Friday, March 27, 2015

The latest IQ study

The latest IQ study (below) has a slightly defensive air.  Despite ferocious efforts by Leftists to suppress findings that pop the bubble of Leftist claims, it seems that the genetic contribution to IQ has now become well-known and generally accepted.  So the effort nowadays seems to have moved towards proving that there are environmental influences too.  Previous IQ researchers have never doubted that and usually estimate that around one third of IQ is determined by environmental factors.

And the conclusions below disturb nothing.  Both genetic and environmental influences on IQ were found.  The main interest of the findings in this study therefore is *how much* influence  environment had.  The researchers report that a wealthy childhood environment gave the kid an extra 4 points of IQ -- about a quarter of a standard deviation -- over a kid brought up in a poor family.

If anything, that figure is perhaps a bit low. But the study is not a strong one anyhow.  It used adopted full-brothers rather than twins so genetic differences could be only roughly controlled for.  And assessing IQ in the late teens is not optimal either.  The influence of genetics is not fully revealed until about age 30  -- after the influence of early environmental factors has largely worn off.

Family environment and the malleability of cognitive ability: A Swedish national home-reared and adopted-away cosibling control study

By Kenneth S. Kendler et al.


Individual differences in cognitive ability result from a complex admixture of genetic and environmental influences. Adopted children are one way to estimate the degree of malleability of cognitive ability in response to environmental change in the context of a scientific design that can control for genetic differences among individuals. Sibling pairs in which one member is adopted away and the other reared by biological parents are a particularly powerful research design. In a large population-based sample of separated siblings from Sweden, we demonstrate that adoption into improved socioeconomic circumstances is associated with a significant advantage in IQ at age 18. We replicate the finding in a parallel sample of half-siblings.


Cognitive ability strongly aggregates in families, and prior twin and adoption studies have suggested that this is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. In this study, we used a powerful design—home-reared and adopted-away cosibling controls—to investigate the role of the rearing environment in cognitive ability. We identified, from a complete national Swedish sample of male–male siblings, 436 full-sibships in which at least one member was reared by one or more biological parents and the other by adoptive parents. IQ was measured at age 18–20 as part of the Swedish military service conscription examination. Parental educational level was rated on a 5-point scale. Controlling for clustering of offspring within biological families, the adopted siblings had an IQ 4.41 (SE = 0.75) points higher than their nonadopted siblings. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.71 (SE = 0.44) units of IQ. We replicated these results in 2,341 male–male half-sibships, in which, controlling for clustering within families, adoption was associated with a gain of IQ of 3.18 (SE = 0.34) points. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.94 (SE = 0.18) IQ units. Using full- and half-sibling sets matched for genetic background, we found replicated evidence that (i) rearing environment affects IQ measured in late adolescence, and (ii) a portion of the IQ of adopted siblings could be explained by the educational level of their adoptive parents.


Interesting that one of the co-authors above is Eric Turkheimer. Turkheimer is much loved on the left for  his demonstration -- using a group of poor 7-year olds -- that genetics is not an important determinant of IQ among poor kids -- where "poor kids" is probably rightly interpreted to mean "blacks".


 What he found was probably little more than a restriction of range effect but he has repeatedly refused to release his raw data so we may never know.  Refusing to release raw data is a breach of all scientific protocols. We see it in Warmist researchers too.  It is pretty close to an admission of fraud.

The reason Leftists hate IQ tests is that they contradict the Leftist "equality" creed.  The application of that creed to blacks is however relatively recent.  Introductory psychology textbooks in the early '60s presented the black IQ findings without hesitation.  I remember it well. It was presented as one of the accepted findings in psychology.  As the great fantasy revolution of the '60s rolled on however, fact came to be replaced by righteous indignation.  The fantasists said that blacks COULD NOT be less intelligent so therefore the tests were bunk.

Equality has always been a silly but seductive dream.  It goes at least as far back as the "Levellers" of Cromwell's time.  And the Cromwellian era was undoubtedly much loved among America's founding fathers.  So Jefferson's "created equal" phrase in the Declaration of Independence is no surprise. But it is a pretty foggy phrase.  Are there many acts of creation or is normal childbirth an act of creation?  Or is it meant that God created Adam in such a way that all his descendants would be equal?  If so "The Fall" has clearly disrupted that intention.

But we should not take that part of the Declaration too seriously, however. The Declaration, like most political documents, was a product of much debate and compromise so Jefferson's ambiguous  phrase was just a device to keep  happy both those with Leveller beliefs and those with more realistic beliefs.

However you look at it, however, equality is a faith-based belief, not a fact.  It has no basis in fact.  Rejection of IQ tests is therefore a faith-based act. And the low average IQ scores of blacks are in fact powerful validation of the tests as measures of intelligence.

From the test results we would hypothesize that blacks would be at the bottom of just about every heap  -- and they are -- in income, education, status, health, lifespan and crime-incidence etc. What we know of black behaviour is powerful PROOF that the tests get it right.  Leftists can only reject the tests by closing their eyes to black behaviour. But they are very good at that


Why Is This Distinction So Difficult to Grasp?

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post by economist Donald J. Boudreaux:

It’s disappointing that Michael Gerson joins the crowd of confused people who mistake inequality for poverty (“The effects of inequality on America’s kids,” March 17).  An unequal distribution of income does not mean that people at the bottom of the distribution are poor in any absolute sense.  And in a world such as ours in which the amount of total wealth grows over time, everyone can become wealthier - indeed, become fabulously rich - even if income inequality increases.

It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between inequality and poverty.  To confuse the two (as is common today) risks addressing the wrong malady.  Just as we do not blame a cancer victim’s suffering on an unequal distribution of good health - that is, just as we recognize that a cancer victim’s illness is not caused by the good health of others and cannot be cured by making healthy people less healthy - we should recognize that a poor person’s poverty is not caused by the prosperity of others and cannot be cured by making wealthy people less wealthy.  Indeed, recent research suggests that simply transferring more money to relatively poor people in rich societies does not provide much relief; poverty persists for reasons that run far more deeply than the fact that some people earn more income than do others.



Israel Climbs the Ladder of Economic Freedom to Prosperity

In terms of skills and education, Israel probably has the highest level of human capital per person in the whole world. Yet it’s per capita output is mediocre – in the middle of the developed country pack. Why is that? Because Israel has been slow to adopt capitalism.

How do I know that? Because Bibi Netanyahu told me that in an interview in Dallas, several years before he became prime minister. Once he became Israel’s leader, he was been able to do something about it.

In recent years Israel has become a center for entrepreneurship, innovation and capitalist spirit. But it wasn’t always that way. Modern Israel began as a quasi-socialist society with a centrally controlled economy and a Histadrut labor federation. The Histadrut became a mainstay of the Labor Zionist movement and it wasn’t merely a trade union. It owned a number of businesses and, for a time, was the largest employer in the country. Until Israel began moving away from socialism, the Histadrut along with the government, owned most of the economy.

This is strange considering what Jews were doing elsewhere in the world. Like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, when the Jews migrated to Europe and North America, where ever they found free markets they thrived and prospered. Both the Chinese and the Jews excelled as entrepreneurs – except in their home countries, where entrepreneurship wasn’t allowed.

Mati Wagner writes in the Jerusalem Post:

“While it may be true that socialism was the dominant articulated ethos in the first decades of the State of Israel’s existence, the Jews of Israel – like Jews elsewhere – always had a predisposition to capitalism and free markets.”

“Even before the modern era, wherever Diaspora Jews were given a chance to compete on a level playing field, they have excelled… Their high levels of literacy made them particularly well-positioned to take advantage of the increasing importance of learned knowledge as a means of making money.”

Israel’s transformation to a market economy was led by government efforts to sell off state-owned companies, deregulate markets and reduce state spending. How well is it working? Wagner writes:

“Today the Jewish state’s industries – particularly hi-tech – compete as equals in international markets. In hindsight, the short-lived era of socialism was nothing but an unrepresentative blip.”

The Heritage Foundation’s lndex of Economic Freedom report ranks Israel the 33rd freest economy in the world. While that’s nothing to brag about, Israel posted 10th largest score increase. Heritage comments:

“Broad, sustained improvements in property rights and the regulatory sectors over the past five years have propelled Israel into the ranks of the “mostly free” for the first time.”

You might think that someone like Paul Krugman would applaud all this. I know most economists would. Instead Krugman refers to Israel’s socialist past as “the gilded age” and complains that:

“Key measures of inequality have soared; Israel is now right up there with America as one of the most unequal societies in the advanced world.”

Here is what everyone needs to understand about free markets and people at the bottom of the income ladder: capitalism is really good for poor people. For almost 20 years, the Fraser Institute, along with a network of other think tanks has been publishing the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) annual reports, which present an economic freedom index for more than 120 nations. Based on that accumulated evidence, Robert Lawson writes:

“While there is no clear evidence that economic freedom creates greater income inequality, there is clear evidence that lowest-income people in freer countries are better off than their counterparts in less free countries. [The figure below] shows the average income level of the poorest tenth of the population by economic freedom quintile. Clearly, as Adam Smith recognized more than 230 years ago, economic freedom and the economic prosperity it brings work to the advantage of the poor.”



The America-hater


Menachem Begin on the Lessons of the Holocaust

In May 1981, a group of young American Jewish leaders asked Prime Minister Begin what he thought were the lessons of the Holocaust. This was his answer:

First, if an enemy of our people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him. Don’t doubt him for a moment. Don’t make light of it. Do all in your power to deny him the means of carrying out his satanic intent.

Second, when a Jew anywhere is threatened, or under attack, do all in your power to come to his aid. Never pause to wonder what the world will think or say. The world will never pity slaughtered Jews. The world may not necessarily like the fighting Jew, but the world will have to take account of him.

Third, a Jew must learn to defend himself. He must forever be prepared for whenever threat looms.

Fourth, Jewish dignity and honor must be protected in all circumstances. The seeds of Jewish destruction lie in passively enabling the enemy to humiliate us. Only when the enemy succeeds in turning the spirit of the Jew into dust and ashes in life, can he turn the Jew into dust and ashes in death. During the Holocaust it was after the enemy had humiliated the Jews, trampled them underfoot, divided them, deceived them, afflicted them, drove brother against brother, only then could he lead them, almost without resistance, to the gates of Auschwitz. Therefore, at all times and whatever the cost, safeguard the dignity and honor of the Jewish people.

Fifth, stand united in face of the enemy. We Jews love life, for life is holy. But there are things in life more precious than life itself. There are times when one must risk life for the sake of rescuing the lives of others. And when the few risk their own lives for the sake of the many, then they, too, stand the chance of saving themselves.

Sixth, there is a pattern to Jewish history. In our long annals as a nation, we rise, we fall, we return, we are exiled, we are enslaved, we rebel, we liberate ourselves, we are oppressed once more, we rebuild, and again we suffer destruction, climaxing in our own lifetime in the calamity of calamities, the Holocaust, followed by the rebirth of the Jewish State.

So, yes, we have come full circle, and with God’s help, with the rebirth of sovereign Israel we have finally broken the historic cycle: no more destruction and no more defeats, and no more oppression – only Jewish liberty, with dignity and honor. These, I believe, are the underlying lessons to be learned from the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust.



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)


Thursday, March 26, 2015

America's Left-Wing Jews Ashamed of Israel's Jews

By Dennis Prager ·

American Jews on the left were beside themselves last week. Israel’s Jews did something that utterly infuriated these American Jews: Israel’s Jews overwhelmingly voted for a man of the right (or for other right-of-center parties). And not just any right-winger, but the only leader in the Western world to publicly differ from their hero, President Barack Obama.

To understand their fury, one must first understand that no one is more certain of their moral superiority than the left. This is true the world over, and among Jews it is particularly so. For the leaders of the American Jewish religious left (Reform, Reconstructionist, and now Conservative Judaism) Jews who are politically or socially conservative are a disgrace to Judaism, which, for left-wing Jews, is essentially the same as leftism. Both religious and secular Jews on the left regard Jewish conservatives as moral traitors to the Jewish people.

But certitude of their moral superiority is not the only reason American Jews on the left went ballistic last week. There are deeper, psychological, reasons.

Left-wing Jews live, work and socialize with left-wing non-Jews, and they believe that they are – to their great regret – identified with the Jewish state in the eyes of fellow leftists. Now, when Israel has left-wing governments – as it did in its first few decades and periodically after that – being identified with Israel is not problematic. But with Israel’s Jews repeatedly electing conservative governments, American Jews on the left believe that they must make it as clear as possible that they in no way support a right-wing Israel. Their moral self-esteem needs it and their left-wing credentials need it. Just look at how Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong Democratic activist and fervent liberal, has been ostracized from polite left-wing company solely because he is an outspoken defender of Israel.

As American Jews on the left see it, their moral credibility in the eyes of fellow leftists in the news media, Hollywood, and academia is threatened by Israel. They must therefore make it abundantly clear that a) they not only do not support the right-wing government of Israel; they do not even support Israel at this time; b) they regard Benjamin Netanyahu as a vile human being; and c) they are ashamed – simply ashamed – of Israel’s Jews for having voted for a right-winger.

Thus, to cite only a few examples:

In Time Magazine, Joe Klein wrote: "The great majority of Israel’s Jews are bigots.  [Netanyahu] “won because he ran as a bigot. … The public ratification of Netanyahu’s bigotry [confirmed this].”

Most Israeli Jews are as contemptible as history’s anti-Semites: “A great many Jews have come to regard Arabs as the rest of the world traditionally regarded Jews.”

Israel’s very founding was steeped in evil:  “[Read about] the massacres perpetrated by Jews in 1948 to secure their homeland.”

These Israeli Jews embarrass me. Don’t consider me one of them:  "This [victory] is shameful and embarrassing.”

In Israel’s Haaretz last week, left-wing American Jewish writer Peter Beinart actually advocated that America punish Israel and join the international fight against Israel:

“[This means] backing Palestinian bids at the United Nations. It means labeling and boycotting settlement goods. It means joining and amplifying nonviolent Palestinian protest in the West Bank. … It means pushing the Obama administration to present out its own peace plan, and to punish – yes, punish – the Israeli government for rejecting it. It means making sure that every time Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his cabinet walk into a Jewish event outside Israel, they see Diaspora Jews protesting outside.”

In The Washington Post, Harold Meyerson, another American Jewish left-wing columnist, joined the hysteria with these calumnies against Netanyahu (and the equally reviled Republicans):  “At the rate he was going, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have called for stripping Israeli Arabs of the right to vote altogether.” “Bibi [is] henceforth the Jewish George Wallace.”  “Perhaps Likud and the Republicans can open an Institute for the Prevention of Dark-Skinned People Voting.”

Of course, as Charles Krauthammer, an American Jewish conservative, wrote last week, “There would be no peace and no Palestinian state if Isaac Herzog were prime minister either. Or Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert for that matter. The latter two were (non-Likud) prime ministers who offered the Palestinians their own state – with its capital in Jerusalem and every Israeli settlement in the new Palestine uprooted – only to be rudely rejected.

"This is not ancient history. This is 2000, 2001 and 2008 – three astonishingly concessionary peace offers within the past 15 years. Every one rejected.”

But none of that matters to the left. The left lives in John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” Thus, the left imagines that if Israel completely withdrew from the West Bank and allowed a Palestinian state to be created now, it would be completely unlike Gaza and completely unlike Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Libya; it would be a peaceful Arab Muslim island in the midst of the cruel sea of Arab Muslim countries that surrounds it.

But what if they were wrong and rockets then rained down on Israel?  The Kleins and the Beinarts and the Meyersons wouldn’t retract a word. As I wrote some 30 years ago: “Being on the left means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Anyway, only those bigoted Israelis would pay the price.



The modern day slavers


More government waste and incompetence

This is getting to be a rival of Boston's "big dig"

As we have noted several times, the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was $5 billion over budget and ten years late. Despite all that time and money, safety issues with the bridge seem to be getting worse, as Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle explains. For example, the high-strength steel rods that secure the base of the tower “show more widespread cracking than Caltrans officials had previously acknowledged.” Further, “rust and microscopic cracking were found after one of 424 fasteners intended to keep the tower from being damaged in an earthquake was removed for testing last year.” A “botched grouting and caulking job” left “many of the 25-foot-long fasteners stewing in water for several years.” And as Van Derbeken notes, cracks were also found at the top, a troubling development “because such cracks can get worse over time, leading to total failure, possibly during a quake.”

Caltrans bosses Will Kempton and Malcolm Dougherty told the reporter they had no record of overseeing the manufacturing process or testing the tower rods before they were installed. Chief engineer Brian Maroney lamented that Caltrans can’t even conduct ultrasonic tests that could reveal whether one of the tower rods has already snapped. And for Steve Heminger of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission it was the construction budget that was “under severe stress.”

Charles McMahon, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on steel embrittlement, told Van Derbeken that those in charge of the bridge were “clueless” on the selection of materials and “had no idea what they were doing. The whole thing is a disaster.” Such concerns emerged last year in Sacramento hearings, where whistleblowers called for a criminal investigation. None took place. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, who conducted the hearings, has moved on to Congress. And as we observed, Tony Anziano, the lawyer who managed the bridge construction for Caltrans, has conveniently retired.

So here’s how it all adds up: $5 billion in excess costs, plus 10 years, equals an increasingly troubled bridge. And as Rep. DeSaulnier told reporters, “it’s frustrating that there’s never been anyone in the management of the bridge who has been held accountable.”



This Longtime IHOP Owner Sold His 16 Restaurants Because of Obamacare

The IHOP in Terre Haute is located on South 3rd Street, just a few minutes from the Interstate 70 interchange and a short drive from the Holiday Inn where we had stayed the night before. As we sat in the back of the bustling restaurant waiting for Womack to arrive, we ordered french toast, omelettes and other IHOP specialities.

At the time, Womack employed about 1,000 people at his 12 restaurants. When the Affordable Care Act became law on March 23, 2010, he had big plans for his franchise. He had purchased a development agreement in 2006 that would expand the company to 14 new IHOP locations in Ohio.

“You have to fund your development through your profits,” Womack said during my 2011 visit to Terre Haute. “And if you have no profits, you’re not building restaurants.”

During his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, Womack said those plans were now in jeopardy—and with it hundreds of jobs, not just at his restaurants but also in industries such as construction and manufacturing that would support his expansion.  “Let me state this bluntly,” Womack told lawmakers, “this law will cost my company more money than we make.”

The cost of Obamacare’s mandates—Womack estimated it would be $7,000 to provide health care coverage for each full-time employee—left him with few options: cut costs, eliminate staff, reduce hours or convert workers to part-time status.

Womack, a 30-year restaurant veteran, faced unique challenges in the industry, where profit margins ranged from 5 percent to 7 percent. Restaurants already produce the lowest revenue per employee, meaning there was a high labor cost associated with implementing the new law.

Four Years Later

Facing the prospect of Obamacare’s employer mandate on Jan. 1, 2015, Womack opted to sell his 16 IHOP restaurants last year to Romulus Restaurant Group. (The company, which operates 74 restaurants in nine states, didn’t get back to me but Womack believes everyone who worked at his restaurants remains employed.)

The restaurateur who got his start as a busboy and cook, then landed a job as an IHOP manager, decided the cost of running casual-dining restaurants under Obamacare wasn’t profitable.

“We had to keep evaluating the nature of the business and the impact of Obamacare along with all the other pressures on labor,” Womack told me. He cited actions by the National Labor Relations Board and the threat of a minimum-wage hike as other challenges.

Womack said he was able to weather the recession. He remained hopeful Congress would make changes to the law or the 2012 election would usher in a president who would repeal it.

When that didn’t happen, he simply wasn’t confident about the long-term prospects of running a casual-dining operation. IHOP, with servers and cooks, is a labor-intensive business. At the time he sold last year, Womack had 16 restaurants and more than 1,000 employees.  “We felt that environment was not the place to be for the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

Much more HERE



Benjamin Netanyahu forms majority Israeli government "Benjamin Netanyahu has already been able to form a majority Israeli government after he crushed the socialist Zionist Union (with Obama funding) in the Israeli election. There are only two factions of the Knesset that wouldn’t join Netanyahu’s coalition government: The Joint Arab union and the socialist Zionist Union party.

Brain Scientist Tries to Uncover Why White People Are Prejudiced Against Gypsies:  "From the New York Times, an article about how a brain scientist is going to use brain scans to try to figure out the mystery of white flight in Hungary from heavily Roma (Gypsy) schools. What kind of brain defect causes white Hungarian parents to hold delusional stereotypes about Gypsy children being lazy, dishonest, and less interested in academics? Perhaps Science can someday figure out why white Hungarians hallucinate so bizarrely about Gypsies!

The food-security charade:  "Federal spending on food aid has skyrocketed in recent decades, and the feds are now feeding more than 100 million Americans. Yet, according to the Agriculture Department (USDA), far more Americans are 'food insecure' now than before the mushrooming of subsidized feeding programs. But rather than seeing this as evidence of a government failure, a chorus of activists and pundits insist that it proves that even more people should be encouraged to depend on Uncle Sam for their next meal."

New Mexico Passes a Sweeping Bill to Protect Innocent People's Property from Civil Asset Forfeiture:  "The New Mexico Legislature passed a sweeping civil asset forfeiture reform bill last week to protect innocent people's property and due process rights. The bill, HB 560, effectively bans the pernicious practice, requiring a criminal conviction before property can be forfeited to the state.  Before the passage of HB 560, New Mexico had relatively bad laws on the books concerning this issue, basically empowering overzealous police departments to seize assets through a relatively low standard. In its 2010 report, Policing for Profit, the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest firm, gave the Land of Enchantment a "D+" for its civil asset forfeiture laws.

Supreme Court lets Wisconsin voter ID law stand:  "The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a major challenge to Wisconsin's voter ID law, delivering a victory to Republicans who favor tougher election laws. The decision is a setback for civil rights groups that contend the law could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of residents who lack proper ID — particularly racial minorities, seniors, students and people with disabilities.

The excitement's gone for the Left.  Murder of black homosexual politician was just another black on black crime:   "A Mississippi man on Thursday was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of murder in the 2013 slaying of an openly gay candidate for mayor of Clarksdale. Jurors in Quitman County deliberated less than two hours before convicting Lawrence Reed, 24.  Reed testified that he strangled Marco McMillian, but said he did so because he feared McMillian was trying to rape him. "I'm sorry for what happened, but I can't take it back," Reed told Circuit Court Judge Charles Webster"


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)


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Book Investigates Failures of Health Care Industry‏

HealthScare: Why Health Care Is NOT About Your Health is a controversial new book looking into the failures of the health care industry.

How well do you understand what defines your health? Can you wake up one morning and make the decision to go purchase good health? Where would you go? Can you tell Santa Claus that you want him to bring you the gift of good health for Christmas? The federal government and health insurance companies want us to believe that having “health care” can make you healthy. They have presented health care as a means to your health, but it has turned out to be a con job to take over each American’s access to medical care—decimating health professionals’ ability to treat their patients effectively and at a reasonable cost.

HealthScare: Why Health Care Is NOT About Your Health details the history and ultimate failure of government and insurance involvement in the health industry. Using over four decades of experience in the health industry as a pharmacist, Fritz Scheffel argues that we can make the health system efficient, cost effective, and beneficial to all by regaining power over our own health from power-hungry politicians.

With HealthScare, Fritz Scheffel offers a balanced and honest appraisal of the history and politics of the health industry; Fritz Scheffel provides us a path to saving our health and, ultimately, our nation.

Press release.  $14.95 on Amazon


 An odd thing

I have watched on video many American patriotic occasions and noted the songs sung.  But I have never seen "I vow to thee my country" sung on such occasions. Have I missed performances of it?   It is both intensely patriotic and intensely Christian.  It basically says how unreservedly the singers love their country but also goes on to say that the Kingdom of God is better still.  I welcome email from readers to enlighten me about it.  It is of course massively popular in Britain, where it originated just after WWI.  Below is a video of a beautiful young British soprano singing it. And the wonderful music was written by Gustav Holst, an eminent British composer.

There is also a choral performance here where just about everybody who is anybody in British politics can be seen.

The words:

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters, she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.


Liberalism Is Your Crotchety, Judgmental Aunt Wagging Her Finger At You

Ever been pinned down at Thanksgiving Dinner by a crabby relative who goes on a tirade about trivial complaints which are laced with biting criticism? "Why are skirts so short these days?" "You've gained a few pounds." "Ugh, next you'll be talking to those 'negroes!' You're barely able to tolerate it because she's old, out of it and you only have to be around her for a few hours before she goes home to her 12 cats and you don't have to see her for another year.

Well, liberals have become the equivalent of your b*tchy spinster aunt, but the worst offenders are young, their self-righteous whining is incessant and they never seem to go away.

Don't believe it? Well, you already do if you're not a liberal because you've long since gotten tired of their nagging.

"The Redskins’ name is unfair to Indians! It must be changed!" "How dare you refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding! We're going to run you out of business!" "You disagree with a black man! That means you're rraacccisssst!"

Pretty much EVERYTHING is racist these days. In fact, half the time when you hear something called racist, you have to wait for the explanation to figure out why it's supposed to be bigoted. One of my recent favorites is a claim that hoop skirts are racist. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s the same reason that The Lord of the Rings or Devil’s Food Cake is supposedly racist. Even if there isn't a professional race hustler around who's creative enough to come up with something you've done or said that's supposedly racist, they tag you as a bigot anyway because of some supposed "white privilege" you have.

If the incessant cries of racism don’t get to you, then the increasingly hyper-sensitive feminists will. That pack of harpies ruining men’s lives for putting up a swimsuit calendar at work was annoying enough in the sixties, but if anything, they have even more trivial, pampered, first world complaints to nag everyone about today.

Of course, they can’t say that; so everything is “rape culture.” Men and women are having sex drunk? That’s rape. You’re anti-abortion? Probably because you want women to bear the children of men that raped them. You think rapes on college campuses should be investigated by the police instead of women’s studies professors? You must be pro-rape!

Liberals complain incessantly about racism because almost everyone in America is against it and they constantly accuse people for fomenting “rape culture” for the same reason. As long as people they don’t like are spending all their time defending themselves against charges that they’re racist and love rape, they’re hoping everyone else won’t notice that liberals have gone CRAZY.

Crazy enough that the word “mansplaining” is actually a thing. That’s when a man explains something to a woman that she already knows. There are even whole TUMBLR pages dedicated to criticizing “manspreading,” which is men who spread their legs on the subway, presumably because they don’t want to squash their junk. By doing that, they’re apparently asserting their male privilege…or something. Then there’s “Gamergate,” which long story short, is a gaggle of liberal hens incessantly clucking at men who want to play video games in peace because guys who spend all their free time playing Madden and Street Fighter apparently aren’t sufficiently deferential to the nagging of a bunch of harpies who want to lecture them about feminist trivia.

Of course, the list of issues that set off liberals goes far beyond race and feminism. Lefties demanded that Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich lose his job for being opposed to gay marriage. The liberals at Planet Fitness banned a woman at the gym because the women’s bathroom should be for women as opposed to men who identify as women. A liberal Muslim at the University of Missouri demanded that the incredibly popular war movie American Sniper be banned because it made her feel “unsafe.” Support for the 2nd Amendment was declared “homophobic” at Kalamazoo College.

Libs block conservative speakers at college campuses when possible and often throw things. They chant and try to disrupt their speeches if that doesn’t work because their tender liberal ears can’t handle a contrary opinion. Asking someone from another country where he’s from is considered a “micoaggression” by liberals, which basically is just another term for, “We don’t have enough things to cry about already.” Mount Holyoke College is even pulling The Vagina Monologues because it’s not sensitive enough to men with vaginas. I know, I know, if you have a vagina, you’re not a man, but you have to humor these loons a bit; they’re coo coo for Cocoa Puffs.

As you’re discussing all these issues, you have to be careful because you might accidentally use a “trigger” word that upsets some terribly sensitive liberal soul. Oberlin College can tell you all about it.

Oberlin College has published an official document on triggers, advising faculty members to "be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression," to remove triggering material when it doesn't "directly" contribute to learning goals….

That’s no small matter because once liberals, the world’s most easily offended people, have been “triggered” by something you’ve done, then they view themselves as victims who have a right to go to insane lengths to fight back against your grievous attack.

Last March at University of California–Santa Barbara, in, ironically, a “free-speech zone,” a 16-year-old anti-abortion protester named Thrin Short and her 21-year-old sister Joan displayed a sign arrayed with graphic images of aborted fetuses. They caught the attention of Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of feminist studies. Miller-Young, angered by the sign, demanded that they take it down. When they refused, Miller-Young snatched the sign, took it back to her office to destroy it, and shoved one of the Short sisters on the way.

Speaking to police after the altercation, Miller-Young told them that the images of the fetuses had “triggered” her and violated her “personal right to go to work and not be in harm.” A Facebook group called “UCSB Microaggressions” declared themselves “in solidarity” with Miller-Young and urged the campus “to provide as much support as possible.”

Incidentally, those last two paragraphs are from liberal writer Jonathan Chait who wrote a column complaining about how intolerant liberalism has become now that his fellow travelers have moved on from going after Duck Dynasty and Rush Limbaugh to *** gasp *** targeting liberals like him, too.

Liberals are like Iran’s morality police, but instead of screaming at women for showing their ankles or going out in public without a male relative, libs yell at you for wanting to play video games without feminist jargon in them or wanting to only have women in the women’s bathroom. They’re nasty, quarrelsome and many of them are young, which means they may have those sticks wedged in their behinds for life. Maybe Obamacare should be authorized to yank them out – at least until we get rid of it and give the whiners something to REALLY complain about.



It's Election 'Day' for a reason

by Jeff Jacoby

EXCEPT FOR diplomats posted abroad, early voting isn't an option in Israeli elections. So when Israel's election day dawned on Tuesday, with impressions of the campaign's home stretch fresh in voters' minds, no one in the country had yet cast a ballot. The giant pre-election rallies in Tel Aviv, the final flurry of ads, the polls showing the main opposition party in the lead, the prime minister's unexpected repudiation of a Palestinian state: Together Israelis had taken it all in, and together Israelis would put it all to a vote.

Over the past two decades, early voting has become routine in American elections, with citizens in 36 states and the District of Columbia permitted to cast their ballots well in advance of Election Day, either by mail or at early-voting polling stations. In 2012, according to the United States Election Project at the University of Florida, at least 32 million votes were banked early, a whopping one-fourth of all ballots cast nationwide that year. Other calculations range even higher: A presidential commission on election administration reported last year that the number of votes cast before Election Day in 2012 was 47 million, nearly one-third the US total.

Is this wise? Does the metamorphosis of Election Day into Election Month strengthen the machinery of democratic self-government? Plainly, many Americans think so. "Whenever we have a law that expands access to the ballot and makes it easier for people to register and to vote," former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said last year after signing a law to authorize early voting in the state beginning in 2016, "it makes our democracy better."

Except that it doesn't. At best, it only makes it more convenient — and that convenience comes with downside tradeoffs.

First, far from motivating more citizens to participate in elections, early-voting laws actually decrease turnout. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, in a study published in the American Journal of Political Science, have shown that early voting "lower[s] the likelihood of turnout by three to four percentage points." Why? Because by dragging out for weeks what had been the concentrated, communal experience of a single decision day, early-voting laws wind up "dissipating the energy of Election Day" and "reducing the civic significance of elections for individuals." The Tuesday after the first Monday in November used to be a climactic moment when the nation turned out to choose its leaders. Now it's merely when the voting stops.

A second tradeoff, even more unfortunate, is the loss of informational equality. In some states, the early-voting window opens more than six weeks before Election Day — a month and a half! Think of what can happen in the last 45 days of a campaign: a high-stakes debate, an outrageous gaffe, an international crisis, a late-in-the-game promise, a surge of momentum, a demoralizing admission, a spectacular endorsement.

"Early voters are in essence asked a different set of questions from later ones," argued Eugene Kontorovic and John McGinnis, law professors at Northwestern University, in an essay in Politico last year. "They are voting with a different set of facts." That isn't the way to make democracy better.

Like a jury retiring to consider its verdict, Israel turned out en masse to elect a new parliament — and only after all the testimony was in. No voters had cause to regret a vote cast weeks earlier, or to wish they had known then what they knew now. Israelis don't vote when they decide they've heard enough. They vote, as Americans used to vote, on Election Day.

You don't have to look to Israel to know that a campaign's last innings are often the most enlightening or game-changing. Just think of the revelation, days before the 2000 election, of George W. Bush's drunk-driving arrest. Or John Silber's prickly interview with Natalie Jacobson as the 1990 Massachusetts governor's race neared its climax. Or Lyndon Johnson's bombing halt in North Vietnam on the eve of the razor-sharp election in 1968. Or Ross Perot's wild claim, late in the 1992 campaign, of his daughter's wedding being sabotaged by Republicans.

Elections are more meaningful when voters act collectively, coming together at one time to make their political choices. We may disagree sharply over whom ultimately to choose, but the choosing should be done when the campaign ends — on a clearly defined Election Day, not a long-drawn-out election season.



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)


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Race And The American Millennial’s Brain Rot

Ilana Mercer is an expert at writing scarifying prose. She is supreme at ripping people to pieces verbally.  So what she writes below seems rather exaggerated to me. She grew up in Israel so may be more critical because of that. I am also in no doubt however that there is a large element of truth in what she writes below.  The Left have been dumbing down and distorting American education for so long that any other state of affairs could hardly be  expected.

I am more optimistic than she appears to be, however.  And I am optimistic because of one thing:  IQ.  IQ is largely hereditary so is not readily susceptible to destruction by the Fascists that American "liberals" have become. So I think that, as they grow up, the brighter part of the Millennial cohort will work things out pretty well for themselves.  That will be assisted by the large gap that always exists between Leftist beliefs and reality.

And societal progress is not strongly dependant on the mental state of the masses.  It very largely depends on the "smart fraction" of society.  As long as the top 5% of any population are on the ball, the society as a whole will do well.

Israel is a prime example of the centrality of the smart fraction.  Largely because of the Sephardi and Mizrachi element in the overall population, the average IQ in Israel is just that:  average, around 100 IQ points.  But the Ashkenazim are another matter.  They average out roughly half a standard deviation above the mean, which is a lot. And it is primarily they who have made Israel into the brilliant society that it is

So I think that, where it exists, American talent will continue to thrive

“Silence; We’re Studying for Our Pregnancy Test” (2008), “Your Kids: Dumb, Difficult and Dispensable” (2010), “Higher Education Is A Hard Row To Ho” (2014): The author of such titles is well aware of how stupid, on average, American millennials are. She has been for some time.

The 2010 piece aforementioned warned that “the electronic toys our dim, attention-deficient darlings depend on to sustain brain waves are made, for the most, by older people,” and that “the hi-tech endeavor consist in older Americans and Asians uniting to supply young, twittering twits with the playthings that keep their brainwaves from flatlining.”

According to my sources in the high-tech industry, for every useless, self-aggrandizing Gen Yer, a respectful, bright, industrious (East) Asian, with a wicked work ethic, waits in the wings. The millennial generation will be another nail in the coffin of the flailing American productivity.

Encounters over the years with a relatively smart cohort, through this column, have solidified these impressions. Oh yes: I did my patriotic part. I attempted to employ a Millennial or two. I found them to be incapable of following simple written instructions. Their interactions were, moreover, pathologically personal, never professional.

Now, confirmation of these anecdotal impressions comes courtesy of researchers at the Princeton-based Educational Testing Service (ETS). Sponsored by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the ETS researchers found that, “Not only do Gen Y Americans trail their overseas peers by every measure, but they even score lower than other age groups of Americans.”

Millennials in the U.S. lag in literacy, “including the ability to follow simple instructions, practical math, and—hold on to your hat—a category called ‘problem-solving in technology-rich environments.’” Worse yet: “Even the best-educated Millennials stateside couldn’t compete with their counterparts in Japan, Finland, South Korea, Belgium, Sweden, or elsewhere. … Altogether, the top U.S. Gen Yers, in the 90th percentile, scored lower than their counterparts in 15 countries.”

This includes millennials with masters degrees and doctorates. Our best and brightest managed to best their peers in only three countries: Ireland, Poland and Spain. Much as Charles Murray has documented in his seminal “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” the results obtain irrespective of class and race.

Rejoice! America is becoming an egalitarian Idiocracy.

Let us anchor these general findings about the nature of the Gen Y Beast in particular examples from the passing week.

A few students at the University of Oklahoma were caught in flagrante, singing a racist ditty while white. The cretins of cable were in high dudgeon. CNN’s Brianna Keilar crisscrossed a black student, Meagan Johnson, about her experience with racism on the UO campus.

Oh yes, replied the girl. She had indeed endured the indignities of racism at the UO. “We experience forms, different forms of racism on our campus all the time. It wasn’t shocking at all.” Keilar requested examples. Right away, the student replied that her “overall experience at OU has been a great one.” It was vital, she added, for “the University of Oklahoma … to focus on diversity across our campus. … it needs to be a campus wide effort to make OU [a] more diverse and more inclusive place.”

Here was an example of an educated lass who was incapable of comprehending and answering a straightforward question. Encouraged by Keilar’s effusive praise—”I love your perspective on this Meagan,” she gushed—the girl went on to cop to experiencing “racial microaggression”: She had been asked for lessons in twerking and complimented on her weave.

A pedagogue, presumably, had taught the girl about “microaggression.” Race Robocop Keilar responded with compliments. Thus was this Millennial’s mindlessness reinforced.

Millennials have been pre-programmed and praised for stupidity. They’ve acquired an education yet they remain uneducated. For an educated young American would know that racist speech, too, is constitutionally protected speech. And an educated young American would know that, as professor Eugene Volokh teaches, “It’s unconstitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech.”

It would appear that when the neocortex is underused, the reptilian brain takes over.

Hysteria and heightened emotions are the hallmarks of the Millennial Mind. They can “whip up a false sense of mass outrage” with ease. The Spectator’s Brendan O’Neill calls these walking dead dodos “The Stepford Students.” They sit “stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously police beer-fueled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.”

Black, liberal and bright—oops; I committed a “microaggression”—comedian Chris Rock recently confessed that he avoids doing his stand-up routine in front of millennial audiences. “You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.”

In the Orwellian universe in which your kids are suspended, words speak louder than actions. Drunken youths sang a nine-second ditty while white—they did not defraud, steal, vandalize, beat, rape or murder anyone; they merely mouthed ugly words.

Unkind cuts, however, called for an exorcism. On cue, a petrified Waspy man, OU President David Boren, proceeded to perform the rituals that would soothe his unhinged charges. While Boren failed to fumigate the fraternity, tear his clothes; rub earth and ashes on his noggin and dress in sackcloth—he did shutter the doors to the dorm and board up its windows. A vice president of diversity was appointed. Soviet-style investigations launched, and summary expulsions sans due process carried out.

Tyranny, as we know, strives for uniformity.

In synch with their pedagogic pied piper, University of Oklahoma students gathered for prayer vigils, marches, demonstrations and lamentation. Burly athletes wept. One Oklahoma football lineman “decommitted,” or was committed.

This menagerie of morons—this institutionalized stupidity—would be comical were it not so calamitous, as shown by the research commissioned by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.



Here’s a classic conversation that perfectly demonstrates what liberals really mean when they talk about “rights”:


Obama’s Private Army: Militarizing the Federal Agencies

Currently there are 73 federal agencies that have full-time armed officers with arresting authority. According to a 2008 report by the Department of Justice, there were 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers working for federal agencies and 24 different federal agencies employed at least 250 full-time officers. Federal agencies with at least 250 full-time officers included the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Mint, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Veterans Health Administration.

While speaking before the Constitutional Convention in 1787, James Madison said, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.” Despite this strong warning from our founders more than 200 years ago, today’s federal government has quietly accrued significant policing powers in a wide array of agencies.

These federal enforcement officers are authorized to carry weapons and make arrests from Section 812 of the 2002 Homeland Security Act. This law authorizes the Offices of the Inspector General within each federal agency, which traditionally look for fraud and waste within the agency, to have officers that carry firearms, seek and execute warrants for arrests and makes arrests without a warrant while engaged in official duties. This section is rarely discussed because the actual language seems somewhat inconsequential. But in practice this law has changed how law enforcement is carried out at the federal level.

While there are federal agencies that should carry weapons and have arresting authority, such as the FBI, Secret Service, DEA and US Marshals, these agencies had this authority before the 2002 Homeland Security Act. They would keep this authority even if the agencies not traditionally involved in law enforcement activities lost their arresting powers. Unfortunately, the expansion of federal enforcement authority has been accompanied by an increase in the abuse of that power. There have been many examples of abuses by different agencies that have not traditionally had law enforcement officers and have been in a rush to use their new authority:

*  The Department of Education raided the home of Kenneth Wright looking for his estranged wife who was accused of misusing federal aid for students. Officers from the Department dragged Mr. Wright out of his house in his boxers at 6 a.m., threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. While this occurred his children -- ages 3, 9 and 11 -- were left in a patrol car for two hours. His estranged wife no longer lived at the house and was not there at the time of the raid.

*  Officers in full SWAT gear from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service stormed the home of Kathy and George Norris. The agents instigated the raid for George’s failure to file the proper paperwork for orchids he imported. Kathy and George were grandparents in their 60s when the raid took place.

*  The EPA led a joint raid along with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the guys that predict the weather) and the U.S. Park Service on a mining operation for possible violations of the Clean Water Act.

*  The Bureau of Land Management had a long standoff with Cliven Bundy, a rancher, over his use of federal land to graze his cattle.

*  In 2010 the FDA raided Dan Allyger’s Rainbow Acres Farm, an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, because he had been selling unpasteurized milk across state lines.

The potential for abuse increases as more federal agencies establish armed law enforcement officers. In addition to those already mentioned, agencies with police power include: the Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration (which three years ago asked to purchase 174,000 rounds of .357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point bullets), Federal Reserve Board, Department of Energy, Office of Personnel Management and the Railroad Retirement Board, among others.

This is not to say that these agencies do not encounter circumstances where armed officers would be prudent, or even necessary, but under such circumstances they should call federal agencies with experience, such as the FBI, or coordinate with local law enforcement.

Like Madison, the rest of our Constitution’s framers would be extremely uncomfortable with federal executive agencies carrying out police raids. Most were students of history and recalled the horrors that a standing militarized police force brought to Europe and ancient Rome. The framers were especially concerned with the British practice of sending troops to the Colonies, and using them as a police force to harass the Colonists. The Third Amendment was as much a response to the use of the military to police the citizenry as it was a response to the forced housing of soldiers.

Last year, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) sponsored the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act, which would have removed arresting authority from agencies not traditionally authorized to carry weapons or make arrests.

In a press release announcing the bill, Rep. Stewart said, “When there are genuinely dangerous situations involving federal law, that’s the job of the Department of Justice, not regulatory agencies like the FDA or the Department of Education. Not only is it overkill, but having these highly-armed units within dozens of agencies is duplicative, costly, heavy handed, dangerous and destroys any sense of trust between citizens and the federal government.” The president and a majority in both houses of Congress should be able to support this sentiment.

Under the 2002 Homeland Security Act we have seen a massive expansion of police activities carried out by federal agencies. The agents carrying out these activities generally take the form of militarized SWAT teams. This has left Americans wondering why officials from the Department of Education or EPA are barging into their homes and businesses dressed in full SWAT gear.

Our framers faced these same abuses at the hands of the British military during the lead up to the Revolutionary War. They designed the Constitution to protect us from these abuses. We should support a commonsense law, like the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act, because it would do much to protect us from these abuses.


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 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)


Monday, March 23, 2015

Which was worse, WWI or WWII?

I understand that the death toll in WWI was greater than WWII but I am not going to base anything on that. Instead I want to submit that the major tragedy of WWI was the Bolshevik revolution and that the major tragedy of WWII was the holocaust.  That is of course arguable but, given that, I think the answer is clear.

But first let me spell out why the Bolshevik revolution was attributable to WWI.  There are two reasons.  The first is that Germany deliberately and with malice aforethought transported the exiled Lenin in a sealed train across Europe to Russia.  The German High Command rightly assessed Lenin as a major threat to the Russian war effort and therefore facilitated his trouble-making in that country as part of their own war effort.

Secondly, before the Bolshevik takeover, Russia had become a real parliamentary democracy.  The Mensheviks were democrats who believed in elections.  The overthrow of the Mensheviks during the war  by the Bolsheviks was therefore a violent overthrow of democracy -- which resulted in many millions of deaths both then and across the next 70 years -- and also condemned the world's largest country to tyranny and poverty for all that time.

I am the last to minimize the death of 6 million Jews. But it seems clear to me that the Bolshevik revolution was much more widely harmful.


A leftist mind on display

Feel the hate.  The image is from Australia.  Tony Abbott is the conservative Prime Minister of Australia


Western press hasn’t noticed Israel’s rapidly growing clout around the world

“Two years from now, Obama will be gone, to be remembered as the worst president in American memory”

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s triumph in Israel’s election this week, so shocking and appalling to the Western press, is many other things, too.

It is a recognition by Israelis of Netanyahu as the Churchill of our times, a statesman who stands apart from virtually all other Western leaders who, whether out of cravenness or wilful blindedness, downplay the gathering storm from Iran.

It is a repudiation by Israelis of those same Western leaders, who funded the “anyone-but-Netanyahu” campaign that tried to install in his place a compliant Jew to endorse their policies of appeasement.

And it is a back of the hand to monopolies and other special interests that oppose Netanyahu’s march to freer markets. At root, Israelis understand that they’re better off with Bibi.

Israel under the rule of socialist parties, which dominated the country’s first half century of existence, was a country of heavy handed state control and of Big Labour — the Histradrut labour federation represented 85 percent of all wage earners in the 1980s. Under Netanyahu’s influence, starting in the late 1990s with his first term as prime minister, Israel systematically began dismantling the welfare state, tackling both the social safety net and the vested corporate interests.

He sold off Israel’s interests in state enterprises, abolished foreign exchange controls and otherwise liberalized the economy, attracting foreign capital and turning Israel into an entrepreneurial marvel that, according to The Economist, has the world’s highest density of startups and, next to Silicon Valley, the largest number of startups. High tech companies now beat a path to this Start-Up Nation’s door — an astonishing 250 from the U.S. alone have made Israel home to their R&D centres.

2014 set records for Israeli high-tech and biotech startups — 52 Israeli startups sold to the tune of some $15-billion plus 18 IPOs worth another $10-billion — according to end-of-year reports by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ethosia Human Resources, who expect 2015 to be even bigger. This January alone saw foreign giants such as Microsoft and Amazon shell out $900-million for companies rich in Israel’s only abundant renewable resource: ingenuity.

The Western press, operating as it does from its echo chamber, likes to describe Israel as increasingly isolated in the world due to its supposed failure to make peace with the Palestinians. Israel has never been less isolated, never been more embraced. In its immediate neighbourhood, Israel for the first time has de facto allies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the leaders of the Arab Sunni world.

In black Africa, Israel now is tight with countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda. In Asia, Israel is becoming tight with India, the world’s largest democracy, and with China, the world’s second largest economy, both of which are establishing free trade deals with Israel. Israel has been expanding trade with Japan, the world’s third largest economy. And Israel has close relations with countries of the former East Bloc, including Russia, once a Cold War adversary, now a partner in countering Islamic terrorism.

The watchful Arab press knows exactly why Israel has become so welcome around the world, even if the blinkered Western press doesn’t. As explained earlier this year in Al-Araby al-Jadid, a London-based Qatari daily, “Israel’s advanced technology developments have become its most prominent soft power tool for boosting diplomatic ties and improving its position in the world, enhancing its own security in the process.”

Because of Israel’s prowess in both military and civilian fields, it explained, China is cozying up to Israel, India is relying on Israeli instead of U.S. weaponry, and African countries are supporting Israel at the United Nations. Also because of this prowess, Al-Araby al-Jadid expects to see countries that once diplomatically sided with the Palestinians to flip and take pro-Israeli positions.

Israel’s technological prowess, and thus the welcome mat it now enjoys in ever-growing regions of the world, comes as a byproduct of Netanyahu’s dismantling of the welfare state. That dismantling may now accelerate because in this week’s election another dismantler shone — Moshe Kahlon, the Kulanu party leader who ran on an unabashedly pro-business, pro-competition “economic freedom” platform predicated on downsizing government while breaking up Israel’s remaining public monopolies and private oligopolies. The Western press may be surprised to learn that Kahlon, who is widely expected to become Netanyahu’s next finance minister, is considered centrist in Israeli politics.

Israel, once the darling of the Socialist Internationale, is fast becoming the darling of all but Socialist-leaning Europe, Iran and the ISIS wannabe set. Australia is stalwartly in Israel’s corner; Canada’s commitment to Israel is at an all-time high; America’s remains as strong as ever, President Obama and the American left notwithstanding.

Two years from now, Obama will be gone, to be remembered as the worst American president in memory. Prime Minister Netanyahu will remain in power and on the world stage, to be seen as one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers and one of the world’s few true statesmen.



Sanctimony and Grandstanding Are More Fun Than Free Speech

By Ann Coulter

After police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, the media erupted in terror at the prospect of young black men being gunned down by over-excitable white cops.

After two separate, wide-ranging, phenomenally expensive, months-long investigations, including one by Eric Holder’s Justice Department, it turned out: Brown had attacked Officer Wilson, he did not have his hands up, he was charging the officer when he was shot, and Wilson acted in justifiable self-defense.

Frustrated at their inability to locate evidence of the endemic racism in America we keep hearing so much about, liberals have turned with a vengeance on the kids. Instead of armed policemen gunning down blacks, we got a secretly recorded video of few drunk 19- and 20-year-olds at the University of Oklahoma singing the n-word. (Everyone assumes the students were racists, but my theory is they were trying to record their own rap video.)

Apparently, the new national sport is destroying the lives of young people.

Today’s adults are held responsible for nothing. The president and attorney general aren’t held accountable for ginning up frenzied mobs based on a lie, leading to two cops being assassinated in New York City and two cops being shot in Ferguson, in addition to the $250 million in property damage.

Hillary Clinton isn’t responsible for Americans being murdered at our embassy in Benghazi as a result of her incompetence.

Democratic senators aren’t accountable for passing Obamacare without reading it, and Republican senators aren’t accountable for promising voters they’d stop Obama’s amnesty and then voting to fully fund it.

Even people who commit violent crimes are given a second chance – especially if they’re athletes at the University of Oklahoma, as the Daily Caller has reported.

But 19- and 20-year olds must be punished without mercy for their drunken song using an ugly word. To quote Hillary Clinton, WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE?

Mr. Third Chance, David Boren, president of the university, proudly rushed to violate the First Amendment rights of these students. Even observers who condemned Boren’s laughably unconstitutional move felt compelled to vilify the louts.

Protesters have shown up at the kids' homes in Texas to rail against their parents. (As always, I marvel at the protesters' ability to get so much time off of work.)

I don’t remember adults caring this much about what college kids said when we were trying to get their attention with pompous editorials, manifestos and lists of demands. This wasn’t a college thesis – and even a college thesis wouldn’t be worth so much national angst. This was drunk college kids singing on a bus.

Is this the kind of society we want to live in, where a student can record his intoxicated friends singing a nasty song, and the whole country applauds the Nazi block-watcher and joins in the denunciation of his marks?

Liberals were hopping mad about Linda Tripp secretly recording Monica Lewinsky, but at least she was exposing the wildly felonious obstruction of justice by the president of the United States in a sex discrimination case. She wasn’t recording Monica to prove the president had used a bad word.

But no one objects to the aspiring Stasi member recording his friends' drunken song, then broadcasting it to the world, allowing us a joyous round of universal condemnation.

Instead of judging society by the inebriated songs of 19- and 20-year olds, perhaps we should judge it by how cultural and political elites treat their young people.



Finally, A Bank Stands Up To Obama's Shakedown

After 16 banks caved in to White House demands to refund billions in losses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, one outlier remains unrepentant. Nomura Holdings refuses to succumb to the political shakedown.

The Japanese bank's U.S. unit won't give in to the extortionist regulators protecting Fannie and Freddie who claim it hoodwinked the toxic twins into buying pools of subprime mortgages, like it claimed Bank of America, JPMorgan and other U.S. banks did in the run-up to the mortgage crisis.

The government demands $1 billion in damages. Nomura says it won't give a dime toward the $18 billion ransom the feds already have shaken out of other banks who settled with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Instead, it will make government prove it in court.

In opening arguments this week, the defendants argued Fannie and Freddie bought the mortgages knowing they were subprime and did so to meet "affordable housing" quotas of their political masters at HUD.

Unfortunately for Nomura, the game is rigged. The federal judge hearing the case — Clinton appointee Denise Cote — is a ringer for the administration.

In recent filings, Cote has shown extreme prejudice in her decisions — virtually all rendered against Nomura.

Even though she concedes that, in buying subprime securities from Nomura, "Freddie Mac considered the extent to which the underlying mortgage loans satisfied these housing goals," Cote claims such evidence is "immaterial" to the case. She argues the regulatory mandates, purchasing quotas and other political pressures heaped on Fannie and Freddie were merely "idiosyncratic" and therefore irrelevant.

Please. The HUD goals are highly relevant to this case. Internal documents from both HUD and Fannie and Freddie show the goals were driving them deeper into the subprime securities market and both complained about a growing risk of losses. So clearly, they understood the risks. There was no "misrepresentation."

And if they failed to perform the proper due diligence, it's because it wouldn't have mattered — they had to buy risky subprime securities to meet HUD quotas for loans to low-income borrowers with bad credit. They were culpable in the recklessness, and therefore culpable in the losses they suffered when those loans defaulted. Nomura shouldn't be on the hook for those losses.

