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 December, 2015

She's got no taste at all

Marrying Bill was bad enough ....


Myth: Antioxidants are good and free radicals are bad

I have been pointing out for years what a crock the antioxidant theory is so I was pleased to read the expose below in "New Scientist"

In December 1945, chemist Denham Harman's wife suggested that he read an article in Ladies' Home Journal entitled 'Tomorrow You May Be Younger'. It sparked his interest in ageing, and years later, as a research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, Harman had a thought "out of the blue", as he later recalled. Ageing, he proposed, is caused by free radicals, reactive molecules that build up in the body as by-products of metabolism and lead to cellular damage.

Scientists rallied around the free-radical theory of ageing, including the corollary that antioxidants, molecules that neutralize free radicals, are good for human health. By the 1990s, many people were taking antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C and ?-carotene. It is "one of the few scientific theories to have reached the public: gravity, relativity and that free radicals cause ageing, so one needs to have antioxidants", says Siegfried Hekimi, a biologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Yet in the early 2000s, scientists trying to build on the theory encountered bewildering results: mice genetically engineered to overproduce free radicals lived just as long as normal mice4, and those engineered to overproduce antioxidants didn't live any longer than normal5. It was the first of an onslaught of negative data, which initially proved difficult to publish. The free-radical theory "was like some sort of creature we were trying to kill. We kept firing bullets into it, and it just wouldn't die," says David Gems at University College London, who started to publish his own negative results in 2003 (ref. 6). Then, one study in humans7 showed that antioxidant supplements prevent the health-promoting effects of exercise, and another associated them with higher mortality8.

Nutrition: Vitamins on trial

None of those results has slowed the global antioxidant market, which ranges from food and beverages to livestock feed additives. It is projected to grow from US$2.1 billion in 2013 to $3.1 billion in 2020. "It's a massive racket," says Gems. "The reason the notion of oxidation and ageing hangs around is because it is perpetuated by people making money out of it."

Today, most researchers working on ageing agree that free radicals can cause cellular damage, but that this seems to be a normal part of the body's reaction to stress. Still, the field has wasted time and resources as a result. And the idea still holds back publications on possible benefits of free radicals, says Michael Ristow, a metabolism researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. "There is a significant body of evidence sitting in drawers and hard drives that supports this concept, but people aren't putting it out," he says. "It's still a major problem."

Some researchers also question the broader assumption that molecular damage of any kind causes ageing. "There's a question mark about whether really the whole thing should be chucked out," says Gems. The trouble, he says, is that "people don't know where to go now".



Finding the Real Conservative

As yet another primary election season heats up, how do we cut through the rhetoric and evaluate candidates? One sure way is to have a measuring stick based on more than personal opinion.

One such standard is the word "conservative." I hear candidates and elected officials use it all the time. What does it really mean? In my opinion, the late Russell Kirk spelled it out better than just about anyone. This all-but-forgotten man laid out ten principles of conservative thought many seem to have forgotten. See how many you recognize.

First, conservatives believe in an enduring moral order. This concept is much broader than religious dogma. Kirk said that human nature was a constant, and moral truths were permanent. That’s not surprising considering that 94% of Americans believe in God, according to pollster George Barna. Surprisingly, Kirk said that a society in which men and women are governed by an enduring belief in moral order—by a strong sense of right and wrong—and by personal convictions about justice and honor—that would be a good society, regardless of the political machinery. Politics do not determine the trajectory of a nation—the people do. Nancy Pearcy put it well when she said that politics is downstream from culture.

Second, tradition in a culture is important and should not be tossed out on a whim. Kirk actually calls this "continuity." What he meant is that order and justice and freedom are the result of centuries of trials and reflections and sacrifice. Change should be gradual and calculated—never undoing traditions as a knee-jerk reaction. Often times, an election cycle bring cries for "change," but true conservatives should always be wary of change. Wary doesn’t mean completely closed to some change though. It just means "slow change." If you look at how our bi-cameral system of government loaded with checks and balances was designed, clearly our founders thought "slow" was good. For this reason, Presidential Executive Orders should be used sparingly.

Third, conservatives adhere to Edmund Burke’s mantra that the individual is foolish, but the species is wise. Using that advice, real conservatives stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them and look to enduring wisdom. That means not only the Ronald Reagans, but other great thinkers and statesmen beyond our lifetime like T.S. Eliot, Adam Smith, Sir Walter Scott, and of course, Burke himself. Not sure you will see any of these authors on display as you walk in your local library.

Fourth, true conservatives look at the long-term consequences of laws and policies. I fear this principle frequently gets tossed in favor of re-election. Kirk said that rushing into legislation or policies without weighing the long-term consequences will actually create new abuses in the future. We should slow down and look as far as we can into the future.

Fifth, conservatives know good and well that you can’t totally level the economic playing field, and in fact, we should not aspire for it. Robbing one taxpayer to pay another truly violates conservative thought because it is not sustainable. In our society, we have tried to make charity the government’s job, and true conservatives have to take issue with that practice. Churches and non-profits should take serious their role in culture.

Sixth, mankind is messed-up. Kirk didn’t exactly quote the Bible, but conservatives believe that because man is flawed from birth that no perfect social order can ever be created. All that we can reasonably expect, Kirk said, is a tolerably ordered, just and free society, in which evil and suffering continue to lurk. Can morality be legislated? Kirk would say that all laws are an effort to legislate morality, and that is okay.

Seventh, conservatives know that great societies are built upon the foundation of private property. We see it in the Ten Commandments. Policies that seek to redistribute wealth and property should be an anathema to the real conservative. That is one of my issues with COP21, the Paris Agreement on the reduction of climate change, and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Both are a form of wealth redistribution. While getting rich should not be the conservative’s chief aim, the institution of private property has been a powerful instrument for teaching responsibility, shaping integrity, creating prosperity, and providing the opportunities for people to think and act. It is the opportunity to go from rags to riches. This opportunity has given us the Truett Cathys (of Chick-fil-a fame) and others who worked their way up from nothing.

Eighth, conservatives favor smaller government at a federal level, and champion small governments such as county commissions and city councils. Decisions most affecting the lives of citizens should be made locally, and as Kirk would say, voluntarily. That is how I got started. I ran a city council race for a friend. A strong, centralized, and distant federal government tends to be more hostile to human freedom and dignity.

Ninth, the conservative believes in flattening the power —or limiting government. Real conservatives know the danger of power being vested in just a few even it is called benevolent. Constitutional restrictions are necessary, political checks and balance a must, and enforcement of the law a must—all the while balancing the claims of authority with the claims of liberty.

Finally, conservatives should be slow to change. Any thinking conservative would be resistant to hastily throwing out the old way of doing something in favor of something completely new —even in the name of "positive change." Progress, or change, is important—for Kirk said a society would stagnate without it. Change has to be reconciled with the permanent though, and both are important.

When Kirk revised these ten principles in 1993 before his death in 1994, he said that the word "conservative" was being abused. If alive today, he probably wouldn’t be surprised that the distortion has not stopped.

The bottom line is that being "conservative" best describes how you feel about "truth," and whether it is an old thing or a new thing. "Conservative" means you see great value in permanent things. It sounds old-fashioned, and I guess in a way it literally is.

As you evaluate political candidates who use the word "conservative" to describe themselves, ask them what it means and see how close they get to the real definition. I think you will be surprised.



Time to Do Away with the FDA

For individuals suffering from hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus causing liver inflammation, life can be difficult. For 70–85 percent of those with the virus, the condition is chronic, with effects ranging from liver infection to cirrhosis to death.

The nearly 3.2 million Americans suffering from this illness received hope in 2014 with the release of a new drug, Sovaldi. The medicine is nothing short of a godsend for patients. While older treatments are long and not very effective and have a variety of nasty side effects, 90 percent of people taking Sovaldi can expect to be cured in as little as 12 weeks.

The catch? Each pill costs $1,000. A typical course of treatment runs about $84,000.
People have been quick to point out that the price of the drug is prohibitively expensive for many individuals, especially those without adequate medical insurance.

However, before we go pointing the finger at “capitalistic greed,” it’s important to ask some additional questions. Why is only one company allowed to make this product? Why have other competitors not come to the market with cheaper alternatives?

The culprit isn’t capitalism; it’s government, in particular, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA ensures that medicines are “safe,” but the process is agonizingly slow. Currently it takes years to bring new drugs to market. One study found that from 1938 to 2014 the FDA approved only a fraction of the drugs submitted. More important, many approvals were given to but a few companies, namely, Merck, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer.

This process generates three important effects. First, it effectively grants a government-protected monopoly to those companies. The FDA approval process is so expensive that many smaller companies without the necessary financial resources are prevented from competing. By preventing competitors from coming onto the market, the FDA eliminates the market forces that preclude monopolies. The results are higher prices and fewer drugs, that is, fewer options for patients. For hepatitis patients facing a $1,000 pill, this may literally be a life-and-death issue.

Second, the FDA-approval process can increase drug costs by hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Take Provenge, a prostate-cancer drug. Despite its proven efficacy, FDA mandates have prevented it from going on the market for a full eight years. Researchers estimate that as a result of this delay, patients lost a total of 82,000 years of life. The multiple clinical trials required by the FDA to bring the drug to market meant that the drugmaker needed to increase the price substantially to cover its losses. When the drug was finally released, the therapy cost some $93,000.

The third problem is perhaps counterintuitive. The FDA is said to be necessary to keep unsafe and ineffective drugs off the market because doctors, swayed by pharmaceutical reps or lacking proper information, would prescribe dangerous drugs or worthless to their patients. Actually, in a free market, drug companies and doctors would face strong incentives to make and prescribe medicines that are both effective and safe. If a company manufactured an ineffective drug, it would quickly lose customers in a competitive marketplace. Similarly, if a company created unsafe drugs, it would not only lose customers but would likely be sued. In the same way, a doctor looking to maintain his reputation and practice would face strong free-market incentives to prescribe only safe and effective medicines.

In contrast, FDA regulations encourage both doctors and patients to get lazy about their care. If the FDA is presumed to vouch for the safety of drugs, patients and doctors have less incentive to be concerned about safety themselves. However, the FDA’s track record gives us scant grounds for confidence in the safety of drugs. Between 2004 and 2014 the FDA recalled more than 4,200 medicines. Some 362 were Class I recalls, meaning exposure to drugs could cause serious health consequences and even death.

It’s time to rethink the FDA. While regulating drugs for the sake of the public may sound appealing, it arguably does more harm than good. Ultimately, the FDA increases prices to consumers, slows the production of life-saving drugs, and is alarmingly ineffective.



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 December, 2015

Understanding the Jihadis

If Western Leftists despise modern Western culture, how can we expect respect for it from Muslims?  The Western Left sows the seeds of bitterness and the Imams reap the crop by offering a more confident and more heroic vision

This was the year when a growing section of the public began to regard the threat of homegrown terrorism as far more real than at any time since 9/11. In Europe, the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January stoked initial fears about the rising terror threat. These were heightened when two people were shot dead by an Islamist in Copenhagen, Denmark in mid-February. And the slaughter of 30 British tourists on holiday in Tunisia showed that jihadis viewed any kaffir as a target. But it was the scale of the murderous attack in Paris on 13 November that really frightened Europeans. For Americans, the murder of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, a few weeks after the Paris attacks, proved equally terrifying.

In the global scheme of things, a relatively small number of terrorist incidents in Europe and the US do not add up to a significant threat to society’s way of life. But what makes them appear more menacing is that they seem to be linked to a wider global jihadist struggle making headway on the battlefields of Afghanistan, north Africa, Libya, Iraq and Syria. Western intervention on these battlefields has proved singularly ineffective. The only forces that have succeeded in containing and, on occasion, overwhelming ISIS have been the highly committed Kurdish militias and Iranian-led fighters in Iraq.

The situation on the battlefield of ideas is, if anything, of even greater concern. The willingness of thousands of young Western Muslims to travel to Syria and risk their lives for the radical jihadist cause shows how influential ISIS has become. Think of that photo of the three British Muslim teenage girls, clutching their bags as they prepared to board their flight on their way to Syria. This image captures something Western governments and societies are reluctant to acknowledge: namely, that many normal and idealistic Muslim teenagers are drawn towards a cultural outlook that loathes Western society and its values.

Losing the battle of ideas

What is truly significant about the high-profile terrorist incidents in Paris is the reaction of sections of the Muslim community. No doubt many Muslims were horrified by the massacres committed in the name of Islam. But some Muslim youths were more ambivalent.

This was clear in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo killings. In many of Paris’s banlieues, there was little mourning for the victims. Numerous teachers in France reported that some immigrant children expressed deeply hostile sentiments towards the terrorists’ victims. Others said some children refused to believe the official version of events. And many French teachers were at a loss to know how to react when many Muslim children refused to respect the minute’s silence for the dead.

The reaction of many young Muslim schoolchildren to the Charlie Hebdo incident is quite consistent with the research into public attitudes towards ISIS. A poll of over 2,000 British adults, conducted by ICM in July, showed that nine per cent of respondents viewed ISIS in a positive light; three per cent held a ‘very favourable view’ of ISIS; and six per cent held a ‘somewhat positive view’. Despite the numerous atrocities reported in the media, the proportion of those with a positive view of ISIS has increased by two percentage points since last year.

Public-opinion polls are always difficult to interpret. But what the ICM poll suggests is that a significant minority of British Muslims may be sympathetic to some of ISIS’s ideals. The majority of those are likely to be passive sympathisers with no desire to journey to Syria. However, what their sympathies signify is that radical jihadist ideas have gained a foothold in British society. At the very least, the poll suggests a sizeable group of British Muslims expresses its everyday frustrations with the world, and particularly the West, through a favourable attitude towards ISIS.

Elsewhere, researchers investigating support in France and Spain for ISIS reported:

‘Among young people in the hovels and grim housing projects of the Paris banlieues, we found fairly wide tolerance or support for ISIS’s values, and even for the brutal actions carried out in their name. In Spain, among a large population sample, we found little willingness to fight in order to defend democratic values against onslaught.’

At present, the willingness actively to fight for ISIS is confined to a tiny minority. But the fact that there is a significant body of passive support is ominous.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the way 9/11 is now perceived and understood by many sections of European society. Many members of Muslim communities readily believe 9/11 conspiracy theories, especially the idea that it was all a Jewish plot. Claims about the world made by the Islamic State and other similar groups exercise a far greater influence today than they did three or four years ago. There are now far more people living in Europe who silently applaud or approve of an event like the Paris attacks.

The growing influence of radical Islamic sentiments is paralleled by a growing moral and political disorientation within European public life. European society is finding it very difficult to respond to what has now become a war against its way of life. This is especially clear in education, where numerous teachers have said how tough it is to discuss such ‘controversial’ subjects as 9/11 or the Holocaust in the classroom. Some teachers avoid these topics altogether.

Both France and Britain are failing to socialise a significant section of young people. Many of these youngsters embrace an Islamist counter-narrative that calls into question Western Enlightenment values and celebrates jihadist identity politics. One of the aims of the Paris attacks is to turn these anti-Western sentiments into a more active force in European society.

For a minority of young people, radical jihadism provides an outlet for their idealism. It also offers a coherent and edgy identity, a variant of the ‘cool’ narrative used by other online subcultures. The behaviour of young people who are attracted to jihadist websites is not all that different to the numerous non-Muslim Westerners who visit nihilistic websites and become fascinated by destructive themes and images. It just so happens that the destructive images and themes on jihadist websites are also linked to a destructive political cause.

Perils of multi-moralism

Why are so many young Muslims hostile to the society into which they were born? Many blame anti-Muslim prejudice, economic deprivation or the conflict in the Middle East. It may well be the case that such issues have caused bitterness in Muslim communities. But Muslims are not the only group to have experienced prejudice or economic deprivation. One distinctive feature of European Muslim subcultures is that they are relatively self-sufficient and have a strong impulse to maintain a clear boundary between themselves and others.

Sociological research shows that the way that members of a subculture talk to one another and the views they hold are often different to the outlook of the rest of society. That is true for radical Muslims, as it is for other groups. Muslim subcultures possess their own pool of knowledge – that is, ideas and sentiments that are distinct to such cultures. Unfortunately, distinctive, culturally defined pools of knowledge create a fertile terrain for the construction and circulation of disturbing views and rumours. In such circumstances, rumours about a Jewish or American conspiracy can swiftly mutate into a taken-for-granted fact. Worse still, such ‘facts’ and beliefs are rarely tested in the wider public sphere and can therefore turn into deeply ingrained prejudices.

The absence of debate about the sensitive issues that divide Muslim subcultures from other sections of society is, in part, an inadvertent consequence of the policies of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism has failed to develop a moral and cultural outlook to which all sections of society can sign up. Instead it has encouraged cultural segmentation where, in effect, we now have a system of multi-values: numerous values existing side by side, none of them being properly discussed or challenged. That is why the image of a beheading can appear to some as an inspiration and to others as unspeakably horrendous. Such morally polarised reactions to the same event are the outcome of a society in which cultural segmentation prevails.

Years of lost opportunities

At first sight, it is difficult to account for the growing influence of radical jihadist sentiments among young Muslims living in Western societies. In the aftermath of the 2001 riots in Oldham, in the north west of England, I talked to Muslim students about their impression of life in Britain. Most of them spoke in a language that conveyed a strong sense of bitterness and, in some cases, hatred. In the early 2000s, however, their response was couched in a language of disappointment and disillusionment. Their criticism was not directed at ‘manmade law’ or democracy, but at the failure of society to live up to its promises.

Since 2001, the attitudes of some young Muslims towards their society have hardened and altered in character. Some no longer want society to accommodate their grievances; they want to inhabit a different moral universe. There are many reasons for this radical shift in attitude. For many Muslims, the military and terrorist success of jihadist forces has been emboldening. Stories about how an individual or a couple of ‘fighters’ – such as the Boston bombers – terrified the US appeal to some young men and women in search of a hero.

However, the most powerful driver of jihadist influence in the West is the culture of victimhood. In recent decades, the victim has acquired a quasi-sacred status. Competitive claims-making about victimisation has become widespread. Little wonder, then, that one of the most powerful themes promoted in radical jihadist propaganda is the representation of Islam as the universal victim of Western aggression. Jihadists frame virtually every dimension of local and global misfortune afflicting Muslims as the outcome of a permanent war waged by Western crusaders.

The jihadist media present Muslims as eternal victims. From this standpoint, any behaviour that does not accord with the worldview of jihadist political theology can be represented as an act of victimisation – an insult to Islam. In such circumstances, the reaction to a provocation is legitimised both by jihadist ideology and the Western cult of the victim. Even ISIS’s claim to recover Islam’s golden age is shot through, as Edward Said put it, with the ‘sanctimonious piety of historical or cultural victimhood’. Arguably, the jihadists travelling to Syria are as much a product of contemporary Western global culture, within which victimhood is sanctified, as they are of traditional Islam.

However, jihadists are not simply reacting against the Western way of life. In recent years, the likes of ISIS have appealed to the idealism of many young people. What Westerners perceive as a barbaric, medieval institution, some young people perceive as a movement that offers them a sense of purpose and meaning. That the Caliphate is now perceived in such positive light by some young Muslims is an indictment of the inability of Western society to inspire people with its own vision of the world.

Until now, Western governments, the media and intellectuals have more or less opted out of the battle of ideas. Efforts at preventing radicalisation have proved singularly ineffective because they are by definition reactive. What is required is not a reaction to the latest threat, but a moral and intellectual assertion of values that are worth fighting for.

That is the real challenge facing secular democracies: to gain popular support for the values of the Enlightenment and an open society. Western society needs to provide a positive account of itself, and to take its own ideals far more seriously than it does at present. And Western intellectuals, who, at the moment, are conspicuously silent on this matter, need to take their vocation and public role far more seriously. As the experience of the past 15 years shows, it is the failure to advance any vision worth supporting that has helped radical jihadists gain a measure of moral authority over sections of Muslim youth.



When higher taxes REDUCE revenue:  Laffer must be laughing at a spectacular proof of his curve

Government actions have unintended consequences, as New York State is learning.

Years ago the Empire State endeavored to curb smoking by slapping an onerous tax on cigarette consumption. This was part of a nationwide trend, but New York's tax is obscenely high, and it appears that now, there are consequences:

New York is reaping the whirlwind of sky-high cigarette taxes with a wave of smuggling decimating the state’s revenue.

New York holds the dubious honor of having the highest cigarette taxes in country, with the average pack of smokes in New York City costing as much as $10.60.

New York raised taxes on cigarettes to $4.35 in 2010 from $2.75. In total, cigarette taxes have increased by 190 percent since 2006. The sharp rise has resulted in a raft of unintended consequences which are dealing a significant blow to the state’s finances.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reports New York’s revenue from cigarette taxes has plunged by $400 million over the past five years.

According to the The New York Post, a separate study by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shows the state lost a hefty $1.3 billion in uncollected taxes each year because smokers switched to cheaper alternatives.

Smokers responded to higher prices not by shelling out more cash at the store but by turning to the black market, crossing state lines and buying cheaper brands, such as Seneca, from Native American outlets.

The last 10 years have a been a boon to organized crime, with 58 percent of New York’s cigarettes supplied from out-of-state, according to the Tax Foundation. The number of packs bought paying the full tax has also collapsed by 62 percent.

In addition to all the lost revenue, the state's black market has proven to be an enforcement nightmare, leading to disagreements with other states and Native American groups; and the artificially high price has created a black market that some suggest has created a revenue stream for terrorists.

In sum, onerous taxes fail when you have black markets and mobile consumers.  It's a lesson New York should know all too well. The state, which is almost completely reliant on Wall Street for revenue, is regularly listed as one of the worst states to own  a business, and its across the board onerous taxation and regulation has made it one of the states best known for bleeding people. Pretty soon, it will have more than cigarette tax revenue to worry about.



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)


29 December, 2015   

Scrutinizing Scruton

Roger Scruton is Britain's foremost conservative intellectual.  He is not much like an American conservative, though he does think highly of America, unlike British Leftists. He has just released a new book:  "Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left", in which he gives Leftist intellectuals a well deserved lashing. 

I take my hat off to him in that regard.  How he could wade through the turgid and largely meaningless tosh that passes for thought among Leftist intellectuals rather escapes me.  As I see it, Leftists in fact have no ideas at all other than: "If I don't like it, ban it, kill it or control it".  All the rest is persiflage (or camouflage), an unending series of vague and often incomprehensible assertions and complaints designed to legitimate that hate in some way.

Scruton rightly says that conservatism is at base simply an instinct of caution and stresses the importance of culture.  He wants to preserve inherited British culture as being demonstrably beneficial in all sorts of ways and is critical of multiculturalism. 

All that is OK but he also has a reverence for high culture, which I question.  As it happens, I am as big a high culture fiend as you would be likely to find.  My favorite composer is Bach and I can recite large slabs of Chaucer in the original Middle English, for instance.   But I see no virtue in that.  It is just what entertains me.  There is an old Latin proverb: "De gustibus no disputandum est".  And I agree with that.   There can be no disputes about taste.  If you find football as entertaining as I find Chaucer, good for you.  I don't think of you as in any way lesser for that.   Scruton seems to. But he was originally a professor of aesthetics so maybe he has to think that way.

Another oddity is that Scruton rarely mentions the importance of liberty.  And he has in fact a conception of liberty that has a lot in common with Hegel.  He defines it somewhere as fitting in with traditional arrangements -- or something to that effect.  He has little time for libertarianism.  [UPDATE:  I see that he has acknowledged being somewhat Hegelian, particularly in his 1980 book "The meaning of conservatism"]

So I think he misses the point of most current political conflicts -- which are largely about money.  Simplistically, the Left never stop devising reasons to take our money off us while conservatives think that they should be able to hang on to what they have worked for.  Most of the big political questions revolve around that sooner or later.

But I think Scruton is helpful at the margins so I reproduce below an essay he wrote for the WSJ shortly after the 9/11 attacks

There is a useful interview with Scruton about his new book here and a review here.  There is a relatively brief account of his views on Leftist philosophers here.  He gives his account of the meaning of conservatism here


A Question of Temperament:  Conservatism is not about profit but about loss.


LONDON--Here and there in the modern world you can find countries with conservative parties. Britain is one of them. But the U.S. is the last remaining country with a genuine conservative movement.

This conservative movement is expressed in politics, in social initiatives among ordinary people, in the media and in intellectual journals with an explicitly conservative message. True, political philosophy in the American academy has been dominated by liberals, and by the project to which the late John Rawls devoted his life, of producing a theory of justice that would vindicate the welfare state. Nevertheless, even in American universities, you can come across conservatives who are prepared to defend their beliefs.

In Britain there are very few academics who will publicly confess to conservative convictions. And we have only two noteworthy conservative journals: the weekly Spectator, and the quarterly Salisbury Review, which I edited (at enormous cost to my intellectual career) for its first 18 years of life, and whose tiny circulation is maintained almost exclusively by private subscription. In the U.S., by contrast, conservative journals spring up constantly, find large and sympathetic readerships, and frequently attract funding from foundations and business. Yet another conservative journal has appeared recently, and the high profile of its editor--Patrick Buchanan--will lead to much speculation about what is really meant by the journal's name: The American Conservative. Maybe a British conservative can cast a little light on this.

It is a tautology to say that a conservative is a person who wants to conserve things; the question is what things? To this I think we can give a simple one-word answer, namely: us. At the heart of every conservative endeavor is the effort to conserve a historically given community. In any conflict the conservative is the one who sides with "us" against "them"--not knowing, but trusting. He is the one who looks for the good in the institutions, customs and habits that he has inherited. He is the one who seeks to defend and perpetuate an instinctive sense of loyalty, and who is therefore suspicious of experiments and innovations that put loyalty at risk.

So defined, conservatism is less a philosophy than a temperament; but it is, I believe, a temperament that emerges naturally from the experience of society, and which is indeed necessary if societies are to endure. The conservative strives to diminish social entropy. The second law of thermodynamics implies that, in the long run, all conservatism must fail. But the same is true of life itself, and conservatism might equally be defined as the social organism's will to live.

Of course there are people without the conservative temperament. There are the radicals and innovators, who are impatient with the debris left by the dead; and their temperament too is a necessary ingredient in any healthy social mix. There are also the instinctive rebels of the Chomsky variety, who in every conflict side with "them" against "us," who scoff at the ordinary loyalties of ordinary people, and who look primarily for what is bad in the institutions, customs and habits that define their historical community. Still, by and large, the future of any society depends upon the solid residue of conservative sentiment, which forms the ballast to every innovation, and the equilibriating process that makes innovation possible.

Sept. 11 raised the question: Who are we, that they should attack us, and what justifies our existence as a "we"? American conservatism is an answer to that question. "We the people," it says, constitute a nation, settled in a common territory under a common rule of law, bound by a single Constitution and a common language and culture. Our primary loyalty is to this nation, and to the secular and territorially based jurisdiction that makes it possible for our nation to endure. Our national loyalty is inclusive, and can be extended to newcomers, but only if they assume the duties and responsibilities, as well as the rights, of citizenship. And it is reinforced by customs and habits that have their origin in the Judeo-Christian inheritance, and which must be constantly refreshed from that source if they are to endure. In the modern context, the American conservative is an opponent of "multiculturalism," and of the liberal attempt to sever the Constitution from the religious and cultural inheritance that first created it.

American conservatism welcomes enterprise, freedom and risk, and sees the bureaucratic state as the great corrupter of these goods. But its philosophy is not founded in economic theories. If conservatives favor the free market, it is not because market solutions are the most efficient ways of distributing resources--although they are--but because they compel people to bear the costs of their own actions, and to become responsible citizens. Conservative reservations about the welfare state reflect the belief that welfare generates a dependency culture, in which responsibilities are drowned by rights.

The habit of claiming without earning is not confined only to the welfare machine. One of the most important conservative causes in America must surely be the reform of the jury system, which has allowed class actions and frivolous claims--including claims by non-nationals--to sabotage the culture of honest reward, and to ensure that wealth, however honestly and diligently acquired, can at any moment be stolen from its producer to end up in the pocket of someone who has done nothing to deserve it.

It is one of the great merits of America's conservative movement that it has seen the need to define its philosophy at the highest intellectual level. British conservatism has always been suspicious of ideas, and the only great modern conservative thinker in my country who has tried to disseminate his ideas through a journal--T.S. Eliot--was in fact an American. The title of his journal (The Criterion) was borrowed by Hilton Kramer, when he founded what is surely the only contemporary conservative journal that is devoted entirely to ideas. Under the editorship of Mr. Kramer and Roger Kimball, The New Criterion has tried to break the cultural monopoly of the liberal establishment, and is consequently read in our British universities with amazement, anger and (I like to think) self-doubt.

Eliot's influence has been spread in America by his disciple, Russell Kirk, who made clear to a whole generation that conservatism is not an economic but a cultural outlook, and that it would have no future if reduced merely to the philosophy of profit. Put bluntly, conservatism is not about profit but about loss: It survives and flourishes because people are in the habit of mourning their losses, and resolving to safeguard against them.

This does not mean that conservatives are pessimists. In America, they are the only true optimists, since they are the only ones with a clear vision of the future and a clear determination to bring that future into being.

For the conservative temperament the future is the past. Hence, like the past, it is knowable and lovable. It follows that by studying the past of America--its traditions of enterprise, risk-taking, fortitude, piety and responsible citizenship--you can derive the best case for its future: a future in which the national loyalty will endure, holding things together, and providing all of us, liberals included, with our required sources of hope. This is the message that has been put across vividly by New York's City Journal, and it is interesting to compare its optimistic articles about the American underclass with the bleak vision of our English equivalent expressed in the same journal by Theodore Dalrymple.

Sept. 11 was a wake-up call through which liberals have managed to go on dreaming. American conservatives ought to seize the opportunity to utter those difficult truths which have been censored out of recent debate: truths about national loyalty, about common culture and about the duties of citizenship. You never know, Middle America might actually recognize itself at last, when addressed in this way.



Obama's Cuba policy makes life worse for Cubans

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA declared 12 months ago that he intended to normalize relations with Cuba, he claimed that rapprochement with the Castro regime would uphold America's "commitment to liberty and democracy." Liberalizing US policy, the president predicted, would succeed "in making the lives of ordinary Cubans a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous."

He affirmed that message seven months later, as he announced the reopening of the US embassy in Havana. Life on the island might not be "transformed overnight," Obama conceded, but he had no doubt that more engagement was the best way to advance democracy and human rights for Cuba's people. "This," said the president, "is what change looks like."

Reality-check time.

The Obama administration's year-long outreach to Cuba has certainly been frenetic. The American flag was raised over the US embassy in August, and in Washington the Cuban embassy was reopened. President Obama held a face-to-face meeting with Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama. The State Department removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Restrictions were eased on travel to Cuba by Americans, resulting in a 54 percent increase in trips this year. Three Cabinet members — the secretaries of state, agriculture, and commerce — were dispatched on separate missions to Cuba. And plans have been announced to resume direct mail service and commercial air travel between the two countries.

The Castro brothers snapped up all these treats. They will gladly pocket more of them. But there has been no hint of the expanded freedom and democratic reforms that Obama's engagement was supposed to unlock.

Cuba remains the only dictatorship in the Americas, as repressive and hostile to human rights as ever. More repressive, in fact: Over the past 12 months, the government's harassment of dissidents and democracy activists has ballooned. In November, according to Amnesty International, there were nearly 1,500 political arrests or arbitrary detentions of peaceful human-rights protesters. That was the highest monthly tally in years, more than double the average of 700 political detentions per month recorded in 2014.

On Dec. 10 — International Human Rights Day — Cuban security police arrested between 150 and 200 dissidents, in many cases beating the prisoners they seized. As is usually the case, those attacked by the regime's goons included members of the respected Ladies in White, an organization of wives, mothers, and sisters of jailed dissidents. The women, dressed in white, attend Mass each week, then walk silently through the streets to protest the government's lawlessness and brutality. Even the United Nations, which frequently turns a blind eye to the depredations of its member-states, condemned the Cuban government's "extraordinary disdain" for civil norms, and deplored the "many hundreds" of warrantless arrests in recent weeks.

But from the Obama administration there has been no such condemnation. One might have thought that the White House would make it a priority to give moral support and heightened recognition to the Cubans who most embody the "commitment to liberty and democracy" that the president has invoked. But concern for Cuba's courageous democrats has plainly not been a priority. Particularly disgraceful was Secretary of State John Kerry's refusal to invite any dissidents or human-rights advocates to the flag-raising ceremony at the US embassy in August. To exclude them, as The Washington Post observed, was a dishonorable gesture of appeasement to the hemisphere's nastiest regime — "a sorry tip of the tat to what the Castros so vividly stand for: diktat, statism, control, and rule by fear."

For all the president's talk about using engagement and trade to promote the cause of liberty and civil rights in Cuba, his policy of détente has been wholly one-sided. In an interview with Yahoo! News this month, he was asked what concessions Havana has made over the past year. He couldn't think of any.

"Look," he said with an exasperated sigh, "our original theory on this was not that we were going to see immediate changes or loosening of control of the Castro regime, but rather that, over time, you'd lay the predicates for substantial transformation."

Cubans aren't holding their breath. Tens of thousands of them, realizing that normalization will do nothing to loosen the Castros' grip, have fled the country. More than 45,000 Cubans arrived at US border checkpoints in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30; thousands more are trying to reach the United States by traveling through Central America or taking to the sea. It is the largest wave of Cuban migrants in decades. The American president may believe in "predicates for substantial transformation" and other such amulets and charms. Cuba's people know better.

We should know better too.

As a candidate for president, Obama promised a Cuba policy that would "be guided by one word: Libertad." If the regime in Havana wanted the benefits of normalization, he vowed, it would first have to accept democratic reforms. But Obama's foreign policy toward Cuba, like his policies toward Iran and Russia and Syria, turned out to be far more about accommodating despots, far less about upholding Western norms. His years in office have coincided with a worldwide retreat of democratic freedoms; why would Cuba be an exception?

It is clear now that the only change Obama craved in Cuba was a change in America's go-it-alone stance. Normalization was desirable for its own sake, not as a means to leverage freedom for Cuba's people.

Last week, 126 former Cuban dissidents wrote a letter pleading with Obama to reconsider his approach. Showering the Castro regime with so many benefits, they warned, will "prolong the life of the dictatorship," even as it "marginaliz[es] the democratic opposition." Alas, that doesn't trouble the president nearly as much as it troubles them. He's on his way out, and no longer has to pretend to care about the fate of beleaguered democrats.



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 December, 2015

Leftist group releases video comparing Trump to Hitler

The video consists of very brief grabs from Trump speeches intercut with old movie footage of 1930s Nazi rallies.  As even a moderate and sentimental Christian gentleman like George Bush II was often called a Nazi by the Left, that is no great surprise.  And comparing Trump's immigration proposals to Hitler's immolation of 6 million Jews also has plenty of precedent, idiotic though it obviously  is.

But the video released by the Agenda Project carries the slander to a whole new level.  If Trump becomes the GOP nominee we can expect it to be very widely aired.  There will be no shortage of Leftist donors coming forward to finance that. So some comment on it seems warranted.

The only substantial thing they have to hang the advertisement on is Trump's proposal for a temporary halt to Muslim immigration.

An obvious immediate response is to note that Muslims are not a race but a religion.  Muslims can be of any race. But a more important response is to ask what immigration restrictions have in common with killing Jews.  They do in fact have some historical connections.  That great Leftist hero, FDR, refused to admit to America Jews fleeing Hitler, the St Louis episode, thus sealing the fate of many of them.  So if Trump is a Nazi so was FDR.  When a Democrat President had the opportunity to confront and oppose Hitler, he actually aided and abetted Hitler.  It was only when Hitler declared war on the USA that FDR went to war with him.

It could be argued that the Muslims concerned are also refugees fleeing death but that is not at all true.  The refugees Trump wants to keep out do not come directly from Muslim countries.  Muslim countries won't have them.  They come from Western Europe where they already have refuge.  So there is no threat to their lives and Trump's policies fully implemented would kill no-one.  So much for the comparisons with Hitler. The comparison is fundamentally dishonest, like so much of Leftism.

But I liked this sentence in the screed below: 

"The modern Republican Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy". 

The mention of history is perhaps unfortunate.  A more accurate version of the sentence would be:

"The modern Democratic Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy". 

The KKK was composed of Democrats and Southern segregationists like George Wallace and Orval Faubus were Democrats.  And FDR praised Mussolini and held him up as an example to be emulated.

And Democrat attempts to control everything that moves are very similar to what Mussolini did. See here. Judged by their policies, the Democrats are modern-day Fascists

The Agenda Project Action Fund released a new ad Tuesday blasting the Republican party, particularly Donald Trump, for "anti-Muslim" rhetoric. The ad is part of a yearlong campaign against the "fascist and racist rhetoric" the group says the Republican party has been spewing and promoting thus far in the 2016 presidential election.

"We have to ask ourselves: what kind of country do we want to be? One that stands up to hatred and lives up to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and inscribed on the Statue of Liberty or one that rules by fear and subjugation of individuals we deem different," said Erik Altieri, president of the Agenda Project, a progressive policy organization aimed at ensuring that politicians work in the interest of everyday Americans. "We must unite against this bigotry or we risk losing everything we represent as a nation."

The ad, which can be seen here, likens Trump's proposed ban on the immigration of Muslims to the U.S. to 1930s Germany. The Agenda Project Action Fund finds that the policy proposals of some Republicans harken back to the nation's long-embedded racial tensions.

"The modern Republican Party has historically incorporated both racist and fascist elements in its political strategy, the most prominent of which have been the so-called 'Southern Strategy' initiated in the 1968 and in the first post-civil rights movement election at the national level, with appeals to the 'White Vote' and, more recently, to 'real America' as articulated by such figures as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman," reads a statement from the group.

"Previously, they were politically savvy enough to hide their bigotry, wrapping it in innuendo and alluding to it using dog whistle politics. Now, with Donald Trump as the party's front runner for their nomination for president, the gloves are off and the smoke screen has been cleared, leaving only the ugly reality."



Silent majority is toasting Trump as Left wallows in its vitriol

Political scientist Jennifer Oriel comments from Australia

The political year is ending as it began, with a sustained attack on conservatives and their replacement by a populist Right less willing to compromise on free speech and immigration. The New Right, embodied by political figures such as Donald Trump, is a counterforce to the continuing campaign of censorship and vilification by leftists determined to remove all traces of conservative thought from public life.

When Tony Abbott [former Australian PM] proposed a secular reformation of Islam, the Left compared him to Trump in a contorted campaign of guilt by association. Rather than address the problem of Islamist theocracy and the terrorism it produces, the Left urged Abbott to self-censor, framing him as a divisive element in society and the Liberal Party.

Network Ten's The Project [TV program] ran its coverage with the words "Abbott the Wrecker" splashed across the screen. SBS went into full scold mode, chiding: "Mr Abbott had promised to sit quietly on the backbench . but he's already causing problems."

Abbott certainly is causing problems - for theocrats and terrorists. The establishment Left did not complain so loudly when Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz called for a reformation of Islam, but Abbott embodies a combination of traits deemed intolerable by self-appointed political elites: he is white, male and Christian. From the lofty bureaucracy of the left clerisy, however, Abbott's cardinal sin is conservatism.

The editor of the University of Adelaide's student magazine "On Dit", Leighton McDonald-Stuart, described the corrosive effects of left bigotry on campus in The Courier-Mail: "The attitudes of . social justice warriors . is not conducive to (free) speech . You risk being labelled `fascist scum' if you happen to be of conservative ilk . If you seek to express a view that doesn't conform to . the revolutionary socialist groups on campus, then you are `racist'."

Across US campuses, the Left's campaign to impose its ideology by censorship has turned violent. Radical minority groups are attacking people whose skin colour is deemed politically incorrect. A multi-university group called the Afrikan Black Coalition stated: "White people need to be stopped. Period."

Last month, The Dartmouth Review reported a large group of Black Lives Matter activists storming the university library and attacking students while screaming: "F..k you, you filthy white f..ks!" They pinned one woman to a wall, shouting "filthy white bitch!" at her. Vice-provost of student affairs Inge-Lise Ameer responded not by condemning the violent racism of Black Lives Matter activists but the media that criticised it: "There's a whole conservative world out there that's not being very nice."

The Left's systematic and increasingly violent campaign of bigotry is fuelling the rise of political figures such as Trump. One cannot understand the Trump effect and the emergent populist Right without analysing the forces that produced them.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the odious treatise that produced the modern Left: Herbert Marcuse's Repressive Tolerance. Marcuse was a neo-Marxist who prescribed two methods to eliminate conservatism: censorship of free speech and the introduction of majority rule. The new majority would comprise Marcuse's "radical minority" and come to power by dominating public debate.

The neo-Marxist equation for equality is: "Not equal but more representation of the Left." The old standard of universal equality was superseded by a new formula to force the Right into political oblivion by engineering an over-representation of Left-approved minorities across public institutions. Media, academe and politics were all targets of the New Left's doublethink formula for social justice: inequality = equality.

Trump has crashed through the apex of neo-Marxism. His carefully crafted target group, the "silent majority", is a two-fingered salute to the Left's censorious activists. Trump's success rests on the premise that the silent majority is so angered by the decades of censorship and oppression devised by neo-Marxists that it will support any man whose free speech most offends their manufactured minorities.

Unlike the genuinely perse-cuted minorities of the Islamist and communist worlds, the minority groups of the Western Left have been manufactured primarily for political purposes. They enjoy equal and often greater rights under law than their fellow citizens. Affirmative action policy offers them privileged places in education and employment. They can access a range of special benefits under welfare, health and housing schemes. And the state shields them from words that may offend by encoding anti-free speech provisions in anti-discrimination legislation.

Minority politics may help some people genuinely in need, but it is also an expression of codified bigotry against the only group wholly excluded from its benefits: white men.

Trump is wielding such devastating effect because he embodies everything neo-Marxists have oppressed for a half-century.

He is white, male and capitalist. A determined freethinker and free speaker. A politically incorrect pundit who does not resile from attack but ups the ante after every blow. He pursues targets so aggressively that Republicans are at pains to disown him, especially after his call to halt Muslim immigration while America learns to manage the jihadist threat. But to everyone's surprise, Trump continues to dominate.

While public poll results vary, a Fox News poll held in South Carolina across four days showed that two days before Trump proposed a halt to Muslim immigration, his rating was at 30 per cent. He polled 38 per cent for the two nights following it. He is poll favourite to lead Republicans into the next election. And despite media portrayals of Trump followers as rednecks, a Rasmussen poll last week found the majority of Americans (46 per cent) support a temporary ban on Muslim immigration with 14 per cent undecided.

Trump is voicing the politically incorrect concerns of the silent majority and, for better or worse, they are rewarding him for it.

Trump is a middle finger aimed squarely at the establishment and the backlash against him has come from both sides of the political divide. It was The New York Times columnist David Brooks who distilled the complex issue into a sound bite, accusing Trump of bigotry. Brooks may be right, but the main challenge Trump's ascendancy leaves the Left is less to prove his bigotry than to disprove its own.



The Democratic Candidates Do Their Best to Preserve ISIS

The Democratic debate Saturday focused as advertised on how to deal with ISIS and the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, but absolutely no new ground was broken.

Although there were minor difference between the candidates, it came down to this:  foreign -- build a coalition of Muslim states to fight ISIS;  domestic -- work with our Muslim community to weed out the potential radicals. (That latter hasn't been working too well lately.)

In other words, no change from the Obama policy that has gone nowhere for years.

The candidates were most allergic to "boots on the ground." America wasn't going to be drawn again into a ground war in the Middle East.  Yet there was no explanation how we could possibly win without troops.  Nor was there an explanation of why the Muslim armies would suddenly coalesce against ISIS without us, without, in Lee Smith's famous words, "the strong horse" -- that is, without real U.S. on the ground participation.

The fact is they won't.  And there will be no American victory, no defeat of ISIS, without our troops on the ground. Without the strong horse, nobody fights.  Ask bin Laden. He knew. He was their strong horse, now it's al Baghdadi.

Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley looked clueless about how the Middle East works and they probably are.  I would doubt they had read Smith's book or know much about that theory or anyone else's for that matter. I doubt too they would  be able to answer serious questions about the roots of  the Sunni-Shia conflict.  The whole Islamic uprising is an inconvenience to them. They'd rather be talking about how bad Wall Street is.

For Hillary it's an embarrassment -- or should be.  She's the woman who refused as head of the State Department to name Boko Haram (now pledged to ISIS) a terrorist organization at the very time they were raping and kidnapping girls in the name of Allah.  Now she's telling us we have ISIS where we want it -- or something like that.  Her remarks to that effect during the debate are being explained away or placed "in context"by Democrats, but that she could even claim something close to that is reprehensible.  She and Obama are, if not the mother and father of ISIS, at least their aunt and uncle.

Hillary, during the debate, accused Donald Trump of being ISIS's best recruiter, specifically that they had already used him in a propaganda video.  That turned out not to be true.  You will be amazed to hear that Hillary lied.

Meanwhile, ISIS goes its merry way, issuing fatwas in Afghanistan, producing 20 videos threatening Saudi Arabia, performing multiple executions in Syria and and various attacks all through Africa.

Closer to home, the beleaguered Isis pharmaceuticals of San Diego has finally decided to change its name. (Wouldn't you?)

All of this is in the last twelve hours or so. During the same time frame, that would-be strong horse Bernie Sanders was assuring us this was the Muslims' business and they should be going to war against ISIS.  It's probably just as well he didn't offer himself as commander-in-chief.



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 December, 2015


"I do believe that the country is inexorably changing [demographically]… [and] when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses that people have been going through — because of the financial crisis, because of technology, because of globalization, the fact that wages and incomes have been flat-lining for some time, and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck — you combine those things, and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear."

That was President Barack Obama in a candid interview with NPR published Dec. 21, pointing to demographic and economic changes in the U.S., alluding to waves of illegal immigration and globalization, that are making it extremely difficult for non-college educated males in particular to get by in this economy to support their families.

Of the outrage, Obama added, "Some of it justified, but just misdirected. I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That’s what he’s exploiting during the course of his campaign."

Here, Obama is referring to Trump’s blue-collar, working class themes that simultaneously key up a Pat Buchanan tough approach against illegal immigration, and Ross Perot hard stance against bad trade deals that as a matter of design favor so-called developing economies overseas — called special and differential treatment — and hamper U.S. growth and the incentive to do business here.

Among voters with no college at all, Trump crushes the rest of the Republican field, taking about almost 33 percent of the vote, SurveyMonkey reports. His closest rival in that category is Ben Carson at 17 percent.

In other words, with the illegal immigration issue front and center thanks to Trump, plus imminent consideration by Congress of the global Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, it is 1992 all over again.

So, here, Obama is highlighting a grave danger to the traditional Democrat coalition that has always included blue-collar Americans — speaking to an angst that has been percolating for decades, a sense of disenfranchisement by what Richard Nixon used to call the silent majority.

In that sense, Trump’s appeal as a candidate, if you’re a Republican, is to eat a significant percent of the Democrat coalition — and potentially bring millions more previously disaffected voters to the polls.

Consider what happened in 1992 with Perot on the ballot. Voter turnout exploded 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 universe of potential voter universe with the direct economic populist appeal.

Throw in fresh concerns over terrorism and immigration thanks to Paris and San Bernardino, and what you have might be an electoral powder keg ready to explode, more than 20 years in the making.

Is Trump exploiting these voters with his populist appeal? Or representing them? As a side note, even symbolically, why do you think he wears that red ball cap?

In 1992 the Perot campaign was controversial because it seemingly split the Republican vote. But lump the two constituencies together — as Nixon and Reagan successfully did in 1972, 1980, and 1984 — and the potential of another slaughter of Democrats at the polls emerges. That is actually the model that has produced the most success for Republicans in the past half century. Once again, Trump is onto something.

But it only works with blue-collar voters on the table, whom the Democrat President Obama is now denigrating as angry, frustrated and fearful. Does that elitist attitude, combined with support for unlimited immigration, open borders and global trade deals that are bad for American workers, backfire on Democrats in 2016? That is what Trump is betting on.

Perhaps that is what simultaneously scares Democrats like Obama and even the Republican establishment that cannot seem to beat Trump at his own game. That Trump’s potent campaign strategy might actually work, and that should he win, they won’t be able to control him.



How to Manufacture an Anti-Muslim Hate-Crime 'Epidemic'

Step one: Find an expert with an impressive-sounding academic title to legitimize shoddy advocacy propaganda.
Meet Brian Levin. He's the one-man band behind something called the "Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism" at California State University, San Bernardino. The "center" (that is: Levin) claims to be "nonpartisan" and "objective." But he is a former top staffer of the militant, conservative-smearing Southern Poverty Law Center, which was forced to apologize earlier this year after including famed black neurosurgeon and GOP 2016 candidate Ben Carson on its "extremist watch list" of hate groups.
At SPLC, Levin infamously posited that the 2002 Beltway jihad snipers were Angry White Men, a fatal error echoed by politically correct law enforcement officials whose wild-goose chase needlessly cost lives. A decade later, the SPLC's target map and list of social conservative groups were used by convicted left-wing domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins to shoot up the Washington, D.C., office of the Family Research Council.
The radical left-wing SPLC, whose annual "hate and extremism" report spawned Levin's sham "center," brazenly declared that its mission is to "destroy" its political opponents. Harper's Magazine writer Ken Silverstein called the SPLC and its work "essentially a fraud" that "shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people."
Step two: Enlist gullible, lazy, biased, and complicit journalists who recycle the "expert's" sweeping pronouncements as proven facts, backed up by other ideologically vested advocacy group spokespeople.
NBC News, The New York Times, the Daily Mail and Slate all quoted Levin over the past week hyping his new "study" (published in esteemed academic journal The Huffington Post) on an alleged "increase," "surge" and "spike" in "crimes against Muslims and mosques" this year.
Levin's "methods" of "analysis"? Stringing together "apparent hate crimes reported in the media and by civil rights groups across the United States." Most prominent among his sources: the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose jihad-apologizing frontman Ibrahim Hooper was quoted by both NBC and The New York Times backing Levin's "research" (which were, of course, based on several of CAIR's grievance-grifting claims). Cozy, huh?
"We're seeing so many of these things happening that it's unbelievable," Hooper told the Times.
Indeed, it is.
In his list of "Suspected Hate Crimes Directed at Actual or Perceived Muslim Institutions or Individuals Since Paris Attacks," Levin cites a Nov. 26 incident in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, noting, "Cab driver shot. Attempted Murder."
The rest of the story: The suspect is 26-year-old Anthony Mohamed, whose father is Muslim. Authorities have so far refused to press hate crimes charges despite CAIR's demands. At a hearing this week, the cab driver denied in court that he had been subjected to negative comments about his religion before Mohamed allegedly shot him in the back. Court filings fail to mention any evidence of anti-Muslim bias in the case.
Or take a look at Levin's No. 23: "12/6 Buena Park, CA. Sikh Temple. Vandalism, Crim. Mischief." CAIR's Los Angeles office publicized vandalism at an Orange County Sikh temple, immediately condemning a "tiny minority of bigots who violate our nation's longstanding principles of religious tolerance and inclusion."
The rest of the story: Authorities arrested a local, 20-year-old Brodie Durazo, after he admitted spray-painting the temple, a tractor trailer and other property in the gang-infested neighborhood. "I have lived alongside this temple for many years of my life and have never once seen you as anything but a peaceful people," he told the temple-goers in a personal apology at the house of worship. "I just hope that you will see by my presence that all I want is for peace as well."
Not a menacing "bigot." Just a bored punk.
Or consider Levin's No. 33: "12/10 Tampa, FL. Rocks/shots at 2 Muslim drivers. Assault, Threat leaving relig. service in hijab."
Both women are unidentified. Their unvetted stories were immediately publicized by, you guessed it, CAIR. "Both incidents were investigated by Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies," according to local Florida media, "though investigators said neither case involved definitive proof of a hate crime." In one case, the sheriff's office spokeswoman said, "It could have been road rage or just a misunderstanding." In the second case involving alleged shots fired at a vehicle, investigators said the woman "was not sure where or when" a bullet hole found on the car was made.
Step three: Attack the messenger. After I published a lengthy post on my blog outlining an epidemic of Muslim hate-crime hoaxes at colleges, mosques and businesses dating back to 2001, Levin took to Twitter to accuse me of "smears." The facts, which the rest of the media failed to inform readers about while hyping Levin's work this week, speak for themselves (see michellemalkin.com).
Step four: Classify this article as "hate" and any media outlet that publishes it as a "hate group" so that other journalists shun the truth and continue perpetuating the hoax.



Enough with bashing the GOP!

THERE are a lot of people who could spark anger in an American president these days. Terrorists with US citizens in their crosshairs. Mass shooters who prey on innocent people. Foreign dictators with evil in their hearts.

And yet, for the past seven years, President Obama has consistently saved his most potent vitriol for the people he seemingly despises most: Republicans.

This president has never wavered on making Republicans his sworn enemy. Their crime? Disagreeing with him and his agenda.

Obama and the Democrats, who pride themselves on their intellectual open-mindedness, leave no room for a civilized discussion with Republicans. To Democrats, passing their liberal agenda is tantamount to "getting it right." Anyone who might disagree is fair game for ridicule.

Obama has publicly compared Republicans to "hard-liners" in Iran for opposing his Iranian nuclear deal. In 2013, then-White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer likened House Republicans to "people with a bomb strapped to their chest" who "show up at your house and say ‘give me everything inside or I’m going to burn it down’ " when they didn’t want to capitulate on raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has openly compared Republicans to "terrorist groups."

The nastiness has spilled out on social media, as well. When Gail Huff, wife of former Republican senator Scott Brown, recently posted on Facebook that her daughter would be singing the national anthem before the Republican debate, a commenter posted that she would have an "issue" if her own son "sang for this group of bigots."

Terrorists? Suicide bombers? Bigots? Apparently, talking about one’s beliefs in Obama’s America carries with it a high price and a heavy burden — that is, if you’re disagreeing with Obama.

The presidential campaign, with firebrand Donald Trump the front-runner for the Republican nomination, is providing plenty of excuses for Democrats to bash the Republican party. But Obama began his war on the GOP long before Trump was a twinkle in the election’s eye.

Republicans need to fight back in 2016. It’s worth it, because there’s evidence Americans are willing to listen. A CBS News/New York Times poll taken after the shootings in San Bernardino found 57 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of terrorism, while 68 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

It’s up to Republicans to seal the deal at the ballot box. How? By proving that the labels Democrats seek to place on us are wrong.

For example, I’ve yet to meet a Republican who thinks a woman should be paid less than a man. Yet when congressional Republicans opposed a Democrat-sponsored "equal pay" bill, Democrats chalked the opposition up to another transgression in the GOP’s supposed "war on women." Republicans should have made a stronger argument that it is already illegal to discriminate against women and pointed out specifically why the particular bill the Democrats were pushing was flawed.

Then there’s the debate over raising the debt ceiling. Obama and Democratic leaders have made the fight about Republicans being hell-bent on shutting down government. But Republicans never successfully counter with a solid argument for the valid point that raising the ceiling only adds to the monstrous burden on future generations.

In 2016, Republicans will have plenty of opportunities to get the message out and set the record straight. Let’s fight back. Not with the same vitriol Democrats reserve for us, but by making a solid, reasoned case for why Republicans are in the best position to lead America forward.



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 December, 2015

Merry Christmas to all who come by here

A few things below but I am not sure if I will be posting anything tomorrow.  I will not be posting on any of my other blogs today.


The Busybody Left

By Thomas Sowell

The political left has been trying to run other people’s lives for centuries. So we should not be surprised to see the Obama administration now trying to force neighborhoods across America to have the mix of people the government wants them to have.

There are not enough poor people living in middle class neighborhoods to suit the political left. Not enough blacks in white neighborhoods. Not enough Hispanics here, not enough Asians there.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it grant the federal government the power to dictate such things. But places that do not mix and match people the way Washington wants them to can lose all sorts of federal money they currently receive under numerous programs.

Handing out vast amounts of the taxpayers' money is the way the federal government has expanded its power far beyond the powers granted by the Constitution — thereby limiting the freedom of individuals, localities and states. Washington is essentially buying up our freedom with our own money, taken in taxes.

What makes this latest political crusade so ridiculous and so dangerous is that people have never been mixed and matched at random, either in the United States or in other countries around the world, or in any period of history.

We can see blacks and whites living in different neighborhoods, but many people who look the same to the naked eye also sort themselves out. Moreover, neither blacks nor whites are living at random within their own respective neighborhoods.

The upscale neighborhood called Sugar Hill in Harlem, where I delivered groceries as a teenager, was very different from the neighborhood where I lived in a tenement.

White neighborhoods also sorted themselves out. A man who grew up in Chicago said, "Tell me a man’s last name and I will tell you where he lives." Studies of ethnic concentrations in Chicago have backed up his claim.

Back when the Lower East Side of New York was a predominantly Jewish area during the era of mass immigration from Europe, Hungarian Jews lived clustered together in a different part of the Lower East Side from where Polish Jews or Romanian Jews lived. And German Jews lived uptown.

It was the same story in Italian neighborhoods. Immigrants from Rome were not scattered at random among immigrants from Naples or Sicily. Moreover, this was not peculiar to New York.

The same clustering of people from particular parts of Italy could be found in cities across the United States, as well as in Italian communities in Buenos Aires, Toronto, Sydney and other places around the world.

The very same pattern could be found among Germans, Chinese, Lebanese and other peoples living in other countries. People of different ages, different incomes or different lifestyles likewise tend to sort themselves out.

Nevertheless the busybody left has launched a political crusade to make communities across America present a tableau that matches the preconceptions of their betters.

Nor are the true believers deterred by the failures and counterproductive consequences of their previous social crusades, such as busing children to distant schools to mix and match them with children from different racial, economic or social backgrounds.

The theory was that this would improve the education of all — through the magic of "diversity" — and promote greater understanding among different races and classes. In practice, however, compulsory busing of children to mix and match them produced more racial polarization and more educational problems.

Undaunted by reality, the left moved on to try something similar in the housing markets, by placing low-income housing projects in middle class neighborhoods and by giving housing subsidies to individual low-income families to go live in neighborhoods where they could not afford to live otherwise.

The counterproductive consequences of these efforts in the housing markets have only spurred on the busybodies of the left to try harder to force people to live their lives according to the preconceptions of the left, rather than according to their own direct personal experiences and preferences.



Are Republicans dying off?

In 2004, Republican popular vote totals for president peaked — at 62,040,610 votes for George W. Bush. They have been down ever since.  59,948,323 votes were cast for John McCain in 2008. And 60,933,500 votes were cast for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Meaning, in the past decade, Republicans have proven unable to expand their voting coalition.

While many analyses will often focus on candidate selection or issue selection by the party, offering a range reasons, usually ideological but also applying to the candidates of themselves, of being too moderate or too conservative.

But what if there is a different reason, a more obvious truth for the shrinking Republican electorate?

Perhaps the reason fewer people are voting Republican is simply because there are fewer Republicans who are still alive.

The Greatest Generation, which weathered the Great Depression and then fought and won World War II, is all but gone. In 2004, there were still more than 4 million surviving World War II veterans, according to the National World War II Museum. By 2012, that number had shrunk to little more than a million. By 2016, it will be far less than a million.Approaching_Omaha

If you include their spouses at roughly the same count, bringing the total to about 8 or 9 million, that means in the past 2 election cycles, more than 6 million have died. By 2016, nearly all of them will have died.

According to research by Gallup, what was left of the Greatest Generation was roughly split politically and ideologically as recently as 2013 — 47 percent Republican or lean-Republican versus 46 percent Democrat or lean-Democrat. There, the death rate would have hurt each party roughly equally.

As for the Silent Generation — those born in between the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers — it is 50 percent to 43 percent in favor of Republicans, including leaners. As that generation now dies off, it will disproportionately hurt Republicans.

In the meantime, their replacements in the voting age population at the younger end of the spectrum, have unquestionably skewed Democrat. Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1996, register 53 percent are Democrat or lean-Democrat compared to 35 percent who are Republican or lean-Republican.

As for Baby Boomers, they are roughly split, 46 percent to 44 percent in favor of Democrats, including leaners.

Meaning, quite literally, the Republican Party is dying off, and unless something changes rather quickly, the GOP may never have as many votes as it does right now.

That is the stage, and at least explains what has taken place in 2008 and 2012.

But what looks like perhaps an insurmountable demographic decline could actually represent an enormous opportunity in disguise for the GOP. The three keys will undoubtedly be: 1) Maximizing turnout of the remaining Silent Generation by emphasizing that 2016 is their last stand; 2) Skewing Baby Boomers towards Republican as they now retire and worry about the future they are leaving their children; and 3) Somewhat neutralizing the advantage among Millennials as they enter their full-time careers and whose concerns are now shifting away from social issues to economic concerns.

Add to that an overarching emphasis on security issues in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino, including high anxiety over immigration and terrorism, as well as economic issues including immigration, trade, globalization, and jobs. Voters, particularly Republican voters, see a nation in decline.

Suddenly, then, it is easy to see why the two current Republican frontrunners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have excelled. Both have taken a hard line on immigration, and neither supported granting fast track trade authority Barack Obama. What you find is a Republican electorate that is receptive to a working class populist message that is also tough on security that has confounded the political establishment.

Now, how will that message reflect back into the general election remains to be seen. But some signals could be coming from Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who just last month was mocking Republican concerns over Syrian refugees but now, in the wake of San Bernardino, is praising efforts in Congress to increase FBI scrutiny of the refugees coming from the Syria and Iraq war.

"The United States has to take a close look at our visa programs, and I am glad this administration and Congress are stepping up scrutiny in the wake of San Bernardino," Clinton told a crowd of her supporters at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Dec. 15.

What polls is Clinton looking at to suggest she needs to triangulate on immigration and visas — before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary have even begun? It is notable that Clinton is watching her right flank. That might mean events are reshaping the political landscape faster than politicians can respond.

Meaning there could in-roads for Republicans to not only political independents, where the usual battle for the middle occurs in the general election, but also to Democrats, who might be afraid their party cannot keep them safe.

What is clear is that in order to succeed, Republicans need to replace their ranks by building on the base they have, and the current political earthquake on security might be what it takes to shake up the current electorate and put voters on the table nobody thought could be moved just two months ago.



Economic Tinkering Has Unforeseeable Ripple Effect

One policy change can have far reaching effects on the economy.


The environmentalist left is always eager to talk about the fragility of natural ecosystems. Even slight alterations, they argue, can have huge ripple effects and unintended consequences. Thus, we’re forced to suffer through mosquito bites every summer instead of eradicating that godless species as we should have years ago. Still, the point about the interconnected nature of natural systems is not without merit, and there is such system that is routinely disrupted without adequate regard for the consequences. That system is the economy.

The folly of government planners is that they think they can change one variable in the economy without throwing the whole system out of whack. The desire to tinker with a law here, a regulation there, overlooks the fact that these changes create a different set of incentives, which consumers and producers respond to by altering their behavior. The results of this are often impossible to predict, and rarely desirable.

A good example comes from the health care sector. The Affordable Care Act sought to reduce prices and increase coverage by enacting specific regulations on insurance companies and mandates on consumers. The web of incentives it created is far too complex to go into fully, but by now it’s pretty clear that the law has not worked as intended. People aren’t complying with the mandates, the price of coverage has gone up, which in turn has driven insurance co-ops out of business, and caused some insurers to pull out of the exchanges.

Now, the government is running up against its own ripple effects, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking to block several hospital mergers that are occurring as the result of the Affordable Care Act. The FTC argues that these hospital mergers reduce competition and increase prices for consumers, and that therefore the mergers should be blocked. It sounds reasonable. We all know that competition makes things cheaper and better. However, in this case things are not as simple as they appear.

ObamaCare is making medicine more expensive and harder to provide, as well as encouraging cooperation and integration of hospital systems. It has therefore become more difficult for smaller hospitals to survive on their own, and these mergers are a way to comply with the ACA’s mandates while allowing larger institutions to absorb some of the costs.

Are hospital mergers a good thing? Well, probably not, but given the current regulatory and legal framework, it may be the best of a series of bad options. What if the FTC succeeds in block mergers only to confront a wave of hospital closures? It’s hard to see how that would make consumers any better off. On the other hand, without ObamaCare’s mandates, it’s unlikely that such mergers would have been necessary in the first place.

When government intervenes in one part of the economy, it creates problems elsewhere; when it tries to address those problems, still more spring forth like so many heads on a hydra. In fact, the majority of these problems would solve themselves if government would simply stay out of the way, but I’m not holding my breath for them to learn this lesson any time soon.


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 December, 2015

Where has all the new money gone?

A great puzzle for economists is that Obama has issued vast quantities of new money to pay for his administration's extravagance without the expected downside: roaring inflation. All of history tells us that printing more and more money makes prices skyrocket.  So how come price rises have mostly been modest?

The answer has to lie with what economists call the velocity of circulation.  And that is put forward in the article below.  Roughly translated into layman's terms, it says that both companies and individuals are saving more and tending to spend it on big things rather than a lot of little things when they do spend.  So that reduces demand, which keeps prices down.  The writer below also suggests a major reason why people and companies are keeping their hands in their pockets: Government regulation of almost anything that moves

Velocity is an indicator that buyers and sellers agree on a price, that the price is "right" and not an outlier. That's why you see a stock move on high volume "confirming" the move, because it means the prices wasn't "right" at the previous level, while more people agree the new price is fair.

If prices are allowed to go where they need to without pressure and manipulation, you will always have velocity, as the most buyers and sellers will always agree at some price. Because this is true, low velocity cannot happen in a free market. Which means the only reason for low velocity (in this or the previous Depressions) is that someone has somehow managed to get an edge that prevents them from selling, from liquidating, at the true price, i.e. the one the buyers will agree to.

This has another corollary, that the measure of velocity on the Fed's own chart is the measure of the level of unnatural price manipulation on the market. We can watch this aggregate indicator of their failure in real time, by the Fed's own hand, and we can know the manipulation is ending when it rises.

So yes, the Fed, the governments, the insiders can manipulate to their heart's content, as they've been doing, but that unnatural pressure goes somewhere. And the pressure diverts into velocity.

As we saw in the Great Depression, or the Roman Empire, velocity can stagnate for 10, 20, or 1,000 years until the manipulation ends, property rights are restored, and we have a free market.

History has shown that may be a bargain they're willing to make, but it won't do the rest of us a lot of good."



Why The Donald trumps the opposition

The clueless attacks on Trump have fuelled his campaign

Donald Trump emerged from the pack of Republicans seeking the party’s nomination in June, after gaining notoriety for calling Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’. Pundits largely dismissed Trump as a celebrity blowhard, and his support was deemed a fad – the ‘Summer of Trump’. But, six months later, Trump is still on top of the field. With his call for a ‘total and complete shutdown’ on Muslims entering the US, Democrats and Republicans alike now see something much darker in Trump and routinely refer to him as a fascist. This Nazi, they now fear, has a real chance of going all the way to the White House.

Writing off Trump at first was complacent, and revealed how most commentators had assumed that American politics could never be open to an outsider like Trump – even at a time when trust in politicians is at a low-point. But the latest panicked outbursts over Trump also fail to come to terms with him.

While nearly everyone rushed off to denounce Trump as ‘un-American’ for his anti-Muslim immigration proposal, they didn’t stop to consider just how ridiculous that proposal is. As Trump later explained, his cunning plan amounts to asking would-be immigrants ‘Are you a Muslim?’. It was more ‘Springtime for Hitler’ than Final Solution.

Yet, as foolish as Trump can be, he has shown the capacity to play members of the establishment for even bigger fools. He certainly knows how to get a rise out of them, to his benefit. The timing of his anti-Muslim announcement was not accidental. Just the day before, President Obama had given a lacklustre speech about the terrorist threat, which did little to allay the fears of those who were on-edge following the San Bernardino attack. Trump seized on that disconnect and quickly whipped up a ‘policy’ that he knew would grab headlines. Sure enough, politicos and the media were duly outraged, Trump dominated the news, and his polling numbers got a nice bump upwards.

But it seems the US political establishment is highly selective in who and what it considers worthy of outrage and denunciation. Before Trump’s latest pronouncement, two other Republican candidates – Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz – had said that the US should limit Syrian refugees to those who are Christian. And Obama, in his Oval Office speech, called for tightening visa rules for people wishing to enter from certain countries – ones with predominantly Muslim populations. None of those schemes led to the kind of uproar Trump received for his.

When Trump proclaims that he will act unilaterally (say, to build a wall along the border with Mexico) and not let a ‘pathetically weak’ Congress get in his way, freaked-out onlookers hear a dictator-in-waiting. But I wonder where he got such notions. Could it be from Obama, who, in 2011, said: ‘We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.’ As Jonathan Turley points out, Obama has expanded presidential authority and has overridden Congress in areas from ‘healthcare to immigration to the environment’. Democrats cheered these moves, but now don’t like the thought of someone like Trump having such powers.

The obsession with Trump, the close monitoring of his every utterance, has reached the point that his political and media foes have – ironically – become important generators of support for him. Every time they tell Trump ‘you can’t say that’, he says it. Every time they demand an apology from Trump, he doubles down on it. Just by defying the strictures of political correctness, and not caving when challenged, Trump can look authoritative and daring.

The bipartisan frenzy over Trump backfires on the political establishment in other ways. As we’ve seen in the backlash to Trump’s suggested ban on Muslim immigration, the response has not been ‘here’s why Trump is wrong’; it has been ‘Trump is unacceptable’, ‘un-American’, a ‘fascist’. Opponents want to banish Trump and his supporters from polite society, rather than tackle the arguments that they raise. It is not unreasonable for Trump’s supporters to express concerns about terrorism and immigration, among other issues. But, too often, establishment figures fail to take these concerns seriously and provide counter-arguments. Worried about Islamic terrorism? You’re an Islamophobe. Worried about immigration? You’re a bigot.

Indeed, the denigration of Trump supporters is one of the ugliest aspects of the anti-Trump hysteria. As it became known that a core part of Trump’s support comes from those without a college education, some began to use that fact to dismiss his voters as ‘uneducated’, ‘low-information’ or just moronic. Trump fans are portrayed as excessively anxious about terrorism, irrationally so, and thus susceptible to being duped by a demagogue like Trump. But who is more fearful: Trump supporters or those who are freaking out over the possibility that more people will jump on Trump’s bandwagon?

Those core Trump supporters who are disparaged as the ‘uneducated’ are what we used to call the working class. Sections of the working class have been alienated from the political process in recent years. In the 2012 election, many white workers without a college education abstained rather than voting for Obama or Mitt Romney. Now that it appears that Trump has them engaged in politics, the establishment parties have only themselves to blame for ignoring them for so long.

Trump's broadsides against political correctness and his emphasis on national security are clearly in response to Obama and the Democrats. And his complaints about weak, ineffectual and dishonest politicians are levelled against both parties. Trump has been on the offensive against the entire political establishment, slowly tearing down the old order. He has exposed a cross-party political elite whose instinct is to try to crush him, rather than make its own positive case for the future.



Senator Marco Rubio Largely Responsible For Obamacare "Death Blow"

If you have been paying attention to the news about Obamacare recently you know that things aren’t going well. In fact, the entire program is on the verge of total collapse as the poorly crafted "Affordable Care Act" has entered into what many are calling a "death spiral".

There are many reasons why Obamacare is failing and many could see this tragic end coming the moment that the Democrats rammed the bill through Congress without any Republican support and without even reading it themselves.

It appears now that one of the primary reasons that many state exchanges are going bankrupt is that a Republican senator added a provision in the bill that made it extremeley difficult for the government to ask for more taxpayer money once they blew through what they had.

That senator? 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Marco Rubio.  From Hot Air via The Hill:

"Two years ago, Marco Rubio won a fight during the budget battles to include a requirement for HHS to maintain budget neutrality in its risk-corridor programs. Rubio had pushed back against this program for months, claiming — as it happens, accurately — that it was a back-door bailout of the insurance companies that had cooperated in the effort to pass ObamaCare. Instead of allowing HHS to dip into general funds for risk-corridor payments, Rubio’s rider restricted those payouts to funds collected from taxes on insurers.

The move forced HHS to cut expected risk corridor payments to pennies on the dollar, and prompted the closure of more than half of the co-ops launched by HHS to provide supposedly low-cost coverage. Now that United Healthcare has signaled that it may cut its losses and get out of the ObamaCare market, The Hill credits Rubio with starting the death spiral many predicted when Democrats first passed ObamaCare in March 2010:

The risk corridors program was designed to be a temporary stopgap against high insurance claims during the first three years of the new federal program.

If an insurer had more expenses than it planned, the federal government would cover the remaining balance using cash collected from companies that paid out fewer claims than expected.

The program was almost certain to need extra money in the first few years, when there were fewer healthier customers signing up. But Rubio’s provision in 2014 severely limited any new spending by requiring the program to become budget neutral.

The damaging effects of the budget-neutral requirement became clear in October.  The Obama administration disclosed it could only afford to pay 13 cents of every dollar owed to the insurance companies — after insurers had already locked in their rates for the upcoming year. …

Within weeks, about a dozen start-up insurers known as CO-OPs announced they’d be shutting their doors, in most cases because they lacked the cash flow to stay solvent. And at least two other insurers — WinHealth Partners in Wyoming and Moda Health in Washington — pulled out of the exchanges.

This news is being reported at a perfect time for Marco Rubio who will surely gain some extra popularity for this move especially from some conservatives who identify him as a big government Republican.

As expected, Obamacare quickly ran out of money, and instead of having a blank check like they usually do, the process started to fall apart.  The Democrats put us in this precarious position by pushing through a disastrous bill and now we are all going to be left picking up the pieces.  Thanks to Marco, it looks like Republicans were able to make a positive difference in moving away from this debacle and on to a healthcare system that actually makes sense."

Sounds like a solid small government move to me. Good for Marco.



How Much Would Obamacare Repeal Save Americans?

Repealing Obamacare isn't just good for consumers, but it could save the taxpayers a big chunk of change. As Townhall reports:

    While liberals mock Republicans for their several failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they overlook the fact that these conservatives may actually be doing so out of hopes of fixing our economy. The Senate’s latest anti-Obamacare bill for instance, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which passed on December 3, would help take a big chunk out of our deficit, the Congressional Budget Office reports.

    According to the CBO, repealing ObamaCare's subsidies and Medicaid expansion would cut federal spending by almost $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. And getting rid of its myriad tax hikes would reduce tax revenues by $1.1 trillion, resulting in $281 billion decrease in projected deficits over the next decade.

    In total, the deficit reduction has the potential to rise to $474 billion, mainly because the economic growth would boost revenue, Investor's Business Daily explains.

    Hm. Maybe those Republicans aren’t so crazy after all?

Obamacare is a disaster that's been so overshadowed by a slew of other disasters that professional pollsters have forgotten about it. But as many have pointed out, it could be the dark horse that sinks Hillary Clinton. The American people should hope so.



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 December, 2015

Large and small, the media almost all bow before an agenda set by the Left:  A report from the front

By Nicholas Stix

I'd come to New York City from West Germany in 1985, planning to become a millionaire philosopher. That hadn't quite panned out.

In 1990, while employed as a full-time social worker, I also produced the first of three issues of A Different Drummer, a political literary magazine I conceived of during grad school, and used its title as a stepping stone into New York City journalism.
New York Newsday was by far the most radical leftwing paper in town, but it was also the only one that actively solicited and published submissions from local nobodies for its "Urban I" op-ed feature. To borrow from Chicago pol Abner Mikva, I was the ultimate "nobody nobody sent."

When in March 1990, NYN published my essay about working as a foster-care caseworker with racist, violent, black parents, my boss (of a new job - not as a foster caretaker) immediately canned me and, I found out later, resolved to blacklist me.
I kept sending in submissions, all "on spec," i.e., with no obligation on the paper's part, and in early 1991, NYN published another, a quintessentially Jewish New York piece about an encounter with an obnoxious, black panhandler, "Beggars Can be Schmoozers."

In the piece, I echo my old grad school logic professor, Michael Levin, who argued that since 25% of black men ages 20-29 were convicted felons then under the supervision of the criminal justice system (in jail, prison, or on probation or parole), one was justified in crossing the street to avoid them.

In response, NYN published a sophomoric essay by a black, CUNY Baruch College sophomore who suffered from toxically high self-esteem. He smugly lectured Levin that the black man he avoided on the street was a potential friend.

NYN stifled my reply and all my best pitches were suddenly DOA. Op-ed editor Ken Emerson would respond, "No light's going off, Nick."

I managed to get in one more piece with NYN, but only by pulling a string. My big sister was friends with another NYN op-ed editor, Annette Fuentes, and through her, it published my essay on the "death sentence" the media had levied on my Brooklyn community, Bensonhurst, ostensibly due to the 1989 murder of black teenager Yusuf Hawkins, but actually because of the MSM's murderous hatred of working-class whites.

NYN promoted the essay on its table of contents inside the cover, but welshed on paying me my $150 fee.

They had pirated New York's most popular columnist, Jimmy Breslin, away from the Daily News in 1988, by giving him $400,000 per year ($835,690 today), and were in the process of losing $100 million from 1985-1995 ($189 million in 2015 dollars). But they were making a point of cheating a freelancer out of $150.

Never underestimate the role of pettiness in human affairs.

After months of chasing after my fee, I got my $150 only by suing the paper in Small Claims Court.

NYN's attractive, tall, blond, gentile lawyer denied that I'd been blacklisted, and invited me to submit again.

Which I did. But not as Nicholas Stix.

I got an old friend from grad school to let me use him as a front-you know, the way those poor, genocidal, Communist millionaires like Dalton Trumbo had done during the 1950s?

I used my buddy's address and telephone number. And who was I? Nicholas Stix had a working-class, staccato, Jewish New York, intellectual voice that was so distinctive that a lawyer I'd never met recognized me over the phone from having heard me on a radio call-in show. By contrast, "Mark Rust" was an upper-middle-class homosexual with a diffident (no lisp), slow, low voice. (I was an old amateur stage actor.)

My ("Rust's") essay, "We Don't Need Another Hero," about a racial turf battle between black Rev. Calvin O. Butts in Harlem and rappers, was typical of my work in those days.

Ken Emerson told "Rust" over the telephone, "Wonderful, wonderful essay!"

And so, I became a man of multiple identities.
In the late 1990s, while an adjunct lecturer at my alma mater, the City University of New York system, I wrote a series of whistle-blowing essays on CUNY for the New York Post and Daily News as "Robert Berman," a name I'd come up with when I'd gotten caught shoplifting in Waldbaum's when I was 13, so the manager wouldn't reach my mom. I came to work to find a stack of photocopied essays attacking me.

At The Weekly Standard, William Kristol published an essay of mine on the destruction of standards at CUNY's City College, and commissioned an exposé on remedial college ed. The manuscript didn't even mention IQ, but the cowardly Kristol got cold feet, and backed out of publishing it. After I reminded his deputy that the work was not on spec, she remembered to cut me a "kill fee" check.

Anne Neal at ACTA, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, asked "Berman," to write a report on reforming CUNY. She got a 10,000-word report that she neither published, nor so much as acknowledged.

Several years ago, I sent a pseudonymous letter to my local community paper about violent black kids attending my son's predominantly white elementary school. The editor immediately wrote back, asserting that the letter was "too racist" and had to be re-written (i.e., ruined), saying "I think I know who you are"-I'm sure he did!-and demanding that I appear in his office with photo ID, before he'd even consider running my letter.

Journalism is so bad in America because it's dominated by the anti-white Left, while the alleged Right is made up of hollow men. On top of that, as a West German said to me of mainstream journalism over 30 years ago, "Das ist ja alles Beziehungen." ("It's all connections.")

NYN went out of business 20 years ago, the Daily News veered radically to the left in the 2000s, and the once fearless Post has been trimming its sails in recent years. The "Overton Window" is so narrow that, front or no front, I can't write in New York City anymore.

Thankfully for me and my babies, who like to eat, there's VDARE.com, which I discovered for myself in 2000, and have read ever since.

VDARE.com Editor-Publisher Peter Brimelow has been publishing my work for over 11 years. I don't have to call up Peter using a fake voice or fake name, or triangulate so much in my writing that my point is completely lost.

The only problem is that he wants me to write ever-shorter manuscripts. (You'll talk to him, right? Something like, "You have to publish longer articles by Nicholas Stix!")
Please https://www.vdare.com/contribute">support VDARE.com as generously as possible. I thank you-and your posterity will, too.

Via email


The Lonely Yardstick

"There are three yardsticks by which the nations of the world are measured," someone once said, "One for Dictatorships, one for Democracies and one for Israel."

The last one is not only the loneliest yardstick, it also seems to be the busiest.

Why is Israel judged in a category all of its own by so many both from within and from without the country? Moreover, why is it judged so harshly, and on issues to which most Dictatorships and some Democracies do not devotedly adhere themselves, as Israel is expected to do?

I doubt there is anyone who would claim that Israel is a dictatorship and would be able to bring forth proof of that. There is plenty of evidence that it is not.

On the other hand, I doubt that there is anyone who would be able to provide evidence that Israel was not founded on the principles and pillars of Democracy, and operates according to them on a daily basis. Perhaps it is not the ideal of democracies but it unquestionably aspires to reach it. It certainly is expected to be the ideal based on the harsh manner in which the world responds to its efforts to survive as a sovereign nation.

What is it that makes Israel so different in the eyes of the world? Why is it that the world feels a greater and more pressing need to put Israel under the most gigantically magnifying microscope, and monitor each and every one of its moves?

The answer, in my opinion, rests on its very rare and unique Jewish Democratic essence.

Israel is a strange breed in the eyes of the world. It is a kind of an experiment on the timeline of history, a close to seventy - years - old experiment.

Arabism and the Western World which seems to be intoxicated by its venom, seem to be sitting there watching and following very closely the experiment called "Israel, the Jewish State." Not only does it seem to examine each and every one of its actions, responses and maneuvers, but Dr. Kadar and I honestly believe that it is probably hoping and praying that this experiment fails. Moreover, they seem to do all they can to ensure that it will never succeed.  Why?

We both believe that the world is jealous. It is envious of the Jews and the Jewish State on a few planes.  It is perplexed by the sight of the rebirth of a sovereign state that was able, in a relatively short period, and after an ensanguined history of its people, to overcome and cope with, thrive and flourish in a reality very few other nations were ever faced with, let alone overcame. It is baffled, lost and mystified by the face of a nation that has defied all odds and all efforts by the many people who toiled hard to erase its traces, remove it from the family of nations and turn it into a mere page, or at the most, a chapter in the history of mankind. Israel is the mirror that reflects the failure of the world, a constant reminder of its own inadequacies.  And who wants to be reminded of their shortcomings?

As matters look from where we stand, it seems that the lonely yardstick will remain the loneliest and the busiest for a long time. We, the Jews, do not intend to give up, so the world it seems will have to contend with the experiment called "Israel" for many years to come. 



Privatize the Marriage Market

By Abigail Hall

December is one of the most popular months to get engaged. It seems that every time I get on social media, one of my girlfriends is posting a photo of her left hand and new engagement ring. After getting engaged, and even before, many couples have already combined their lives. They share bills, checking accounts, other financial and life decisions, and live together.

Depending on where they live, that could make them criminals.

Yes, you read that correctly. In some states, like Florida, such couples could be fined $500 or spend 60 days in jail. Why? They are living together before they’re married. Under current Florida statutes, more than half a million people in the state could be convicted for the crime of "living in sin."

To be clear, I’ve never heard of this law actually being enforced and I doubt confessing one’s living situation will cause any trouble. Given the fact that some two-thirds of American couples walking down the isle live together before marriage, many are calling for the law to be removed from the books. Other states have recently repealed their mandates against premarital cohabitation and a bill in Florida has passed in the Senate.

State lawmakers have pointed out that Florida is one of only three states (with Mississippi and Michigan) that still outlaws living together before marriage. They say such a law will have a negative impact on the state’s image. Moreover, the law does not apply to same-sex couples, making it discriminatory against heterosexual couples. While the law against premarital cohabitation in Florida may seem trivial, it is indicative of a larger problem. That is, why is the government involved in marriage at all?

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Many throughout the country celebrated marriage equality among heterosexual and homosexual couples. Others decried the ruling as an unwarranted, counterproductive, immoral, and foolish nationalization of marriage (see here, here, and here) and erosion of American social fabric. Once again I ask, why is the government involved in marriage in the first place? Last time I checked, my husband and I married each other. Same-sex couples are getting married to their partners. At what point did we and other Americans consent to enter into three-way marriages between our partners, the state, and ourselves?

There is no need for the government in marriage. A variety of people have made this argument, suggesting that state-sanctioned marriage does nothing but create problems. Having the state sanction marriages does nothing more than invite government expansion and intrusion into our private lives. Colin Jones pointed out in The Independent Review almost ten years, it’s the fact that marriages have to be state-sanctioned that gave rise to the same-sex marriage controversy.

There is no reason why marriage shouldn’t be completely privatized. If we can contract for things like cars, life insurance, wills, power of attorney, and a house, why can’t couples come up with their own marriage contract? Are individuals not in the best position to understand their personal needs? Why is the state setting the terms of marriages and not the couples involved?

Many argue against such ideas from religious standpoints. This argument is invalid. If marriage is privatized, this doesn’t mean that churches have to recognize marriages with which they don’t agree. In fact, it implies the opposite. If a church doesn’t want to recognize a privately contracted same-sex marriage, polygamous marriage, a marriage between formerly divorced persons, etc., they would not be legally compelled. They can recognize marriages that align with their institution’s rules.

Others argue that privatizing marriage would be problematic because of state benefits. Under the current regime, marriage has implications for taxes, and legal and medical decisions, among other things. The problem with this, however, isn’t the idea of privatized marriage, but government benefits. It’s confusing two disparate problems.

The couples getting engaged this month will spend the coming months making big decisions about their weddings. On the "to-do" will be getting a marriage license. They’ll spend time and money to have Uncle Sam say they’re a legitimate couple.

Maybe by the time their children decide to get married they won’t have to get the state to sanction their relationship, or maybe they’ll decide to buck the system all together. After all, I guess their parents have set some kind of an example–you know, as cohabitating outlaws.



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)


22 December, 2015

Praise of Trump from the Left

It is sometimes forgotten that American conservatives were traditionally isolationist.  Trump hasn't forgotten.  And that appeals to some on the Left too -- JR

Yes, Trump plays a bully boy as he appeals to populist (good) – as well as nativist, xenophobic and racist (bad) – sentiments. The bad need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged rather than dismissed by self-styled sophisticates, noses raised. The good should be recognized and encouraged.

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Focusing on the negative aspects of his campaign has blinded many people to what’s good in it – and I don’t mean good like "Oh, the Democrat can beat this guy!" I mean good like it’s good that some important issues – like the militarized role of the U.S. in the world – are getting aired.

Trump is appealing to nativist sentiments – as Pat Buchanan did in the 1992 campaign – but along with Buchanan’s "America First" arguments came a distrust of imperial adventures. Similarly, Trump recently said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity. … The Middle East is a total disaster under her."

Now, I think that’s pretty accurate, though U.S. policy in my view may be more Machiavellian than stupid, but the remark is a breath of fresh air on the national stage. So, at times, Trump is a truth-teller, including when he says politicians sell themselves to rich donors and when he calls out "free-trade" deals for costing American workers their middle-class jobs.

But the mainstream meme about Trump is that he’s a total liar. The New York Times recently purported to grade the veracity of presidential candidates. By the Times’ accounting, Trump was off the scales lying. But I never saw anyone fact-check his assertion about former Secretary Clinton’s record of bringing bloody chaos to Libya, Syria and other Mideast countries. That’s not an argument that establishment media wants to have.

Of course, a few sentences after Trump’s comment about Clinton’s death toll, he turned to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the CIA station in Benghazi, causing Salon to dismiss him as embracing "conspiracies," which is all that many people will hear, not the fuller context.

Shouldn’t someone who at times articulates truly inconvenient truths be credited for breaking "politically correct" taboos, such as acknowledging the obvious disasters of U.S. interventionism across the Mideast? Trump speaks such truths, as he did during the Las Vegas debate about U.S. wars:

"We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now."

Frankly, that is a stronger critique of military spending than we’ve heard from Sen. Bernie Sanders of late. But Trump’s — or Sen. Rand Paul’s — remarks about U.S. policies of "regime change" and bombings are often ignored. It’s more convenient to focus on U.S. kindness in letting a few thousand refugees in than to examine how millions of displaced people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somali and other countries lost their homes as a result of U.S. government policies.

A Long-Ignored Constitution

Some critics say Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants is unconstitutional (although that argument is debatable as a matter of law regardless of what one thinks of the morality and practicality of his idea).

But there’s also the question of how frequently recent presidents have violated the Constitution in recent years with hardly a peep from the mainstream media. News flash: the sitting Democratic president has bombed seven countries without a declaration of war. We’ve effectively flushed the Constitution down the toilet. Does that justify violating it more? No. But the pretend moral outrage on this score is hollow.

And there’s some logic to the nativist Muslim bashing. It’s obviously wrong on many levels, but it’s understandable given the skewed information the public is given. Since virtually no one on the national stage is seriously and systematically criticizing U.S. policy in the Middle East, such as the multiple U.S. "regime change" invasions and the longstanding U.S. alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel, it makes sense to say that we’ve got to change something and that something is separating from Muslims.

Some sophisticates also slammed Trump for acting in the Las Vegas debate like he didn’t know what the nuclear triad is (the Cold War-era strategy of delivering nuclear bombs by land-based missiles, strategic bombers and submarine launches).

Well, I have no idea if he knows what the nuclear triad is or if he was just acting that way. But I’m rather glad he didn’t adopt the administration’s position of saying it’s a good idea to spend a trillion dollars to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal so we can efficiently threaten the planet for another generation.

People may recall that for all the rhetoric from President Barack Obama about ending nuclear weapons, it was President Ronald Reagan, after all his bluster about the Evil Empire and basing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, who almost rose to the occasion when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed eliminating nuclear arsenals.

For today’s mainstream journalists, it’s just easier to go with the flow and hate Trump, as all the major media outlets want us to do. After all, much of our political culture lives off hate. Apparently hate is what gets people to do what you want them to do. So you scare them by building up villainous bogeymen, such as Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin.

People were so encouraged to hate Hussein that many backed the disastrous invasion of Iraq. They were propagandized into hating Assad so much that U.S. policy helped give rise to ISIS. Putin has been transformed into such a comic-book villain that people who should know better talk casually about shooting down Russian planes and seeking "regime change" in Moscow.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the supposedly "reasonable" Republican "moderate," says "it’s time that we punched the Russians in the nose." Who cares about risking nuclear war? Don’t we all just hate Putin?

Now, many Americans – Republicans and Democrats alike – are demonizing Trump. Whatever he says is put in the most negative context with no expectation of balance. He has become the focus of hate, hate, hate. He’s a black-hatted, black-hearted villain. But why can’t we just view people for who they are, seeing both the good and bad in them?

Asking Why the Hate

Trump calls for a cutoff of immigration of Muslims "until we can figure out what the hell is going on" — which, given our political culture’s seeming propensity of never figuring out much of anything might be forever, but the comment actually raises a serious question: why are people in the Mideast angry at U.S. policy?

Says Trump: "There’s tremendous hatred [among Muslims toward the United States]. Where it comes from, I don’t know." But Trump — unlike virtually anyone else with a megaphone — is actually raising the issue about why there’s so much resentment against the U.S. in the Mideast.

Virtually the only other person on the national stage stating such things is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, though his articulations have also been uneven and have been a pale copy of what his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has said.

Of course, what should be said is: If we don’t know "what the hell is going on!" — then maybe we should stop bombing. But that doesn’t get processed because the general public lives under the illusion that Barack Obama is a pacifistic patsy. The reality is that Obama has been bombing more countries than any president since World War II – by his own count seven – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

Half of what Trump says may be borderline deranged and false. But he also says true things — and critically, important things that no one else with any media or political access is saying.

At this week’s Las Vegas debate, Trump said: "When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, family, girlfriends, and they were put into planes and they were sent back, for the most part, to Saudi Arabia."

Granted, Trump’s comment was mangled and imprecise – he may have been referring to President George W. Bush’s extraordinary decision to let rich Saudis, including bin Laden family members, onto the first civilian planes allowed back into the air after 9/11 so they could avoid intensive FBI questioning and possible hostility from the American people – but Trump’s remark raises the legitimate question of Saudi Arabia’s relation to 9/11.

Yes, Trump says he’ll bomb the hell out of Syria, as does virtually every other Republican candidate. (Sen. Ted Cruz wants to see if "sand can glow in the dark," phrasing usually associated with nuclear war.) But Obama’s already is bombing Syria and Iraq albeit without much media fanfare. So people think it’s not happening and thus believe that Obama’s passivity is the problem.

What Americans are right in sensing is that President Obama, former President Bush and the rest of the Establishment are playing endless geopolitical games and keeping them in the dark. As citizens in what is supposed to be a democratic Republic, they’re right to be sick of it. Many of the people supporting or sympathizing with Trump seem to sense that he may be the only one ready to tip over the furniture and make a fuss.



Whitewashing Chappaquiddick

There’s an old saying attributed to Russians who endured the travails of Soviet totalitarianism: "The future is known — it’s always bright — but the past keeps changing." According to Hollywood Reporter, Apex Entertainment is producing a feature movie entitled "Chappaquiddick," a film whose utterly twisted rationale is revealed by Producer Mark Ciardi: "I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country. Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick, and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what [Senator Ted Kennedy] had to go through."

What Kennedy had to go through? How about what Mary Jo Kopechne had to go through?

Hollywood may wish to engage in another Orwellian effort stringing together events in a "compelling and emotional way," but pesky facts are indisputable: After a drunken Kennedy drove his car off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond, the man who would become the "Lion of the Senate" extricated himself and left the 28-year-old Kopechne to drown.

According to Edgartown search-and-rescue head John Farrar, who reached the scene the next morning, Kopechne’s corpse was positioned in a way that indicated she was searching for pockets of air. Farrar believes she lived for two hours after the crash. In other words, if Kennedy had merely knocked on the door of the nearest house — only yards away — and summoned that rescue squad, Kopechne might have survived. Not that anything Farrar said became part of the public record. "I was told outright by the D.A.’s office that I would not be allowed to testify on how long Kopechne was alive in the car," he told People magazine in July 1989. "They were not interested in the least in anything that would hurt Ted Kennedy."

After leaving the scene, the rest of Kennedy’s "ordeal" consisted of walking back to the party he attended — and trying to get his cousin, Joe Gargan, to say that it was Gargan driving the car. Gargan refused, but insisted that they return to the scene and attempt to rescue Kopechne. When that proved unsuccessful, Ted went back to his hotel room, where he tried to set up an alibi with the hotel clerk. After that he went to bed without notifying authorities until after 8 a.m. the next day.

Kopechne was buried only a day after she died, and a petition by a district attorney to exhume her body was denied by a judge, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of her death. Ultimately, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing injury. Judge James Boyle suspended the minimum sentence requirement of two months' imprisonment, citing Kennedy’s "unblemished record." That would be an unblemished crime record: Ted was suspended from Harvard for cheating and was arrested four times for traffic violations as a law student in Virginia. Moreover, proving he remained a person of "integrity" going forward, he and former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd shared in a "sandwich" with a distraught La Brasserie waitress in 1985. We’ll spare you the details in keeping with our standards as a family publication.

Chappaquiddick occurred in 1969. Nonetheless, the liberal voters of Massachusetts kept re-electing Teddy, who remained a senator until his death in 2009, 40 years later. Adding insult to injury, Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a place where America buries its war heroes.

Kennedy biographer and former New York Times reporter Adam Clymer sums up the liberal mindset regarding Ted’s sordid life, insisting his "achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne." Liberal blogger Melissa Lafsky did Clymer one better, grotesquely speculating that because of Kennedy’s "life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded," maybe Kopechne would have felt her own death was "worth it." Author Joyce Carol Oates was equally despicable in the effort to find the right balance between Kopechne’s death and Kennedy’s subsequent career, asking, "If one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?"

In a world uncontaminated by a bankrupt political ideology, one would think Obama is lying, Clymer, Lafsky and Oates are sickos who think a young woman’s life is a "reasonable" tradeoff for a privileged politician’s lifelong liberalism, and that Ted got away with murder — figuratively and literally.

But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where substantial numbers of Americans learn "history" by watching Oliver Stone’s and Michael Moore’s revisionist movies in all their propagandistic glory. According to Hollywood Reporter, "Chappaquiddick" is a "political thriller that chronicles the true story of what is described as the seven most dramatic days of Kennedy’s life. On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive."

"Entangled?" Apparently, the car drove itself into Poucha Pond. And no doubt Teddy struggled to follow his own moral compass, give or take a "waitress sandwich" — or his alleged attempt to treasonously enlist the Soviet Communists to unseat President Ronald Reagan in 1984, an utterly unsuccessful plot that was discovered in 1991, when USSR archives were declassified by Boris Yeltsin.

On several occasions, comedian Dennis Miller has asserted that Hillary Clinton will be our next president — because she best exemplifies what America has become. If she does, perhaps it’s because the only thing leftists are better at than airbrushing the contemptible career of a dead Democrat is airbrushing the contemptible career of a living one. And maybe in the midst of next year’s presidential campaign, another leftist hack channeling Lafsky or Oates will assure us that Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens would have felt that dying in Benghazi was "worth it" in return for Clinton’s ascension to the Oval Office.

When it comes to progressive historical revisionism, the sky — or the bottom of a bottomless pit — is the limit.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims and political correctness


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 December, 2015

This should kill off the Statin religion (but it won't, of course)

There have been many anecdotal reports of statins adversely affecting mental functioning, to the point where the upsurge of Alzheimer's in recent decades could be nothing more than an effect of widespread statin use. 

Scientists, however, rightly pooh-pooh anecdotal reports unless they are backed up by survey or other evidence.  So a recent study (below) is of great interest.  And its findings are striking. Where epidemiological reports in the medical literature characteristically make a big deal out of tiny odds ratios -- with ratios just above one being typical -- the odds ratio for the effect of statins is 4.4!  A very strong result by epidemiological standards.  So statins definitely can and do wreck your memory. The critics of statins are resoundingly vindicated.

The authors below don't want to believe their results, of course, so clutch for comfort their finding that ALL lipid lowering drugs -- not just statins -- wreck your memory. Quite how that is a comfort quite eludes me, however.  I would have thought that the finding shows that we NEED our lipids in our brains and that ANY attempt to lower them is destructive.  And statin critics have often made that point. There is of course a LOT of cholesterol in  our brains. It belongs there.

So we might ask what good is something that protects your heart but wrecks your brain?  But the reality is even worse than that.  A recent very comprehensive study found that statins did not even protect your heart. You were just as likely to die of heart failure with or without them.  Here are the statistics:

Statins reduced the numbers of patients experiencing non-fatal HF hospitalization (1344/66 238 vs. 1498/66 330; RR 0.90, 95% confidence interval, CI 0.84–0.97) and the composite HF outcome (1234/57 734 vs. 1344/57 836; RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.85–0.99) but not HF death (213/57 734 vs. 220/57 836; RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.80–1.17).

And since statins have an acknowledged muscle-weakening effect and the heart is one big muscle, the use of statins to treat the heart was always deeply paradoxical!  Words rarely fail me but that went close.

Clearly, the prescribing of statins to the general public should cease forthwith.

Statin Therapy and Risk of Acute Memory Impairment

Brian L. Strom et al.


Importance:  Reports on the association between statins and memory impairment are inconsistent.

Objective:  To assess whether statin users show acute decline in memory compared with nonusers and with users of nonstatin lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs).

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Using The Health Improvement Network database during January 13, 1987, through December 16, 2013, a retrospective cohort study compared 482?543 statin users with 2 control groups: 482?543 matched nonusers of any LLDs and all 26?484 users of nonstatin LLDs. A case-crossover study of 68?028 patients with incident acute memory loss evaluated exposure to statins during the period immediately before the outcome vs 3 earlier periods. Analysis was conducted from July 7, 2013, through January 15, 2015.

Results:  When compared with matched nonusers of any LLDs (using odds ratio [95% CI]), a strong association was present between first exposure to statins and incident acute memory loss diagnosed within 30 days immediately following exposure (fully adjusted, 4.40; 3.01-6.41). This association was not reproduced in the comparison of statins vs nonstatin LLDs (fully adjusted, 1.03; 0.63-1.66) but was also present when comparing nonstatin LLDs with matched nonuser controls (adjusted, 3.60; 1.34-9.70). The case-crossover analysis showed little association.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Both statin and nonstatin LLDs were strongly associated with acute memory loss in the first 30 days following exposure in users compared with nonusers but not when compared with each other. Thus, either all LLDs cause acute memory loss regardless of drug class or the association is the result of detection bias rather than a causal association.



What, Exactly, Is a Fascist?

I have written on this at some length (e.g. here and here) but the notes below by Stephen Moore are an excellent update -- JR

It’s hard to find a self-respecting liberal these days who doesn’t denounce Donald Trump as "a fascist." If you Google "fascist," the first thing that pops up on the screen is a photo of Trump.

University professors, Democratic pundits and members of the media who don’t call him a fascist resort to over-the-top, sneering terms like "racist," "repellent" and even "Nazi." After Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration, here are a few of the choice words from those tolerant people on the left:

"He is running for President as a fascist demagogue," said Martin O'Malley, Democratic presidential candidate.

"Trump wants to literally write racism into our law books," said Huma Abedin, aide to Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

"It is … entirely fair to call him a mendacious racist," said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief, BuzzFeed.

"America’s modern Mussolini," said Dana Milbank of The Washington Post.

"Trump is a proto-fascist, rather than an actual fascist. He has many ideas that are fascistic in nature," wrote Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst.

At the end of this sneering commentary, Bergen launched into a fascinating tutorial on what a fascist is. Here are several key characteristics of a fascist leader according to CNN:

    "The superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason."

    "The belief of one group that it is the victim, justifying any action."

    "The need for authority by natural leaders (always male) culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny."

Wait a minute. What modern politician best fits this description? Could it be Barack Obama, the Messiah, the chosen one, the man who holds political rallies with gothic columns in giant amphitheaters, who enters the stage as if he were a Greek god? Obama is the greatest demagogue of modern times, who convinced the vast electorate that they are "victims" and that the key to happiness and prosperity is to take from the rich: people, he says, who have way more wealth than they could possibly need.

Obama’s whole political success rests on identity politics — on persuading blacks, Hispanics, Jews, women, the disabled, gays, students, the poor and immigrants that they are victims of a vast American government conspiracy against them.

As for belief in the "superiority" of the leader’s powers "over reason," Barack Obama, omnipotent, tells his followers that he has the capability of "healing the planet," changing the earth’s weather pattern and stopping oceans from rising. He is promising miracles that require people to suspend all reason and believe that he can achieve the equivalent of Moses parting the oceans.

So just who is the "proto-fascist," really?

"Liberal fascism," as my friend Jonah Goldberg has aptly pointed out in his book of the same title, is the "collaboration of government, church, unions and interest groups to expand government. It is simply the liberal impulse for controlling the lives of others." It is the religion of the left.

Ironically, the left intelligentsia that is accusing Trump of fascism are many of the same people in Hollywood who just made a movie celebrating the communists and fascists of the 1950s within their ranks — and portraying them sympathetically as blackballed victims rather than subversive supporters of the butchers who killed millions of Jews, blacks, gays, Christians and dissidents.

Many of the communists in Hollywood, not least of all Trumbo, the new movie’s hero, were avid supporters of Stalin and even remained so after his genocidal purges were well-documented. Even the Russians themselves have repudiated the savagery of Stalin — but not the American left.

So what really is fascism? The left, simplistically, has redefined the term to mean when massive numbers of voters support a conservative cause supported by the right and opposed by the left. If you oppose racial quotas or gun control, you are a fascist. If you support traditional marriage, you are a fascist. If you want to cut welfare benefits, you are a fascist. If you support Donald Trump, you are a fascist. By this definition liberals can’t be fascists because they are on a righteous cause.

But the real definition of a fascist is a leader who wants to use governmental power to suppress rights of individuals. It is the partnership of government and private industry for the "collective good." Corporate cronyism is a classic form of fascism, which would include programs such as the Export Import Bank.

Fascism, communism, socialism, Nazism, progressivism are all just variations on this same theme. These "isms" all feed on the subjugation of freedom.

The left might want to engage in some introspection and ask why so many millions of Americans — many of whom enthusiastically voted for Obama — now agree with Trump. Are these suddenly terrible people? Have they been duped by a charismatic leader? More likely the answer is that an ever-shrinking number of Americans trust Obama to keep the dangerous Muslims out. People want, above all right now, to keep their families safe, and since Obama has no interest in real and effective terrorist screening, many Americans believe it’s best to keep them all out for now.

If middle-class American voters are so economically marginalized and so afraid, angry and distrustful of Washington that millions would throw their support behind a man routinely denounced as a dangerous Nazi/fascist, maybe the left might want to ask: Who made things so bad that it has come to this? Without Barack Obama’s full slate of failures and his eight years of polarizing politics, there could be no Donald Trump.



What's REALLY bothering Americans?

By Jonah Goldberg

"We have people across this country who are scared to death," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared loudly at this week’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.

Virtually the entire debate was based upon this premise. Which is understandable. Since the bloody Islamist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, terrorism has shot up as the chief concern for most Americans, particularly Republican voters.

"For most of 2015, the country’s mood, and thus the presidential election, was defined by anger and the unevenness of the economic recovery," pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates explained upon the release of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. "Now that has abruptly changed to fear."

Only 34 percent approve of President Obama’s handling of the Islamic State, according to the poll, and more Americans are worried about terrorism than at any time since the aftermath of 9/11.

This abrupt change in the climate explains why Hillary Clinton is suddenly talking much tougher about terrorism and why the president is keen to get some good national security photo ops in before he leaves for vacation.

But I can’t shake the sense that the polls, politicians and my fellow pundits are mistaking a symptom for the disease.

We live in an anxious age. That anxiety runs like a river beneath the political landscape. Different news events tap into that river and release a geyser of outrage and fear. Right now, mostly on the right, it’s terrorism, but before that it was Mexicans illegally sneaking into our country. Sometime before that, there was the freak-out over Ebola and the administration’s aloofness about it.

One common explanation for the anxious age we are in is that the economy is undergoing a profound transformation that is leaving a lot of people on the sidelines. It seems obvious to me there’s a lot of merit to this explanation.

But I don’t think that economics explains everything. Seventy percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Many of those people are doing just fine economically.

No, I think the missing piece of the puzzle is the fact that Americans — on the left and the right — think that the folks running the country have an agenda different from theirs. The left has a much richer vocabulary for such claims, given its ancient obsessions with greed and economic determinism. They see big corporations and the so-called "1 percent" pulling strings behind the scenes. (Watch literally any Bernie Sanders speech on YouTube to learn more.) Paranoia about the influence of big money in politics has inspired the Democratic front-runner to make revising the First Amendment a top priority.

But while there are a great many people on the right who also complain about crony capitalism and special interests, such concerns don’t get to the heart of the anxiety, at least not for conservatives.

Let’s go back to where we started. Christie says, "We have people across this country who are scared to death." No doubt that’s true. But for a great many of them, I suspect, the fear is not so much a fear of the Islamic State but a fear that our own government, starting with the president, just doesn’t take terrorism seriously. We now know he was very late in taking the Islamic State seriously.

I suspect most conservatives think that if America marshaled the sufficient will to defeat the Islamic State, we’d make short work of it. Obama has no interest in such an undertaking. He reserves his passion for attacking Republicans or pushing his other priorities, such as climate change, which persistently remains a very, very low priority for most Americans.

But the president himself is a symptom. The whole system seems to have lost its mind. That there’s even a debate about whether security officials should be allowed to look at the social media posts of immigrants is a sign that our bureaucrats have such open minds their brains have fallen out. We should have seen this coming five years ago, when we learned that Obama told the new head of NASA to make one of his top priorities outreach to the Muslim world.

Terrorism is a big concern, but this sense that the political system is unresponsive, unaccountable and operating on its own self-interested ideological agenda is bigger. It is the ur-complaint that explains everything from enduring outrage over the lies that greased Obamacare’s passage to fury over illegal immigration, disgust over corruption at the IRS and VA, the immortality of the Ex-Im Bank and countless other outrages du jour.

The failure of credible politicians to address this anxiety created an opportunity for Donald Trump. At least he’s willing to say Washington is stupid.



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 December, 2015

Is Trump even more popular than the polls say?

FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP’S highly publicized spiritual beheading of Muslims, he once again defied conventional wisdom, not only holding fast in the national polling but also improving. In the latest Monmouth University GOP poll this week, Trump soared to 41 percent, the first time he’s broken that barrier, putting him well ahead of his next closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, at 14 percent. A Washington Post-ABC poll confirmed the Trump surge, though they have him at 38 percent.

Given how well Trump is doing, this may seem like an odd question to ask, but are the polls actually under-representing Trump’s support among Republicans?

One thing is for sure: Despite widespread condemnation, Trump’s proposed temporary halt to Muslim immigration seems to be working to his advantage. At Tuesday night’s CNN debate in Las Vegas, Jeb Bush deserved credit for challenging Trump and refusing to scapegoat all Muslims. However, his was a lonely voice. It’s significant that criticism from the other candidates was muted. Partly that’s because, we know from polling, a majority of Republicans agree with Trump. But it’s also true that everyone draws the line somewhere. For Trump, the line was drawn at 14 American deaths in San Bernardino. For other candidates, it may be 140, 1,400, or 14,000. If you doubt it, ask if they are willing to unequivocally take an immigration ban off the table as a wartime measure. That Trump was willing to bring it forward means something to the legion of fans that admire him for saying out loud what others are only thinking.

Because of his harsh immigration policies, openly supporting Trump for some people carries with it risk of shame and humiliation. “Fascist” and “racist” are just some of the negative terms used to describe Trump by his critics. Which leads to the first reason that Trump’s support may be undercounted: People lie, and the more ill at ease they are with the questions being asked, the more likely they are to lie in response.

Evidence from polling in Europe suggests anti-immigration candidates do better on automated and online polls than they do on polls that use live interviewers. Voters won’t reveal to a stranger that they support an anti-immigration politician, but they will anonymously record it into a machine. The same phenomenon has also been observed here. Over the weekend, The Des Moines Register’s live interview poll showed Cruz leading Trump in Iowa, 31-21. Days later, however, the robo-calling PPP poll from Iowa showed Trump leading Cruz, 28-25.

The second reason Trump’s support may be artificially low is the possibility Trump is going to bring nontraditional GOP voters into the primary electorate. I spoke to a rival campaign’s pollster who believes some of the state polls are screening so tightly for past GOP primary voters that they could be missing a chunk of Trump voters who have never participated in the primary process. Of course, the question is whether these nontraditional primary voters who have been energized by Trump will follow through and actually show up to vote on a cold, snowy day in Iowa or New Hampshire. Still, a strong argument exists they’re being undercounted in polling of likely voters.

In 2008, the energizing force in the Republican primary was the Iraq War. In 2012, it was the economy. In 2016, it’s immigration. It’s no surprise in hindsight that the candidate with the harshest immigration policies is leading the field. All along, the Washington insiders assured us Trump would self-destruct as we got closer to the first voting. Instead, the real story in 2016 may be that Trump’s true support is greater than they or anyone else thought.



Lessons of the Fifth GOP Debate

By Mark Alexander

Nine Republican candidates took the stage last night in the fifth debate of this primary cycle. The theme was national security, and there’s no question the next president will have an enormous task endeavoring to recover from Barack Obama’s years of domestic and foreign policy failures. But perhaps the overarching takeaway is that everyone on the stage brings their constituents to the election that matters most — defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Here is my summary: The most prepared were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. The least prepared were Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Carson in particular is a smart, moral, nice guy who is painfully unprepared to be commander in chief.

Some other observations: Rand Paul too often sounded petulant, but he had the best cheerleading section. Trump and Jeb Bush hate each other — perhaps because they are most alike as silver-spoon politicos. Trump again demonstrated he is the master of sound bites but thin on any real understanding of issues. Bush, on the other hand, is knowledgeable, but comes across as whiny and mad at Trump for taking his candy. Chris Christie would have been far more formidable in 2012. John Kasich wins the “time bell violator” award.

Last but certainly not least, the most notable political phenomenon with the greatest potential consequences in 2016 and beyond would be the rocketing rise of Trump. His celebrity name recognition, contentious remarks and populist rhetoric have kept the blustering billionaire at the top of pop-presidential polls for months.

Trump’s support is a reflection of how dissatisfied millions of disenfranchised grassroots conservatives are with Republican “leadership.” The status quo represented by former House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has, in effect, underwritten Trump’s rising stardom. Despite greatly increasing the numbers of conservatives in the House and Senate in the historic “Republican Wave” elections nationwide in both 2010 and 2014, the much-loathed “establishment types” held the House reins until Paul Ryan replaced Boehner, and they still control the Senate. GOP leaders continue to marginalize or ignore the concerns of the conservative/Republican base — grassroots conservatives — and we are rightly outraged.

2016 will either provide an opportunity for the renewal of American exceptionalism in 2017 — the restoration of principles that have made our nation great — or it will end with the election of Hillary Clinton and a more precipitous national and international degradation.

Now, without further ado, here are some important remarks and exchanges:

On immigration:

RUBIO: “The American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. … It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are going to be reasonable with what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years who hasn’t otherwise violated our laws — because if they’re a criminal they can’t stay.”

CRUZ: “[W]e will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I’ll get Donald Trump to pay for it. … [Rubio] was fighting to grant amnesty and not secure the border. I was fighting to secure the border. … I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.”

On foreign policy regarding Middle East dictators:

TRUMP: “In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems … we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”

FIORINA: “That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate.”

On the Islamic State, terrorism and the refugee problem:

BUSH: “Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there.”

KASICH: “I said last February that we needed to have … troops on the ground in a coalition similar to what we had in the first Gulf War. … First and foremost, we need to go and destroy ISIS. And we need to do this with our Arab friends and our friends in Europe. And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country across this world.”

TRUMP: “A month ago [in Paris] things changed. Radical Islamic terrorism came into effect even more so than it has been in the past. People like what I say. People respect what I say. And we’ve opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up.”

CHRISTIE: “If you listen to Hillary Clinton the other day, what she said to the American people was, as regards to ISIS, my strategy would be just about the same as the president’s. … We have people across this country who are scared to death. Because I could tell you this, as a former federal prosecutor, if a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California, is now a target for terrorists, that means everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.”

TRUMP: “ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing. … I would certainly be open to closing areas [of the Internet] where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet.”

CARSON: “The war that we are fighting now against radical Islamist jihadists is one that we must win. Our very existence is dependent upon that.”

On the Obama/Clinton record:

FIORINA: “Hillary Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong. Hitting the reset button with Vladimir Putin — recall that she called Bashar Al-Assad a positive reformer and then she opened an embassy and then later she said, over, and over, and over again, ‘Bashar Al-Assad must go,’ although she wasn’t prepared to do anything about it. Recall that Hillary Clinton was all for toppling [Moammar] Gadhafi, then didn’t listen to her own people on the ground. And then of course, when she lied about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, she invited more terrorist attacks.”

On the USA Freedom Act and NSA surveillance:

CRUZ: “I’m very proud to have joined with conservatives in both the Senate and the House to reform how we target bad guys. It gave us greater tools and we are seeing those tools work right now in San Bernardino. In particular, what it did is the prior program only covered a relatively narrow slice of phone calls.”

RUBIO: “We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that tool we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.”

PAUL: “We are not any safer through the collection of all Americans' records. In fact, I think we’re less safe. We get so distracted by all the information, we’re not spending enough time getting specific information on terrorists.”

RUBIO: “If a regular law enforcement agency wants your phone records, all they have to do is issue a subpoena. But now the intelligence agency is not able to quickly gather records and look at them to see who these terrorists are calling.”

On allegiance to the GOP:

Co-moderator Hugh Hewitt: “Are you [Trump] ready to assure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?”

TRUMP: “I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am. … I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front runner.”



The bill fails . . .

At 2 am this morning Congress released a $1.149 trillion, 2,009-page omnibus spending bill, a combination of thousands of spending commitments, new programs and big-government priorities.

Lawmakers failed to listen to the wishes of the American people and instead chose to cater to special interest groups. Rather than honor their campaign promises or the requests of their constituents, they caved to the Left and the Establishment.

This spending bill was a huge opportunity for conservative reform. A chance to start over and make bold spending choices to cut funding from Planned Parenthood, keep spending below budget caps, to vet the vetting process on Syrian refugees and put a stop to Obama’s executive amnesty.

The bill fails to achieve any victories on key national security issues including a more stringent vetting system of Syrian refugees.

The bill fails to block President Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty.

The bill fails to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill fails to spend within our means, disregarding 2011 budget caps put in place to protect our economy.

Lawmakers will be voting as earlier as Thursday on this spending bill. Heritage Action opposes the omnibus spending bill and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

The omnibus spending bill should have been an opportunity for lawmakers to assert the power of the purse. Instead the bill falls far short of achieving substantive policy victories on the issues Americans care about.

Email from Heritage Action


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 December, 2015

Donald Trump is a man of the people

By Wayne Allyn Root

Every Republican presidential candidate is in Las Vegas for the CNN debate.  They all came in Monday night.  They all had events.

Sen. Ted Cruz had 50 people at the home of a friend of mine. Sen. Marco Rubio had 200 people gathered in a room. I’m sure Ohio Gov. John Kasich had his wife, mom and dad. That’s 3 ... or 4 counting himself.

Donald Trump filled a casino with working class people. They came by the thousands.  I’d guess up to 7,000 showed up to rally for Trump. I know because I was Donald’s master of ceremonies. I was the opening act for Trump.

What a crowd. Thousands and thousands of adoring fans who love Donald Trump.  The new energy of the Republican Party ... not a bunch of old, rich farts. Working class stiffs. God bless them.

This is why Trump leads Cruz 41% to 14% in the latest national poll. The GOP hates him. Big donors hate him. Establishment hates him.  Media hate him. Even Fox News Channel seems to be against him.

Trump is fuelled by working class voters who have either not voted at all in recent elections, or voted Democrat.

Trump is great news for the GOP. He is best thing to ever happen to the rudderless party.  The middle class is struggling and right now their response is Trump.

Big shots in media don’t get what’s happening.  This is nothing short of the Trump Revolution.  And he’s no Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders.

Their adoring crowds never really mattered ... because they had and have no money. Trump will spend $1 billion once this race gets serious.

That’s the story.  Trump is the American Idol of working-class and middle-class Americans. I’m a witness. I saw it. I talked to them.  This is real.

Trump has a great shot to be president of the United States. And after Tuesday night’s debate, more Americans will see that too.



Will Elites Blow Up the GOP?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

There was a dinner last week at The Source on Capitol Hill where Republican Party elites discussed how Donald Trump, even if he wins the lion's share of votes and delegates, might be denied the nomination in a "brokered convention."

Assume at the GOP convention in Cleveland that Trump runs first, Ted Cruz second, Marco Rubio third and Ben Carson fourth.

Rather than wait for Karl Rove & Co. to tell us whom the party shall nominate, Trump would phone Cruz, offer him second spot on the ticket in return for his delegates, and if Cruz declined, ask for Rubio's phone number.

Candidates who have gone through a yearlong campaign, and sustained the defeats and suffered the abuse, are not going to let a Beltway cabal decide the nominee.

Carson has already warned he will walk away from the party if such a decision were imposed upon the convention.

Moreover, the old establishments are dead. Conservatives killed the GOP establishment in 1964. The Vietnam War and George McGovern killed the Democratic establishment in 1972.

What is left are elites, collectives of office-holders past and present, donors, lobbyists, think-tankers angling for jobs, party hacks and talking heads.

What the Republican collectivity has to realize is that it is they and the policies they produced that are the reason Trump, Carson and Cruz currently hold an overwhelming majority of Republican votes.

It was the elites of both parties who failed to secure our borders and brokered the trade deals that have de-industrialized America and eviscerated our middle class.

It was the elites of both parties who got us into these idiotic wars that have blown up the Middle East, cost us trillions of dollars, thousands of dead, and tens of thousands of wounded among our best and bravest.

That Republican elites would sit around a dinner table on Capitol Hill and discuss how to frustrate the rising rebellion against what they have done to America, and decide among themselves who shall lead us, is astonishing.

To borrow from the Gipper, they are not the solution to our problems. They are the problem.

More HERE 


Slaying or at least winging the regulatory dragon

By Martin Hutchinson

The COP-21 global climate talks ended this weekend, with a treaty that won't have much practical effect. Yet regulations to combat "climate change" have already inflicted trillions of dollars of economic damage and there seems no prospect of ending their depredations. In other areas, the regulatory state set up since the 1960s expands steadily, with only modest rollbacks likely if an anti-regulatory President is elected. Since our entire future prosperity depends on not sharing Laocoon's fate from the regulatory serpents, it is thus worth pondering how we might defeat them, and to what extent it is truly impossible.

In general, the U.S. and many global regulators have used the last seven years of pro-regulator government to entrench themselves. U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is confident that they are elimination-proof "You're going to lose and you might as well get over it" she told a Congressional hearing last week. Under the Dodd –Frank Act of 2010 regulating the banks, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was put inside the Fed to prevent Congress overseeing it properly. The statutory and theoretical prohibitions against Congress meddling with the Fed are strong, so the idea was they would protect the CFPB also, even though the authors of Dodd-Frank knew the CFPB would spend its life imposing costs on the financial services industry and impeding the operation of the free market.

As well as the regulators, the years of regulation have produced an appalling group of crony capitalists who benefit from it. This is clearest in the banking sector, where regulation has raised the barriers to entry to prohibitive levels – new bank formation has slipped 97% since before the crisis, from about 100 year before 2007 to THREE a year, in the entire United States, since 2010.

The combination of regulation and foolish Fed monetary policy, allowing banks to receive interest on $2 trillion of reserves kept at the Fed, and granting a permanent 2% yield curve differential between deposit rates and long-term government bond rates, has made the lives of all but the very largest banks very easy indeed. As for the largest banks, they have been subsidized in their investment banking operations, which have made trading profits based on ever-rising asset prices and huge swathes of money sloshing around the system. So when the banks and their top executives turn out to be among the largest donors to Hillary Clinton, who regularly denounces them, they are not turkeys voting for an early Christmas, but fat, corrupted, unhealthy pigs voting for the endless subsidy swill to keep flowing.

Crony capitalists have however spread well beyond banking. Elon Musk, for example, whose Tesla empire depends almost entirely on government subsidies of one kind or another is certainly more plausible than the people who ran the failed Solyndra solar panel company, but his business has yet to be tested by recession or – more difficult still – by an environment in which massive taxpayer handouts to wealthy eco-conscious consumers are no longer available.

Needless to say the crony capitalists, through massive political donations, have bought at least a substantial minority of politicians. When allied with the "green" lobby or the politically correct liberals of the big coastal cities, they are practically unstoppable. We saw their power in the U.S. Eximbank disaster, in which that crony capitalist haven died for more than five months, to the mass cheers of ordinary taxpayers, before mysteriously rising again without significant reform, its survival guaranteed for another four years.

Finally, there is the international dimension. It has now become clear from experience that international bureaucracies are much more dangerous than the domestic kind. They are responsible to nobody, so can allow their instincts for politically correct self-aggrandizement and waste full rein. They are also perpetual. I am not aware of any such body ever having been abolished; there are still League of Nations bureaucracies in Geneva, which have had no real purpose since 1945, but have continued to draw handsome salaries and allowances.

A U.S. President can refuse to fund them, but in an era of massive liquidity such as the present that is no problem; at most they slim down a little, funded by the remaining countries that still support them and possibly by a little low-cost borrowing and wait for the swing of the U.S. political pendulum, after which their full funding will be restored, probably including the arrears. Thus international regulation, especially in areas such as the environment and refugee questions, is even more unstoppable than domestic regulation.

The forces preventing significant pruning of regulations are thus very powerful. Even to consider countering them we must assume a President dedicated to doing so, a Congress in which he has safe majorities in both houses, and eight years in which to operate, during which he is able to maintain his House and Senate majorities for at least six of them. It is a lot to ask, but let assume some miracle brings this lucky combination in the fairly near future. What should this miracle President and his miracle Congress do?

The most important set of regulations to eliminate is that surrounding global warming, and the environment in general.  The reality behind global warming is difficult to establish amid all the fog. A New York Times article as far back as 1956 quoted an estimate by the British climatologist Guy Callendar that carbon dioxide emissions were warming the atmosphere by about 1.1 degree Celsius per century. That now looks a little high; the warming since 1900 is only about 0.8 degrees; in any case it does not suggest that by 2100 we will have suffered anything like the 3-4 degrees Celsius rise from present levels at which damage to our civilization could become significant. Two important factors making global warming less dangerous are that the effects of increased carbon dioxide are asymptotic, not exponential, and that plant feedback also dampens the warming effect.

Global warming is real but the "global warming" hysteria is a leftist and crony capitalist scam. Apart from doctored "hockey stick" graphs of temperature rises and now even doctored temperature observations, it includes such intellectual dishonesties as defining the temperature rise as dating from the beginning of industrialization, a period when we were in a Maunder minimum temperature phase and would thus have had significant warming even if the dinosaurs still roamed. The new Paris treaty that wants to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from the beginning of industrialization is limiting us to warming that has already happened; if there is any warming effect of carbon at all we would have to shut down civilization completely to comply with her absurd benchmark.

The best way of ensuring that global warming and other environmental dishonesty doesn't embed itself in U.S. policy is probably structural: abolish the EPA and embed the environmental regulatory function within the Department of Commerce, whose main function is the promotion of American business. With a suitable Commerce Secretary like the 1980s Malcolm Baldridge, environmental regulations that caused economic damage would be severely pruned back. Add a requirement for proper, non-fudged estimates of regulations' benefits and costs, and a separate audit by the Government Accounting Office before they were put into effect, and you would probably have a system of environmental regulation that could survive even the return of a Democrat administration.



This Might Explain Why Obama Thought ISIS Was Contained

President Obama's assertion that ISIS was contained showed that he was either desperately trying to justify his failures or that he was seriously lacking information. A new report suggests it was the latter:

    President Barack Obama has only attended roughly 40 percent of his daily intelligence briefings throughout his presidency, according to the Government Accountability Institute (GAI).

    In September 2014, the Government Accountability Institute updated an analysis of how much time President Barack Obama has spent attending his Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs), as recorded on the White House official calendar and Politico’s comprehensive calendar. The updated study covered the president’s first 2,079 days in office, running from January 20, 2009 through September 29, 2014. Of those, President Obama attended a total of 875 Presidential Daily Briefs for an overall 42.09% attendance rate.

    The report also found President Obama’s attendance has declined slightly in his second term from 42.43 percent to 41.26 percent.

I'm willing to bet if there was a daily global warming briefing, Obama wouldn't miss a single round of golf for it. This finding is an absolute disgrace, and should remind Americans how unserious Democrats are when it comes to keeping us safe.



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 December, 2015

A Trump breakthrough?

Many skeptical of Donald Trump's ability to secure the nomination point to his inability to get more than 30 or so percent in polls. But that might be changing. As Politico reports:

    "Donald Trump just got a little more vault in his ceiling. Nationwide, the polling-obsessed Manhattan multi-billionaire and leading Republican presidential candidate broke into the 40s on Monday.

    According to the results of the latest Monmouth University poll surveying voters identifying as Republican or independents leaning toward the GOP, Trump earned 41 percent, nearly tripling the support of his closest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who took 14 percent.

    The poll underscores Trump's success at keeping voters fixated on his unprecedented presidential campaign. The latest national survey was taken after Trump landed another whopper, proposing in an emailed statement last Monday to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. The statement gave Trump another boost of media attention, and some speculated it was designed to shift the conversation away from a Monmouth poll from Iowa released earlier that day that showed Cruz with a 5-point edge in the state."

It will be interesting to see if this poll holds up- these things tend to be unreliable, but it's a reminder that Trump won't be going anywhere for quite some time.



Cruz Compares Obama's Nuke Deal to Neville Chamberlain's Munich Pact

President Obama’s handling of the Iranian nuclear deal is akin to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1938 Munich Pact, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

“I believe today we are at a moment like Munich in 1938,” Cruz said. “That President Obama has returned from Geneva, returned from agreeing to give over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, promising like Neville Chamberlain peace in our time.

“If history teaches anything, giving hundreds of billions of dollars, strengthening homicidal maniacs who intend to murder you, has never, ever, ever worked out well,” Cruz said.

The Republican presidential candidate went on to decry Obama’s current handling of foreign policy, which he said has made the administration of former President Jimmy Carter look like a success in comparison.

“After two terms of an Obama-Clinton foreign policy so disastrous it makes the Carter administration look good, we are in a desperate need once again for clarity,” Cruz said.

Cruz slammed the president for refusing to acknowledge America’s enemy, accusing Obama of acting as an “apologist” for radical Islamic terrorism.

“He’s chosen not to confront the actual enemy. He’s chosen not to call the attacks in Fort Hood or Little Rock or Boston or Chattanooga concerted acts of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said.

“He spent a significant portion of his Sunday address as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said in reference to the president’s speech on the administration’s counterterrorism strategy following the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. 

“In this context, it raises the specter that Americans will be labeled as bigots if they dare utter the world ‘Islam’ in connection with a terrorist attack.”

However, the Texas senator also criticized both parties for wanting to restrict Americans’ liberties to combat terrorism, pointing out that many Republicans want the government to collect a reckless amount of Americans’ personal records, while many Democrats want to restrict their use of firearms through gun control.

“In addition to those voices on the right who are suggesting sweeping aside citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, there are voices on the left who are taking the same approach and want us to voluntarily surrender our Second Amendment rights,” Cruz said.

“Both of these approaches are misguided,” he declared.

“When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on law-abiding citizens rather than targeting the bad guys, we miss the bad guys while violating the constitutional rights of American citizens.”

Cruz advocated securing the border, engaging in limited records collection, and restricting refugee access to those coming from “terror-ridden” countries.

“We should not shy away from smarter policies that enhance our ability to target the bad guys while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said.



California Knife Attack Still Not Called Terrorism

San Bernardino recently fell victim to another onslaught of Islamic terrorism right here in America, but recall just over a month ago another tragedy that struck the Golden State. In November, Faisal Mohammad, a student enrolled at the University of California, Merced, attacked four of his peers before being fatally shot by police. But because the weapon used by Mohammad was a knife, the story was mostly ignored and escaped mainstream scrutiny. It also took a while for the man’s name to be made public, for obvious reasons. The grievance industry claims the attack was motivated by Mohammad’s getting kicked out of a study group, but the ensuing investigation debunked that theory and raises questions of why investigators have yet to call it terrorism.

According to Fox News, “Mohammad, whose victims all survived, left behind a rambling, two-page manifesto in which he instructed himself to ‘praise Allah’ as he worked his way through his hit list, a photocopied ISIS flag and at least one shaken roommate who remembers him as a menacing loner.” That roommate, Ali Tarek Elshekh, added, “He was … an extreme Muslim.” He also testified that Mohammad threatened to kill a friend if he touched his prayer mat. None of that sounds like a domestic dispute.

These revelations have one of the victims' fathers, John Price, asking an obvious question: “Why don’t we just call it what it is — domestic terrorism? Everyone is afraid to be politically incorrect. I do believe in law enforcement and believe they will do their job, but it seems like to me we aren’t getting the whole story. I just wonder how much of this is driven from way higher up and is politically driven — I just don’t know.”

He’s right. Last July, an Islamic jihadist attacked two military recruiting facilities in Chattanooga, murdering five. But five months later, despite the assailant’s clear intention to commit jihad, the FBI still hasn’t classified it terrorism. In some ways, we’ve seen a similar story unfold in San Bernardino. And make no mistake: Terrorists know it’s not just guns and pipe bombs that will further their agenda, but political correctness as well.



Trump exposes elitism

In “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Albert Camus’s exploration of the role of suicide in the modern world, the philosopher of the Absurd states, “That universal reason, practical or ethical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh.” Camus was making reference to philosophical giants of western civilization whose task was to justify a universe seemingly indifferent to humanity’s yearning for meaning. All of which Camus dismissed with a rhetorical flip of his hand and a whiff of disdain; he believed magisterial cathedrals of thought were irrelevant to enlightening individuals' souls about the most important thing in their lives. Quite the contrary, their hubris induces mirth, as his cold analysis in “Sisyphus” made clear.

So what relevance do Camus’s words have for American politics in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino? Delving into Donald Trump’s recommendations about prohibiting additional Muslim immigration provides an answer. Indeed, everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, wanted to strut their stuff, beginning with President Obama’s address about treating Muslims with respect, followed by Trump’s speech. Certainly, Trump’s address ignited volleys of censure from New Jersey to Nevada.

Lindsey Graham said Trump “has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric,” while Jeb Bush commented that Trump is unhinged and his proposals cannot be taken seriously. Marco Rubio declared, “I disagree with Donald Trump’s latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” John Kasich declared Trump “entirely unsuited to lead,” and Carly Fiorina concluded that Trump’s prescription was an “overreaction.” Hillary Clinton said, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.” And Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center Alert is stuffed with a cornucopia of media’s denunciations of Trump.

Of course Trump has his defenders, none more able than National Review’s David French, who provided a trenchant analysis of America’s (and the world’s) Muslim terrorism problem in an essay with a title that says it all: “Dispelling the Few Extremists Myth — the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate.” Consulting polls displaying data that are devastating to politically correct views about Muslims, French maintains that, “To understand the Muslim edifice of hate, imagine it as a pyramid — with broadly-shared bigotry at the bottom, followed by stair steps of escalating radicalism — culminating in jihadist armies that in some instances represent a greater share of their respective populations than does the active-duty military in the United States.” Further, Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator reviewed Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime actions involving Germans, Italians, and Japanese, concluding that FDR made Donald Trump look like a “nerdy weakling.” These are just two examples, of course; an abundance of commentaries continue to pour forth from Trump’s detractors and allies as this is being written.

The question is what one is supposed to make of all this? Two main points stand out. First, Trump’s critics and supporters are talking about different things, actually, with the former concerned about America’s inclusiveness, “that’s not who we are,” while his supporters probe into the characteristics of radical Islam. Second, the debate over Muslim immigration demonstrates the chasm between many of America’s opinion leaders, pundits, and intelligentsia, on the one hand, and a huge hunk of the country’s rank and file, on the other.

This is where a Camus analogy comes in. Like the West’s philosophical luminaries Camus had in mind, America’s self-appointed opinion overseers — Republicans and Democrats alike — have constructed rhetorical edifices celebrating their own righteousness and moral superiority, which in their minds bestow on them the right to tell citizens what to think and what to do. Indeed, our avatars of civic virtue preach to the peasants below about threats none of the avatars will personally ever have to confront themselves. All of which, as Camus points out, would be downright amusing, if the subject matter weren’t so serious.

Except this time the peasants are having none of it. Although Americans certainly don’t want to wage war against Islam, they are also smart enough to know that the San Bernardino massacre wasn’t committed by a bevy of disgruntled Baptists, and that a culture based on Sharia is antithetical to American constitutionalism. So, they’re clinging to their guns, and religion, and many of them, to the only person who has demonstrated the guts to excoriate the elite’s view of America. This is not an argument for or against Donald Trump, about whom we all have our own opinions. It is to say, however, that his supporters are enraged about America’s elite endlessly spouting their irrelevant and scolding pieties, which are enough to make many American citizens deeply unsettled.



The Midas Paradox: How Government Caused and Prolonged the Great Depression

The Great Depression was the most disastrous economic calamity of the past century, but no one had offered a convincing explanation for every twist and turn the economy took from 1929 to 1940-until now. Independent Institute research fellow and Bentley University economics professor Scott Sumner solves the mystery of the economy's multiple ups and downs, and other puzzles that have befuddled economic historians and analysts, in The Midas Paradox: Financial Markets, Government Policy Shocks, and the Great Depression, a path-breaking book destined to shape all future research on the topic.

Drawing on financial market data and contemporaneous news stories, Sumner (ranked 15th in Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers of 2012) shows that the Depression is ultimately a story of horrendous policymaking-especially decisions related to monetary policy and wage rates. Gold hoarding by the world's central banks brought on the Great Contraction (1929-33), and widespread fears of currency devaluation spooked the private sector into hoarding gold; the resulting drop in total spending helped drive thousands of firms out of business and raise unemployment to historic highs. Making matters worse, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt prevented the American economy from recovering quickly with his attempt to artificially raise hourly wage rates on five separate occasions. Sumner's insightful narrative of these and related events-and his refutation of enduring historical and economic myths-makes The Midas Paradox must-reading for anyone who wants to understand how badly policymakers failed and how we can avoid repeating their mistakes.

More than a fresh contribution to the literature on the Great Depression, The Midas Paradox offers a powerful critique of modern monetary analysis-and identifies its harmful role in policymaking during the recent Great Recession. "We think we have advanced far beyond the [economic] prejudices of the 1930s," Sumner writes, "but when a crisis hits we reflexively exhibit the same atavistic impulses as our ancestors. Even worse, we congratulate the Fed for avoiding the mistakes of the 1930s, even as it repeats many of those mistakes."



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)


15 December, 2015

More on the man who shouted 'You ain't no Muslim, bruv'

The man concerned has been treated as a profound theological authority on Islam by all sorts of people from the British Prime Minister down.  So who is he and what does he actually know? His identity has been kept under wraps so it has been difficult to answer that. Some information has now been released, however, so we do know a little about the man.  Excerpt below:

The man who shouted "You ain't no Muslim, bruv" at a suspected terrorist during a stabbing at Leytonstone Tube station has told how he now fears retribution. The bystander was heard in video footage of the incident in east London last weekend saying the phrase that later went viral as an attacker wielding a knife stabbed a man.

But the 39-year-old security guard from north London - named only as John as he asked for his surname to be withheld - said he has the support of his family

John is not Muslim himself, but said he is angry that terrorist groups such as Isil claim to represent Islam. "Isis should be wiped out, because they're not Muslims, because Muslims don't do that," he said. "It's as simple as that.

He told how he felt he had to voice his feelings when he saw what was happening in the station. "I saw the guy," he said. "I was like, well you ain't a Muslim... That's my views, and I had to let him know that, because he looked to be a terrorist. I don't believe in all that."

Muhyadin Mire, 29, is expected to stand trial next year charged with the attempted murder of a 56-year-old man who was attacked from behind in front of several members of the public on the evening of Saturday, December 5.

Prosecutors have alleged the attack, during which witnesses said they heard a man shout "This is for Syria", was an act of terrorism.


Some extra information:  The attacker was indeed a Muslim with a Muslim name.  He is a Muslim who came to Britain from from Muslim Somalia as a 12 year old.  He has a brother named Mohamed.  His first name is an African form of the Arabic Mujahideen, which is the term for one engaged in Jihad. Clear enough?

And the bystander is no authority on anything.  He is not even a Muslim himself. He is simply a security guard.  Security guards do not have a great reputation for intellectual profundity and this guy does nothing to disturb that impression.  He is simply a guy who has drunk deep of the official Kool-Aid. Despite massive and repeated evidence to the contrary he really believes that "Muslims don't do that".  He is as deluded as his Prime Minister.


Legal Scholars Supports Constitutionality of Trump's Muslim Ban

One of the main criticisms of Donald Trump’s proposed moratorium on Muslim immigration is that it’s unconstitutional. For example, Republican presidential candidate and law graduate Marco Rubio said that the plan “violates the Constitution” earlier this week.

However, two notable law professors — Jan C. Ting of Temple University and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago — say those critics are wrong and possibly don’t know much about legal history.

Ting, a professor at Temple University’s School of Law and a former Immigration and Naturalization Services commissioner for the Department of Justice, explained to The Daily Caller that Trump’s plan is in keeping with over a hundred years of legal precedent.

“No kind of immigration restriction is unconstitutional,” Ting told TheDC. “The U.S. government can exclude a foreign national on any basis.”

The legal scholar explained that the Supreme Court’s decisions since ruling unanimously in favor of the legality of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1889 have upheld the authority of the political branches — executive and legislative — to make immigration law as they see fit and to exclude foreigners on grounds that would not be applicable to American citizens.

“The statutes are clear: immigration is different from all other aspects of the law,” Ting said. “The Supreme Court has ruled we can enact laws against foreign nationals that would not be permissible to apply to citizens. The courts historically have no role in these decisions.”



The Hidden Reason Why Americans Dislike Islam

by David French

Yesterday, YouGov and the Huffington Post released a poll showing that large majorities of Americans — and pluralities across every political demographic — have an “unfavorable opinion” of the Islamic faith. The numbers are simply not close:

There will be no doubt some hand-wringing about “Islamophobia” and further calls to continue the American elite’s fourteen-year track record of whitewashing Islamic beliefs and culture, but I wonder if the media is missing a powerful, largely-uncovered influence on America’s hearts and minds — the experience and testimony of the more than two million Americans who’ve served overseas since 9/11 and have experienced Islamic cultures up-close.

Yes, they were in the middle of a war — but speaking from my own experience — the war was conducted from within a culture that was shockingly broken. I expected the jihadists to be evil, but even I couldn’t fathom the depths of their depravity. And it was all occurring against the backdrop of a brutally violent and intolerant culture.

Women were beaten almost as an afterthought, there was a near-total lack of empathy for even friends and neighbors, lying was endemic, and sexual abuse was rampant.

Even more disturbingly, it seemed that every problem was exacerbated the more religious and pious a person (or village) became. I spent enough time outside the wire and interacting with tribal leaders to get a sense of the reality around me, but the younger guys on the line spent weeks at a time living in the heart of the local community.

I remember one young soldier, after describing the things he’d seen since the start of the deployment, gestured towards the village around us and said — in perfect Army English — “Sir, this s**t is f**ked up.”

It is indeed. While it’s certainly unfair to judge Indonesia or Malaysia by the standards of Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s very hard to shake the power of lived experience, nor should we necessarily try. After all, when we hear stories from Syria, Yemen, Gaza, the Sinai, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Pakistan, and elsewhere they all fit the same depressing template of the American conflict zones.

Nor is the dazzlingly wealthy veneer of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or the other Gulf States all that impressive. Tens of thousands of soldiers have seen the veritable slave labor that toils within the oil empires and have witnessed first-hand their casual disregard for “lesser” life.

But this same experience has caused us to treasure the Muslim friends we do have — in part because we recognize the extreme risks of their loyalty and defiance of jihad. That’s why American officers fiercely champion the immigration of local interpreters, even to the point of welcoming them into their own home.

That’s why there’s often an intense connection with our Kurdish allies, the single-most effective ground fighting force against ISIS.

Two million Americans have been downrange, and they’ve come home and told families and friends stories the media rarely tells.  Those stories have an impact, but because of the cultural distance between America’s warriors and its media, academic, and political aristocracy, it’s an impact the aristocracy hasn’t been tracking.

Experience trumps idealistic rhetoric, and I can’t help but think that polls like YouGov’s are at least partly registering the results of a uniquely grim American experience.



What The Founders Thought About Islam, In Their Own Words

President Obama has continually asserted that Islam was “woven into the fabric” of the United States since its founding. Obama claims that Muslims have made significant contributions to building of this nation. The claim is laughable to anyone who has studied US history. Historian David Barton spoke to Glenn Beck and tore the president’s claims apart.

Barton found the first real contribution any Muslim made was in 1856 (80 years after the founding) when then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis hired one Muslim to help train camels in Arizona. Not exactly a resounding contribution, since the plan to fight Native Americans via camelback was soon dismissed.

But Muslims did have an influence on early America, and that influence was one of a foe. After winning its independence from England, American vessels no longer enjoyed British protection. France, dismayed that the US would not aid it in its war against England, also ceased protection of American ships. The result led to American vessels being raided and plundered by Muslim pirates from the Barbary Coast.

After agreeing to pay 10% of the new nations dismal GDP in exchange for passage, attacks continued. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were sent as representatives to mediate the problem. It was there that they discovered that the Islamic law the pirates followed made it their duty to attack non-Muslims.

“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise,” Jefferson wrote to Secretary of State John Jay, explaining peace was not possible.

Ben Franklin wrote of his experience: “Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Qur’an) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.”

John Adams, in his report to Jay, wrote of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and called him a “military fanatic” who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.”

By the time Jefferson became president the Barbary coast was extorting 25% of US GDP and attacks were still occurring. Jefferson wasted no time in signing a war powers request which launched the US’s entire naval fleet to wage war on the Barbary pirates. Jefferson saw the fleet off, ordering the US sailors to chase the pirates all the way to Tripoli, giving rise to the famed verse from the US Marines’ anthem.

President Obama is correct when he says that Muslims shaped this country, just not in how he means. They provided the context and need for the US Marines and provided our first lesson in battling extremism: It cannot be appeased. Extremism must be routed out through force.



The runaway tyranny of an unelected bureaucracy

California Coastal Commission (CCC) is an unelected body of regulatory zealots that overrides the elected governments of coastal counties and cities on issues of land use and property rights. As we recently noted, the powerful CCC is moving into animal management, trying to leverage SeaWorld into killing off its orca shows. Now the CCC is expanding into sports management and gender quotas.

At Mavericks, on the California coast just north of Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay, the waves break huge in the winter. For more than 15 years, surfers have held a big-wave competition there, but as Samantha Weigel of the Daily Journal notes this year "was the first time organizers were required to obtain a permit from the Coastal Commission." As Kristin Bender of the Associated Press observes, the CCC granted a permit but told organizers, "they better have a plan for including women if they want a permit to hold the event next year." Commissioner Mark Vargas told reporters, "there ought to be some sort of consideration for equal opportunity or at least transparency for their selection process to ensure there is no discrimination." As organizers explained, women can participate in the competition. Women have surfed Mavericks before but no woman has ever made the top 24 in the competition. A push for women to have a heat of their own led to the Coastal Commission demand. Do it our way, the unelected CCC says in effect, or no permit. This is hardly the CCC's only power surge.

As we noted, the unelected Commission is claiming jurisdiction over inland projects such as landfills on the grounds that rivers flow through the coastal region en route to the ocean. As Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee warned, this means the Commission could expand to the nearly entire state. In reality, elected governments are entirely capable of handling their land use and environmental affairs. SeaWorld is capable of managing its own shows and the Mavericks organizers can run their event all by themselves. A responsible, accountable government would eliminate the Coastal Commission at the first opportunity.



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 December, 2015

Trump maintains poll lead among Republicans after call to ban Muslims entering the US

Donald Trump held onto his commanding lead in the Republican race for the White House after his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States was condemned worldwide, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, the first national survey conducted entirely after the billionaire's remarks.

Trump led the pack of candidates seeking the Republican Party's nomination in the 2016 election with 35 per cent of support from Republican voters, the opinion poll released on Friday found, the same lead he held before Monday, when he said Muslim immigrants, students and other travellers should be barred from entering the country.

Most Republican voters said they were not bothered by his remarks, though many said the comments could still hurt Trump's chances of becoming president. Twenty-nine per cent of Republicans, who will pick the party's nominee for the November 2016 election, said they found Trump's remarks offensive against 64 per cent who did not.

"He's really saying what everybody else is feeling," said Donna Fee, 57, a personal caregiver from Missouri. Fee, a Republican, said she supports Trump and agreed with his proposal to bar Muslims. But she said his bluntness could hurt him with other voters. "I really think he needs somebody to calm him down, you know. I really think he needs to learn to use a filter."

Still, in a sign of how Trump's rhetoric has polarised the electorate, 72 per cent of Democrats and 47 per cent of voters overall said they were offended by Trump's comments.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in second among Republicans with 12 per cent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied with 10 per cent.

Trump's statement was by far the most dramatic response of a U.S. presidential candidate to last week's shooting spree in California by a married couple whom the FBI later said had become Islamist militants some time ago.

Leaders in Britain, France, Israel and Canada denounced him, and the fallout hurt the real estate mogul's global brand. A Dubai firm building a $6 billion golf complex stripped Trump's name from the property.

But Trump's standing in opinion polls of Republican voters was unchanged in the data released on Friday, which covered responses from Dec. 8-11. He had more than double the support of his nearest rivals in the online poll of 481 Republicans. The poll had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 5 percentage points.

Alan Abramowitz, a political-science professor at Emory University, said Trump's comments on Muslims were not that different from previous statements, pointing to Trump's idea to establish a registry of Muslims in the United States as an example.  "There's clearly a large segment of the Republican electoral base that responds very positively to the things Trump has been saying," Abramowitz said.



Immigration and Our Founding Fathers' Values

Founding Father James Madison argued that America should welcome the "worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us," including immigrants who would assimilate.

President Obama claims that restricting immigration in order to protect national security is "offensive and contrary to American values." No-limits liberals have attacked common-sense proposals for heightened visa scrutiny, profiling or immigration slowdowns as "un-American."

America's Founding Fathers, I submit, would vehemently disagree.

Our founders, as I've reminded readers repeatedly over the years, asserted their concerns publicly and routinely about the effects of indiscriminate mass immigration. They made it clear that the purpose of allowing foreigners into our fledgling nation was not to recruit millions of new voters or to secure permanent ruling majorities for their political parties. It was to preserve, protect and enhance the republic they put their lives on the line to establish.

In a 1790 House debate on naturalization, James Madison opined: "It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us, and throw their fortunes into a common lot with ours. But why is this desirable?"

No, not because "diversity" is our greatest value. No, not because Big Business needed cheap labor. And no, Madison asserted, "Not merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community; and those who acquire the rights of citizenship, without adding to the strength or wealth of the community are not the people we are in want of."

Madison argued plainly that America should welcome the immigrant who could assimilate, but exclude the immigrant who could not readily "incorporate himself into our society."

George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, similarly emphasized that immigrants should be absorbed into American life so that "by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people."

Alexander Hamilton, relevant as ever today, wrote in 1802: "The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family."

Hamilton further warned that "The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another."

He predicted, correctly, that "The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader."

The survival of the American republic, Hamilton maintained, depends upon "the preservation of a national spirit and a national character." He asserted, "To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens the moment they put foot in our country would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty."

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority of U.S. senators on the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest adopted a stunningly radical amendment by Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., to undermine the national interest in favor of suicidal political correctness. The measure would prevent the federal government from ever taking religion into account in immigration and entrance decisions "as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded."

This pathway to a global right to migrate runs contrary to our founders' intentions as well as decades of established immigration law. As Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., pointed out in a scathing speech opposing the Leahy amendment: "It is well settled that applicants don't have the constitutional right or civil right to demand entry to the United States. ... As leaders, we are to seek the advancement of the Public Interest. While billions of immigrants may benefit by moving to this country, this nation state has only one responsibility. We must decide if such an admission complies with our law and serves our national interest."

Put simply, unrestricted open borders are unwise, unsafe and un-American. A country that doesn't value its own citizens and sovereignty first won't endure as a country for long.



This Terror Expert Backs Trump's Immigration Plan, for One Simple Reason

Part of what's made Donald Trump so popular is the failure of any one of the so called brilliiant experts in Washington D.C. to get ANYTHING done. Now, the experts are taking notice. Bernie Kerik, who served as New York Police Commissioner and as interim minister of the interior in Iraq had this to say about Trump:

    Donald Trump has "exposed the members of Congress for their failure in protecting the homeland" and that is why he is resonating strongly with American voters, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

    "Why aren't the borders secure?" Kerik, who commanded the city's officers during 9/11, asked "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth. "How did this woman get into the country on a K-1 visa, investigated by everyone under the sun and it turns out she's a radical extremist?"

    Kerik was referring to Tashfeen Malik, 29, who killed 14 people and injured 21 others in the San Bernardino shooting rampage last week.

    Malik, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook before the shootings at the Inland Regional Center with her husband, Syed Farook, 28, immigrated to the United States from Pakistan on a K-1 visa.

    The visa is issued to men or women who seek to come to the U.S. to marry a citizen. Farook was born in Illinois.

    The couple, who met online in 2013, was killed hours after the rampage in a gun battle with police.

    "How are we going to bring in tens of thousands of refugees if we don't have the ability to properly vet them and investigate them?" Kerik asked. "That's what Trump exposes."
Kerik's comments expose the underlying silliness of the current GOP. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are on the one hand promising security by projection of force overseas, while at the same time encouraging the sort of open border policies that make it so easy to attack us at home. Trump gets that the two are related, as anyone should.



CBO: ObamaCare May Eliminate Two Million Full-Time Jobs

Last year, a Congressional Budget Office study found out what’s in ObamaCare. To summarize: “CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 to 2 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024… The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.” The Office has just updated those figures through 2025, and the outlook even bleaker. The new report says, “The labor force is projected to be about 2 million full-time-equivalent workers smaller in 2025 under the ACA than it would have been otherwise.” Furthermore, “[T]he estimated effect on the labor supply will be larger — a drop of 1.7 — if measured by the decline in total hours worked.” The report flags three specific reasons:

*    “Health insurance coverage expansions — comprising exchange subsidies, rules governing health insurance, and an expansion of the Medicaid program — are together expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.65 percentage points.

*    "The HI surtax is expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.12 percentage points.

*    "Other major provisions — a penalty on larger employers that do not offer insurance coverage, an excise tax on certain high-premium insurance plans, and a penalty on certain individuals who do not obtain coverage — are together expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.10 percentage point.”

This should provide Republicans more ammo as they work to repeal the law. Obama, of course, would never repeal his own signature achievement. But evidence of its harmful effects is working against Barack Obama, and Republicans — assuming they don’t implode — have a good shot at taking the White House in 2017, at which point repeal is more attainable. The Hill reports, “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pledged last week, during his most significant speech to date, that he planned to roll out a replacement plan for the healthcare law next year.” If — and that’s a huge if — the GOP plays its cards right, we can be rid of this colossal failure as early as 2017. And the equivalent of two million full time jobs could be saved as a result.



Fed Used Made-up Data to Sue for Racial Discrimination in bank lending practices

These will be some tough cases to prove, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been suing over “racist” lending practices but only guessing at the data to do so. The Bureau was supposed to ensure the companies that issued auto loans did so without racial discrimination. Under its mandate, the bureau accused companies associated with the auto sales business of engaging in racist business practices, ruining reputations and raking in millions of dollars for the federal government.

Only one problem: The data the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau used was bad. Instead of verifying the race or ethnicity of the Americans who took out car loans, the bureau simply looked at their names, analyzed what neighborhoods they lived in … and then guessed. And they were even bad at that, as an analysis of the system showed that the bureau’s system was wrong 54% of the time when it guessed that a lender’s race was black.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote of the practice, “This illegal guessing game of name-that-race underscores how much antidiscrimination law has become a political shakedown, and how the consumer bureau is a lawless body that needs to be reined in if it can’t be eliminated.” And we can’t help but wonder if the system the bureau created was itself racist.



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 December, 2015]

The Boston Globe is afraid of The Donald's cheering crowds

I read a fair bit of Leftist media, even some far-Leftist stuff.  Unlike Leftists, I don't live in fear of having my beliefs knocked out of their orbit by some awkward fact.  So I can do that.  Facts are what I go by -- pace Mr Gradgrind. And one of my regular reads is The Boston Globe from the Massachusetts heartland of liberalism.

So I was amused to see a letter from a Jewish lady in the "Globe" under the heading "Donald Trump’s cheering crowds stoke fear of a witch hunt".  The letter is below.  I have some comments at the foot of it.


AS THE daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, I shudder at Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims (“Raising rhetoric, Trump calls for ban on Muslim travel to the US,” Page A1, Dec. 8). His latest call to deny entry to the United States for all Muslims and to require Muslims here, even US citizens, to be on a national registry is over the top. What is even more distressing is the applause he gets at rallies for these proposals.

My parents, who escaped from Germany just in time, urged me to always keep my passport current. “You never know when things turn against Jews and you’ll have to leave this country,” they stressed. “A witch hunt, like happened to us in Germany, can erupt at any time, against any group.”

I thought they were paranoid. But I don’t think this anymore. Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and the cheers he gets for it eerily sound like the kind of 21st-century demagogue my parents warned me about. I am frightened even though I am not Muslim.

I just checked that my passport is up to date, and my husband’s too. I hope we won’t have to use them. My children probably think I am paranoid. I know otherwise.

Miriam Stein, Arlington


The Donald has clearly not won Miriam's stony heart. But what else is new? Fully 78% of the Jewish vote went to Obama in 2008 and The Donald is the anti-Obama. Why their G-d made Jews so stupid politically, I will never know. The diaspora Jews almost all think the Left are their friends! Even after a socialist incinerated 6 million of them! Even Karl Marx despised Jews and he was a Jew himself!

And have Jews forgotten how harshly Russian Communists treated Soviet Jews?  Do they not know why most Russian Jews live in Israel these days -- to the extent that there are some streets in Israel where the shop signs are just as likely to be in Cyrillic as in Hebrew?  Hashem gave his chosen people many great gifts but basic political awareness seems to have been denied to most of them

And it is precisely that mental muddle that lies at the heart of Miriam's possibly genuine fears.  She can't distinguish between a socialist who incinerated train-loads of Jews for ideological reasons and a practical politician who wishes no harm to either Jews or Muslims but simply wishes to keep out of his country a group who include known hostiles.  Poor Miriam!  Miriam is a klutz -- JR


Sen. Sessions: ‘It’s Appropriate to Begin to Discuss’ Muslim Immigrants, and Trump ‘Has Forced That Discussion’

Commenting on Donald Trump’s proposal to halt immigration into the United States by Muslims until a safe vetting system can be established, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said the real estate mogul was “treading on dangerous ground” because of religious freedom issues, but added that in this dangerous time it is proper to discuss the topic and Trump “has forced that discussion.”

On Breitbart News’ SiriusXM radio show on Thursday, host Stephen Bannon asked Sen. Sessions about Trump’s idea and the controversy it has sparked.

Sessions, who supports a secure border policy and strong national defense, said, “Well, he’s treading on dangerous ground because Americans are so deeply committed to freedom of religion. That is a major part of who we are.”

“But, at the same time, we’re in an age that’s very dangerous and we’re seeing more and more persons enter and a lot of them have done terrorist acts and a lot of them believe it’s commanded by their religion,” said Sessions.

“Their faith commands them to do these things,” he said. “They’re not committing suicide on the assumption that this is the end. They’re doing it because they believe that their faith will reward them for doing it.

“So I think it’s appropriate to begin to discuss this, and he has forced that discussion,” said the senator.  “We may even have a discussion about it in Judiciary Committee today.”

“But, you know, it’s time for us to think this through and the classical, internal American religious principles I don’t think apply providing constitutional protections to persons not citizens who want to come here.”

“They’re not in the United States and they’re not entitled to the constitutional protections of the United States,” he said. “But as a principle, we want to be not condemnatory of other people’s religion.

“And there are millions of wonderful, decent, good Muslims, hundreds of millions worldwide, and so we’ve got to be really careful that we don't cross that line, and I guess Mr. Trump has caused us all to think about it more concretely,” said Senator Sessions.

Jeff Sessions, 68, is in his fourth term as the junior senator from Alabama. Prior to entering Congress, Sessions served as the 44th attorney general of Alabama. He also served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve (1973-1986). He is married and has three children.



An Establishment Unhinged

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Calling for a moratorium on Muslim immigration "until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on," Donald Trump this week ignited a firestorm of historic proportions.

As all the old hate words — xenophobe, racist, bigot — have lost their electric charge from overuse, and Trump was being called a fascist demagogue and compared to Hitler and Mussolini.

The establishment seemed to have become unhinged.

Why the hysteria? Comes the reply: Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration tramples all over "American values" and everything we stand for, including the Constitution.

But is this really true?

The Constitution protects freedom of religion for U.S. citizens. But citizens of foreign lands have no constitutional right to migrate. And federal law gives a president broad powers in deciding who comes and who does not, especially in wartime.

In 1924, Congress restricted immigration from Asia, reduced the numbers coming from southern and Central Europe, and produced a 40-year moratorium on most immigration into the United States.

Its authors and President Coolidge wanted ours to remain a nation whose primary religious and ethnic ties were to Europe, not Africa or Asia.

Under FDR, Truman and JFK, this was the law of the land. Did this represent 40 years of fascism?

Why might Trump want a moratorium on Muslim immigration?

Reason one: terrorism. The 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, as were the shoe and underwear bombers on those planes, the Fort Hood shooter, the Times Square bomber and the San Bernardino killers.

And as San Bernardino showed again, Islamist terrorists are exploiting our liberal immigration policies to come here and kill us. Thus, a pause, a timeout on immigration from Muslim countries, until we fix the problem, would seem to be simple common sense.

Second, Muslims are clearly more susceptible to the siren call of terrorism, and more likely to be radicalized on the Internet and in mosques than are Christians at church or Jews at synagogue.

Which is why we monitor mosques more closely than cathedrals.

Third, according to Harvard's late Samuel Huntington, a "clash of civilizations" is coming between the West and the Islamic world. Other scholars somberly concur. But if such a conflict is in the cards, how many more millions of devout Muslims do we want inside the gates?

Set aside al-Qaida, ISIS and their sympathizers. Among the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide are untold millions of followers of the Prophet who pray for the coming of a day when sharia is universal and the infidels, i.e., everyone else, are either converted or subjugated.

In nations where Muslims are already huge majorities, where are the Jews? Where have all the Christians gone?

With ethnic and sectarian wars raging in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and Somalia, why would we bring into our own country people from all sides of these murderous conflicts?

Many European nations — Germans, French, Swedes, Brits — appear to regret having thrown open their doors to immigrants and refugees from the Islamic world, who have now formed unassimilated clusters and enclaves inside their countries.

Ought we not explore why, before we continue down this road?

In some countries of the Muslim world, Americans who embrace "Hollywood values" regarding abortion, adultery and homosexuality, can get their heads chopped off as quickly as converts to Christianity.

In what Muslim countries does Earl Warren's interpretation of the First Amendment — about any and all religious presence being banned in public schools and all religions being treated equally — apply?

When is the next "Crusade for Christ" coming to Saudi Arabia?

Japan has no immigration from the Muslim world, nor does Israel, which declares itself a Jewish state. Are they also fascistic?

President Obama and the guilt-besotted West often bawl their apologies for the horrors of the Crusades that liberated Jerusalem.

Anyone heard Muslim rulers lately apologizing for Saladin, who butchered Christians to take Jerusalem back, or for Suleiman the Magnificent, who conquered the Christian Balkans rampaging through Hungary all the way to the gates of Vienna?

Trump's surge this week, in the teeth of universal denunciation, suggests that a large slice of America agrees with his indictment — that our political-media establishment is dumb as a box of rocks and leading us down a path to national suicide.



Realism from Israel


Is Slavery Really Gone?

Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery. Barack Obama observed the occasion, saying, “A hundred and fifty years proved the cure to be necessary but not sufficient. Progress proved halting, too often deferred. Newly freed slaves may have been liberated by the letter of the law, but their daily lives told another tale.” He’s right that systemic oppression has often been a part of America — indeed, the human experience. He called slavery “our nation’s original sin” and described all the ways the struggle against it has unfolded over the years. It should go without saying that slavery was (and is) a vile institution.

What Obama failed to mention, however, is his own party’s long history of guilt on the matter. The Democrats' “Great Society” has done nothing but run up trillions in debt to continue poverty. As Mark Alexander wrote on the 50th anniversary of that travesty, “The human tragedy of LBJ’s soul-crushing ‘welfare’ programs is incalculable. A rapidly growing permanent underclass, one utterly dependent on the state for its day-to-day existence, now constitutes the Great Society.” By design, Democrats benefit politically from that dependence and permanent racial grievance. Also by design, the first black president has only made race relations worse.

Ironically, Obama also noted that former slaves “couldn’t protect themselves or their families from indignity or from violence.” That would be thanks in part to gun control. And that terrible circumstance remains today on Democrats' urban poverty plantations, where gangs often rule the streets and the law-abiding are subject to severe gun restrictions to go along with high crime. Gun control began as a racist proposition, and it effectively remains one.

While our nation has sometimes fallen short of its own ideals (we are human, after all), rather than perpetually fomenting racial discontent we should remember that Liberty is colorblind and strive to achieve it in every arena.



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 December, 2015

Would banning Muslim immigration be illegal?

We see the predictable huffing and puffing from Left-leaning lawyers below saying that the ban would be unconstitutional -- opinions which blatantly ignore the fact that the USA has a long history of limiting immigration by certain groups.  What the lawyers "forget" is that the American constitution protects Americans, not other nationalities. The first amendment, for instance, says that you are free to practice your religion in the USA.  It says nothing about a right to enter the USA or immigrate to the USA.

And, anyway, who cares about the constitution these days?  Obama has shown how to use executive orders to ignore both statute and constitutional law.  If Obama can do it, why not Trump? Democrats never seem to realize when they are setting bad precedents.  They live only for today

And how come you must not say anything derogatory about Muslims?  Leftists pour out hate at Christians all the time.  Why is that different?  Why is one religion sacrosanct and another is abomination?  Why are beheadings just fine while public Christian prayer must be stopped?  Plainly, it is not religion that Leftists want to protect. What they want to protect is people who hate Western civilization as much as they do.  Leftists are the enemy within

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump set off a political firestorm Monday when he called for at least temporarily barring Muslims from entering the United States – even U.S. citizens trying to return from travels outside the country. Earlier, fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz proposed accepting for U.S. resettlement only those Syrian refugees who are Christian.

But could the nation’s chief executive legitimately order such actions, even with congressional approval?

“It violates the Constitution. It’s discrimination on the basis of religion, which is prohibited by the Constitution,” said Suzanna Sherry, a professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Trump’s plan is “a troubling proposal,” also potentially breeching the 14thAmendment’s equal protection clause, said Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the law school at the University of California, Davis. “It’s really amazing in its breadth and hostile in its unconstitutionality.”

“Our entire legal and regulatory system is based on nondiscriminatory policy,” said Jonathan Turley. The George Washington University legal scholar wrote in his blog Tuesday that Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States “would violate a host of domestic and international protections.” And, he told VOA, “Instead of being a country that has long defended religious freedom, we would become the scourge of religious freedom.”

“Donald Trump is dividing us along religious lines. That’s un-American,” added Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale University law professor.

They were among the constitutional scholars who weighed in with VOA on Tuesday, a day after billionaire real estate developer Trump issued a statement urging a ban on Muslims’ entry “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” It followed terrorist attacks last week in California and last month in Paris.

“Large segments of the Muslim population” have expressed “great hatred” toward Americans, Trump said, reiterating his calls for suspending access both at a South Carolina campaign rally later Monday and on multiple U.S. news talk shows Tuesday.

His remarks drew widespread condemnation, including from House Speaker Paul Ryan and other prominent Republicans seeking to distance themselves and their party from Trump.

But U.S. Senator Cruz of Texas held a news conference Tuesday to “commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders.”

Cruz acknowledged he disagreed with Trump’s plan and highlighted his own. Accompanied by Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, the senator announced he’s introducing a bill that would let governors opt out of refugee resettlement in their respective states if they believed advance screening was insufficient to ensure public safety. Cruz already has introduced legislation calling for a three-year moratorium on accepting refugees from countries where the Islamic State group operates.


U.S. immigration laws long have differentiated among potential newcomers based on their nations of origin.

“We do not have the best history when it comes to this country,” said UC-Davis’ Johnson, author of “The Huddled Masses Myth,” a book about U.S. immigration and civil rights. “In some ways, you could view this as a revival of the now-discredited Chinese exclusion laws.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first of several legislative maneuvers to block Chinese immigrants. Later, the Immigration Act of 1924 created quotas that favored white Europeans over people from Asia and Africa, a policy curtailed in 1965. In subsequent decades, the U.S. government, fighting Soviet-style communism, welcomed Cubans as political refugees but discouraged Haitians as economic refugees, because “it was important for us to repudiate a communist regime on our doorstep,” Amar said.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government in 2002 and 2003 required male noncitizens 16 and older to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service if they’d come from one of 25 countries with predominantly Muslim populations. The program ended after the INS was absorbed by the Department of Homeland Security.



Jimmah did it.  Why not Trump?

Liberals are beside themselves that Donald Trump would suggest a hiatus on permitting Muslim refugees to thwart terrorism, but one very liberal President did almost the same thing.

During the 1980 hostage crisis, then-President Jimmy Carter issued a series of executive orders to tighten the screws on the government of Iran – among them were banning Iranians from entering the United States. Here are Carter’s comments upon making the action:

The Secretary of Treasury and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly."

Carter did this while hundreds of Americans were held hostage by Iranian students in Tehran. At the time, there were no comparisons to Hitler, or Mussolini or even right-wing Republicans.

More HERE 

It could be said that Jimmah was REALLY racist -- as he targeted a national group, not a religion -- JR


Politicians Hate Trump's Muslim Ban, But What Do Voters Think?

Although insiders in both parties expressed outrage over Trump's Muslim comments, the voters have a different view: they love it! As Bloomberg notes:

    "Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

    Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner"

It seems like once again, the Washington establishment is out of touch with the concerns and opinions of every day Americans.



Rev. Graham backs Trump

In reaction to the radical Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., involving one jihadist who entered the U.S.A. on a fiancé visa, evangelical preacher Franklin Graham said “border control,” not more gun control, is part of the answer, and added that “no Muslims” should enter America until a safe vetting process is in place.

“President Obama and his administration are trying to blame this incident on gun control when it was caused by hate-filled hearts intent on killing infidels in the name of Islam,” said the reverend.  “Take away the guns and this couple would’ve still slaughtered innocent civilians. Their apartment was a bomb-making factory!”

“Mr. President, we don’t need more gun control—we need border patrol,” said Graham. 

“No Muslims should be allowed into this country until there’s a process in place to fully vet them,” he said.  “We’ve got to turn away those who could potentially pose a threat until this war with radical Islam is over.”



Trump vindicated again. British police claim he is RIGHT about parts of London being so 'radicalised' they are no-go areas

He was proven right about Muslims cheering the fall of the twin towers and now he has been proven right about Muslim Britain. It's going to be amusing to see how the British elite wear the egg on their faces

Serving police officers today backed Donald Trump's claim that some Muslim communities in the UK are no-go areas because of extremism.  Several Met officers have said the 'Islamification' of some parts of the capital requires 'extra vigilance' and they can't wear uniforms for safety reasons - despite Scotland Yard claiming the tycoon 'couldn't be more wrong'.

Home Secretary Theresa May tonight rejected Mr Trump's claims, insisting: 'The police in London are not afraid to go out and police the streets.'

The US presidential contender caused worldwide consternation yesterday after a string of incendiary remarks about Muslims, including in Britain, and said: 'We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives.'

But one serving officer said today Trump had 'pointed out something plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to'. 

Another policeman said that he and other colleagues fear being terror targets and spoke of the 'dire warning' from bosses not to wear a uniform 'even in my own car'.

Mr Trump has said the US should close its borders to all Muslim migrants and claims parts of Britain are no-go areas because of Islamic extremism.

MPs responded by calling for the property tycoon to be stopped from entering Britain, where he owns several golf courses. Scotland Yard also hit back last night,

But one serving officer in west London said: 'Islamification has and is occurring', adding: 'You have to have extra vigilance in certain parts when you are working'.

Even if one of us did get killed or dragged off in a van. It would just be reported as a 'one-off incident' and no reason to change the 'British style of policing'

A Lancashire Police officer told MailOnline: 'There are Muslim areas of Preston that, if we wish to patrol, we have to contact local Muslim community leaders to get their permission'.

One officer from Yorkshire said on the online forum Police.Community: 'I'm not allowed to travel in half blues to work anymore IN MY OWN CAR as we're 'All at risk of attack' - yet as soon as someone points out the obvious it's 'divisive.'  He added: 'In this instance he (Trump) isn't wrong. Our political leaders are best either ill-informed or simply being disingenuous.

'He's pointed out something that is plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to - do you think a US Police Department would ban officers from wearing their uniforms under jackets etc due to FEAR of their cops being killed by extremists?

Another Met officer who resigned this year said: 'I was a PC in the Met for 11 years - I resigned as I couldn't handle it anymore

'Whilst provocative Trump's comments does carry some weight. PCs are not permitted to even come to work in 'half Blues' (just wearing trousers and shirt) for fear of attack whilst going to work. That is a directive from Scotland Yard.

'PCs have come out to find police cars having the brake lines cut and sometimes their own personal cars damaged'.

Another serving police officer agreed and said: 'Same here regarding the dire warnings of wearing half blues even in my own car and I'm not in London'.



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 December, 2015

Rand Paul backs Trump on Immigration -- cautiously

Paul is a bit more subtle.  Wants "high risk" people barred, not "Muslims"

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says the United States should shift its focus away from bulk data collection and simply stop all immigration from "high risk" countries to prevent future attacks.

“I think what we've had in the past is the government has said, ‘Well, we need to collect the whole haystack.’ And the haystack is Americans' privacy,” Paul explained Sunday on Meet the Press.“Every Americans' privacy. We have to give up all of our privacy.

"But what I'd like to do is make the haystack smaller. So I think that we have to be very careful about who comes here from the Middle East. And I've introduced legislation to say, ‘For right now, let's stop it,’ from about 34 countries.”

Paul submitted an amendment last week calling for moratoriums on visas and refugee admissions from many African and Asian “high-risk” countries. These included Iraq, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.

Paul's comments were in response to a question from Meet the Press host Chuck Todd about what he would say to make Americans feel safer in the context of a discussion on whether the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records was appropriate.

“You were on the forefront of trying to change this law. Any second thoughts?” Todd asked.

Paul replied that NSA's phone data collection was still occurring, but had failed to thwart any terrorist attacks. He also framed the decision to monitor phone records as a trade-off between liberty and a false sense of security.

"It's been ongoing for the last six months. So the Paris tragedy... happened while we were still doing bulk collection, all bulk collection. Also in France, they have a program a thousand-fold more invasive, collecting all of the data of all of the French. And yet, they still weren't able to see this coming," Paul responded.

“So my question is, how much liberty do we want to give up for a false sense of security? The government has investigated our program of collecting, through a generalized fashion, everyone's phone records in the country. And they have found that no terrorist case has been thwarted through this,” Paul stated.

In response to his call to stop immigration from the Middle East, Todd said: “That’s a version of profiling.”

To which Paul responded, “Well, people who want to come to this country don't have constitutional rights. Once they get here, they do. But coming here is not a constitutional right.”

Paul went on to decry the current state of migrant vetting and asserted America’s ability to choose who comes and doesn’t come into the country. “So we do, as a nation, have the ability and should have the ability to decide who comes here and when they come here.

“Right now, we don't know who is here. The woman that was admitted, that ended up being married to this terrorist, I don't think she was properly vetted. I think she came here and I don't think we adequately knew enough about her.

“And I think also there's some indication that the papers she filed to come here were a lie to begin with. So I don't think we're doing an adequate vetting process of those who are coming to our country,” Rand said.



Trump stands firm

 Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by his call to block all Muslims from entering the United States, even as the idea was widely condemned by rival Republican presidential candidates, party leaders and others as un-American.

Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by comparing it with President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.

“This is a president who was highly respected by all,” Trump said Tuesday. “If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”

Trump’s campaign has been marked by a pattern of inflammatory statements, dating back to his harsh rhetoric about Mexican immigrants. He has taken a particularly hard line against Muslims in the days since the Paris attacks, advocating enhanced surveillance of mosques due to fears over radicalization.

Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more, a number of Republican presidential contenders have proposed restrictions on Syrian refugees — with several suggesting preference for Christians seeking asylum — and tighter surveillance in the U.S.

But Trump’s proposed ban goes much further, and his Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them. “Donald Trump is unhinged,” Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”

Despite his controversial rhetoric, Trump has maintained his popularity among many Republican voters, with less than two months to go before the first 2016 primary contests. Many Republicans worry that his rise will damage the party’s chances of winning the White House in November, as Hillary Rodham Clinton consolidates her own front-runner status on the Democratic side.

The Muslim ban announced by Trump Monday evening drew swift rebukes from abroad. British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed it as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” Muslims in the United States and around the world denounced it unconstitutional or offensive.

The front page of the Philadelphia Daily News pictured Trump holding his right hand out as if in a Nazi salute with the headline “The New Furor.” In morning TV interviews Tuesday on ABC and CNN, Trump was asked about being compared to Hitler.

The candidate didn’t back down, saying that banning all Muslims “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on” is warranted after attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris and last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14.

“We are now at war,” Trump said, adding: “We have a president who doesn’t want to say that.”

Trump’s proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of a religion practiced by more than a billion people worldwide.

Trump announced his plan to cheers and applause at a Monday evening rally in South Carolina.



POLL: Trump Strongest Candidate on Fighting Terrorism

A new survey of more than 1000 adults from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute puts terrorism as the second-leading issue America faces. Americans are also personally concerned about attending large public events and about the adequacy of security measures generally.

When respondents were asked to indicate whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, or were unsure about policies and opinions in the news, these findings emerged:

More than three-quarters, at 78.2 percent, strongly or somewhat agree that “It is likely ISIS terrorists are hiding among Syrian and other refugees in order to enter Europe and the United States.”

Two-thirds, at 66.9, percent agree strongly or somewhat with “a pause in accepting Syrian refugees into the United States until additional FBI background checks and approvals are added to the current screening process.”

When respondents were asked which current presidential candidate—despite personal preference—”would likely mount the strongest and most effective effort against terrorists worldwide while protecting Americans at home” they said, in descending order:

Donald Trump, 24.1 percent
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 20.7 percent
U.S. Senator (VT) Bernie Sanders, 7.7 percent
U.S. Senator (TX) Ted Cruz, 5.5 percent
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 4.7 percent
Dr. Ben Carson, 4.4 percent



Rupert Murdoch Defends Trump: ‘Complete Refugee Pause’ Makes Sense

On Tuesday, none other than Rupert Murdoch defended Donald Trump, tweeting that a “complete refugee pause” in order to fix the vetting problem “makes sense.”

Murdoch sent his Tweet a day after GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States.

“Has Trump gone too far?” Murdoch Tweeted. “Regardless, public is obsessed on radical Muslim dangers, Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense.”

Murdoch has been one of the most prominent supporters of comprehensive amnesty legislation, writing in 2014 after a meeting with President Barack Obama’s confidante and top adviser Valerie Jarrett that amnesty for illegal immigrants and an unlimited number of high-tech visas for corporations to displace U.S. workers “can’t wait.”



U.S. Borders Present 'Significant' Terrorist Pipelines

The Obama administration’s lax border security and unquestioning acceptance of everyone who wishes to enter the U.S. is no longer just a question of immigration policy. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) told an audience at the National Defense University Monday that the Islamic State has tried to use the refugee program to enter America. “I can reveal today that the United States government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program,” McCaul said.

Last week, a report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that violent jihadists could easily cross the borders with Canada and Mexico. There are reports of an Islamic State training camp in Mexico, and the Canadian government’s policies toward Syrian immigrants could provide a pathway for Islamic State militants to simply travel south and hop across the U.S.-Canadian border. “Security observers have argued that Canada represents a substantial vulnerability, because it provides immigrant visas to individuals who pose a significant threat.” the Senate’s report read. “Witnesses testified before the committee that if someone gets into Canada, they will most likely be able to enter the U.S.”

This is not an unfounded fear. Judicial Watch reported a group of five men were arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border at the beginning of December. They were of Middle Eastern decent, and Border Patrol agents discovered “stainless steel cylinders in backpacks,” Judicial Watch said. McCaul suggested refugees — by definition people who want to return to their homes — should shelter under a no-fly zone in Syria enforced by the countries battling the Islamic State. But that would require a strategy from the Obama administration. But instead, the director of the Department of Homeland Security held a press conference Monday with the ADAMS Center, an Islamic group that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Obama keeps sending all the wrong messages.



Defeating Terrorists with Privateers

Privateers -- private individuals or groups authorized by the government to fight on its behalf for a portion of the spoils -- helped America win its independence from Britain. The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to utilize privateers (see the provision on "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" in Article I, Section 8), but not since the War of 1812 have lawmakers authorized any. Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., calls for the reinstatement of privateering to take on terrorist groups like ISIS.

"Terrorists employ creative methods to inflict brutality and death, but the civilized world has not responded with an innovative response," Watkins writes. "Allowing privateers would encourage such a response. Congress or private charities could reward entrepreneurs who hack terrorist communication networks, locate stashes of assets, or uncover terrorist cells hiding in our cities."

Watkins notes that the private sector has long been used for investigations and security-sometimes even in a military context. But the use of letters of marque and reprisal-more broadly, the use of economic incentives-could provide decisive help in combatting terrorism, as long as privateers and other counter-terrorism agents are held liable for any misconduct. "Allowing more private security firms to deploy their equipment and know-how would go a long way toward putting terrorist groups on the dustbin of history," Watkins writes. "It's time that we let them."


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)


9 December, 2015
Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.

ISIS themselves have said that many of their fighters are embedded among the Syrian refugees so this is in fact the only way these Jihadis can be kept out.  "Screening" is a joke.  What do you screen and how?  But if you want to find out if someone is a Muslim, that's easy.  Just ask them to say: "Islam is a false religion"

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Monday for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a campaign press release said.

Trump, who has previously called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S., made his latest controversial call in a news release. His message comes in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers and the day after President Barack Obama asked the country not to "turn against one another" out of fear.

Trump's comments are likely to roil the Republican presidential race, forcing many of his opponents for the nomination to engage in a debate over whether there should be a religious test to enter America.

But his proposal was met with enthusiasm by many of his supporters, who showed their approval via social media as well as at his rally on Monday night.

"I think that we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: we can't identify what their attitude is," said 75-year-old Charlie Marzka of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Moreover, the Muslim travel ban will likely do little to dent Trump's own popularity among Republican primary voters. The billionaire businessman has dominated the GOP contest for months despite repeated controversies that would likely sink other White House hopefuls.

"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine," Trump said in a statement. "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

The release pointed to an online poll from the controversial Center for Security Policy, which claimed that a quarter of Muslims living in the U.S. believe violence against Americans is justified as part of a global jihadist campaign. Critics have questioned the reliability of the organization's information. It also pointed to a Pew Research poll, which the campaign declined to identify, which the campaign claimed points to "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population."

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN on Monday that the ban would apply not just to Muslim foreigners looking to immigrate to the U.S., but also to Muslims looking to visit the U.S. as tourists.

"Everyone," Lewandowski said when asked if the ban would also apply to Muslim tourists.

Trump confirmed that his policy would not apply to current Muslims in the U.S. during a Fox News interview on Monday evening.



Turkey's Human Wave Assault on the West?

For months, Western policymakers have agonized over what to do with the masses of Sunni Muslim migrants flooding Europe by the boatload, particularly Syrians. Largely missing from this discussion is the question of why this flood is happening.

For starters, it doesn't have much to do directly with the civil war in Syria or the rise of ISIS. The vast majority of the 886,662 migrants who illegally entered Europe this year embarked from Turkey, a little over half of them Syrians who took shelter in the country over the past four years. "EU officials have said . Ankara was very effective in previous years in preventing the outflow of refugees from the country," according to the Wall Street Journal.

What caused the spike in migration is that Ankara stopped containing it. Over the past year or so, the Turkish government has allowed human traffickers to vastly expand their operations, bringing prices down tenfold (from $10,000-$12,000 per person last year to around $1,250 today, according to one report. This spawned what the New York Times calls a "multimillion-dollar shadow economy" profiting from the traffic, ranging from the smugglers to manufacturers of cheap rafts, life vests, and other equipment.

By the spring of this year it had become easier and cheaper than ever before to illegally enter Europe through Turkey, and more people have taken advantage of the opportunity Ankara has created.

So why did Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan open the spigot? Put simply, to extract financial, political, and strategic concessions from European governments in exchange for closing it.

Ankara certainly hasn't been shy about asking for money over the course of its negotiations with EU officials in recent weeks. On November 29 the EU agreed to provide Turkey with an "initial" $3.19 billion and take steps to expedite its bid to join the EU in exchange for Turkish promises to better patrol its coastlines.

Erdogan also used the crisis to generate foreign political support ahead of snap elections on November 1, essentially a re-do of the June 2015 elections that saw the ruling AKP lose its parliamentary majority for the first time. Though Western diplomatic protocol frowns on state visits during election time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Istanbul for high-profile meetings with Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu just two weeks before the vote. The European Commission postponed the release of a report detailing the erosion of the rule of law, freedom of expression and judicial independence in Turkey until after the election in order, according to Reuters, "to avoid antagonizing" its president.

Most worrisome, perhaps, is Turkey's pursuit of strategic payoffs for its human wave assault on Europe. In a letter sent to European leaders at the September 23 EU migration summit, Davutoglu proposed the creation of a "safe zone" and U.S.-enforced no-fly zone stretching from the Turkish border 80 km into northern Syria, where his government has backed a variety of Sunni Islamist insurgents against both pro-regime Syrian forces and local Kurds.

Although the start of Russian military intervention in Syria on September 30 put an end to this fantasy for the time being (which perhaps explains why the Turks were so trigger-happy in shooting down an SU-24 that only slightly violated their airspace on November 24), you can bet Erdogan will use the migrant crisis to pressure the West into supporting his ambitions in Syria.

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because the late Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi used to play the same game, turning the pipeline of illegal trans-African migration into Europe on and off as a way of extracting concessions. The most vexing question, then as now, is not what to do with the migrants, but what to do with a government that so callously manipulates masses of downtrodden human beings as a diplomatic pressure tactic.

On this there's room for debate. But the first step in doing anything about it is to call Erdogan out for what he is - dangerous and manipulative - no partner for Western leaders. Still, after meeting with the Erdogan in Paris on Tuesday, President Obama praised Turkey for being "extraordinarily generous when it comes to its support of refugees."

The next step, instead of bribing Turkey with ransom payments to end the hemorrhaging of Syrian and other Middle East refugees into the West, should turn the tables on Ankara. The potential loss of Western support to Turkey as it deals with both Russia and ISIS should be the sword of Damocles, convincing Erdogan to contain the refugee crisis.

Western material support to Turkey should be cut off entirely unless Ankara puts an end to the refugee crisis it is manufacturing and begins to play a constructive role in bringing stability to the region. How appropriate that an ancient Greek tragedy disrupt the current calamitous Turkish-born reality.



In the Wake of the Terror Attack, Democrats are currying favor with Muslims

As Americans are arming up and demanding that government come up with a solution for the radical Islam problem, Democrats are doing the unthinkable- attending service at a radical Islamist mosque

        Democratic lawmakers are planning to attend prayer services at a Washington-area mosque that has been accused of acting as a front for Hamas and that served as the home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.

        On the heels of a deadly mass shooting by two Muslim individuals in San Bernardino, California, a group of Democratic lawmakers said they would attend Friday prayer services at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Virginia, which has been linked to the financing of terrorists and where al-Awlaki served as the spiritual leader

    Republican leaders are offering all different kinds of solutions for the Islamic terrorism problem, while Democrats are blaming it on global warming and law abiding gun owners. Their frontrunner is walking around cutting ads with her head covered in submission to Islam. Whomever your candidate, the message is clear. There is one party in this country who has no interest in confronting the radical Islamist threat to America.



Is Liberalism Good for Poor People?

When is the last time you heard Hillary Clinton talk about poverty? How about Barack Obama? Or Bernie Sanders?

Granted, they use the word "middle class" a lot. But when is the last time you heard them talk about what they want to do for the "poor"? I can't remember.

Take housing. On any given day about 565,000 people in the United States are homeless. That problem isn't going away any time soon. In fact, at the current rate of progress it will take 40 years before the homeless disappear from our shelters and streets. I don't recall any Democratic proposals to change that.

Ironically, the chronically homeless decreased more under President Bush (30%) than under President Obama (21%). Hillary Clinton actually charged a group of homeless veterans $500,000 to give a speech. (I have no idea where they got the money.)

When they talk about the problem at all, liberal Democrats invariably say we need to spend more money. But that's not the answer. Like the problems of education, transportation, medical care and lack of job opportunities, the housing problems of the poor are largely the creation of bad government policies. The cheapest, most efficient way to solve these problems is to change the bad polices.

In 1900, more than half the population was living in poverty, using today's definition. That was a time when there were huge influxes of people into the cities and urban areas. So where did all those people live? Were they all sleeping under bridges? Since we had a largely free market for housing, the private sector seemed to do quite well at meeting people's needs.

Not many of today's readers would want to live in the tenements that housed families 100 years ago. But at least they were housed. They weren't sleeping on the streets.

One way in which the private sector created housing space is with single room occupancy or single resident occupancy dwellings-usually called SROs:

    [These are] a form of housing in which one or two people are housed in individual rooms (sometimes two rooms, or two rooms with a bathroom or half bathroom) within a multiple-tenant building... SRO tenants typically share bathrooms and/or kitchens, while some SRO rooms may include kitchenettes, bathrooms, or half-baths... many are former hotels ... primarily rented as a permanent residence.

These were born out of urban overcrowding, as cities scrambled to meet housing demands produced by industrialization and the urban population explosion of the early 20th century. But today, they are largely illegal. As Mariana lonova writes:

    [T]he number of legal SROs in New York City has dwindled dramatically, with some 175,000 units disappearing between the 1950s and today. Single-room dwellings also fell out of favor in other urban centers across the country, which led in the loss of nearly 1 million SRO units nationwide. Between 1960 and 1980, Chicago lost 80 percent of its 38,845 SROs, while Seattle saw 15,000 units disappear. In San Francisco, more than 10,000 units were converted or demolished between 1960 and 2000....

Today, there are only 30,000 legal SROs in New York City, but there are an estimated three times that many illegal units-meeting an ever increasing demand:

    ... poverty in New York has persisted and even worsened-today nearly a fifth of New Yorkers live in poverty, compared to less than a sixth in 1969. Meanwhile, changing gender and family norms have meant a massive increase in the number of single-person households in the city, which rose from 185,000 in 1960 to more than 700,000 in 1987 to an estimated 1.8 million today.

That city and state housing polices contribute to a housing shortage in places like New York and San Francisco and exacerbate the problem of homelessness is not even controversial. Here is a whole speech on the matter by Jason Furman, Prescient Omasa's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. (HT: John Cochrane.) And here is an editorial on the issue by Paul Krugman.

Yet, neither Furman nor Krugman makes the point I made in "How Liberals Live." The worst housing shortages, the most homelessness and the worst inequality exist in the cities that are the most Democratic and the most liberal.

I wonder why?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


8 December, 2015

'You ain't no Muslim bruv'

The above words have been eagerly seized on by those who are trying to ignore that it is orthodox Islam that lies behind the recent spate of terrorist attacks by Muslims. The words were uttered by a bystander while the most recent terrorist attacker was being confronted by police.  The attacker was an African with an "Arabic" accent.

I initially assumed that the words were from somebody who knew the assailant personally and who knew the assailant as having only marginal contact with Islam.  And I still think that is most likely.

The idea that the words are a precise theological statement is certainly absurd.  At best it represents the opinion of someone with no authority to pronounce on what is Islamic.  And yet it has been taken as if it were.

We know that there are occasional voices from the Muslim world that condemn terrorist attacks but they are few and far between. Muslim mullahs and muftis normally refuse to condemn such attacks.    And the refusals are few and far between for a good reason: Attacks on infidels are not only permitted by the Koran but commanded by it.  Start reading at Sura 9 if you doubt it. The opinion of some presumably black bystander in London is no match for the Koran as an Islamic authority.

One understands that the willingly blind seize any crumb of comfort in a world made very dangerous by enthusiasts for Islam but closing your eyes is not a good way to keep yourself safe.

Report of the incident below:

The defiant words shouted by an East Londoner at the knifeman involved in the terror attack at Leytonstone tube station last night have become an internet sensation.

'You ain't no Muslim bruv' hashtag has swept through social media, described as the 'perfect' London response to the atrocity.

During footage recorded of the standoff between the knifeman and police, the witness can be heard repeatedly yelling: 'You ain't no Muslim bruv!'

The powerful statement has been widely quoted on social media with many people saying the man's actions represented only the work of a killer rather than someone showing their support for Syria.

The knifeman allegedly slashed two people at the tube station, shouting, 'this is for Syria' before being Tasered by police in what has been described by Scotland Yard as a terrorism attack.

More HERE 


Barack mentions the M-word. He's even decided that America is exceptional after all

On Sunday, December 6, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office on the steps his government is taking to  keep the American people safe from Jihadis.  Some excerpts below. He's now convinced that there is a threat from Muslim terrorists and that they are a bad lot. He has yet to acknowledge the widespread approval of their actions in the Muslim world, however.  He thinks that Muslims who don't wage jihad are on our side!  That they might lie low simply for fear of the consequences has apparently not occurred to him

The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here is what we know. The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their coworkers and his wife. So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.

Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino. And as groups like ISIL grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq and then Syria, and as the Internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers.

We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world?—?including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans?—?of every faith?—?to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes?—?and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.

Even in this political season, even as we properly debate what steps I and future Presidents must take to keep our country safe, let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional.



Mass Surveillance and the Politics of Fear

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Arkansas) has put forward a bill to allow the National Security Agency to sidestep protections in the USA Freedom Act.  The bill would allow the NSA to keep the metadata records they illegally obtained through warrantless mass surveillance

There will always be those eager to scare us into giving away our liberties.

As Senator Tom Cotton is working to reverse some of the important surveillance reforms in the USA Freedom Act, establishment Republicans are lining up to defend his actions. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, responding to a FreedomWorks press release, accuses the liberty wing of the Republican Party of “preying on the public’s fears.”

To be sure, there is plenty of fear mongering going on, but Ms. Rubin is a little muddled if she thinks it’s coming from the people speaking out against the surveillance state. On the contrary, fear has always been used to justify more intrusion into the private lives of ordinary citizens. I’m hard pressed to think of a time when the opposite was the case.

We have been told, and continue to be told, that we need to surrender our liberties in order to remain safe. If we don’t act, swiftly and decisively, the terrorists will kill us all, and then what use will our privacy be? We can worry about freedom when things are not so dangerous.

It’s such a compelling narrative that it can be effectively sold to the American people, again and again, even when the proposed action doesn’t actually solve any existing problem. The illusion of doing something, anything, is enough to make many people give up their most basic rights. Add to this the fact that the promised “less dangerous time” never really happens. That is, it does happen, but the powers that be refuse to acknowledge it.

If you actually take the time to look at the numbers, crime rates and deaths by war have continually declined. Even the trend in mass shootings has remained essentially flat. We’re much less likely to die from violence now than we were in the fabled domestic utopia of the 1950s, but you’d never know it from watching the 24-hour news networks.

In the case of the NSA’s bulk data collection program, Ms. Rubin’s own paper reported that the administration can’t point to the program’s use to stop any terrorist attacks. There have also been reports from industry insiders that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of data is actually a hindrance to the detection of actual threats, since it consumes so many of these agencies’ finite resources.

Edward Snowden explained this problem succinctly: “We miss attacks, we miss leads, and investigations fail because when the government is doing its ‘collect it all,’ where we’re watching everybody, we’re not seeing anything with specificity because it is impossible to keep an eye on all of your targets.”

So, not only does the program Tom Cotton wants to preserve not catch terrorists, it hurts our ability to do so. People are, justifiably, scared, and the appearance of doing something is better than the appearance of doing nothing, so we end up with incredibly misguided proposals like this one.

It’s not “preying on the public’s fears” to ask that we be smart about national security, while still taking care to preserve the essential liberties enshrined in our Constitution. What does constitute preying on fear is constantly telling people that they are going to be killed unless they surrender their privacy into the government’s hands. Franklin Roosevelt was on to something when he said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, or rather, that our fear can be used as a weapon to make us give up everything we hold dear.

There will always be dangers in the world we have to guard against. There will always be an excuse to trade liberty for the illusion of security. But only by resisting that temptation can we hope to preserve anything like a free society.



The Internet sales tax is not just about taxes

As Black Friday gave way to Cyber Monday, the familiar complaints from physical retailers about the perils of online competition once more began to surface. At issue is the way internet sales, or more specifically remote sales, are taxed, with many retailers calling for new legislation to empower states to collect more taxes from online sellers.

Discussions about the proposed internet sales tax usually devolve rather quickly into accusations that one side is simply selfish: they want to shop online tax free, and they don’t care about a level playing field for brick-and-mortar stores. The American lust for low prices, they argue, is trumping notions of fairness and equity. Hence, the Marketplace Fairness Act and its similar derivative, the Remote Transactions Parity Act.

Don’t be fooled by the words “fairness” and “parity” in the titles of these bills. While useful as a marketing tool, this language is wildly inaccurate. Far from creating tax equality, this legislation would grant unprecedented new taxing powers to the states.

This is where the claims of greediness on the part of consumers fall apart. Opposition to the Internet sales tax is not about the money, although that’s part of it. More broadly, it’s about keeping government power within its proper limits. A little explanation will illustrate the point more clearly.

Currently, states can collect sales taxes on businesses with a physical presence within their borders. This includes brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online sellers with distribution centers, warehouses, or physical storefronts in the state. In this way, physical and online stores are already treated equally by the tax code. However, if a consumer in one state orders something from a store located in a different state, the destination state is not required to collect taxes on the sale.

The reason for this is simple: Florida’s government doesn’t have the right to reach across the country to California and demand that sellers in the latter state do the dirty work of tax collection on its behalf. The whole point of designing the United States as a series of separate units instead of as one unified whole was to preserve independence in policy, recognizing that the same rules were not appropriate for different areas of the country with different needs. The states were also intended to be “laboratories of democracy” where different ideas could be tried alongside one another to see what works best.

All these benefits of federalism are lost if state governments can start extending their taxing and regulatory powers across borders. Currently, a low sales tax rate has been a tool used by states to attract businesses. The Internet sales tax makes this competition irrelevant, and state legislatures lose the incentive to strive for lower rates.

Additionally, the proposed law would require small businesses to keep track of the various tax jurisdictions across the country, in order to accurately collect taxes for wherever consumers might be located. At last count there were around 9,600 of these tax jurisdictions. For a seller like Amazon, which has distribution centers pretty much everywhere anyway, this is no big deal, but imagine what a burden this would be on a site like eBay, which coordinates thousands of individual buyers and sellers, each of which would have to master the administration of these tax laws simply to effect a single sale. This is clearly not a matter of fairness, but of squeezing out small sellers in order to protect big ones who can afford to comply with the new rules.

The Internet sales tax is a danger to e-commerce in general, but more importantly, it is a danger to the liberty and independence of the states. The precedent of allowing tax collectors to wander outside their jurisdictions and practice their reviled profession anywhere they please has profound implications for the future of our country, and whether the model of federalism so cherished by its founders will be abandoned once and for all.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


7 December, 2015

Terrorism: Time to Take the Gloves Off

The horrors unleashed by devout Muslims are becoming worse and worse and more and more frequent. As they ratchet up, popular demand will make inevitable the expulsion of the population that breeds these horrors.  In the meantime ....

After the terror attack in California on December 2, everybody agrees we have to do something different to counter the threat from ISIS-inspired attacks in the United States, even as commentators endlessly debate what that should be. Ultimately, there are three things that would make a real difference and enable us to win what looks to be a long, long fight.

First, all individuals in this country who display evidence of extreme radicalization should be subject to surveillance, not just those who show signs of violence. Expanded surveillance not only increases the likelihood of detecting terror plots, but helps build deeper institutional knowledge of how Islamism functions in the United States.

The fact that the FBI knew Syed Rizwan Farook was in contact with the targets of an ongoing terrorism investigation and did nothing to keep tabs on him (presumably because he had not mentioned he was going to shoot people) is a tragic mistake that cannot be repeated.

Next, the United States must give unequivocal support to those states in the Middle East that are committed to resisting the spread of Islamism (Israel, Jordan, the Kurdish Regional Government, and a handful of others), shun those that aren't or who contribute to the problem (Saudi Arabia, Turkey), and get out of the business of attempting to politically engineer stable states in the Islamic world.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we must ostracize mainstream Islamic institutions that preach intolerance and America-hatred. These range from Saudi-funded Wahhabist mosques to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Foreign nationals who preach hate should be deported, and American citizens who encourage radicalization should be watched carefully.

Here's why we must act to diminish the influence of these organizations.

Mere hours after fourteen people were massacred, after one of the perpetrator's Muslim-sounding name was made public, CAIR rushed to the side of the shooter's family and held a hastily-arranged press conference designed to deflect blame from Islam and warn about possible blowback against members of the Muslim community as a consequence of the attacks.

CAIR continues to claim that it does not support radical ideologies, despite growing public evidence that its founders funded, aided, abetted and justified terrorist attacks by radical Islamists.

CAIR's words and deeds are about as far apart on that point as you can imagine. At the press conference this week, CAIR's leaders said they were against violence and terrorism. They called for an investigation into the shooters' motives and their actions.

Despite these words, CAIR – or at least the group's predecessors – has not had a problem supporting the violent radical Islamist terrorist group Hamas. The Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas front group convicted in America's largest terrorism financing case, made an early $5,000 donation to CAIR to help establish it. Several CAIR founders and/or officials were convicted in the same case. Subsequently, the FBI severed its liaison relationship with the CAIR, banning it from cooperation for the foreseeable future. CAIR was not indicted as a defendant, but was deemed to be an unindicted co-conspirator. The FBI did "not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner" and "suspended all formal outreach activities" with it.

CAIR's playbook calls for it to change the subject as quickly as possible to Muslims-as-victims. The organization does this masterfully. Less than two days after the massacre, CAIR has already placed articles complaining about the post-shooting spike in "Islamophobia" in prominent papers like the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Post article not only prominently quotes CAIR, but also the imam of a Falls Church mosque, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a mosque with which CAIR seems to have warm ties. The mosque was attended by at least three people convicted of terrorism, Ahmed Abu Ali, Amine El Khalifi, and Paul Rockwood, Jr., and visited by at least two others, Hani Hanjour and Nawaq Alhamzi.

Let's stop treating terrorist sympathizers like they have a place in our society.

In the coming days we can expect many more details to emerge about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. We will likely learn what led the two assailants to plan and execute such a heartless and cruel attack against a soft target filled with innocents. And we will begin, once again, to grapple with the question of how best to protect the American people from terrorist attacks inspired by radical Islam.

There is a lot we do not yet know about what happened this week, but the public would be wise to look beyond the surface of CAIR's PR efforts. CAIR and its ilk are trying to whitewash the deadly impact of radical Islam under the guise of supporting civil rights. Let's tell it like it is and stop treating terrorist sympathizers or supporters like they have a place in our society.



Days After a Radical Islamist Attack, THIS is the Obama DOJ's Top Priority

Just days after a radical Islamist couple engaged in a terropr attack on American soil, the Obama DOJ announced its top priority: prosecuting those who slander Islam!

The day after a horrific shooting spree by a "radicalized" Muslim man and his partner in San Bernardino, California, Attorney General Loretta Lynch pledged to a group of Muslim activists that she would take aggressive action against anyone who used "anti-Muslim rhetoric" that "edges toward violence."

Speaking to the audience at the Muslim Advocate's 10th anniversary dinner Thursday, Lynch said her "greatest fear" is the "incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric" in America and vowed to prosecute any guilty of what she deemed violence-inspiring speech. She said:

The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.

Assuring the pro-Muslim group that "we stand with you," Lynch said she would use her Justice Department to protect Muslims from "violence" and discrimination.
You see, it's not radical Islamists who are the problem, it's law abiding, patriotic American gun owners. The Obama administrationm and their cronies are playing a dangerous game, where they deny facts about terrorism that would challenge their PC worldview and and go out in search of straw conservative monsters to destroy.



More evidence that Democrats should be denied gun permits on mental health grounds [/sarcasm]

An online dating profile appearing to have once belonged to San Bernardino killer Syed Farook provides new insight into his life.

In the Arab Lounge dating account, Farook described himself as an “Allah fearing, calm thought full [sic] and simple man.”

“I am born and raised here, I try to live as a good Muslim, looking for a girl who has the same outlook, wear hijab, but live the life to the fullest, be my partner for snow boarding, to go out and eat with friends, go camping, working on cars with me. Also be calm cool thought full, love to spend time with friends and family,” he wrote.

It was previously reported that Farook traveled overseas where he met his wife online, but it was not clear exactly when his Arab Lounge account had been created.

Farook listed his political views as “very liberal,” contrary to the predictions of many analysts and journalists who initially guessed as news of the attack unfolded that he’d be of Republican or libertarian persuasion.



Moscow bans Soros

Russia on Monday banned two foundations funded by the progressive Jewish-American philanthropist George Soros, claiming they posed a “threat to national security” and were undermining the Russian constitution.

The prosecutor general of Russia said in a statement that the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were to be put on a list of “undesirable” organizations, Reuters reported.

“It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represent a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” the statement said.

The prosecutor did not offer further details as to why the foundations were labeled a threat.

Under the conditions of the ban, the foundations are prohibited from funding any Russian organizations, The Guardian reported.

The Hungarian-born Soros said he hoped the ban would be lifted.  “We are confident that this move is a temporary aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future cannot be suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” he said.

Earlier this year, Soros called for more Western funding to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression in the region, Reuters reported.



ISIS is not the problem

The largely successful Leftist attack on all values is the problem.  A comment on the recent British decision to bomb Syria below

The way the pro-bombing side talks about Raqqa is striking. ‘It is from Raqqa that some of the main threats against this country [emanate]’, says David Cameron. London mayor Boris Johnson says Raqqa is ‘the origin’ of the violence facing France, Britain and other European nations. He describes the city as ‘a landscape of the imagination for the Western would-be jihadists and those at risk of radicalisation’. In short, this capital city of IS barbarism is the lure to our misguided youth, tempting them towards nihilism and chaotic violence. The phrase used by many of those in favour of bombing — that Raqqa is ‘the head of the snake’ — is especially striking, suggesting that if we pummel IS in Raqqa then the poison of Islamo-extremism will dissipate, and die.

This is so wrong. Even if Raqqa were to be obliterated, and IS with it, the problem of Paris and other recent attacks, and of Islamic radicalisation in the West more broadly, would still exist. In fact, these things existed even when Assad was fully in control of Raqqa and before IS was formed. From Madrid to 7/7 to the stabbing of Theo van Gogh, from the rise of Islamist militancy on Western campuses to the growing disdain for Enlightenment values among both Muslim and other Western youths, the embrace of Islamism by Western-born or Western-educated individuals was happening long before IS conquered Raqqa. And that’s because the entrenchment in Europe of an Islamism that self-consciously juxtaposes itself to an allegedly decadent West speaks far more to a crisis of values here at home than it does to the rise of an extremist caliphate in the city of Raqqa.

This is what our leaders are utterly incapable of getting to grips with: the way in which the West’s own abandonment of its commitment to the Enlightenment values of liberty and democracy, and its embrace instead of the toxic politics of identity, the culture of victimhood and the divisive ideology of multiculturalism, has done far more than any finger-wagging imam in a Syrian bolthole to cultivate self-pitying, West-hating Islamism within our communities, which occasionally explodes into violence. It isn’t the pull of ‘the landscape of the imagination’ of Raqqa which explains the rise of Islamo-nihilism in the West; it’s the push of our own societies’ ditching of liberal values and cultivation of new forms of separatism and communalism.

Bombing Raqqa would not be, as Clausewitz thought of war, ‘the continuation of politics by other means’. It would be the avoidance of politics, the avoidance of the moral crisis facing the West. It would represent a militaristic stand-in for the moral rethink the West so urgently needs. Even supporters of bombing Syria admit that their militarism might make things worse, but it will at least represent, they say, a loud display of some kind of Western value or ideal. Tony Blair’s former speechwriter, Philip Collins, has argued that, yes, Western bombs will ‘mean chaos’, but at least we’ll ‘add weight to our moral impulse’. There. That’s exactly what the argument for attacking Raqqa represents: a desperate desire to add weight to something that our leaders can no longer articulate in any meaningful way or with ideas or policies: an idea of the good, Enlightened West. Bombs take the place of vision.

More HERE 

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims.


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 December, 2015

Solar Beer, Killer Snails, and Unlicensed Llamas: New Report Calls Out Outrageous Gov’t Waste

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) released a “Federal Fumbles” report Monday that calls out 100 examples of the misuse of taxpayer dollars through out of control government spending and regulation.

Some of the most outrageous examples include a killer snail card game for elementary school children, solar panels for brewers, and a USDA demand that the owners of a pair of celebrity llamas obtain licenses in order to be able to showcase their animals or risk fines.

The report initially noted that the national debt is “careening towards $19 trillion (yes, that is a 19 followed by 12 zeros), and federal regulations are expanding at a record pace.”

Here are 10 over-the-top examples of government waste and over regulation from Lankford’s report:

Truck Driver Weight Loss Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $2,658,929 in taxpayer dollars to fund a weight loss program for truck drivers. “From 2011 to 2015, NIH awarded Oregon Health & Science University a total of $2,658,929 to conduct a cell-phone-based program for a ‘weight loss competition’ and ‘motivational interviewing,’” the report said.

Studying the History of Tobacco Use in Russia

The NIH also announced in April 2015 a $48,500 grant to produce a book entitled, “Cigarettes and Soviets: The Culture of Tobacco Use in Modern Russia.”

According to Lankford’s report, “The supposed hook into NIH and public health relevance is that ‘understanding Russia's distinctive history may suggest different strategies for U.S. policy initiatives’ and that it can ‘provide insights into the successes and failures of government-led tobacco control efforts.’”

Media Ethics Training in India

The State Department announced July 2015 that it was seeking proposals for a media ethics course for journalists in India. “Since Indian journalists are ‘part of a global community of media professionals,’ as the ad put it, the course would supply ‘a baseline understanding of the international industry standards media should strive to meet,’” the report explained.

Unlicensed Llamas

Two llamas who achieved Internet stardom, inspiring the #LlamasOnTheLoose hashtag after escaping their farm in Phoenix, Ariz., brought their owners scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who informed them that “they needed a license to ‘showcase’ their llamas, even if people only took a few pictures with the llamas.”

Studying How Bugs React to Light

The National Park Service (NPS) thought a study of the responses of insects to artificial lights and noise in areas that naturally have little to no light was an excellent use of $65,473 in taxpayer funds. “Anyone raised in a rural area can attest that one way to attract insects is to turn on a light. This type of ridiculous spending is why American taxpayers have been saddled with a debt of approximately $19 trillion,” Lankford noted.

Solar Beer

The USDA spent $35,000 in taxpayer dollars to install solar panels at a northern Michigan brewery supporting seven percent of their annual energy needs as part of “the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was created by the Farm Bill in 2002.” The report noted that “in 2015 a $13,810 grant was awarded to a Wyoming brewery, also to install a solar panel.”

Dancing Raisins to Promote Raisin Sales Abroad

The report noted that USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s (FAS) Market Access Program (MAP) continues to provide annually “nearly $200 million in American tax money to companies and trade groups to subsidize the advertising, market research, and travel costs of their overseas product promotions.”

According to the report, “One annual recipient of MAP funding, the Raisin Administrative Committee, has received more than $38 million since 1998, including $3 million in FY 2015, to promote their products outside the United States.”

“One example of the use of MAP funds was a $3 million advertising campaign in Japan in the 1990s,” the report recounted. “The campaign featured the animated dancing raisins and used the theme song ‘I Heard It through the Grapevine.’ Tragically the song could not be translated into Japanese, and they just ran the ad in English.

“The result was incomprehensible shriveled dancing figures that disturbed Japanese children, who thought they were potatoes or chunks of chocolate. Moreover, their four-fingered hands made the viewers think of criminal syndicate members whose little fingers are cut off as an initiation rite. For some reason the Raisin Board struggled to sell their product in Japan,” the report added.

Study of Seniors Looking for Love

The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $375,000 for a study that began in summer 2015, which aims at obtaining a “more comprehensive understanding of relationship maintenance efforts” for older adults. The report suggested that “unless this ‘federal Match.com’ for seniors develops policy solutions to bring down the debt, maybe this one is better left to the private sector.”

Killer Snail Card Game for Kids

The NSF also provided a $50,000 grant in support of “Killer Snail: An Interactive Marine Biodiversity Learning Tool.” The project is supposed to develop an eBook for elementary school students “told from a snail's point of view, and a mobile video game allowing players to experience and explore the life of marine snails.”

“Thus far, it appears the grant money has only yielded a physical game. Killer Snails: Assassins of the Seas is a card game in which the player has to ‘collect predatory cone snails that prey on fish, worms and other mollusks, to build a venom arsenal of potentially life-saving peptide toxins. Race your opponents to create the winning venom cocktail and win the game!’” Lankford’s report noted.

Study on Why Politics Stresses People Out

Finally, the NSF awarded a $149,000 grant for a researcher “to better understand which facets of social interaction about politics are most stress inducing, for which kinds of people, and in which contexts,” the goal being to decrease stress to “energize and enfranchise citizens who are discouraged by our current political system.”

“One could argue that the most stressful thing about politics is the waste and bloat of government spending, including researching topics such as this,” Lankford’s report suggested.



Remarkably Absent-Minded Liberal Senator Crows About Gun Control, Forgets Key Fact

Oh boy. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama took the stage in Paris, fell in love with the sound of his own voice, and was so intoxicated with himself that he wondered aloud why mass shootings only happen in America, just two weeks after jihadis shot up a Paris nightclub. It seems his cognitive dissonance is contagrious.

In a video, Barbara Boxer brags about California's robust gun laws, suggesting they're a platform for national reform. Nevermind that despite those robust gun laws, a man who conferred with people on the terrorist watch-list was able to obtain serious firepower, construct bombs, and massacre a load of people.

If anything, what the story in California illustrates is that we can't simply legislate evil and violence out of existence. They're an indelible part of the human condition. That these events haven't given Boxer pause about the wisdom of her positions suggests that some people are totally immune to logic and reason



Trump 100% Vindicated: CBS Reports ‘Swarm’ On Rooftops Celebrating 9/11

The DC Media has spent the last two weeks attempting to destroy Donald Trump with lies. Outright lies, and they are doing so in order to protect a 14 year-old cover up. Not only have eyewitnesses and contemporaneous reports proven Donald Trump 100% correct about Muslims celebrating 9/11,  a just-uncovered  local CBS News (WCBS-TV in New York) report completely vindicates Trump’s claim of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center.

The video below is from a September 16, 2001 news report:

Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and had evidence removed, there is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building.

The F.B.I. and other terrorist task force agencies arrived, and the older investigators on the task force recalled that they had been to this building before, eight years ago, when the first World Trade Center attack led them to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose Jersey City mosque lies between the two buildings getting attention today. And the older investigators remember that the suspects that eventually got convicted for the first Trade Center case … lived in the building where these same eight men were celebrating the destruction that they saw from the roof. Calling this a hot address, the task force investigators ordered everyone detained.

ADDED: People are arguing falsely that the fact that only 8 suspects were apprehended contradicts the “swarm” claim. Read it again. An “investigator” told CBS about the “swarm.” The fact that a certain number were brought into custody does not change the fact that there was a “swarm.”  The obvious impression is that of the “swarm,” only eight were brought into custody. Eight people do not swarm on all those rooftops. They “gather.” Look at the video of the rooftop and picture “swarming.”

You want to get into semantics about how many people make up a swarm?

But that’s not all.

You have to add up all of the contemporaneous news reports. You are Donald Trump. You are taking in all the news during that awful week. You are told by the media that “swarms” of Muslims in a known terrorist’s neighborhood were seen on rooftops celebrating 9/11. Just two days earlier you have read this in the New York Post:

Here in New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attack in New York and Washington. But Mayor Giuliani (who has been tireless and magnificent in this crisis) rightly warned New Yorker-ers that is would be wrong to take their anger our on the city’s Arab and Muslim residents. Attacks on Arab-Americans in Paterson or elsewhere are utterly indefensible.

You hear radio news reports about Muslims celebrations.

MTV runs a news report about Muslim celebrations.

From all of those news reports, it is perfectly reasonable and nothing close to lying to put together a picture of “thousands”.

FACT: Donald Trump is now 100% vindicated.

If these celebrations did not occur, the only thing Trump did wrong was to believe the same media that is now calling him a liar — and doing so to cover up the truth about American Muslims celebrating 9/11 and their own covering up of that fact.

Numerous times I’ve suggested Trump exaggerated the “thousands” claim, and for that I apologize.



The San Bernardino Shooting was a carefully planned attack by a devout Muslim

 While we know little about the 14 people killed and the 17 injured in the mass shooting yesterday in California, authorities have released very distressing details about the two dead shooters.

1. Syed Farouk was a 28-year-old American citizen. His accomplice was 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. According to AL.com. Police said the two were either engaged or already married. The Los Angeles Times reported Farook met Malik online. She was living in Saudi Arabia at the time. It’s not clear if Malik was a U.S. citizen or not.

The couple is believed to be the parents of a six-month old baby who was reportedly staying with grandparents at the time of the attacks. They left the baby with the grandparents and said they had to go to a doctor’s appointment.

2. Farook was identified by co-workers who witnessed the Christmas party being held by the San Bernardino County public health department, which had rented a room at the Inland Regional Center. At about 11:40 a.m., an officer told dispatchers a witness said a male left the building “out of the blue,” and 20 minutes later the shooting started. The witness said he matched the physical description of one of the shooters and was acting nervous before leaving.

3. Farook’s father said his son was a very devout Muslim.

Farook recently took a trip to Saudi Arabia for about a month and came back with a wife, a co-worker told The Associated Press. On a dating website where Farook set up a profile, Dubai Matriomonial, he said he was a Sunni Muslim.

4. This attack was very well planned. The attackers were (as Col. West describes it) fully “jocked up” in tactical gear, including masks, vests – even GoPro cameras. It would appear they planned to survive the attack, and were not initially suicide attackers.

As Fox News reports, “They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.

More HERE 


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


4 December, 2015

Some long overdue sense about the Jihadis from a leading politician

Britain last night had a big debate in parliament on whether to join the bombing raids on ISIS in Syria. The debate did not split on party lines, unusually for Britain.  A majority of Tories and a minority of Leftists voted for the raids, giving a big majority in favour.  The highlight of the debates was a forceful speech from Leftist Hilary Benn, shadow foreign secretary and son of the prominent far-Leftist "Tony" Benn, now deceased.  And the speech may  have been the first time ever that a prominent Leftist politician has recognized what Obama and other Leftists still refuse to acknowledge:  That the Muslim Jihadis are Fascists.

Benn was referring only to ISIS but it is a start. One should note that ISIS is not alone in bloodthirstiness and hostility. Al-Queda, the Taliban and Boko Haram are other examples of murderous  Muslim groups.  An excerpt from the speech:

    "Mr Speaker, I hope the House will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the house. As a party, we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility, one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road.

    And we are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight and all of the people we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy – the means by which we will make our decision tonight – in contempt.

    And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated and it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists were just one part of the international brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It’s why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice and my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria and that is why I ask my colleagues to vote in favour of this motion tonight"


His emphasis that the Islamofascists need to be treated like the Fascists of the past: defeated, not tolerated or appeased, is particularly welcome


Distrust in Government at Historic Highs Under Obama

Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama boasted, “Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Back then, much of America was swooning over the charismatic, hopeful rhetoric of an inexperienced senator from Illinois. Obama, having clinched the Democrat Party nomination for president, spoke the words above to throngs of cheering, weeping supporters, who sincerely believed this community organizer with no prior executive experience would completely change the face of politics for decades to come.

Alas, the Progressive Pied Piper, the great Obamessiah, has been exposed as a naked emperor.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found Americans' trust in government is at “historic lows,” with an anemic 19% saying they trust government to do the right thing always or most of the time (11% for Republican/leaning, and 26% for Democrats/leaning). The fact that barely a quarter of Democrats trust government is shocking, considering their standard-bearer, Obama, has had virtually free reign to do as he pleased for the last seven years. How is it that Obama has managed to implement nearly everything he wanted from the progressives' wish list, yet trust in government has decreased?

The answer, of course, is that the larger and more powerful government grows, the more inept, sluggardly and corrupt it becomes. Businesses that are run inefficiently shutter. Yet government, never punished for its failures, has no natural incentive to improve (indeed, the biggest failures are usually rewarded with more power and more money). It becomes a breeding ground for slothful public “servants” and petty tyrants.

It was another Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, who became the first president to openly denigrate the Constitution as an anachronism, insufficient for the times, and who preached against the Separation of Powers doctrine that limited the ability of the executive to enact his agenda without obstruction. Indeed, in his book, “Constitutional Government in the United States,” Wilson declared no theoretical limitations to the presidency beyond the capacity of the man holding the office: “The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit.”

Wilson’s philosophy took root in the Democrat Party and the size and scope of the federal government exploded, primarily through the New Deal and Great Society programs, and in the unchecked growth of the fourth branch of government — the bureaucracy and the regulatory apparatus.

So how has that worked out for America?

One has only to look at the to-do list in Obama’s lofty speech to judge the scope of the failure. ObamaCare, which was supposed to bring health care to every American and “bend the cost curve down,” has instead kicked millions of Americans off of private health insurance plans they liked and into the ObamaCare exchanges and Medicare. More than half of the ObamaCare exchanges have now gone bankrupt, and the number of doctors refusing to accept Medicare patients has skyrocketed, leaving many with health insurance on paper, but no access to doctors, even as they now pay significantly more for health care.

Then there’s the federal student loan industry, which was supposed to make college more affordable. Instead, college tuition costs have increased rapidly, leaving millions of college students with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and no prospects for jobs with which to pay off those debts. Ironically, the dimwitted denizens of Dreamworld, the ones suffering from government’s ineptitude, are demanding more government as the solution.

Continuing down the list of Obama’s utopian promises, we certainly have not seen “good jobs for the jobless,” with the workforce participation rate lower now than at any time since the malaise of the Carter era. Obama has added tens of millions of Americans to the welfare and food stamp rolls, and the percentage of long-term unemployed has stayed stubbornly high.

Likewise, America learned the painful lesson that unilaterally disarming is not the same thing as ending a war, as Obama sits idly by and watches as the Middle East burns and the Islamic State is decidedly not “contained.” Sadly, as horrific as its campaign of evil has been, it pales in comparison to the danger we now face at the looming prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran flush with cash, courtesy of the prevaricator in chief. How to explain the lunacy of the so-called Leader of the Free World, who believes a conference on global warming can defeat terrorists when those Islamofascists envision their reign of murder will usher in the coming of the Islamic messiah?

As bad as this is, it only scratches the surface of the fecklessness and corruption of the Obama administration, which includes the Obama Justice Department running guns to Mexican drug cartels, the IRS targeting Obama’s political opponents, the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi, and the deaths of many battalions worth of beloved veterans after the VA Hospital system let them languish for months without treatment. Then there is the EPA dumping millions of gallons of toxic sludge into Colorado’s Animas River after being warned of the danger, even as the same EPA uses regulatory law as a bludgeon against businesses and private citizens. The list is virtually endless.

Obama laments the distrust of American citizens for their government (while still predicting a Democrat successor), but that distrust is well-deserved, and both parties are to blame. He complains that everything has become politicized, but how can it not be when the federal government impacts every aspect of our lives? If this distrust leads to Americans to demand the federal government be limited to its functions under the Article I, Section 8 enumerated powers, we will finally see power back where it belongs — in the hands of the people.



Deadly D.C.: The Land of No Consequences

In life and leadership, accountability means consequences for bad behavior.

In Washington, accountability means yet another congressional meeting about another government scandal perpetrated by tax-subsidized corruptocrats who get away with murder.


This week, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hold the 999,999th oversight hearing (give or take a few) on the VA's homicidal, no-fault culture. "In the wake of the biggest scandal in VA history, in which 110 VA medical facilities maintained secret lists to hide long waits for care," the panel notes, "the department has successfully fired just three low-level employees for manipulating wait times. Not a single VA senior executive has been successfully fired for doing the same."

Have you forgotten? President Obama, who proclaimed himself "madder than hell" when the scandal first broke, apparently can no longer be bothered to care as he gallivants around the planet fretting about climate change.

How about some climate change at the toxic VA?

The department in charge of providing care to those who served our country in uniform stuck hundreds of thousands of vets on waiting lists to nowhere. The exact VA scandal death toll remains unknown because of the perpetually crappy state of data entry and management that long predated the latest bureaucratic abominations under the Obama administration.

We do know that in Phoenix alone, an estimated 40 veterans died waiting for care as VA officials cooked the books and cashed in. Former Phoenix VA hospital Director Sharon Helman was one of the few officials finally dismissed for misconduct. But like countless other VA crooks, she was awarded (and allowed to keep) more than $8,000 in publicly funded bonus pay plus a 2 percent pay raise after submitting a self-assessment in which she bragged: "I drove tremendous improvement in primary-care access."

The VA bonus bonanza — which fueled the records-doctoring scandal — showered $142 million on executives, managers and employees in 2014 alone, according to a devastating USA Today analysis last week. The year before, the VA doled out nearly $400,000 in bonuses to hospital officials as veterans fought to be seen and treated.

"Among the recipients were claims processors in a Philadelphia benefits office that investigators dubbed the worst in the country last year. They received $300 to $900 each," investigators found. "Managers in Tomah, Wis., got $1,000 to $4,000, even though they oversaw the over-prescription of opiates to veterans — one of whom died."

In St. Paul, Minn., VA benefits office director Kimberly Graves raked in nearly $9,000 in 2014 bonus pay. The VA inspector general determined that she abused her power to transfer to a new position and collected nearly $130,000 to move. Graves refused to testify at a House hearing earlier this month about job-manipulation charges, as did accountability-evading VA exec Diana Rubens of Philadelphia.

The tight-lipped fish rots from the head down, of course. Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned last spring, refused to turn over records related to bonus decisions to a judge.

No consequences for evading judicial orders. But he's still collecting his six-figure, gold-plated government pension.

About the only thing the VA has proved efficient and effective at these days is retaliating against the brave watchdogs who exposed their craven supervisors. It's been two months since Office of Special Counsel head Carolyn Lerner blasted the systemic witch hunts against whistleblowers to President Obama in an open letter. After highlighting a "pattern of deficient patient care at VA facilities nationwide," she discovered a flood of chilling cases in which the agency "attempted to fire or suspend whistleblowers for minor indiscretions and, often, for activity directly related to the employee's whistleblowing."

In 2015 alone, the OSC has received over 2,000 cases from VA employees seeking protection from retaliation for whistleblowing.

Where's the White House? Too preoccupied with restricting the powers of federal inspectors general to investigate wrongdoing within the Obama administration's agencies from A to VA to Z.

These feckless, reckless officials in the top echelons of power will continue to jeopardize and sacrifice innocent lives as long as they suffer no risks to their own privileged, protected livelihoods. They deserve a change of climate all right — from the rarefied air of the Beltway to an enclosed habitat behind bars.



Obama Proves He's the Greatest Windbag in the World

At a time when he has degraded America’s standing as a super power, Barack Obama still sees himself as a super president. How super? During the opening remarks at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris Monday, Obama spoke for 14 minutes, delivering his full, prepared speech.

Problem was, every other leader — 150 world leaders in all, including the likes of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping — kept their remarks to the three-minute time limit. But Obama forged ahead, ignoring the beeps every few seconds reminding him to wrap it up.

Surely his staff received the memo that every other leader in the world would speak for three minutes. “Barack Obama has gotten so used to breaking rules here in America, he just can’t help himself,” Gary Bauer wrote. “Not even when he is in other nations.”

Indeed, it wasn’t the only communication blunder Mr. Hope ‘n’ Change™ made in the hours after touching down in Paris. As commentator Charles Hurt noted, Obama stumbled through a press conference peppering the reporters with about 330 ‘um’s, 'uh’s and 'ahh’s and countless sentence fragments. Thus goes America’s “great orator.” And to think this summit lasts for 12 days.



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 December, 2015

The Real Lesson of the Paris Attacks

They hate us all

by Douglas Murray

When the truth is revealed, it can be not merely unpleasant but often accidental. There have been several striking examples of this since the massacre in Paris earlier this month. In the days immediately after the attack, The Times of London interviewed residents of Paris. Referring to the latest attacks, one 46-year old resident also referred back to the attacks in January on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. "Every Parisian has been touched by these attacks," she said, referring to the latest attacks. "Before it was just the Jews, the writers or cartoonists."

If "just the Jews" was an unfortunate way of putting it, it was no less unfortunate than the reaction of America's top diplomat. Days after the latest Paris atrocity, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said:

"There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of -- not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they're really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate."

To the extent these comments have been noticed, they have been ridiculed. It is what lies revealed beneath the statement that deserves our attention.

The true problem with the line that it used to be "just the Jews, the writers or cartoonists," is not that it is offensive or inelegant or any of the other words that are now used to shut down a discussion -- though all these things it may be. The problem is that it suggests that people were not paying attention during those earlier attacks. It suggests a belief that the terrorism in January was a different order of terrorism -- call it "understandable terrorism" -- rather than part of a continuum of terrorism that now reached its logical endpoint, as "impossible-to-understand terrorism" -- because "Jews, writers or cartoonists" were missing.

What if the terrorists had been targeting "just Americans," or "just diplomats" -- would that be "understandable terrorism" in Kerry's thinking? That it used to be "Jews, writers or cartoonists" is precisely what made the attacks on everybody else inevitable. The only surprise should be our own surprise.

After the January attacks in Paris, there were large marches through the center of Paris, and the phrase, "Je Suis Charlie," for a moment, seemed to be the hashtag or profile picture of everybody on social media. But, of course, almost nobody was Charlie, because apart from a lot of people dwelling on Twitter and Facebook under various virtual noms de guerre, very few people were keen to republish any cartoon of Mohammed or make new Mohammed cartoons of their own.

Sadly, a few months after the attacks, the remaining staff members at Charlie Hebdo announced that they were not going to draw Mohammed any more. No one could blame them: as well as losing most of their colleagues, it must have been exhausting to be among the only people still exercising a right that everyone else was just pretending to defend on Twitter. Despite all the "Je Suis Charlie" signs, it turned out very few people were Charlie. In the end, even Charlie was not Charlie.

The "Je Suis Juif" signs were never likely to catch on as much as the "Je Suis Charlie" signs, nor be followed up on even as much as they were. Did everyone on the streets of Paris take to wearing a skullcap or Star of David? No -- no more than they would have walked through any of the streets with reproductions of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's image of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.

A lot of people said they were "Jews," but they were not willing to put themselves in the same line of fire as Jews -- just as a lot of people said they were "Charlie," while not actually being interested in landing on the same Islamist hit-lists as Charlie.

The latest attacks in Paris were, indeed, targeted at absolutely everybody. In that, there should be a lesson of a kind. The lesson should remind us that in a free society, no one can wholly dodge the bullets of these particular fanatics. In the conflict that faces us now, there is no opt-out if you happen to be "lucky" enough not to be Jewish. There is no opt-out if you happen to think that people should not draw or publish opinions that are anything other than 100% agreeable to 100% of the people, 100% of the time.

Because one day, you will be targeted for being at a restaurant or a concert, or for having the "decadent" temerity to attend a football match. That this has not yet sunk in to the public imagination is one thing. That it has still not permeated the understanding of the heads of the world's only superpower is quite another.

A month after January's terror attacks in Paris, there was a less-remembered terrorist attack on a free speech event in the U.S., and then on a synagogue in Copenhagen. I asked one of the organizers of the targeted free speech event what she would say to the people who claimed, "You know you might have brought this upon yourselves. You don't have to keep publishing cartoons or defending other peoples' right to publish cartoons, and you know how much the Islamists hate it." Her reply was characteristically succinct: "If we should stop drawing cartoons, should we also stop having synagogues? Should they be converted into something else? Should we ask the Jewish people to leave?"

The problem was that too few people listened to such voices, or too few people fully understood the import of what those voices were saying. They were saying what the dead journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo had also been saying: If you give up this right, next, you will lose every other right. Much of the world may only have been just bragging or emoting in saying, "Je Suis Charlie" or "Je Suis Juif." But it turns out not to matter: the terrorists of ISIS think we are all cartoonists and Jews anyway.

So here we are, at the end of what should be one of the world's sharpest and most painful learning curves in recent history. At the end of this curve, we ought finally to be living with the realization we might have acquired earlier: that since we cannot live with ISIS and other ISIS-like groups, we had better live without them. We had therefore better do whatever it takes to speed up an end of our choosing before they speed up an end of their choosing.





"This just doesn’t happen in other countries???

Maybe we should give Barack Obama a break. He's a had a bad year. The economy stinks, Obamacare is in shambles, and Americans haven't budged on the issue he believes threatens us more than anything- climate change. To borrow a term from Obama's favorite game, maybe we should give him a mulligan. After all, it has to be impossible for someone who would say something this stupid to ascend to the presidency, right? right??!

President Obama held a news conference in Paris, where he was asked about the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I mean, I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries,” Mr. Sensitivity said in a city that just witnessed horrific mass shooting at the hands of ISIS that left 130 people dead.

He added that the U.S. devotes “enormous resources” in preventing terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Of course, that’s a mutual interest we share with our allies. The president added, “We have the power to do more to prevent what is just a regular process of gun homicides.”

Obama's speech is the silliest thing to come out of France since Sartre, and showcases a profound disconnect from the goings on of the world around him. Even the most radical left-wing, vile, anti-American members of the French press had to be scratching their heads. As many of us have long suspected, Obama's malignant narcissism totally clouds his ability to comprehend objective reality.



The Orwellian present


When Regulations Are More Trouble Than They're Worth

And some constructive suggestions for cutting them back

While the recent Republican debates have sparked lively discussions of tax and spending problems, many candidates have also highlighted the economic drag of regulation. This is important: Regulations have an annual cost of more than $1 trillion and have a significant impact on investment, innovation and economic growth. Rather than shackling the economy with new ones, Washington should conduct a comprehensive review of the regulatory burden with an eye towards eliminating redundant and obsolete mandates.

So what do the candidates propose to do? All have called for cuts in regulation and ensuring that the benefits exceed their costs. Many White House contenders have also insisted on the elimination of various agencies in an attempt to reduce the influence of the bureaucracy and its regulators–Texas Senator Ted Cruz said, if elected, he would get rid of the IRS and the Department of Education, among others. (Cruz is pushing for a federal hiring freeze as well.) And there have been demands for the repeal of onerous regulations issued by President Barack Obama, from Obamacare to a host of new EPA rules.

More consensus: The REINS Act should be passed. This legislation would require agencies to submit all economically significant regulations to Congress for an up or down vote before they can be enforced. Currently, Congress can take credit for passing sweeping and feel-good sounding legislation such as the Clean Air Act while bearing no blame for the regulatory nightmare that ensues. The REINS Act forces these elected officials, rather than unelected civil servants, to take responsibility for their outcomes.

Some of the candidates have moved beyond generalities to more specific solutions. One option championed by Marco Rubio is the creation of a regulatory budget. By essentially setting a cap for the costs of each agency’s regulations, this would address the new layers of rules piled on year after year without any sense of their cumulative effects.

If an agency bumps up against the cap, it must find cuts before it can issue new regulations. This creates two important incentives. First, new regulations must be carefully evaluated in terms of cost before they are put in place. This would force agencies to find the least cost approach to regulation as well as more narrowly focus their regulatory efforts. Second, and just as important, a regulatory budget provides an incentive to prune outdated and unnecessary rules from the books. Rubio has introduced a version of this in the Senate and Cruz signed on as a co-sponsor.

Jeb Bush is also a supporter of a regulatory budget, as well as a tougher executive order for regulatory oversight. Currently, regulatory review is carried out under Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” introduced by Barack Obama shortly after taking office. Bush wants to issue his own executive order to tighten the standards of review in three particular ways. First, it must be demonstrated the benefits of any regulation exceed its costs. Second, it must be demonstrated that state-based solutions are not available to address the issue at hand, a clear effort to devolve regulatory activity down to the state level. And, third, Bush wants to implement a retrospective review of new regulations where major rules can be reviewed within eight years of enactment to determine their economic impact.

John Kasich has endorsed a regulatory freeze, a move akin to the first President Bush’s regulatory moratorium. This would allow an assessment of current regulations to more prudently move forward with reform. In an attempt to shut down “midnight regulations” issued by the outgoing Obama administration, Bush is also calling for a regulatory freeze that would delay implementation of any regulations until they are approved by agency heads nominated by him.

It is promising to see candidates tackling the mundane issue of regulatory reform. While there is no silver bullet to reining in the regulatory state, several candidates have put forth thoughtful agendas for reform. Regulatory cuts, budgets and freezes can all play a role. But, ultimately, what is required is a commitment from the president and his appointees to curb the agencies they are leading—a significant challenge for those seeking the White House.



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 December, 2015

All immigrants are not the same

The simple truth in my heading above seems to escape the ideologically committed libertarian mind of writer Abigail Hall.  Below she writes that America should appreciate ALL immigrants.  And there is an element of truth in that.  America was for a long time very fortunate in how well all its immigrants settled in and made positive contributions to the national life. 

But that run of luck is now at an end.  Many migrants from Muslim lands, Hispanic America and Africa do NOT settle in and become like older Americans. Instead they are to varying extents hostile and parasitic sub-populations.  America's Muslim population in particular are a breeding ground for terrorism. Not all Muslims are terrorists but by providing a support system in America for their foul religion, they encourage the few foolish young men and women among them who do exactly what their holy book commands:  Attack non-Muslims.  So we have had things like the Fort Hood shootings.  America could very easily and advantageously do without its Muslims

We should be thankful for immigrants. That’s the theme of the latest op-ed from Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall, published on Thanksgiving in the Orange County Register. “I’m grateful for those who come here legally and for those who come here illegally,” she writes.

Hall argues that immigrant workers create several benefits. They foster job creation—with each immigrant producing about 1.2 new jobs, according to a recent study by Indiana University. They boost economic growth—such as by increasing the degree of specialization in the labor force. And immigrants reduce poverty—not only their own, but also in their country of origin when they send money to family members back home. “These remittances substantially benefit their poor families, in many cases providing more money and opportunities than foreign aid,” Hall writes.

“So when we gather with family and friends to give thanks for all we have, remember those who have recently arrived in our country,” Hall continues. “Immigrants boost our economy, create jobs and reduce poverty around the world. I’m glad they’re here.”




The remorseless laws of economics are cutting it to pieces.

Until the 19th century, the Chinese practiced a method of torture called lingchi. Better known as “death by a thousand cuts” it involved slicing small pieces of flesh from a victim’s body, one by one, so that death was both protracted and utterly excruciating. This is what the realities of economics are doing to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The authors of health care “reform” believed they could ignore the dismal science. The laws of economics have rewarded this hubris by ruthlessly inflicting fact after agonizing fact on Obamacare. And, like all lingchi victims, it will eventually succumb.

Moreover, this is becoming obvious to all but the most obtuse of the law’s apologists. In fact, it has been conceded by strongholds of Obamacare supporters like the Washington Post, the New York Times, and even the Huffington Post. The latter publication, for example, carried a column late last week titled, “Why Obamacare Will Fail.” And, as surprising as it was to find such an article in this notorious purveyor of White House propaganda, it was even more so to discover that its author, Dan Karr, doesn’t blame some dark Republican plot: “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will fail for business reasons.”

This reality was dramatically illustrated when UnitedHealth, one of the most important providers of coverage through Obamacare’s “marketplaces,” announced last Thursday that it “has pulled back on its marketing efforts for individual exchange products in 2016” and is mulling whether “it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.” The company expects a $425 million reduction in earnings for the Fourth Quarter of 2015 due to its participation in Obamacare. In other words, the law’s economic incentives are so perverse that even a behemoth like UnitedHealth can’t overcome them.

The problem is that “reform” distorts the market by burying both insurers and the insured beneath a mountain of mandates. Probably the worst is Obamacare’s benefit mandate. Most health plans must now include 10 “minimum essential” benefits—whether customers want them or not. This mandate has inevitably caused the cost of providing coverage to skyrocket. The only way a company like UnitedHealth can keep premiums under some modicum of control is to offer plans with very high deductibles. Meanwhile, the law’s individual mandate has utterly failed as an incentive for healthy individuals to purchase insurance.

This has led to a “lose-lose” situation for insurers and for patients. In an article titled, “Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless,” the New York Times reports, “In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more.” In 2016, the penalty for failing to buy insurance is $695 or 2.5 percent of one’s household income. This means that for most individuals, particularly the young and healthy, the penalty will be considerably less than the out-of-pocket cost required by most health insurance plans.

Thus, many healthy individuals are declining to buy insurance, which means that insurers are stuck with patients who are sicker, on average, than would be the case if the law did not also impose a mandate requiring them to accept all applicants. When an insurer reaches the point at which the patient portfolio foisted on it by Obamacare forces it to pay out more in claims than it collects in premiums, it will abandon that market. This is an economic fact of life ignored by the authors of the “reform” law and why other insurers will follow UnitedHealth’s example, leaving fewer choices and higher costs for more patients.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the latest Gallup survey shows the number of Americans who disapprove of Obamacare increasing. What is worse, it is even less popular with the uninsured than with any other group: “Individuals who say they have no insurance tilt heavily toward disapproval of the healthcare law.” In fact, only 30 percent of the uninsured approve of the law. And this is unlikely to improve during the current enrollment period. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Many people signing up for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.”

The tragic irony associated with “higher premiums” and “fewer doctors” is that this is precisely the opposite of what most Americans wanted from health care reform to begin with. A Gallup survey done in the summer of 2009, as the reform debate was heating up, revealed that control of rapidly increasing health care costs and better access to care were the public’s highest priorities. And it isn’t hard to guess which a majority considered the most crucial: “When asked which of the two is the more important goal, the public says, by 52% to 42%, that controlling costs is more crucial than expanding coverage.”

At that time, conservatives and libertarians said this goal could only be achieved with an unfettered market in which Americans could purchase any sort of coverage they wished from insurance companies that were free to sell a wide range of coverage across state lines. But this kind of freedom was anathema to the Democrats who controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. They believed they were smarter than the market and created a grotesque morass of mandates intensely disliked by insurers, patients, and care providers. And, dumbest of all, they ignored the laws of economics.

But the penalties for ignoring those laws are draconian indeed. If you increase the cost of doing business for insurers, they’ll raise premiums and deductibles. If you make it impossible for them to make a profit selling coverage through exchanges, they’ll pull out. If you make coverage too expensive, people won’t buy it. If that coverage pays doctors less than it costs to treat a patient, doctors won’t treat them. If you pass a law that ignores such realities, it will be subjected to fact after brutal fact until it finally dies.


To understand France's jihadis, look at where they came from


Eurocrats rarely see Molenbeek, the Brussels commune that has become the focus of police investigations following the Paris abominations - except, occasionally, from the windows of their chauffeured limousines. A canal separates Molenbeek from the monstrous EU buildings of the Schuman quarter; but the two districts are divided by much more than a stretch of gray water.

Brussels is home to two types of immigrants. First, there are those (like me) who are in some way connected to the EU or to its ancillary industries: lobbying, journalism, PR. Then there are the large Turkish and North African populations, connected to their ancestral countries by the satellite dishes through which they watch TV from "home." The two worlds rarely meet, except when an EU official gets into a taxi, or perhaps hires a head-scarfed cleaner.

Few Bruxellois are surprised that Molenbeek is the epicenter of the Paris plot. It's not a uniquely poor district, at least not by comparison with the tower-blocked banlieus - the suburbs that ring some French cities. Molenbeek is run-down, jobless and listless rather than seething. Its local council has a reputation for uselessness. The commune has been under the control of the Left for as long as anyone can remember, and councilmen rely lazily on Muslim votes. But it would be idiotic to argue that growing up in a down-at-heel, dull, vaguely corrupt borough somehow puts young men on the path to mass murder.

Alienation is a common enough phenomenon among second-generation immigrants, pulled between their countries of birth and the sunlit lands of their grandparents' stories. Sometimes, the sense of dislocation becomes a clinical condition: Schizophrenia is eight times more common among second-generation Dutch immigrants than in the general population.

Still, a sense of mild dislocation doesn't normally push people into political violence. Something else is happening.

I think it has to do with the way that patriotism has been derided and traduced by Europe's intellectual elites. If you want newcomers to assimilate into your society, you have to give them something into which to assimilate. You have to project a sense of pride, of common purpose, of self-belief.

This is perhaps especially difficult in Belgium. There is no Belgian language, no Belgian culture, precious little Belgian history. The country is divided between French and Dutch-speakers and subsists, as the saying goes, only in its monarchy and its football team.

The last Belgian election was won by a party that favors Flemish self-rule, and French and Dutch-speaking populations are, in consequence, identifying less with the national institutions, more with their own communities. But where does this leave, say, a Moroccan-origin boy from Molenbeek? What is there for him to be join?

Think of the experience that boy will have had in his adolescence. His every interaction with the Belgian state will have taught him to despise it. If he got any history at all in school, it will have been presented to him as a hateful chronicle of racism and exploitation. When he hears politicians on TV, they are unthinkingly blaming every ill in the world on Western meddling. It's hardly an inducement to integrate, is it?

Americans are very good at assimilating newcomers. They go in for loud displays of national pride - flags in the yard and bunting on Independence Day and stirring songs - that strike some Euro-snobs as vulgar, but that make it easy for settlers to want to belong.

In the EU, by contrast, the ruling doctrine is that patriotism is a dangerous force, and that the nation-state is on its last legs. Eurocrats dream of making the 12-star flag a common post-national symbol, just as they have already replaced national passports with an EU version. "Europe - Your Country," says the sign at the Commission building.

In every age and nation, some young men are attracted by the sheer certainty of political violence. Once, they joined the Red Brigades or the Baader-Meinhof Gang. Now, for similar reasons, they are drawn to the latest terrorist group that glamorizes destruction.

Part of our response must be security-based. We need to be prepared to deploy proportionate force, whether at home or overseas.

Ultimately, though, the best way to defeat a bad idea is with a better idea. There is surely no more squalid idea than that propagated by the death-cult calling itself Islamic State. And there is no finer idea than the freedom that defines Western societies. Let's not be shy about saying so.



Police Take More Property from People than Burglars

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to get their property back.

Martin Armstrong posts on his blog that in 2014 property taken through civil asset forfeiture exceeded the value of property taken by burglars. This article analyzes that claim in more detail, and it appears that the statistics Armstrong uses actually undercount the losses from civil asset forfeiture. For one thing, he only looks at civil asset forfeitures by the federal government.

It is unsettling to think that the property of Americans is more at risk from being confiscated by police than being stolen by burglars.



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)


1 December, 2015

Leftist moral blindness rolls on at Australian Leftist webzine

Lissa Johnson, the tame psychologist at "New Matilda", ignores most of the facts in her latest essay.  Someone has criticized her writing without getting to the heart of what she gets wrong so she gives a rather supercilious reply.  I excerpt the introduction to it below.  The last paragraph below encapsulates what she refuses to see and it doesn't get better from there on.  She deplores the Islamist attacks in Paris but adds:

"Our grief must be grief for all humanity, and all innocent victims, including victims of our own collective violence. I cited civilians killed and injured by US drone attacks in Yemen as examples"

Get it?  American attacks ON terrorists are as bad as attacks BY terrorists!

To adapt a saying by Mao, terrorists are fish that swim in the sea of the people so they are hard to kill without killing bystanders.  But we have to kill them before they kill others.  And the solution to that dilemma adopted by the American forces has been a very consistent one.  The Obama administration has been most careful in vetoing strikes where there is a likelihood of civilian casualties involved.  On some accounts two out of three target requests from the military are turned down.

The information available to U.S. military planners is of course not always perfect so some civilian casualties do occur.  The only way of totally avoiding civilian casualties would be to do nothing and let the terrorists continue on in their murderous ways. I guess that's what Lissa Johnson wants.

And American caution is not a recent development, the "JAGs" were regularly a great problem for American military men on the ground in Afghanistan.  Has Lissa ever heard of the JAGs?  If so, she promptly forgot it.  JAG stands for the Judge Advocate General's Corps, a branch of the U.S. military that aims to keep the actions of U.S. troops ethical and legal.  And in JAG guidelines, killing civilians is NOT legal. So in Afghanistan they refused many targeting requests on terrorists because it was not totally clear that they were terrorists -- sometimes leading to loss of life among American troops.

So our Lissa sees no difference between the actions of an armed force that goes out of its way to AVOID civilian casualties and an armed group who deliberately aim to INFLICT civilian casualties. Can there be bigger ethical blindness that that?  I can't see it.  She is not so much a disgrace as a pathetic Leftist fraud

I have recently been asked by news website the Tasmanian Times to respond to an article by freelance journalist Shane Humpherys, critiquing my analysis of the psychology behind the tragic Paris attacks.

Given that replying offers the opportunity of a case study in the psychology of systemic violence, and the metaphorical head-kicking that can come from challenging the status quo, I thought it was worthwhile providing a response.

My initial article outlined the shared psychological foundations – and human cost – of all intergroup violence, state-sanctioned or not. One main point was that victims of Western violence are just as human, just as dead or injured, and their families just as bereaved as victims of terrorist attacks.

I argued that if the Paris attacks are to be an attack on all humanity, then our grief must be grief for all humanity, and all innocent victims, including victims of our own collective violence. I cited civilians killed and injured by US drone attacks in Yemen as examples.



Dems’ focus on income inequality is misguided

A new survey from Politico finds what many of us already suspected. Whereas the primary policy issue for Republicans is creating economic growth, Democrats have a rather different set of priorities. Of Democrats surveyed, 81 percent said that income inequality was “the most important economic issue” as far as presidential politics go.

The left has always been driven by a misguided egalitarian streak. The nagging feeling that someone, somewhere, might be better off than someone else is an nettlesome irritant they just can’t shake, despite the fact that almost all plans to correct the alleged problem depend on gross violations of liberty that would be unacceptable to anyone who values freedom.

To see why inequality complaints are overblown, we can turn to philosopher Robert Nozick’s important work on justice and the role government, Anarchy, State, & Utopia. Nozick engages in a thought experiment, supposing an initial allocation of resources across a society that is entirely just. Of course, this means different things to different people, but for now let’s assume a completely egalitarian distribution.

Once this distribution is set, we can allow people to engage in free, voluntary transactions. Some people will choose to give a portion of their money to talented entertainers, athletes, and business owners who provide them with goods and services they value, thereby increasing the incomes of these entrepreneurs and creating inequality. Now, since the initial distribution was just, and since there is no injustice in allowing people to spend their money as they choose, how can anyone claim that income inequality is inherently unjust?

Of course, in the real world, we have to contend with things like theft, fraud, and artificial barriers to success, but taken together these factors explain a relatively small fraction of America’s income inequality. There’s nothing inherently wrong with an uneven distribution of wealth, as long voluntary action is the principal cause.

democrat vs republican

Now to be fair, it’s reasonable to be concerned about those policies that give special advantage to one group while creating roadblocks to success for others. I’ve written extensively about corporate cronyism, such as the Export-Import Bank, occupational licensing requirements, and regulatory burdens on new business models. All of these policies exacerbate income inequality by using government to help the powerful and hinder the weak. There is certainly injustice here, and it is absolutely something that needs to be addressed.

But removing the regulatory barriers to success is not what the left means when they say they want to tackle income inequality. In fact, the Democratic Party openly endorses most of these programs, despite their effect on income disparities.

Focusing on inequality as a major policy variable leads to perverse actions. As Margaret Thatcher observed, many would rather keep everyone from achieving success rather than let some succeed more than others. “He would rather the poor were poorer,” she said of a colleague bemoaning inequality, “provided the rich were less rich. That is the liberal policy.”

Economic growth, on the other hand, is the rising tide that lifts all boats. The poorest 10 percent of Americans today are vastly more wealthy, in absolute terms, than they were a century ago, and this is vastly more important than their relative wealth compared to other people. Absolute wealth determines whether you can feed your family, secure, housing, transportation, and clothing. It determines your entire standard of living. Relative wealth has little impact on your daily life, except perhaps, how jealous you are of your neighbors.

Of course, if you really can’t get the notion that income inequality is bad out of your head, you can take solace in the fact that, if you look at global wealth and don’t restrict your focus to a single country, it has been falling for the last 20 years. Hooray, or something.



More Burnt Offerings on the Altar of Multiculturalism

Diana West wrote the following 11 years ago. It is eerily fitting today.  Nothing has been learnt

Only one faith on Earth may be more messianic than Islam: multiculturalism. Without it -- without its fanatics who believe all civilizations are the same -- the engine that projects Islam into the unprotected heart of Western civilization would stall and fail. It's as simple as that.

To live among the believers -- the multiculturalists -- is to watch the assault, the jihad, take place un-repulsed by our suicidal societies. These societies are not doomed to submit; rather, they are eager to do so in the name of a masochistic brand of tolerance that, short of drastic measures, is surely terminal.

I'm not talking about our soldiers, policemen, rescue workers and, now, even train conductors, who bravely and steadfastly risk their lives for civilization abroad and at home. Instead, I'm thinking about who we are as a society at this somewhat advanced stage of war.

It is a strange, tentative civilization we have become, with leaders who strut their promises of "no surrender" even as they flinch at identifying the foe. Four years past 9/11, we continue to shadow-box "terror," even as we go on about "an ideology of hate." It's a script that smacks of sci-fi fantasy more than realpolitik. But our grim reality is no summer blockbuster, and there's no special-effects-enhanced plot twist that is going to thwart "terror" or "hate" in the London Underground anymore than it did on the roof of the World Trade Center. Or in the Bali nightclub. Or on the first day of school in Beslan. Or in any disco, city bus or shopping mall in Israel.

Body bags, burn masks and prosthetics are no better protections than make-believe. But these are our weapons, according to the powers that be. These, and an array of high-tech scopes and scanners designed to identify retinas and fingerprints, to detect explosives and metals -- ultimately, I presume, as we whisk through the automatic supermarket door.

How strange, though, that even as we devise new ways to see inside ourselves to our most elemental components, we also prevent ourselves from looking full-face at the danger to our way of life posed by Islam.

Notice I didn't say "radical Islam." Or "Islamists." Or "Islamofascists." Or "Islamonazis." I've tried out such terms in the past, but quickly came to find them artificial and confusing, and maybe purposefully so, because in their imprecision I think they allow us all to give a wide berth to a great problem: the gross incompatibility of Islam -- the religious force that shrinks freedom even as it "moderately" enables or "extremistly" advances jihad -- with the West.

Am I right? Who's to say? The very topic of Islamization -- for that is what is at hand, and very soon in Europe -- is verboten.  A leaked British report prepared for Prime Minister Tony Blair last year warned even against "expressions of concern about Islamic fundamentalism" (another one of those amorphous terms) because "many perfectly moderate Muslims follow strict adherence to traditional Islamic teachings and are likely to perceive such expressions as a negative comment on their own approach to their faith."

Much better to watch subterranean tunnels fill with charred body parts in silence. As the London Times' Simon Jenkins wrote, "The sane response to urban terrorism is to regard it as an avoidable accident."

In not discussing the roots of terror in Islam itself, in not learning about them, the multicultural clergy that shepherds our elites prevents us from having to do anything about them. This is key, because any serious action -- stopping immigration from jihad-sponsoring nations, shutting down mosques that preach violence and expelling their imams, just for starters -- means to renounce the multicultural creed. In the West, that's the greatest apostasy.

And while the penalty is not death -- as it is for leaving Islam under Islamic law -- the existential crisis is to be avoided at all costs. Including extinction.

This is the lesson of the atrocities in London [or Paris or Israel or Copenhagen or Ft. Hood or Australia or ...]  It's unlikely that the 21st century will remember that this new Western crossroads for global jihad was once the home of Churchill, Piccadilly and Sherlock Holmes.

Then again, who will notice? The BBC has retroactively purged its online bombing coverage of the word "terrorist"; the spokesman for the London police commissioner has declared that "Islam and terrorism simply don't go together"; and within sight of a forensics team sifting through rubble, an Anglican priest urged his flock, as The Guardian reported, to "rejoice in the capital's rich diversity of cultures, traditions, ethnic groups and faiths."

Just don't, he said, "name them as Muslims." Their faith renewed, Londoners soldier on.



4 simple sentences

Here are the 10,535 pages of Obama Care condensed to 4 simple sentences..  As crazy as it sounds, every last word is absolutely TRUE!

1. In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to un-insure the insured.

2. Next, we require the newly un-insured to be re-insured.

3. To re-insure the newly un-insured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured.

4. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became un-insured, and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the original un-insured can be insured, so it will be ‘free-of-charge’ to them.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called "redistribution of wealth", AKA Socialism

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on events from a British perspective.


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)



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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

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

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

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

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

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

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

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

The Dark Ages were not dark

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

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

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

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


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

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

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

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

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"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 or mining companies

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"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
My alternative Wikipedia


"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)

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

Selected reading



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

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: