unions, and the NYC city council had their way, Uber would have in fact had a monopoly on the entire app based ridesharing industry in the city. As mentioned in an episode of the Young Voices podcast with contributors Jared Meyer and Daniel Pryor, they pointed out how Uber (which already holds a 90% market share in the app based ridesharing market in NYC) would essentially come out of this battle as the ultimate winner in terms of consumer accessibility, since other ridesharing app businesses such as Lyft have not moved into the city. By continuing to fight the bill like they did, Uber sent a loud and clear message to the Taxi unions (who pushed for the driver cap bill) by stating that free and open competition for the betterment of both businesses and consumers, was more important than crony capitalism trying to use the heavy hand of regulation to erase competitors from the market.

2) The progressive war on the "sharing economy" should at this point begin to bring awareness to the young voting population of millennial voters who are typically swayed by Democrats. As I mentioned in a previous article regarding progressive 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's recent economics speech:

"An all-out political assault on these services is a strange move for the Democrat; according to Breitbart writer Joel Pollak, this decision in her platform may in fact "surprise millennial consumers, whose loyalty to the Democratic Party has largely been blind, and who have presumed that the party of government shared their love for technology."

A look overseas gives us all a glimpse into the state's negative intervention into the "sharing economy"; the French government in June declared an all out ban on Uber operations in the country. BBC picked up on the initial story and reported that:

"French taxi drivers have blocked the roads to Paris airports and the main ring road around the city in a protest against Uber, a US taxi app. The drivers set up blockades and burned tires as part of a nationwide strike. Some cars were overturned and others had their windows smashed with bats."

3) Technological innovation, job opportunities, and consumer happiness, are finally becoming talking points for many Americans across the land, as this whole Uber debacle has shown many politically apathetic citizens what can happen in markets that are not bogged down by red tape, regulation and corporate interests. As FreedomWorks research analyst Logan Albright points out simply, yet strongly:

"Mobile apps are providing services that benefit consumers, workers, and communities. Don’t let regulators drive them out of business in order to protect favored monopolies."

4) Last but not least, free market advocates must be listening in for buzzwords that indicate hidden motives for new regulation. In de Blasio's op-ed in the New York Daily News discussing his stance on the city council Uber driver cap bill, he continually tried to use environmental issues in order to mask the real issue at play:

"We need to find a way to manage the huge increase in new vehicles to keep our streets moving, protect air quality and make sure our buses and other vehicles can also get around…”

"The city is focused on making our transportation more sustainable by improving access to ride-sharing, investing in low-carbon and multi-modal options like walking and biking, and reducing dependency on private fossil fuel vehicles."

When hearing politicians talk about the green agenda , people should always ask, are they using real science, or just trying to push their own bias? since the green policies pushed by Democrats in the past several decades have been used over and over again to kill jobs and economic growth .

All in all, this whole situation wasn't simply about Uber, its about the constant struggle between free, individual enterprise, and government control forced by the influence of special interests



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 August, 2015

Avoiding that pesky evolutionary thinking

The Left are deeply uncomfortable with evolutionary thinking.  It explains too much for their liking.  That men and women have evolved to have inborn differences that reflect their role vis a vis children flies in the face their feminist creed that there are no differences between men and women -- for instance.

So the blindness to evolution that we see below is no accident.  "New Scientist" has always been Left-leaning and their fervour for global warming shows that to be still undimmed.  The claim that the high mortality rate seen during the Black Death in the 14th century may have been the result of poor general health rather than the strength of the bacterium is plausible at first sight but neglects the obvious.  And the plausibilty fades fast when you look at ALL the evidence -- something Leftists chronically avoid.  See the last sentence in the article below.

So what is the obvious factor that the writer below is blind to?  That those who were infected in subsequent plagues were almost all the descendants of those who did  not die the first time around.  Those who did not die the first time around had some factor or factors in their makeup that made them resistant to yersinia pestis -- and it is they who survived to reproduce and pass on their resistance.  Pure natural selection at work.  Fewer people died the second and third times around because they had inherited resistance.  They survived because they were the descendants of survivors.  Obvious to anyone but a Leftist.  Leftist thinking rots your brain

The secret of plague’s death toll is out. The high mortality rate seen during the Black Death in the 14th century may have been the result of poor general health rather than the strength of the bacterium.

