Friday, October 03, 2014

10 Ways Conservatives Can Appeal to Hispanics (Without Becoming More Liberal)

Far too many conservatives have grown pessimistic about the prospect of Hispanics ever agreeing with their policy prescriptions. Others have erred in the opposite direction, suggesting that only shifts in tone or even engaging in a pandering competition with liberals could fix the problem.

These approaches are wrong and self-defeating. If conservatives allow liberals to have a monopoly on Hispanic aspirations and dreams, they will find it increasingly difficult to enact their policies. At the same time, conservatives must understand that some of their problems with this demographic have structural aspects that require long-term solutions.

Here are 10 suggestions for how conservatives can start the arduous work of convincing Hispanics that conservative policies are better. They are found in my recently published book, “A Race for The Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans,” which I will discuss with National Review’s Jim Geraghty tomorrow at 11 a.m., at The Heritage Foundation in a program introduced by Heritage President Jim DeMint.

1. School choice. School choice is the lowest of hanging fruits. Hispanics already like school choice, and they like it a lot. Whether it’s vouchers, charters schools, education savings accounts or tax-credit scholarships, the intensity of their support is even higher than those of non-Hispanic whites or Republicans. In June, the Friedman Foundation reported Hispanics had a higher margin of support for vouchers (+47 percentage points) than Republicans (+42 percentage points) and also higher intensity. School choice also is a classic “wedge issue.” It is the job of conservatives to explain that it is teachers’ unions, the cash cow of liberal politicies, which stand in their way.

2. Family formation. The ongoing breakdown of the Hispanic family is the big news that is never in the news. Although we hear much about the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate among African-Americans, Hispanics’ 53 percent rate hardly ever makes headlines. But a rate that high militates against any hope of Hispanics ever supporting conservative causes in large numbers. Illegitimacy stands upstream from nearly all the societal pathologies that lead people to fall prey to dependency on government. Conservatives must make it their job to help Hispanics get that rate down.

3. Get them to become savers. Education and family have to do with what social scientists refer to as human and social capital, respectively. Financial capital is the stuff in the bank. Hispanics in this country are famously underbanked or even unbanked, which means they don’t use banks enough or even at all. Sending remittances home often prevents capital formation here. Studies show the habit of saving by itself, regardless of how much is saved, is a great predictor of the ability to become upwardly mobile. Policies that will make Hispanics save more will make them more independent of government and thus more likely to be conservative.

4. Show them how liberal policies have put them in a hole. It’s important for conservatives to not only offer a positive policy agenda that gets Hispanics out of a hole, but also to explain how liberal policies have put them there. Dependency on government helps undermines the family, and liberals’ aggressive marketing of food stamps, Obamacare and other government services to Hispanics should be blamed for contributing to family breakdown. Multiculturalism, another liberal policy, has only balkanized Hispanics and prevented them from joining the mainstream.

5. Give them their proper stake in the culture Without Mexico’s cultural imprint, the Southwest would be a scorching version of the Midwest, which for all its allure simply lacks the legendary nature of the Wild West. Mexican-Americans should take great pride in this country and its history, as they helped chisel out the culture of one of its iconic regions. There were Mexicans at the Alamo—fighting on the Texans’ side against Santa Ana—and the first provisional vice president of the Texan Republic was a Mexican-American. This history doesn’t get taught as much as it should because the liberals in charge of our education prefer to emphasize divisiveness, a history of discrimination (which all immigrants have suffered from) or such synthetic PC-ness as “Cinco de Mayo.” Conservatives should emphasize the cultural importance of Mexican-Americans to the making of the American spirit. You give a man a stake in something and he will want to conserve it, which is after all how you make conservatives.

6. Sever the perceptive link between success and government intervention; end affirmative action. Progressives knew what they were doing when they concocted the current affirmative action structure back in the 1970s. Right away, immigrants and their descendants were conditioned to perceive a link between government intervention and success in life. But affirmative action is unjust, hinders meritocracy and seeds resentment against immigration. There’s no reason to accept the affirmative action arrangement we were bequeathed.

7. End Bilingual Education. Bilingual education often ends up being a sad misnomer—many of the “bilingual” education programs und up being monolingual, meaning only in Spanish. This prevents Hispanic kids from getting one of the tools that will lead to success: proficiency in English. Bilingual ed also separates Hispanics kids from their future compatriots at a key time in their development.

8. Ask them if they want to replicate conditions that made them abandon their homeland. This should be a no-brainer. Why would someone from Cuba or Venezuela want to see here the big-government policies that have ruined their lands, or a Mexican the statist and pro-union policies that has prevented Mexico from enjoying its oil wealth. Indeed, why would anyone who emigrated here from anywhere between the Rio Grande and Patagonia want the absence of the rule of law or of strong property rights that haunts part of the region? As for volunteerism, former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda wrote in his masterpiece “MaƱana Forever:” “In the United States, there are approximately 2 million civil society organizations, or one for every 150 inhabitants; in Chile there are 35,000, or one for every 428 Chileans; in Mexico there are only 8,500, or one for every 12,000.” Why would any Hispanic want that here?

9. Return to assimilationist policies. I am often asked whether today’s immigrants share American values, and the questioners almost always assume the answer is no. As the point above makes clear, sometimes no doubt it is. But America has been a country of immigrants for four centuries. And not all of those who arrived from County Cork, Eastern Europe or Sicily came believing in a strong work ethic, the creed that many societal problems can be solved by civil society through volunteerism and an abiding trust in the superiority of rule of law over rule of man. Assimilation is what made people the world over understand the American system. It is self-defeating that we have stopped encouraging it.

10. Explain to them that it’s not a question of being dependent or not, but of depending on someone in your family, in your community or circle of friends, or on a government bureaucrat. Liberals have done a good job at depicting conservatives as uncaring individualists with a devil-take-the-hindmost philosophy—so good that even some conservatives bought the stereotype. Not even libertarians can be reduced to such tropes, and definitely not conservatives, who understand dependency is part of the human condition. The only question is whether we depend on relatives, friends or others in our community or whether we turn to an impersonal bureaucracy that simply doles out help without any understanding of need or responsibility. Hispanics get human interdependency and will respond well to policies that help relatives and neighbors set up mutual-aid networks.



The "Stop Rush" campaign

For two years, a self-described grassroots army has protested “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in a campaign to convince advertisers to pull their commercials from the talk giant’s radio program. Now, Limbaugh’s show is fighting back with a new report arguing that the supposed groundswell of outraged consumers is in reality 10 “hardcore” progressive activists.

“It’s a cynical form of intimidation and harassment and business destruction that targets speech a small group of extremists and bullies find disagreeable,” Brian Glicklich, spokesman for “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“Stop Rush” bills itself as a multiyear grassroots effort by consumers who object to the trademark tenor and content of Limbaugh’s conservative commentary on politics, society and what he calls “the drive-by media.” The group targets businesses, charities and nonprofits that advertise on the Limbaugh show in hopes of convincing them to pull their commercials.

Limbaugh’s show describes itself as “the most listened-to radio talk show in America, broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide.”

The brainchild of Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of the liberal website Media Matters for America, the Stop Rush campaign began in 2012 – when President Obama was running for re-election. Stop Rush participants are visible on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use the #StopRush hashtag in communicating with local businesses and other organizations.

However, according to research conducted by Limbaugh’s camp, about 70 percent of #StopRush tweets originated from a total of 10 Twitter account holders. The individuals affiliated with those accounts hail from only four states: California, Florida, Ohio and Georgia.

Using contact information published by the Limbaugh camp, The Daily Signal reached out yesterday to those 10 persons, who include a professor at Kent State University and a writer for The Daily Kos, a left-leaning news and commentary site. Those requests for comment so far are unsuccessful.

Glicklich, the spokesman for the Limbaugh show, said researchers compiled statistics over the summer on those “tweeting” objections to the show at its advertisers. The researchers identified which Twitter accounts were most active in targeting businesses and charities that support the show.

The advertisers, listed along with contact information on the website, are located in all 50 states.

The researchers found that 80 percent of all #StopRush “attacks” came from users located in a state other than that of the targeted advertiser.

“It’s not a principled message,” Glicklich said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “It’s blackmail.”

To reach a large number of businesses, Stop Rush activists employ software that sends out automated tweets. Use of the software, though, violates Twitter’s terms of use.

In a statement to The Daily Signal, Carusone defended those who make up the Stop Rush campaign. He said:

This is a grassroots effort that grows every day. Instead of attacking people on the Internet, Limbaugh’s team would better fill their role by advising their client not to excuse rape in some situations (as he did just last week). Rush Limbaugh is bad for business — and the only thing Limbaugh has to blame for that is his own repeated conduct.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation, a policy research institute with  longstanding ties to Limbaugh and his show based on shared conservative principles.

Carusone said the Limbaugh show has been a detriment to radio companies and local businesses.

“Rush Limbaugh’s show has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue for radio companies, thousands of advertisers big and small refuse to run ads on the program and radio stations are dropping the show,” the Media Matters executive said. “After initially insisting there were no troubles with advertisers, two years later Limbaugh’s crisis team comes out with a report attributing this massive exodus to just 10 people?”

Glicklich, however, disputed Carusone’s argument. He said the effects of Stop Rush efforts are harmful not to the Limbaugh show, but rather to advertisers — many of them small businesses:

[Advertisers] made a business decision to want to talk to the 20 million people a week who listen and like going to the places mentioned on the show. When they have to do something else because they don’t have the resources to deal with the bullies and intimidation, it harms the businesses. The show hasn’t been affected, but it’s the people and businesses and families.



The Iron Dome Works

It’s been a rough few weeks for one of America’s most vociferous critics of missile defense.

Ted Postol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and longtime critic of U.S. missile defense, told National Public Radio just three days into the 2014 Gaza missile wars that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system “doesn’t work.” He said it failed up to “95 percent” of the time.

The Israeli government estimated Iron Dome successfully intercepted 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it engaged

For it to work, he claimed the system had to hit incoming Hamas-launched rockets “head on.” But he had photos, he said, of smoke entrails and what appeared to be the Iron Dome approaching the Hamas rockets from side angles or from behind. This “proved” the system didn’t work, even though the vast majority of his analysis was from the missile wars of 2012 and not the 2014 battles.

For 50 days from early July through most of August, Hamas launched nearly 4,500 rockets against Israel. Two Israelis died during that time because of rocket fire, but they were in an area not defended by Iron Dome batteries. None died in areas that were protected by Iron Dome, although in Askelon, 30 Israelis were wounded, some seriously, by Hamas rockets that the missile defense did not intercept. But overall, the Israeli government estimated Iron Dome successfully intercepted 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it engaged, compared to an 80 percent success rate achieved in the 2012 Gaza missile wars.

At first the arms control community greeted the Postol “analysis” with little skepticism. Most believe missile defense is a waste of money that will never work sufficiently anyway, and this report only confirmed their biases. Moreover, they’d long believed Israel’s estimate that Iron Dome worked 80 percent of the time in the 2012 missile wars was news too good to be true.

As the weeks wore on and the rocket attacks from Gaza reached into the thousands with still no Israeli fatalities, the idea that Iron Dome didn’t work became more and more absurd to maintain.

It’s beginning to look as if the Israelis were right about this. They carefully plotted all the intercepts, and they say of the rockets engaged, 90 percent were intercepted and destroyed.

In short, Israeli ingenuity not only trumped Hamas and Iranian rocket makers, it demonstrated in the 3 1/2 years it took to move from the laboratory to the real world that missile defense can work and its supporters in America are right to call for resuming work on protecting our homeland in this way.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Voter Fraud is Happening Across the Country!

Voter fraud is real and it is happening all across the country. While there are always exceptions to the rule, these are predominantly Liberal Democrats who are breaking our immigration laws and trying to swing elections.

First, there is the story of Miss Christina Ayala, a State Representative in Connecticut who was arrested on Friday for 19 counts of voter fraud. Her crime? She allegedly voted all across the state, including districts that she did not live in. Not surprisingly, Ms. Ayala is a Democrat, a member of the Party that believes it is racist to check IDs before allowing people to vote…

Then there’s the group the New Georgia Project, a liberal organization that is currently under investigation for voter fraud. Their mass-registration efforts have come under increased scrutiny and an investigation is ongoing. Add it to the list of liberal organizations that have to cheat in order to compete.

And thirdly – and this is a big one – the liberal group Battleground Texas was caught on videotape failing to take action when confronted with an admission of voter fraud! An undercover volunteer lied to the staff and told them that she had broken multiple election laws. Instead of reprimanding her and turning her over to authorities, the liberal group swept it under the rug… ON CAMERA! This is the same group that was caught registering people to vote and copying registrant data for campaign purposes…

These are just three instances of the types voter fraud that are taking place across the country. This isn’t limited to just Red or Blue states… it is happening everywhere.

And unless we act now and demand a national Voter ID system, these Liberal voter fraud campaigns will continue!

All of this is happening while a political fight rages in Ohio over the state’s voting scheme. Prior to this year, Ohioans were given 35 days of early voting.

This right there is a problem. When most states are limited to voting on just one day, or by absentee ballot, Liberals have given Ohioans the ability to vote in SEPTEMBER for an election in November!

No wonder Ohio went to Obama the last two elections. There were Liberal organizations paid to spend a whole month getting-out-the-vote. Perhaps these Ohio groups were like their Texas counterparts who were caught handing out Cocaine in exchange for Democratic votes!

This year, the Ohio legislator changed the state’s election laws to reduce the early voting window from 35 days to 28 days. The argument was pretty logical: If the election is on November 4th, no one needs to be casting a ballot in September.

The case went back and forth through the lower courts until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow the changes to remain in place, at least temporarily.

All across the country, liberal activists are violating election laws while simultaneously claiming it is racist to demand a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. They claim that this amounts to racism and discrimination.

The only problem is that practically EVERYONE has a photo ID. You need photo identification to board an airplane, rent an apartment/apply for a mortgage, open a bank account, and to apply for government assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid. You need a photo ID to drive a car, buy cigarettes or alcohol, receive medical treatment at a hospital, and buy a firearm. You need a photo ID to buy cough medicine, get married, travel abroad, and to get a job.

The list goes on and on…

You can’t survive in America without a photo ID and that is why states like Texas offer new photo IDs for free to those in need.

It isn’t racist to ask a voter to prove their identity, especially when you have liberal groups going around and bribing people to vote with beer, cigarettes, and even Cocaine!

It isn’t discrimination to ask people to prove their identity, given the fact that we hear stories every year of deceased individuals casting ballots!

The facts are on our side. Voter fraud does exist and when you have important elections decided by just 500 votes (as was the case in 2000 with Florida), we cannot afford to just sit back and watch as our Republic is hijacked!

I had to pay $100 to take a firearm class and then another $150 to apply for my right to bear a concealed firearm in public. By the left’s standards, this should be unconstitutional. Forcing anyone to spend upwards of $250 to exercise a Constitutional right is ridiculous.

If, as the Liberals claim, it is allegedly unconstitutional to force someone to show an ID at the ballot box, then it should be unconstitutional to be forced to show an ID when carrying or purchasing a firearm!

If this truly was a Constitutional argument, then you can’t have one without the other.

But this isn’t about Constitutional rights. This is about the Liberals trying to steal elections. This is about keeping the door wide open so that illegal aliens can vote and so that Democrat groups can bribe people with Cocaine to vote a certain way.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is definitely a good start, but we need to make sure that photo ID is REQUIRED across the country in order to vote.

Cough syrup is apparently too dangerous to buy without an ID, but we are talking about electing the men and women with their fingers on the button and the power to end life on this planet at any given time. The least that we can do is make sure that these politicians aren’t elected fraudulently!



Time to Change Course: Stop Letting Police Seize Property from Innocent People

“[Civil Asset Forfeiture] should be abolished.”  That’s the considered opinion of the two men — John Yoder and Brad Cates — who, in the 1980s, oversaw the development of federal civil asset forfeiture as a tool to combat organized crime and the drug trade.

Forfeiture does not apply to organized crime or drug crimes alone; some 200 other crimes now render individuals’ property subject to seizure.

At the time, forfeiture seemed eminently reasonable. Drug kingpins were making millions from criminal enterprises that banked on addiction and suffering. Whether because they lacked enough evidence to convict kingpins or for tactical reasons, law enforcement officers settled for hitting them in the wallet by seizing money and property traceable to illegal activity.

But three decades later, asset forfeiture’s biggest targets aren’t kingpins; it’s the cash found during routine traffic stops for small-time infractions. As Yoder and Cates point out, forfeiture does not apply to organized crime or drug crimes alone; some 200 other crimes now render individuals’ property subject to seizure.

And most troubling of all, in most states and under federal rules, a citizen’s cash, car and other property can be taken without law enforcement having to charge or convict the owner of a crime. In fact, to get property returned, owners usually have to prove their innocence.

That’s what happened to grocery store owner Terry Dehko when the IRS showed up at his store, accused him of the crime of “structuring” and seized his entire bank account. IRS agents were more willing to put Dehko into bankruptcy than to consider the possibility that his reason for making frequent sub-$10,000 cash deposits was perfectly innocent and reasonable: His insurance covered only up to $10,000 in cash losses from robbery.

One need not be an expert to see the perverse incentives built into a system that pins officers’ continued employment or advancement on their ability to seize cash and property.

And then there’s the Caswell family, who had owned Motel Caswell since 1955. Federal officials tried to seize the motel from the Caswells because some small percentage of occupants had, over the years, been arrested for criminal activity while staying there. A successful seizure would have represented a huge financial windfall for law enforcement. In May, Caswell sold the property for $2.1 million after beating the seizure, but if law enforcement officials had their way, that money would have gone to them rather than the Caswells’ retirement.

These stories are the tip of the iceberg, and both the Dehkos and the Caswells were fortunate to have pro bono legal representation from the Institute for Justice. Many others are not as fortunate and have to make do with cutting deals that allow police to keep part of what is seized, or lose it altogether, simply because getting a lawyer is often more costly than the value of what was taken.

Law enforcement agencies have become increasingly beholden to the financing civil forfeiture provides, allowing them to purchase equipment and finance special task forces outside the scope of the regular political process. One need not be an expert to see the perverse incentives built into a system that pins officers’ continued employment or advancement on their ability to seize cash and property.

Reform is clearly imperative. Sensible reform should preserve the ability of law enforcement to go after true criminal masterminds and drug kingpins but still protect innocent citizens from abusive practices. For example, breaking the profit motive by preventing law enforcement from keeping what it seizes would go a long way toward stopping the rampant use of civil forfeiture against ordinary citizens.

Another possible reform is to increase protection for property owners by raising the burden of proof and placing that burden solely on the government.

Congress also could require law enforcement to charge property owners with a crime — and convict them — before proceeding with a forfeiture action. If prosecutors fail to do so within a reasonable period of time, law enforcement should be required to return the seized property.

Finally, a practice known as “equitable sharing,” in which local and state law enforcement officers seize property and then refer forfeiture actions to federal authorities in return for a portion of the resulting proceeds, encourages state and local authorities to do an end-run around some state laws that limit the ability of local authorities to seek forfeiture and to keep the resulting proceeds. This practice should be severely curtailed or eliminated.

In recent weeks, both Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have introduced legislation in Congress to reform federal forfeiture laws along the lines outlined above. In support of his bill, Walberg recently took to the floor to criticize the lack of due process protections in federal forfeiture laws. A number of states have recently taken up the mantle and passed reforms as well.

Just last week, Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., and Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.,introduced H.R. 5502, the House version of Paul’s legislation. In other words, bipartisan reform looks like a real possibility in this Congress or the next.

But as lawmakers debate the “how” of civil forfeiture reform, one thing is absolutely clear: The path forward cannot be the status quo.



The myth of the “Food Deserts”

Not mentioned below is that many of the "desert" areas DO have food shops, just not supermarkets.  Small ethnic shops --  "bodegas", Korean shops, Indian shops etc are there but not used by all because poor people tend to be conservative in their food choices

Most journalists aren’t aware of this, but “food deserts” in the United States are a hoax.

A food desert has been arbitrarily defined as an area in which at least 20 percent of the households have incomes that put them below the federal poverty line, before receiving any welfare benefits or considering public transportation options or the existence of grocery delivery services, where the nearest grocery store is more than a mile away in urban areas or more than 10 miles away in rural areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture produced the following map to describe the areas where food deserts meet its definition:

What most journalists don’t realize is that the concept of a food desert originated with a study in 2006 funded by the LaSalle Bank of Chicago, which was then the largest business lender in the city.

That’s important because, as a business lender, the bank would profit from the solutions most likely to be implemented by politicians seeking to rectify the “crisis”: building more grocery stores.

That inherent conflict of interest came to a head in Portland, Oregon, where the residents of such a food desert successfully fought against having a grocery store put in their community to “fix” their neighborhood’s food-desert crisis. Gawker‘s Vann R. Newkirk II explains, starting with the role of one of Chicago’s more preeminent former citizens in promoting the concept of food deserts as a crisis requiring government action:

"In previous efforts to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama lauded mayors for easing zoning and permit requirements for grocery stores to move into food deserts. One of her stated goals of the program is “to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities all across the country.” Obama’s campaign to get people moving, increase awareness about nutrition and get farmers markets to disadvantaged areas was so politically safe—and universally accepted as necessary—that she remains easily one of the most favored public figures in this country, despite being married to one of its least. Locally, across several large metropolitan areas, efforts to move grocers and farmers markets near poor neighborhoods have often been met with wide acclaim. These were the rare policy options that worked in a free market system and helped increase quality of life for disadvantaged communities. Slam dunks, they seemed.

But the evidence that grocers and farmers markets actually irrigate food deserts never came. In fact, the actual existence and mechanisms of food deserts have been questioned. The developing body of research has suggested over the past few years that while spatial access to groceries is a factor, economic and cultural access are more important. As Betsy Breyer, a researcher from Portland State University noted, “I don’t think the [food deserts] idea captures the full spectrum of food access possibilities and problems in poor communities.” In many cases, even building expensive stores directly next door to poor people, while solving the “food desert” issue from a definitional perspective, actually does little to help the underlying problem. Public perception and policy, however, have been retreating from the woefully inadequate but somewhat compelling conclusions about nutrition justice at an absolutely glacial pace.

The conflict between public policy, perception and local facts and realities came to a head in national news when earlier this year residents of a once-predominantly black neighborhood in Portland successfully rallied against the building of a Trader Joe’s on a vacant lot in the area. Many folks were baffled. Why wouldn’t people in this place labeled as a clear food desert rejoice at the fact that they could get great groceries (and tasty cookie butter) right down the street? But what outside viewers and eager Traderites willfully ignored was that many citizens were deathly afraid of gentrification and being displaced from their own neighborhoods in a city well-known for aggressive gentrification, much of which had involved early incursions by large chain grocery stores.

Breyer said that in the case of Trader Joe’s in Portland, the food desert concept was “used as an excuse to push an agenda that had nothing to do with food access for low-income communities” and had more to do with providing a rationale for securing access to cheap, promising real estate for developers and, eventually, the chain. The lower-income inhabitants of the neighborhood had figured out what policymakers and informed citizens across the country hadn’t: that the courtship dance with grocery stores was a dance with death for the people that needed the groceries most. The jig was up."

Solving the “problem” of food deserts was never the point of the government programs supposedly established for the purpose of eliminating them. The purpose of these programs is and always have been to benefit the crony capitalist industrial complex of banks, real estate developers, and corrupt politicians.

Never mind the interests of those who would rather not have their tax dollars fund such follies or see their already debt-burdened government borrow large amounts of money to solve problems that really never existed in the first place.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

US slams Abbas’s ‘genocide’ UN speech as ‘offensive’

Is there hope for the Obama administration yet?

The United States on Friday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations, in which he accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians, saying it was “offensive” and undermined peace efforts.

“President Abbas’s speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties,” she added.

In Abbas’s address to the UN General Assembly, he demanded an end to the occupation, accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza and asserted that Palestinians faced a future in a “most abhorrent form of apartheid” under Israeli rule.

Earlier, Israeli leaders reacted with anger and scorn to Abbas’s address, with one official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office accusing the PA president of incitement.

In his address, Abbas accused Israel of committing genocide in its recent conflict with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip — calling 2014 “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people” — and said that Israel was not interested in living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.

“It’s a speech of incitement full of lies,” an unnamed source from the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hebrew press. “That’s not how someone who wants peace speaks.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement shortly after Abbas’s speech that the PA president demonstrated that “he doesn’t want to be, and cannot be, a partner for a logical diplomatic resolution.

“It’s no coincidence that he joined a [national consensus] government with Hamas,” the foreign minister added. “Abbas complements Hamas when he deals with diplomatic terrorism and slanders Israel with false accusations.

“As long as he’s chairman of the Palestinian Authority, he will continue the conflict. He is the continuation of [late Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat through different means,” continued Liberman.

West Bank settler group foreign envoy Dani Dayan responded to the PA chief’s speech by saying that Abbas was the “broadcaster for Hamas” and that the Fatah party leader had delivered one of his most “libelous, defamatory and self-righteous speeches.”

The former Yesha Council chairman said in English on Twitter that “by using the word ‘genocide,’ Abbas gave up the empathy of the Israeli public, including most of the left.”



Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech

Thank you, Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I've come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we see. I've come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The people of Israel pray for peace. But our hopes and the world's hope for peace are in danger. Because everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march.

It's not militants. It's not Islam. It's militant Islam. Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds – no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it's rapidly spreading in every part of the world. You know the famous American saying: "All politics is local"? For the militant Islamists, "All politics is global." Because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world.

Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some, since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas. To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it's too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.

ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.

Listen to ISIS’s self-declared caliph,Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master… The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism… and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West… By Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.

As Hamas's charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that's why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior.

So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.

And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common: - Boko Haram in Nigeria; - Ash-Shabab in Somalia; - Hezbollah in Lebanon; - An-Nusrah in Syria; - The Mahdi Army in Iraq; - And the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.

Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi'ites. Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century. Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance – Where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Militant Islam's ambition to dominate the world seems mad. But so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept to power eight decades ago.

The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree about who among them will be the master… of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. Therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.

There is one place where that could soon happen: The Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words: We will export our revolution to the entire world.

Until the cry "There is no God but Allah" will echo throughout the world over… And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, have done exactly that.

Listen to its current commander, General Muhammad Ali Ja'afari. And he clearly stated this goal. He said: Our Imam did not limit the Islamic Revolution to this country… Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government… Iran's President Rouhani stood here last week, and shed crocodile tears over what he called "the globalization of terrorism." Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He could ask them to call off Iran's global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone. To say that Iran doesn't practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.

This bemoaning of the Iranian president of the spread of terrorism has got to be one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk.

Now, Some still argue that Iran's global terror campaign, its subversion of countries throughout the Middle East and well beyond the Middle East, some argue that this is the work of the extremists. They say things are changing. They point to last year's elections in Iran. They claim that Iran’s smooth talking President and Foreign Minister, they’ve changed not only the tone of Iran's foreign policy but also its substance. They believe Rouhani and Zarif genuinely want to reconcile with the West, that they’ve abandoned the global mission of the Islamic Revolution.

Really? So let's look at what Foreign Minister Zarif wrote in his book just a few years ago: We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission, which is tied to our raison d'etre… A global mission which is tied to our very reason of being.

And then Zarif asks a question, I think an interesting one. He says: How come Malaysia [he’s referring to an overwhelmingly Muslim country] – how come Malaysia doesn't have similar problems? And he answers: Because Malaysia is not trying to change the international order.

That's your moderate. So don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose, and for one purpose only: To lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran's path to the bomb. The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces, and leave it with the capacity of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran's place as a threshold military nuclear power. In the future, at a time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous state in the world's most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all. It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pick-up trucks, armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction. I remember that last year, everyone here was rightly concerned about the chemical weapons in Syria, including the possibility that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. That didn't happen. And President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syria's chemical weapons capability. Imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic State, ISIS, would be if it possessed chemical weapons. Now imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic state of Iran would be if it possessed nuclear weapons. Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn't let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either.

Because here’s what will happen: Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. It's then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world. There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran's nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it's set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight. It’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.

For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. I want you to think about what your countries would do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities. Imagine millions of your citizens having seconds at most to scramble to bomb shelters, day after day. You wouldn't let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity. Nor would you let terrorists dig dozens of terror tunnels under your borders to infiltrate your towns in order to murder and kidnap your citizens. Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels. Yet Israel also faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war. Because, in an attempt to win the world’s sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools, not just schools - UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel.

As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians.

We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualty. And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, always to enable Palestinian civilians to evacuate targeted areas.

No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies. This concern for Palestinian life was all the more remarkable, given that Israeli civilians were being bombarded by rockets day after day, night after night. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel's citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls – they upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel's soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere.

Now here’s what Hamas did: Hamas embedded its missile batteries in residential areas and told Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to leave. And just in case people didn’t get the message, they executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza who dared to protest.

No less reprehensible, Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play. Let me show you a photograph. It was taken by a France 24 crew during the recent conflict. It shows two Hamas rocket launchers, which were used to attack us. You see three children playing next to them. Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas like this. Hundreds of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a war crime. And I say to President Abbas, these are the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated, or spoken out against from this podium last week.

Ladies and Gentlemen, As Israeli children huddled in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer: Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Priebus has earned right to speak on GOP's behalf about conservatism

Hugh Hewitt

Twenty years ago this week, the famed "Contract with America" was put forward by the House and Senate Republicans of 1994. The Contract committed to voters that, if given legislative majorities in the upcoming elections, the new GOP-run Congress would, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress (1995–96), propose tax cuts, a permanent line-item veto, measures to reduce crime, and constitutional amendments requiring term limits and a balanced budget.

The power of the Contract was not in any of its particulars, but in the promise of speed, action and urgency. Now as the country rounds into the homestretch of the 2014 election contests, the GOP has the wind at its back as the issue set has shifted dramatically in its favor. Adding to existing dismay with Obamacare (extremely high in places like Minnesota) there is a pervasive and deep reawakening of the fear that America has not kept up its defenses, nor its important role in the world.

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The drift of Obama has created a draft in which GOP candidates across the country are moving forward and past their Democratic opponents, even when the latter are deeply established incumbent D.C. "lifers" like Sens. Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Mark Udall in Colorado.

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus is already well and rightly known as a agent of massive change within the party, and the "Reince reforms" on the scheduling of caucuses and presidential primaries, the organization of debates, the selection of Cleveland as the site for the 2016 Republican National Convention and an early convention date, are all powering increasing optimism that the GOP will be in a good position to challenge the Hillary Leviathan come Nov. 2016.

But to match the Democrats in credentials and stagecraft in the race to replace Obama in the White House over the next two years, the GOP must retain its majority in the House and gain one in the Senate. And the majorities would not only produce achievement and stagecraft but perhaps also crucial breakthroughs, such as a restoration of some critical funding for the Pentagon and steps on border security that are a necessary precondition to regularization of the millions of illegal aliens in the country.

To set the stage for the climate of urgency and action, Priebus is said to be preparing a key speech for Thursday of this week in which he will lay out a template reminiscent of the vision document of 1994. He is not a legislator of course, but he is the leader of the party nationally, and has earned the right to speak on the party's behalf about the key pillars of conservatism, as governors and state legislators join with incumbents and challengers for federal office. Priebus is actually the only Republican positioned to speak into the media vacuum on behalf of the Grand Old Party right now, so Thursday's address will be an important one.

Let's hope it stresses not just speed in D.C. and a commitment to deep reforms, but an ongoing recognition that a free people are best left to decide for themselves how to use their time, their money and their land, educate their children, choose their health care, and worship their God as they see fit. The military's needs have to be front and center, and the reform of a bloated entitlement state, but mostly Priebus needs to capture the spirit of serious and fast reform, and a refusal to stand by for the last two years of Obama's epic fail bemoaning but not acting.

Watch that space. It will be interesting indeed.



If Republicans run as Republicans they will win

Political pollsters have a tough job. They have to create formulas to determine if the person who they are interviewing is likely or unlikely to vote, and it is within this calculation that their reputations are made.

Typically, those who are likely to vote in an off-year election are pretty set. They are the people who always vote in elections, and a few others who are motivated by specific issues. In a wave election, the numbers of those motivated by specific issues escalates changing the electoral landscape as the candidates who are beneficiaries of this increased participation sweep to victory.

The 2014 election is rapidly looking like something new and different. Democrats are reportedly demoralized by the failed Obama Administration and general fatigue. Republicans, on the other hand, in an orgy of expectation that the primary elections believed the key to taking the Senate was getting the “electable” candidates nominated.

And get them nominated they did.

The establishment got their candidates. Now, they are staring in the face of a potentially disastrous election where their chosen ones dramatically underperform all reasonable expectations, the result of their attacks on their own political party’s base to cement primary victories.

One state party chairman has privately bemoaned that social conservatives in his state openly question why they should bother voting at all. Given the national party’s desire to kick them out of the big tent to make room for a hoped for influx of pot smoking hipsters, who can blame them?

Across the nation, tea party conservatives question the wisdom of being tied to a Republican Party that wants them to just shut up and vote for whomever the establishment decides, and it is this indecision on whether to vote at all, that is at the heart of the GOP’s polling woes.

Conservative voters who have traditionally been amongst the most likely people to vote out of a sense of civic responsibility are disgusted. They are tired of being attacked by the so-called conservative party, and really tired of being treated like second class citizens by the donor and consultant class that controls the official party.

The good news for the establishment is that conservatives want to forgive them for their attacks. They desperately want to vote Harry Reid out of the Senate Majority Leader’s office. They still believe that voting Republican is their best chance to limit the size and scope of government, and to get the runaway federal branch under control. They want to rein in the lawless executive branch and restore constitutional government.

They want to believe that the Republican Party is still the conservative political party and is not just a different gang of thieves looking to plunder America’s pocket books.

Conservatives still believe that America is the greatest country in the world, and that our system of government along with the free enterprise system provides the pathway to future prosperity. Conservatives believe that freedom is worth fighting for, even though, they hate having to do it.

Conservatives believe in the rule of law, and that those who come to our country illegally should not be rewarded for their crimes, being put ahead of those who are waiting in line and following the rules.

The Republican Party has the answer to turn these conservative voters who are currently wondering whether it is worth turning out to vote this election for candidates who have proven to despise them.

All they have to do is read and repeat to conservative voters their own political party platform, and pledge to govern by it. If the Republican establishment candidates actually ran as Republicans, the number of likely voters would swell, and the promise of a sweeping victory in November would be realized.

The next few weeks will tell the tale of whether the national Republican Party truly wants to win a transformative election that is impossible for the left to overturn in the vastly different political environment of 2016, or if they are content with at best a one or two seat majority in the Senate and a pick-up of six to ten seats in the House. A result that is highly likely to be erased in two years.

If Republicans run as Republicans in the final weeks of this election, they still can turn this into a rout. But then, they might have to govern as conservatives, and perhaps they fear that even more than being backbenchers.

Should be an interesting five weeks and change.



For Voter ID Opponents, This Was a Stunning Blow

On Friday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the injunction that had been issued against Wisconsin’s voter-ID law by a federal district court in April. The court told Wisconsin that it “may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.” In reaction, Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official, said that Wisconsin would take all steps necessary “to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election.” The appeals court issued its one-page opinion within hours of hearing oral arguments in the appeal.

As I explained in an NRO article in May, the district court judge, Lynn Adelman, a Clinton appointee and former Democratic state senator, had issued an injunction claiming the Wisconsin ID law violated the Voting Rights Act as well as the Fourteenth Amendment. Adelman made the startling claim in his opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2008 upholding Indiana’s voter-ID law as constitutional was “not binding precedent,” so Adelman could essentially ignore it.

However, that was too much for the Seventh Circuit. It pointed out, in what most lawyers would consider a rebuke, that Adelman had held Wisconsin’s law invalid “even though it is materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).”

It was also obviously significant to the Seventh Circuit that the Wisconsin state supreme court had upheld the state’s voter-ID law in July, since the three-judge panel cited that decision, Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, too. In fact, the appeals court said the state court decision had changed the “balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief.”

In other words, there was no justification for striking down a state voter-ID law that was identical to one that had been previously upheld by both the Supreme Court of the United States and that state’s highest court.

This decision is only on the appropriateness of the injunction that was issued. But in a bad omen for the plaintiffs, the Seventh Circuit said the “state’s probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court.” The appeal “remains under advisement” and the court said that “an opinion on the merits will issue in due course.”

This is also another big defeat for Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in July that the Justice Department would be intervening in this lawsuit. The Department lost a lawsuit that claimed South Carolina’s voter-ID law was discriminatory in 2012, and a federal judge recently refused to issue an injunction against North Carolina’s voter-ID law in another lawsuit filed by Justice.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is in a hard-fought reelection campaign, said after news of the Seventh Circuit’s action came out that “voter ID is a commonsense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process.” Echoing similar claims by state representative JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee, Dale Ho, a lawyer at the ACLU, claims this will cause “chaos at the polls,” despite the fact that there has been no such “chaos” in any of the other states that have implemented voter-ID laws over the past ten years.

What this decision means is that, as Governor Walker said, at least in Wisconsin, it will now be “easier to vote and harder to cheat.” And it adds to the long string of losses suffered by opponents of voter-ID laws. Slowly but surely, voter ID is getting implemented across the country.




The View is a television show that, apparently, a lot of women watch. Currently, Rosie O’Donnell, who was once famous for something–I have no idea what–is one of the hosts. Still, many women watch. So this video of The View’s women grappling with the Obama administration’s response to ISIS terrorism is noteworthy.

I want to highlight O’Donnell’s contribution near the end: We are bombing Syria because Syria has so much oil, so there is a “financial incentive.” What the Hell is this supposed to mean? Why are liberals obsessed with oil? And what, exactly, is the “financial incentive”? Here is the clip, then some further comments:

Click here for video

O’Donnell’s comments are astonishingly foolish. For one thing, Syria has very little oil: it produces less than 1/2 of 1% of the world’s petroleum. Whereas we, the United States, are the number one source of fossil fuel energy. And how would bombing ISIL give the U.S. access to more oil, at rates somehow cheaper than those at which we can develop our own endless petroleum resources? At over $1 million per Tomahawk missile, isn’t this doing it the hard way? Not to mention that, on a best case scenario, we won’t own whatever minimal amounts of oil may be beneath Syria’s soil. (This is a minor, legalistic detail that doesn’t occur to low-IQ liberals.)

So what is the point? What do Syria’s tiny petroleum reserves have to do with our bombing of ISIL? It seems obvious that the answer is: Nothing. Yet liberals are so stupid, or, to be charitable, so irrationally wedded to outmoded memes, that they can’t resist babbling about oil, even as North Dakota produces more petroleum than Syria could ever dream of. What, exactly, is the “financial agenda” behind our effort to retaliate against ISIS brutality?

That would be a fun question to pose to poor Ms. O’Donnell. There is none, obviously. Just as “oil” had nothing to do with our overthrowing Saddam Hussein. But liberals aren’t smart. They can’t let go of a theme they have settled on, no matter how foolish it may be. Is Rosie O’Donnell an extreme case? Probably. But, to paraphrase John Lennon, she isn’t the only one.


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


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Monday, September 29, 2014

The war on fast food: More medical idiocy

The war on fast food is unrelenting so logic must not be allowed to get in the way.  The claim below that hamburgers etc make you stupid is itself stupid.  All that they have rediscovered  are the familiar observations that poor people are more likely to eat fast food and poor people are dumber.  It's a class finding only.  No effects of the food have been shown.  

The authors were aware of the class issue in that they controlled for maternal education but education is not strongly correlated with income, particularly among women.  Remember those burger flippers with Ph.D.s and the plumbers who live in the best suburbs?  The journal article is "Prospective associations between dietary patterns and cognitive performance during adolescence" by  Anett Nyaradi et al. in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2014

It's no secret that eating hamburgers and fries could affect your waist line but new research has found it can also take a toll on your brain.

Researchers found that higher intake of a western diet by 14-year-olds had scored lower in cognitive tasks by the age of 17.

Within the western dietary patterns, the study found participants with a high intake of take-away food, deep fried potatoes, red and processed meat and soft drinks had negative associations that affected their reaction time, mental ability, visual attention, learning and memory.

While participants who had higher consumption of fruits and leafy green vegetables, had a positive cognitive performance.

Researcher Dr Anett Nyaradi told Science Network  that it could be due to increased micronutrient content from leafy green vegetables, which has linked to enhanced cognitive development.

Dr Nyaradi said several factors may be at play in this diet-related decline in cognitive skills, including the level of omega-6 fatty acids in fried foods and red meat.

Metabolic pathways function best with a balanced 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but the western diet can shift this to a 1:20 or 1:25 ratio, according to Science Network.

Dr Nyardi told Science Network that high intake of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates has been linked to impairment in the functioning of the hippocampus, which is a brain structure centrally involved in learning and memory that increases its volume during adolescence.

'Adolescence represents a critical time period for brain development. It is possible that poor diet is a significant risk factor during this period…indeed, our findings support this proposition,' she said.

Dr Nyardi said that high intake of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates affected learning and memory during adolescents

The University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute observed 602 participants from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study.

Each participant were required to fill out a food frequency questionnaire at the age of 14 to identify the factor analysis of 'healthy' and 'Western' dietary patterns.

When they turned 17, a cognitive performance was assessed using a computerised cognitive battery of tests that included six tasks.



Devolution is needed in America too

The world watched and waited to learn the fate of Scotland following its vote on the referendum for independence. For many other regions within the U.K., including Wales and Northern Ireland; within Europe, including Spain’s Catalonia and Belgium’s Flanders; and states within the U.S., including Vermont, Texas and Alaska; Scotland’s vote energized and inspired separatists’ movements — even though they were disappointed with the outcome.

While Scotland voted “No,” and chose to remain in the United Kingdom, it made enough noise and caused enough concern in London, that, in effect, it won anyway. When the race appeared to be close  Westminster panicked — the “parties went into scramble mode.” They vowed “to introduce legislation to grant Scotland’s semiautonomous government more powers [devolution] if voters reject independence.”

Other groups seeking independence are studying what Scotland did. The “No” vote will not squelch other separatist groups looking for self-governance, rather, it is, as the WSJ called the effort: “a template for conflict resolution.”

While many are reporting on the Scotland vote as a warning for Europe and lessons for separatists, there are important parallels — and encouragement — with the movement afoot in the American West’s rebellion over excessive federal control of land and resources (which was at the core of the Bundy Ranch stand-off).

In the West, the federal government regulates more of the land than the states or private citizens do. Those lands are generally rich in natural resources. Yet, the federal government makes decisions far way, in Washington, D.C., that hold back economic potential, which would benefit the states if they were allowed to be creating jobs and new wealth — resulting in an increased tax base.

As was the case in Scotland, Washington, D.C., has different priorities. If states had more autonomy, more authority over the lands within their borders, they’d make better decisions.

Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, agrees. He told me: “A desire for ‘self-governance’ is hard wired into humans. When asked the question, ‘who should decide the things that affect your life?’ the vast majority of people will answer, ‘me.’ This extends to the idea that local governance is better than edicts from a distant government. People have more power locally.  ‘Who decides? I decide.’”

The federal government has abused — and is abusing — its ability to declare national monuments by putting massive swaths of land out of productive use. It is doing the same with the Endangered Species Act: introducing predators into active ranching regions and using protecting a lizard to prevent oil-and-gas drilling. It claims to be saving potential owl habitat by stopping logging, resulting in overgrown, unhealthy tinderboxes where we see logging resources (and protected habitat and watershed) go up in smoke — polluting the air and water. I could go on, as there are many more examples, but these are some of the causes in which I’ve personally been involved and previously addressed.

Much like Scotland finally had enough of being under the thumb of British rule, the Bundy Ranch story — with total strangers converging in Nevada in defense of a rancher they’d never met — gave voice to an anger that has been building up in the West. Nevada has more federally managed land than any other state — more than 80 percent.

Utah has led the way by becoming the first state to pass legislation that called on the federal government to begin to work with Utah on transferring federals land to the state — as was the ultimate intent of the Enabling Act that called for the federal government to “dispose” of the lands. More than 60 percent of Utah’s lands are managed by the federal government, and those lands are often rich in natural resources. Because the majority of the lands in Utah are managed by the federal government, with much of them off limits to development, the State doesn’t get the benefit of potential economic activity. It doesn’t get the full, possible tax revenue. To help with the loss, the federal government “gives” the state “payment in lieu of taxes” — which are being reduced due to budget challenges in Washington, D.C.

The Sutherland Institute’s  Coalition for Self-Government in the West has a report: Opportunity Lost, which provides an excellent overview of the situation in Utah. Regarding energy resources, it points out: “The geologies of oil and gas reservoirs on federal and private lands in the Rocky Mountains, including in Utah, share many similar features. Indeed most of the production growth of crude oil has occurred in well-established oil fields. These production gains are realized from the application of new technology, such as three-dimensional seismic, directional drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. The Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies are developing new rules for the use of these technologies on federal lands that may impact the ultimate production, and therefore potential economic benefit, of these lands. In addition to the existing layers of regulatory hurdles and related litigation, delays in the implementation of these rules may have contributed to the relatively slower growth of oil and gas production on federal lands already.”

Through The American Lands Council, Utah Representative Ken Ivory has spearheaded Utah’s effort to force the federal government to honor its promise to “dispose” of certain federal lands. The Utah legislation calls for the lands to be turned over to the state as a proposed remedy to D.C.’s failure to perform on its obligations under the contract. Utah lands would then be managed for greater access, health and economic productivity. They could be added to the state tax base and would allow Utah to manage these lands for their best use. Ken told me that at a recent debate on this matter, opponents tried to spread fear about self-governance — much like that spread in Scotland: “The ‘Better Together’ campaign …at times uses scare tactics.” (CNN) But reports show the self-governance approach is legal, and it can be done.

The movement is growing. Several states, like Nevada, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have created task forces to study issues surrounding how public lands controlled by the federal government would be managed if they were transferred to the state. Others, like New Mexico, Arkansas, and Alaska, are working on legislation and/or resolutions. Additionally, legislators in Washington, Oregon and Colorado are looking closely at the issue.

Representative Ivory, and others like him, is pushing for victory. But, even if, as happened in Scotland, the self-governance of federal lands doesn’t happen, a groundswell of support could bring about policy changes that would benefit the West and help states develop their “full economic potential” — which would benefit all of America.

The CSM closes its Scottish independence story with this: “Scotland requires a new approach to economic policy development and implementation, with government working collaboratively with business and others to identify and pursue competitive advantage.” The same could be said for the West.

A report about Scotland, and other separatist movements, in the Business Insider states: “From early on in the campaign they also focused more on making it less about all the things the U.K. is doing wrong and more about how they can do it better.” In the West, we know we “can do it better.” Let your state and federal elected officials know that you support state management of public lands and that you want decisions made at the local level — because we can do it better.



Liberal Incivility and Gabby Giffords

When a gunman attempted to murder Rep. Gabriel Giffords in January 2011, the country was shocked by what was widely interpreted as an act that symbolized the incivility that had transformed American politics. That assumption, which was primarily aimed at undermining the Tea Party movement that had swept the midterm elections months before in the 2010 midterms, was soon debunked when we learned the shooter was an apolitical madman. But liberals have never ceased yapping about the implications of their opponents’ alleged meanness. Now it turns out the person who is doing the most to give the lie to this assertion is Ms. Giffords.

Giffords’s plight in the wake of the shooting engendered the support of all Americans as she struggled to recover from catastrophic wounds that forced her to abandon her political career. Like James Brady did a generation before, Giffords’s valiant recovery from a severe head wound made her the object of the nation’s sympathy and warm wishes. That wasn’t diminished by her activism on behalf of controversial gun-control laws. But as Giffords has begun to realize that empathy for her situation doesn’t translate into a willingness by the majority of Americans to embrace her positions on gun control, her intervention in political races is now taking on the aspect of a political attack dog rather than that of a sympathetic victim.

As Politico reports today in a story that runs under the headline “Gabby Giffords gets mean,” the former congresswoman has taken off the gloves in a series of political ads aimed at taking out Republicans she doesn’t like. In them, her super PAC seeks to exploit the suffering of other shooting victims but twists the narrative to make it appear that people like Martha McSally, the Republican woman running for Giffords’s old seat, were somehow involved or even complicit in violent shooting of a woman named Vicki by a stalker. As Politico notes:

"Some longtime supporters are starting to cry foul. On Friday, the Arizona Republic’s editorial page, which is typically liberal leaning, called the “Vicki” ad “base and vile.” The commercial, the newspaper said, put the murder “at McSally’s feet, as if she were responsible. A murder indictment implied. But, of course, McSally had nothing to do with” the death."

This is rough stuff by any standard but for it to be the work of a woman whose shooting elevated her to the status of secular saint is particularly shocking. Other ads that her group has produced pursue the same specious line.

All may be fair in love, war, and politics but there’s a lesson to be learned here and it’s not just that sympathetic victims can turn nasty if they don’t get their way on policy questions.

The liberal conceit that conservatives have fouled the political waters with their strident advocacy for accountability in terms of taxes and spending was always something of a stretch. While the Tea Party, like every other American political faction, has its share of rude loudmouths, despite the libels aimed at it from the liberal mainstream media it is no more a threat to democracy than its counterparts on the left. But modern liberalism has at its core a deep-seated intolerance of opposition. It was never enough for them to criticize the positions of conservatives or Tea Partiers; they had to skewer them as anti-democratic or supportive of political violence, despite the lack of evidence to support such wild allegations.

Nor are liberals deterred by the irony of their efforts to defame conservatives. As I wrote back in January 2012, even as she issued a call for political civility, Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz falsely linked the Tea Party to the Giffords shooting. So why should we be surprised that Giffords would play the same card as she seeks to demonize and defame those who would frustrate her pro-gun control efforts?

Part of the disconnect here is due to a misunderstanding about Giffords’s personality. Though she is rightly praised for her hard work in recovering from her wounds, prior to the shooting Giffords was never shy about using the most incendiary rhetoric aimed at demonizing her political foes.

The point here is not so much to debunk the stained-glass image of the plucky Giffords in the aftermath of her ordeal. Rather, it is to understand that those who seek to characterize political differences, even over issues as divisive as guns, as those between the advocates of good and those of evil are always doing a disservice to the country. Liberals and many of their cheerleaders in the media take it as a given that conservatives are mean-spirited ghouls who don’t care about the poor or are in the pay of malevolent forces. They then take great offense when some on the right pay them back in kind with similarly over-the-top allegations.

The kind of gutter politics practiced by Giffords’s advocacy group does nothing to further a productive debate about guns or any other issue. But it does bring to light the hypocrisy of liberals who believe their good intentions or inherent virtue should allow them to defame opponents in a manner they would decry as incitement to violence if it were directed at them.

The good news, however, is that voters aren’t stupid. As much as they may sympathize with Giffords, they understand that the good will she earned can be easily dissipated if it is to be put in service to sliming those who disagree with her. Just as trotting out Giffords or the families of the Newtown massacre victims won’t convince Americans to trash their Second Amendment rights, neither will the former politician’s ads enable her to get away with sliming another woman with a mind of her own. Sadly, Giffords’s hold on America’s heartstrings may be over.


The Giffords organization did take the ad down early but said it was only because McSally had changed!  She hadn't.  They just hadn't bothered to find out what her views on guns were.  Facts don't interest the Left.  Lies are much more useful to them.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dissenting from American Liberalism & Conservatism

The article by Razib Khan below is not one that I totally agree with but I agree with his central contention that neither the Left nor the Right give appropriate weight to genetics in their thinking.  Razib is well versed in genetics research and I too take an interest in that literature.  And the more you know about that literature the more you have to shut up if you want acceptance in mainstream politics.

Hardly a day goes by without a new report of some trait or condition being found to be strongly influenced by genetics but that is in the academic literature  and any attempt to inject those findings into popular discourse will be howled down as "racist".  It will mainly be the Left who do the howling but the cultural predominance of the Left in American society intimidates conservatives into being at least silent on the matter.  So in explaining themselves and their policies conservatives  rarely refer to genetics, thus omitting a huge explanatory variable in human behavior.

And I sin muchly in often mentioning genetic facts.  No candidate in either of the main parties would want to be associated with me.  Take the issue of black IQ.  The American Psychological Association is the world's premier body of academic psychologists and they are undoubtedly Left-leaning.  As it is part of what academic psychologists do to be aware of the research literature, however, members of the APA who are interested in the issue know what the research on IQ shows.  So the APA now accepts that the IQ of the average black American is one standard deviation (which is a lot) or 15 points below the IQ of the average non-Hispanic white.  Blacks, in other words have on average a sub-adult IQ.  The APA even put out a special issue of one of its major journals some years back devoted to presenting the evidence for that one SD gap.  See here for more details on the subject.

But getting known for mentioning that gap is career poison.  One thinks of the unfortunate Jason Richwine in that connection.  I am old, retired and financially independent so I run no similar risks.  The only risk I run is of being ignored.  And I largely am. So Razib is right in thinking that neither side of politics has a good grasp of reality.  They build their reasoning on sand

 I had a long discussion yesterday with an individual who has been reading me since 2003. We talked about lots of things. One issue which perhaps I need to reiterate because it’s implicit is that I dissent to a great extent from the premises which underlay both American conservatism and liberalism. Like American liberals I think the life outcomes of many Americans are not due to their choices simply understood. Rather they are the outcome of chance events, whether it be through social background, or, simple happenstance. Years ago I recall Nassim Taleb complaining that people would read The Millionaire Next Door, and believe that by doing everything those individuals did they too could become millionaires, as if there was no random component to such outcomes. The reality is that some people are in the right place and right time. And, some people are born in the right social positions.

Where I dissent from American liberals is the idea that all of the outcomes in our society, in particular inequality, are due to chance or inherited social position (e.g., race or class privilege). In The Son Also Rises Greg Clark reports on intriguing results which indicate that social competence in heritable. To some extent this is common sense. Personal dispositions are heritable, and some dispositions are more congenial to remunerative activities than others. Though many on the Left (though not all) are willing to acknowledge the arguments in Steve Pinker’s The Blank Slate in the abstract, in the concrete they get very little weight when it comes to social policy. To give an example, for many on the Left we can talk about differences between groups (whether it be cultural or biological) only when all social inequality is abolished. The catch in this though is that any persistent differences may also result in persistent social inequality or difference in outcome.

 When it comes to the American Right there are two distinct strands. The first is the child of classical liberalism, to some extent in a more thorough fashion than the American Left. For this element the idea that capitalism is efficient in allocating resources, and that people receive their just desserts due to hard work, becomes such an all-encompassing narrative that other variables are neglected. This was clearly evident in 2008 when some conservative libertarians kept harping on the “free market” mantra because they literally had no other playbook. I recall specifically someone from the American Enterprise Institute on the radio arguing that bankers should keep their bonuses because that’s how capitalism works, even after the bailouts. When confronted by this he really had no response. He was literally dumbfounded. It is as if the market was the ends of the American political system, and all wealth is the product of the market.

Though not as constitutionally hostile to the idea of heritable differences this sort of free market conservatism is not comfortable with the idea that not everyone is born with the same opportunities. The reality is that the liberal Left critique of the nature of the outcomes of a free market is correct in some deep sense, even deeper than American liberals may wish to acknowledge. Some people are born with the genetic deck stacked against them, not just the social one (and of course, as noted above there is a lot of random noise). That undermines some of the moral case for the virtue of the market, since it is not blindly arbitrating the outcomes of our choices, as opposed as sifting based on the accumulated weight of inherited history, some of which is due to the genetic lottery.

 The second strand in American conservatism is that of the Religious Right. The problem that it has is most clearly illustrated by the issue of gay rights. Though logically toleration of homosexual behavior and its innate or non-innate nature are not related, the Religious Right prefers that homosexuality be a choice for the purposes of moral censure. That is because though these Christians believe in original sin, they seem to espouse a sort of moral perfectionism where all men are equally endowed with the same sentiments and preferences (those sentiments being debased by Satan or the Satanic influence of culture). As opposed to Homo economicus, these Christians believe in Homo christianus. Though I personally espouse the bourgeois virtues of the Religious Right, their neglect of human diversity in disposition and sentiment leads us down the path of great disappointment, as many will miss the mark. A Religious Right which focused more on social cohesion in a general and collective sense, rather than personal and individual moral perfectionism, probably could produce better results (yes, it does take a village!). But the American radical Protestant model is fundamentally individualistic, and treats each human as equal and similar before Christ. And there I believe is the folly with moral crusades which attempt to turn every American family into the same American family. Such a world never was, and such a world will never be.

The Left looks to the perfect future which could be. The Right looks to the perfect past which was, and could be.



Media poison about Israel:  Why?

In the last few weeks since the cease fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza many journalists and other media commentators have started to argue over whether or not the Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and so on have been engaged in deliberate acts of distortion in order to present Israel as the villainous aggressor and the people and government in Gaza as the innocent victims of this excessive and criminal violence.

Most of this debate, if one can call it that, focuses on an essay written by Matti Friedmann who used to work for AP.  Claim and counter-claim have been tossed about, some people, including his former bureau chief, arguing that there has been intimidation and coercion from the Hamas-run officials inside Gaza and from their politically-correct sympathizers around the western world, and other reporters working with other agencies and networks have reacted with shock, dismay and anger at being accused of such things, assuring everyone that they are honest, objective, professionals. But then a few of Freidman's fellow journalists at AP, such as Stephanie Butnick, have backed up his story, even adding some further charges of their own.  Is this just a matter of he said/she said and everyone is entitled to their own opinion?

Although I am of the opinion after months and years of scrutinizing the news media, comparing the different sources, and coming to realize the amount of distortion and manipulation involved in demonizing Israel and hushing up the perfidy and fanaticism of the Hamas cause, I think the current debate on the intentions and integrity of the press agencies misses the point.  Everyone believes he or she is right.  It would be invidious to say otherwise or, rather, to collect all the data, make a chart, and draw logical conclusions.  That is not the point.

What is the point?

It is certainly not a question mainly about conscious rational decisions.  In many, if not most instances, the insulted editors and directors of the media probably do believe in all sincerity that they are carrying out their tasks with tact and integrity, while the reporters with a great deal of courage to point their fingers at their (former) colleagues and bosses honestly think they were forced into presenting lopsided versions of the events in the Middle East.  As the old proverb has it, the proof is in the pudding: or, in a more recent formulation, if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks, then it is a duck.  The question has nothing-or rather very little to do with conscious intentions, let alone with beliefs and feelings.

If the proof is in the eating, the pudding has not been cooked well: the ingredients are a poisonous mixture of half-truths and outright lies, as well as of omissions and irrelevant side-issues.  This apparently sweet-looking image of poor suffering Palestinians and blood-thirsty Zionists is a disgusting mess.  Yet the bakers and chefs, along with the waiters and busboys all truly assume that they have been serving up precisely what their public wants and needs.

Overwhelmingly (to lapse for a moment into impressions and statistical charts) the western press has misrepresented the events of the fighting in Gaza-in fact, has not seen the fighting but presented the actions as a lopsided, disproportionate attack on the poor innocent civilians of Gaza; with the score-card of dead, injured, and homeless won by the Gaza people hands down.  Provocative acts in the way of rockets and mortars shot into Israel, tunnels built with funds sent for humanitarian aid used instead for infiltration of Israeli territory, hiding of control and command centres, and storage of weapons and ammunition, and the actual number and identification of body-counts and causes of Palestinian losses all downplayed, if not manipulated, omitted or denied.  Evidence of private dwellings booby-trapped so as to cause maximum secondary explosions, schools and mosques turned into munitions depots, hospital rooms devoted to military functions and a dozen other acts of perfidy have either been airbrushed away or trivialized.

Why can't the major media smell the stench or taste the noxious substance they have concocted? Why do most readers accept what they are served without objection?

First of all, it is because they are operating in an atmosphere of self-delusion, using discourses that do not allow their common sense to function properly, and are caught in a vicious circle of self-fulfilling prophecies.  Post-modernism has provided the media moguls with a texture of specious reality in which to collect the news, process it through distorting lenses, and created as a set of so-called authorities to which they can measure and verify what they have confected.  But this is still on the superficial level of words and images that are constantly rearranged and given new colours and tones, or new artificial flavours to return to our kitchen metaphor.

Second of all, there are layers of contextual history to be folded back and depths of unconscious motivation to be plumbed. In other words, the pudding has to undergo a chemical analysis and run through a physics investigation.  Not only do they not believe they are doing anything wrong or unprofessional.  In their own eyes and minds, they have vehemently doing precisely what they ought to do, what they have been taught to do, what they feel their readers want and need to know.  You can't argue with that.  In fact, they won't allow you to argue with them or to criticise their reasoning powers or their sense of common reality.

Still, deep down, the reality they operate from is not the same as the one most Jews and most Israelis, from personal and family history, from private and public experience share.  Many psychohistorians, historians and psychologists who have been able to engage with terrorists, fanatics and suicide-killers point out-these excitable, traumatized and deluded persons operate within hallucinations and fantasies against projections of their own dysfunctional infancies and childhoods, respond to abusive parents, strict religious upbringing, loss of identity through migration and conflictual socializing.  What they don't react against at the core of their being-though they use these other superficial hurts and humiliations as the rationalization for their violence-is "the occupation," poverty per se, discrimination or prejudice by neighbours, teachers or government officials.  We know that Hamas, ISIS, Al-qaida, and a myriad of other militant, murderous organizations and pseudo-states are, as one says, in a "Bad Place," a confusing and confused place in their own minds.  If they threaten or attack, you don't reason with them: you protect yourself, you attack them, you destroy them.

But-and this is the point we are getting at-what about the journalists, academics, intellectuals who support them, feel they should give them a voice, present not so much their side of the story as their narrative as the replacement for the privileged, colonialist, imperialist, aggressive, demonic other side?  They are "our" journalists, academics, journalists, intellectuals: they are us.  And yet the way they "frame" the news justifies our defeat, or at least the obliteration of Israel, all Jews everywhere, Americans and their allies in Europe and elsewhere.  That is what we can see them doing, but that is not how they see themselves.

To us they are condescending, that is, we are fools and dupes of our own apocalyptic narrative, our lachrymose sense of history, our irrational refusal to accept what we read in the newspapers, see on television, hear them say.  Accused, they are defensive, go into denial, and cry victimhood: The big bad wolf is after them. The troll under the bridge is lurking to grab them and gobble them up.

Why?  God knows! Is there a solution? A new recipe to follow?

I dare not psychoanalyse people I have never met.  The group behaviour does mark out the symptomatic behaviours that seem to justify their willingness to turn against western enlightened values and Judeo-Christian traditions, as well as overlooking manifest signs of evil and psychotic political actions.  For some reason they are duped by the false and manipulated versions of the events in Gaza which non-western journalists, from India, for example, were able to see and then report.  They have somehow or other become susceptible to the suggestions of a sentimentalized and infantilized of the passive Palestinians, and yet seem able, at least partly, to see what ISIS does in Syria and Iraq.  Yet even there we can see hints, clues, symptoms, somewhat blurred versions of the mental disease: the journalists who sympathize with the fanatical causes, who even convert or work for the Islamicist or left-leaning radical networks, who identify with the so-called downtrodden and exploited-at times marry into the clans.  Is this similar to the Laurence of Arabia love-affair with the exotic Arabian cause or the Stockholm Syndrome?

To reverse some of the effects of the post-modernist malaise (or psychosis), it would be necessary for them to climb out of the moment and (re)gain a comprehension of the complexities of life.  The reduction of complicated and significant versions of the Truth to nothing but diverse, competing and equally meaningless "positionalities" requires practice in analytical skills-knowledge of many languages, study of the dynamic interaction of different kinds of cultures, (re)training in the elements of classical logic, Renaissance rhetoric and comparative jurisprudence, as well as studies in the history of religion.  Instead of being satisfied with superficialities and sound-bites the journalist should learn to keep probing, seeking hidden motivations, unseen and often unconscious powers in the otherwise inexplicable and self-destructive behaviour of most peoples.  One is tempted to say, "Give them an old -fashioned education and a good dose of practical experience in the real world" but at least to understand their manifest failures to approach what they say and do with caution.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)