Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Americans, Brits and French are BORN miserable: Length of  gene determines how happy you will be - and Danes rank top (?)

Cross-cultural studies of happiness are inherently problematic.  The fact that there is no word in German for happiness may give you a clue about that.  Germans can only be "gluecklich", which actually means "lucky".  I remember years ago talking to an elderly German Jew who had escaped Hitler and ended up in Sydney, Australia.  We were talking about the meaning of "gluecklich",  when he said: "Gluecklich I am but happy I am not".  He knew he was lucky to have escaped the gas chambers but he missed the rich cultural life of prewar Germany.  So "gluecklich" is NOT an adequate translation of happy.  So do you rate the happiness of Germans when you can't ask them about it?  Beats me.  So I think the international happiness differences described below must be taken with a large grain of salt.

The article below also seems to be talking about quality of life but how you measure that is quite controversial.  How highly do you rate good weather, how highly do you rate crime incidence, how highly do you rate income? How highly do you rate traffic jams, how highly do you rate particulate air pollution, how highly do you rate ethnic diversity?  The answers to such questions can only be matters of opinion


The French are often accused of being grumpy and dismissive. But Britons and Americans are also hardwired to be miserable, scientists claim.

Despite stable governments and good economies, those living in the UK and US will never be as happy as people in other nations, because they are simply born more miserable.

They are genetically programmed to be less cheerful than the Danes, for example, who top the list of the happiest nation.

Americans and Britons (such as the famously grumpy American actor Larry David, left, and British tennis star Andy Murray, right) are actually hardwired to be miserable, new research claims
Gabby Logan calls Andy Murray a miserable b******' at lecture

And scientists at the University of Warwick discovered it all comes down to a gene which regulates levels of the hormone serotonin in the brain.

Short forms of the gene inhibit levels of the hormone, which can invoke depression. Meanwhile those with longer forms of the gene are more likely to be happier, as a result of higher levels of serotonin in the body.

Researchers discovered people from Denmark have the longest form of the gene, and as such topped the happiness chart.

But Professor Andrew Oswald said it could be worse, we could be French - the nation with one of the shortest forms of the gene, which may explain their reputation for being grumpy.

Annual tables of national happiness ratings, compiled by organisations across the world, tend to rank Denmark at the top, along with nations including Panama and Vietnam.

They use factors ranging from job satisfaction to economic progress, health, wealth and education standards, along with weather, war and political stability to judge nations.

Scandinavians do well as their health is good, they are educated to a high standard and they earn more. But warm weather countries can do well too.

Some wealthy Western countries fare less well because there are big divides between rich and poor or they have high unemployment rates or less job satisfaction for instance.

But according to Professor Oswald, many of these may still be miserable even if they are earning a fortune, basking in sunshine and living to 100.

His findings from 131 countries for the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, found genetics to be the most important factor but not the only one.

Those who are either young or old tend to be happiest rather than those who are middle aged.

Those who are slim are happiest, with obesity levels in some developed countries making them less happy as nations.

And being married, in a job and well educated can also be a contributory factor.

Professor Oswald, said: 'Intriguingly, among the nations we studied, Denmark and the Netherlands appeared to have the lowest percentage of people with the short version of the serotonin gene.'

He added that many individual Americans were happy but they tended to be descended from immigrants who came from countries like Denmark in the first place.

He said: 'There was a direct correlation between the (US) individual's reported happiness, and the levels of happiness in the country their ancestors had come from.

'Our study revealed an unexplained correlation between the happiness today of some nations and the observed happiness of Americans whose ancestors came from these nations.'



Obama plays the oldest racist card in the deck: Hatred of Jews

Yehudah Glick has spent the better part of the last 20 years championing the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Judaism’s holiest site. On Wednesday night, the Palestinians sent a hit man to Jerusalem to kill him.

And today Glick lays in a coma at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Two people bear direct responsibility for this terrorist attack: the gunman, and Palestinian Authority President and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. The gunman shot Glick, and Abbas told him to shoot Glick.

Abbas routinely glorifies terrorist murder of Jews, and funds terrorism with the PA’s US- and European-funded budget.

But it isn’t often that he directly incites the murder of Jews.

Two weeks ago, Abbas did just that. Speaking to Fatah members, he referred to Jews who wish to pray at Judaism’s holiest site as “settlers.” He then told his audience that they must remain on the Temple Mount at all times to block Jews from entering.

“We must prevent them from entering [the Temple Mount] in any way…. They have no right to enter and desecrate [it]. We must confront them and defend our holy sites,” he said.

As Palestinian Media Watch reported Thursday, in the three days leading up to the assassination attempt on Glick, the PA’s television station broadcast Abbas’s call for attacks on Jews who seek to enter the Temple Mount 19 times.

While Abbas himself is responsible for the hit on Glick, he has had one major enabler – the Obama administration. Since Abbas first issued the order for Palestinians to attack Jews, there have been two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Both have claimed American citizens among their victims. Yet the Obama administration has refused to condemn Abbas’s call to murder Jews either before it led to the first terrorist attack or since Glick was shot Wednesday night.

Not only have the White House and the State Department refused to condemn Abbas for soliciting the murder of Jews. They have praised him and attacked Israel and its elected leader. In other words, they are not merely doing nothing, they are actively rewarding Abbas’s aggression, and so abetting it.

Since Abbas called for Palestinians to kill Jews, the White House and State Department have accused Israel of diminishing the prospect of peace by refusing to make massive concessions to Abbas. The concessions the Americans are demanding include accepting the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from land they foresee becoming part of a future Palestinian state; denying Jews the rights to their lawfully held properties in predominantly Arab neighborhoods; and abrogating urban planning procedures in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem built within the areas of the city that Israel took control over from Jordan in 1967.

The US claims that it has great influence over the Palestinians. If this is true, then as Fatah’s official celebrations of Glick’s attempted murder make clear, that influence is being intentionally exercised in a negative way. The Americans are encouraging the Palestinians to be more violent, more radical and more extreme in their demands of Israel and propagation of Jew-hatred.

The Obama administration is abetting Palestinian terrorism today. And it is doing so after it spent last summer siding with Hamas and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey in its illegal war against Israel.

Moreover, it is important to note that the most outrageous statements the administration has made to date against Israel came after the first terrorist attack in Jerusalem directly inspired by Abbas’s call to murder Jews.

The most outrageous statements the administration has made about Israel came of course this week with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg’s report that senior unnamed Obama administration officials called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit” and a “coward.” They also described an administration in a state of “red hot anger” against Netanyahu and his government. Those statements were made after three-month old Chaya Zissel Braun, an American baby, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem in an Abbas-incited attack.

The most distressing aspect of Goldberg’s quotes is that in and of themselves, these profane, schoolyard bully personal attacks against Israel’s elected leader were the mildest part of the story.

The most disturbing thing about the gutter talk is what they tell us about Israel’s role in Obama’s assessments of his political cards as they relate to his nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The senior administration officials called Netanyahu a coward because, among other reasons, he has not bombed Iran’s nuclear installations.

And now, they crowed, it’s too late for Israel to do anything to stop Iran.

They are happy about this claimed state of affairs, because now Obama is free to make a deal with the Iranians that will allow them to develop nuclear weapons at will.

The obscene rhetoric they adopted in their characterization of Netanyahu didn’t come from “red hot anger.” It was a calculated move. Obama knows that he has caved in on every significant redline that he claimed he would defend in the nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama has chosen to demonize Netanyahu and castigate Israel now as a means to transform the debate about Iran into a debate about Israel. The fact that the trash talk about Netanyahu was a premeditated bid to capture the discourse on Iran is further exposed by the fact that Obama has refused to take any action against the officials who made the statements.

He isn’t going to punish them for carrying out his policies.

Obama knows that after next week’s midterm elections, he will likely be facing a Republican-controlled House and Senate. He has no substantive defense against attacks on his policy of enabling the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism to acquire nuclear weapons. The threat a nuclear- armed Iran poses to the US is self-evident to most people who pay attention to foreign affairs.

Since he can’t win the substantive debate, he wants to change the subject by pretending that the only country that opposes Iran’s nuclear weapons program is Israel, which, his senior advisers insinuated to Goldberg, was apparently bluffing about its danger. After all, if it was a reason for concern, Netanyahu would have bombed Iran three years ago rather than try to accommodate Obama.

As a consequence, any congressional opposition to his deal makes no sense and therefore must be the result of the nefarious Israel’s lobby’s control of Congress. Loyal Americans, like Obama, must stand up to the cowardly, power grabbing, warmongering Jews, led by the coward in chief Netanyahu.

In other words, in castigating Netanyahu and Israel, the Obama administration has decided to use Jew-hatred as a political weapon to defend its policies of abetting Palestinian terrorism and enabling Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

There are critical messages to the Israeli people and our leaders embedded in the Goldberg article.

First, the unbridled attacks against Israel’s democratically elected – and popular – prime minister show us that when we are faced with an inherently hostile administration, the wages of appeasement are contempt.

No Israel leader has done more to appease a US administration than Netanyahu has done to appease Obama. Against the opposition of his party and the general public, Netanyahu in 2009 bowed to Obama’s demand to embrace the goal of establishing a Palestinian state.

Against the opposition of his party and the general public, in 2010 Netanyahu bowed to Obama’s demand and enacted an official 10-month moratorium on Jewish property rights in lands beyond the 1949 armistice lines, and later enacted an unofficial moratorium on those rights.

And Netanyahu bowed to Obama’s pressure, released murderers from prison and conducted negotiations with Abbas that only empowered Abbas and his political war to delegitimize and isolate Israel.

And for all his efforts to appease Obama, today the administration abets Palestinian terrorism and political warfare.

As to Iran, Netanyahu agreed to play along with Obama’s phony sanctions policy, and bowed to Obama’s demand not to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. All of this caused suffering to the Iranian people while giving the regime four-and-a-half years of more or less unfettered work on its nuclear program.

Netanyahu only cut bait after Obama signed the interim nuclear deal with Iran last November where he effectively gave up the store.

And for Netanyahu’s Herculean efforts to appease Obama, Netanyahu found himself mocked publicly as a coward by senior administration officials who snorted that now it is too late for him to stop Obama from paving Iran’s open road to nuclear power.

One of the assets that Netanyahu’s continuous attempts to please Obama was geared toward securing was US support for Israel at the UN Security Council. And now, according to the senior administration officials, Obama has decided to spend his last two years in office refusing to veto anti-Israel Security Council resolutions.

Before formulating a strategy for dealing with Obama over the next two years, Israelis need to first take a deep breath and recognize that as bad as things are going to get, nothing that Obama will do to us over the next two years is as dangerous as what he has already done. No anti-Israel Security Council resolution, no Obama map of Israel’s borders will endanger Israel as much as his facilitation of Iran’s nuclear program.

As unpleasant as anti-Israel Security Council resolutions will be, and as unpleasant as an Obama framework for Israel’s final borders will be, given the brevity of his remaining time in power, it is highly unlikely that any of the measures will have lasting impact.

At any rate, no matter how upsetting such resolutions may be, Goldberg’s article made clear that Israel should make no concessions to Obama in exchange for a reversal of his plans. Concessions to Obama merely escalate his contempt for us.

Bearing this in mind, Israel’s required actions in the wake of Goldberg’s sources’ warnings are fairly straightforward.

First, to the extent that Israel does have the capacity to damage Iran’s nuclear installations, Israel should act right away. Its capacity should not be saved for a more propitious political moment.

The only clock Israel should care about is Iran’s nuclear clock.

As for the Palestinians, whether Netanyahu’s willingness to stand up to Obama stems from the growing prospect of national elections or from his own determination that there is no point in trying to appease Obama anymore, the fact is that this is the only pragmatic policy for him to follow.

The proper response to the assassination attempt on Yehudah Glick is to allow Jews freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. The proper response to Obama’s nuclear negotiations is a bomb in Natanz. Obama will be angry with Israel for taking such steps. But he is angry with Israel for standing down. At least if we defend ourselves, we will be safe while isolated, rather than unsafe while isolated.



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