Friday, November 02, 2012

High IQ as just one part of biological good functioning

I have for some years been putting forward evidence in favor of the view that high IQ is just one aspect of general biological good functioning.  I never thought to get the NYT on my side but you can read it below

FEW of us are as smart as we'd like to be. You're sharper than Jim (maybe) but dull next to Jane. Human intelligence varies - and this matters because smarter people generally earn more money, enjoy better health, raise smarter children, feel happier and, just to rub it in, live longer as well.

But where does intelligence come from? How is it built? Researchers have tried hard to find the answer in our genes. With the rise of inexpensive genome sequencing, they've analysed the genomes of thousands of people, looking for gene variants that clearly affect intelligence, and have found a grand total of two.

One determines the risk of Alzheimer's disease and affects IQ only late in life; the other seems to build a bigger brain, but on average it raises IQ by all of 1.29 points.

Other genetic factors may be at work. A report last year concluded that several hundred gene variants taken together seemed to account for 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the differences in intelligence among the 3500 subjects in the study.

But the authors couldn't tell which of these genes created any significant effect. When they tried to use the genes to predict differences in intelligence, they could account for only 1 per cent of the differences in IQ.

"If it's this hard to find an effect of just 1 per cent," Robert Plomin, a professor of behavioural genetics at King's College London, told New Scientist, "what you're really showing is that the cup is 99 per cent empty."

But is the genetic cup really empty, or are we just looking for the wrong stuff?

A developmental neurogeneticist Kevin Mitchell at Trinity College Dublin, thinks the latter. In an essay he published in July on his blog, Wiring the Brain, Mitchell proposed that instead of thinking about the genetics of intelligence, we should be trying to parse "the genetics of stupidity," as his title put it. We should look not for genetic dynamics that build intelligence, but for those that erode it.

The premise for this argument is that once natural selection generated the set of genes that build our big, smart human brains, those genes became "fixed" in the human population; virtually everyone receives the same set and precious few variants affect intelligence. This could account for the researchers' failure to find many variants of measurable effect.

But in some other genetic realms we do differ widely, for example, mutational load - the number of mutations we carry. This tends to run in families, which means some of us generate and retain more mutations than others do. Among our 23,000 genes, you may carry 500 mutations while I carry 1000.

Most mutations have no effect. But those that do are more likely to bring harm than good, Mitchell says , because "there are simply many more ways of screwing something up than of improving it".

Open the hood of a smooth-running car and randomly turn a few screws, and you'll almost certainly make the engine run worse than before. Likewise, mutations that change the brain's normal development or operation will probably slow it down. Smart Jane may be less a custom-built, high-performance model than a standard version pulling a smaller mutational load.

We also inherit - through genes yet to be identified, of course - a trait known as developmental stability. This is essentially the accuracy with which the genetic blueprint is built.

Developmental stability keeps the project on track. It reveals itself most obviously in physical symmetry. The two sides of our bodies and brains are constructed separately but from the same blueprint of 23,000 genes. If you have high developmental stability, you'll turn out highly symmetrical. Your feet will be the same shoe size, and the two sides of your face will be identical.

If you're less developmentally stable, you'll have feet up to a half size different and a face that's like two faces fused together. Doubt me? Take a digital image of your face and split it down the middle. Then make a mirror image copy of each half and attach it to its original. In the two faces you've just made - one your mirrored left side, the other your right - you'll behold your own developmental stability, or lack thereof.

Both those faces might be better looking than you are, for we generally find symmetrical faces more attractive. It also happens that symmetry and intelligence tend to run together, because both run with developmental stability. We may find symmetrical faces attractive because they imply the steadiness of genetic development, which creates valuable assets for choosing a mate, like better general fitness and, of course, intelligence - or as Mitchell might put it, a relative lack of stupidity.

These ideas don't strike geneticists as radical or contrary. A geneticist at Princeton University Leonid Kruglyak, who studies yeast and flatworms, noted that geneticists had long recognised that mutations could "throw sand in the gears of the brain" and that complex traits arose in complicated ways.

"Talking about 'a gene for a trait' is a shorthand at best," he wrote, "and a well-known fallacy at worst."

Mitchell agreed. "This isn't a brand new idea," he says. "But it's not one that has been generally adhered to in intelligence studies."

Not brand new, perhaps, but it's this kind of "inversion of thought" that can spark new approaches to intractable problems.

Dr Jay Giedd, who studies brain development at the US National Institutes of Health, has done research suggesting that the brain blooms through many small arcs of development that make it responsive to experience - and vulnerable to error. At first, he says, he was sceptical of Mitchell's idea. Then he discussed it with colleagues at a neuroscience meeting.

"My initial thought was that it would be easy to sink the argument," Giedd says. But the more they discussed it, the more sense it made. "Everybody I ran it by seemed to feel the logic is sound."



A pretty good summary

This is said to be a yard sign on the front yard of a home in Glenview, Illinois


It’s Obama’s record, not his race


The Washington Post, in giving President Barack Obama an endorsement for another four years, wrote Oct. 25, "Much of the 2012 presidential campaign has dwelt on the past, but the key questions are who could better lead the country during the next four years – and, most urgently, who is likelier to put the government on a more sound financial footing."

The suggestion appears to be that a president is not to be held accountable to his promises and past record and that his past record is no indication of his future behavior. Possibly, the Washington Post people believe that a black president shouldn't be held accountable to his record and campaign promises. Let's look at it.

What about Obama's pledge to cut the deficit in half during his first term in office? Instead, we saw the first trillion-dollar deficit ever, under any president of the United States. Plus, it has been followed by trillion-dollar deficits in every year of his administration. What about Obama's pledge of transparency, in which his legislative proposals would be placed on the Internet days before Congress voted on them so that Americans could inspect them? Obama's major legislative proposal, Obamacare, was enacted in such secrecy and with such speed that even members of Congress did not have time to read it.

Remember that it was Rep. Nancy Pelosi who told us, "But we have to pass the (health care) bill so that you can find out what is in it." What about Obama's stimulus packages and promises to get unemployment under control? The Current Employment Statistics program shows that in 2008, the total number of U.S. jobs was more than 138 million, compared with 133.5 million today. As Stanford University economics professor Edward Lazear summed it up, "there hasn't been one day during the entire Obama presidency when as many Americans were working as on the day President Bush left office."

While Obama's national job approval rating is a little less than 50 percent, among blacks his job approval is a whopping 88 percent. I'd like to ask people who approve of Obama's performance, "What has President Obama done during the past four years that you'd like to see more of in the next four years?"

Black support of politicians who have done little or nothing for their ordinary constituents is by no means unusual. Blacks are chief executives of major cities, such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Memphis, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Oakland, Newark, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

In most of these cities, the chief of police, the superintendent of schools and other high executives are black. But in these cities, black people, like no other sector of our population, suffer from the highest rates of homicides, assaults, robberies and shootings. Black high-school dropout rates in these cities are the highest in the nation. Even if a black youngster manages to graduate from high school, his reading, writing and computational proficiency is likely to be equivalent to that of a white seventh- or eighth-grader. That's even with school budgets per student being among the highest in the nation.

Last year, in reference to President Obama's failed employment policies and high unemployment among blacks, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House." That's a vision that seems to explain black tolerance for failed politicians – namely, if it's a black politician whose policies are ineffectual and possibly harmful to the masses of the black community, it's tolerable, but it's entirely unacceptable if the politician is white.

Black people would not accept excuses upon excuses and vote to re-elect decade after decade any white politician, especially a Republican politician, to office who had the failed records of our big-city mayors. What that suggests about black people is not very flattering.



The News Squashers

NBC's David Gregory isn't always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday's "Meet the Press," he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama's Libya response: "That attack went on for seven hours...[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours." Gregory cut her off: "We'll get to Libya a little bit later." Surprise: It never came up again.

It sounded a lot like 1999, when Gregory squashed RNC spokesman Cliff May on MSNBC as he tried to mention Juanita Broaddrick's rape charges against Bill Clinton. Or the obsequious 2008 moment when then-CNN anchor John Roberts promised Obama in an interview he would create a "Reverend Wright-Free Zone."

Too many in the "news" media think of themselves as a deputized PR Secret Service for Obama, just as they did for Clinton. They reject the concept of nonpartisanship. In their view, one side is credible, the other not. Why balance social service with greed? Tolerance with hate? Justice with oppression? There is right, and there is wrong, and there ought not to be a middle ground in enlightened journalism. There is only the light of truth.

It follows that they use their influence to protect the White House, to preserve the president's "political viability within the system," as they say. If, God forbid, Republicans win the presidency, these same "journalists" are justified in brawling and mauling to derail the GOP agenda. In fact, they're called to do so. It is, after all, the public's Right to Know.

Look across the Sunday shows that aired on the networks with nine days to go in the campaign. On most, there was a total avoidance of any scrutiny for Obama.

On ABC's "This Week," Newt Gingrich noted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's refusal to send assistance to Benghazi and ripped into Obama: "He's canceling trips over the hurricane. He did not cancel his trips over Benghazi." George Stephanopoulos moved on to another campaign question.

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Bob Schieffer asked John McCain about the hurricane, and which party might get hurt by it. McCain squeezed in Libya in his answer: "This tragedy turned into a debacle, and massive cover-up or massive incompetence in Libya is having an effect on the voter because of their view of the commander-in-chief. And it is now the worst cover-up or incompetence that I have ever observed in my life." Schieffer moved on.

Perhaps the worst performance in this sorry flock of sheep came from CNN's Candy Crowley. She'd enabled Obama's Libya lies by supporting him with a mangled "fact check" in the second debate, and learned nothing from the ensuing criticism -- or just refused to alter her position. She failed to ask Obama spinner David Axelrod anything about Libya. She punted. Then when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus arrived, she focused on GOP "gaffes," like Richard Mourdock sticking up for the humanity of a baby conceived in rape.

Crowley couldn't ask about Libya damage for Democrats, but she pounded Priebus about damage to those anti-woman Republicans: "Does it hurt the party image to have these issues out there in a way that makes the party or that is portrayed as making the party look unbending and, you know, anti-woman, as is described in the Obama ad?"

Notice how the media bashing of Mourdock and Todd Akin so perfectly matches the messaging of Obama's advertising?

Priebus stated the obvious -- no party has a monopoly on gaffes -- but the network news squashers specialize in ignoring the obvious. Obama and Biden can say the most foolish or obnoxious things, and the networks skip them. None of them, even Crowley, found it "anti-woman" when Arizona's Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona joked during a debate that his male moderator was "prettier" than Crowley.

Shameless Crowley just moved on to another alleged Republican "outrage." John Sununu implied that Colin Powell endorsed Obama in demonstration of racial solidarity.

On "Fox News Sunday," Brit Hume denounced the Libya squashers. "One of the problems we're having here is that it has fallen to this news organization, Fox News, and a couple of others to do all the heavy lifting on this story. The mainstream organs of the media that would be after this like a pack of hounds if this were a Republican president have been remarkably reticent."

In squashing Obama's failures for partisan reasons, these journalists share in the disgrace that Obama earned by coming clean instead of covering up. They share the cover-up. If their man is defeated as a result of his horrific record, these media guardians should share in that defeat as well.




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


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, November 01, 2012

Why Liberals Think What They Do

Victor Davis Hanson touches on some of the emoting behind liberalism below and gets it pretty right.  In a way, though, he puts the cart before the horse.  The real question is what Leftism/liberalism IS.

My proposal is that liberalism is the interconnected emotions of rage/anger/hate.  People who are in the grip of such motives ARE  Leftists/liberals.  Why they feel that way can vary but it is rage at the world about them that unites them and makes them Leftists.  What they think all comes from that primitive emotion, not from any rationality.  Hence the strange thinking that Hanson outlines.  Their thinking is what is needed to justify their hates, nothing else.  They just close their mind to any logic or reality that conflicts with that need

For a good current example of the hate and rage that motivates the Left,  see here. -- JR
Exemption from guilt

Liberals believe that abstract caring allows them seclusion and cocooning in the real, material world. Private schools, tony upscale suburbs, nice Volvos and Lexus SUVs, jet travel to Tuscany, a fine Napa $100 wine, Harvard or Stanford for junior — all that reeks of privilege and exclusivity, and can prompt remorse. In some sense, Costa del Sol and Martha’s Vineyard, like John Kerry’s yacht or John Edwards’ home, are antithetical to the entire liberal value system. But if one is loudly for “pay-your-fair-share” higher taxes, or for affirmative action, or for more deficit spending, then one feels absolved from guilt over his isolated privilege — and can enjoy it without lamentation. And if one makes enough money not to worry about a few more taxes or fees, then a mind at peace is a pretty good deal. Lots of those who now reside in Portola Valley and the Berkeley hills helped to promote policies whose deleterious results fell on distant others, out of mind, out of sight, far away in Porterville and Stockton.  Liberalism is an elite person’s psychological investment in enjoying a guilt-free affluence.


Large percentages of the population now work for government — federal, state, or local. Millions more are divorced from the tragic world of mining or drilling where nature is unforgiving. That distance has allowed Americans in droves to disengage from both the private sector, where one either makes a profit or goes broke, and the grimy processes by which we live one more day. A San Francisco professor, a Monterey lawyer, and a Sacramento bureaucrat do not know how hard it is to raise beef, grow peaches, find and pump oil and gas, and haul logs out of the forest and into Home Depot as smooth lumber, or what it takes to build a small Ace Hardware business. The skills needed to keep a 7-Eleven viable in a rough neighborhood, I confess, dwarf those of the classics professor.

In the elite liberal mind, there is instead a sort of progressive Big Rock Candy Mountain. Gasoline comes right out of the ground through the nozzle into the car. Redwood 2x4s sprout from the ground like trees. Apples fall like hail from the sky; stainless steel refrigerator doors are mined inches from the surface. Tap water comes from some enormous cistern that traps rain water.  Finished granite counter tops materialize on the show room floor. Why, then, would we need Neanderthal things like federal gas and oil leases, icky dams and canals, yucky power plants, and gross chain saws — and especially those who would dare make and use them?

Anger, envy, and the primordial emotions

For some, especially those who are well-educated and well-spoken, a sort of irrational furor at “the system” governs their political make-up. Why don’t degrees and vocabulary always translate into big money? Why does sophisticated pontification at Starbucks earn less than mindlessly doing accounting behind a desk? We saw this tension with Michelle Obama who, prior to 2009, did not quite have enough capital to get to Aspen or Costa del Sol, and thereby, despite the huge power-couple salaries, Chicago mansion, and career titles, felt that others had far too much more than the Obamas. “Never been proud,” “downright mean country,” “raise the bar,” etc., followed, as expressions of yuppie angst. The more one gets, the more one believes he should get even more, and the angrier he gets that another — less charismatic, less well-read, less well-spoken — always seems to get more.

So do not discount the envy of the sophisticated elite. The unread coal plant manager, the crass car dealer, or the clueless mind who farms 1000 acres of almonds should not make more than the sociology professor, the kindergarten teacher, the writer, the artist, or the foundation officer. What sort of system would allow the dense and easily fooled to become better compensated (and all for what — for superfluous jet skis and snowmobiles?) than the anguished musician or tortured-soul artist, who gives so much to us and receives so much less in return? What a sick country — when someone who brings chain saws into the Sierra would make more than a UC Berkeley professor who would stop them.


Finally, we come to a small subset that simply does not like America’s wealth and capitalism, supremacy overseas, and ubiquitous global culture — or at least believes that anything not his own must be far better (an oikophobia or hatred of one’s own household). He bores us with lectures on the wonderful EU, the superior La familia romance of Latin America, the “it takes a village” values of Africa, or the Cairo speech mythologies of the Middle East.  Because America is so affluent, it allows so many the luxury to dream of how our wealth is so ill-gotten — as long as quiet others in the shadows ensure that life remains pretty good in San Francisco and Madison. Contrarianism is an innate characteristic, but one indulged without risk, only when the larger tribe is safe and secure.

In short, twenty-first century elite liberalism has become a psychological condition, not a serious blueprint on how to solve real problems. The president knows that — and so without ideas has been reduced to name-calling and sermons on Big Bird.



Americans in Benghazi could have been saved  -- except that Obama said No

The news is breaking today but there is a small bit that is being overlooked.  According to the statements from Fox News:

"The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators."

Everyone is reporting this but they are missing a key point.  From the retired Delta operator:

"Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.

One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target.  That means that Specter WAS ON STATION!  Probably an AC130U.  A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser.  You do not "paint" a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station."

Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.

If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.

If that SEAL was actively "painting" a target; something was on station to engage!  And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!  This is far bigger than Watergate.

The second worst feeling in the world has to be the platform crew being desperately asked for help, given a clear target and then having to stand down and watch your fellow Americans die.

The worst has to be the team on the ground knowing that the President just left you to die.

Update:  Even with two Predators on station, one unarmed and filming and one armed, the call to stand down comes from the same sources.  Earlier today, Bob Owens at PJ Media posts about the responsibility of the order to call off the mission as well as some good info about the AC130s on station.



Defence Dept. Won’t Label Fort Hood Shootings as Terrorist Attack

Already facing intense scrutiny for its shifting narrative about the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, the Pentagon now says it will not reclassify the Fort Hood shootings as a terrorist attack over concern about biasing the case against the gunman -- an argument that is getting a mixed review from legal specialists.

Late Friday, after 160 victims of the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting called on the Pentagon to label the attack terrorism instead of workplace violence as it has for the past three years, the Department of Defense said it would not reclassify the attack.

In rejecting the victims outcry, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's spokesman cited concern that having the government weigh in could bias the case against Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 42, who is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted.

When asked how Mr. Panetta plans to respond to the victims, his spokesman took a day and a half to respond, eventually emailing a statement Friday night.

"The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of Major Nadal Hassan and for that reason will not further characterize, at this time, the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in the statement. "Major Hassan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder, and 32 counts of attempted murder. As with all pending UCMJ matters, the accused is innocent until proven guilty."

But Mark Zaid, a national security law expert who sued Libya for the 1988 terrorism bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, said he doubted the government's hesitancy to designate the Fort Hood assault terrorism was really motivated by concern about prejudicing his trial.

"I find that a little difficult to believe," he said. "If that was the case, than how in the world would the Pentagon prosecute any terrorism case? There is a process in any case -- whether military or civilian -- to deal with any potential bias of a juror. It's a fundamental part of the judicial system to ensure that juries are impartial."

When presenting its case against Maj. Hasan, prosecutors will undoubtedly point to email chains between the defendant and al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, Mr. Zaid noted.

"There's clearly going to be terrorist angles in the process," he said. "And calling it terror is not going to change the nature of the incident or the [jurors'] knowledge about it."

Jeffrey F. Addicott, the director for Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, accused the Pentagon of "playing word games" just days before Monday night's final debate between President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney in which foreign policy was the main focus.

Acknowledging Maj. Hasan's alleged shooting spree as a major terrorism attack on the homeland "destroys the administration's narrative that al Qaeda is winding down" and there is a diminishing threat of a terrorist attack occurring on U.S. soil, Mr. Addicott said.

"This war against al Qaeda is not localized to Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the problem here is that we have many people who are not members of al Qaeda but they are infected with the virus of radical Islam," he said. "To say that Hasan was not motivated by radical Islamic extremism is absurd."

But David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a former fellow at the Center for National Security Law, strongly disagreed.

Labeling the shootings workplace violence instead of terrorism, he said, "makes perfect sense" because it's a simple cut-and-dried murder case without getting into the complexities of the military's law of war and whether it's appropriate to consider Maj. Hasan an unlawful combatant.

"The Department of Defense is being cautious but correct in proceeding with its case that this is an ordinary service member who is being prosecuted for a very serious crime," he said. "A military individual pulls out a gun and shoots. It's not necessary to get into motivation to prove that basic offense."

Reclassifying the shootings as a terrorist attack, could very well reset the whole case as the defense tries to obstruct and delay as much as possible, he added.

Last week a coalition of 160 victims and family members in the deadly rampage at the military post in Killeen, Texas, nearly three years ago called on the administration to reclassify the attack as terrorism, citing the suspect’s ties to al Qaeda and his radical Islamist beliefs.

The assault at Fort Hood left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded by gunshots, and officially designating the attack as terrorism would make service-member victims eligible for Purple Heart medals, and, the victims say, grant them access to medical care and benefits similar to what soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan would receive.

In the past month, many of the Fort Hood victims watched the Obama administration’s changing statements about the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and apparent reticence to label the attack in Libya terrorism until weeks later and drew parallels to the government’s reaction to the assault in Texas.

Nearly three years after the shootings, several government and separate independent investigations uncovered evidence that the FBI knew Maj. Hasan was emailing with al-Awlaki before the shootings and did nothing to intervene.

According to authorities, Maj. Hasan also followed al-Awlaki’s advice to scream "Allah akbar" ("God is great") to invoke fear before starting to shoot. Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 by a drone airstrike in Yemen.




Hurricanes are nature’s Keynesianism:  "It was inevitable that with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, various economic pundits would speculate on its effects on 'the economy.' Needless to say, some were saying that the hurricane would boost spending—both at the retail and then reconstruction level -- and in that sense might actually provide a lift to GDP. The whole episode is yet another reminder that old fallacies die hard in economics."

Another counterproductive ban:  " It's perplexing for both police and lawmakers throughout the U.S.: They want to do something about the danger of texting while driving, a major road hazard, but banning the practice seems to make it even more dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 3 of every 4 states that have enacted a ban on texting while driving have seen crashes actually go up rather than down.  It's hard to pin down exactly why this is the case, but experts believe it is a result of people trying to avoid getting caught in states with stiff penalties. Folks trying to keep their phones out of view will often hold the phone much lower, below the wheel perhaps, in order to keep it out of view. That means the driver's eyes are looking down and away from the road."

Another excuse for government bites the dust:  "One morning last week the recycling truck came hurtling down the street. Only one family in our neighborhood, so far as I can tell, dutifully sorts their glass, plastic and other stuff into the red, white and blue bins. The trash men throw the contents of all three into the gaping maw at the back of their truck."



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


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, October 31, 2012

Hindsight bias

The economy, “super PAC” money, debate performances, the candidates’ personalities. Roll it all together, and it’s obvious who’s going to win.

Or, uh, it will be.  Amid the many uncertainties of next Tuesday’s presidential election lies one sure thing: Many people will feel in their gut that they knew the result all along. Not only felt it coming, but swear they predicted it beforehand — remember? — and probably more than once.

These analysts won’t be hard to find. They will most likely include (in addition to news media pundits) neighbors, friends, co-workers and relatives, as well as the person whose reflection appears in the glare of the laptop screen. Most will also have a ready-made argument for why it was inevitable that Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama, won — displaying the sort of false, after-the-fact “foresight” that psychologists call hindsight bias.


OK:  I'll make MY prediction beforehand, at the risk of being a "Nimrod". Romney will win as a beneficiary of the Bradley effect -- JR.


Does Obama Have White Voter “Problem”?

Some polls have found that white support for President Obama has dropped to unprecedentedly low levels, and this topic is getting no end of media attention. Gawker wrote “Gee, White Voters really don’t like Barack Obama. Huh.”

But this misses a central point: Since the mid-1970’s Democrats have had a white voter “problem.” Obama is a Democrat. This is by far the best lens through which to view white support for Obama.  Conversely, it is also the best lens through which to view black support for Obama.  For example, LBJ received essentially the same level of black support in 1964 as did Obama in 2008.

This is not to say that race doesn’t matter or that Obama’s race wasn’t important in 2008.  It might have been.  It’s just to say that party is much more important in understanding Obama’s white racial gap.

A recent Washington Post poll found a 21-point gap in white support between Romney and Obama. But we have to put this one poll in context.  In 2008, Obama garnered about 43% of the white vote. This was the high water mark for Democratic presidential candidates since Jimmy Carter in 1976 – not coincidentally about the time in which party polarization starts to take hold in the U.S.  Put differently, Obama received as much or more white voter support than Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter (1980), and even Bill Clinton (see the data here or see the historical chart in the Post piece here).

What about the white voter “gap?” From CNN’s article yesterday, “Obama in 08 became the first presidential candidate ever to lose whites by double digits and win,” suggesting Obama has a particular white voter problem separate from white Democratic candidates. First, this is not true.  Clinton’s white voter gap in 1992 (including Perot supporters) was 21 points. In1996? 14 points. Second, Obama is the only other Democrat besides Clinton to win a national election since 1976. How did the Democratic losers do? Kerry’s gap was about 17 points. Gore’s gap was around 12 points. Obama’s gap in 2008? 12 points

Even in the South the data do not back up the white voter bias claim. Relative to Kerry, Obama did a little worse in some Southern states (Alabama, for example), but a little better or equally well in others (Georgia and North Carolina, for example).

What about the polls in 2012? Here is the Romney/Obama white voter gap in June: Gallup, 16-17 points; CNN, 14; Fox News, 16; Ipsos-Reuters, 15; Pew, 13. These are all in line with the historical pattern for Democrats. In October, as the race tightened, the gap widened, but has still been very much in line with past Democratic performance: IBD/TIPP, 15 points; ABC/WaPo, 21 (two weeks before it was 11 points), Fox News, 19; Pew, 21; CBS, 14.

Has Obama’s white support gone down since 2008?  Probably. But does he have a white voter “problem?” Probably not. Even if he does, it is not an Obama problem. It has more to do with the fact that he is a Democratic incumbent running during a struggling economy.  So how should we think about race and the 2012 election?

* Obama is likely get between 38% and 43% of the national white vote.

* This will fit within the historical pattern of Democrats since 1976.

* Racial attitudes are already baked into the partisan cake, thus racial bigots on the left and right made their partisan choices a long time ago and will dance with whoever brought them to the party on Election Day.

* Obama’s white voter problem is the Democrat’s white voter problem. Indeed, he has performed better with this group than any national Democrat since the era of party polarization began.



Should governments Be Allowed to Steal Your Property?

I’ve already written about the despicable practice of “civil forfeiture,” which allows governments to confiscate the property of innocent people who have not been convicted of any crime.

And I’ve cited great columns on the issue from George Will and John Stossel., as well a sobering report on the topic from the Wall Street Journal.  Now the Institute for Justice has a video that should outrage any decent person.

It’s examples of government thuggery like this that make me a libertarian. You should be one as well.  If you need more convincing, check out these horror stories of statist abuse.

* A story of vicious IRS persecution.

* A women jailed overnight because she let her kids play outside.

* Threatening to send a woman to jail because someone whistled at a whale.

* Two stories of innocent people who were victimized by the idiotic Drug War.

* A video about how the EPA tried – and fortunately failed – to destroy a family.

* A story about the Justice Department’s discriminatory attack on a hapless homeowner.

* The government treating child molesters more leniently than people who accidentally omit irrelevant info from forms

* Putting a store out of business for selling toy guns.

* Regulations making it difficult for trucking firms to weed out drunk drivers.

* Year-long sting operations by federal milk police.

* Rules harassing coffee shops with bikini-clad sales staff.

* OSHA requirements for expensive safety harnesses for people working 11 feet off the ground.

* Rules from the EEOC for “pee-shy” employees.

* The IRS making banks put foreign tax law above US tax law.

Remember, if government is the answer, you’ve asked a very strange question.

More HERE  (See the original for links)


Obama’s War on Women… and Intelligence

When President Obama started talking about “shovel-ready jobs,” who knew he was talking about the shovels needed to dig a hole deep enough to lower the bar to a level his campaign could clear. As if his campaign of “Romnesia,” Big Bird and “binders” wasn’t desperate enough, the stench of desperation was turned up to 11 yesterday.

To Democrats it seems women are nothing more than hyper-fertile vaginas on a constant quest for sex, contraception and abortions. What else has the president’s campaign addressed? No appeals to women on jobs, even as they suffer an obscenely high unemployment rate. Despite all the talk of equal pay, no accountability or attempt to rectify or explain the Obama administration paying women 18 percent less than men.

They think women don’t care the administration ignored both pleas for more security before the attacks that killed four Americans in Libya and cries for help during the attack. They don’t think women care about Obama’s unwillingness to answer a direct question about it, or that he ordered an investigation into it while the seven-hour attack what happening. And they really don’t think women will find it odd he demanded those attacking Americans be brought “to justice” after the attack rather than bombing them beforehand when he had the chance.

Nope, for women it’s been, “Here’s some free birth control, now shut up and vote for me.” And “There’s a war on women, and Republicans are responsible.” Disgusting.

And now we have the latest salvo in the Democrats’ real war on women.

The Obama campaign released a new ad featuring actress Lena Dunham talking about her “first time.” For those of you who don’t know, Dunham is in HBO’s mildly amusing show “Girls,” which is set in Brooklyn and has been widely criticized for managing to not have any minority characters in the heart of America’s melting pot.

Her “first time” refers to her first time voting, and voting for Barack Obama. But it’s done in a double-entendre way that is beneath the office of the president.

I love a good double-entendre joke as much as anyone. But this is just trashy and exposes even further the lack of respect Democrats show women.

Dunham says your first time should be with “A great guy.” So what to her and the Obama campaign constitutes “a great guy”? It seems it’s “A guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control.”

The use of the word “specifically” is what’s most telling. The ad is absurd and sickening, but that line takes the cake. Honestly, that’s what constitutes “a great guy” to liberals? “I know you don’t have a job, but I’m paying for your birth control, and we all know that’s what really matters to you. Here’s the pill, now let’s get it on.”

It’s like Democrats want women in the bedroom – barefoot but not pregnant. Women, real, intelligent women, want more from life.

So who does this ad target? Allahpundit at asks the question of a campaign that produces an ad like this, “Do they think women are too stupid to appreciate a straightforward pitch on the issues?”  They must.

Dunham also lists Obama’s support for gay marriage as a reason why he should be your “first.” But the joke is on her, because the President told MTV, after raising millions off his support, that he’ll do exactly zero about it, that gay marriage is a state issue.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades website points out how this sort of superficial pap appeals to the president’s base. He writes, “It underlines the essential triviality of Obama and his Government Client & Upper Upper Class White Voter agenda. There is nothing to his campaign except very small social-progressive appeals to people who are simply not affected by the economy, whether they are too poor to notice a bad economy, immunized from the economy by being a government worker, or so rich they have nothing at all to fear from a bad economy.”

Most Americans, of course, don’t fit into those categories. Most are suffering in Obama’s economy.

But in an election when turning out the base could be everything, making an appeal to that group, particularly young people, makes sense. And considering the un-and-under-employment of recent college graduates is about 50 percent, an appeal on policy or accomplishment is out of the question. So you end up with something incredibly stupid and un-presidential like this ad that harkens back to a panned and quickly retracted campaign picture that implored women to “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.” Because, to Democrats, that’s all you are.

Come to think of it, considering the unemployment rate for the targeted group is 50 percent and the incredible, crushing debt they’ll inherit from this president, maybe birth control and contraception should be a priority for every young person. After all, if Barack Obama wins a second term and it’s anything like his “first,” we’re all getting completely screwed.



More than one cliff facing Americans

You’ve heard talk about “the fiscal cliff.” But that definite article is misleading. We’re headed towards more than one such cliff.

This coming January, if Congress and the president fail to take action, every American who pays income taxes will pay more. Also set to increase? Payroll taxes, which every worker pays.

And an increase in taxes is the very opposite of a “stimulus” to the economy. Hence “the cliff” metaphor.

But even if we can avoid falling off those cliffs, another threatens.

It has been identified by finance professors Robert Novy-Marx at the University of Rochester and Joshua Rauh at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who summarized for The Washington Post their recent research paper, “The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises,” in which they essayed to determine...
"how much additional money would have to be devoted annually to state and local pension systems to achieve full funding in 30 years, a standard period over which governments target fully funded pensions. . . . How much will your taxes have to increase? We found that, on average, a tax increase of $1,385 per U.S. household per year would be required, starting immediately and growing with the size of the public sector. An alternative would be public-sector budget cuts of a similar magnitude, or a combination of tax increases and cuts adding up to this amount."
But that $1,385 figure is only an average. “New York taxpayers would need to contribute more than $2,250 per household per year over the next 30 years,” according to their analysis. “In Oregon, the amount is $2,140; in Ohio, it is $2,051; in New Jersey, $2,000.”

If we don’t get the problem under control, this cliff keeps getting higher, making, as the professors put it, “the $1,385 per-household increase required today seem cheap.”

How did we find ourselves on top of such a steep fiscal cliff?

Well, that brings us back to politicians. These are the folks we vote into office at the state and local level. They face similar pressures that politicians in Washington, DC, face. Whatever their intentions when going into office, while there they are surrounded not by normal citizens, but by state functionaries, by “public servants.” And these are awfully nice people who any reasonable person wants to help. So, when politicians sit down with government employee union reps and the head bureaucrats, to determine rates of compensation, including “benefits,” it’s awfully tempting to be generous.

With our money.  With money the politicians haven’t collected yet, in taxes, and we haven’t even made yet, in our salaries and profits and the like.




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


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, October 30, 2012

A Case Study In Incompetence

(Or was it cowardice -- fear of offending Muslims?  Better for Americans to die?  Appeasement? -- JR)

Myriad are the failures of the Obama administration, but none is more tragic, or more frightening, or more foreboding of catastrophe than the appalling mishandling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

Details continue to leak, but it’ll be hard to top the bombshell from Fox News at week’s end reporting that repeated urgent requests for military help during the attack were summarily denied — for hours.

In those hours, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was killed after he chose to disobey an order to “stand down” — and rushed to aid his fellow Americans.

This is not explained by the “fog of war” excuse so lamely offered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — or the “Monday-morning quarterbacking” whining of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

It’s well established that the Benghazi consulate had been denied adequate security in the days leading up to the attack. But the new report suggests an astonishing lack of competence, or maybe it was cowardice, as a US ambassador and his team were coming under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.

Jennifer Griffin, a veteran Fox News defense correspondent, reported Friday that there were two urgent requests — hours apart — for help during the attack.

Special-ops teams and air cover were readily available, and could’ve been on the scene in less than two hours. (The attack lasted for more than six hours.)

In fact, two surveillance drones were deployed — both capable of relaying real-time visuals of what was happening.  But urgent requests for help were rejected — even when Woods and two others radioed that they had a laser fixed on the terrorists who were firing mortars and called in their coordinates.

Woods and another former SEAL, Glen Doherty, were killed by a mortar shell about six hours after the initial assault began.

“My son . . . responded to the cries for help and voluntarily sacrificed his life to protect the lives of other Americans,” says his father, Charles Woods.  “This has nothing to do with politics,” he added. “This has to do with integrity and honor. My son showed moral courage.”

True enough, surprise attacks happen.  But the failure to respond — leaving an American diplomat and his security team to their fate — defies comprehension.

This, even as e-mails show the State Department and White House Situation Room knew within the first couple of hours that an al Qaeda affiliate was publicly claiming responsibility.

But how could that be?  Hadn’t al Qaeda been defanged by SEAL Team 6 when it took out Osama bin Laden — and didn’t the president have the victory laps to prove it?  Well, apparently not.

So Obama & Co. stuck with the untenable claim that the Benghazi strike wasn’t a terrorist attack at all, but a “spontaneous” mob assault prompted by that anti-Muslim video.

Indeed, says Woods, Clinton vowed to him at a White House meeting that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.”  And don’t you just know, the “person . . . that did the video” is in jail, on a very dubious probation-violation charge. (So it seems the administration can follow through on some things when it chooses.)

Equally offensive was the bizarre remark at the same event by a “loud and boisterous” Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly asked Woods, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”  This man is a heartbeat away?

Compare that crudity with Charles Woods’ outraged dignity: “I wish that the leadership in the White House had the same level of moral courage and heroism that my son displayed.”  He wants “the person or persons who made the decision to sacrifice my son’s life to stand up” — and accept responsibility.

Not going to happen.  Not in this administration.  Acknowledging what really happened in Benghazi would mean confessing to hubris, incompetence, amateurism and deceit.  These are, sadly, Obama hallmarks.

So, what does the president have to say for himself?  “Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” Obama told a reporter Friday.  Forty-seven days late and four lives short, sad to say.

So add cluelessness to the bill of Obama particulars — which goes a long way toward explaining the clouds of acrid smoke hanging over the entire Middle East.

As does nature, statecraft abhors a vacuum. When one develops, adventurers and advantage-takers appear in short order.

Iran continues to build its bomb; Syria burns; Turkey awaits its fate, and Egypt is looking at a Muslim Brotherhood-enforced Sharia state.  Think of it as Benghazi writ large.

Time to evict the deceiving amateurs.



Obama’s False Jobs Creation Claims

President Obama has lately been touting the amazing claim that he’s created 5.2 million new jobs as President. His fantastic claim is featured in a new TV. But says, not so fast. Those claims are “inflated,” to say the least.

FactCheck notes that the 5.2 million claim is accurate, such as it is. But what makes it “inflated” is that the jobs number refers only to jobs created after 2010 and does not include the 4.3 million that were lost earlier in Obama’s term.

Further, according to FactCheck, Obama’s number counts only private-sector jobs and does not include the “continuing losses” of jobs in the government sector as state and local jurisdictions find their budgets so over spent that pink slips have resulted.

FactCheck goes on to note that far from an actual gain of 5.2 million, once earlier losses are removed, Obama has in fact only realized some 967,000 jobs which includes a credit of 453,000 private-sector jobs which will be added through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) benchmarking process.

FactCheck also slaps Obama for his website claim that Mitt Romney said he thought the end of the war in Iraq was “tragic.” Romney did not actually say this at all. What Romney actually said was that the pace of Obama’s troop withdrawal was tragic. He never said ending a war was tragic.

Here is what Romney actually said:

"The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate. It’s more than unfortunate. I think it’s tragic. It puts at risk many of the victories that were hard-won by the men and women who have served there. I hope the risk is not realized. I hope instead that the Iraqis are able to pick up the baton, and despite the fact that we will have walked away on a too-rapid basis."

Even The New York Times has this fact correct.

These aren’t the only outright lies Obama has been repeating ad nauseum both on the campaign trail and in his TV ads. Obama continues, for instance, to claim that Mitt Romney has proposed a “$5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy.” This is, of course, an outright fantasy as Patrick Brennan reported earlier this month.

That isn’t all. Obama has issued a passel-full of lies about Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals, as well.

For more, John Nolte has also explored Obama’s constant campaign trail lies about Mitt Romney.

It seems it’s been one lie after another for team Obama since the beginning.



Obama Calls Mitt Romney a BSer? Now That’s Funny!

Doug Giles

You know what’s funny? In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Obama called Mitt Romney a “bullsh*tter” … that’s what’s funny.

Now, it’s not funny in a ha-ha sense but funny in a you-gotta-be-kidding-me sense of the word. Obama accusing Romney of bunkum? Talk about the putz calling the kettle black.

Obama’s entire life and rise to power have been nothing more than a Texas-sized stockyard of ripe and foul compost. This man makes Machiavelli look lame. Hussein trades so heavily in BS that the Oxford Dictionary has now included his last name as a synonym for bollocks. I also hear OJ take notes when Obama speaks.

In addition, I’ve learned from reliable sources that a Las Vegas-based energy company is at work now trying to convert Obama’s gaseous rhetoric, his scat-laced hollow promises and his abysmal jobs record into an alternative fuel source to light up the Strip.

So exactly what is this thing called “bullsh*t” of which Obama is a ninja? Well, you can call it BS, bull crap, or the nicer sounding Latin term “stercore tauri,” or simply bull, bull roar, bull-pucky, bovine scat, horse feathers, horse hockey, poppycock, cow dung, Chris Matthews, bollocks, gobbledygook, gibberish, humbug, fisk, nonsense, evening news, tall tale, pseudo-intellectualism, propaganda, fiction, lie, bunkum, spin, or truthiness.

Whatever you want to call it, BS can be defined as communications in which reality and truthfulness aren’t nearly as vital as the ability to manipulate the audience to get it to do whatever one wants done. And here’s where Obama rocks with the tofu-brained masses.

BS is essentially all skewed, spun, knowingly dubious, carefully framed, pretentious, misleading or vacuous statements. Now, “BS” does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication; with only basic knowledge about a topic, BS is often used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about the topic by feigning total certainty or making probable predictions. It may also merely be “filler” or nonsense that, by virtue of its style or wording, gives the impression that it actually means something:

    "In popular explanations of philosophy, the word “bullsh*t” is used to denote utterances and speech acts which do not add to the meaning of the set of sentences uttered, but which are added purely to persuade goobers of the validity or importance of other utterances.

    The accuracy of the information is irrelevant whilst “bullsh*tting.” Whether true or false, BS is the intention to distort the information or to otherwise achieve a desirable outcome, making BS a close cousin to rhetoric as Plato conceived it" (paraphrased from Harry Frankfurt’s book, On Bullsh*t).

Do you need a few examples of how Obama has piled it high, wide and deep on Americans’ noggins? You do? Check out these smelly bullet points from our innovative BSer-In-Chief from a recent email I received …

Obama’s the first President to:

    - Apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

    - Have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

    - Go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayer.

    - Preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.

    - Have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

    - Keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.

    - Repeat the Holy Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.

    - Violate the War Powers Act.

    - Be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

    - Defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

    - Require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

    - Spend a trillion dollars on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs.

    - Abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

    - Bypass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

    - Order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.

    - Demand a company hand over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

    - Terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.

    - Arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

    - Threaten insurance companies if they publicly speak out on the reasons for their rate increases.

    - Tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.

    - File lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

    - Withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

    - Fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

    - Appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office.

    - Golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office (100+ to date).

    - Hide his medical, educational and travel records.

    - Win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

    - Go on multiple global “apology tours.”

    - Take a 17-day vacation.

And Romney’s a bullsh*tter? Please. Go sell crazy somewhere else. Even Letterman called him on it this week.

A juicy whopper missing from that list is how Obama loves the woman voter and yet strangely voted “present” (read against) in ‘99 for a bill that would protect sexual assault victims from having the details of their cases revealed publicly.

And lastly—and most ghastly—regarding how Obama has lied what’s left of his backside off to we the people comes the Benghazi massacre, which keeps growing grosser, more malevolent and insidious with each passing day.

For Barack to say Romney is a bullsh*tter in light of Obama’s own weapons-grade bullsh*t is, well … bullsh*t.


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



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, October 29, 2012

The ugly face of Leftist Jew-haters

Yes, this cartoon is of a Jewish banker – as tired as it is poisonous. The caricatured features remind one of Nazi newspapers or any number of modern Arab publications. But, actually, this one wasn’t found in any of the obvious places. It was posted to a Facebook page set up to support Occupy Wall Street.

Remember those idiots? Naive, grubby, pathetic – but anti-Semitic as well? The answer is that, no, most of the Occupy activists were raging smelly bores rather than racists; but a minority did have a thing about Jews, and still do. In fact, if you search YouTube, you can find videos of protesters saying things like: “Those Zionist Jews that run our big banks? They need to be run out of this country.” Funnily enough, though, the Occupy-friendly mainstream media soft-pedalled this one.



America's  Liar President

Dorothy Rabinowitz, one of the best writers of our time, encapsulated the Obama Presidency perfectly in Monday's Wall Street Journal. She wrote:
In the 1967 film "A Guide for the Married Man," a husband, played by a peerless Walter Matthau, is given lessons in ways to cheat on his wife safely: "Deny! Deny! Deny!" -- no matter what. In an instructive scene, he's shown a wife undone by shock, and screaming, with good reason: She has just walked in on her husband making love to a glamorous stranger. "What are you doing," she wails, "who is that woman?" "What woman, where?" the husband serenely counters, as he and the tart in question get out of bed and calmly dress.

So the scene proceeds, with the distraught wife pointing to the woman she clearly sees before her, while her husband, unruffled, continues to look blankly at her, asking, "What woman?" Confused by her spouse's unblinking assurance, she gives up. Two minutes later she's asking him what he'd like for dinner.
That is the Obama White House communications strategy exactly. I don't want to call the President a liar. I have used the term "Calculated Deception" many times before to describe it. But now it has come to the point where history will remember him as "the Liar President." That is not my fault. I am only discussing reality.

Dereliction of Duty

We can see this in the debates. In the second debate, he told the American people with a straight face that he had confessed the very next day in the Rose Garden that the murder of the Libyan ambassador and four other Americans in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Obama told the American people, with his straight Walther Matthau face, "The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."

But the truth is that the State Department, the CIA, and the White House itself all had access to real time video of exactly what happened. No doubt as word spread as to what was happening, the top levels of the Administration all tuned into the events, watching them all unfold in real time. So why is he telling us in the debate that "we are going to find out exactly what happened?" Intelligence made a full report within 24 hours.

An incredulous Mitt Romney exclaimed, "I think [it's] interesting the President just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said this was an act of terror." "That's what I said," Obama lied in response. Romney seeing the discrepancy with reality, noted "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the President 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror." Obama replied, "Get the transcript."

Then, as if in a pre-arranged ambush, the supposed moderator "Candy" Crowley piped up and said to Romney "He did in fact, sir." To further demonstrate his mastery over the Democrat party-controlled media, Obama ordered live in the debate for every American to see, "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" Crowley stood at attention and reported "He did call it an act of terror."

The reason this was so obviously pre-arranged is that the transcript in fact does not back up what Obama fantasized and Crowley "reported." The transcript shows Obama mentioned terrorism in regard to 9/11, not Benghazi. Talk about calculated deception!

It took Romney alone among the three to correct the record, saying, "The Administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.... It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group."

Obama interrupted, appealing for a further bailout, by his plant, "Candy?" But Romney cut off his interruption, "Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how this was a spontaneous..." But Obama interrupted again to appeal for help, "Candy, I'm happy to have a longer conversation about foreign policy." Crowley took her cue again, "I know you, absolutely, but I want to move you on...." For the first time honestly, a relieved Obama said, "OK. I'm happy to do that too."

We all saw for 14 days with our own eyes not only Obama but his whole Administration perpetuating the fairy tale that the Benghazi murders were all due to some amateur 14 minute film trailer on YouTube, just as Matthau's wife in the movie saw him in bed with another woman. We saw Obama's UN Ambassador Susan Rice repeat this myth on five Sunday talk shows almost a week after the event. We saw Obama at the UN telling the whole world that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to a previously unknown amateur video.

Obama continued his prevarication on this tragedy in the third debate Monday, saying about the Benghazi murders, "With respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure those Americans still in harm's way...." We could use the White House phone logs on that one. Because while the attack that culminated in the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens went on for hours, the U.S. Air Force was just one hour flight time away, in Sicily. But it was apparently too much to rouse them for a rescue, attacking and scattering the terrorist attackers.

Moreover, whatever President Obama did order in response, it was not only way too little, but way too late, because the Administration had been receiving requests from the Ambassador for additional security in an increasingly dangerous environment since February. But the requests were denied. Even on the anniversary of 9/11, when the heightened danger should have been obvious, no additional security was provided. Obama and the liberal softies in his Administration did not want to offend Muslim sensibilities with additional show of force. That is why the American guards were denied even ammunition for their guns, and the Administration was relying on Libyan security, even when Ambassador Stevens had reported that government security forces were outmanned and outgunned by the Islamist extremists.