The Black Death killed about 60 per cent of Europe’s population. That’s surprising as recent plague outbreaks weren’t as devastating.

“There is a huge difference in mortality rates,” says Sharon DeWitte at the University of South Carolina, even though 14th century and 20th century plagues were caused by the same bacterium, Yersinia pestis, and its genetics were similar in both outbreaks.

DeWitte believes that the high mortality rate in the 14th century may have been the result of a general decline in health. She examined skeletons in London cemeteries from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and found that more adults under the age of 35 were buried in the 13th century.

This suggests that people were dying younger before the Black Death arrived – probably because of famine and an increase in disease burden from other pathogens.

“Together with historical data, the picture that emerges is that the population was not doing well,” says DeWitte.

But Samuel Cohn, a historian from the University of Glasgow, UK, is not convinced.

“The wealthy were also dying in great numbers during the first outbreak of the Black Death [1347-51],” he says, noting that it is unlikely that they were in poor health.



Could Trump Win?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The American political class has failed the country, and should be fired. That is the clearest message from the summer surge of Bernie Sanders and the remarkable rise of Donald Trump.

Sanders' candidacy can trace it roots back to the 19th-century populist party of Mary Elizabeth Lease who declaimed:

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master."

"Raise less corn and more hell!" Mary admonished the farmers of Kansas.

William Jennings Bryan captured the Democratic nomination in 1896 by denouncing the gold standard beloved of the hard money men of his day: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

Sanders is in that tradition, if not in that league as an orator. His followers, largely white, $50,000-a-year folks with college degrees, call to mind more the followers of George McGovern than Jennings Bryan.

Yet the stagnation of workers' wages as the billionaire boys club admits new members, and the hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs under trade deals done for the Davos-Doha crowd, has created a blazing issue of economic inequality that propels the Sanders campaign.

Between his issues and Trump's there is overlap. Both denounce the trade deals that deindustrialized America and shipped millions of jobs off to Mexico, Asia and China. But Trump has connected to an even more powerful current.

That is the issue of uncontrolled and illegal immigration, the sense America's borders are undefended, that untold millions of lawbreakers are in our country, and more are coming. While most come to work, they are taking American jobs and consuming tax dollars, and too many come to rob, rape, murder and make a living selling drugs.

Moreover, the politicians who have talked about this for decades are a pack of phonies who have done little to secure the border.

Trump boasts that he will get the job done, as he gets done all other jobs he has undertaken. And his poll ratings are one measure of how far out of touch the Republican establishment is with the Republican heartland.

When Trump ridicules his rivals as Lilliputians and mocks the celebrity media, the Republican base cheers and laughs with him.

He is boastful, brash, defiant, unapologetic, loves campaigning, and is putting on a great show with his Trump planes and 100-foot-long stretch limos. "Every man a king but no man wears a crown," said Huey Long. "I'm gonna make America great again," says Donald.

Compared to Trump, all the other candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, are boring. He makes politics entertaining, fun.

Trump also benefits from the perception that his rivals and the press want him out of the race and are desperately seizing upon any gaffe to drive him out. The piling on, the abandonment of Trump by the corporate elite, may have cost him a lot of money. But it also brought him support he would not otherwise have had.

For no group of Americans has been called more names than the base of the GOP. The attacks that caused the establishment to wash its hands of Trump as an embarrassment brought the base to his defense.

But can Trump win?

If his poll numbers hold, Trump will be there six months from now when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four, and he will likely be in the finals. For if Trump is running at 18 or 20 percent nationally then, among Republicans, it is hard to see how two rivals beat him.

For Trump not to be in the hunt as the New Hampshire primary opens, his campaign will have to implode, as Gary Hart's did in 1987, and Bill Clinton's almost did in 1992.

Thus, in the next six months, Trump will have to commit some truly egregious blunder that costs him his present following. Or the dirt divers of the media and "oppo research" arms of the other campaigns will have to come up with some high-yield IEDs.

Presidential primaries are minefields for the incautious, and Trump is not a cautious man. And it is difficult to see how, in a two-man race against the favorite of the Republican establishment, he could win enough primaries, caucuses and delegates to capture 50 percent of the convention votes.

For almost all of the candidates who will have dropped out by then will have endorsed the last man standing against Trump. And should Trump be nominated, his candidacy would make Barry Goldwater look like the great uniter of the GOP.

Still, who expected Donald Trump to be in the catbird seat in the GOP nomination run before the first presidential debate? And even his TV antagonists cannot deny he has been great for ratings.



Pantsuit on Fire — Hillary’s Busted, but Is She Caught?

Could it be? Could the downfall of the Clinton Crime Family, a political machine that makes Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall corruption of the late 19th century look like a middle school 4-H club, finally be near?

“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” Hillary Clinton said of her secret servers in March. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

But last week, I. Charles McCullough, inspector general of the intelligence community, contacted the FBI about a “potential compromise of classified information” through Clinton’s email. The IG found four instances where Clinton handled information labeled “secret” — classified information that he noted should “never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.” And that was out of a sample size of just 40 emails. Imagine what he’ll find in the rest of the 30,000 emails she didn’t already destroy.

In March, the nation discovered that Clinton used a personally owned email server housed in her New York residence to conduct official business on behalf of the State Department. At long last, after five months of curtailed information and growing controversy, it appears Hillary and Bill’s habits of disregarding the law might catch up with them. At least we hope so.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Other senior officials have faced criminal charges for misusing classified information. Former CIA Director David Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor this year for disclosing classified information to his mistress, while Clinton-era National Security Adviser Sandy Berger copped a misdemeanor plea in 2005 for walking off with classified documents from the National Archives.” Or how about the sailor facing prison for taking photos of a U.S. submarine?

Could the same be in store for Hillary? Following the sputtering start of her campaign, investigatory hearings, and enough versions of events surrounding her email use to rival Baskin Robbins' 31 flavors, have the Clintons finally been exposed as the corrupt, self-serving political hacks they are?

Throughout months of investigations, serving up whoppers seems like standard operations for Team Hillary:

The notion that the NY home-based server was to eliminate redundancy has been proven false.

Hillary’s assertion to have “fully complied” with the strenuous requirements of the State Department and intelligence community is embarrassingly laughable.

Her claim to have “turned over all” of her emails is a lie.

She also possessed multiple email addresses linked to the server, not just one singular account as originally stated — another lie.

This latest revelation may prove impossible for the American public and the loyal media presstitutes to ignore. But the lie followed the Clintons' standard buffet-style approach to the truth: Pick and choose what you like; omit the rest. The inspector general announced some of the emails “were classified when they were sent and are classified now.”


Hillary has been proven a liar. But in addition to her dishonesty, she also stands as a manipulative tyrant with incredibly poor judgment, one who believes in distinct Rules and Laws for Thee but Not for Me. And now the voting public, tired of the swill served out of DC, is rejecting her toxic brew.

Peter A. Brown, assistant director of a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in June to survey Hillary’s trustworthiness, revealed that “Clinton’s numbers have dropped among voters in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. She has lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership.”

Tim Malloy, another assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, put it more succinctly: “Hillary Clinton’s numbers on honesty and trust may border on abysmal.”

Not only that, but she trails three GOP candidates in three key swing states. It’s early, so take that for what you will.

These negative polling numbers, with up to 62% of respondents questioning Clinton’s honesty, came several weeks prior to the newest twist in her email scandal. If only we had a Department of Justice rather than a nest of political legal activism, these wrongdoings would result in criminal charges and not just falling poll numbers.

Hillary dismissed the whole story, saying, “[T]here have been a lot of inaccuracies” in the news. You don’t say. She then suggested, “Maybe the heat is getting to everybody.” Let’s hope she does feel the heat.



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 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 good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

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 excellent short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

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.

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

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

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

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

"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.


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!

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 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

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


"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


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


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way

Index page for this site


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


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


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
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)

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: