Friday, March 06, 2015

Iris pigmentation

Iris pigmentation sounds like an obscure area of scientific investigation, does it not?  Among evolutionary biologists it is an obscure area of scientific investigation but there is more to it than that.  In everyday English it is the study of blue eyes.  Caution, caution! I think I am already in an area of political incorrectness.  But I discuss all areas of scientific interest without fear or favor so political correctness can go hang.

It's not long go that having blue eyes was commented on favorably.  There is a stellar example of that in Im weissen Roessl, the hit operetta known in English as "The White Horse Inn", though more accurately translated as "The little white horse".  There is a recent big-budget performance of it at Moerbisch (In the original German).  At the 36 minute mark of the  video you will see the ultra-feminine Anja-Katharina Wigger and big Marco Jentzch singing "die ganze Welt ist himmelblau" to one another (The whole world is sky blue).  The point of the song is how inspired they are by one-another's blue eyes.  It's a piece of romanticism that's well worth watching whatever color your eyes are but those of us who have blue eyes probably get a little more out of it.

So what is the significance of blue eyes?  Just that question must be ringing loud alarms to anyone impressed by political correctness but, as ever, I will plow on.  Yes. I have "checked my privilege" and am quite pleased with it.

Blue eyes seem to have arisen as a genetic mutation somewhere in the Black sea area but natural selection moved them steadily Northwards.  At some early stage, the whole Northern European population probably had blue eyes. Northern Europe and its descendant populations are of course the main loci of them to this day.

Why did that gene move North?  Because blue eyes function better than dark eyes in low light levels and function less well in high light levels.  Blue eyed people could see better in the low light levels that often prevail in chilly Northern Europe, particularly in the Baltic sea area and Russia.  We Anglo-Saxons trace our ancestry to German tribes that moved from the South Baltic to Britannia, later known as England.

But it's not only iris pigmentation that cold climates select for.  Cold climates are not very good at growing crops -- so the blue-eyed Volk largely fed themselves by hunting.  So they kept their hunter-gatherer mores (customs) much longer than did the Southern European and Mesopotamian populations.  And hunter-gatherer mores are democratic.  Issues are settled by discussion, not by imperial edict.

And the ancient parliaments of Northern Europe and Iceland reflect that.  The Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britannia brought their democratic customs with them and their "Witangemot" evolved in due course into the Westminster parliament on the Thames, sometimes called "the mother of parliaments".  So most long-established parliaments serve people with predominantly azure iris pigmentation: Democracy as we know it today arose in the cold climates of Northern Europe.

While they retained something of their hunter-gatherer traditions, Greece and Rome were also democratic -- but democracy there eventually succumbed to imperialism.  The big bureaucratic governments that characterize the modern world threaten a similar   fate for us.  Democracy can be lost.  And if the Left have their way, it will be. All the great tyrants of the 20th century -- Stalin, Hitler and Mao -- were socialists.

And there is yet another thing that cold climates select for:  IQ.  To survive a Northern winter you need to do a lot of thinking ahead and thinking ahead involves abstract and symbolic thought. You have to imagine yourself in the midst of a Northern winter with no wood to burn to keep you warm.  Only if you can imagine it will you provide against it. Blue eyed people were  people who tended to think ahead, and, mostly, they still do.

AS a small coda to this ramble through evolutionary history, I will say a word about a recent claim about the color blue in general.  The claim is that people could not see the colour blue until recently.  The claim is based on the curious fact that words meaning blue are largely absent from ancient writings.  Homer's well-known reference to a "wine-dark sea" is held up as an example.  That Homer was simply not talking about its color is discounted.

Since the human eye does contain cones specifically devoted to being activated by blue wavelengths, it is clear, however, that any deficiency about blue-perception  is social rather than physical.  People could always see blue so the question is why did they say so little about it?  And the article does point us towards an answer to that: It was only the ancient Egyptians who had a way of dying things blue.  And the ancient Egyptians do use blue color words freely.   So it was because they could not produce it that ancient peoples tended not to refer to it.

The whole thing boils down to a version of the old Sapir/Whorf "codability" hypothesis in linguistics.  The strong version of that hypothesis says that your thinking is dictated by your language.  It is reminiscent of Marx's claim that your thinking is dictated by your social position.  The current "check your privilege" accusation reprises Marx.  But Marx is easily refuted by the simple fact that people of the same social class can have radically different opinions and by the fact that  people from different social classes can have similar opinions.

British sociologists have long been puzzled by the fact that about a quarter of the British working class vote Tory.  They are seen as voting for the "wrong" party, not "their" party (the Labour party).  Only a Marxist would be puzzled by that however.  People are NOT blinded by their class origins.  I wrote about that some time ago.  And the strong Sapir/Whorf hypothesis can be rejected on similar grounds.

Does anyone, for instance, think that Germans are in any way incommoded or limited by the fact that their language has no word for pink, heaven or happy?  They just give double duty to their words for rosy, sky and lucky.  They are many happy Germans who sometimes wear pink and none of them expect to float up into the sky when they die.

The weak form of the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis is however informative:  People "cut up" their perceptual world according to what is important to them. Eskimos have several different words for different types of snow while we do not.  For us, snow is snow but for Eskimos recognizing different types of snow can have survival implications.

So ancient people did not mention blue because it was not important to them.  They could not produce it so they largely ignored it.  It was not a useful category in their lives and hence also not important in their speech.

So let me end with a tease:  The first American to step on the moon (Neil Armstrong) and the first Russian in space (Yuri Gagarin) both had blue eyes.  What should we make of that?

Footnote:  My large academic background does at times cause me to lapse into academic jargon -- but I try to explain myself when I do that.  The  Latin word mores above, for instance, is used by social scientists to mean the full range of attitudes and behaviors that is characteristic of some human group.  Even people who know what it means sometimes pronounce it as if it were the plural of the English word "more".  There is no such plural, however.  mores is the plural of the Latin word mos and is pronounced as "morays" (just like the eel).


Cause of strain U.S./Israel relations: Obama’s hostile policies

In an interview on the PBS television ‘Charlie Rose’ program, President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to accept the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on the issue of Iran’s looming nuclear threat had “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the [U.S./Israeli] relationship.”

Nothing can further from the truth: it’s Mr. Obama’s partisanship which has produced a crisis in relations between the White House and Jerusalem, not Mr. Netanyahu’s –– and the record shows it.

Mr. Obama doesn’t mind foreign leaders speaking to Congressmen –– as long as they support his policy. That’s why he was happy for British Prime Minister David Cameron to do just that. But he deeply objected to Mr. Netanyahu critiquing his Iran policy to Members of Congress. It is not hard to see why: in his address to Congress, Mr. Netanyahu demolished the Obama claim that negotiations with Iran are going to lead to a deal that stops Iran going nuclear.

Yet, in truth, even that isn’t the reason Obama has refused to meet Mr. Netanyahu during his visit. People forget that, without any upcoming speech to Congress to rationalize his pique, Obama also declined to meet Mr. Netanyahu during his September 2012 visit to the U.S.

Yes, there were tensions back then, too –– Mr. Obama was pressing Israel not to militarily strike Iran, to which Mr. Netanyahu acceded –– but this only shows that policy, not merely personalities, is driving the friction between them.

Indeed, Mr. Obama has elevated to crises disagreements that previous administrations tamped down.

Mr. Obama has continually criticized and even “condemned” as anti-peace Israel merely announcing the building of homes in Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem –– a bipartisan Israeli policy –– that would remain Israeli under any conceivable peace agreement.

Conversely, there has been no condemnation of the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas for incitement to hatred and murder –– though the Obama Administration said it would hold it accountable. Last week, a U.S. federal court held the PLO and Abbas’ PA are liable for six terrorist attacks in Israel that killed and wounded Americans more than a decade ago –– but Obama has been silent about this.

The record of six years shows a president who has often spoiled for a spat with Israel over policy disagreements, involving refusal of photos ops; Mr. Netanyahu being compelled to exit the White House by a side entrance; having to cool his heels while Mr. Obama took dinner without him; an unidentified aide (never fired or reprimanded) calling Mr. Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and “coward” –– for acceding to Mr. Obama’s demand that Israel not strike Iran, of all things –– and other petty indignities which seem to be the hallmark of Obama’s meta-language towards insufficiently pliant allies.

Just recall former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who in March 2009 received no White House dinner, no family get-together and a mere impromptu media conference, instead of the traditional joint press conference. Worse, in September 2009, Mr. Brown’s five requests for a private meeting with Mr. Obama were humiliatingly turned down.

The current problem therefore does not lie in Mr. Netanyahu accepting an invitation from the House Speaker to address Congress. Rather, it goes to the heart of Western security, which is why Congress was entitled to seek and hear the views of the prime minister of the country that stands to be most drastically affected by Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state.

That’s why Obama’s overwrought efforts to cast Mr. Netanyahu’s acceptance of the invitation to address Congress as a partisan slap in the face ring hollow. The issue is entirely a product of President Obama’s policy on Iran, which engenders bipartisan concern in Israel. Put simply, President Obama seems willing to tolerate an Iranian nuclear weapons threshold capacity –– but Israel is not.

Thus, veteran Israeli analyst, Ehud Yaari, an Israeli Labor Party supporter, actually urged Israeli Labor leader, Yitzhak Herzog, to accompany Netanyahu to Congress.

Moreover, the Israeli Prime Minister is scarcely alone in finding Obama’s approach deeply troubling. A McLaughlin poll only the other day found that 59% of Americans supported Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, while only 23% opposed.

The sheer hollowness of the Obama Administration’s criticism of the Netanyahu speech is admirably laid bare when one recalls Mr. Obama’s homilies on the duties of honesty and forthrightness that allies owe to each other over policy differences.

Has not Mr. Obama said that allies sometimes have the obligation to speak out, even when their advice is uncomfortable? Did he not tell Jewish leaders that “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel might be necessary?

This would seem to be such a moment. It’s just that President Obama only ever imagined himself advising Israel, not Israel advising him.



Socialist ideals of purity

Haidt says that concerns about purity are primarily a conservative thing, with liberals largely indifferent to it.  But Haidt is naive enough to believe that liberals describe their dismal motivations honestly.  Others have pointed out that Leftists have purity concerns too -- and the article below is another shot in that direction

Hitler and other Nazi leaders conceived of Jews as a “disease” within the body politic whose continued presence would lead to the death of the nation. Jews, in the mind of Hitler and other Nazi ideologues, constituted alien or “not-self” cells within the German body politic.

In The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State (2008), Tricia Starks conveys the biological metaphors that defined the Soviet revolution. Revolutionary rhetoric, Starks observes, took the form of the binaries of pure/polluted and healthy/diseased. Seeking utopian purity, communism framed its ideology in terms of hygienic metaphors and the “language of purification.” In his attacks against the bourgeois, kulaks (rich peasants) and the priesthood, Lenin compared these classes to “diseases, parasites, or vermin.”

He called for attacks on the “parasites that suck the blood of the working people.” In a tirade delivered in 1917, Lenin referred to the rich and the idlers as “hopelessly decayed and atrophied limbs”—this “contagion, this plague, this ulcer that socialism has inherited from capitalism.”

Lenin insisted that the people take collective action to “clean the land of Russia of all vermin, of fleas, of bugs—the rich.” In his speeches, Starks says, he described the bourgeoisie variously as “filth”, “rot”, “infection”, and even “crippled limbs”, connecting capitalism to disease and degeneracy.

Extending the metaphor of parasites and disease to his political opponents in his article “The Itch” (1918), Lenin portrayed unacceptable political thought as “scabies” (a contagious skin infection caused by the human itch mite), presenting cleansing as the solution: “Put yourself in a steam bath and get rid of the itch.” Starks concludes that Lenin portrayed capitalism as a “disease plaguing the entire world,” and that dread of this infection saturated Soviet propaganda in the 1920s.

Ideological deviation was medicalized as a perversity that endangered both the individual and the entire social body. Sick party members—if they could not be rehabilitated or reeducated—would have to be “excised” before they endangered the party body. The primary method used to accomplish this was the purge, or ochistka (literally “cleansing”). Purging the party of those subject to “illnesses” allowed the party to remain pure and inviolate.

Weitz observes that Stalin’s penchant for biological metaphors was greater even than Lenin’s, evoking some of the “worst horrors of the Twentieth Century.” Stalin (like Lenin) depicted kulaks as “bloodsuckers, spiders and vampires.” As Hitler described Germany as an organism, so Stalin described the Communist party as “a living organism.” Cadres who did not take up the struggle against the opposition “drive sores into the inside of the party organism,” and the party “falls ill.” As in every organism “metabolism takes place: old, obsolete stuff falls off; new, growing things flourish and develop.”

Much more HERE


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

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, March 05, 2015

Netanyahu to Congress: Deal with Iran paves way to bomb

In his address to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that the proposed nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran will lead inexorably to a nuclear-armed Iran and war in the Middle East.

“This deal has two major concessions: One, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade,” Netanyahu said in his speech Tuesday morning. “That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Netanyahu argued that the deal under consideration, which is being negotiated with Iran by the United States and other world powers, would let most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure stay in place, including thousands of centrifuges. That would leave Tehran with a very short “breakout time” with which it could produce nuclear weapons, he said.

The Israeli leader also said that the inspection regime under negotiation would be insufficient because inspectors can only document violations, not stop them, and Iran has a history of maintaining secret nuclear facilities.

“Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors,” Netanyahu said. “Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted.”

Because Iran threatens many of its neighbors, other countries in the region likely would develop their own nuclear weapons to keep pace with the Islamic Republic, Netanyahu warned, leaving the region “crisscrossed with nuclear tinder-wires.”

“If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again,” he said. “When we get down that road, we will face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

Netanyahu urged Congress to reject the deal.  “For over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal,” Netanyahu said. “Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

The audience responded with a standing ovation.



IAEA Warns of Possible Iranian 'Activities Related to Development of a Nuclear Payload'

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has “further corroborated” information indicating that Iran “has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says in its most recent report on Iran.

Yet not only does Iran continue to deny inspectors access to a key suspect site, it has carried out work there that the agency says will make it more difficult to determine what has been going on there, should they ever be admitted in the future.

Even couched in the staid language favored by U.N. bureaucrats, the Feb. 19 report underlines the still-unresolved concerns about alleged nuclear weapons activity, even as the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – draws closer to a late March deadline for a proposed nuclear agreement that will allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure intact.

“The agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano writes to the Vienna-based agency’s board of governors.

Those suspected activities, first outlined in a Nov. 2011 IAEA report and “assessed by the agency to be, overall, credible,” have since been “further corroborated,” he said.

The missiles which the IAEA has concerns about boast a range that encompasses Israel as well as U.S. forces in the Arabian Gulf.

In a bipartisan letter to President Obama, circulating on Capitol Hill Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) pointed to Iran’s lack of cooperation, arguing that “[t]he potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program should be treated as a fundamental test of Tehran’s intention to uphold the final comprehensive agreement.”

Iran is obliged to allow IAEA monitors access to Parchin, a military site near Tehran, where the U.S. suspects testing of high explosive components for a nuclear weapon has been carried out.

That obligation is spelled out in a 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution, which called on Iran to “cooperate fully with the IAEA on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA …”

Meanwhile, Iran’s evident failure to comply with this requirement is outlined in Amano’s report:

--“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the two outstanding practical measures relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations.” (Neutron transport studies, which determine how neutrons are moving and interacting with other materials, can be relevant to nuclear weapons development.)

--“Since the director-general’s previous report [three months ago], at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has observed, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment and probable construction materials, but no further external changes to the buildings on the site.”

--“As previously reported, the activities that have taken place at this location since February 2012 are likely to have undermined the agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”

--“It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the agency’s questions and access to the particular location at the Parchin site.”

Iran all along has denied the IAEA allegations about suspect activities, calling them  “mere allegations” and saying they “do not merit consideration.” At the same time, however, Iranian officials have repeatedly pledged to cooperate with the agency to resolve the ambiguities.

Why Iran is not doing so is unclear, but fuels suspicions that despite its denials it does indeed have something to hide.

The Nov. 2011 IAEA report that first spelled out the concerns spoke of “credible” evidence that Iran carried out “activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” as part of a “structured program” until the end of 2003 – and that there were indications that some of those activities had continued after 2003 and “may still be ongoing.”

“The agency is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program,” it said.