Ambassador Stevens and the Marines and other American personnel killed with him volunteered to serve their country. They did not volunteer to be abandoned and murdered. President Obama's failure to provide the requested security, or roust available U.S. forces for a rescue, can only be described as dereliction of duty.

Unilateral Disarmament

In Monday's debate, President Obama says that Governor Romney "wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military's not asking for." But the leaders of the military he is talking about serve at his pleasure, or may even have been appointed by him.

Romney again corrected the record, saying the under Obama's defense policies our Navy will be "smaller than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration." Moreover, under Obama's policies our Air Force will be "older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947." In addition, "Since FDR...we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing to one conflict." The problem with only being able to fight in one conflict at a time is that once America is embroiled in a conflict, it is vulnerable to attack on a second front from anyone else. That is why that policy has not been followed since America became a superpower.

But Obama countered:
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities.

Notice that Obama here did not deny that our Navy under his policies is down to the lowest level since 1916. But he fails to see that Navy ships do not hold the status in today's military of horses and bayonets. Under his policies, moreover, we will have fewer aircraft carriers as well.

The military does not want any more ships than we had in 1916? That is not what both of Obama's Secretaries of Defense have said. They both said that Obama's defense cuts would be devastating to our nation's defenses. That goes for an Air Force that is older and smaller than at any time since our Air Force was founded in 1947.

But even more scary is President Obama's plans for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Most people do not know that President Obama has asked the Pentagon for plans to cut America's remaining nuclear deterrent by up to 80%. I say remaining because that is from what is left after President Obama's disastrous nuclear arms treaty with Russia last year.

Obama is the one who is stuck in a Cold War mentality, still negotiating arms deals with the Russians as if we were still in a bipolar world. Under Obama's New Start Treaty with Russia, America's nuclear forces are slashed to 1500 warheads, with essentially no cuts from Russia in return, because after the Soviet Union's collapse and disintegration, it cannot maintain nuclear forces even close to the limits allowed. What was smart about that? Another cut of 80% would reduce total warheads to 300, little more than Great Britain.

But that is in a context where Russia is not the only potential foe that we must deter. China is rapidly developing a more modern nuclear force. Proliferation is spreading from Pakistan to North Korea to Iran. Once Iran gets a nuclear weapon, we can expect Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and probably Egypt will as well. Even Russia is rapidly modernizing a threatening nuclear force.

Moreover, with just 300 warheads left, are we enticing a first strike to remove the remaining nuclear assets? Our nuclear strategy has always been based on the Triad concept, with nuclear forces on land on missiles, at sea on ships, and in the air through aircraft bombers. But just 300 warheads can be deployed on just 30 missiles with modern, multiple warhead technology.

Reagan gave us Peace through Strength. War threatens America with War through Weakness. Indeed, what exactly did Obama mean when he told former Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to tell Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that he would have more flexibility after the election? Is that why Putin has endorsed Obama for re-election?

You Didn't Build That

In the debates, Obama has repeatedly bragged that under his leadership America has increased production of oil and natural gas to record levels, while "we've cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades." But Romney pointed out that the oil and gas production gains had nothing to do with Obama's energy policies, which had aimed at just the opposite results. Those gains all came on state and local lands, where Obama's policies could not stop them.

Romney charged in the second debate, "In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal lands and waters in half." "Not true Governor Romney. The production is up," Obama replied. Romney responded, "Production on government land of oil is down 14%, and production of gas is down 9%." Romney here was just citing accurately official U.S. government statistics from Obama's own Administration. But that did not stop Obama from saying in response, before the whole nation, "What you're saying is just not true. It's just not true."

What else can be said about this dishonorable display of dishonesty before the American people, other than that Obama is The Liar President. As the  Wall Street Journal  said on October 18:
The problem for the President is that a government outfit called the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) compiles these statistics. That's where Romney got his accurate figures on oil and gas production on government land and permitting in Obama's first term. The EIA also reports that total fossil fuel production in public areas -- oil, gas and coal -- has plunged to a nine year low, to 18.6 quadrillion BTUs, from 21.2 quadrillion in 2003.

The real problem is not President Obama. It is his supporters and contributors who are willing to blindly support this dishonesty, after four years of accelerating decline and failure, which will only continue in the second term. Obama is Marxist royalty by heritage, born and bred. Check the public record. Under his leadership, the Democrat party has become a Marxist party as well. Is that what a majority of Americans want? Despite the lies, so well supported by the Democrat-controlled media, the American people seem to be waking from their dangerous slumber.



Expensive welfare:  Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty

Handing out other people's money is an expensive business

New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.

"According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795," the Senate Budget Committee notes. "If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011."

This dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household on poverty lives on per year. "If the spending on these programs were converted into cash, and distributed exclusively to the nation’s households below the poverty line, this cash amount would be over 2.5 times the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, which in 2011 was $22,350 (see table in this link)," the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note.

To be clear, not all households living below the poverty line receive $61,194 worth of assistance per year. After all, many above the poverty line also receive benefits from social welfare sprograms (e.g. pell grants).

But if welfare is meant to help bring those below the poverty line to a better place, it helps demonstrate that numbers do not add up.

As for the welfare programs, the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note:

A congressional report from CRS recently revealed that the United States now spends more on means-tested welfare than any other item in the federal budget—including Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. Including state contributions to the roughly 80 federal poverty programs, the total amount spent in 2011 was approximately $1 trillion. Federal spending alone on these programs was up 32 percent since 2008.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that almost 110 million Americans received some form of means-tested welfare in 2011. These figures exclude entitlements like Medicare and Social Security to which people contribute, and they refer exclusively to low-income direct and indirect financial support—such as food stamps, public housing, child care, energy assistance, direct cash aid, etc. For instance, 47 million Americans currently receive food stamps, and USDA has engaged in an aggressive outreach campaign to boost enrollment even further, arguing that “every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy… It’s the most direct stimulus you can get.” (Economic growth, however, is weaker this year than the two years prior, even as food stamp “stimulus” has reached an all-time high.)




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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)


Sunday, October 28, 2012

American exceptionalism

To me it is glaringly obvious that the USA is exceptional.  It is overwhelmingly the world's predominant military power and also the source of most of the world's innovations.

So the interesting question is not "if" but "why".  WHY is America so dominant?  In a recent article Podhoretz sets out most of the usual reasons, starting from the foundation of the USA in an independence revolution.  He sees the principles set out by the revolutionaries at that time as having had an enduring influence.

I imagine that they did have an influence for a long time but only conservative intellectuals and activists seem to know of them now.  Thanks to the Leftist takeover of the schools, the average American these days knows nothing substantial about the American founding, if anything at all.  How much does the average black or Hispanic know?  Yet they all have votes  -- and there's a lot of them.

And America is now very socialist.  As Romney rightly if imprudently pointed out, around half of the population now depend on government handouts.  Not much rugged individualism there!   Given the huge and unfunded Federal spending now happening, it could in fact be argued that America is in the midst of a socialist meltdown right now.  Nothing Romney has proposed is capable of reining in the overspend.

But if none of the usual explanations of America's exceptionalism now work, what can it be that makes America so powerful in every sense?  I think it is both extraordinarily simple and much more enduring than all of the other influences that have come and gone:  The fact that there is a national election every two years.  If the ruling party goes off the rails you only have to wait two years to give them a boot up the backside  -- as we vividly saw in the 2010 mid-terms.  There is only so much damage you can do in two years so the damage done by political folly is much less in America.  Most governments are still getting into their stride at the two-year mark and they have to take into account the forthcoming election long before that.

Other countries have three or four year terms before a national government has to face a new election and Britain has horrific five-year terms.  And huge messes can be created, and have been created, in five years. Just look at the problem created by the last British Labour Party government's "open door" immigration policy.  Britain is now lumbered with millions of welfare-dependent parasites who have to be supported by the staggering British taxpayer. At least most of America's "illegals" come to work.

If ever the American socialists (so-called "liberals") wake up to the fact that two-year terms are their enemy, America might have a problem but until then there is hope.  And even liberals might have difficulty in arguing that frequent elections are "unfair".


The more we learn about Benghazi...


Chick-fil-A laughing all the way to the bank

To misquote Liberace

Three months after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy voiced his support for 'Biblical families' - prompting one of the most intense and negative campaigns the fast food chain has ever seen - it has been revealed that the restaurant's bottom line couldn't be better.

Research specialist Sandelman & Associates report that customer numbers are up, profits are healthy, and media awareness of the brand is at an all-time high.

So much for the negative publicity. It seems that the months of protests, kiss-ins, calls for boycotts and fighting talk from both sides of the fence have actually been one big free advertisement for the company.

Sandelman figures showed consumer use of the chicken sandwich chain was up 2.2 per cent, compared with the same period in 2011, market share was up 0.6 per cent, and brand awareness was up 6.5 per cent.

The research firm interviewed more than 30,000 fast-food consumers in markets where Chick-fil-A is located.

Jeff Davis, president of Sandelman, told USA Today: 'There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand.

He added that, during the third quarter of this year, Chick-fil-A broadened its regular customer base in 28 of 35 media markets.



Obama debates truth

Thomas Sowell

It was a little much when President Barack Obama said that he was "offended" by the suggestion that his administration would try to deceive the public about what happened in Benghazi. What has this man not deceived the public about?

Remember his pledge to cut the deficit in half in his first term in office? This was followed by the first trillion-dollar deficit ever, under any president of the United States – followed by trillion-dollar deficits in every year of the Obama administration.

Remember his pledge to have a "transparent" government that would post its legislative proposals on the Internet several days before Congress was to vote on them, so that everybody would know what was happening? This was followed by an Obamacare bill so huge and passed so fast that even members of Congress did not have time to read it.

Remember his claims that previous administrations had arrogantly interfered in the internal affairs of other nations – and then his demands that Israel stop building settlements and give away land outside its 1967 borders, as a precondition to peace talks with the Palestinians, on whom there were no preconditions?

As for what happened in Libya, the Obama administration says that there is an "investigation" under way. An "on-going investigation" sounds so much better than "stonewalling" to get past Election Day. But you can bet the rent money that this "investigation" will not be completed before Election Day. And whatever the investigation says after the election will be irrelevant.

The events unfolding in Benghazi on the tragic night of Sept. 11 were being relayed to the State Department as the attacks were going on, "in real time," as they say. So the idea that the Obama administration now has to carry out a time-consuming "investigation" to find out what those events were, when the information was immediately available at the time, is a little much.

The full story of what happened in Libya, down to the last detail, may never be known. But, as someone once said, you don't need to eat a whole egg to know that it is rotten. And you don't need to know every detail of the events before, during and after the attacks to know that the story put out by the Obama administration was a fraud.

The administration's initial story that what happened in Benghazi began as a protest against an anti-Islamic video in America was a very convenient theory. The most obvious alternative explanation would have been devastating to Barack Obama's much heralded attempts to mollify and pacify Islamic nations in the Middle East.

To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama's supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that al-Qaida was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.

Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan's Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.

Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.

Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any president not give the go-ahead to get him?

That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.

This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral – who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama's failures.



Are Leftists INCAPABLE of principle or even consistency?

NYT article:
The last mistake Dan Fredenberg made was getting killed in another man’s garage.  It was Sept. 22, and Mr. Fredenberg, 40, was upset. He strode up the driveway of a quiet subdivision here to confront Brice Harper, a 24-year-old romantically involved with Mr. Fredenberg’s young wife. But as he walked through Mr. Harper’s open garage door, Mr. Fredenberg was doing more than stepping uninvited onto someone else’s property. He was unwittingly walking onto a legal landscape reshaped by laws that have given homeowners new leeway to use force inside their own homes.

Proponents say the laws strengthen people’s right to defend their homes. To others, they are a license to kill.

That night, in a doorway at the back of his garage, Mr. Harper aimed a gun at the unarmed Mr. Fredenberg, fired and struck him three times. Mr. Fredenberg crumpled to the garage floor, a few feet from Mr. Harper. He was dead before morning.

Had Mr. Fredenberg been shot on the street or sidewalk, the legal outcome might have been different. But on Oct. 9, the Flathead County attorney decided not to prosecute, saying that Montana’s “castle doctrine” law, which maintains that a man’s home is his castle, protected Mr. Harper’s rights to vigorously defend himself there. The county attorney determined that Mr. Harper had the right to fetch his gun from his bedroom, confront Mr. Fredenberg in the garage and, fearing for his safety, shoot him.
So let’s summarize – angry, drunk estranged husband of homeowner’s girlfriend charges into the home spewing threats. Homeowner responds with a trio of shots that dispatch the intruder into the next life. Frankly, I’ve got no problem with that – especially with the homeowner knowing that the intruder had a history of domestic abuse against his estranged spouse. The prosecutor was right not to bring charges in this situation.

The New York Times, of course, disagrees – as does most of its liberal-leaning commenters. That isn’t a surprise, and would not even elicit my notice However, it is the responses of those liberal commenters that are illustrative of how shallow the “pro-woman” stance taken by your average liberal really is. What I read was a veritable War on Women from the Left!  Consider this comment, from commenter Jim Jones.
Is this what some people refer to as "freedom"? She has an affair, tells her husband, proceeds to take their young children to the home of this other man, in order to spend the day there, and finally asks this other man to drive her around the neighborhood, which ensures she is seen with the other man. The Victim returns home to find his wife & young children missing. The soon to be victim then goes looking for his family in one place he probably hoped they would not be. Upon the victim's arrival, the other man runs into his home, leaving the door open, so he can grab a gun and wait for the Vic to get within range.

The Vic was baited like a bear. What a bad law. So sad, so cold, so predictable. Someone else is sure to use similar tactics in order to legally take out an adversary.
Got that – it is all the woman’s fault. How dare she spend the day with a man not her husband? She even drove around in a car with him! Sounds like Mr. Jones would prefer the much more morally sound legal code of Saudi Arabia to guarantee that such immoral behavior is properly punished. And then there’s Merlin.
As tragic as this case is, it's never a good idea to confront the man having an affair with your woman, not even on neutral ground, and worst of all in his territory. It's always the woman's fault, just as it is the man's fault when he cheats. The only time you are right to confront your woman's lover is in your own home or territory.

Got that – she’s “your woman”. Chattel. I saw any number of comments in which some liberal commenter argued that Fredenberg had every right to enter Harper’s home because Harper had “trespassed” upon Fredenberg’s “property” by having an affair with his wife. So much for the notion of “her body, her choice”! I wonder if such liberals would be taking the same position if a drunk guy who abused his wife had shown up in the garage of the local abortionist to punch him out (or worse) for aborting his child? I doubt it – they would be celebrating him and the NYT article would have presented the doctor as a hero.

The number of comments by liberals arguing that Harper –who according to Fredenberg’s estranged wife was not involved in a sexual relationship with her, only an emotional one – deserved to be assaulted because of that relationship was just astounding. All these folks showing up to argue that it was inappropriate to respond to the threat of assault with violence, and indeed arguing that the assailant had every right to commit assault. I wish someone had posted a comment asking if it would have been acceptable for Fredenberg to knock around Heather Fredenberg because of her relationship with Harper -- it would have been instructive to see how many would have recoiled at the notion that domestic violence against an estranged wife could be acceptable even as they condoned violence against the boyfriend.

And I won’t get into the number of mewling anti-gunners who called for the reinstitution of criminal laws against adultery after decades of liberal efforts to overturn laws regulating sexual morality. Don’t they realize that, having fought and won the sexual revolution, incidents like the one in the article are inevitable as men and women exercise the freedoms that sprung from it? There’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Oh, and as for all the comments arguing that Harper should have retreated from the garage to hide while awaiting the police instead of standing his ground in his own home, I’d like to offer this undeniably true observation about such a course of action:

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away"




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


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)