Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Progressive" by name and "progressive" by nature

I have just seen the recent appalling story about the firm Progressive Insurance, the insurance company from hell. They spent much more on dodging a claim they were due to pay than it would have cost them to pay the claim in the first place. Lawyers don't come cheap. Their customer had to go to court to collect what was due and the court verdict was eventually in favor of the customer anyway. So now Progressive have legal costs to pay as well as the customer's original entitlement. What a way to run a business! What a way to chase away prospective customers! What use is an insurance company that runs away just when you need them?

Interestingly, their name seems to be the only thing about them that is straight up. They ARE political Progressives (Leftists) and do donate to Leftist causes and organizationa.

So their actions exhibit the complete lack of ethical anchors that we expect from Leftists: The people who tell us, "There is no such thing as right and wrong". Doing their best to dodge a payout is obviously not wrong to them. And they are such moral defectives that they cannot even see that their actions are unwise. They are moral imbeciles.

Where I live we have a large insurance company (Suncorp) that prides itsef on making payouts without quibbling. And they do, resulting in their having about two thirds of the State's housing insurance business. As the early Protestants saw, good ethics are in fact good business.

Anybody insured with Progressive, however, should in my view go elsewhere at the earliest opportunity.

UPDATE: The company has now paid the original claim of about $70,000 but we also read: "the payment is separate from the judgment rendered by a jury in Baltimore Circuit Court last week awarding the Fishers $760,000". That should give them a well-deserved pain in the pocket. They are probably unwise enough to appeal it, though.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A wicked proposition

I have been thinking about this for some time but have not mentioned it before because almost any mention of race and ethnicity is prone to being misunderstood, if not actively demonized. Yet what I want to say is, I think, commonsense and is certainly well-meant. Yes. I know about the road to hell.

What have Indians, Chinese and Jews got in common? High IQs maybe but there is something more important that a knowledge of history would tell you: All three have been heavily persecuted in lands where they have been minorities -- the Chinese in S.E. Asia, the Indians in East Africa and the Jews we all know about.

Sadly, I have to say that I think that is human nature. We can struggle against it and we might even change the minds of educated people but I think the average Joe in any society does not like to think that his society is run by those he perceives as aliens. That doesn't mean I condone what Indonesia did to the Chinese or Uganda did to the Indians any more than I condone what Hitler did. But do note that the Jews in prewar Germany occupied a space in Germany not dissimilar to the space that Jews occupy in America today: At the top of most heaps.

Jews in America today seem perfectly safe but Jews in Germany once seemed that way too. The Prussian parliament announced the emancipation of the Jews as early as 1812 and Frederick the Great welcomed them when just about no-one else would. As a result the German Jews of the 1930s were the most assimilated Jews in the world. It did them no good.

Why did it do them no good? It did them no good because Hitler tapped into precisely the sentiment I mentioned: resentment of dominance by an ethnically distinctive elite. Hitler waxed eloquent about Jewish dominance of banking, commerce, science and industry and there were plenty of examples for him to point at. And there was little objection to that among non-Jewish Germans.

So what should Jews learn from that? I think that they should learn that they are not as safe as they think. The antisemitic comments I get on my blogs (DESPITE the Israeli flag I have flying on them all) are both frequent and virulent and the antisemitic cadre formed by Muslim-Americans is well known.

And the ever-encroaching socialism promoted by the Democrats has already long ago halted any growth in the average incomes of Americans -- despite great technological and scientific improvements. And the Obama-induced Great Recession seems finally to have put America into economic reverse-gear. Even a Romney/Ryan victory would seem to have only a slim chance of reversing the huge debt overhang that Obama has bequeathed to America -- so an outright economic collapse via Weimar-style inflation seems all too possible. And amid an economic collapse the people at the head of most parts of "the system" could be very exposed. Politicians will certainly prioritize saving their own skins above all else and pointing the finger at people other than themselves is totally predictable.

Let us suppose (for instance) that Romney/Ryan is defeated this year and an (overdue) inflationary thunderclap befalls America shortly thereafter. What is Obama going to say as the 2014 mid-terms approach? The dislike of Jews among African-Americans is well-known and Obama is an African-American politician who has no problem with race-hate (embodied in his pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright). And even among white Democrats there is a barely-suppressed stream of antisemitism that occasionally breaks the surface. So if Obama pointed to Jewish bankers as the culprit for America's woes he would have almost every prominent African-American and Muslim-American on his side immediately. And the media will swallow anything that Obama says. And it's all downhill along a well-trodden path from there.

Republicans might object (as some did in response to FDR's imprisonment of Japanese Americans in WWII) but the well-oiled and media-enabled Leftist abuse machine would soon drown that out.

Are there any steps that Jews can take right now that will help them in the future? I think there is one. I will be blunt about it: Jews occupying prominent positions in American life should make aliyah. Israel needs their money and talents and they need Israel.

Ryan has shaken up the race (1)

I admire a man who makes his own sausages, especially if he has hunted the meat himself and used a bow and arrow. No time to be squeamish. Most of us eat meat while pretending it comes from some cartoon version of the food chain. I hate hunting but this man understands where protein really comes from.

Such a man is Paul Ryan, who has managed to do something that very few of the 435 voting members of the US House of Representatives have ever been able to do - become a national figure while still serving in the House. He is about to become the Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States.

During the past three years, two members of the House, a Democrat and a Republican, raised themselves above the ruck of members of Congress to become national figures. One was Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York City. The other was Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. Both became fixtures on Fox News Channel, for very different reasons.

Fox loved Weiner because he was shrill, opinionated, combative, mega-Jewish and mega-liberal. For the cunning Fox he was the ideal personification of the Democrats, an abrasive, divisive, big-spending eastern liberal elitist. They let him talk and talk. Weiner never got it. Such was his ego that this Weiner was cooked last year.

He was caught texting suggestive remarks and bare-chested images of himself to a woman, denied doing so, blustered and lied, then another woman came forward with more texts and photos. The media circled, Weiner broke down on television, admitted to sending sexts to six young women. He is married. He resigned.

The Fox News love of Paul Ryan was entirely different. It was the real thing. Ryan was everything Weiner was not: measured, personable, conservative, against big government, Catholic and mid-western. He was young - he's now 42, but had been elected to Congress at age 28.

Given Fox's role as the chief cheerleader of the Republican party, the network's platform for Ryan was potent among Republicans. So was Ryan's personality and energy. He was promoted through the ranks to become the senior Republican on the influential House Budget Committee, then became the committee's chairman when the Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 mid-term elections.

From this powerful position, with research staff and resources, he developed policies for structural change, notably welfare and tax reform, including privatising large portions of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Broadly, he proposes a form of personal superannuation accounts to replace government welfare bureaucracies. He also sought to curb America's accumulation of debt and government spending.

When the Republican field for the presidency emerged last year, it seemed to me that the most impressive leader in the party was not in the race. From afar, Ryan had more substance than the presidential aspirants. The winner, Mitt Romney, seemed wooden by comparison, with second-hand policies. But Ryan was young, a mere Congressman, and had devoted his energies to building a policy agenda rather than a national campaign operation.

All this changed on Sunday when Romney galvanised the presidential race by choosing Ryan as his running mate. The contrast between the number two men on the tickets will be extreme. Vice-President Joe Biden, the ultimate safe choice four years ago, is a weathered Washington insider with a modest resume, leaden delivery, and turns 70 in November.

Biden's views on policy will be irrelevant while Ryan's keystone document, The Path to Prosperity, is the proposed Republican budget for the fiscal year 2013. Its detailed proposals will become central to the debate.

President Obama came to the White House in 2008 with a meagre legislative record and inherited the whirlwind of a global economic financial meltdown and President George Bush's misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will run against Romney's wealth and portray Ryan as an ideologue who will slash the nation's safety net.

It will be class war, tooth and claw, veiled by Obama's charisma.

Never underestimate the capacity of an electorate to sense what is false and what is true about politicians. Authenticity is the electric currency in politics. Ryan has it. The American public, queasy about the nation's growing debt mountain and stubbornly high unemployment rate, may be receptive to daring alternatives to printing money and government debt.

Romney, in his choice of Ryan, has made a lacklustre 2012 presidential campaign exciting.



Ryan has shaken up the race (2)

He catches catfish in his bare hands, hunts deer with a bow and turns them into homemade sausages, and boasts that his ruthless workout programme has left him with just 6 per cent body fat. Little wonder that, after the phrase ‘vice-president’, the most popular word added to Google searches for ‘Paul Ryan’ is ‘shirtless’.

His brain packs a punch, too: a budgetary whizzkid, Ryan has galvanised the American Right with bold ideas that may yet save the U.S. from hurtling off the fiscal cliff.

Now he’s stepping into shoes last occupied by Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential nominee. In doing so, he has electrified the race to the White House, which up to this point had threatened to be a tediously negative slugging match between an ineffectual President and his robotic challenger Mitt Romney.

Suddenly, everything has changed. In the four days since Romney catapulted Paul Ryan, a 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman, into the limelight by naming him as his running mate, Americans have been gushing over Ryan’s toned 6ft 2in physique and manly leisure pursuits.

He’s certainly a bold choice, but unlike the last maverick Republican ‘VP’ nominee — Sarah Palin — Ryan could never be faulted for not knowing his brief. While most American politicians love to gloss over the policy details, the determinedly Right-wing Ryan delights in spelling out exactly what he wants to do.

Leaving aside his plans for government (basically, squeeze hard and keep squeezing until the massive budget deficit is eradicated), Ryan isn’t afraid to lecture other countries, either. Just days after billions watched the London Olympics opening ceremony tribute to the NHS, he attacked the British health service for making patients too dependent on government help.

Ryan remains a pin-up and seer of the Tea Party movement, that populist groundswell of American anger against big government spending. It’s not hard to see why the Tea Partiers love him. His life story lives and breathes old American values of hard work and self-sufficiency.

A devout Roman Catholic and pro-lifer, he had a down-to-earth Midwestern background in the working-class Wisconsin town of Janesville, where he still lives with his lawyer wife Janna and three young children, Liza, Charlie and Sam.

He saved up by working at McDonald’s to pay for his university education in Ohio, where he developed his hard-Right views on economics, and became a devotee of libertarian writer and thinker Ayn Rand.

Through influential books such as her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, Rand — who died in 1982 — espoused a laissez-faire creed she called Objectivism which held that the moral purpose of life is to pursue one’s own happiness, and that government interference should be kept to an absolute minimum.

He became the top Republican on the House budget committee in 2006, impressing colleagues with his effortless grasp of fiscal detail. But it wasn’t until January 2010 that he made headlines when he unveiled an ambitious U.S. budget plan he called Roadmap For America’s Future.

Hugely controversial, it is a grand plan to balance the U.S. budget — mission impossible as far as most of Washington is concerned — by 2040. It involves slashing spending on food subsidies for the poor, and limiting Medicare health provision for older people, as well as cutting tax rates for the wealthy — to encourage wealth creation.

Drastic problems call for drastic solutions, and even some liberals privately admire the fact that Ryan is at least trying.

But he’s no ranting prophet of doom. In Washington, he has a reputation as affable, polite and charming — a man who loves to debate policy with his opponents without slinging insults (a rarity in U.S. politics nowadays). He prefers to direct his aggressive instincts instead towards the wildlife population.

An inveterate hunter and fisherman — he proposed to his wife at one of his favourite fishing spots — Ryan fills his Facebook page with pictures of him posing with dead deer and turkeys, all killed by him, sometimes with a rifle and sometimes with a bow.

He’s also an avid catfish ‘noodler’, a technique that calls for consummate patience and speed as the fisherman plucks the creatures out of the water with his bare hands.

The strength of his appeal has been evident in the way the Obama camp and its media allies are already gunning for him, painting the congressman as what Obama strategist David Axelrod called a ‘certifiable Right-wing ideologue’.

Yes, Romney’s choice of Ryan may be risky in terms of the radical conservatism of his views, yet the Catholic Ryan will also reassure voters who see Romney’s Mormonism, his career as a multi-millionaire venture capitalist and haughty, elitist image as far removed from their lives and values, particularly evangelist Christians who viewthe Mormon religion with deep suspicion.

Solidly middle-class, a good speaker and — for all his hard-edged politics — a normal kind of guy, Ryan crucially ticks the boxes that Romney has failed to.

The next few months will reveal whether Romney’s bold choice is a little too bold for the swing voters who are likely to decide the outcome of this election. But at least Republicans can be sure their own supporters will now overcome their apathy over Mitt Romney. With this plain-speaking Mid-Westerner at his side, he suddenly looks a whole lot more interesting.



Expect The Heckling To Get Worse, And You Can Thank Saul Alinsky

Monday seemed like deja vu all over again when Paul Ryan was heckled at the Iowa State Fair. His new boss was heckled at exactly the same place, same time last year.

Searching through YouTube, both Romney and Ryan have been heckled a lot over the last year. And, if it looks like Obama is going to lose, you can expect the heckling to not only increase but also become more provocative.

Now, before I continue, let’s just be clear that I’m not saying Obama has been heckled less than Romney. There are plenty examples of that as well on YouTube, and there is no way to be certain since, as far as I know, no one collects statistics on the heckling of politicians. Nor am I suggesting that it is just a left-wing activity. Indeed, not long ago Romney’s campaign sent a few supporters to Boston to give David Axelrod a warm welcome.

That said, heckling is an activity that tends to be the purview of the left, especially the radical left. After all, the tactic conforms very well to Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”

Here is Rule No. 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

Heckling works well because politicians usually expect to address receptive crowds. Hecklers can throw them off stride, make them look anxious and confused.

The problem is that politicians can get better at dealing with it. Apparently Romney has. Compare his reaction at last year's Iowa State Fair to his reaction to being heckled in Wisconsin last weekend. Furthermore, the politician’s supporters can get wise to it as well. Listen to Mitt’s supporters drown out the heckler with chants of “USA! USA!” or, in this instance, with “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!”

As heckling becomes less effective, it will become more provocative. Alinsky’s Rule No. 10 states, “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.”

Thus, expect to see hecklers provoking confrontations with Romney supporters or putting themselves in situations where they get hauled off by police — in front of the cameras, of course.

Here is a classic case. Paul Ryan is speaking at a luncheon, when 71-year-old Tom Nielsen stands and begins shouting questions at him. The police take him from the room, put him on the ground and arrest him.

According to the text under the video, “Nielsen repeatedly told police that he wasn’t fighting them and that he didn’t want to make any trouble. He also told them several times that he had a broken shoulder. Police officers ignored his comments as they wrestled him to the ground despite his howls of pain.”

From the video you can only hear what sounds like a “howl of pain” from Nielsen once. You never hear him say he has a broken shoulder, and he doesn’t seem to be howling in pain when the police lead him away in handcuffs. You also never hear him say that “he didn’t want to make trouble.” But even if he did say it, um, really? You interrupt the planned speech of a congressman by shouting questions at him, and you don’t want to make trouble? Hey, I want to eat nothing but pizza, cookies and ice cream, and I don’t want to get fat!

Anyway, we shouldn’t expect accuracy from the description since the propaganda value of such an incident far outweighs the value of the truth.

So as the heckling gets worse, what can Romney supporters do? The first is the exercise of enormous self-restraint. The radicals will call you all manner of expletives, get in your face, stick their fingers in your chest, etc., etc. You must back away. The second you throw a punch, the hecklers get their PR victory.

Also be sure to have the video recorders on your cell phones ready to record these events. The hecklers will be quick to load their versions up on YouTube. Be sure you have your versions ready to go.

Finally, when the police do get involved and remove the hecklers, record that as well. The hecklers will be quick to claim police brutality. Although the police don’t always exercise restraint, most times they do. A video showing that will also undermine the hecklers.

By exercising restraint and videotaping the heckling incidents, Romney supporters can be the ones that can push a negative into a positive.

Update: Matthew Vadum notes that the people who heckled Ryan in Iowa are part of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an ACORN-like group. They are the same group that shouted at Romney last year.



Man! You Young People Are Really Getting Hosed When It Comes To Social Security!

Would you give a financial manager $598,000 of your hard-earned money (over the course of your lifetime) who then 'promised' to give you back $556,000 during your retirement years for a net loss of $42,000???

Of course not. You would be completely insane to do so.
You would call this financial adviser your ex-financial planner/manager. You would fire him just as soon as you could see the handwriting on the wall that read: 'You are getting a bum deal, bub!'

Well, that is precisely what is happening to you today if you are under the age of 60. Except your 'financial planner/manager' is none other than the Social Security Administration.

That is right. The very program so many in Congress are so eager to 'protect' for you and yours and the AARP 'swears' it will (almost) inflict bodily harm on anyone in Congress who dares even to breathe the words: 'Reform Social Security!'

The same program that has been 'promising' that 'the federal government will take care of you in your golden years' and 'is so perfect today that no one should ever change one iota of it'.

Don't believe it. You have been having the wool pulled over your eyes for decades....all of us have. The same politicians who have brought you the following: 1) The $16 trillion national debt and 2) The financial demise of Medicare have also been the ones hiding the truth from you about SS.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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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)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A small reflection on the Leftist sympathy for criminals

Caution: This article contains a picture that is very disturbing

The emblematic example of Leftist sympathy for criminals is probably the release from prison of the murderous Willie Horton under the sponsorship of Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. Dukakis had vetoed legislation that would have kept gross offenders such as Horton in jail. When Horton immediately began violent offending again it hit the reputation of Dukakis and contributed to his defeat in the 1988 Presidential election. Democrats were of course outraged that Republicans raised the matter at all. They are good at outrage.

And the execution of "Tookie" Williams in 1995 was another conspicuous example of misplaced sympathy. Stanley Williams was a murderous brute who helped found the notorious "Crips" street gang in Los Angeles -- and who refused to the end to help authorities investigate the gang -- but Leftists pulled out all the stops to prevent his execution. Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of CA at the time however so their efforts were in vain.

The Left however consistently referred to him by the affectionate nickname of "Tookie" and put up pictures of him that suggested a gentle scholarly nature for him. See below:

Williams in his own eyes

A Williams victim

As the Left portrayed him

And the sympathy for illegal immigrants that mostly obstructs effective action against them can be seen not only in the USA but also in Britain and Australia. In Australia, a conservative government had stopped dead the flow of illegal immigrants but as soon as it came to power a Leftist government abolished the conservative policies and restarted the flow.

So why? Why do Leftists sponsor crime? They say it is because of their "compassion" but where is the compassion for the victims of Horton or Williams? It makes no sense as compassion. There is clearly something else going on.

And what that is, is clear. Leftists hate the world they live in and want to tear it down -- something Obama has been doing to America with considerable effectiveness for nearly 4 years now. So a sympathy for criminals flows readily from that. Criminals too are attacking the existing order. They are in a way doing what Leftist would like to do. So Leftists just can't find it in their hearts to see much wrong with criminals. "A bit misguided but understandable" would be the implicit Leftist judgment of criminals. That judgment costs us dear -- JR.


"You didn't build that" as a disincentive to enterprise

In any endeavor, individual effort generally plays only a small role in achieving the desired result, when compared to the contribution of all other relevant causal factors. Still, the success or failure of most human endeavors depend critically upon the supply of effort, and most endeavors will fail if too little effort is supplied. In some circumstances, a realistic assessment of the effect of greater effort on the odds of success will be demoralizing, leading to less effort and even lower odds of success. But this doesn't mean that successful people need to be systematically deceived about the efficacy of volition. It means that people need to internalize norms that stigmatize, at least some of the time, the rational withholding of effort.

Of course, people aren't generally self-destructive, and this sort of thing (i.e., morality, culture) only goes so far, even if it does goes pretty far. Incentives matter, as the economists like to say. You won't write try to write the Great American Novel if you don't think you can. But, even if you think that there's some small positive probability you could succeed, it may not be worth trying unless the payoff for success is really huge. Do the math. Which is why winner-take-all markets and the vast wealth and status inequalities they entail may not be so bad for the commonweal. A more egalitarian distribution of money and status for novelists would result in a decreased overall supply of novel-writing effort, and thus to fewer and fewer really valuable novels. (The stats quo also leads to a lot of wasted effort, but so what!) If widespread false belief doesn't work, try inequality!

That said, a smart culture can probably limit wealth inequality while maintaining the possibility of huge inequalities of status, which is why I suspect Ed Conard, whose book I have not read, overstates the case for economic inequality. Successful cultures produce individuals who try hard, because that's what one does, and who dream of riches and/or glory.



For the Marxists Ye Have With You Always


I was involved in a revealing exchange yesterday. Something I had Tweeted - a diffident question about whether pushing more and more people into university was necessarily desirable - prompted a series of responses along the lines of ‘Typical: like all capitalists, you don't like poor people'.

The criticism came in such a blizzard that I felt some sort of reply was in order, so I took to the keyboard again: ‘I love all these "capitalists don't like poor people" Tweets. It's true: we want to turn them into rich people. It's socialists who need their client groups.'

What happened next got me thinking. One after another, the Lefties on Twitter lined up to argue that capitalism couldn't survive without poverty, that its essence was the widening of inequality, that it concentrated more and more power in the hands of fewer and fewer plutocrats, that its days were numbered. I won't bore you by quoting them all. One - from the prolific Labour blogger Sunny Hundal - might stand for many: ‘In fact capitalism (by definition) needs more poor people and prefers poor bargaining rights and gross inequality'.

What's fascinating here is not just that Sunny's proposition is wrong; it's that, like all the other responses just cited, it is lifted directly from Karl Marx.

Marxism, uniquely among political philosophies, defined itself as a science. To its adherents, its propositions were not speculative but empirical. As a good Hegelian, Marx saw his forecasts as part of an inexorable historical process. Yet every one - every one - of them turned out to be false.

Capitalism was supposed to destroy the middle class, leaving a tiny clique of oligarchs ruling over a vast proletariat. In fact, capitalism has enlarged the bourgeoisie wherever it has been practised. Capitalism was supposed to lower living standards for the majority. In fact, the world is wealthier than would have been conceivable 150 years ago. The whole market system was supposed to be on its last legs when Marx and Engels were writing. In fact, it was entering a golden age, hugely benefiting the poorest. As Schumpeter put it, the princess was always able to wear silk stockings, but it took capitalism to put them within reach of the shop girl. The living standard of a Briton on benefits today is higher than that of a Briton on average wages in the 1920s.

I don't know how many of the people parroting Marx are aware that they're doing so. But, whatever name we call it by, his doctrine has proved stunningly impervious to events. You'd have thought - I did think - that the collapse of the Warsaw Pact regimes in 1989 would have definitively refuted revolutionary socialism. Yet successive generations continue to fall for it.

The more I read of behavioural psychology, the more I think that ideologies are as much a product of people's nature as of observed experience. The perverted doctrines that actuated the Bolshevists may be immanent in a portion of humanity. Some people are determined to see every success as a swindling of someone else, every transaction as an exploitation, every exercise in freedom as a violation of some ideal plan, every tradition as a superstition. How delicious that, as we approach the bicentenary of his birth, Karl Marx should have turned into the thing he loathed above all: the prophet of an irrational faith.



Black "useful idiots"

"Useful idiots" was Stalin's term for Western Communists

For expressing the opinion of the majority of voters in the 31 states where gay marriage was put to vote Chick-fil-A’s President Dan Cathy is accused of “hate speech” by D.C. Mayor Vernon Gray. Such is the mayor’s revulsion that he threatens to mimic Lester Maddox circa 1962 and stand at his city gates wielding an ax handle to bar restaurant Chik-fil-A’s entry into his municipal domain.

Washington D.C’s black mayor is a prominent patron of his hometown restaurant/bookstore Busboys and Poets, billed by its owner as “The Cultural Hub of the Black Community,” and known as “a haven for writers, thinkers and performers from America's progressive social and political movements.”

This restaurant features posters of Che Guevara on its walls and Che Guevara’s books in its adjoining bookstore. Busboys and Poets also sponsor tours of Cuba in partnership with Castro’s Stalinist regime. Every penny spent by Mayor Gray’s starry-eyed constituents on these Potemkin tours lands in the pockets of the only regime in the Western Hemisphere to herd thousands of men and boys into forced labor camps at Soviet-bayonet point for the crime of fluttering their eyelashes, flapping their hands and talking with a lisp. Every penny spent in Cuba by these progressive writers and artists enriches the only regime in the Western Hemisphere to fuel bonfires with Orwell’s Animal Farm, The UN Declaration of Human Rights and the writings of Martin Luther King.

"Work Will Make Men Out of You" read the sign at the Cuban prison-camp’s gate where tens of thousands of Cuban gays, suspected gays, “longhaired heepees”s and religious youths were jailed and tortured for years. The sign as prominent right over the barbed wire and next to the Soviet-trained machine gunners posted on the watchtowers. The initials for these camps were UMAP, not GULAG, but the conditions were quite similar.

When patronizing Busboys and Poets black Mayor Vernon Grey and his black and “progressive” constituents also reward a purveyor of the following sentiments:

“The Negro is indolent and spends his money on frivolities and drink, the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent…The negro has maintained his racial purity by his well known habit of avoiding baths.” Che Guevara wrote these lines in his famous “Motorcycle’s Diaries,” which is prominently displayed in Busboys and Poets bookstore.

“My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood,” also appears in this popular book for peace activists. “Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any surrendered enemy that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”

Among the sites omitted by Busboys and Poets Cuba tours are the prisons and torture chambers that held the longest-suffering black political prisoners in modern history. Prisoners were often taunted with racist epithets – “we pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!” Eusebia Penalver’s Castroite jailers would yell at him. Eusebio Penalver suffered longer in Castro and Che’s prisons than Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa’s.

Given the veneration by Washington D.C’s Busboys and Poets of the racist- Stalinist who craved to nuke Washington D.C. we have to think they also carry Che’s Message to the Tricontinental Conference in Havana 1966. Chik-fil-A “tastes like hate,” Mayor Gray? Well, then chew on this:

“Hatred is the central element of our struggle!... Hatred that is intransigent….Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!” (thus spaketh the icon of flower-children)

Had the icon of Busboys and Poets prevailed in October 1962, today the incinerated remains of many of the restaurant’s patrons, and those of practically all of their parents and grandparents, would fit in one Cappuccino cup.




A new barrage of Leftist lies greets Paul Ryan: "Democrats believe fervently in the folly of Paul Ryan’s ideas, yet somehow can’t speak about them truthfully. They are confident they can destroy Ryan — not because they think they can win the debate over his proposals on the merits, but because they are certain they can distort those proposals with impunity. The battle of ideas will be as unsightly and dishonest as the battle over Bain Capital. If Democrats will lie about Mitt Romney killing a woman, it’s only a matter of scale to lie about him unloosing a near-genocidal assault on America’s seniors."

Drug caravan to visit more than 20 US cities: "A coalition calling for an end to the war on drugs began its monthlong campaign Sunday in San Diego that will take it to more than 20 U.S. cities. More than 200 people gathered at a park on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a movement known as the 'Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity' that includes nearly 100 organizations."

VA: Pitchfork-wielding Virginia farmers rally against birthday party fine: "Pitchfork-wielding Virginia farmers rallied to support a woman who claims local officials came down on her for, among other things, hosting a children's birthday party on her spread. Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in the northern village of Paris, was threatened with nearly $5,000 in fines for selling produce and crafts and throwing unlicensed events, including a birthday party for her best friend's child. She told she wasn't doing anything farmers haven't done for generations, and at a recent zoning board meeting, her agrarian friends literally showed up with pitchforks to express their support."

The wealthy also serve: "Wealthy individuals do not bury their money in their backyards. Savings become the capital that powers new business ventures. A maximum income punishes those most likely to invest savings in new business ventures, limiting job creation."

Obama is breaking the law: "As I’ve noted before, the Obama administration violated the text, structure, and purpose of the 1996 welfare reform law, in claiming the authority to waive its work requirements, which were specifically designed not to be waivable, in its July 12 HHS memorandum. (Contrary to the administration’s claims, that memo did indeed strike at the very heart of welfare reform.)"

When wage gaps are fair: "When I and my wife first got married, she worked shorter hours than I did, and used her additional time outside the workplace for activities like grocery shopping and preparing dinner. So there was nothing unfair about the fact that her employer paid her less than I was paid. I was getting the benefit of these activities, not her employer -- a benefit reflected in the fact that I paid most of the rent (while my wife did most of the family consumer spending, using financial contributions from me -- I reimbursed her for three-quarters of each grocery bill)."

Unbalanced Violence Against Women Act: "Since its beginning in 1994, VAWA has been beset by a host of problems. Although some 286 studies from the mid-70s to the present show women to be as violent in their intimate relationships as men or more so, VAWA funding goes overwhelmingly to services for female victims and male perpetrators. Less than 2% goes to help male victims or treat female perpetrators. As with most government largess, VAWA’s suffers from being misspent."


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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, August 15, 2012

Paul Ryan and what his nomination means

It means the Democrats are facing a strong ticket with the announcement of Ryan as the VP nominee. It also finally focuses the ticket where most Americans want it focused – the budget, the size of government, the economy and jobs.

For Mitt Romney the selection of Paul Ryan is about as strong a choice as he could have made. Ryan has an intricate knowledge of the budget and budget process in Congress. That will be a critical skill in the next four years for an administration to have. In effect, Ryan will become the defacto administration budget expert (dare we say “czar”) for the Romney administration and give that administration a level of expertise unknown to most past administrations.

Romney is a “turn around” guy. He knows how to turn ailing businesses and the like around. The combination of Ryan and Romney is and should be compelling to most Americans.

For critics of Romney’s “conservatism”, the addition of Ryan should cool their angst and shore up the conservative base. Ryan is more of a Tea Party conservative (i.e. fixed on fiscal conservatism rather than social conservatism) but that is the sort of conservatism which is going to attract the most non affiliated voters.

Our fiscal house is broken and in bad need of repair. This is a team with all the credentials to do that, or at least begin a positive effort to do that (I doubt that it can be fixed in 4 years, but a lot of progress can be made in that time).

And, of course, that means trouble for the Obama administration, whose record is anything but compelling and whose leadership has been anything but inspiring. Ryan, therefore, must be “destroyed” in a political sense. So in the name of “vetting” – something that was never really done for our present president — we will see all sorts of wild stories and opinions flying around concerning the new VP pick.

I’m not sure any of that will matter much though. Why?

Well, there are indicators seem to be pointing out a momentum shift that polls aren’t showing yet (we discuss that on the podcast). A half-full fundraiser for Obama in his home town of Chicago vs an enthusiastic crowd who packed a Romney/Ryan rally at a furniture store in North Carolina. Or the turnout at this event:
Earlier in the day, Romney and Ryan campaigned at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The Hickory Daily Record reported that the two were “greeted by thousands.” A Romney campaign official told TheDC that an estimated 4,700 people showed up, with 1,700 people inside the event and 3,000 outside.

If the Obama campaign isn’t worried, then they are even more insulated from reality than I thought.

Fundraising is another indicator that all is not well in Obamaland. Romney, even without Ryan as the VP pick, has been consistently bringing in more campaign donations. And not by a little. He’s been crushing the Obama effort. That may be the truest indication to this point of how far the Obama brand has fallen. Donors don’t like to back losers. Indications are that the choice of Ryan will only exacerbate that problem for Obama.

So Paul Ryan means even more trouble for an already troubled Obama campaign.

What should we expect, then? A full-court press by the left and as dirty a campaign as you’ve ever witnessed. The Obama campaign and its media surrogates and pundits are going to be in attack mode from now on. In fact, just peruse some of the stuff already out there today. Expect it to get worse. The “Palin treatment” is called for because … because it worked the last time. I would guess, however, that Ryan may be equal to the task ahead and perhaps turn that treatment back on those who attempt to apply it.



Revisiting the DHS Smear of the Tea Party Movement

Michelle Malkin

In the wake of the horrific Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin, left-wing barrel-scrapers are demanding that talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives apologize for criticizing a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that hyped an ominous new wave of violent "rightwing extremism." I don't apologize. I call foul.

The media lowlifes who exploit every tragic shooting to silence their law-abiding, First Amendment-exercising enemies are tearing this country apart. "Progressives" have had free rein to libel and slander peaceful, liberty-loving citizens -- while whitewashing the violent plots and criminal behavior of their ideological counterparts. No more.

Wade Michael Page was a chronically unemployed Army washout with a drinking problem; a body covered in abhorrent white supremacist tattoos; Neo-Nazi band membership; a recent breakup with his white supremacist girlfriend; and a military discharge under "other than honorable conditions" that suggests to several psychological experts he may have had a disqualifying mental illness.

He was, in short, an unrepentant racist and sicko for whom no decent Americans have sympathy or tolerance.

Before he turned the gun on himself, Page slaughtered six innocent human beings. But instead of mourning their deaths and decrying evil in all its forms, some vultures chose to indict the entire right. Instead of waiting for all the facts to come out about Page's life and mental history, political opportunists rifled through their drawer of partisan grievances to score points.

They are using the Sikh temple massacre to try to delegitimize perfectly legitimate criticism of the Obama administration's 2009 Department of Homeland Security report lumping in homicidal extremists like Page with ordinary activists who embrace the very principles of limited government espoused by our Founding Fathers.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Times reporter James Rainey promoted a smug article titled, "Sorry, Mr. Limbaugh, but Obama agency did not target tea party." Rainey, who describes himself as having "spent many of his 30 years in journalism cogitating on politics," blamed Limbaugh, Rep. John Boehner and yours truly for "prevent(ing) tracking of home-grown crackpots."

The DHS assessments, Rainey claimed, "were carefully couched as trends to beware of, directed not at everyday political activists but at those who planned to use violence to carry out their beliefs."

Sorry, Los Angeles Times. But your cogitating reporter misreported what was in those assessments and why conservatives successfully protested them. The politically timed documents were released just as thousands of peaceful, law-abiding Tea Party members were preparing the nationwide April 15 Tax Day Tea Party protests. DHS's overbroad report didn't just target those prone to violence with "carefully couched" language

No, Los Angeles Times. The feds engaged in scare-mongering about unnamed groups and individuals "antagonistic toward the new presidential administration" and "those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely." Code words for the stimulus-opposing, bailout-protesting Tea Party movement. Duh. For good measure, the report tossed in vague references to pro-lifers, Second Amendment activists and border security advocates, too.

As I noted at the time, past FBI reports on domestic terrorism have always been very specific in identifying the exact groups, causes and targets -- i.e., the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, and enviro-wackos who have engaged in physical harassment, arson, vandalism and worse against pharmaceutical companies, farms, labs and university researchers.

By contrast, the 2009 report was a sweeping indictment of conservatives. The report warned that unspecified "rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy." Conservative blogosphere? Guilty! And the entire report asserted with no evidence that an unquantified "resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity" was due to home foreclosures, job losses and "the historical presidential election." To the extent that the DHS assessments mentioned military service members, they focused on Army veterans returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rainey and his ilk blithely glide over the fact that Page was an Army dropout who never saw combat.

No matter. Liberal commentators have convicted GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the entire conservative talk-radio world for Page's murderous rampage. On the dregs of cable TV news, MSNBC's Ed Schultz invoked our criticism of the 2009 report to try to shame and blame Righty.

Meanwhile, these ghouls remain radio-silent about actual domestic terror plots tied directly to the Democratic Party-embraced Occupy movement. Take the ring of self-identified Occupy leaders, members and anarchist organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, charged with plotting to bomb bridges in Ohio and kill potentially hundreds in order to sabotage local business and commerce. One pleaded guilty last month and will testify against the other four -- who attempted to detonate what they thought was an improvised explosive device intended to blow up a local bridge and take the lives of untold commuters across the Cuyahoga River. Media apologists have gone out of their way to minimize the severity of the plot and to enable Occupy organizers to distance themselves from their violent anarchist members.

In the warped world of James Rainey, MSNBC Neanderthals and George Soros operatives, every conservative is a rightwing terrorist. But there are no left-wing terrorists -- only misguided kids whose social justice agenda simply went awry. The bias reeks like an Occupy camp in the dog days of August.



The Left Continues To Ignore Rampant Voter ID Fraud, Says Photo ID Laws Are Racist

With the presidential election less than four months away, it's imperative that voters in November find the process as fair and accessible as possible. Several states have decided to enact the requirement of possessing a photo ID to help prevent the occurrence of voter fraud. Predictably, many on the Left are vocalizing their opposition to these measures, claiming that the elderly and minorities would not have the resources needed to acquire one, putting them at a distinct disadvantage.

This debate was accelerated to a higher level when Emily Schultheis of Politico opined that young voters and minorities will be grossly affected in swing states with these laws in tact. She points out that roughly 750,000 citizens in Pennsylvania do not have the necessary forms to acquire a photo ID card.

There is an implied notion here that individuals, specifically minorities, are not smart enough to figure out how to obtain proper identification. Liberals are notoriously known for claiming to be the champions of minority rights and equality, while invoking that the federal government must be the spokesperson for them because they are simply incapable of thinking on their own. What exactly is preventing young people and minorities from filling out forms needed to acquire a photo ID?

All Americans should reject this rhetoric. It is a common class warfare antic used by the Left to divulge attention from voter fraud and system inadequacies, and attempt to paint voter ID activists and advocates as racially motivated and bent on taking away votes from President Obama and other Democratic candidates.

The Left’s claim that voter identification affects turnout is preposterous. It’s a weak attempt to suggest that voters will be held back from voting for Obama due to stringent requirements, and not the simple fact that they are dismayed and dissatisfied with the president’s policies and the direction the U.S. economy is headed.

Schultheis referenced Attorney General Holder’s “poll tax” comparison when he spoke about voter ID laws at the NAACP convention earlier in July. It's rather ironic that the Attorney General expressed this divisive view with the NAACP, seeing as how the organization was just in hot water over corruption charges. Lessadolla Sowers, a Tunica County, MS NAACP Executive Committee member, was just sentenced to prison on 10 counts of illegally using absentee ballots.

Of course, the mainstream media doesn’t speak about this because it defeats the Left’s declaration that voter fraud doesn’t exist. They are counting on the fact that Americans will either be disillusioned, or turn a deaf ear to their cries of racism and injustice of those who are pleading for voting integrity. It is our duty and obligation to hold organizations like the NAACP accountable for trying to distort the voting process and tip the election results in favor of Democratic candidates.

But there are those who remain strong in leading the fight for voter integrity; Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True The Vote, a nonpartisan organization committed to combatting voter fraud nationwide, stated it best when she said, “Corruption, when not stopped at the polls, rises essentially unchecked to the highest offices in our nation. And it has to stop. If our elections aren’t truly fair, we aren’t truly free.”



The unconstitutional TSA

Deep down, we all feel that the airport security system is an FDA-approved rubdown and radiation parlor. But we are busy, rushing to catch flights, and we tell ourselves it is for our “safety.” So, like sheep, we comply.

The TSA security process is in violation of the law of the land, specifically the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Let’s be honest, when I “opt” for a pat-down over a blast of cancer-inducing radiation, it is not a choice—it is a preference for the lesser of two fixed evils. A pat- down is a clear violation of my “person;” there is no probable cause warranting random government agents to feel me up for weapons.

The pat-down system also violates my right to be secure in my “papers and effects.” Every time I get a pat-down, my personal property is subject to theft. The TSA pat-down process does nothing to prevent an unconscionable person (going through the scanner) from taking advantage of the fact that I’m helplessly standing behind waiting for a pat-down—unable to monitor my luggage.

Because, here is what normally happens: I inform the TSA agent, “I’m opting out.” The agent then calls for a “female assist” and asks me to step aside. I wait (occasionally up to 10 minutes) for a pat-down. Meanwhile my luggage—including my purse, iPhone, MacBook Pro and other valuables—travel the conveyer belt and idle on the other side of the X-ray machine where anyone could easily walk off with them.

On a recent flight out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a female TSA agent (who was openly annoyed at the prospect of doing her job and giving me a pat-down while oddly assuming that I yearned for her to touch me) said: “Well, if you ask for one, we have to give you one. So, are you just doing this for the free massage we give you?” I wanted to respond: “No way, pervert.” But, since I wanted to make my flight, I replied: “No. I just don’t want the radiation.”




The moronic TSA: "If airports had barn doors, TSA certainly would have closed the one in Newark, with great certitude and force, on Sunday. As it is, they simply shut down the entire airport, resulting in the delay of 65 flights and cancellation of another 100 -- after an unidentified suspicious woman had not only already boarded her flight in Newark, but had also already landed at her destination."

Israel: Ayon asks regimes to say Iran talks have failed: "Amid intensifying Israeli news reports saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is close to ordering a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, his deputy foreign minister called Sunday for an international declaration that the diplomatic effort to halt Tehran’s enrichment of uranium is dead. Referring to the Iran negotiations led by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, the minister, Danny Ayalon, told Israel Radio that those nations should 'declare today that the talks have failed.'"


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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, August 14, 2012

Some more observations about Ron Unz and IQ

There is an ongoing "debate" between Richard Lynn and Ron Unz regarding international variations in IQ. Although he is the publisher of "The American Conservative", Unz takes the classic Leftist view that low IQ is caused by poverty, although he does make the concession that "some residual European IQ differences might indeed be due to genetics rather than environment".

Poverty is the cause of everything according to Leftists. They even blamed the 9/11 events on poverty until it finally penetrated their unseeing eyes that Bin Laden was in fact a billionaire.

Unz's article is replete with accusations that Lynn has acted in bad faith (though not in those words), which seems to me rather deplorable, though I was not too surprised by it. When Unz replied to my observations about crime and immigration, his comments were almost hilariously "ad hominem": He suggested that I was disqualified from commenting on such matters because I live in Australia!

Perhaps I can be rather Old Testament in the matter however by in turn accusing Unz of bad faith. In his desire to discredit Lynn's hypothesis of substantial genetic influence on IQ he cherrypicks his data heavily, as Sanders has pointed out at length. And it also seems to me that he rushes by the German data in great haste. I would think that the differences between the old East and West Germany should be a very good test of Unz's "poverty" hypothesis. After several generations of real poverty, East Germans were found to have average IQs that were about the same as West Germans -- even though West Germany was one of the world's most prosperous countries, one which made a "miraculous" economic recovery from WWII (the famous Wirtschaftswunder).

If poverty had no effect there, whence Unz's claim that poverty explains almost all IQ variation? Unz does not allude to the German results in his latest article but here is what he said in his earlier article:
Consider, for example, the results from Germany obtained prior to its 1991 reunification. Lynn and Vanhanen present four separate IQ studies from the former West Germany, all quite sizable, which indicate mean IQs in the range 99–107, with the oldest 1970 sample providing the low end of that range. Meanwhile, a 1967 sample of East German children produced a score of just 90, while two later East German studies in 1978 and 1984 came in at 97–99, much closer to the West German numbers.

These results seem anomalous from the perspective of strong genetic determinism for IQ. To a very good approximation, East Germans and West Germans are genetically indistinguishable, and an IQ gap as wide as 17 points between the two groups seems inexplicable, while the recorded rise in East German scores of 7–9 points in just half a generation seems even more difficult to explain.

Unz here cherrypicks again by seizing on the widest possible gap in the data rather than on the reasonably inferrable average. The 107 result is clearly an outlier and a West German mean of around 100 seems the best attested. And the convergence between the two later East German studies suggest that the 1967 East German finding was also an outlier. So we are left with an East German mean that is essentially undistinguishable from the West German mean.

Will Unz be defeated by that fact? Perhaps not. He leaves himself an "out" by saying "but East Germans hardly suffered from severe dietary deficiencies". So now it is not poverty that affects IQ but rather "severe dietary deficiencies". The goalposts have moved!

I don't know that it is really worth saying much more about Unz's merry journey through the data but I will briefly mention two other points: Unz consistently discounts the immigrant effect, the claim that immigrants are in various ways a superior subset of their parent population. Yet the USA seems a clear proof that such an effect exists. Herrnstein & Murray long ago showed that lower IQ goes with lower social class and the mass of immigrants to both Australia and America in the past were clearly from the lower strata of their host societies. To this day, upper class English accents are as rare in Australia as British regional accents are common. So average white IQs in both Australia and America should be lower than the average IQ in (say) Britain -- right?

But it isn't so. The average IQ in all three countries is essentially the same. The most readily apparent explanation for that convergence would seem to be the immigrant effect: The immigrants were a superior subset of the population from which they originated. And the way America has in various ways led and dominated the world at least since WWII would also seem to suggest that those immigrant genes were pretty good.

A final point in defence of Lynn. Unz says: "Finally, Lynn closes his rebuttal by repeating his boilerplate disclaimer that he has “never maintained that IQ is overwhelmingly determined by genetics,” although this seems to be his clear reasoning in every single particular example he discusses"

I suspect here that Unz is failing to see that Lynn has had two aims in his work: His main aim is to show that IQ is economically important and ascribing any origin to the differences observed is secondary to that aim. And that refusal to ascribe is what Lynn is doing when he makes modest claims for what he has shown. In science, however, once one question is answered, new questions arise and Lynn's demonstration of national differences in IQ does quite immediately lead to a question of how those IQ differences arise. And in rejecting Unz's "poverty" reasoning Lynn has moved on to the derivative question.

And even there, I think Unz is seeing only what he wants to see in Lynn's words. Lynn's denial of an "overwhelming" influence is perfectly consistent with around 100 years of IQ research. The normal finding from twin studies is that IQ is about two thirds genetically determined. Whether two thirds is "overwhelming", I leave others to judge but I submit that Unz has read more into Lynn's words than is there.

Prominent psychologist Steven Pinker also has some comments on Unz's dubious logic and in addition makes some useful points about the massive support for the heritability of IQ etc. He is far too cautious to endorse Lynn's position, however. To do so would be academic suicide -- JR


History will judge

I know that history is very poorly taught in the schools these days so at the risk of being tedious, the toon features Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and some emptyhead


Supreme Court Saved the Near Poor

Here's the most underreported story of the summer. When the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) it inadvertently liberated millions of people who were going to be forced into Medicaid. Now they will have the opportunity to have private health insurance instead. What difference does that make? It could be the difference between life and death.

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report this week says there are 3 million such people. The actual number could be several times that size. But first things first.

Imagine that you are the head of a family of three, struggling to get by on an income, say, of $25,000 a year. You've signed up for your employer's health plan because you want your family to get good health care when they need it. But that takes a big bite out of your paycheck — $250 a month.

When you first heard about the president's health plan, you heard him say that if you like the plan you're in you can keep it. That was good news. You also believed the whole point of the reform was to help families like yours get health insurance if for some reason you had to seek insurance on your own.

Now get ready for some surprises. The first will be an announcement that in another year or so your employer's health plan will no longer be available to you. The reason: plain economics. People at your income level will qualify for as good or better health insurance in a new health insurance exchange. And almost all the premium will be paid for by the federal government. Most people like you would rather have higher wages than a health plan that duplicates what you can get almost for free, your employer will reason. So in order to compete for labor, your company will have to give prospective employees the compensation package they most want. And your employer will be right.

Then there will be a second surprise. Under the new rules, if you are eligible for Medicaid, you can't get private insurance in the exchange. Further the health reform law is designed to force the states to raise the income level for Medicaid. If your state complies, someone with your income will be eligible for Medicaid and you won't be allowed in the exchange!

Now if you were a resident alien, the rules are different. Since they don't generally qualify for Medicaid, immigrant families at your income level can get subsidized private insurance in the exchange. But alas, you're a citizen. So this option isn't open to you.

Now let's say you are under the impression that Medicaid is second rate insurance and you remember that your employer promised to pay more in wages once your health benefit is gone. What about using the higher wages from your employer to buy private insurance outside the exchange?

Now get ready for the third surprise. There isn't going to be any market for private insurance outside the exchange — at least not for you. The insurance companies are going away. The brokers are going away. The market is going way.

Now for the final surprise. The only option open to you under the Affordable Care Act is Medicaid! Why should you care? Because your initial impression is correct. Medicaid is second rate insurance.

In most places Medicaid patients have a terrible time finding doctors who will see them and facilities that will admit them. That's why so many of them turn to community health centers and the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals for basic medical care. Medicaid enrollees turn to emergency rooms for their care twice as often as the privately insured and even the uninsured. In fact, if you're trying to get a primary care appointment, it appears your chances are better if you say you are uninsured.

Study after study has found that patients on Medicaid have worse outcomes than patients with private insurance. With respect to cancer care, outcomes are much better if you have private insurance, but there does not seem to be much difference between Medicaid and being uninsured. Health blogger Avik Roy summarizes other studies that find that Medicaid patients do no better and sometimes worse than the uninsured. Additional evidence is supplied by Scott Gottlieb.

But now a rescuer has appeared on the scene. The US Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can't force the states to expand their Medicaid programs. If your state doesn't, then you can enter the exchange and get private health insurance after all. Right? Maybe.

Here is where is gets little bit tricky, owing to the bizarre structure of ObamaCare. The new health law is trying to get the states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for an individual or $26,344 for a family of three). But let's suppose that, thanks to the Supreme Court, a state doesn't do anything. It turns out that only people who are between 100% and 138% of poverty can then go into the exchange and get private insurance.

However, if you are at, say, 90% of the federal poverty level and not eligible for Medicaid, then you will not be allowed into the exchange. You will be in a sort of "no-man's-land" donut hole. And the only way out will be for you to somehow earn more income. Or, lie about it. This may be one of the very few instances where people will find it their self-interest to tell the IRS their income is higher than it really is!

According to the CBO about two-thirds of the states will not expand eligibility above 100% of the federal poverty level. That's why 3 million citizens will be liberated and will get private insurance instead. Moreover, the subsides in the exchange are incredibly generous. The most the family has to pay is 2% of their income. In the example above, you would pay $500 for an insurance plan that could be worth as much as $15,000!

Further, the private plans in the exchange will pay providers about 50% higher fees that the rock bottom payments they would have gotten from Medicaid. This will be a huge relief for safety net facilities that are scraping by on inadequate resources as it is. And it's a reason why the CBO may have underestimated how many states will find this option very attractive.

ObamaCare is still a Rube Goldberg contraption that desperately needs repealing and replacing. But in the interim, the Supreme Court has done a lot of families a big favor.



Ten Fallacious Conclusions in the Dominant Ideology’s Political Economy

The dominant ideology does much to shape people’s views about what is happening in social affairs, why it is happening, and what if anything ought to be done about it. Ideology exerts its force in large part through what we might call its power of predisposition, that is, its default conclusions that, on examination, amount to little more than leaps of faith.

For the past century in the United States of America, the dominant ideology has been progressivism. This belief system has not been static, of course, and its specific elements, emphases, and outlooks have changed substantially since the early twentieth century. For example, whereas the early progressives were generally racist, hard imperialist, and eugenicist, today’s are generally multiculturalist, soft imperialist, and more inclined to favor killing off the human race (to save the environment) than to improve it by eliminating the biologically “inferior” people.

Nevertheless, through all its emotional and intellectual ups and downs, progressivism has retained one central element: its abiding faith that the state can and should act vigorously on as many fronts as possible to improve society both here and abroad.

An economist notes in particular that progressive ideology now embraces the following default conclusions:

* If a social or economic problem seems to exist, the state should impose regulation to remedy it.

* If regulation has already been imposed, it should be made more expansive and severe.

* If an economic recession occurs, the state should adopt “stimulus” programs by actively employing the state’s fiscal and monetary powers.

* If the recession persists despite the state’s adoption of “stimulus” programs, the state should increase the size of these programs.

* If long-term economic growth seems to be too slow to satisfy powerful people’s standard of performance, the state should intervene to accelerate the rate of growth by making “investments” in infrastructure, health, education, and technological advance.

* If the state was already making such “investments,” it should make even more of them.

* Taxes on “the rich” should be increased during a recession, to reduce the government’s budget deficit.

* Taxes on “the rich” should also be increased during a business expansion, to ensure that they pay their “fair share” (that is, the great bulk) of total taxes and to reduce the government’s budget deficit.

* If progressives perceive a “market failure” of any kind, the state should intervene in whatever way promises to create Nirvana.

* If Nirvana has not resulted from past and current interventions, the state should increase its intervention until Nirvana is reached.

The foregoing progressive predispositions, and others too numerous to state here, provide the foundation on which the state justifies its current actions and its proposals for acting even more expansively. Progressives see no situation in which the best course of action requires that the government retrench or admit that it can do nothing constructive to help matters. They see the state as well-intentioned, sufficiently capable, and properly motivated to fix any social and economic problem whatsoever if only the public allows it to do so and bears the costs.

It follows that progressives desire a change in the state’s size, scope, and power in only one direction, regardless of past and present conditions and regardless of whether previous attempts to implement progressive panaceas have succeeded or failed—indeed, if honestly assessed, virtually all of them have failed, on balance. Progressive faith in the state, however, springs eternal.

It is a great misfortune for modern Western countries, and many others as well, that serious challenges to this currently dominant ideology do not exist. The political parties compete for office, each seeking to direct more of the state’s plunder to its supporters, but the ideological differences between the competing parties is almost entirely superficial. All politically potent parties believe in a powerful, pervasively engaged state. They differ only in regard to which specific individuals should steer the Leviathan.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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, August 13, 2012

Obama's Progress

Paul Kengor

Try to define progressivism. In fact, ask progressives to try to define progressivism . All we really know is that they’re, well, progressing. They and their ideas and their politics are always changing, evolving. This means that what they believe and hold fast and dear today may not be what they believe and hold fast and dear tomorrow, or decades or a century from now.

For instance, when progressive heroine Margaret Sanger started her American Birth Control League a century ago, she was seeking birth control for, among other purposes, what she and fellow progressives termed “race improvement.” She hoped to expunge the gene pool of what she termed "human weeds," “morons,” and “imbeciles.” She repudiated abortion, calling it “an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn … the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious.” She clarified in no uncertain terms: “some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not.”

Today, Sanger’s American Birth Control League is Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. Progressives have not only progressed to that level but also to the point where they demand full taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and birth control and abortion drugs. Most amazing, those who disagree are castigated as Neanderthals favoring a “war on women.”

How did we suddenly progress to this latest stage?

That’s a long answer with a lot of factors, but we cannot disregard the huge impact of the latest influence: President Obama. If you would have told me five years ago that the president of the United States, by executive fiat, would force all Americans—including all religious organizations—to fund sterilization services and abortion drugs, I would have at least taken solace in one thing: my liberal friends would surely respect my religious beliefs and insist their president was crossing the line.

Sorry, the opposite is true. With President Obama leading, millions of Democrats have willfully fallen in line. He is not bending, and neither are they. If we disagree with what they’re compelling us to do … that’s our fault. We have failed to progress to their understanding.

My pro-choice friends always promised they’d never force me to pay for their abortions. With Obama out front, that has changed. They simply hadn’t progressed there yet.

The same is true for gay marriage, where liberals—immediately after Obama’s statement on gay marriage to ABC a few months ago—are suddenly on fire for the cause, from blasting Chick-fil-A to, according to The New York Times, considering the unprecedented step of placing gay marriage in the Democratic Party platform. Consider liberals’ progression on this issue:

A half century ago, the concept of “gay marriage” would have been unthinkable to any Democrat. Currently, I’m being frequently asked about parallels in thinking between Obama and his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis . There are striking similarities when it comes to their words on Wall Street, the rich, tax cuts, wealth redistribution, universal healthcare. I’m often asked if Davis’ writings indicated support for gay marriage and abortion. Are you kidding? Anyone who might have voiced public support for those things back then, Democrat or Republican or radical, would have been hauled off to an asylum as a public menace.

Just 20 years ago, the previous Democratic president, Bill Clinton, supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.

While support for gay marriage has increased since then, what the progressive movement needed was a front man to light the fuse and take the lead. They got it big-time from President Obama. Just like that, the entire public debate has changed, with gay-marriage advocates on the offensive and opponents on the defensive. Those opposing the unwavering norm since the dawn of humanity, following the billions before us—what Chesterton called the “Democracy of the Dead” —are suddenly framed as extremists who must explain ourselves. And CEOs of companies who voice a mere opinion to the contrary—e.g., Chick-fil-A—are picketed, protested, banned, and attacked by the nation’s mayors for manufacturing everything from “hate thoughts” to “hate chicken.”

Progressivism. No one can see where it will end up, but we can see how it unfolds. In this latest manifestation—call it President Obama’s progress—it compels all of us to acquiesce on gay marriage and abortion. Obama didn’t begin the push, but, in only four years, he has advanced the progressive project by leaps and bounds, a stunning surge that doesn’t happen without him.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised fundamental, transformational change—and now, thanks to the American electorate, we’re getting it.



Obama’s War on Family Business

One of the aspects of President Obama’s worldview that has drawn consistent fire is his evident hostility toward business. His comments in Roanoke, Virginia three weeks ago (“If you have a business, you didn’t build that”) are just the most recent in a long history of shameful displays of ignorance about the way a business is launched, how it is grown, and what makes it successful.

In his speeches, Obama tends to praise businesses only as a lead-in to calling for higher taxes on them. The President likes to attach a taint to the word “business,” as if every enterprise were Enron and every founder was Scrooge McDuck, hording piles of gold in his basement. This convenient dodge feeds a vague but satisfying resentment in some of Obama’s core constituencies toward big, faceless, evil “multinational corporations,” which are easy to hate.

But the reality about business in America is quite different, and those who understand this most keenly are those who have started businesses – and the family members who have supported them. They know firsthand that Obama’s attacks on business in general translate to a war on family business in particular.

Few people realize just how predominant family business is in the United States. So some statistics (available from the Census and the U.S. Small Business Administration) are instructive.

First, most businesses in the U.S. are not large. Over 78% of all businesses (21M out of 27M) in the United States are “non-employer” firms, meaning that they report no payroll. In other words, they are either partnerships or sole proprietorships. In fact, the vast majority (it varies from year to year, but typically around 70%) of all businesses are run as sole proprietorships.

Of the remaining 6+ million “employer firms,” nearly 90% employ fewer than 20 people. 1.3 million of these companies gross less than $100,000 each year. 3.7 million have gross receipts of less than $500,000 a year. 4.6 million – or 76% - of all “employer firms” in the United States gross under a million dollars each year.

In other words, most business in the United States is small business.

It is important to consider these data when Obama calls for higher taxes on people making more than $250,000, lumping them with “millionaires and billionaires.” Since most small businesses operate as sole proprietorships, this means that the business doesn’t pay the taxes (as a corporation would); the individual owner pays all of the taxes on the business’ income. And while some might think that $250,000 would be a cushy salary for one person, a business generating $250,000 in gross receipts is a VERY small enterprise indeed. From this amount must come state and federal income taxes, property taxes, rent or mortgage payments, insurance, salaries, benefits, unemployment and workers compensation payments, and more.

Furthermore, 80 – 90% of all businesses in the U.S. are family-owned – including 35% of all Fortune 500 companies. Family-owned businesses are responsible for 50% of all GDP in the U.S., 60% of all U.S. employment, and 65% of all wages paid in the U.S.

Family-run businesses also have a more personal investment in their employees and in their communities. According to Anne Kincaid of Family Enterprise USA, family businesses have far less leadership turnover than shareholder-owned companies, and are less likely to let employees go, even in tough times.

One would think, therefore – particularly in a struggling economy – that the President of the United States would want to encourage the creation of businesses, laud those who take the personal financial risks to start them, and use power of the presidency to minimize the burdens government can impose.

To the contrary, the policies advocated by this president are crippling to business. Just a few examples:
1. Taxes. As noted above, taxing businesses grossing between $250,000 and $1 million a year hits a disproportionate number of the sole proprietorships and small family businesses we desperately need to expand and hire more people. It also discourages prospective entrepreneurs. Then there is his “Buffet rule” tax proposal and his insistence upon raising the capital gains rate. The former is just silly posturing. The latter will negatively affect investment – which, of course, will mean that small businesses have a harder time becoming larger ones.

2. Obamacare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be ungodly expensive, and many small businesses – read family businesses – are not going to be able to afford to insure their current employees, much less hire new ones. Family Enterprise USA reports that 61% of the family firms they surveyed believe that the new law will make it harder, not easier, to pay for employee health care.

3. The HHS mandate. Having to provide what Obamacare considers to be appropriate insurance coverage is already burdensome. But the Obama administration has made this worse by insisting that all employers pay for sterilization and contraception – including abortifacient contraception. Catholic and other Christian universities and hospitals have filed lawsuits to contest the enforcement of this mandate, arguing that it compels them to violate the core teachings of their religious beliefs. But many family businesses are run by individuals who share those same beliefs, and they, too, are threatened by the HHS mandate. Already, at least one family business has sued – successfully. Others have followed. These are laudable developments. But most family businesses cannot afford the expense of a lawsuit in federal court.

4. The constant calls for reduction of the charitable deduction. President Obama has now tried five separate times to reduce the amount of the charitable deduction. This is inscrutable. The average family firm donates $50,000 to charities and philanthropic causes – most, locally for maximum impact. Larger companies donate much, much more.

(Sidenote: since Obama is so keen to yank America toward European-style socialism, he might want to read The Economist’s story from last week, blaming European government policies for the dismal lack of entrepreneurship and economic growth there.)

In light of these events, it is not surprising that the Roanoke speech has become the negative tagline for the Obama presidency. Every family with an entrepreneur in it knows that the business founder didn’t do it on his or her own; spouses and children also make substantial sacrifices to help launch a business, grow it, make it successful and keep it that way. Families in business also know how difficult government makes it.

The Roanoke speech is also the gift that keeps on giving to Mitt Romney. The president’s antipathy to business is affecting his reelection campaign. Donors had already been fleeing Obama in droves – including Democrats who are now supporting Romney. The result is nearly unthinkable to Democrat strategists: Romney is actually outpacing Obama in fundraising, and by a substantial margin.

No wonder. While it might be understandable that those who don’t own a business might vote for Obama the second time around, it is inexplicable that anyone who does – or wants to -- would. And that is a lot of people.



Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail

Anyone who doubts the enduring power of the mainstream media need look no further than the rise in Romney’s unfavorables in a recent Pew Poll. Yes, this poll is likely skewed, but the percentages are too extreme to escape the conclusion that a large number of Americans do not find Mitt “Mr. Nice Guy.” (I met him and thought he was perfectly okay — but what do I know?) Obama, on the other hand, is still considered a swell fellow.

All this although the economy has been a disaster throughout his presidency and, for the last year, probably more, he has seemed a petulant prig when confronted with the slightest criticism. Not an attractive trait.

You would think under those conditions those poll numbers would be reversed and the election polls themselves would show Romney with a gigantic lead, but no. Like a nation of ostriches, huge portions of the American public have swallowed the media/Axelrod line that Mitt Romney is a rich self-interested capitalist out of touch with the masses, whoever they are and whatever that means(it doesn’t matter as long as they vote for Obama), hell-bent on robbing from the poor to give to the rich like a reverse Robin Hood.

In other words, a large portion of the American public has effectively been brainwashed. And the brainwashers are the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. The former is quite understandable since political parties cling to power by virtually any means when threatened. But for the media it’s another matter. Why do these people persist in their views in a situation where, objectively, almost any corporation or business would have been looking for new leadership long ago? Why are they so destructive to our society and ultimately to themselves? Don’t they have children and grandchildren?

Many explanations exist for this seeming blindness; among them, and not to be ignored, is good old-fashioned habit. But I would suggest, having lived among them, particularly the Hollywood variety, for decades, two other components: fear and shame (and, yes, loathing, to extend the Hunter Thompson analogy).

But fear first and foremost.

It seems counterintuitive, but journalists are some of the most risk-averse people around. Few of them are really entrepreneurs. Despite bohemian veneers, they have little daring. They work for somebody and that somebody calls the tune. “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one,” as the great A. J. Liebling reminded us many years ago.

Journalists fear for their jobs and their jobs are increasingly precarious. If they change their opinions, even investigate the possibility that the other side might have some reasons, quite often they are out the door. So not only do they toe the line, they are disinclined even to consider alternatives in their minds, consciously or unconsciously, because those alternatives are dangerous to their livelihood.

And now for shame. Despite what many may choose to think, journalists are not stupid. They are at least relatively educated. They have seen the same things we all have and know that the economy (the very heart of America) is failing. And they know deep down that they are responsible for some of it, because they bought and promoted Barack Obama as if he were a messiah without the slightest bit of vetting. Obama was anointed, not elected. To this day no one knows who he is, possibly even Obama himself.

And deep down these journos are embarrassed by this (who wouldn’t be?) but they can never never admit it. To do so would injure their self-image and self-respect to the level of personality disintegration.

So this shame is projected out in rage and, yes, loathing toward you, me, Mitt Romney, and anyone else who might deign to disagree with them. We are accused racists, homophobes, sexists, classists, any refugee of sixties group speak that might stick for ten minutes, even though they themselves are more likely to be those things. It is, after all, projection. Ideology is but a pretentious cover for rage.

So no wonder they behave as a shrill gang, banging metal drums like lost characters out of Gunter Grass, “Romney bad and rich! Romney bad and rich! Romney bad and rich!” ad tedium, ad nauseum, as if they were on David Axelrod’s payroll.

And in a sense they are. For to wander off the reservation is a road to penury. And who wants that now more than ever with the number of media jobs contracting?

Of course, the ones who are screwed by this song and dance are you and me — the American public. And no doubt some day the journalists themselves.

If Obama wins, they will rejoice on election day. But they will shortly be throwing up. In the words of Brillat-Savarin, “You are what you eat.” (Actually he said, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” — a yet more delicious irony.)


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


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)