Friday, July 13, 2012

Mexican IQ

The article by Fred Reed below gets a lot of things right but gets a simple thing wrong so I thought it might be useful to put it up for both reasons. His comments about the characteristics of Mexican and US culture seem spot-on to me and the differences between the two cultures do play a part in explaining why Mexico is in an apparently permanent mess.

In his coments about IQ, however, Fred seems to forget what an average is. The Mexican IQ average includes the large, semi-literate rural population and that drags the average down. So showing that the Mexican middle class performs better than what that average would lead one to expect proves nothing and is essentially irrelevant

And in any case, smart fraction theory says that it is the IQ of the top 5% that matters, not the average IQ. The most vivid example of that is Israel, which has overall only an average IQ (Due to the large fraction of the population that came from Arab lands). But Israel also has a very bright sub-population of Ashkenazi origin and it is that sub-population that mostly accounts for Israel's frankly brilliant achievements.

What the average IQ of Mexico's top 5% is I have no idea but Fred is right in saying that cultural factors would hold them back even if they were very bright

The higher up the Mexican social hierarchy you go, the whiter people seem to get so Mexico is, like Israel, still a mixture (not a blend) of two broad sub-populations of different racial origins (Spanish and native). So that could well be integral to explaining why the Mexican middle class performs well above what one would expect from the national average. They have a larger Spanish genetic component

The Mexican authorities are of course aware of the demographic differences in their population and appear rather nervous about its potential for social combustion. So they have promulgated the amusing doctrine of "La Raza" -- the pretence that there is such a thing as a Mexican "race". I doubt that it fools many Mexicans, though. Its main use seems to be among Hispanics living in the USA

I belong to a list-serve of exceedingly bright people (I am not one of them) to include Ivy profs, who believe that IQ largely determines human destiny. This is in part I suspect because IQ is something they have, but it is possible that I am being snide in this. They regard as canonical the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, which purports to show a correlation and by extension a causal relationship between mean national IQ and prosperity. They assert that the mean IQ of Mexico, where I live, is about 86, well below the mean of roughly 100 of white Americans. This, they further assert, accounts for the comparative backwardness of Mexico. Does it?

Now, some brush-clearing. Intelligence obviously exists, in the street sense that we all recognize. Some people obviously have more of it than others. There is obviously a genetic element. No biological reason exists to believe that genetically distinct groups cannot vary in intelligence. IQ, within cultures anyway, provides at least a rough measure of intelligence: It is easy to distinguish people with IQs of 180 from those with IQs of 80. So, in principle, Mexicans could be innately stupid. Are they?

I would like to think not, but what I want to think doesn’t seem to determine reality. (I regard this as a major design flaw of the universe.) How could I tell whether Mexicans were dull? It seemed to me that the alleged deficit, almost fifteen points, ought to be obvious. In fact I wondered whether a nation with a mean IQ of 86 could run airlines, hospitals, and telephone and internet companies. Which Mexico does.

While I could not test the entire population, I thought a reasonable approach might be to compare the apparent intelligence of Americans and Mexicans in professions of which I knew something. This I did.

A few days ago, I saw a retinologist in Guadalajara. Ophthalmological specialties are not for the fumble-minded, yet he was as intelligent and competent as any I have seen in the US. He also spoke near-perfect English. I tend to ask questions, which gives doctors a chance not to know the answers, or half know them. Not this guy. He was sharp. He sent me to a local retina clinic for optical-coherence tomography and a fluorescein angiogram. I have had these things done in the US, and saw no difference in the competence of those administering them.

Now, the IQist response, reasonable enough as a question, is to argue that even in a country with a mean IQ of 86 there will be a few who can perform at a high levels. True. This is the argument of The Only Fifty Smart Mexicans. The question is how many hundreds of thousands of the Only Fifty you can have before the numbers become embarrassing. After nine years in Mexico, I have seen a lot of dentists and doctors, using all manner of, for example, ultrasound-Doppler gear, and seen no difference in apparent intelligence.

A small difference would not be detectible by this method. But fifteen points?

Take another field, one that I know well: journalism. I have read lots of Mexican newspapers (they are on the web). They are as well-written as American. The Spanish in editorial columns is syntactically more complex than American journalistic English. Such journalists as Ihave met have been very smart. Television journalism is like the American, except that in talking-head shows there is civility and people don’t talk over each other. (And, overall, the content is less controlled, but this is anaother matter.)

The same happens in daily life. I have no sense that the civilized population is dim-witted. Here things are tricky: A large part of the country has barely risen above peasantry, and seems stupid, as much so as America’s Scotch-Irish louts of the 1800s or inhabitants of Chinese villages today. Among the approximately middle class—more a psychological than an economic designation—people seem as bright as Americans. I see them in banks, travel agencies, pharmacies. And I encounter way too many kids who have learned fair to good English, many in high school. I mean English English, not Frito bandido dialect. With a mean IQ of 86?

An IQist asked me a bit challengingly how many kids I knew who could qualify for Harvard. Two. One is my stepdaughter. The other is a guy whose mother owns a local bar. Natalia is in university, he by choice in some nothing job. (The women in Mexico are regularly more impressive than the men.) Obviously kids whom Natalia chooses as friends are not average, but two Ivy intelligences out of the perhaps ten kids I know squares poorly with the IQist theory.

In saying all of this, I am not suggesting that Mexico has achievement the intellectual development of Finland. While it is generally literate, much of it is barely so. Very large chunks of the population live in ignorance and do not produce retinologists. What I do suggest is that far too many people here do technically and otherwise demanding things for the IQ-86 theory to hold water.

When do exceptions cease to be exceptions? Maintaining modern cars with their linguini wiring and computers is not for the stupid. They do it. Ditto, building highways through mountains. They do it. Ditto, walking internet customers through the internals of modems. The Telmex techs regularly do it. Ditto, pirating software with tight security, such as Adobe, or Windows 7 so that it updates. Young techs do it.

So, the IQists ask reasonably, if Mexicans are not stupid, why is the country backward? Where are the Nobelists in physics, the Intels, the Apollo programs? Why no Bill Gates?

There are several becauses. Because the society is profoundly corrupt, with (it sometimes seems) everything and everybody being for sale. Because of a lack of entrepreneurial spirit, a tendency to be content with enough. Because Mexicans tend to live entirely in the present, instead of having one foot in the future as Americans do. Because of a resentful envy of the smart and ambitious (cf. “acting white”) instead of following their example; this is serious. Because envy and distrust of one another make it hard for them to work together. Because of a lack of interest in study. Because so very many of the young marry at sixteen, have a baby, and do nothing thereafter.

If these were just Fred’s opinions, they would be ignorable. It is also the view of Violeta and Natalia. Should anyone want a truly insightful exposition of why Mexico is as it is, read Mañana Forever, by Carlos Casttañeda, a former foreign minister of Mexico. His view, with which I entirely agree, is that Mexico is mostly a modern country creeping into the First World, but crippled by the culture of a century ago. See above.

Am I (and Castañeda) right about this? IQists tend to dismiss the invocation of culture as an evasion—real men believe in IQ—or to argue that defects of culture are the results of low intelligence. This is highly debatable. Consider the following list of founders of major companies in the information technologies (laragely from memory, so I hope right):

Google (Sergei Bryn, Larry Page), Intel (Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce), Apple (Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Dell Computer (Michael Dell), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), YouTube (Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim), Netscape (Mark Andreesen), Yahoo (Jerry Yang, David Filo), AMD (long list of guys from Fairchild Semiconductor), Twitter (Jack Dorsey), Wikipedia (Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger), (Ron Unz), PayPal (Peter Thiel), Ebay (Pierre Omidyar).

Note that they are overwhelmingly either American or working in America. Why America? Gringos are no smarter than Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, or Koreans. The countries of all of the foregoing countries run huge high-tech companies, but their college kids don’t think, “Geez, I’m bored. I guess I’ll start Dell Computer, or Facebook, or maybe Microsoft. Beats doing a doob.” Certain thoughts seem embedded in American culture: “Why not?” “Who says I can’t?” “Bet me.” “Let’s wing it and see what happens.” It is not Mexico. Or much of anywhere else.



The Invincible Lie

By Thomas Sowell

Anyone who wants to study the tricks of propaganda rhetoric has a rich source of examples in the statements of President Barack Obama. On Monday, July 9th, for example, he said that Republicans "believe that prosperity comes from the top down, so that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth."

Let us begin with the word "spend." Is the government "spending" money on people whenever it does not tax them as much as it can? Such convoluted reasoning would never pass muster if the mainstream media were not so determined to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil when it comes to Barack Obama.

Ironically, actual spending by the Obama administration for the benefit of its political allies, such as the teachers' unions, is not called spending but "investment." You can say anything if you have your own private language.

But let's go back to the notion of "spending" money on "the wealthiest Americans." The people he is talking about are not the wealthiest Americans. Income is not wealth -- and the whole tax controversy is about income taxes. Wealth is what you have accumulated, and wealth is not taxed, except when you die and the government collects an inheritance tax from your heirs.

People over 65 years of age have far more wealth than people in their thirties and forties -- but lower incomes. If Obama wants to talk about raising income taxes, let him talk about it, but claiming that he wants to tax "the wealthiest Americans" is a lie and an emotional distraction for propaganda purposes.

The really big lie -- and one that no amount of hard evidence or logic seems to make a dent in -- is that those who oppose raising taxes on higher incomes simply want people with higher incomes to have more money, in hopes that some of their prosperity will "trickle down" to the rest of the people.

Some years ago, a challenge was issued in this column to name any economist, outside of an insane asylum, who had ever said any such thing. Not one example has yet been received, whether among economists or anyone else. Someone is always claiming that somebody else said it, but no one has ever been able to name and quote that somebody else.

Once we have put aside the lies and the convoluted use of words, what are we left with? Not much.

Obama is claiming that the government can get more tax revenue by raising the tax rate on people with higher incomes. It sounds plausible, and that may be enough for some people, but the hard facts make it a very iffy proposition.

This issue has been fought out in the United States in several administrations -- both Democratic and Republican. It has also been fought out in other countries.

What is the real argument of those who want to prevent taxes from rising above a certain percentage, even for people with high incomes? It has nothing to do with making them more prosperous so that their prosperity will "trickle down."

A Democratic president -- John F. Kennedy -- stated the issue plainly. Under the existing tax rates, he explained, investors' "efforts to avoid tax liabilities" made them put their money in tax shelters, because existing tax laws made "certain types of less productive activity more profitable than other more valuable undertakings" for the country.

Ironically, the Obama campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney for putting his money in the Cayman Islands substantiate the point that President Kennedy and others have made, that higher tax rates can drive money into tax shelters, whether tax-exempt municipal bonds or investments in other countries.

In other words, raising tax rates does not automatically raise tax revenues for the government. Higher tax rates have often led to lower tax revenues for states, the federal government and other countries. Conversely, lower tax rates have often led to higher tax revenues. It all depends on the circumstances.

But none of this matters to Barack Obama. If class warfare rhetoric about taxes leads to more votes for him, that is his bottom line, whether the government gets a dime more revenue or not. So long as his lies go unchallenged, a second term will be the end result for him and a lasting calamity for the country.




The final executive order: Death of the republic: "Several weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Obama's sudden executive order favoring illegal aliens. This was just one of many presidential executive orders and actually not a big deal but this tool will likely be the legal mechanism used to financially lock down America similar to the way a warden limits privileges and movement in a prison complex. Executive orders, unless they are challenged, can allow a president to rule by decree. This is basically what our once great republic has been reduced to."

San Bernardino is third California city to opt for bankruptcy: "San Bernardino’s City Council voted to become the third California city this year to file for bankruptcy, as it struggles with declining tax revenue, growing employee costs and accounting discrepancies in its ledgers. The council voted 4 to 2, with one abstention, last night to authorize a filing under Chapter 9 of U.S. bankruptcy law. The city of 209,000, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, is so broke it can’t make its Aug. 15 payroll, interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller said"

Black scholars give Obama an “F”: "At this week’s NAACP convention in Houston, one prominent black leader will not be addressing this historic group: the nation’s first black president. President Obama’s absence from major NAACP events could be called a pattern, as he has not addressed the group since 2009, during the honeymoon phase of his presidency. His absence is turning out to be wise because he can avoid answering this question, 'Are blacks better off since he took office?"

Socialism American style: "There is variety in the different types of socialism proposed and implemented but there is a recognizable unifying central theme in every version of it that Mr. Obama and his ideological cohorts share: people are viewed as belonging to society, as part of a hive or herd that needs to be driven in one proper direction. One size fits all! The major obstacle to it all being individualism and the free market that is its economic corollary."

Lifestyles of the Rich and Palestinian: "Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has allegedly deposited nearly $13 million in U.S. taxpayer aid into a secret bank account, and routinely uses his political connections to profit from the stagnant peace process, according to testimony presented to Congress Tuesday by several Middle East experts. Abbas has enriched himself during his seven years in office through secret land deals, and helped his two sons earn millions of dollars through their stakes in companies that profit from U.S. assistance, the experts said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing entitled “Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment. The corruption just scratches the surface of the Palestinian first family’s shady dealings, experts warned."



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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, July 12, 2012

Obama's Stump Speech Myths

Brent Bozell

Barack Obama has trouble telling the truth. This is the man who admitted his memoir "Dreams from My Father" was semifictional. "For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I've known, and some events appear out of precise chronology." Translation: On some pages, I'm taking poetic license with the facts to burnish my image.

The problem is, Obama's still using poetic license. So where are the reporters to point out when he doesn't tell the truth? Let's take just one typical Obama stump speech, on July 5 in Sandusky, Ohio, and look for the fibs and stretches. They're not hard to find.

1. There are the biographical tall tales. "My grandfather fought in Patton's army." In 2009, AP's Nancy Benac noted that the president's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was in a supply and maintenance company, not in combat. That's noble work, but "fought in Patton's army" implies something else. Moreover, Benac reported Dunham's company was assigned to Patton's army for two months in 1945, and then quoted Obama's own self-boosting memoir: "Gramps returned from the war never having seen real combat." Why has Benac been alone in exploring this blatant exaggeration?

2. There are the policy myths. "So when folks said let's go ahead and let the auto industry go bankrupt, we said no let's bet on American workers. Let's bet on American industries, and now, GM is back on top, and Chrysler is moving, and Ford is going strong."

Put aside for a moment that GM being "on top" is a stretch. GM still owes the public $30 billion for the bailout. But the real screamer in that passage is Ford never succumbed to bankruptcy and bailouts and therefore shouldn't be included in any boast of any sort of Obama achievements.

Some lines in the speech just sound ridiculous based on the last three and a half years, such as: "I want to balance our budget. I want to reduce our deficit, deal with our debt, but I want to do it in a balanced and responsible way." This might not be strictly "false" -- it's opinion -- but it's certainly disingenuous. He said the same thing in 2008 and then delivered the biggest trillion-dollar deficit in history.

Obama also refuses to admit the failure of the "stimulus," claiming in one passage, "I do want to rebuild our roads and our bridges" because it would "put a lot of people back to work -- and that's good for the entire economy." Except, it's demonstrably not true.

3. Then there are the religious myths. "When I first got my job as an organizer for the Catholic churches in Chicago ... they taught me that no government program can replace good neighbors and people who care deeply about their communities (and) who are fighting on their behalf."

In how many ways is this deeply insincere? Obama was hired by a Jewish Alinsky-ite leftist named Jerry Kellman for something called the Developing Communities Project, which did have Catholic support, but Obama's own memoir described the community organizing work as a chance to "start to build power" -- with a "hard-headedness" based on "politics, not religion."

In his stump speech, Obama's trying to create two false impressions: 1) That he's not waging war on the Catholic Church with his Department of Health and Human Services mandate to force Catholics to fund contraceptives and sterilization against their conscience. 2) That he's some sort of moderate about how government programs couldn't possibly replace person-to-person private charity. If he were Catholic, he might be excommunicated.

4. Finally, there are the campaign myths. Obama bizarrely told the crowd in Sandusky "back in 2008, everybody said we couldn't do it because we were outspent, we weren't favored." Did Obama mean in the primary race? By a slim margin, he outraised Hillary Clinton, who was the early favorite. But this spin is comical if it refers to the general election, where Obama outraised McCain $779 million to $347 million.

Then Obama added: "That first race that I ran as a state senator, Michelle and I, we were going around knocking on doors, passing out leaflets. Nobody gave us a shot. Everybody said, 'Nobody can pronounce your name, how are you going to win?'" But Obama ran unopposed in 1996, both in the primary and the general election. In a burst of Chicago-style politics, Obama removed his primary opponents, including the incumbent state senator, Alice Palmer, from the ballot by challenging their signatures.

When will the alleged fact-checkers in the news media vet Obama's stump speech and demand he start telling the truth?



Three ways to reform labor & save our country

An opinion from some apparently mainstream professors

Now that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has resoundingly won the recall election organized against him, pundits and policymakers are wondering what's next. As economists and labor experts from across the country, we believe it's time for legislators at all levels of government-local, state, and federal-to recognize that the labor reforms begun in Wisconsin need to be implemented nationwide.

The stakes couldn't be higher. A ticking fiscal time bomb has already begun to explode in some cities, a direct consequence of unsustainable union pay and benefit packages. Meanwhile, state laws that mandate union membership as a job requirement are contributing to a status quo that delivers workers' paychecks and citizens' taxes into union hands-and from union hands to the bulging coffers of labor leaders' favorite political allies.

The appropriate response to this perfect storm of excess is threefold.

First, steer our cities away from insolvency and bankruptcy by passing meaningful reforms to public employee pensions and compensation. Careful economic research has shown public-sector workers receive a level of compensation, pension benefits, and retiree health coverage in excess of what comparable workers in the private sector enjoy. In some instances, the total premium can be 30 percent or higher. The resulting burdens on municipal and state budgets are simply unaffordable.

In the city of San Jose, for instance, pension costs skyrocketed from $73 million to $245 million in just 10 years. The same night as Governor Walker's victory, the city's residents-both Democrat and Republican alike-looked past aggressive campaigning by public employee unions and voted overwhelmingly to make modest pension cuts that will save taxpayers millions. (Unions responded by filing suit.)

A similar vote happened down the coastline in San Diego, which means a bipartisan effort like this should be possible elsewhere-before it's too late.

The next step, at the state level, is to advance right-to-work legislation that gives employees a choice in union membership.

A key tenet of our democracy is freedom of association-including the freedom to form a union. But what about the right of a worker to choose not to join a union? In the 27 states that haven't passed right-to-work laws, this right doesn't exist.

In 2012, the state of Indiana showed that such laws can become a reality, even in the face of bitter opposition from labor leaders. Not only are such laws good for employees-they also make good economic sense. Research published in the journal Regulation compared manufacturing employment in counties with a pro-business environment (including right to work laws) to counties across a state border that didn't have such laws. The study found that manufacturing job growth was nearly 90 percent higher between 1947 and 1992 in the pro-business right-to-work counties.

The last step to effective labor reform should happen at the federal level, with the passage of the Employee Rights Act (ERA), a piece of legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

The provisions of the ERA include reinforcing the right to a secret ballot union election, regular recertification votes on whether employees wish to remain part of a union, and paycheck protection to allow employees to prevent their dues from going to politicians they don't support. Unsurprisingly, in polling commissioned from Opinion Research Corporation, these provisions receive 80 percent support-even in union households.

Before Gov. Walker's victory, this comprehensive policy program might have seemed too ambitious, however necessary to shoring up budgets, bolstering labor market flexibility, and securing America's economic future. Now, it's clear that our ambitions can rise to the level of our needs. It's an opportunity policymakers can't afford to miss.



Budget Insanity

John Stossel

Last year, Congress agreed to $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, unless politicians find other things to cut. They didn't, of course. So now, with so-called sequestration looming in January, panic has set in. Even the new "fiscally responsible" Republicans vote against cutting Energy Department handouts to companies like Solyndra and subsidies to sugar producers. Many claim that any cut in military spending will weaken America and increase unemployment.

It's another demonstration of the politicians' addiction to spending -- and how we are complicit. "One more infrastructure bill" or "this jobs plan" will jumpstart the economy, and then we'll kick our spending addiction once and for all. But we don't stop.

For most of American history, government was tiny. But since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and the promise that government would cure poverty, spending has gone up nonstop. This is not sustainable.

Progressives say: If you're so worried about the deficit, raise taxes! But it's a fantasy to imagine that taxing the rich will solve our deficit problem. If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion. That's only a third of this year's deficit. It's the spending, stupid.

Even if you could balance the budget by taxing the rich, it wouldn't be right. Progressives say it's wrong for the rich to be "given" more money. But money earned belongs to those who earn it, not to government. Lower taxes are not a handout.

That's the moral side of the matter. There's a practical side, too. Taxes discourage wealth creation.....

Politicians promise to balance the budget by getting rid of what is wasteful, redundant or unnecessary. There's plenty of that, but they have promised to eliminate it for years. They cannot. It's just in the nature of the beast. Centrally planned monopolies do things that are wasteful, redundant and unnecessary.



Crony Capitalism, Explained

I loathe being subjected to tobacco smoke so celebrate anything done to prevent it happening -- so it takes a lot for me to put the article below up. But it does make a vital general point

"A tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill to be signed today by President Barack Obama will put operators of roll-your-own cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight."

I had only heard of these types of operations about two months ago - a friend of mine pointed out that you can get a carton of cigarettes a lot cheaper at these places where you buy loose tobacco and cigarette papers and then "rent" the rolling machine to turn out the finished cigarettes. As a smoker, I was thinking about trying it out. Now I won't be able to - something slipped in to a bill (and what does a highway bill have to do with tobacco) has killed it off. Businesses will be shut down, people lose their jobs.why? Well the linked article notes that Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) got the item inserted in to the bill and that Senator Baucus is a major recipient of tobacco-industry donations.

But don't any of you out there get all "darn Democrats" about this - while Democrats do this sort of skullduggery more often than GOPers, Republicans do engage in it. What Baucus did was a two-fold item in favor of both Big Government and Big Corporation. Part of the reason for the cheaper price is that loose tobacco is taxed at a lower rate than tobacco in cigarettes. The other part of the reason is that the major cigarette makers were starting to feel a pinch from the competition (and that, of course also jeopardizes the government revenues from the ill-famed tobacco lawsuit settlement). Essentially, Big Government and Big Corporation go together and legislated out of existence the people and their small businesses because Big Government needs revenues and Big Corporation doesn't like competition.

And this is what is wrong with America: it is no longer governed in any way, shape or form in the interests of the people. It is actions just like this which ensured that instead of having 50 different car makers, we only had three miserably incompetent car makers, two of which needed a taxpayer bailout. It is actions like this which ensure that only a few behemoth banks run our financial system (and run it in to the ground, and then demand taxpayer bailouts). It is actions like this which shut down things like the Keystone pipeline but shovel taxpayer money at Solyndra. This is why our economy doesn't grow; why our factories are in China, our mines are in Chile and our farms are in Mexico.because Big Government and Big Corporation like it that way; it works out best for them.they see it as maximizing government revenues and Big Corporation profits.

The reason our economy doesn't work is because of nonsense like this - the people are hamstrung and essentially forbidden to do anything which might lessen government revenues or harm the profits of the corporations which currently rule the market (and donate to the office holders - Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978; and he's just dancing to his master's tune). Do we want jobs in this country? Do we want to restore the middle class? Do we want an America which makes, mines and grows most of its own things? Then we need an America where the government is prohibited from legislating out of existence legal businesses and where corporations can't buy legislation to restrict competition. An end to Crony Capitalism is necessary for the revival of America - and that means an end to Big Government, as well.




Unemployment Rate Dropped In Every State That Elected A Republican Gov. In 2010: "In 2010, influenced by the Tea Party and its focus on fiscal issues, 17 states elected Republican governors. And, according to an analysis, every one of those states saw a drop in their unemployment rates since January of 2011. Furthermore, the average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%, compared to the national decline of .9%, which means, according to the analysis, that the job market in these Republican states is improving 50% faster than the national rate.

A blessing from the Devil? "The U.S. Episcopal Church is poised to become the first major religious denomination in the United States to approve a rite for blessing gay marriages after its bishops overwhelmingly approved such a liturgy on Monday. The proposed blessing was agreed by the church's Chamber of Bishops at a meeting in Indianapolis and is expected to receive final approval from its House of Deputies later this week, Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians' Subcommittee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music, told Reuters."

Obama asks Congress for limited extension of Bush tax deferrals: "President Barack Obama expressed confidence Monday that he can win an election-year fight with Republicans over taxes and the economy despite three straight months of weak job growth. Obama urged Congress to pass a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, but aides said he would veto a bill that included providing relief to households earning $250,000 or more, as GOP congressional leaders and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney want to do."

CA high-speed rail: On wrong track: "State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), is probably best known as the author of California's bill to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. After Friday's vote, Simitian may be best known as the Democrat who warned his colleagues not to issue $4.6 billion in bonds for big-ticket high-speed rail. 'Any of us who talks to our folks knows that they're asking the same questions,' Simitian reasoned. 'They're saying, "Really? You made these cuts. We're threatened with more. And you want to build a high-speed train?"' The state Senate, nonetheless, passed the bill with 21 votes." [Railways are very old technology now. The "City of Truro", a steam train, exceeded 100 mph in 1904. How come Leftists, of all people, romanticize trains? I guess they just like herding people together]



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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, July 11, 2012

New Democrat intimidation

It will only stop when Republicans do the same

Politicians recognize they give up a degree of privacy when they run for office.

But Democrats are testing the outer limits of that understanding with a practice that raises questions about when campaign tracking becomes something more like stalking.

While most serious campaigns on both sides use campaign trackers — staffers whose job is to record on video every public appearance and statement by an opponent — House Democrats are taking it to another level. They’re now recording video of the homes of GOP congressmen and candidates and posting the raw footage on the Internet for all to see.

That ratcheting up of the video surveillance game is unnerving Republicans who insist that even by political standards, it’s a gross invasion of privacy. Worse, they say, it creates a safety risk for members of Congress and their families at a time when they are already on edge after a deranged gunman shot former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords 18 months ago.

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Reid Ribble, who said he’s also been followed by a cameraman when shopping for groceries, said the home videos cross a line.

“I feel it’s totally inappropriate,” said Ribble, a freshman facing a competitive race for reelection. “It was disturbing to me that they would put that online. I don’t understand any political benefit that can be achieved with that.”

In Ribble’s case, a clip of his northeastern Wisconsin home appeared online June 18. The soundless video — which lasts 38 seconds — is taken from a car sitting just outside the house. The shot pans across the large home, showing it from several different angles.

DeaNa Ribble, the congressman’s wife, said it is deeply unsettling. “I’m more creeped out about this than Reid is, just because I’m home more,” she said. “If they so much as put a foot on private property, I will be the first person to call the police.”

Republicans whose homes have been videotaped say they understand that politics is a contact sport and that every public utterance they make is fair game. But, they argue, filming a home — and posting actual addresses — ought to be off-limits, if only out of respect for their families and neighbors.

“I think your family or your personal life should be off-limits unless it enters the campaign,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci, who said a neighbor informed him that a tracker had been crouching in the bushes taking footage of the first-term congressman’s home. “It’s hard for my neighbors or my family to get comfortable when someone is in the bushes.”



Democrats to blacks: 'Stay Angry, vote Democratic'

By Larry Elder

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., once said: "George (W.) Bush is our 'Bull' Connor -- and if that doesn't get to you, nothing will be able to get to you. It's time for us to be able to say that we're sick and tired, we're fired up and we're not going to take it anymore."

Connor was a racist sheriff who sicced dogs and water hoses on civil rights workers in the '60s. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., says Republicans "want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws."

The tactic is as obvious as it is insulting. Tell black voters that "they" are out to "get them" -- and pull that lever for us Democrats so we can resist their racist attempt to undermine your success.

Never mind that this kind of anger wrapped in paranoia -- assuming that others are out to get you -- is precisely the formula to undermine your own success.

Accomplished entrepreneurs say one of the keys to success is the assumption and the confidence that you can influence the outcome.

Anger is an opponent of success.

The movie "Red Tails" is a fictionalized film of the Tuskegee airmen, the brave black fighter pilots of World War II. They overcame racism and fought for their country in a segregated military that considered them unequal.

In one scene, a Tuskegee pilot goes into an officers' club in Italy. He is taunted and told "whites only." He starts a fight and ends up in a military jail, possibly facing court-martial.

His commanding officer, played by Terrence Howard, confronts the aviator whose anger threatened the mission: "What am I going to do with you? Everything's a fight, isn't it? It must be so goddamned exhausting being you. You know something ... ? You're a punk. You remind me of one of those kids from a comic strip. Walking around, pushing your sleeve up one arm, hand balled in a tight fist. Walking and looking at the world through a squint, always looking to knock something down just because it's standing.

"It's right there," says the CO, pointing his finger to the temple of his officer's head. "It's right there. You really want to knock something down? Try using that. Because I will tell you straight, I don't have anything against you. I have the highest expectations for you. Lieutenant ... I need everyone on this next mission, and you're lucky you're the best damn pilot we've got. Report to your unit."

Rep. Rangel wants anger for votes and power. In discussing the Trayvon Martin case, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, "Blacks are under attack." Under attack? By whom?

The "battle against racism" removes pressure from people to practice what works: personal responsibility, hard work, pursuing an education and a pledge to refrain from having children until capable of assuming the responsibility. Blacks are not helped by the angry, pessimistic rhetoric of those who claim to operate in their best interests. Getting ahead becomes elusive when others train you to think like a victim, that The Man holds you in a trap of weights and barriers.

Black actor Charles Dutton, playing a high school teacher in the movie "Menace II Society," gives to students this dismal "advice": "Being a black man in America isn't easy. The hunt is on, and you're the prey." Have a nice life, boys.

I was blessed with parents with no patience for those who felt sorry for themselves and who allowed others to make them feel inferior. In high school, my literature class read a poem that went something like this:

"While riding through old Baltimore, so small and full of glee,

"I saw a young Baltimorean keep a-lookin' straight at me.

"Now, he was young and very small, and I was not much bigger

"And so he smiled, but put out his tongue and called me 'nigger.'

"I saw the whole of Baltimore from May until September,

"Of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember."

The teacher angrily talked about the permanent damage done to this little boy's psyche. The permanent stain of racism. The denial of the little boy's dignity. The boy, said the teacher, will never be the same. By the time the bell sounded, everyone was angry.

I went home and read the poem to my mom as she prepared dinner. When I finished -- "of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember" -- she took a spoon out of a steaming pot, rapped it on the side, turned to me and said, "Too bad he let something that trivial spoil his vacation."

As Aristotle, in the "Nicomachean Ethics," wrote: "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- this is not easy."

Apparently, Aristotle wasn't a Democratic strategist.



George Lakoff is still going

I hadn't heard of him since I last debunked him some years back but he is still at the same old stall selling the same old secondhand ideas. He has issued a book called "The Little Blue Book: Quotations from Chairman Lakoff"

Lakoff's central "insight" is that you must use distorted Leftist language to have any hope of promoting Leftist ideas. But telling that to people who already call racism "affirmative action" and abortion "choice" must be one of the most unoriginal ideas ever proposed. George Orwell beat him to that idea by half a century.

I suppose that telling people that what they have always done is right might be encouraging to some but that is about all you can say for it. A few excerpts from a critical review of the book:

George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley — and highly regarded Democratic tactician — has just released his playbook for the 2012 election. Titled The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, it purports to be the ultimate insiders’ guide to liberal messaging and left-wing ideology.

But Lakoff is not just any intellectual celebrity: he is deemed one of the most important contemporary philosophers of progressive thought. You know how whenever Democrats lose an election, they invariably blame their “poor messaging” and never ever the content of their policies? Lakoff came up with that. Liberals find it very reassuring: We don’t need to rethink our ideas — we just need to express ourselves more clearly.

As a linguist, Lakoff focuses on the notions of “cognitive frames” and “conceptual metaphors,” which refer to the overarching filters through which each person perceives the world. This academic field in and of itself is politically neutral. But on the other hand, Lakoff is also a hardcore leftist, so he decided long ago to overtly combine his academic interest with his personal politics, to use the study of cognitive frames to promote leftist ideology. This is what makes him such a hero to liberals. The Little Blue Book is Lakoff’s attempt to transform his high-minded theories into nuts-and-bolts instructions for how all Democrats — from the White House to the drum circle and everything in between — should speak to conservatives, undecideds and the media....

And yet his new Little Blue Book is supposed to be an instruction manual on how to convert wavering conservatives and undecideds to the liberal worldview — even though insults and mockery are an integral component of that worldview. To summarize Lakoff’s presentation in one sentence, he essentially says, “Hey, you ignorant yet diabolical rubes, shut the hell up and submit to an incessant barrage of our vacuous euphemistic leftist slogans, because you’re too stupid and evil for an honest debate.”

The eternally vexatious problem which drives Lakoff to distraction and which inspired him to write (along with one of his researchers) The Little Blue Book is that despite their psychological pathologies and awful moral structure, conservatives somehow still manage to occasionally win elections. Lakoff has come to the conclusion that this is due not to the superiority of conservative philosophy, but to superiority in conservative messaging.

I’ve designed a little chart to clearly illustrate what I call Lakoff’s Paradox: Why is it that conservatives still manage to sometimes win public opinion and elections despite being so vastly inferior? Behold:

Everything is going liberals’ way until that last step, where they fumble the ball at the goal line: messaging. Conservatives on the other hand are a miserable lot, but somehow manage to uncork a convincing moral frame to hide their distasteful politics. The Little Blue Book really would have benefitted from having such an illustration; but better late than never.

For example, right in the introduction he puts on his scientist hat and gives us a neutral and dispassionate summary of the liberal and conservative political visions, which he will refer back to repeatedly throughout the book. But the language he chooses to use reveals all: the definition of liberalism contains words like “caring,” “decent,” “moral” and “fair,” while the definition of conservatism contains phrases like “self-interest,” “no commitment,” “corporate interests,” and “sink or swim.”

Every page, every paragraph, every sentence in the entire book could be unpacked in a similar way, an unending pastiche of partisan linguistic bias masquerading as scientific or impartial verities.

Lakoff is also the reason why liberals and conservatives never seem to be able to communicate with each other. This frustrating problem is no accident, nor a natural result of differing ideologies simply not seeing eye to eye. Rather, it’s a conscious behavior explicitly recommended by Lakoff over the years, and one which he hammers home repeatedly in The Little Blue Book. Page 43 contains the book’s core message:

“Never use your opponent’s language….Never repeat ideas that you don’t believe in, even if you are arguing against them.”

So central is this notion to Lakoff’s thesis that his publicist sent out a list of “The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know” with each review copy, and guess what comes in at #1:

“Don’t repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them.”

And many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoff’s recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals can’t seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative “moral frames,” every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.

Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions — it simply ignores them.

A prime example of Lakoff’s ruinous recommendations can be seen in the debate over abortion, which never seems to get resolved despite a trillion words being expended on it every day. The “conservative frame,” to use Lakoff’s language, is that a fetus is a human being who has not yet been born; thus to “abort” the fetus is to kill it, which means a human being has been killed, which is tantamount to murder. In response to this frame, Lakoff recommends — a recommendation that liberals dutifully follow — that those on the left completely ignore the conservative argument, and instead “reframe” the issue with metaphors like “freedom of choice” and “women’s independence” and “reproductive rights.” All those positive words — “freedom,” “independence,” “rights” — recast the entire debate in a different light, allowing liberals to “win” the debate by not acknowledging that the opposing side has even made a statement.

And this is Lakoff’s fundamental flaw, which unfortunately exactly coincides with his fundamental thesis (in other words, his thesis doesn’t have an error — it is an error). By intentionally refusing to challenge, disprove, understand or even acknowledge the existence of the other side’s argument, you allow that argument to grow in strength and win converts.

This would not be true if the other side’s argument were inherently weak or fallacious, which I assume is at the root of Lakoff’s blunder; he must assume that conservatives don’t have valid arguments or positions, but rather nothing more than sneakily effective ways of misrepresenting erroneous or ridiculous beliefs. In Lakoff’s universe, you can extinguish such beliefs by ignoring them completely, thus depriving them of oxygen.

While Lakoff’s foolish insistence that liberals never repeat conservative frames means that conservative notions never get directly rebutted, this insistence backfires in other ways as well. Why? Because conservatives take the diametrically opposite strategy: They seize on every utterance that liberals make, and repeat their “frames” as loudly as possible to demonstrate how deceptive they are. So while liberals studiously avoid analyzing anything conservatives say, conservatives meanwhile are avidly dissecting every single thing liberals say. The end result is that conservatives, to their own satisfaction as least, successfully challenge and de-fang every liberal notion; but liberals never challenge or de-fang conservative notions, instead seeking to snuff them out with a lethal dose of Silent Treatment.

But it gets worse, because it is the very euphemisms and other ludicrous “conceptual metaphors” recommended by Lakoff which give conservatives so much grist for their mill. Every time a liberal talking head gets up and uncorks another howler in the Lakoff style, conservative fiskers and deconstructionists latch on and tear it to pieces, trumpeting it as further evidence of liberals’ cluelessness or mendacity. So not only does Lakoff recommend holding fire against conservative frames, the ammunition he saves only ends up being used against the liberals themselves.

And this man is considered their master strategist?

More HERE.

Lakoff's book does have some vague claims to academic respectability so my dissection of his ideas does include a presentation of the academic evidence relevant to his theories



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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SCOTUS ruling gives the States the power to block Obamacare

And the costs of compliance with Obamacare give them a big incentive to do so

If the new health care law wasn't enough of a mess before last week's Supreme Court decision, that ruling actually added another layer of cost, complexity and political contentiousness to the bill.

By striking down part of the law that required states to expand their Medicaid programs, the court tossed a very hot potato into the laps of state lawmakers everywhere.

ObamaCare required states to increase eligibility for Medicaid to 133 percent of the poverty line, or roughly $30,000 per year for a family of four. The expansion would also make childless single men (a notoriously high-cost group) eligible for Medicaid for the first time. In all, about 40 percent of all the people projected to gain coverage under ObamaCare would do so via Medicaid.

But this imposed real costs on states. For example, the Medicaid expansion would cost New Jersey taxpayers roughly $35 billion over 10 years, and New Yorkers as much as $52 billion.

Not surprisingly, many states balked — and now the high court has agreed: Congress can't strip all Medicaid funds from states that refuse the expansion, as the ObamaCare law threatened.

So what will state legislators do now? If they agree to expand their Medicaid programs anyway, they'll be choosing to pile new costs on their state budgets and new taxes on their constituents.

And if a state doesn't expand its Medicaid program, most of those who would've been eligible for Medicaid will now become eligible for subsidies through ObamaCare's health-insurance exchanges. And those subsidies are paid in full by the feds. Thus, New York, for example, would shift most of that $52 billion in new costs back to the federal government.

Of course, if states do shift those costs back to the feds, that will cause the federal cost of ObamaCare to skyrocket. If every state were to refuse to expand its Medicaid program, the feds would save roughly $130 billion in their share of Medicaid costs in 2014, but would have to pay $230 billion more in new exchange-based subsidies — for a net added cost of $100 billion. And that's just for the first year.

Remember, this is a law that already will cost as much as $2.7 trillion from 2014 to 2024, and will add more than $823 billion to the federal deficit — estimates that assumed state taxpayers would be picking up some Medicaid costs. How will Congress react if billions or perhaps trillions of dollars in new costs are added to the federal budget?

Here's another complicating factor: Most states have not yet set up an exchange. Many, especially ones with Republican governors or legislatures, may refuse altogether. By most estimates, as few as 15 states are likely to have exchanges in operation by the 2014 deadline.

ObamaCare gives the feds the authority to step in, setting up and operating an exchange in any state that doesn't set up its own — but there is reason to doubt that they have resources to do so in so many states.

Anyway, federal subsidies are available only through exchanges that the states set up. The feds can't offer subsidies through a federally run exchange.

Thus, if states neither expanded Medicaid nor set up exchanges, that would effectively block most of ObamaCare's new entitlement spending.

One last wrinkle: It is those subsidies that trigger the penalty under ObamaCare for employers who fail to provide workers with insurance. So states that don't set up exchanges could also escape the "employer mandate."

That is, ObamaCare requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance or pay a, tax. But that tax only kicks in if at least one employee qualifies for subsidies under the exchange. Since subsidies can only be provided via a state-authorized exchange, a state that refuses to set one up could end up blocking the employer mandate altogether. At the very least, expect some employers to sue on this point, leading to yet another Supreme Court challenge.

And if, as expected, ObamaCare drives up the cost of insurance, many employers could end up dropping their current health insurance. So the end result of all this could be even more uninsured than before the law passed.

In short, the Supreme Court's ruling not only guaranteed that ObamaCare will be an issue in this fall's federal elections; it dumped a mess in the laps of governors and state legislators, too.



More conservative activism needed

Don't just grumble, get involved. Conservatives need to match the Greens. The alternative is to get steamrollered by the Greens

“The problem is,” a utility company executive told me, “that there is no one at the table who cares about the ratepayers. There is no one who cares about low-cost energy. Everyone is too concerned about looking PC instead of standing up for the consumer.” We were discussing the “stay” announced last week by the EPA that allows the state of New Mexico more time to find an alternative solution toward meeting the visibility requirements spelled out in the Clean Air Act.

New Mexico has been battling with the EPA over its insistence that the state use selective catalytic reduction technology (CRT) at the San Juan Generating Station, the 1,800-megawatt coal-fueled power plant that is New Mexico’s single largest source of electricity. It also provides power to customers in California, Arizona, and Utah. The state has been arguing for a different plan that would cost less but produce similar results. Bids received for the CRT installation are more than double the EPA’s estimate.

As has been happening across the country, the high cost of the EPA’s mandates, will likely shut down the two older units at New Mexico’s San Juan Generating Station. The Public Regulatory Commission will have to allow the utility company to increase rates to cover the lost depreciation of the units—not to mention the loss of the electricity production.

As the millions of people in the Washington DC area who lived without power for days found, living without electricity is “awful.” In his well-worth reading narrative of life without electricity, When the Moore Family Lost Power, Stephen Moore states: “It was awful, but educational. If anything good has come out of this debacle, it is that our household has a new appreciation for how important it is that everyone have access to affordable and reliable sources of energy.”

Environmental groups have complained that they do not have a seat at the table. Jeremy Nichols of the group WildEarth Guardians, stated: “they've got to realize they need to work with us or else it's not going to get any easier for them.”

As the utility executive explained, the ratepayers' needs are not being considered. The meetings will likely take place in some “smoky room” where a deal will be hashed out with no one challenging the premise most of these so-called emission reductions are based on: climate change is a man-made crisis caused by humans burning hydrocarbons.

“Who,” I asked, “should be standing up for the ratepayer?” “The Attorney General,” he told me.

While our meeting started out with complaints about the process, I saw the 90-day stay as a positive. It buys us time—though a 120-day stay would have been better. One hundred-twenty days would put us past the election—though not past a potential lame-duck period.

Actions like the EPA’s insistence that power providers use excessively expensive equipment for miniscule reductions (think of the law of diminishing returns) in pollutants or “haze”—which ultimately shuts down power plants and reduces our access to abundant and affordable electricity—emphasizes the importance of electing a new President come November 6.

With the stay, we may be able to put off finalizing the rules until we have a new President and a new EPA Administrator. If an agreement is reached and finalized within the 90-day time frame, it will be harder to reverse. But if a decision is not made, and another stay is granted, it could be a win. We could have a re-think and sanity could return to electricity costs and pricing.

But winning will take citizen engagement on several fronts. If we sit back and watch, we’ll deserve what we get—which could include outrageously high energy prices.

First, in New Mexico, and other states facing similar circumstances, we need to pummel the Attorney General with phone calls, emails, and letters telling him (or her) to represent us, the ratepayers. He needs to fight for abundant and affordable electricity rather than acquiesce to the politically correct notion that CO2 emissions are ruining the planet. Sadly, in New Mexico, it is not likely that the AG will stand up for us. His website is:

Second, we all need to vote. Mitt Romney may not be our first choice, but he is a choice. Sitting the election out will give us four more years of punitive energy regulation—on steroids.

Lastly, assuming we get a change on November 6, we cannot breathe a sigh of relief, sit back, and relax. We must stay engaged. The era of spectator citizenship is over. We, the people, will need to stay on top of the Romney Administration to insist that he appoint people to positions, such as the Secretary of Energy and the EPA Administrator, who understand the important role energy plays in America. Stephen Moore called it “the central nervous system of our modern economy and our 21st-century lifestyles.”

I am optimistic because I have seen citizen engagement work.

We had a victory in New Mexico with the sand dune lizard. I believe it was citizen engagement that kept it from being listed as an endangered species—which could have severely crippled the economy in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas and reduced oil and gas development throughout the region that produces 20% of the domestic supply.

Like the utility company executive didn’t see the “stay” as a win, not all the oil and gas stakeholders saw the sand dune lizard decision as a win.

Back in December of 2011, the sand dune lizard decision was delayed for six months. Many industry executives would have liked to have had the decision made, not delayed, so they could move on to the next step: court. At the time, I wrote that the “delay” option was a good thing, as it allowed for more public engagement, and it put the decision just months away from the presidential election. I posited that I didn’t think the Obama Administration would want to make a decision that would hurt such a large portion of the state’s economy months before the election in a swing state.

There was more public engagement and last month the decision was handed down. The lizard was not listed.

One of the reasons the lizard was not listed was because of the Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCA), in which many in the industry have engaged. Some complain that the CCAs are really extortion, and they are. The CCA requires companies that want to drill in the lizard’s habitat to pay money to an organization for habitat restoration—but they can still operate (albeit at a higher cost, which results in higher prices to the consumers).

However, as the environmental groups have complained, the CCAs are nonbinding. With a new administration and new leadership in the agencies, the CCAs could be abandoned much more easily than the lizard could be de-listed. Again, citizens will need to be engaged to keep pressure on a President-elect Romney to appoint appropriate agency leadership.

The “stay” over the regional haze regulations in New Mexico can be a win. The “delay” over the sand dune lizard was a win.

Likewise, the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare law could be a win—but we have to embrace it and get engaged. Agree or disagree with the decision, it is the decision; it is what we have to work with. The campaign cash that flowed in following the announcement ($4.6 million to the Romney campaign from 47,000 donors in less than a day) shows that, perhaps, the Chief Justice has done us a favor. In opining, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” he has reminded all of us of the importance of our vote.

Whom we elect has far broader implications than just who occupies the White House. The President appoints people to leadership positions and they pick the people who implement the rules and regulations—like Al Armendariz. We often call these people “unelected bureaucrats,” when in fact, they are there as a result of our vote.

We have 16 weeks to save America. Are you engaged? Are you talking to your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers about the importance of this election? Polls following the SCOTUS decision show that nearly half of the public didn’t even know that a decision had been made or what it was. For us, that translates to an understanding that a large percentage of the population—including nearly half of your friends and family—isn’t paying attention to the news. They need us to talk to them.

Each week as you read my column, you should be outraged. I aim to expose under-covered issues that point out the danger of this administration’s energy policy. In doing so, I’m giving you fresh talking points so you can engage in the process. I also hope to encourage you to keep at it; to not give up. As citizens of the United States of America, we can no longer be spectators. We must get engaged.



Big Government Cripples Incentives to Save, Promotes Risky Culture of Immediate Gratification

Daniel J. Mitchell

America’s political elite is nauseating for many reasons, but perhaps most of all when they blame others for problems that are caused by misguided government policies. A stark example is the way they attacked the Facebook billionaire who moved to Singapore because of punitive taxation and class-warfare policy.

Today, let’s look at an example that affects almost everybody rather than just a handful of rich people. Many people in Washington sanctimoniously say that American households and businesses are too focused on the short term and that we don’t save enough.

But as I explain in this CBNC interview, tax and spending policies from Washington have undermined the incentive to save.




Episcopalians show their continuing contempt for the Bible: "The U.S. Episcopal Church's House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church. The House of Bishops voted at the church's General Convention to include "gender identity and expression" in its "non-discrimination canons," meaning sexual orientation, including that of people who have undergone sex-change operations, cannot be used to exclude candidates to ministry. The move comes nine years after the Episcopal Church, an independent U.S.-based church affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion, approved its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, sparking an exodus of conservative parishes.

Hope'n'Change: More People Went on Disability than Found Jobs in June: "It would have been easy for President Obama to miss the finer points of yesterday's jobs report, given that he only spent 26 seconds speaking about it in Ohio. But do these numbers look like "a step in the right direction" to you? The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration. The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama's recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits. In other words, the number of new disability enrollees has climbed 19% faster than the number of jobs created"

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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, July 09, 2012

If NYT editorial writers leaned any further Left they would fall over

The New York Times’ editorial writers — who reflect the opinions of the newspaper’s publisher and principal owner, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who hires and fires them — have their knickers in a knot over Sheldon Adelson. What has the Las Vegas hotel-and-casino tycoon done? The Times asserts that he is spending his money “to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.”

Readers of the Times are expected to take it on faith that Mr. Sulzberger, who came by his status through inheritance, accurately perceives the nation’s needs, and that Mr. Adelson, who over the course of his 77 years rose from dire poverty to fabulous wealth by building businesses, has not a clue.

Full disclosure No. 1: I spent some of the best years of my life working for the Times , as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor. Then, as now, some of the world’s finest journalists were employed by the Grey Lady. One thing they have had in common: They do not draw conclusions and level charges except on the basis of solid evidence. By contrast, the Times’ editorial writers no longer burden themselves with serious argumentation. They assert, they preach, they allege. I have heard Times reporters grumble about this — though not on the record.

Full disclosure No. 2: I know Mr. Adelson and, on occasion, he’s donated funds to the non-partisan, non-profit organization I head to support work on national-security issues he views as critically important. But not for that reason do I defend his constitutional right to spend as much of his money as he likes to persuade his fellow Americans that his agenda is preferable to that favored by the Times . I would just as vehemently defend the free-speech rights of George Soros, another multibillionaire who spends lavishly to promote his agenda — an agenda with which the Times largely agrees and I do not. The Times has never criticized Mr. Soros as they have Mr. Adelson. In other words: I am championing a principle without exception; the Times — not so much.

The Times promotes its policy preferences — again, we’re really talking about Mr. Sulzberger’s policy preferences — every day, using ink it buys by the barrel. The Times sees that as part of its mission, correctly. But private citizens are entitled to the same free-speech rights as the media — unless, of course, one embraces as a serious principle what I’ve always assumed the great journalist A. J. Liebling intended as a quip: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” It should not go unobserved that the Times rarely allows opposing views to be aired on its op-ed pages.

Much of the money that Mr. Adelson, Mr. Soros, and others give to political candidates is spent on communications — ads in newspapers (including the Times) and on television and radio. The ads run by the politicians Mr. Adelson is likely to support often rebut the opinions articulated by the Times and other mainstream media, as well as the “public media,” which are subsidized with taxpayer dollars.

Mr. Adelson recently spent more than $20 million to support the presidential candidacy of Newt Gingrich. The Times calls that an attempt to “buy influence” but, more objectively, it was an attempt to persuade voters and, in my view, a net contribution to the national policy debate. Now Mr. Adelson is supporting Mitt Romney. That support, the Times fears, could help push the Republican candidate “over the top in a close race like this year’s.” The Times sees that as unfair. What the Times views as fairer: The Times supporting President Obama and pushing him over the top in a close race like this year’s.

The Times mentions only one substantive issue motivating Mr. Adelson: He is writing “huge checks” because, the Times alleges, of his “disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, supported by President Obama and most Israelis.” What is the basis for the Times’ use of a loaded word such as “disgust”? Readers are not told. The Times adds only that Mr. Adelson “considers a Palestinian state a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Why in the world might Mr. Adelson think that? Well, there is the fact that Hamas, which rules Gaza, has repeatedly proclaimed that there can be “no solution” to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict “except through jihad,” a religious war through which “Islam will obliterate [Israel] just as it obliterated others before it.”

There is the fact that Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, has banned “all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians” because such dialogue promotes “the culture of peace” and is designed to “normalize” relations between Israelis and Palestinians. There is the fact that Palestinian Authority official Adli Sadeq has written in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida , that Israelis “fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist.”

If Times editorial writers have contradictory evidence, reasons to believe that Hamas and Fatah do not see a Palestinian state as “a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” it would be useful for them to present it.

The Times goes on to charge that Mr. Adelson’s “overriding interest is his own wallet. He rails against the president’s ‘socialist-style economy’ and redistribution of wealth, but what he really fears is Mr. Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on companies like his that make a huge amount of money overseas.” Think about this for a minute: A man well into his eighth decade worth billions of dollars “fears” a tax increase?

The Times neglects to inform readers that Mr. Adelson does not give away money only to participate in political debates. He also has donated huge amounts for medical research, education, and other philanthropic pursuits. If his “overriding interest” were his wallet, would he do that?

The Times concludes by lamenting that we live in a time when “there are no legal or moral limits” preventing Mr. Adelson from helping “to elect Republicans who promise to keep his billions intact.” Under the moral and legal regime the Times would prefer, newspaper owners, “progressive” politicians, and government bureaucrats would decide how to spend Mr. Adelson’s money — and he would shut the hell up. I leave it for you to ponder whether that agenda would be in line with “the nation’s needs.”



For the Thirtieth Time, the Obama Administration Admonishes Voters Not to Read Too Much into One Month’s Jobs Numbers

Says "The People's Cube"

May 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

April 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

March 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

February 2012:“Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”

January 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”
December 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

November 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

October 2011: “The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

September 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

August 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

July 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

June 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

May 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

April 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

March 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

February 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

January 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

December 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

November 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

October 2010:“Given the volatility in monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

September 2010: “Given the volatility in the monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

July 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.”

August 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

June 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

May 2010:“As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

April 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

March 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

January 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

November 2009: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”



Making Government (Less Dis)Honest

Obamacare is a tax. It’s not a tax. Politicians and pundits are all over the map on this. A tax, a mandate, a ham sandwich…the answer depends on who you ask. But none of this matters because, whatever else it is, it’s currently the law of the land. But how did this happen?

During the debate over Obamacare, Democrats not only stampeded toward any camera they could find to say it wasn’t a tax, they spewed hundreds, if not thousands, of other lies about what it is and is not.

“It will lower premiums.”

“If you like your current plan you can keep it.”

“No one making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase at all.”

These are just a few of liberals’ greatest hits that still echo off the inside of the Capitol Dome. They are still lies. The people who said them still know they were lies from the start and they continue to repeat those lies today.

That Congress lies surprises no one. That we have tolerated this for so long does surprise.

But what can we do? Vote them out? The worst of the worst – Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Charlie Rangel and Chris Van Hollen – run no risk of losing, thanks to gerrymandering. It’s time for a new idea.

Congress lives by its own set of rules and routinely exempts itself from the laws it passes. It does insist members be somewhat polite to one another or face toothless disciplinary action. Beyond that, there is no consequence for spreading provable lies in hearings, floor speeches or anywhere else.

We’re not talking about being incorrect here. When Democrats wailed “Bush lied, people died,” that was him being incorrect based upon faulty intelligence delivered from people whose job it is to know.

We’re talking about lies here. Provably false statements designed to misdirect and mislead the public. Democrats have made any number of such statements in the Fast and Furious hearings. They knew these statements were false, and they made them anyway to deflect and divert a legitimate investigation into the murder of hundreds as a direct result of government incompetence.

As a direct consequence of their lies, they will face…nothing.

Why not change that?

There are a few honest Members of Congress of both parties. Why not start a push to make everything in the Congressional record under oath? I’m not saying we should prosecute every “misspeak” for perjury and jail time. They’d never vote for that. But a “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” policy – enter three outright, provable lies into the Congressional record, on the floor of the House or Senate, in a hearing or in official correspondences, and you’re expelled from Congress for life.

To give it even more teeth, ban those expelled from ever lobbying.

Overnight, Congress would change from the cesspool of partisanship and lies it is today into a bastion of honesty unseen since a group of 5-year olds were asked what they thought of peas.

Sure, there would be turmoil and protests over matters such as the meaning of “is.” But we’d know who ordered Fast and Furious because Democrats wouldn’t be able to hide behind their lies. We’d know when the legislation they propose imposes massive tax hikes because they’d have to tell us. We’d know when either side was using accounting gimmicks that double-count Medicare money to cook the books in whichever direction they need at the time.

It’s like a lot of things in Washington – it’ll never happen because it makes too much sense. It’s as likely to pass as term-limits because, like term limits, it requires Congress to vote to limit its own power. And, as we’ve seen recently, that’s something Congress just can’t seem to do. But we can dream…



The Current Cowardly Church Needs a Mega Dose of the Rebel Spirit

By (Pastor) Doug Giles of Clash Church

Unlike America’s original rebel Christians who dumped the Brits’ taxed tea into Boston Harbor and told King George that he could kiss their King George, today’s evangelicals, I believe—especially the dandy ministers who love to be loved—would have folded like one-ply toilet paper before British oppression. We’re a timid tufted titmouse compared to our rowdy founding forefathers.

Here are four reasons why I believe today’s evangelicals would have melted like little bon-bons during the American Revolution:

1. Some dainty saints of today think rebellion against tyrants is disobedience to God, when the converse is actually true. Yep, these stooges of the machine believe that Yahweh wants Christians to be the corralled cattle of corrupt politicians and policies. Indeed, a lot of pop evangelicals have become nicer than God. Our current craven “faithful” think it’s sinful to say bad stuff about bad elected leadership. Many somehow think it’s righteous to go in an unrighteous national direction. And we’ve got stacks of do-gooders who are turning the other cheek to political abuse and generational theft so fast that they make Shakira look arthritic.

2. A lot of evangelicals would rather live as government slaves than live and die as free men. Some do it out of sinful slothfulness, completely passive and thus complicit in the face of evil. Others do so because they actually think Christ was a Communist and that government theft and wealth redistribution somehow fulfill the Sermon on the Mount. D’oh.

3. Others, especially in the ministry, won’t say squat about our political squalor because it’ll offend the emotional members of their congregation and thereby jack with their weekly offerings, which, in turn, will cause them to lose their vacation home in Naples where they’re currently banging their mistress. Here we are during one of the most crucial elections of our lifetime, and ministers don’t (or won’t) address these issues or show up at protests. Wow. Good luck at the judgment seat. I’ve been to many, many Tea Parties up and down the east coast of Florida and have only run into a handful of ministers. Where are you, ladies? Your absence and silence during America’s demise is more obvious than Pam Anderson’s recent enhancement. Hello, Judas.

4. Another thing that irks me is this end-of-the-world Rapture mentality that, supposedly, all of this bad stuff we’re currently fielding as a nation is God’s plan for the ages and that there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m sure glad our predecessors didn’t look at the gargantuan junk they were facing during times of oppression and upheaval and say, “Oh, well. The Rapture must be right around the corner.” No, what they did was think, work, pray and fight. And guess what, end-of-the-world Christian? They yielded up this grand experiment in self-governance, that’s what.

The Church needs the biblical rebel spirit of our founders injected back into the evangelical mix instead of this squishy, pusillanimous, ignoble and compliant crapola that’s currently cranking through our indolent pulpits and pews. God help the Church to lose its cowardly, effeminate bent in these critical days. Amen.




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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)