Thursday, August 13, 2015

Another meltdown of official wisdom

People who eat lots of butter or cream are no more likely to have an early death than anyone else, a study suggests.

Researchers trawled through the health records of hundreds of thousands of patients and found no statistical link between eating saturated fat and falling ill with heart disease, strokes or type 2 diabetes.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, raise further doubts about 32-year-old guidelines that warn people to avoid butter, full-fat milk and other meat and dairy products with high levels of saturated fats.

Britons were advised in 1983 to cut their fat intake to 30 per cent of their total energy, and saturated fat intake to 10 per cent, while increasing the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

But the latest evidence suggests that saturated fats may not be bad for you after all.



What Does It Mean to Be a Democrat?

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd identified four factions that make up the Republican Party: the Tea Party, libertarians, social conservatives and establishment Republicans. Note that three of these groups are identified almost exclusively by how they think. Arguably the fourth is as well. The Republican Party definitely attracts people who take ideas seriously.

What about the Democratic Party? It’s tempting to say that Democrats are liberal. But did you know that the base of the party — those that are the most reliable supporters of Democratic candidates — are not particularly liberal at all?

According to Pew research, among self-identified Democrats the most liberal are the ones with high incomes and post graduate degrees — a tiny minority. But among blacks, among people who have no more than a high school education and among those who make less than $30,000 a year, a majority consider themselves neither “liberal” nor “mostly liberal.” Among Hispanics it’s about fifty-fifty. And remember: this was a poll of people who call themselves Democrats.

Matt Vespa, writing at Townhall, quotes New York Times analyst Nate Cohn as saying:

"The majority of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are self-described moderates or even conservatives, according to an Upshot analysis of Pew survey data from 2014 and exit polls from the 2008 Democratic primary.

Some of these self-described moderates hold fairly liberal views. But the “mostly liberal” Democrats barely outnumber Democrats with “mixed” or conservative policy views, according to the Pew data, which classified respondents based on how consistently they agreed with Democratic policy positions. Only about a quarter of Democratic-leaners hold the consistently liberal views that would potentially put them to the left of Mrs. Clinton."

Well if liberalism isn’t what unites Democrats, could it be something else, like concern for the least fortunate? You might think so if you are a regular reader of the columns of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. But the facts don’t bear that out either. A study by American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks finds that conservatives are consistently more charitable than liberals. As one reviewer put it:

"Brooks finds that households with a conservative at the helm gave an average of 30 percent more money to charity in 2000 than liberal households (a difference of $1,600 to $1,227). The difference isn’t explained by income differential — in fact, liberal households make about 6 percent more per year. Poor, rich, and middle class conservatives all gave more than their liberal counterparts.

And it wasn’t just money. The conservatives gave more time, more blood, etc.

These findings are consistent with my own anecdotal experience. For many years I was an attentive viewer of C-Span’s morning show — where callers could call in on a “Democratic” or “Republican” line. Sometimes lines were labeled “liberal” or “conservative.” What I found striking was how rarely anyone on the Democratic or liberal line advocated a position I regarded as unambiguously liberal. I don’t recall a single caller saying we should all (including the caller) pay higher taxes so that we could have universal pre-school or universal long term care or so we could pay for some other government spending project.

Instead, I heard teachers arguing for more pay for teachers, seniors wanting more out of Social Security and Medicare, union members wanting trade protection, blacks wanting more for blacks, etc. In other words, what I heard a lot of was selfishness. The Democratic line attracted a lot of people who want government to intervene for their benefit at everyone else’s expense.

Is it possible that raw economic self-interest is what attracts voters to the Democratic Party? Certainly that is one way to view the Franklin Roosevelt political coalition. At Roosevelt’s behest, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which attempted to regulate the entire economy, based on the Italian fascist model. In each industry, management and labor were allowed to collude to set prices, wages, output, etc. Every industry or trade was ordered to conspire to pursue its own interests at the expense of the public. The Supreme Court put an end to the NIRA, but it didn’t put an end to the ideas behind it.

If economic selfishness is what unites Democrats, could that model be in danger of falling apart? Trade unions, occupational licensing, and other attempts to monopolize trades and professions are very much in the Roosevelt tradition. But none of this attracts high income, highly educated liberals who back charter schools in their fight against the teachers' unions and who back Uber in its fight against the taxi cab monopoly.

Even more stunning is the recent Obama administration broadside against occupational licensing. It points out that one of every four jobs in the country requires a government license and reflects the concern of economists that these laws protect the producers, not consumers, and that their effects are eerily similar to medieval guilds.

At the state and local level, Republicans appear to have been as bad as Democrats in yielding to these special interest pressures. For Republicans, this is inconsistent with their free market rhetoric. However, for Democrats, it’s consistent with the Roosevelt model.

There is a potential rupture within the Democratic Party that has been largely ignored by the pundits.



Christian Refugees Get the Cold Shoulder

One of the great traditions of American foreign policy has been to protect the oppressed against those who would do them harm. Yet throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, we have seen time and again how that policy has been abandoned for the sake of politics and The One’s own personal aggrandizement.

The most recent example is the revelation that 28 Chaldean Christians have been sitting in a San Diego immigration detention facility while bureaucrats decide whether to let them seek asylum in America or be returned to Iraq, where Christians are facing widespread persecution under the Islamic State and an indifferent and corrupt Iraqi regime.

The Chaldean Christians hail from one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, and the more than two dozen people who now sit in a barbed wire compound in San Diego faced a perilous trek to avoid being jailed and murdered at the hand of barbarians who seek nothing less than their conversion to Islam or their death. Twelve have already been given deportation orders, though their final destination and fate remains unknown.

While illegal immigrants with horrendous criminal records run rampant on American streets committing heinous crimes that the administration and the Leftmedia try to downplay, Christians who want nothing more than the freedom to practice their faith are being detained.

“In Iraq, they only had three choices: convert to Islam, death by the sword or leave the country,” Mark Arabo, head of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation, told Fox News. “They’ve refused to convert, escaped slavery and death — only to be imprisoned by our broken immigration system.”

Arabo, whose parents came from Iraq to the U.S. in 1979, went on to note a sad truth under the Obama administration: “The disheartening thing is it seems that our border is open to anyone unless you’re a Christian fleeing genocide.”

Since Obama abandoned Iraq in 2009, leaving that country to the wolves and spitting on the graves of the 4,000 American soldiers who gave their lives to secure that country, more than a million Iraqi Christians have been exiled. Some 300,000 still remain, and they live in constant fear of displacement, rape, murder and a number of other brutalities at the hands of the Islamic State, which has made significant military gains in the absence of an American military presence.

John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to George H.W. Bush, recently noted, “There seems to be an indifference in Washington to what is happening here.”

Sununu is being too kind.  Former Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia was more accurate, saying, “This administration is fundamentally anti-Christian.”

Obama is not just indifferent to the plight of Iraqi Christians or the Christians in Syria and Egypt and many other nations around the world who are being persecuted and murdered in record numbers by jihadis. We think his sustained record of inaction and turning a blind eye to the massacres taking place across the globe belies an underlying disdain for the Christian faith.

Consider Obama’s words since taking office. From his inaugural “apology” tour in 2009 to mandating Christians pay for abortive drugs through health insurance to his open browbeating of Christians over the Crusades during the National Prayer Breakfast in February to his support for the Rainbow Mafia’s persecution of Christians over marriage, he has demonstrated not only ignorance of history but contempt for the Christian religion and its place in the world.

At every turn, Obama has chosen to play down the horrific actions of the Islamic State as it burns people alive, decapitates nonbelievers en masse, and drives people of other faiths from the homes their families have lived in for generations. Instead, he callously dishes out revisionist history of atrocities committed by Christians hundreds of years ago in an attempt to lay out some twisted morally equivalent worldview that is logically and morally bankrupt.

As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in February, “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson… Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives… The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

But that is not Obama’s M.O. He is acting on a lifelong contempt for Western values that was instilled in him by his mentors of hate. He sees the threats that face America as some sort of punishment for a perceived injustice that our nation has perpetrated on the world.

It cannot be denied that some Christians acted poorly in the past (and sometimes the present), nor can it be denied that America has awful scars in its history. But our country learns from its mistakes, and it remains as always the single brightest beacon of freedom and hope for people around the world who want to practice their faith in peace and with dignity. Obama’s twisted worldview has done America no favors, and it has rolled back the march toward universal freedom. Who can say how long it will take to undo the damage he has wrought?



Minimum wage Restaurants Suffer Worse Job Loss Since The Great Recession

According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs — the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.

“The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession,” AEI Scholar Mark J. Perry noted in the report.

The citywide minimum wage increase was passed in June of last year. The measure is designed to increase the city minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by 2017. The first increase under the plan was to $11 an hour in April. According to the report, Seattle restaurants have already faced severe consequences as a result. In contrast, in the six years since the 2009 financial crisis, the industry has been recovering in areas without the $15 minimum wage.

“Restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period,” the report also noted. “Restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs.”

Supporters of the $15 minimum wage often argue it will help the poor and stimulate economic activity. Opponents, however, argue such policies will actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. How little or how much of either outcome usually depends on the study. Nevertheless, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees at least some job loss is expected.

Studies also show that industries with low profit margins, like restaurants, are more likely to be hit the hardest. A June report from the investor rating service Moody’s claims the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)


No comments: