Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BOOK REVIEW OF: "United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror" by Jamie Glazov

Reviewed by RALPH PETERS

If you've ever wondered at the delight with which academics excuse Islamist terrorists, or at the callousness with which radical feminists ignore the oppression of Muslim women, or at the gushing adulation the Left devoted to the last century's worst butchers, from Stalin to Saddam, "United In Hate' is the book for you.

Radical Leftists have been losing their war against human nature for a long time, but they continue to search desperately for a winning formula. After Stalin, Mao, Uncle Ho, Pol Pot and countless Third World thugs had let them down, they believed they'd found redemption at last on 9/11. Jamie Glazov, the editor of Frontpagemag.com, describes the reaction of Leftist acquaintances to the fall of the Twin Towers: "Never had I seen them so happy, so hopeful and ready for another attempt at creating a glorious and revolutionary future. Without doubt, September 11 represented a personal vindication for them." Noam Chomsky agreed with Osama that we deserved our misery. Ward Churchill had finally met his love match. This rigorous, fight-back book dissects the Leftist identity in which personal dissatisfaction and social dysfunction are externalized as the fault of our wicked society an uncanny reflection of the Islamist platform that worldly evil flows from the US and Israel. Glazov is scathing on the inability of Islamists and Western fellow-travelers to form healthy male-female relationships: Sex may (or may not) be OK, but love between a man and a woman threatens the collective.

No matter whether the idealized system is a Communist utopia or an Islamist caliphate, the happy couple is a mortal threat. Worst of all, "The pursuit of happiness implies ... that the world can be accepted for what it is," Glazov argues, "and human beings can be accepted for what they are."

So the Leftist believer embarks upon "the desperate search for the feeling of power to help him counteract the powerlessness he feels in his own life." That could equally describe a suicide bomber. You and I may be too stupid to realize we're miserable or damned, but the American Left and the mullahs are going to perfect us for our own good. The horrific bloodshed along the way is the outcast's great revenge.

Whether analyzing Code Pink or "Code Sharia," the book's descriptions hit the target dead-center again and again: "Like Islamists, Leftists have a Manichean vision that rigidly distinguishes good from evil. They see themselves as personifications of the former and their opponents as personifications of the latter, who must be slated for ruthless elimination."

Welcome to the hellish alliance that encourages American college brats to root for Hamas and Hezbollah. Dead Jews? Today's Left has no more problem with the Holocaust than Stalin did or Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah does.

Fearlessly, Glazov rips into "the deep-rooted hatred and fear of female sexuality that permeates Islamist-Arabic culture." But he also unveils our pseudo-feminists who excuse the burqa, genital mutilation, honor killings and general savagery toward Middle-Eastern women, noting that the privileged Americans need to ignore the suffering of their distant sisters in order "to hold onto their self-created victim identity." If America isn't so bad, it spoils everything.

I'd quibble with a few propositions: I find all fanatics dangerous, Left or Right but no honest person could deny this book's validity and power. It's a serious work by a brave scholar. It's also fun to read (fun's another no-no to Islamists and the Left).




No bailout for America’s newspapers!: “I have never had anything but contempt for America’s ‘greatest’ newspapers. During my lifetime, a little over six decades, they have never been anything but contemptible. Everything that was foreseeably harmful to individual liberty — or later proven to be so — they have championed. Everything that would have been good for it, they have opposed.”

Obama: US prepared to pursue targets in Pakistan : “President Obama said Sunday that his administration remains prepared to order strikes against ‘high-value’ targets within Pakistan. Obama reiterated a previous assertion that the U.S. military would pursue extremists within Pakistan’s borders after consulting with the Pakistani government.”

Obama: won't speed up Iraq pull out: "President Barack Obama says he won't consider speeding up the troop pullout from Iraq even though security has improved and violence has decreased. "I think the plan that we put forward in Iraq is the right one" because it calls for "a very gradual withdrawal through the national elections in Iraq," he said in an interviewed aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." While he didn't dispute the notion of military progress, Obama said there's plenty to do on the political side to resolve differences between the various sectarian groups. Iraq's security forces also need to be trained, he added. "I'm confident that we're moving in the right direction. But Iraq is not yet completed. We still have a lot of work to do," the president said of the war that's winding down after six hard-fought years."

AIG — too big to succeed: “The phrase ‘too big to fail’ is too often used to describe why various companies should receive bailouts from the federal government. Some financial companies are allegedly too big to fail because if they do fail it would create a series of failures as those who do business with the failing companies would be hurt by the failure of the initial company. Some automobile companies are allegedly too big to fail because if they do fail then parts suppliers and dealerships would all fail as well. Perhaps it is time to introduce a new phrase into the national lexicon, ‘too big to succeed.’ A company is too big to succeed if it grows so big that it cannot make a profit anymore, and as a result it must fail.”

The litigation madness is spreading: “The LA Times reported The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits against Union Pacific Railroad Company, seeking $37 million in damages for allegedly failing to prevent its rail cars from being used to smuggle drugs into the country. The federal government said its inspectors found more than two tons of marijuana and more than 100 kilograms of cocaine on company rail cars, many of which were listed as empty on manifests, the complaint alleges.”

Obama’s false choice: “Writing in the Chicago Tribune last week, President Obama fell back on one of his favorite rhetorical tics: ‘But I also know,’ he wrote, ‘that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.’ Really? For the moment, it’s a ‘false choice’ mainly in the sense that he’s not offering it: ‘a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism’ is not on the menu, which leaves ‘an oppressive government-run economy’ as pretty much the only game in town. How oppressive is yet to be determined: To be sure, the official position remains that only “the richest five percent” will have taxes increased. But you’ll be surprised at the percentage of Americans who wind up in the richest five percent.”

Barack Hussein Obama: Profile of a doctrinaire ideologue : “That Obama is a leftist is a statement to which few will take exception. Nor are there many willing to deny the radical nature of his leftist politics. But it appears that relatively few recognize that Obama’s politics is the product of years of reflection and, as such, possesses a self-consciousness that invests it with a rigor conspicuously absent from the political mental cast of most of his fellow Democrats. Far from being disposed to hear the call of compromise, Obama’s politics is determined to silence its voice altogether. This, of course, is not to suggest that Obama is or would be unwilling to make temporary concessions — but any such concessions are permissible if and only if they are deemed to stand a greater chance than not of advancing the ultimate ends of his robust and unabashedly leftist political vision. In other words, whereas the average left-wing Democrat is mostly concerned with achieving short-term strategic victories, Obama wouldn’t consider taking his eye off the prize of winning the war.”

How Britain gets people out of their cars: "Overcrowding will worsen on several of Britain's busiest rail lines because the Government has quietly cancelled plans for more than 300 additional carriages. Southern and South Eastern, two of the largest commuter franchises, are likely to bear the brunt. The Government will save about £70 million a year from the decision, which reverses a commitment in the rail White Paper published in July 2007. The network's most overcrowded trains have more than 70 people standing for every 100 sitting, according to Department for Transport figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. The 7.15am from Cambridge to King's Cross carries an average of 870 people but has only 494 seats. The 8.02am from Woking to Waterloo carries 865 and has 492 seats. Passenger groups criticised the White Paper for promising only 1,300 new carriages by 2014, an increase of about 13 per cent, despite forecasting a 22.5 per cent rise in rail journeys. They said that the extra carriages would fail to keep pace with demand, much less alleviate the high level of overcrowding."

UK: “How to break through police lines” : “G20 protesters are circulating detailed pamphlets advising people on how to win street battles against riot police and what to do if arrested. Thousands of people are expected to bring the City of London to a standstill on Wednesday and Thursday, as popular anger over government bailouts of the banking sector reaches fever pitch. The vast majority of protests are likely to be peaceful but the Metropolitan Police claims extremist and anarchist groups might resort to violence. The online pamphlets suggest certain groups are advising their followers on how to beat the police should things turn rough. One document, called ‘Guide to Public Order Situations,’ explains how to breach lines of riot police using a ’snow plough’ human formation; throw rape alarms to make it hard for the police to give orders; resist baton and horse charges using nets; and ‘de-arrest’ seized protesters.”


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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)


Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama does NOT have America's best interests at heart. He has a typical Leftist hatred of the society he lives in

"By their fruit ye shall know them"

President Barack Obama has no intention of helping to grow the United States economy. On the contrary, he is doing everything a President can do to weaken it. I know that sounds harsh. Maybe it seems outrageously “partisan.” Maybe it just seems outrageous. But after roughly ten weeks, Obama has consistently proposed ideas and plans (and in one case signing legislation) that will weaken the U.S. economy, not strengthen it. To attempt to view this man through the lenses of American prosperity, and to evaluate him with the same assumptions with which the behavior of other modern-day Presidents has been evaluated - - that growing the U.S. economy is a good and noble and necessary thing - - simply makes no sense.

Yet to assess this very different President with a very different set of assumptions in mind - - that American prosperity itself is a problem to be remedied, or that the U.S. has become an economic superpower at the expense of other nations - - only then does his economic behavior appear rational. And it is now clear that President Obama’s objective is to weaken the U.S....

During his campaign, President Obama liked to reiterate that he was being advised on economics by investment guru Warren Buffett. Buffett now deems Obama’s so-called “economic stimulus bill” as largely a waste of taxpayer dollars, and has expressed alarm over the national debt that Obama’s further plans will create. With the majority of the "stimulus bill" devoted to social welfare projects- - "free" condoms, childcare , “cricket control,” tatoo removal, and so forth - - and most funding for infrastructure projects delayed until 2011 and beyond (closer to Obama's re-election race), it's difficult to argue with Buffett's assessment.

Obama repeatedly reminds Americans of the tragedy that he faces, having “inherited” a $1.3 trillion deficit from the former President, yet he spent more than half that amount with the so-called “stimulus” bill during his first six weeks as President, and has now proposed a federal budget that spends $3.6 trillion more. He campaigned on a promise to take money away from “rich” Americans and re-distribute it to people who he deemed were deserving of it, yet there is no more wealth in government coffers for President Obama to re-distribute. He is now proposing to spend the wealth of future generations of Americans - - wealth that has yet to be created - - while confidently asserting along the way that he is reducing the federal deficit, not expanding it.

If we are to take seriously the many promises that Obama made as a candidate, it is not far-fetched to think that his efforts to weaken the U.S. economy are quite intentional. For two years, Senator Obama campaigned across the country preaching the economics of “getting even” - - a "strategy" to make conditions more "fair" for the less fortunate by punishing successful individuals and organizations. By every indication, he is now applying that same ‘strategy” to the United States, as it relates to the rest of the world, making the world a more “fair” and “just” playing field by weakening the strongest player on the field. After a few short weeks, it is now apparent what President Obama is doing. Will the Democratic Congress allow the President to fulfill his dreams? [They hate America too]



Bush's 'folly' is ending in victory

by Jeff Jacoby

"MARKETS WITHOUT BOMBS. Hummers without guns. Ice cream after dark. Busy streets without fear." So began Terry McCarthy's report from Iraq for ABC's World News Sunday on March 15, one of a series the network aired last week as the war in Iraq reached its sixth anniversary.

A nationwide poll of Iraqis reveals that "60 percent expect things to get better next year -- almost three times as many as a year and a half ago," McCarthy continued. "Iraqis are slowly discovering they have a future. We flew south to Basra, where 94 percent say their lives are going well. Oil is plentiful here. So is money."

In another report two nights later, ABC's correspondent characterized the Iraqi capital as "a city reborn: speed, light, style -- this is Baghdad today. Where car bombs have given way to car racing. Where a once-looted museum has been restored and reopened. And where young women who were forced to cover their heads can again wear the clothes that they like." One such young woman is dental student Hiba al-Jassin, who fled Baghdad's horrific violence two years ago, but found the city transformed when she returned last fall. "I'm just optimistic," she told McCarthy. "I think we are on the right path."

ABC wasn't alone in conveying the latest glad tidings from Iraq.

"Iraq combat deaths at 6-year low" USA Today reported on its front page last Wednesday. The story noted that in the first two months of 2009, 15 US soldiers were killed in action -- one-fourth the number killed in the same period a year ago, and one-tenth the 2007 toll. The reduction in deaths reflects the reduction in violence, which has plummeted by 90 percent since former President Bush ordered General David Petraeus to implement a new counterinsurgency strategy -- the "surge" -- in early 2007. Even in northern Iraq, where some al-Qaeda terrorists are still active, attacks are down by 70 percent.

In the wake of improved security have come political reconciliation and compromise. Iraq's democratic government continues to mature, with ethnic and religious loyalties beginning to yield to broader political concerns.

The Washington Post reports that the country's foremost Shiite politician, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has formed an alliance with Saleh al-Mutlak, an outspoken Sunni leader. It is a development that suggests "the emergence of a new axis of power in Iraq centered on a strong central government and nationalism" -- a dramatic change from the sectarian passions that fueled so much bloody agony in 2006 and 2007. In the recent provincial elections, writes the Post's Anthony Shadid, Maliki's party won major gains, with the prime minister "forgoing the slogans of his Islamist past for a platform of law and order." Despite his erstwhile reputation as a Shiite hardliner, Maliki now echoes Mutlak's call for burying the hatchet with supporters of Saddam Hussein's overwhelmingly Sunni Baath Party.

Those elections were yet another blow to the conviction that constitutional democracy and Arab culture are incompatible. For the 440 seats to be filled, more than 14,000 candidates and some 400 political parties contended -- a level of democratic competition that leaves American elections in the dust. A Jeffersonian republic of yeoman smallholders Iraq will never be. But over the past six years it has been transformed from one of the most brutal tyrannies on earth to an example of democratic pluralism in the heart of the Arab world.

For a long time the foes of the Iraq war and the president who launched it insisted that none of this was possible -- that the war was lost, that there was no military solution to the sectarian slaughter, that the surge would only make the violence worse. Victory was not an option, the critics declared; the only option was to partition Iraq and get out. Time and again it was said that the war would forever be remembered as Bush's folly, if not indeed as the worst foreign policy mistake in US history.

Even now, with a stubbornness born of partisan hostility or political ideology, there are those who cannot bring themselves to utter the words "victory" and "Iraq" in the same sentence. But six years after the war began, it is ending in victory. As in every war, the price of that victory was higher than we would have wished. The price of defeat would have been far higher.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Justice Department to San Francisco Police: Shut Up!

Allegations that presidential pal Bill Ayers was involved in the murder of a San Francisco policeman appear to be running into something of a gag order from at the Department of Justice. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Justice Department and the San Francisco Police Department have contacted the San Francisco Police Officers Association and told them not to talk about the Ayers case.

Boy, that was fast!

Cliff Kincaid's March 12 National Press Club press conference apparently hit a nerve. As mentioned in the AT article of Wednesday, March 18, the Police Association had sent out a letter of support to Kincaid and his Campaign for Justice for Victims of Weather Underground Terrorism, observing:
There are irrefutable and compelling reasons to believe that Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, members of the terrorist group 'Weather Underground', are largely responsible for the bombing of Park Police Station and other police stations throughout the United States during their 'tour of terror' in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

And asking that:
...every possible effort be made to bring all evidence concerning this crime and all other crimes of urban terrorism perpetrated by the ‘Weather Underground' against the police officers of our great country to the forefront in a court of law.