Among the alleged PMD activities identified in that report, some of it carried out at Parchin, was work on detonator designs, including detonator devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon and could fit in a ballistic missile warhead.

Specifically, it said the Iranians were believed to have worked on a project aimed at fitting a “spherical payload” into the payload chamber of a Shahab-3 missile. (The fusion device in a nuclear warhead is typically spherical in shape.)

The Shahab-3 missile, developed with North Korean assistance according to the CIA, and first test-fired by Iran in 1998, has a range of around 800 miles, potentially threatening Israel as well as U.S. forces in the Gulf.

Although Kerry and others in the administration say Iran has met its commitments under the JPOA, the PMD issue remains unaddressed.



Cardinal Dolan: ISIS Carrying Out 'Targeted Genocide' of Christians

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York City, agreed with CNN's Chris Cuomo today that Islamic State jihadists are engaging in "targeted genocide," a "holy war" against the Christian population in the Middle East, with Dolan adding that these extremists are indeed "Muslims" however "perverted" their form of Islam.

On CNN Live this morning, Mar. 3, host Chris Cuomo asked Cardinal Dolan, "Obviously, ISIS is going after everybody who doesn’t agree with them.  But do you believe that this is targeted genocide, this is holy war by these ISIS extremists on Christians?"

The cardinal said, "I do.  I think it’s time to talk turkey.  I think it’s a systematic, well-choreographed, very well-focused attempt to eradicate the ancient Christian population in the Middle East."

"Now I’m quick to add, Chris, and I mean this, I also believe with all my heart and soul that these extremists do not represent genuine Islamic thought," said Cardinal Dolan.

Cuomo then asked, "But do you believe they are Muslims?"

Dolan said, "They are, they are for sure – I would say a particularly perverted form of Islam."

Cuomo interjected, "Because you know this has been a real problem, here, for the White House, in terms of defining who the enemy is?  The president doesn’t want to give credibility to them as Muslims because they’re not really good Muslims – many believe it’s more confusing than clarifying."

Dolan, who oversees the Catholic community in New York City, then said, "No, they claim to be Muslims. Even the majority of temperate, peace-loving Muslims would say, ‘I’m afraid they have a particular strand of erroneous Islam.’ But I do think they are [Muslims]."

ISIS is the abbreviation for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Muslim group recently changed that name to the Islamic State.

The archdiocese of New York was established in 1808 and currently serves 2.6 million Catholics in 310 different parishes (churches), as well as dozens of schools, charities, and health care facilities.



The Honesty Gap

By Thomas Sowell

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a “pay gap” between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both discriminate against women, that they are themselves part of the nefarious “war on women” that so many on the left loudly denounce? The poetic justice in the recent “pay gap” revelations is that the fundamental fraud in the statistics that are thrown around comes back to bite those who are promoting that fraud for political purposes.

What makes such statistics fraudulent is that they are comparing apples and oranges.

Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men.

Back in 1996, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that young male physicians earned 41 percent higher incomes than young female physicians. But the same study showed that young male physicians worked over 500 hours a year more than young female physicians.

When the study took into account differences in hours of work, in the fields in which male and female doctors specialized and other differences in their job characteristics, “no earnings difference was evident.” In other words, when you compare apples to apples, you don’t get the “gender gap” in pay that you get when you compare apples to oranges.

This is not peculiar to the medical profession. Nor was this a new revelation, even back in 1996. Many studies done by many scholars over the years – including female scholars – show the same thing, again and again.

A breakdown of statistics in an old monograph of mine – “Affirmative Action in Academia” – showed the pay differential between women and men evaporating, or even reversing, as you compared individuals with truly comparable characteristics. This was back in 1975, forty years ago!

There might have been some excuse for believing that income differences between women and men were proof of discrimination back in the 1960s. But there is no excuse for continuing to use misleading statistics in the 21st century, when their flaws have been exposed repeatedly and long ago.

Many kinds of high-level and high-pressure careers require working 50 or 60 hours a week regularly, and women with children – or expecting to have children – seldom choose those kinds of careers.

Nor is there any reason why they should, if they don’t want to. Raising a child is not an incidental activity that you can do in your spare time, like collecting stamps or bowling.

If you trace the actual history of women in high-level careers, you will find that it bears no resemblance to the radical feminist fable, in which advances began with the “women’s liberation” movement in the 1960s and new anti-discrimination laws.

In reality, women were far better represented in professional occupations in the first three decades of the 20th century than in the middle of that century. Women received a larger share of the postgraduate degrees necessary for such careers in the earlier era than in the 1950s and 1960s.

The proportion of women among the high achievers listed in “Who’s Who in America” in 1902 was more than double the proportion listed in 1958. The decline of women in high-level careers occurred when women’s age of marriage and child-bearing declined during the mid-century “baby boom” years.

The later rise of women began when the age of marriage and child-bearing rose again. In 1972 women again received as high a proportion of doctoral degrees as they had back in 1932.

The truth is not nearly as politically useful as scare statistics. The “gender gap” is not nearly as big as the honesty gap.



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

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, March 04, 2015

Nutrition and IQ

One of the oldest claims about low IQ by Leftists is that it's all due to poverty.  Sound familiar?  More specifically, they say that low IQ just reflects poor nutrition.  Considering that African Americans are on the whole even more overweight than Caucasian Americans, that rather clearly flies in the face of the facts.  African Americans are on average 15 points behind white Americans but they aren't going hungry.

And in any case, if it were all due to nutrition, feeding up the children of poor people should make them all into Einsteins, should it not?  There is no known example of anything like that being achieved, however.

Aha!  But it's not the quantity alone that matters. It's quality too.  People need to eat "healthily" rather than eat more. And the prime candidate for a "healthy" diet is the Mediterranean diet.  We all know that, don't we? If we all ate like the Greeks with plenty of vegetables, plenty of garlic and plenty of olive oil we would be so much healthier -- and slimmer to boot.  The main reason the Mediterranean diet is lauded is that accords with Ancel Keys' famous demonstration that red meat it bad for you (high red meat consumption is correlated with shorter lifespan).

Pesky fact: Keys only looked at death from cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes).  He did not look at overall mortality.  When you include all causes of death in the correlation, the correlation with red meat consumption vanishes.

Pesky fact: The traditional Australian diet (beef, beef and more beef in various forms) is about as opposite to the Mediterranean diet as you can imagine yet Australians live longer than any people of any Mediterranean nation -- so scrub the Mediterranean diet idea once and for all.

Another pesky fact:  Eskimos eating a traditional diet eat little else than meat and blubber.  It's hard to grow vegetables near the North Pole.  Yet at any age point, Eskimos have LESS cardiovascular disease than  we do.

So: There may be such a thing as a healthy diet but nobody so far has been able to track it down convincingly.  Maybe some day somebody will find a magic vegetable that will make blacks as smart as whites but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Funnily enough, however, there is a SMALL element of truth in what Leftists say. In very nutritionally deprived people -- such as Africans whose dietary staple is "Mealie-pap" (corn-porridge) -- adding micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to the diet of their children does bring about an IQ gain -- but only of about 5 points.  On better nourished people, there is no such gain, however.

Some reinforcement of that story can be found here.  The amount of red meat eaten by different nations is tabulated.  And amount of red meat is a pretty good proxy for a high quality food supply generally.

And we find, of course, that the nations of Africa all have a low per capita meat consumption.  They are too poor for anything else.  And they are also nations that show very low IQs, as tabulated by Lynn and VanHanen.  Compared to Africans, African Americans (who are about 20% white genetically) are an intellectual elite.  So a largely vegetarian diet has not  helped Africans much.

But there are some black countries that do have a high meat consumption.  Saint Lucia in the Caribbean lives well off the back of American tourism so has one of the highest meat consumptions per capita (though not nearly as high as the New Zealanders with their seven tasty sheep per person). Yet the average IQ in St Lucia is an abysmal 62, very similar to what we see in Africa.

So vegetables are not the magic cure for low IQ in blacks nor is a rich diet. What else is there? Can we concede that diet is essentially irrelevant to IQ?


Want to Know Why They Keep Calling You Racists?

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to push for a “new standard of proof for civil -rights offenses”. In an interview with Politico. he said that “he felt some of his own struggles with Republicans in Congress during his six years in office were driven partly by race.” Uh huh. Just not in the way he meant it.

The Democrat Party’s history with race is interesting. Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, is generally considered the founder of the Democratic Party. He was one of the largest slaveholders in the South.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 divided the nation into free states and slave states, the South seceded, and we fought a long and very bloody war to preserve the Union and end slavery.

The Republican Party was founded as the party of abolition. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law. Republicans passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ending slavery, with 80% of Democrats voting against it. Republicans passed the 14th Amendment granting freed slaves the rights of citizenship—unanimously opposed by Democrats. Republicans passed the 15th Amendment giving freedmen the right to vote.

Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 conferring U.S. citizenship on all African-Americans and according them the “free and equal benefit of all laws” unanimously supported by Republicans who had to override Democrat Andrew Johnson’s veto. Republicans passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867. Republicans sent federal troops to the Democratic South to enforce the constitutional rights of freed slaves. Republicans were the target of the Ku Klux Klan during the Reconstruction.

Republicans continued to try to pass federal civil rights laws in the next century — most were blocked by Democrats, including a bill banning racial discrimination in  public accommodations (1875), guaranteeing the right to vote in the South (1890), anti-lynching (1922, 1935, 1938), anti poll-tax bills (1942, 1944, 1946).

Republican President Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House (1901), the first black to do so. Republican platforms starting in 1908 called for equal rights, equal justice, anti-lynching legislation, integration of the military (1940), endorsed Brown v. Board of Education, (1956), and Dwight Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to desegregate the schools.

By the sixties, the civil rights movement was gaining ground, and Democrats became aware of the trends. To succeed in  American politics, they would need black votes, and their record with matters of race was pretty bad, especially in the South. President John Kennedy sought a civil rights bill to outlaw discrimination, but then he was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became president.

Johnson’s own record with civil rights wasn’t very good, and he pushed hard to pass the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, which outlawed discrimination by race, color, religion or national origin. equality in voter registration rights and outlawed racial segregation in the schools. Although Congress was controlled by Democrats, 61% of Democrats in the House voted for the bill, 29% against, 80% of Republicans voted for it, 20% against. In the Senate 69% of Democrats supported it with a long filibuster, and 31% against. 82% of Republicans voted for it and 18% against.

Well, the Sixties! Freedom Summer. Students came down south to march for civil rights, There was the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (voting rights ), 1968 (Fair Housing), and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” which would end poverty and racial injustice, rebuild the entire urban United states, end boredom and restlessness, slake the hunger for community and enhance “the meaning of our lives” all by assembling “the best thought and broadest knowledge.”

When Johnson left office, 10 percent of Southern schools were desegregated. When Richard Nixon left office, the figure was 70 percent. But “the Southern Strategy” didn’t Nixon try to get Southern votes by appealing to the racist segregationists? Nixon helped to persuade the Senate to pass the Civil Rights act of 1957 and supported the civil rights acts of 1964, 1965, and 1968. In Nixon’s presidency , the civil rights enforcement budget rose by 800%, record numbers of blacks were appointed to federal office, an Office of Minority Business Enterprise was created, SBA loans to minorities soared by 1,000% and aid to black colleges doubled.

What happened was that Democrats, realizing that blacks were being registered to vote in big numbers, needed to disguise their past and become the party of civil rights and the war on poverty, the party that cared for minorities, and they did it by lying about history, their own and the Republicans’. Oddly enough, at the same time new terms like “Diversity” and  “Multiculturalism” not only initially entered the political lexicon, but became the guiding factor throughout education, business and human resources departments everywhere. Coincidence?

Suddenly, Republicans, the party of abolition since its founding, became the party of racism, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, poll taxes, and every time that Republicans disagree with Democrats they are called “racists.” This is the communist perfected technique of the BIG LIE. You just tell a whopper, and keep telling it and keep telling it, and embroidering it until it is considered to be plain fact. Progressives are very good at this kind of political warfare, and Republicans, who assume that Democrats are just misguided, are not.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is exploring a run for the presidency, and the Southern Poverty Law Center put him on their list of “dangerous extremists.” (They had to apologize, and deleted the “dangerous.”) Economist Thomas Sowell is called an Uncle Tom. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Senator Tim Scott, Economist Walter Williams, Representative Mia Love — any black who has succeeded in this country in reaching high office and is a Republican, is called an Uncle Tom, and receives death threats and slanders to their reputations.

The plight of Detroit, which is 85% black, is a shining example of 50 years of Democrat governance. They have reduced Detroit from one of the richest cities in the country to an example of urban blight and human despair. Their plan for “social justice” turned the once great city into a cesspool of racial politics and antibusiness practices, and poverty.

The War on Poverty has encouraged single black women to refrain from marrying the father of their children. Incentives keep women from getting off welfare, for if they get a job they will lose their higher benefits. The Democrat sponsored Community Reinvestment Act was designed to get more poor black  people into their own homes, without regard to their ability to pay back the loans. Normal prudent banking rules were set aside and when the “Great Recession” hit, many middle class blacks lost their homes because they lost their jobs and couldn’t pay back their loans. The Obama administration swept into office on the wings of “the first black president,”promising help and caring for black Americans has, instead, devastated black families and returned race and racism to politics in new and troubling ways.

But why? The Progressives need blacks. If the Democratic  Party lost just 30% of the black vote, it would mean an end to the liberal agenda. Walter Williams said:

That means blacks must be kept in a perpetual state of grievance in order to keep them as a one-party people in a two-party system. When black Americans finally realize how much liberals have used them, I’m betting they will be the nation’s most conservative people.



Magna Carta lit the way

I add my comments on this article below it -- JR

For many, the Magna Carta is a beacon of liberty, protecting us from the arbitrary tyranny of our governments, even today.

Lord Denning, the celebrated English judge, once called the ancient peace treaty between King John and his barons - which is celebrating its 800th anniversary this year - "the greatest constitutional document of all time."

But how are those 800-year-old pieces of English calfskin still relevant to us?

After all, most of the charter was not filled with the sweeping rhetoric that we have come to expect of important political documents, but spoke of debtor's sureties, scutage, socage, burkage, paying money for castleward, and removing fish weirs from the Thames.

As a peace treaty, it lasted less than six weeks, ushering in a two-year civil war that devastated England, led to an attempted French invasion, and ended with King John dead, a 9-year-old boy on the throne, and the English significantly poorer, after paying off the French king to leave them alone.

Why then do we celebrate it?

Because the Magna Carta has come to stand for more than its provisions. Its impact has reverberated through the centuries.

No, it did not bring about democratic government in England. No, it did not end the venality of the English Crown. No, it did not guarantee trial by jury.

But it was cited by Henry VIII's Catholic opponents in the sixteenth century, by Sir Edward Coke, and other opponents of the grasping Stuart monarchy, in the seventeenth century, by the American Founding Fathers in the eighteenth century, and so on.

These reverberations are important.

Remembering the whole story of the Magna Carta might encourage us to play our own part in fostering liberty with greater humility. Rome was not built in a day, nor the rule of law established with one international human rights convention, or a UN General Assembly Resolution.


It's great to hear the bits of history that are not usually mentioned. And it is good to see that someone has actually read the document.

But the comments above go a bit too far in negativity.  For instance, the first provision of the document was very similar to America' treasured First Amendment -- though not as concisely expressed. The MC could be said to contain the very first First Amendment.  And it was first by a long way.

And the writer above complains that the MC is mainly concerned with minor matters like laws of inheritance.  It is.  It could be said in fact to be England's first systematic law of intestacy.  And that is important to many people. If someone close to you has died without leaving a will, you will know all about that.

And America's revered Declaration of Independence is also mainly concerned with minor details, as anyone who has actually read it will know. People remember the few grand bits and ignore the rest. Much the same can be asked of the MC.

There is also in it a lot about setting up courts of justice and specifying the rules they are to follow.  And the rules are surprisingly humane -- nothing like the atrocities Muslims perform in the name of justice to this day.

And how modern is this clause? "There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly"

I could go on but I think there is much to admire in the MC and I very much urge people to read it for themselves.  There is a modern English translation here


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

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, March 03, 2015

CNN, DHS and SPLC's Blame-Righty Hit Job

The Department of Homeland Security refuses to release a report on "right-wing" terrorism that somehow found its way into CNN's hands last week during the farcical White House summit on Don't Say Islamic Extremism.

Your tax dollars are once again hard at work — defaming conservatives, deflecting from worldwide murderous jihad and denying the public access to information they funded.

CNN splashed the big scoop on its website: "DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat." The fear-mongering piece featured a huge map of 24 alleged acts of "violence by sovereign citizen extremists since 2010." CNN's Evan Perez and Wes Bruer prominently quoted Mark Potok of the widely disgraced propaganda outfit the Southern Poverty Law Center. Potok claimed that "there are as many as 300,000 people involved in some way with sovereign citizen extremism."

This is the same SPLC that was forced to apologize to famed neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson just last week for categorizing him as an "extremist" because he supports the traditional definition of marriage.

This is the same hate-instigating SPLC whose target map and list of social conservative groups were used by left-wing domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins to shoot up the Washington, D.C., office of the Family Research Council in 2012.

This is the same SPLC whose explicit aim, according to Potok, is to "destroy" its political opponents and which admits it is "not really set up to cover the extreme left." Harper's Magazine's Ken Silverstein called the SPLC and its work "essentially a fraud" that "shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people."

None of these facts was mentioned in CNN's report promoting the threat of "right-wing" terrorism. So you can see why I was curious to know more about the "24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks" the cable network kept citing without specifics. I asked both CNN and DHS for a copy of the assessment. CNN's Bruer brusquely told me on Twitter: "Not public doc. But not new that gov't lists sov. citizens as terror threat."

Sure, it's "not new." But CNN's report was new (and conveniently timed to coincide with the White House agenda of talking about every other kind of terrorism besides jihad). I wanted to read the new document, not just what CNN and the SPLC want the public to know and think about it.

Liberal media outlets have a bad habit of purposely misclassifying terrorist incidents as "right-wing." Last April, both CNN and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow joined with the SPLC to foment fear of conservative Americans by claiming that "right-wingers" have killed 34 people since 9/11 for "political reasons," while jihadists have killed 21.

But a closer look at the rigging of that phony factoid simply confirms the malevolent intention of so-called objective journalists and "hate watch" groups to marginalize conservative political speech and dissent. The CNN/MSNBC/SPLC smear job involved both the dishonest deflating of left-wing and jihadist incidents, and the dishonest inflating of "right-wing" incidents.

First, carving out the 3,000-person death toll from the 9/11 jihadist attacks is a rather convenient way to rig the scales, isn't it? So is omitting the 10-person death toll from the jihad-inspired Beltway sniper spree of 2002.

The conservatives-are-worse-than-jihadists casualty data counted Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter James Von Brunn, who killed a heroic security guard, as a "right-winger." But Von Brunn was neither "left" nor "right." He was a rage-filled maniac and 9/11 truther who hated Fox News, the Weekly Standard and Rupert Murdoch.

Also counted as "right-wing" in the CNN/MSNBC/SPLC data: Andrew Joseph Stack. He's the lunatic who flew a small plane into an Austin, Texas, office complex that contained an Internal Revenue Service office in 2010. Stack's ranting suicide manifesto targeted George W. Bush, health care insurers, the pharmaceutical industry and the "capitalist creed."

Also listed as "right-wing:" Richard Andrew Poplawski. He was the disgruntled, unemployed loser who shot and killed three Pittsburgh police officers in a horrifying bloodbath in 2009. Left-wing publications asserted that the "heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces," along with Fox News and Glenn Beck, motivated Poplawski to slay the officers. But Poplawski was a dropout from the Marines who threw a food tray at a drill instructor, had beaten his girlfriend, and demonstrated violent, racist tendencies that had nothing to do with politics. Poplawski was outraged that his mother wanted to kick his unemployed ass out of the house.

Joshua Cartwright, another serial woman abuser, also murdered two police officers in the aftermath of a domestic violence call. Left-wing operatives focused on a single remark from Cartwright's victim about his views on President Obama to paint him as a "right-wing radical," whitewashing his long history of violence against his partner and senseless paranoia.

Were any of these falsely classified incidents included in the DHS assessment hyped by CNN and SPLC last week? We'll never know. When I asked DHS public affairs officer S.Y. Lee for the document, he told me it's "not for public release" because it's "an FOUO document (for official use only). Same as many DHS products to law enforcement."

I asked whether CNN now qualifies as "law enforcement." No response.



Questions the Press Doesn't Ask Democrats

Gov. Scott Walker has leapt to the top of polls in Iowa. As day follows night, he has moved to the center of the liberal press’s crosshairs. This is the world we inhabit: When a Democrat is perceived as popular, the press discovers layers of humor and elan we never suspected. When a Republican is gaining strength, the press sharpens its bayonets.

Based on his response to trap-door questions in the past few days, we’ve been instructed that Walker a) is a crypto young Earther (or, just as bad, a panderer to same); b) that he ought to have answered the question regarding President Obama’s faith with a resounding affirmation of Obama’s fitness for sainthood; and c) that he is some sort of coward for not grabbing Rudy Giuliani by the scruff of the neck and escorting him off stage when the former mayor questioned the president’s love of country.

Let’s stipulate that Walker gave B-minus answers to D-minus questions. I agree with Ramesh Ponnuru that, while questions about evolution have zero relevance to governing, Republicans ought to be prepared to answer them without “punting.” (A raised eyebrow to show you understand the game afoot wouldn’t be misplaced.) For a politician, the only seemly way to answer a question about something as intimate as someone else’s faith is, “I can’t see into other people’s souls. Can you?” (As a non-politician and reader of “Dreams from My Father,” I have my doubts about Obama’s piety, just as I never believed he opposed gay marriage – but that’s neither here nor there.)

Presumably, Walker, a talented pugilist and no novice to hardball politics, will get his national sea legs soon. But the fuss over the Giuliani comments is a reminder of the ferocious, unrelenting bias of the press. When Obama called President Bush “unpatriotic” in 2008, it was a non-story, just as then Sen. Joe Biden’s description of Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean” went undenounced.

Any Republican who imagined that the sickening double standard the press applies to Democrats and Republicans would have been sated by six years of genuflection to Obama should now be fully awake.

One practical lesson Republicans should draw from this is to minimize, wherever possible, the participation of left-leaning journalists in Republican debates. This isn’t to say that Republicans should run scared – just that they offer prized roles in nationally significant events to journalists who will be fair. I have a list if they need one.

Still, most members of the press are partisans, and one cannot avoid them completely. Republicans should accordingly come prepared to any press encounter with a list of questions they would ask Democrats. If the journalist doesn’t ask, the candidate can offer suggestions. For example:

1) You say you’re in favor of “comprehensive immigration reform.” How many legal immigrants should we welcome every year? As many as can get here? Do you think that presents any problems for unskilled Americans who are having trouble finding work?

2) Democrats say they want to ensure that women get equal pay for doing the same work as a man. Do you know the date when that became federal law? (1963)

3) Obamacare was passed to solve the problem of the uninsured. Yet the GAO projects that 31 million will remain uninsured by 2021. What would you propose to solve that problem? Do you favor forcing doctors to see Medicaid patients as some Democrats propose?

4) President Obama’s team praised the Veterans Administration as the model of efficient government health care. In light of the scandals that have come to light in the VA, do you agree? If not, can you point to a government-run health system you admire?

5) Dodd/Frank was passed to solve the “too big to fail” problem. Yet since passage, the biggest banks have gotten bigger, while community banks have withered. The five largest banks by assets now hold 44.0 percent of U.S. banking assets and 40.1 percent of domestic deposits – up from 23.5 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively, in early 2000. With the biggest banks having gotten even larger, was Dodd/Frank a mistake?

6) A recent survey by Education Next found that a strong plurality of African Americans, 47 percent, support charter schools, while just 29 percent oppose them. Do you support vouchers and charters even if the teachers' unions oppose them?

Finally, for some candidates:

7) You opposed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. How does what you support differ from what sent Dr. Kermit Gosnell to prison for first-degree murder?



Sen. Ted Cruz: Top Priority to ‘Abolish the IRS’

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said among his top five priorities for the United States is to “abolish the IRS” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday.
Sean Hannity of Fox News asked Cruz what his top five agenda items are for the country.

“Number one,” said Cruz. “Repeal every blasted word of Obamacare.”

“Number two, abolish the IRS, take all 125,000 IRS agents and put them on our southern border,” said the senator. “Number three, stop the out of control regulators at the EPA and the alphabet soup of Washington. Number four, defend our constitutional rights - all of them, and number five, restore America’s leadership in the world as a shining city on a hill.”

Hannity also asked Cruz to say the first words that came to his mind when he mentioned some names.

“Hillary Clinton,” Hannity said.

“Washington,” replied Cruz.

“Bill Clinton,” Hannity said.

“Youth outreach,” Cruz joked.

“Barack Hussein Obama,” Hannity said.

“Lawless Imperator,” said Cruz.



The resveratrol craze is dying

Dubbed the 'elixir of youth', it's the red wine ingredient which has prompted debate for years.  Now it seems resveratrol really does make you live longer, but only in small doses - and too much could actually speed up the ageing process rather than slowing it down.

Scientists looked at how the chemical interacted with 'satellite cells', which play a role in repairing damaged muscle as part of the body's natural regeneration.

The team discovered the chemical, which is found in red wine, chocolate and health supplements, had a different effect depending on the concentration they used.

Laboratory tests showed that small doses supported cells in the repair process but higher doses had the opposite effect.

The findings, led by Dr Hans Degens of Manchester Metropolitan University, could strike a blow to those who tout resveratrol as fighting heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. Dr Degens said: 'Stronger muscles and the ability of the muscle to repair damage are important for a healthy lifestyle, especially in older age where muscle decline can have a series of implications for a reduction in our quality of life.

'So we analysed if resveratrol was able to promote the repair of muscle and reduce oxidative stress where free radicals (destructive molecules) speed up the ageing process.  'Local muscle stem cells undergo a cycle when they repair and ultimately fuse with the damaged muscle fibre.

'At low doses, resveratrol did help the regeneration. However, if the dose is higher, it doesn't mitigate ageing from oxidative stress and even hampers the repair cycle.

'The results showed that the effects are dependent on the dose and it is unclear from the equivocal results if drinking wine or eating chocolate would have anti-ageing properties and repair muscle or the opposite.'

The researchers, whose findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports, conducted experiments in the laboratory using muscle cells.  They tested the cycle of muscle regeneration which starts with the activation of muscle precursors called 'satellite' cells.

A low 10 micromolar dose of resveratrol stimulated satellite cell activation and migration while higher concentrations of 40 to 60 micromolars stopped it, and even damaged the cells.


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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog

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, March 02, 2015

More on the Islamic "lone wolves"

The report below very much confirms what I said yesterday

This summer, Thomas Mücke managed a coup: he dissuaded a young German from joining the Islamic State.

The teenager, a Kurd whose family is originally from Turkey but now living in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, had landed in prison after committing a petty crime. Angry, confined, and looking to lash out, he “had pretty much given up with life and was ready to pack his bag" for Syria, Mr. Mücke says.

But Mücke, a street worker and head of the Berlin-based Violence Prevention Network (VPN) in Berlin, challenged the aspiring jihadi. Did he know that Islamic State fought against Kurds? No, the boy didn’t. In fact, he had no idea about his religion. It was a prison inmate that gave him the idea to go to Syria.

Recommended: How much do you know about Germany? Take our quiz!
"In the end he said, 'If IS fights against the Kurds I can’t go with them,'" says Mücke. The youth is out of prison now, and while he will receive counseling for months to come, he is no longer seen as in imminent danger of radicalization.

The success that Mücke and his organization, a nonprofit group that helps incarcerated young people with extremist biographies find a way out, has experienced in dissuading would-be jihadis is significant. But the VPN did not originally target radical Islamists. Rather, it had a much more familiar German radical in mind: violent neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists.

But advocates like Mücke say that just like that fascist ideology, fighting Islamic extremism among the young has less to do with religion than with young people’s vulnerability to the ideology. When dealing with extremists, be they neo-Nazis or jihadis, it is crucial to work with each person individually. And with at least 550 Germans in Syria, part of a swelling group of several thousand Europeans, Germany's lessons in fighting the spread of neo-Nazi ideology could prove key to stopping Islamic radicalization.

“They are both fascist ideologies,” says Mücke, who has counseled hundreds of imprisoned young people, often from the violent right extremist scene. ”One is using a certain idea of the nation, the other is using religion as its instrument.”



Social justice warriors

If social justice were justice it would not need the "social" in front of it

The term "social justice" is usually dated back to the mid-19th century when it was coined by the Jesuit priest and scholar Luigi Taparelli. Taparelli believed that law should serve morality because unrestrained freedom harmed the cohesiveness of society even if the expression of freedom was nonviolent. A virtuous society required "positive law" that did not merely protect person and property but which also imposed moral standards.

More recently, a spin-off term has entered the popular vocabulary: social justice warrior (SJW). SJWs embody a radical left-wing ideology that expresses an aggressive political correctness by which 'incorrect' behavior and words are suppressed by the force of law whereas 'correct' behavior is promoted by law and tax-funding. PC feminists and other advocates of a progressivism tend to be SJWs that target white males as the nexus of oppression in Western society.

The term has become a pejorative because of the prominent harassment used by SJWs on forums such as the Internet or university campuses where they shout down dissenting voices and attempt to have the dissenters fired or otherwise punished. The SJW's activism seeks to impose a uniformity of far-left expression upon society and to force compliance from others. The act of argumentation – that is, an exchange of differing opinions – is rare. Instead, rage-filled invective is hurled at the dissenter so that every word is defined as hate speech. The tactic comes directly from Cultural Marxism, which is the forerunner of political correctness. According to Cultural Marxism the content of what is said – that is, the truth or falsehood of statements – means nothing compared to 'who' is making the statement. The class affiliation is everything. A SJWer checks a person's gender, skin color and sexual orientation in order to decide whether their words should be tolerated or whether they are speech-offenders.

In short, SJWs do not deal in truth or falsehood when engaging with others. Typically, SJWs will swarm or dogpile a website at which someone has posted an 'incorrect' sentiment; for example, a white man might make a joke about fat people that would have occasioned no notice if it had been made by a black woman. Using social media sites, like Tumblr or Twitter, a coordinated attack is launched on the individual. Or a speaker at a university is shouted down or suddenly uninvited. The SJW goal is to control the narrative, to own the ideas and words that can be spoken, the thoughts that can be presented. They rarely present evidence and often repeat 'facts' that have been debunked because all that is important is to drown out competing ideas. In essence, SJWs have no other choice because their ideas cannot be sustained in an open forum, a free market of ideas.

To the extent there is a solid SJW goal, it is probably "equality" or equal distribution of privilege. What the words mean, however, is mandated and special benefits to preferred groups. There is no defined end point, no sense of when equality is and can be attained because SJWs reach back to the dawn of time when assessing the social debt owed to the preferred groups. They are remedial historians who impose the cost of centuries of wrongdoing on individuals who are innocent. They will continue to do so because there is no downside for them.

The downside is imposed on those whose peaceful behavior and ideas do not comply, and the mechanism of enforcement is the state. Using the state is part and parcel of the SJW definition of justice itself. SJWs approach justice as an end state. A just society is one in which there is an equal distribution of wealth, opportunities and privilege, where there is no patriarchy or capitalism, in which only correct words and ideas are represented. In other words, justice is a specific arrangement, a specific society that embodies economic, political, legal and cultural arrangements. For example, SJW justice requires no one to utter certain syllables, everyone to share a consensus of attitudes.

By contrast, those who value individual freedom view justice as a means-oriented process, not as an ends-oriented state. That is, the concept of justice refers to the method by which society operates and not to a particular arrangement of society being produced. The methodology is "anything that is peaceful," "society by contract," "the non-initiation of force," voluntaryism. Any outcome to which all of the adults involved have consented is, by definition, a just arrangement. The only end-state attributable to people who wish to live in freedom is precisely that: freedom. Otherwise stated, those who value liberty require only the protection of person and property, the prevention of force and fraud within society. Past that point, how society operates, what people choose to peacefully believe or do with their own bodies and property is up to them.

Consider marriage as an example of justice being a process or means-oriented rather than being a defined arrangement or ends-oriented. In freedom, any 'marriage' that results from the consent of the adults involved is "just." It could be a traditional marriage with the woman as a housewife or a homosexual one with children adopted from around the world. Monogamy, polygamy, sexual abstention ... there is no end state that can be called a "just" marriage; a marriage in which one party willingly supports the other is no more or less just than one in which each party contributes 50%. All that is important is the ability of peaceful adults to choose and continue to choose for as long as the relationship lasts. The specific arrangement is not what makes the arrangement just; the method by which it is reached IS.

This doesn't mean that everything peaceful or voluntary is moral. For example, a voluntary society may contain racism. I married into an Hispanic family and I feel strongly about anyone slandering or demeaning my family. I have been known to yell and scream in the face of people who do so. And anyone who refuses to hire my niece or nephew because of their race can take my contract, my business dollar and tear it in two. I would use every peaceful means at my disposal to change the vicious behavior of whoever discriminates and I would make them pay as high a price as I could. With one exception.

There are many options available to influence individuals and social trends. Persuasion, peer pressure, bribery, protest, social shaming, shunning, boycott ... The only option that is not available to decent human beings is the use of force as a means to make peaceful human beings comply. And, yet, that is the single arrow that SJWs have in their quiver. Why? Because if people are free to disagree and not associate with them, then they have no funding, no power, no validity. If a person is free not to fund PC projects with tax dollars, not to hire an employee for any reason, including gender, if he or she has the right to say 'no,' then the SJW is impotent.

And, so the SJWer must use the state. Those who respect freedom and genuine human dignity do not have that option. You cannot use force to impose a voluntary society: it is a contradiction in terms. You cannot put a gun to a person's head and say, "You are now free to choose." Freedom involves removing force from the situation. And, in the final analysis, this is what SJWs are against: choice.



Dimensions Of Dysfunction Suffered By Secular Leftists

When people say Leftists suffer from mental illness, it is true, but only part of the story


I confess. I’m a recovered Leftist. I drank the voodoo juice in college. For a time, I joined the ranks of deranged control freaks. Our professors drilled Marx, Freud, and Darwin into our skulls for four years, leaving us glassy-eyed, numb, and unfit for worthwhile employment.

College brainwashed us well. Many graduates drone on to this day, dutifully reciting the scripted narrative. This explains the daily insanity expressed on TV news programs. “We agree with the president. He believes ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, that a jobs program will solve everything. He believes most police departments are racist. He thinks capitalism is a failure. He believes the economy is recovering. He thinks the clerics will not launch a nuke from Iran because it is against their religion. He believes government can run health care better than doctors. We agree!”

Have you noticed the central government is overrun by control freaks — real freaks warring reality? College indoctrination centers were successful these last 45 years. For me and for increasing numbers, reality eventually penetrated denial. We were reborn into a world of individual responsibility, moral clarity, productive endeavor, common sense, and meaningful living. We climbed out of the rabbit hole to escape Wonderland.

When people say Leftists suffer from mental illness, it is true, but only part of the story. Typical Leftists are compulsive about minding everyone else’s business. They pry. They interfere. They make assumptions. They accuse and condemn. In short, they will do anything to justify using government power to force submission and compliance. It’s an addiction pursued with religious zeal.

Leftists assume they are morally and intellectually superior, without a shred of evidence (and frequently contradicting the best evidence). It is delusional, but necessary. After all, one must assume supremacy to justify tyranny. It’s comparable to the jihadist mentality: “We are doing this for your own good because we know better.”

Pushed to the extreme (an inevitable outcome in order to overcome resistance), it is easy to justify infringement of rights, legal action, sanction, incarceration, even violence. One simply cannot let deficient people override the wisdom of the enlightened elite. Why waste time trying to persuade the uneducated? Much more efficient to threaten, humiliate, ridicule, and brow-beat them into submission while you brainwash their children and grandchildren.

Which leads to another dimension of the illness: Leftists are convinced they possess special knowledge. Leftists simply “know” things, such as human activity is destroying the planet, doomsday is right around the corner, gun control reduces crime, white people are inherently racist, capitalism is the root of all evil, Republicans are the spawn of Satan, Muslims are cool, Baptists drool, Marxism rocks, love is free, as clinics should be. For a Leftist, this special PC knowledge requires no substantiation, because “it feels right.” Things should be the way Leftists perceive because they have the special knowledge, debate over. And if you disagree, well, you just aren’t “cool.”

A snapshot to exemplify: poverty bad, redistribution good, expand government power to steal from one to give to another, (liberty lost), problem solved, case closed. Trouble is, reality is found elsewhere, and problems proliferate. Think the 50-year war on poverty declared by Lyndon Johnson and waged by Democrats, wasting $5 trillion dollars in that time.

Leftists are prone to misdiagnose problems, given their arrogant presumption, an illusion spread across generations by drug and alcohol abuse. One sees cars and heat waves, then observes a melting iceberg, and shazzam!, human beings are destroying the planet! Al Gore says so! The real trouble comes when “solutions” are “proposed.” In this case, man-made global warming can only be halted by destroying the economies of the industrialized nations, giving all the remaining wealth to the third world to supply solar panels and bicycles. There is nothing quite like a radical, irrational solution to an unidentified problem. What could go wrong?!

You will notice, as well, that Leftists tend to stifle debate by insisting that issues are settled and catastrophe is at hand: We have to act right now, or we all die! Intolerance generally accompanies the hysteria and the rush to judgment and action, however ill-advised. When serial failures ensue, the only way they can salvage some form of sanity is to project those failures on others. “Well,” they say, “we only failed because of obstructionist Republicans. We didn’t fail actually. They prevented success. We were underfunded. The media was complicit. The Chinese undercut our margins. It just isn’t fair.” Unfairness is a very convenient accusation when projecting failure on others. Think Solyndra.

Always angry, irritable, and demanding, like menopausal women trying to stop smoking, Leftists never sleep. They never miss an opportunity to attack, slander, and engage character assassination. There is no satisfying these people. If you support traditional marriage but have no interest in persecuting homosexuals, you are a homophobic hate monger. If you don’t think affirmative action is such a great idea, but have no interest in discriminating for any reason, you are a racist moron. If you think unborn human beings have a right to life, without being insensitive to the needs of women in crisis pregnancy situations, you are a sexist pig. If you support equal rights for all without seeing the destruction of males as required, you are a chauvinist waging a war on women. And if you think history teaches that liberty can only be sustained by a decentralized federal government, the separation of powers, the consent of the governed, and the right to private property, you are a Nazi.

If you’re Republican, you deserve a firing squad.

Finally, Leftists tend to be very self-absorbed and paranoid, immune to all factual information contradicting the narrative. If not experiencing immediate gratification, they go all Veruca, then spin another conspiracy theory. It often gets very emotional.

In short, hell hath no fury like a Leftist scorned. Go ahead. Scorn one. See what happens. Or you can tune into MSNBC and watch them go berserk. Great fun, until you realize the psychos really are in control, and thus, the world has become one enormous asylum.

Perhaps we should cling to our guns and our Bibles.



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

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, March 01, 2015

Muslim "lone wolves"

I don't entirely agree with the above graphic.  It is true that there has been something of an epidemic of terrorist attacks from Muslims acting alone or nearly alone recently -- in the USA (e.g. Boston), Denmark, France, England, Canada and Australia.  But they hardly add up to an army.  There are many Muslim armies but their great enthusiasm is for attacking one-another, which is rather neat.

What is clear is that all the attacks have been carried out by losers -- men on the margins of society.  The only organized Muslim terrorist body was Al Qaeda and they were on the wane even before Osama bin Laden was eliminated.  Osama was certainly not living the high life when he was tracked down.  It's possible that the Islamic State might take up where Al Qaeda left off but it hasn't happened yet. And a big one dropped on Raqqa would shut them up for a long time.

Meanwhile. ISIS seems to have its uses.  Lots of Jihad-inclined young males from Muslim families in the West go there to join up and fight other Muslims, which is a big improvement on them attacking us. It seems to be a sort of fly-paper for attracting and trapping young Muslim misfits.

So it seems that all the recent attacks have been motivated by Jihad preaching but that Jihad preaching is overall a huge failure. Jihad motivation was only strong enough to move people to attack us who already had little to lose.  But one man with a firearm can do a lot of harm for a short while.  So it seems to me that we have strong reasons to stop such attacks even if they not systemically threatening.  Life will go on much as it otherwise would for 99% of the population despite the misdirected anger of a few misfits.