According to the Chronicle:
Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes confirmed that his union got a call from federal investigators telling them they had an "active investigation and should not be commenting on the case."

Delagnes said the letter was meant only to show support for the family of the slain officer, Sgt. Brian McDonnell, and to help them "bring closure to the case."

Right. And what is the matter with that?

So why on earth would the Justice Department want them to keep their mouths shut? Exactly what did they say that would damage an "active investigation?" Are they claiming that no one knows the book is still open on that case? Are the statements above likely to compromise an "active investigation" if indeed it is truly active?

Mr. Holder, as Shakespeare said: "me thinks thou dost protest too much." So out with it! What, or who are you really trying to protect?

Why didn't the Justice Department contact Kincaid's group? After all, they have said this same exact thing. The Justice Department probably doesn't want them to get any more attention than they already have. Besides, the Obama Administration certainly doesn't try to muzzle free speech, do they?

So instead they attack the Police Officers Association, who bring solid, non-partisan credibility to this effort. And all the Association wants is to see this case solved.

Friends of the President or not, Mr. Holder, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are two career criminal psychopaths, who have cheerfully left a lifetime path of destruction in their wake.

You need to step up to the plate, Mr. Holder. All these Weather Underground cases, and the park station bombing especially, need to be solved. If the heat is too much, either get out of the fire or help solve the case.




Obama wants to expand spending on everything -- even defence: "Cindy Williams, a defense scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former assistant director of the Congressional Budget Office, points out that Obama wants to spend 2 percent more in the next fiscal year than President Bush allocated for this year, and 9 percent more than we spent last year. Bush also planned for the defense budget (apart from Iraq and Afghanistan) to shrink slightly each year starting in 2010. Obama's blueprint calls for the defense budget to remain about the same. "Spending will actually be higher under Obama's plan than under Bush's," says Williams.

Democrats despise the poor: "Democrats, and the progressive left in particular, exploit the poor, they use the poor, they write speeches about them, and manipulate their "unrepresented voices" in debates. But one thing is increasingly clear from the Obama administration and the popular left in America, they don't have any interest in helping them. It is easy to explain how this can be true from a macro-worldview position looking at the President's policies. The bailout, the stimulus, the omnibus, and the proposed budget all do nothing to assist a poor person in finding independence and they all aim to create an enslavement to entitlements that dehumanize the individual, create embarrassment for their family, and ultimately rob that person of one of the most cherished gifts God grants us--the satisfaction of personal achievement. But moving beyond Obama's budget policies, take a look at how the administration has teamed up to hurt the poor families of America with the program of "Cap and Trade." Essentially "Cap and Trade" is a punitive tax that in language would be levied against the largest production companies in our nation. But since no company in the history of mankind has ever absorbed a tax, the real persons being punished for their production means are the consumers of the goods that company produces. Customers who are in desperate need of what that company creates are the ones who have no choice, and are helpless in doing anything about it. The poor are impacted to a greater degree because of their own lack of capital to be able to fund entrepreneurial options to avoid such companies.

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


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


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)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

The latest bit of bright-eyed optimism about IQ

There are always books and articles coming out that purport to show that IQ is unimportant, not hereditary and uniform across races. The research findings show the opposite but that offends against the "all men are equal" credo of the Left so the facts have to be got rid of somehow. Another such treatise has just arrived. A review of it (from the NYT!) is below. I have not read the book and nothing in the review encourages me to do so but I assume that some of my colleagues who specialize in IQ studies will read it and dissect it in due course. Meanwhile, I just offer a few comments (In italics) that occur to me. The book is INTELLIGENCE AND HOW TO GET IT. Why Schools and Culture Count by Richard E. Nisbett. The book is actually better than most in that it is largely research-based so concedes the two major facts that always stick in Leftist craws: That IQ is important and is largely hereditary.
Success in life depends on intelligence, which is measured by I.Q. tests. Intelligence is mostly a matter of heredity, as we know from studies of identical twins reared apart. Since I.Q. differences between individuals are mainly genetic, the same must be true for I.Q. differences between groups. So the I.Q. ranking of racial/ethnic groups — Ashkenazi Jews on top, followed by East Asians, whites in general, and then blacks — is fixed by nature, not culture. Social programs that seek to raise I.Q. are bound to be futile. Cognitive inequalities, being written in the genes, are here to stay, and so are the social inequalities that arise from them.

What I have just summarized, with only a hint of caricature, is the hereditarian view of intelligence. This is the view endorsed, for instance, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray in “The Bell Curve” (1994), and by Arthur R. Jensen in “The g Factor” (1998). Although hereditarianism has been widely denounced as racism wrapped in pseudoscience, these books drew on a large body of research and were carefully reasoned. Critics often found it easier to impugn the authors’ motives than to refute their conclusions.

Richard E. Nisbett, a prominent cognitive psychologist who teaches at the University of Michigan, doesn’t shirk the hard work. In “Intelligence and How to Get It,” he offers a meticulous and eye-opening critique of hereditarianism. True to its self-helplike title, the book does contain a few tips on how to boost your child’s I.Q. — like exercising during pregnancy (mothers who work out tend to have bigger babies who grow up smarter, possibly because of greater brain size) [More likely because they are middle class]. But its real value lies in Nisbett’s forceful marshaling of the evidence, much of it recent, favoring what he calls “the new environmentalism,” which stresses the importance of nonhereditary factors in determining I.Q. So fascinating is this evidence — drawn from neuroscience and genetics, as well as from studies of educational interventions and parenting styles — that the author’s slightly academic prose style can be forgiven.

Intellectually, the I.Q. debate is a treacherous one. Concepts like heritability are so tricky that even experts stumble into fallacy. Moreover, the relevant data come mostly come from “natural experiments,” which can harbor subtle biases. When the evidence is ambiguous, it is all the easier for ideology to influence one’s scientific judgment. Liberals hope that social policy can redress life’s unfairness. Conservatives hold that natural inequality must be accepted as inevitable. When each side wants to believe certain scientific conclusions for extra-scientific reasons, skepticism is the better part of rigor.

Nisbett himself proceeds with due caution. He grants that I.Q. tests — which gauge both “fluid” intelligence (abstract reasoning skills) and “crystallized” intelligence (knowledge) — measure something real. They also measure something important: even within the same family, higher-I.Q. children go on to make more money than their less-bright siblings. [An important admission]

However, Nisbett bridles at the hereditarian claim that I.Q. is 75 to 85 percent heritable; the real figure, he thinks, is less than 50 percent [The most common estimation is two thirds so Nisbet is not being very original there. And even a 50% figure puts large contraints on what a person can achieve]. Estimates come from comparing the I.Q.’s of blood relatives — identical twins, fraternal twins, siblings — growing up in different adoptive families. But there is a snare here. As Nisbett observes, “adoptive families, like Tolstoy’s happy families, are all alike.” Not only are they more affluent than average, they also tend to give children lots of cognitive stimulation [I doubt those assertions. The point is one commonly made but I think the evidence for its effect is weak]. Thus data from them yield erroneously high estimates of I.Q. heritability. (Think: if we all grew up in exactly the same environment, I.Q. differences would appear to be 100 percent genetic.) This underscores an important point: there is no fixed value for heritability [A non sequitur. The value can be fixed even if it is hard to estimate]. The notion makes sense only relative to a population. Heritability of I.Q. is higher for upper-class families than for lower-class families, because lower-class families provide a wider range of cognitive environments, from terrible to pretty good. [An assertion only]

Even if genes play some role in determining I.Q. differences within a population, which Nisbett grants, that implies nothing about average differences between populations. The classic example is corn seed planted on two plots of land, one with rich soil and the other with poor soil. Within each plot, differences in the height of the corn plants are completely genetic. Yet the average difference between the two plots is entirely environmental. [True in theory but irrelevant in fact. There are studies going back many years where blacks and whites have sat in the same classrooms throughout their education but the IQ gap remains. And any claim that blacks are poorly fed is laughable. Their rate of obesity is higher than for whites]

Could the same logic explain the disparity in average I.Q. between Americans of European and of African descent? Nisbett thinks so. The racial I.Q. gap, he argues, is “purely environmental.” For one thing, it’s been shrinking: over the last 30 years, the measured I.Q. difference between black and white 12-year-olds has dropped from 15 points to 9.5 points. [Blacks mature faster so the IQ gap has long been smaller during childhood. The adult IQ gap remains the same] Among his more direct evidence, Nisbett cites impressive studies in population genetics. African-Americans have on average about 20 percent European genes, largely as a legacy of slavery. But the proportion of European genes ranges widely among individuals, from near zero to more than 80 percent. If the racial gap is mostly genetic, then blacks with more European genes ought to have higher I.Q.’s on average. In fact, they don’t. [But where do the white genes concerned come from? Mostly from the bottom of white society. "Race mixing" has been looked down on for most of America's history]

Nisbett is similarly skeptical that genetics could account for the intellectual prowess of Ashkenazi Jews, whose average I.Q. measures somewhere between 110 and 115. As for the alleged I.Q. superiority of East Asians over American whites, that turns out to be an artifact of sloppy comparisons; when I.Q. tests are properly normed, Americans actually score slightly higher than East Asians. [I concede that some of the figures for Asian IQ may be poorly representative but the enormous rate of achievement among Asian Americans certainly shows that Asians who emigrate are superior. We are on much firmer ground with Jewish IQ because of Israeli army figures. There is no doubt of Ashkenazi superiority -- if Jewish achievements alone did not tell you that]

If I.Q. differences are indeed largely environmental, what might help eliminate group disparities? The most dramatic results come from adoption. When poor children are adopted by upper-middle-class families, they show an I.Q. gain of 12 to 16 points [For a while. In adulthood their differences are small. And the children chosen for adoption by such families are probably not representative either]. Upper-class parents talk to their children more than working-class parents do. And there are subtler differences. In poorer black families, for example, children are rarely asked “known-answer questions” — that is, questions where the parents already know the right answer. (“What color is the elephant, Billy?”) Consequently, as Nisbett observes, the children are nonplussed by such questions at school. (“If the teacher doesn’t know this, then I sure don’t.”)

The challenge is to find educational programs that are as effective as adoption in raising I.Q. So far, Nisbett observes, almost all school-age interventions have yielded disappointing results [An important and entirely true admission]. But some intensive early-childhood interventions have produced enduring I.Q. gains, at a cost of around $15,000 per child per year. [Small gains achieved at great effort are consistent with the environmental component of IQ]. Yet, by the author’s reckoning, it would cost less than $100 billion a year to extend such programs to the neediest third of America’s preschoolers. The gain to society would be incalculable. [More likely to be negligible -- on the balance of the evidence]

Still, there are limits even to Nisbett’s optimism. Social policy can get rid of ethnic I.Q. gaps, he thinks, but “the social-class gap” in I.Q. “is never going to be closed.” I would frame the matter a little differently. Even if I.Q. inequality is inevitable, it may eventually become irrelevant. Over the last century, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, I.Q. scores around the world have been rising by three points a decade [That has now stopped and it did not affect the racial gap anyway]. Some of this rise, Nisbett argues, represents a real gain in intelligence. But beyond a certain threshold — an I.Q. of 115, say — there is no correlation between intelligence and creativity or genius [IQ has never correlated strongly with creativity -- largely because different sorts of creativity do not correlate with one-another]. As more of us are propelled above this threshold — and, if Nisbett is right, nearly all of us can be — the role of intelligence in determining success will come to be infinitesimal by comparison with such “moral” traits as conscientiousness and perseverance. [And law-abidingness?] Then we can start arguing about whether those are genetic.



Perhaps I should say a little more about the nutritional argument. It is briefly alluded to above but is very commonly mentioned in arguments of this sort.

There appear to be two adverse nutritional influences on IQ: Total calorie deprivation and micronutrient deprivation. The first is obviously irrelevant to American blacks so I will just note that the Dutch famine study showed it to have a eugenic effect if anything. It is mainly the children of smart people who survive a famine so the children concerned will on average tend to be brighter rather than dumber.

Micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) deficiency is more serious, though United Nations figures suggest that, even so, it accounts for only about 5 IQ points. If you give micronutrients to poor blacks in Africa, it does boost their average IQ by about that amount. The diet of poor blacks in Africa and the diet of American blacks are however quite different. Africans in Africa might see fried chicken only a few times in a lifetime. They mostly live on corn porridge ("mealie pap"). But critics nonetheless say that while African Americans eat plenty, they eat the "wrong" food: McDonalds for instance. But look at what is in a Big Mac meal: Meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which adds up to a mainstream Western diet. Some contend that there is too much salt and fat in such meals but that the meals provide a good range of micronutrients can hardly be doubted.

So there are no grounds for saying that the cause of lower average IQ in blacks is nutritional. They are not "seed that fell on stony ground".



There are various days celebrated as "Earth Day" by Greenies but Australia has an "Earth Hour", which seems to be catching on internationally. You are supposed to turn off all your electric lights during it. The hour occurs Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm. -- which has just passed in Australia. During it I, of course, made sure to turn on every light in my house. Because Australia is in a time zone almost a day ahead of America, however, my American readers will have to wait a little while for the pleasure of doing the same if the idea has caught on in their locality. Some rather jocular Australian skeptics argue that we should have a "Blackout Night" in mid-winter instead. See here about that.

Foreign aid to Africa: Bonuses to corrupt and tyrannical rulers? “Americans and the rest of the west must start to be outraged by the mismanagement of their donated tax money in Africa. Long after the African public woke up to the reality that western aids never work to uplift the continent from deep corruption and tyranny, this idea has recently started to resonate with some aid organizations and aid workers. Billions of aid dollars collected from western tax-payers are directly channeled to tyrannical and corrupt leaders in Africa.”

How FDR promoted price-gouging : “During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Americans desperately needed bargains. But President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed laws that forced businesses to charge above-market prices for everything. He made discounting a crime! FDR did this even though antitrust laws provided penalties for private individuals who acted in restraint of trade and charged above-market prices. These laws were passed by ‘progressives’ — his ideological brethren.”

Capitalism and tolerance: "About twenty years ago, I remember hearing my grandmother describing her response to a customer who’d badmouthed a lesbian couple who frequented the bar my parents and grandparents co-owned: ‘Their money’s as good as yours.’ A cliche, yes, but an uplifting one. It reminds us that the merchant pays a price for intolerance. It’s easy to indulge one’s petty prejudices in the voting booth, where the price for doing so is negligible. But every time a merchant turns away a customer, every time an employer turns away a candidate or loses him to a more tolerant competitor, he’s reminded of what his bigotry is costing him.”

States rebel against Washington: “There’s an old joke in South Carolina: Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have surrendered at the Burt-Stark mansion in Abbeville, S.C., in 1865, but the people of state Rep. Michael Pitts’s district never did. With revolutionary die-hards behind him, Mr. Pitts has fired a warning shot across the bow of the Washington establishment. As the writer of one of 28 state ’sovereignty bills’ … Pitts is at the forefront of a states’ rights revival, reasserting their say on everything from stem cell research to the Second Amendment. … Just as California under President Bush asserted itself on issues ranging from gun control to medical marijuana, a motley cohort of states … are presenting a foil for President Obama’s national ambitions. And they’re laying the groundwork for a political standoff over the 10th Amendment, which cedes all power not granted to Washington to the people.”

Dodgy British crime statistics again: "Ministers were last night caught up in an embarrassing new row over crime figures. The Ministry of Justice was forced to withdraw a set of already delayed sentencing statistics because of errors. They contained a series of mistakes over how many criminals were being sent to jail, rather than escaping with a fine or community punishment. For some crimes, the figures showed the number being jailed had fallen as low as 10 per cent, when in fact it had remained steady at around 40 per cent."

Useless Thai police: "Grandmother Linda Robertson reacted in disbelief today after Thai prosecutors officially told her that the Burmese 'pirates' who beat her husband to death with a hammer could not be prosecuted for murder. She was told that without a body, no such charge could be brought, even though the three Burmese men, who boarded the family yacht Mr Bean, had confessed to the death, and the boat was covered with her husband's blood. After testifying twice, recounting step-by-step how she heard her husband being murdered, and how she stepped in his blood before making a final escape, she said she was shocked by the court's decision."


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


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)


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The big news

The Fed has just "printed" one trillion dollars of new U.S. Greenbacks. It has created a huge amount of new money out of thin air. Governments have that prerogative. It doesn't actually run the printing presses faster. It does it in a more complicated way than that but the result is the same. Its main effect is to put fresh cash in the pockets of the banks and other financial institutions. The good news is that it is not debt. The taxpayer is not going to be required to pay more tax to fund it. The bad news is that it will devalue whatever greenbacks you at present own. They will buy less in the future -- "inflation" in other words. So it IS a tax in the long run.

Will it work? Will it get the banks lending again? Will it create jobs? Nobody seems terribly optimistic. The real problem is to restore business confidence so that businesses start hiring again but most of the O-man's agenda is anti-business and intent on jacking up business taxes so it will do nothing for that. Abolishing regulatory burdens on business (e.g. Sarbox) and halving company tax is what is needed to perk up business. Like FDR before him, Obama thinks business is the enemy -- when it is in fact the only way out of the present problems. Kicking business when it is down so stupid that only a Leftist could do it. But that is the FDR/Obama thinking.

Lots of commentary here


‘Palestinians’ Who Helped Create Israel

By Daniel Pipes

Palestinians have so loudly and for so long (nearly a century) rejected Zionism that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Yasir Arafat, and Hamas may appear to command unanimous Palestinian support. But no: polling research finds that a substantial minority of Palestinians, about 20 percent, is ready to live side-by-side with a sovereign Jewish state. Although this minority has never been in charge and its voice has always been buried under rejectionist bluster, Hillel Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has uncovered its surprisingly crucial role in history.

He explores this subject in the pre-state period in Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917—1948 (translated by Haim Watzman, University of California Press); then, the same author, translator, and press are currently preparing a sequel, Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948—1967, for publication in 2010.

In Army of Shadows, Cohen demonstrates the many roles that accommodating Palestinians played for the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in the Holy Land. They provided labor, engaged in commerce, sold land, sold arms, handed over state assets, provided intelligence about enemy forces, spread rumors and dissension, convinced fellow Palestinians to surrender, fought the Yishuv's enemies, and even operated behind enemy lines. So great was their cumulative assistance, one wonders if the State of Israel could have come into existence without their contribution.

The mufti's absolute rejection of Zionism was intended to solidify the Palestinian population but had the opposite effect. The Husseini clique's selfishness, extremism and brutality undermined solidarity: using venomous language and murderous tactics, declaring jihad against anyone who disobeyed the mufti, and deeming more than half the Palestinian population "traitors" pushed many fence-sitters and whole communities (notably the Druse) over to the Zionist side.

Consequently, Cohen writes, "As time passed, a growing number of Arabs were willing to turn their backs on the [rejectionists] and offer direct assistance to the British or Zionists." He calls collaboration with Zionism "not only common but a central feature of Palestinian society and politics." No one before Cohen has understood the historical record this way.

He discerns a wide range of motives on the part of the Yishuv's Palestinian allies: economic gain, class or tribal interests, nationalist ambitions, fear or hatred of the Husseini faction, personal ethics, neighborliness, or individual friendships. Against those who would call these individuals "collaborators" or even "traitors," he argues that they actually understood the situation more astutely than Husseini and the rejectionists: accommodationists presciently realized that the Zionist project was too strong to resist and that attempting to do so would lead to destruction and exile, so they made peace with it.





AMERICA'S enemies smell blood and it's type "O." All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama's foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence.

Contrary to left-wing myths, I wasn't a fan of the Bush administration. (I called for Donald Rumsfeld to get the boot in mid-2001.) But fair's fair. Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good. Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.

Don't worry about the new administration's ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete. Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months: China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don't matter. Our "relationship" is more important than freedom and human dignity. Beijing's response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar. Thanks, Hill. You're a sweetheart.

Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan's coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool. Obama's response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We'd be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.

Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous "mistakes" in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn't have a clue.

Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran's leaders in office, it's their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn't anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they'd have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.

He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don't shine.

North Korea: Obama wanted a fresh start. North Korea's response? Threats of war with South Korea and the kidnapping of two American journalists. And the renewed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, along with rocket tests.

Cuba: Obama would like to liberalize our relationship. The Castro boys told him to kiss off. They need an enemy, too. (Dear Mr. President: It's not always about us or how evil America is.)

Venezuela: Guess who else needs an enemy?

Mexico: The good news: Obama knows where it is on a map and recognizes that Mexico's government faces a narco-insurgency that threatens our country, too. His first action? Cave to the Teamsters, violate a lawful treaty on cross-border trucking, reignite fading anti-Americanism and undercut President Felipe Calderon.

Poland: Obama's stance on our bravest ally on the European continent? The Russians are more important than you are. He's sending the same message to Ukraine and Georgia.




There's a new conservative blog called The moderate curmudgeon that takes a rather humorous approach to news commentary.

Obama firm on Afghanistan: “Confronting an inherited and faltering war, President Barack Obama plans to dispatch thousands more military and civilian trainers to Afghanistan by the fall on top of the 17,000 combat troops he has already ordered, senior administration officials said Thursday. Obama’s war strategy, which he plans to announce Friday, includes no timeline for withdrawal of troops. The war began more than seven years ago.”

NY: Deal reached to repeal “Rockefeller” drug laws: “Gov. David A. Paterson and New York legislative leaders have reached an agreement to dismantle much of what remains of the state’s strict 1970s-era drug laws, once among the toughest in the nation. Opponents of the so-called Rockefeller drug laws held a rally outside the governor’s office in Manhattan on Wednesday. The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison. The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million.”

Clinton admits it: US antidrug policies have failed: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Mexico yesterday with a stark admission, saying that decades of US antinarcotics policies had been a failure and had contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border. ‘Clearly what we’ve been doing has not worked,’ Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip. She said it was unfair for the United States ‘to be creating a situation where people are holding the Mexican government and people responsible. That’s not right.’ Clinton’s comments appeared to be the most sweeping by a top Obama administration official in accepting a US role in the drug violence in Mexico.”

Obama says automakers need “drastic changes”: “President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration will help Detroit’s struggling automakers only if the companies and their stakeholders make ‘pretty drastic changes’ to reshape their industry. Obama, responding to a question during an online town hall meeting, said the current business model for U.S. carmakers was unsustainable and the Big Three would need to change their ways. The president said he planned to announce decisions on the future of the industry in the coming days.”

The MTV president : “However talented the man might be, Barack Obama as silver-tongued savior, is in reality a creation of the mainstream media. When George W. Bush was inarticulate at times, he was the butt of jokes and worse; a buffoon who got through life on the coattails of his father. Yet, when Obama stutters through rehearsed speeches or maniacally laughs while discussing our ailing economy on 60 Minutes, these gaffes are either ignored or oddly offered as further proof of his oratory genius. But why? Because those who control most major newspapers and TV are immature dreamers still stuck on their vision of a socialist utopia; the stuff of teenaged vows to ‘change the world.’ And their hero epitomizes all they hold dear; a hip, youthful knight who champions activism — whatever that means — and looks good doing it.”


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


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)


Friday, March 27, 2009


The Obama administration has embarked on a spree of borrowing that eclipses anything seen in world history. The Democratic Congress is nervous, but seems willing to go along. But this borrowing is not occurring in a vacuum; many other governments are also floating debt. So, who's going to lend the trillions of dollars that governments need to disguise the fact that their ideas are bankrupt? Maybe nobody.

Yesterday, the British government offered its "gilt-edged bonds" for sale. For the first time in over a decade, the auction failed as not enough buyers appeared to cover the bonds that were offered:
Fears are growing on the financial markets that Britain may not be able to repay the billions of pounds in debt it is amassing to rescue banks and revive the economy. The Government admitted yesterday that, for the first time since 1995, investors had been unwilling to buy the full complement of its so-called gilt-edged bonds at one of its official auctions.

Britain's failure roiled Wall Street, as Noel Sheppard reports:
Wall Street got rocked Tuesday by a "debt bomb" economists have worried about for decades. Hours after the United Kingdom failed to attract enough buyers for its auction of $2.5 billion of 40-year bonds, the United States Treasury had similar difficulties with its sale of $34 billion worth of five-year notes and was forced to raise their interest rate to a much higher yield than had been anticipated. Such problematic debt offerings came on the heels of Germany having two failed auctions of its bonds already this year.

The amount of debt the Obama administration intends to float dwarfs any historical experience. More from Bloomberg:
Treasury 10-year note yields rose the most in more than two weeks after an auction of $34 billion in five-year notes drew a higher-than-forecast yield, spurring concern record sales of U.S. debt are overwhelming demand. ... President Barack Obama's government is selling record amounts of debt to revive economic growth, service deficits, and cushion the failures in the financial system. Debt sales will almost triple this year to a record $2.5 trillion, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

What most Americans may not yet understand is that the vast majority of the debt that the Obama administration intends to incur, not just this year but for years to come--assuming it can find the requisite creditors--has nothing to do with the present financial crisis. Rather, Obama intends to finance a grotesquely swollen federal government, with socialized medicine just one item on the agenda, by borrowing the money. How to pay it back? Hey, not our problem--Obama will be out of office by 2017 at the latest, so paying off trillions in needless debt will be up to our children.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


BrookesNews Update

America-hating leftists lie to protect Obama's dangerous economic program : The left are pulling out all the stops to make sure Obama's programs of massive tax increases, colossal spending and borrowing, more regulatory controls and his appeasement Policy are imposed on the American people. In an effort to fool Americans leftists are trying to justify Obama's dangerous economic policies by saying they cured the Great Depression. This is a brazen lie. The extreme leftwing Campaign for America's future is playing a significant role in spreading this lying propaganda
Why Obama's big spending big taxing regime will cripple the US economy : Obama's statist dream of using high taxes and big government to drive the economy forward are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, the case for lower taxes is not as easily made as is the case for big spending projects. This is because the latter are built on economic fallacies that focus on end results instead of processes. The case for tax cuts and savings rests on sound economic logic and this must be solidly understood before lasting progress can be made
The Great Depression — then and now and bloody journalists: The economic crisis and the debate — what there is of one — about the alleged anti-recessionary effects of big government spending policies has once again raised the spectre of the Great Depression and once again our commentators get it wrong, particularly journalists, that pesty brood of pseudo intellectuals for whom honest research appears to be an anathema
In California it's bad economics as usual: California's politicians broke the budget deadlock by combining billions of dollars worth of spending cuts with billions of dollars worth of tax increases and billions of dollars worth of new borrowing authority. Chronically unable to live within their means, the governor and legislature apparently have concluded that fiscal business as usual is the way to resolve the state's financial crisis. As Ronald Reagan might have said: 'There they go again'
Heads roll in Havana as Raul Castro tightens his grip : Last week, Raul Castro purged almost twenty regime officials. The most prominent among the purged were the youngest and most reform-minded — at least as these things are measured within a Stalinist regime. All have now been replaced by diehard communists with military and secret-police backgrounds. So much for 'Hope and Change'
America: People vs their Government: The people of the United States are more honest and astute about the Arab-Israel conflict than is Obama and his advisors. They can see, especially after 9/11, that Fatah, Hamas and Al-Qaida are the part of the same Islamic ideology: Global domination by Islam
What is Marxism? : Marxist claims have been thoroughly discredited by history. Despite this fact thousands of academics and intellectuals still cling this patheted dogma by studiously ignoring anything that contradicts it: In doing so they reveal that Marxism is nothing but a power cult
Will what destroys Israel also destroy the United States?: Americans should realize that if Israel does not survive the Islamic onslaught and is destroyed, the United States will not be far behind. As long as people like Barack Obama are placed in charge of our country, our future is dim: the question is only which will destroy us first — socialism or Islam?



There is a vastly incorrect but rather striking article here comparing the attractiveness of Britain's female politicians with female politicians elsewhere. There's some pretty rough-looking British ones.

Obama’s middle class tax cut may not survive budget: "President Obama’s budget chief hinted Wednesday that the president’s signature campaign issue — a middle-class tax cut — will not likely survive a budget battle with Democrats on Capitol Hill. On a conference call with reporters in advance of the president’s trip to the Hill to speak before the Senate Democratic caucus, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag indicated that, while 98 percent of the budget mark-ups in the House and Senate are on par with the administration’s budget blueprint, some campaign trail promises, like middle-class tax cuts, may get left on the cutting room floor.”

Obama’s budget: It’s absolutely insane! “At his press conference last night, President Obama insisted once again that he inherited the budget deficit, and ‘we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.’ But the deficits over the next 10 years that Obama proposed in his budget are not George Bush’s deficits. They are the deficits that Obama has proposed, resulting from the $1 trillion in increased spending he adopted in the no-stimulus stimulus bill, and the $400 billion supplemental spending bill he supported and also adopted the following week, and the $275 billion housing bailout he proposed the next week, and the $1 trillion bank bailout plan his Treasury Secretary just proposed this week, and the $638 billion he has proposed as a ‘downpayment’ on a new national health insurance entitlement. … Does this sound like he is ‘doing everything we can to reduce that deficit?’”

Karl Rove: Obama has made taxes and spending the big issues again: "Something powerful is stirring in the land, and it may not be good news for President Barack Obama, his agenda or the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama said Tuesday night his budget moves America "from an era of borrow and spend" to "save and invest." But people are realizing he would add $9.3 trillion to the national debt, doubling it in six years and nearly tripling it in 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). How can that be "save and invest"? In his inaugural address, Mr. Obama told us, "The stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply." He wants to turn to new issues of education, health care and green jobs, which he plugged at every opportunity in Tuesday's press conference. Suddenly, though, it doesn't seem like a time of new politics and new concerns. Many Americans are anxious -- and in some cases angry -- about a set of old issues: deficits, taxes and the national debt. Mr. Obama's radical budget, his administration's slapdash operating manner, and events such as the AIG bonuses have revived animosity over government's size and cost."

Capitalism is morally superior: “People say that capitalism is based on greed, which must be restrained. No it isn’t. It’s built on self-interest — which is perfectly natural to us all, and beneficial to our community. Markets are about free people, voluntarily exchanging cash for goods or services. You can only prosper in the market if you give your customers what they want. In every transaction, both sides benefit — they wouldn’t do if they didn’t — and with millions of sales and purchases going on every day, that spreads benefit through the whole society. Capitalism is a vast, worldwide collaborative system. It doesn’t need political arguments to decide what should be done. It doesn’t need force to make people produce things. It produces enormous variety and plenty without any conflict or coercion at all.”

Gordon Gekko is a Democrat: "How did Republicans get saddled with Wall Street? Obama just got the biggest campaign haul from Wall Street in world history, and Republicans still can't shake the public perception that they are tied at the hip to Wall Street bankers who hate them. Maybe if the financial capital of the nation were located in Salt Lake City, rather than Manhattan, the financial community would support Republicans. But Wall Street is a street located in New York City. No one in the top echelons of the financial industry who has a weekend place in the Hamptons is a Republican".


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


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)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Defining conservatism

The claims below seem rather stupid and narrow-minded to me. They amount to saying that religious unbelievers cannot be conservative. Yet Australia is one of the world's most conservative countries but it is also a place where very few people are religious. The proportion of the Australian population present at church on a typical weekend is well under 10% and even a lot of them are there for mainly social reasons. And the churches are almost all Left-leaning in fact. So conservatism in Australia has nothing to do with religion. Australian conservatives generally respect religion but there are heaps of them who are not themselves religious. I think my definition of conservatism works a lot better: That conservatives just want to be left alone to get on with their own lives in their own way with as little government interference as possible -- which is why they tend to be strong advocates of individual liberty

If you want to learn to recognize the mark of a true conservative, read Mark Levin's new book, "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto." Levin is the real thing -- a longtime intellectual and activist leader of the conservative movement -- who writes with unmatched authority and clarity about the conservative vision and how it ought to be pursued today by you and your children and anybody else you know who wants to preserve American liberty....

Like our Founding Fathers and like other first-rate conservative thinkers, Levin recognizes that America's rise to greatness was not rooted in ideology but in a worldview defined by basic -- and true -- assumptions about the nature of the world and the nature of man. Fundamentally, Levin explains, conservatives recognize that there is an immutable natural law ordained by God that all men and nations must obey. He also makes clear that while human beings have a God-given right to individual liberty, they are also imperfect by nature and, thus, if given too much power, are likely to abuse the God-given rights of others.

"Some resist the idea of a Natural Law's relationship to Divine Providence, for fear it leads to intolerance or even theocracy," writes Levin. "They have it backwards. If man is 'endowed by (the) Creator with certain inalienable rights,' he is endowed with these rights no matter his religion or whether he has allegiance to any religion. It is Natural Law, divined by God and discoverable by reason, that prescribes the inalienability of the most fundamental and eternal human rights -- rights that are not conferred on man by man. It is the Divine nature of Natural Law that makes permanent man's right to 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'"

Levin deftly isolates why modern liberal class warriors -- those of President Obama's ilk -- must reject this understanding of the world. "The Statist cannot abide the existence of Natural Law and man's discovery of 'inalienable rights' bestowed on all individuals by 'their Creator,'" writes Levin. "In ideology and practice, the Statist believes rights are not a condition of man's existence but only exist to the extent the Statist ratifies them. Furthermore, rights do not belong to all individuals. They are rationed by the state -- conferred on those whom the Statist believes deserving of them, and denied to those whom the Statist believes undeserving of them."

As on his radio show, so in this book, Levin is unapologetic in his indictment of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and successive generations of FDR acolytes -- including LBJ and BHO -- for perpetrating a "counterrevolution" against the limited government prescribed by our Constitution and for creating and expanding a welfare state that breeds dependency in the people and that -- if not soon dismantled -- will bankrupt our nation.

"The significance of the New Deal is not in any one program, but in its sweeping break from our founding principles and constitutional limitations," he says. "Roosevelt himself broke with the two-presidential-term tradition started by George Washington by running for four terms. His legacy includes a federal government that has become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate: It is the nation's largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor."

This is the truth about what liberals have done over the last 80 years of American history. American freedom cannot survive another 80 years of expanding government and diminishing individual autonomy.



I am now a Chromer

Google Chrome, that is. In Australia "chroming" refers to a very stupid practice by some young people, mostly indigenous, of inhaling fumes of solvents, gasoline, paint-thinners etc. in order to get "high". It fries their brains but in some cases you would hardly notice, given their low starting point in that department.

I found that Firefox was in important ways worse than IE. I guess that there are work-arounds for the problems concerned but they were not obvious. I could find no way of altering my default home-page for instance. And the "Back" button mostly did not work. And it kept closing windows on me if I had more than one open. Quite mad. I have none of those problems with Chrome. It definitely beats both both IE and Firefox, though there are some things that I can only do with IE so far. I don't like Google's politics but they do make good software.


Two interesting posters

A reader sent me them a little while ago but I have no details about their origins. I am wondering if any reader can help me identify them: When and where they came from and where originals or copies of them are housed these days.

I can't help noticing the artistic superiority of the Nazi effort. Hitler was an artist, even if a mediocre one, and Nazi images are often quite attractive -- perhaps precisely because Hitler kept pretty close to an average taste rather than being original in any way.

The Soviet effort is very dismal. Where the Nazi effort displays primarily individuals, the Soviet effort just hints at masses of people in the very bottom of the image. The Red army did use the Swastika long before the Nazis did so I have no doubt of the authenticity of the images above.

The "Roman" salute is generally said to have been invented by Mussolini but Musso was a Marxist who knew Lenin well so it is perfectly reasonable to believe that Stalin was influenced by Musso's ideas for a while.


It appears that the posters above come from a documentary film called Soviet Story. See here. The film has had a lot of praise from people who should know so I think that vouches pretty well for the authenticity of the posters. I would like to get dates for them, though -- and where they were first used. Academic caution and all that -- though a lot of academics these days are anything but cautious in their pronouncements.


The old days weren't so bad

There is a fascinating video here showing that an experienced Morse code operator can transmit a message faster than someone using text messaging. It certainly gives old guys like me a bit of a fillip as the Morse telegraph was invented before I was born -- and I DID on occasions send telegrams in the old days. I must say that I still find Morse transmissions rather eerie. It is hard to believe that human beings do it. The manual dexterity involved seems to beat even playing the harpsichord. And yet lots of people did it in the old days. Those rapid bleeps were normal once. I am quite pleased that those skills have not been totally lost. I guess it is just a hobby these days. When I was a kid we were all taught one tiny bit of Morse: The Help signal. People still understand the expression SOS to this day but how many know that SOS is a call for urgent help because it is very simple to remember and transmit in Morse? Not many young people, I'll warrant.


The military shows who it prefers: GWB or Obama

I guess most readers here have seen this striking video by now but, if not, here it is:


Pain Iran Can Believe In

Diplomacy has no chance without tougher energy sanctions

As a general rule, economic sanctions are a poor foreign policy instrument: hard to enforce (think Burma), prone to corruption (think Oil for Food), rarely effective (think Cuba). But in the case of Iran, let's make an exception.

We say this after five years of futile diplomatic efforts -- spearheaded by the Europeans and backed by the Bush Administration -- to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear programs and comply with binding U.N. Security Council resolutions. Now the only thing standing between the mullahs and a bomb is either punitive sanctions or a military strike, probably Israeli, which could engulf the Middle East in a regional war. Which option do you prefer?

So here's a fact: Despite being a leading oil exporter, Iran imports roughly 40% of its gasoline because it lacks adequate domestic refining capacity. Any cut-off in supply would do immediate damage to the fragile Iranian economy and could bring about social unrest, as happened in 2007 after the regime imposed gasoline rations. Here's another fact: Iran is supplied with gasoline by a mere handful of foreign companies, all of which do substantial business in the United States.

Final fact: There is a growing bipartisan consensus in favor of gasoline sanctions. As candidate Barack Obama put it in the second Presidential debate last October, "If we can prevent [Iran] from importing the gasoline they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis [about the advantages of a nuclear arsenal], that starts putting the squeeze on them."



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


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)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Secret document leaked: The Obama administration is branding libertarians and abortion opponents as hidden terrorists

Even the ACLU is opposing this Gestapo-like effort

Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency. If you're an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group.

That's according to "The Modern Militia Movement," a report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities. "Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created," the Feb. 20 report reads. "Unemployment rates are high, as well as costs of living expenses. Additionally, President Elect Barrack [sic] Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear that he will enact firearms confiscations."

MIAC is one of 58 so-called "fusion centers" nationwide that were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site.

During a press conference last week in Kansas City, Mo., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called fusion centers the "centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing" in the future. "Let us not forget the reason we are here, the reason we have the Department of Homeland Security and the reason we now have fusion centers, which is a relatively new concept, is because we did not have the capacity as a country to connect the dots on isolated bits of intelligence prior to 9/11," Napolitano said, according to a DHS transcript.

"That's why we started this.... Now we know that it's not just the 9/11-type incidents but many, many other types of incidents that we can benefit from having fusion centers that share information and product and analysis upwards and horizontally."

But some say the fusion centers are going too far in whom they identify as potential threats to American security. People who supported former third-party presidential candidates like Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr are cited in the report, in addition to anti-abortion activists and conspiracy theorists who believe the United States, Mexico and Canada will someday form a North American Union.

"Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups," the report reads. "It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material." Other potential signals of militia involvement, according to the report, are possession of the Gagsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag or the widely available anti-income tax film "America: Freedom to Fascism."

Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, told FOXNews.com that he's taking steps to get his name removed from the report, which he said could actually "dilute the effectiveness" of law enforcement agencies. "It can subject people to unwarranted and inappropriate monitoring by the government," he said. "If I were the governor of Missouri, I'd be concerned that law enforcement agencies are wasting their time and effort on such nonsense." ...

Michael German, national security policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report "crosses the line" and shows a disregard for civil liberties. "It seems to implicate people who are engaging in First Amendment protected activities and suggest that something as innocuous as supporting a political candidate for office would mean that you're harboring some ill-intent," German told FOXNews.com. "It's completely inappropriate."

German, who claims the number of fusion centers nationwide is closer to 70 said the centers present several troubling concerns, including their excessive secrecy, ambiguous lines of authority, the use of data mining and military participation. "No two are alike," German said. "And these things are expanding rapidly." ....

ACLU officials blasted a Texas fusion center last month for distributing a "Prevention Awareness Bulletin" that called on law enforcement officers to report activities of local lobbying groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protest groups.




There is an argument here that allowing AIG to go bankrupt would have been best. I find it amazing that a Leftist government is propping up bloated capitalists instead of letting them go broke. Who are the defenders of the status quo now? I guess that protecting failures trumps hatred of the status quo. More likely the Left know how good the status quo has been to them -- even while they snarled at it.

America’s Ignorance of Her Heroes: "During a recent commercial flight from Jacksonville (Fla.) to Baltimore, a flight attendant offered free drink coupons to any of the 150 passengers who could name just one of the five Medal of Honor recipients from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Awkward moments of silence followed until one man, Navy veteran Dale Shelton of Annapolis, Maryland, spoke up and named Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith. No other passenger was able to name a recipient. The flight attendant then asked the passengers to name an American Idol winner. “The cabin lit up like a pinball machine as 43 passengers scrambled to push their attendant call button,” according to a piece by the American Forces Press Service... Which brings us to our recognition this week of National Medal of Honor Day, the significance of the award, and the necessity of honoring the heroes who wear it. In 2007, Congress designated Mar. 25 (of each year) as National Medal of Honor Day: The date coinciding with the same date in 1863 when Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton presented six Union Army soldiers with the first-ever Medals of Honor... For as Pres. Abraham Lincoln said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure.”

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama: "The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized—and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security. It's not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it's perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd—and in the paper's lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president’s yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail. The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage".

Obama Hacks Off France In Latest Foreign Policy Blunder: "Someone forgot to tell Barack Obama that Jacque Chirac is no longer the President of France. We would like to think that this is a joke. Sadly, the French media is reporting as true that Barack Obama sent a letter to the President of France pledging support and friendship. His actual words were: “I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.” There’s just one problem: he sent it to the wrong guy. That’s right. Barack Obama sent the letter to the former President of France, not the present President. And Nicholas Sarkozy is not amused. As my wife said, we no longer have to worry that Obama is the anti-Christ — he’s too incompetent.

More British government computer bungling: "Security flaws have halted work on the internet database designed to hold the details of 11 million children and teenagers. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) admitted last night that it had uncovered problems in the system for shielding details of an estimated 55,000 vulnerable children. These include children who are victims of domestic violence, those in difficult adoptions or witness protection programmes and the children of the rich and famous, whose whereabouts may need to be kept secret. ContactPoint is a £224 million online database that contains the names, addresses, dates of birth and details of schools, GPs, social workers and support services of all 11 million people aged under 18 in England. It is intended to improve child protection. The project has been dogged by controversy since its inception in 2003 and the loss of many big databases has dented public confidence. ContactPoint was supposed to go live nationally this year but a spokeswoman for the DCSF said that the department had ordered a “pause in the ongoing data update” pending an investigation into the shielding problems."

Who's French Now?: "The voice of fiscal restraint does not normally have a Gallic accent. But in our newly upside-down world, it's the French who are warning Americans about runaway spending and false Keynesian stimulus hopes. The latest Frenchman to deconstruct Obamanomics -- after President Nicolas Sarkozy came out last week against raising taxes -- is Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank. As central bankers are wont to do, Mr. Trichet avoided criticizing U.S. policies directly. Yet the dangers of trying to spend your way to prosperity that he outlined will sound familiar to Americans. Governments, Mr. Trichet said in an interview with the Journal's Joellen Perry and Stephen Fidler published Monday, have to "reassure [their] own people that [they] have an exit strategy, to reassure households that [they] are not putting in jeopardy the situation of the children, and to reassure businesses that what is done today is not done to the detriment of their own taxation in the years to come."

Union in labor dispute with its employees: “As it helps push for legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the country’s fastest-growing union is engaged in its own labor dispute with employees it is seeking to lay off. The Service Employees International Union, considered the most influential union in the nation, has notified the union that represents about 220 of the SEIU’s national field staff members and organizers that it is laying off 75 of the employees. In return, the workers union, which goes by the somewhat postmodern name of the Union of Union Representatives, has filed charges of unfair labor practices against the SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers union’s leaders say that the SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use: laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temporary-staffing firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers.”

Shortages are bad: “When I was a teaching assistant for introductory microeconomics, one of the main lessons I really tried to impress on the students was the wastefulness of shortages caused by price controls. Lots of issues are controversial in economics, but the wastefulness and pure social loss of shortages are not one of them. Usually the students understand this quite well. And then I read articles like this, and I despair …. When the city privatized the meters, then the price for parking went to something resembling a market-clearing rate. And what happened? Well (surprise!) there are no longer chronic shortages of parking spaces. Imagine! What’s exasperating in this article is the idea that the optimum quantity of open parking spaces is zero.”


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


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)