And although it is desperately "incorrect" to mention it, the killings by Muslims pale into insignificance compared with the plague of killings by blacks. If we want to stop killings, it is blacks who should have our priority attention.  But it's not going to happen, of course.  Jim Crow is dead and not likely to be resurrected in the near future.

So there is some point in the Leftist contention that Muslim attacks should be dealt with solely as a police matter.  Police deal with shootings all the time and the race or religion of the shooter doesn't matter much.

But I think we can do better than that. I think we should criminalize Jihad preaching.  Not all speech is free speech and there is already a precedent saying that incitement to violence is not covered by free speech protections.  So I think all we need to do is to formally classify Jihad preaching as incitement to violence -- which it largely is anyhow -- and put a few mullahs in prison.  Without the incitement, the attacks should at least diminish in frequency. Without the incitement, the losers would  probably just continue to bomb themselves out with drugs, which is mostly what they do already


Bozell to CPAC: ‘Cultural Fascism Has Arrived in America'

 “Cultural fascism has arrived in America,” Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said Friday in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.  “Tyranny is knocking at our door,” Bozell said.

“Webster defines fascism as ‘a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control,’" he said. "Cultural fascism has arrived in America."

"Let us understand this soberly and unequivocally,” Bozell told hundreds of conservative activists.  "Ladies and gentlemen, we know this to be true. So it begs the question: What is our response?"

“Something terrible is happening to our country,” Bozell noted, listing numerous instances in which Americans in politics, the media, and academia have been persecuted for their political and religious beliefs, including the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which he called “the most feared arm of the federal government”.

Bozell reminded the CPAC audience that “the radical Left now controls most levers of political and cultural power, and is using both in a relentless campaign to destroy the last vestiges of freedom in America.”

“The radicals now control the Federal Communications Commission and the FCC is out of control in its zeal to control free speech,” he pointed out. “The North Koreans would approve of this. Last summer it was making quiet preparations to put a federal monitor in every newsroom to assess stations’ ‘news philosophy,’ and ‘the process by which stories are selected.’ This shocking abuse of governmental authority was exposed and stopped -- but by no means have the radicals stopped,” Bozell said.

“The radicals have shown their fangs,” he added. “They will do anything, using any means at their disposal, legal or otherwise, to control our very freedom of speech."

“Ponder this carefully: when the state uses its power to destroy any political opposition, spying on and silencing through threats and criminal prosecution, is it all that different than the East German Stasi?”

Bozell bluntly told the crowd that conservatives “have been retreating for decades” and urged them to go on the offense against those who threaten their freedoms.

“I do not ask you to defend yourself well in retreat,” Bozell told the gathering. “I ask you to stop the retreat. I ask you to ride to the sound of the guns.”

“Do you accept the new reality of a transformed society where freedom is but an evermore distant memory?” Bozell challenged the CPAC audience. “Is that your gift to your progeny, after so many millions of men and women gave their blood, and their very lives, to give you the gift of the freest society in the history of man?

“No, by God, tell me it’s not,” he said.

Instead of surrendering, “perhaps only gradually, certainly grudgingly, but ultimately surrender[ing] nonetheless,” he urged them to fight back against the “fascists in academia…the censors in the news or entertainment media” and radicals who attack conservative leaders.

“Look for every opportunity to be politically incorrect,” Bozell exhorted the crowd. “Drive these radicals crazy. Make a vow that this December everywhere you go, with everyone you see, it’s not ‘Happy Holiday.’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas!’”

“We have weapons,” he said. “We can communicate with millions of Americans every day through the wonders of technology. Use them. Tell your story. Tell our story. Tell them what America was, should be, and will be again: a free and virtuous nation.

“Our Founders will be vindicated. Your progeny will be grateful. And the Almighty will be well pleased,” he concluded.



The End of Freedom in America

The America that has existed from the days of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, when its sovereignty was acknowledged by a treaty with England 1783, and its founding in 1788 with the ratification of the Constitution is no more. The America for which thousands fought and gave their lives is no more.

That America ends on February 26 when the Federal Communications Commission, under intense pressure from the Obama White House and with the votes of its Democratic Party commissioners asserts government control over the Internet with a 332-page set of regulations, dubbed "Net Neutrality."

Writing in the Feb 22nd Wall Street Journal, columnist L. Gordon Crovitz summed up what will occur saying "Obamanet promises to fix an Internet that isn't broken...The permissionless Internet which allows anyone to introduce a website, app, or device without government review, ends this week."

"The big politicization came when President Obama in November demanded that the supposedly independent FCC apply agency's most extreme regulation to the Internet." Of course Obama wants the Internet regulated and of course the Democratic Party will support this move to control who gets to put up a website or blog and, more importantly, who gets to say anything critical of the President.

The Democratic Party has been in everything but name the Communist Party in the United States for several decades. Obama was raised and mentored to be a Marxist. What we are witnessing is nothing less than tyranny replacing democracy.

Crovitz warned that "This week Mr. Obama's bureaucrats will give him the regulated Internet he demands. Unless Congress or the courts block Obamanet, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it."

Earlier this week, as reported by Giuseppe Macri in The Daily Caller the FCC's two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, asked Chairman Tom Wheeler "to delay the vote and release his proposal to the public. ‘We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it.'"

There is some evil at work here because, as the Republican commissioners point out, "the plan in front of us right now is so drastically different than the proposal the FCC adopted and put out for public comment last May."

Shades of ObamaCare! Even the Democrats who voted that monstrosity into law had not read it. Now neither Congress, nor the rest of America is being permitted to see regulations that will determine what can and cannot be posted to the Internet, the greatest instrument of free speech ever invented since the printing press.

Commissioner Pai says that the FCC is "adopting a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist using legal authority we don't have." He estimates that the regulations will add up to $11 billion in new taxes on Internet access.

In a commentary, "Neutralize Obama's Hijacking of the Internet", Judi McLeod, the editor of, said "Forget NSA, the FBI, the CIA, and all warnings sent by Edward Snowden. They've got nothing on how Net Neutrality will silence you."

"Someday in the near future when you type in the words "Islamic terrorists" in an Internet post, you will be knocked off the Net and find it all but impossible to climb back on again."

Do I think the Congress will exercise its oversight responsibilities and stop this tyrannical power grab? No. Do I think our court system will do anything other than bow to precedent set by earlier FCC regulations? Yes.

As a nation founded on and devoted to freedom of speech, I think February 26, 2015 will go down in the history books as the day when that freedom came to an end in America.

Thanks to a National Security Agency we no longer have any privacy regarding anything we say using telephones, the Internet or any other form of communication.

If the Democrat-controlled FCC has its way, the Internet will slow your access and could eliminate access countless sites that provide news and express opinions the federal government finds offensive. That's what tyrannies do.



More Leftist lies -- still ignoring all the facts and stirring up hatred over the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin encounter

And they are still using the wholesome picture of Martin aged about 12, when much more recent and relevant pictures are available

Apropos of James Kirkpatrick’s post about the Justice Department’s dropping its campaign against George Zimmerman, The Washington Post‘s story contains a flat-out lie to open its meditation on the matter, which very much of a piece with what Mr. Kirkpatrick noted.

Reported the Post, “Zimmerman fatally shot Martin while the unarmed African American 17-year-old was walking in Sanford, Fla."

No, Zimmerman didn’t do that. He shot Martin because Martin was bashing his head into the ground, trying to kill him.

The Post also noted that Zimmerman “identifies as Hispanic” and told police he was fighting for his life and fired at Martin in self-defense.”

One can’t imagine the Post reporting that Barack Obama “identifies as black,” and we know why the Post wrote it that way. It’s casting doubt on Zimmerman’s Hispanic background so it won’t have to finger an Hispanic in its recreated narrative. Much better to leave Zimmerman’s background fuzzy and have readers think he’s white. We all recall The New York Times hilariously calling Zimmerman a “white Hispanic.”

The second line ignores the evidence Zimmerman produced when he had to go to trial–evidence of Trayvon’s bloody knuckles, and Zimmerman’s injured head.

The evidence that made a jury acquit him, basically finding exactly that: Zimmerman “was fighting for his life and fired at Martin in self-defense.”

The phrase “fired at Martin” makes it sound as if Zimmerman shot Martin from 15 feet away, which comports with the lie that he “shot Martin while the unarmed African-American 17-year-old was walking.”


The full facts are given here.  Backups here and here


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

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)