In its defense, Nomura plans to call former Fannie and Freddie officials, including former Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd, to testify about how it was Fannie and Freddie who on orders from HUD lowered underwriting standards, not Nomura.



Guess What Canada’s Oh-So-Wonderful Single-Payer System Doesn’t Cover?

Canadian Alheli Picazo is a writer and former elite gymnast who has suffered from a severe digestive tract problem. Her condition caused her to suffer “from severe acid reflux. This wore down the enamel of her teeth and caused the equivalent of osteoporosis in her oral cavity.

The 30-year-old needs urgent oral surgeries, including bone and tissue grafts, to remove and replace what she described painfully as ‘the increasingly diseased bone.’”  Unfortunately, “Picazo has to wait until she can amass the $100,000 needed to pay for the procedures” because Canada’s system does not cover dental care.

The article, which appeared in Vox, noted that “This is similar to a gap in Obamacare: health plans on the exchange aren’t required to offer dental coverage.”  Guess what? There is another plan in the U.S. that doesn’t cover dental care.  Here’s a hint: it’s the program that activists point to when they want to promote single-payer here in America.



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)


Sunday, March 22, 2015

A very good sign

Google have put some sort of caution on access to A WESTERN HEART.   It must be causing heartburn where I want it to cause heartburn!



A problem vocabulary -- and a partial solution

Many stages in my life have added to my vocabulary.  I was born into an Australian working class home so I speak the vivid Australian slanguage with joy -- but I don't usually write it.

And I am basically a literary type so I know the difference between a dactylic and an anapaestic rhythm.  And neither "eleemosynary" nor "emoluments" are mystery words to me

And I have studied 3 languages so have many words from them in my brain. For instance, I can use Volk and Reich with accuracy and sometimes use words of Latin origin in their Latin meaning.  And a lot of people don't like the ungracious English name "Eggplant" for a rather desirable fruit so call it by the French name instead:  "Aubergine".  But I don't like much about the French but do rather like Italians.  The vastly "incorrect" Silvio Berlusconi is something of a hero of mine.  So I call the vegetable "Melanzane", which is both the Italian word and a version of its botanical name (Solanum melongena).

My odd food words mostly oppress Anne, the lady in my life.  But she has got used to them and even makes her own Liptauer these days -- and has even tried to make cevapi. But she and I share similar geographical and social  origins so I can talk to her in broad Australian -- which is pleasing to us both. When I call someone a "galah" or a "drongo" she knows what I mean.

And my early very intensive studies of the Bible have left me with an extensive knowledge and appreciation of the wonderful words and phrases of the King James Bible, plus a knowledge of theology and textual criticism.  So I know what Masoretic and paraclete means.

And at university I did some studies in linguistics and came out of that with an appreciation of both Old English and Middle English.  So I occasionally use constructions from those sources.  One of my favourite proverbs in fact uses Middle English:  "If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no room for tinkers" ("an" means "if" in Middle English).  And I am prone to reciting Chaucer in the original Middle English.

And my doctorate in the social sciences has left me with a useful statistics vocabulary -- so I am inclined to talk about "orthogonal" factors and "leptokurtic" curves, for instance.

So with that wonderful treasure of words available to me, I am inclined to use it, where appropriate. The big problem with that, however, is that if I used my vocabulary as I am inclined to do, I would render a lot of what I write barely intelligible a lot of the time.  Most people have backgrounds quite different from mine.

So what I have long done is to write something out fairly spontaneously and then go back through it replacing the uncommon  words with simple words of mainly Anglo-Saxon origin.  And I am pleased to say that such simplification often clarifies my thought and rarely obscures it.

But I am getting old and no longer have the time and energy I once did so lately I have tended on some occasions to let my original words stand rather than revise them.  And that will probably get gradually worse as time goes by.

So this is just an apology if what I write is not immediately clear.  I am however consoled by the thought that everybody has Wikipedia and various online dictionaries at their fingertips these days so can clarify any obscure words with considerable celerity (Latin: "celer" = "quick").

Just for fun, here are a few odd words I have been using lately -- either in writing or in speech:  narthex, vietato, endorheic, spinto, exegesis, rhotic.

Another small matter:  Most of what I put up on my various blogs is articles from others that say something I like.  Most days however I also write my own comments on some subject.  It is unpredictable on which blog I will burst into prose, however, so lately I have been putting up on A WESTERN HEART the stuff that I have currently been writing -- regardless of which blog was its originally intended home. So if you want to see what I personally have been writing lately, you only have to go to one place.


Another exoneration for aspartame

The bad effects were found to be all in the mind of the food-freaks concerned.  I had a considerable correspondence once with the anti-aspartame brigade and they were definitely a kooky lot

Aspartame, the controversial sweetener linked to a range of health problems, does not cause harm.

A study commissioned by Britain’s food watchdog found eating the sweetener had no impact on the body or behaviour of people who claimed to be sensitive to it.

The artificial sweetener, used in fizzy drinks and diet products, has been at the centre of critical reports dating back decades linking it to everything from cancer to premature birth.

Despite this, it has been ruled a safe food ingredient by food watchdogs in Britain, the EU, the USA and around the world.

These assurances have failed to convince many people, who continue to report adverse reactions, such as headaches and nausea after consuming foods containing the sweetener.

As a result, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned experts from Hull York Medical School to examine people who reported just such problems to establish if their fears were backed up by medical evidence.

The trial involved 48 people who self-reported as being sensitive to aspartame and another 48 control participants who have never had any problem.

All received two specially prepared cereal bars, one of which contained aspartame, on two separate sessions at least one week apart.

The human guinea pigs were put through a series of biological and psychological tests, which included taking blood and urine samples.

Participants rated a range of 14 symptoms over four hours after eating the bars, including headache, mood swings, hot or flushed sensation, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, nasal congestion, visual problems, tingling, bloating, hunger and thirst.

Participants were also asked to rate levels of happiness and arousal, which are the two main dimensions of their mood.

Today, the FSA said: ‘The study concluded that the participants who were self-diagnosed as sensitive to aspartame showed no difference in their response after consuming a cereal bar, whether it contained aspartame or not.’

The experts who carried out the research suggested those people who were self-reported aspartame sensitive (SRAS) tended to be more emotional.



Ruinous 'Compassion'

It is fascinating to see brilliant people belatedly discover the obvious – and to see an even larger number of brilliant people never discover the obvious.

A recent story in a San Francisco newspaper says that some restaurants and grocery stores in Oakland’s Chinatown have closed after the city’s minimum wage was raised. Other small businesses there are not sure they are going to survive, since many depend on a thin profit margin and a high volume of sales.

At an angry meeting between local small business owners and city officials, the local organization that had campaigned for the higher minimum wage was absent. They were probably some place congratulating themselves on having passed a humane “living wage” law. The group most affected was also absent – inexperienced and unskilled young people, who need a job to get some experience, even more than they need the money.

It is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge that minimum wage laws reduce employment opportunities for the young and the unskilled of any age. It has been happening around the world, for generation after generation, and in the most diverse countries.

It is not just the young who are affected when minimum wage rates are set according to the fashionable notions of third parties, with little or no regard for whether everyone is productive enough to be worth paying the minimum wage they set.

You can check this out for yourself. Go to your local public library and pick up a copy of the distinguished British magazine “The Economist.”

Whether it is the current issue or a back issue doesn’t matter. Spain, Greece and South Africa will be easy to locate in the table near the back, which lists data for various countries. Just look down the unemployment column for countries with unemployment rates around 25 percent. Spain, Greece and South Africa are always there, whether or not there is a recession. Why? Because they have very generous minimum wage laws.

While you are there, you can look up the unemployment rate for Switzerland, which has no minimum wage law at all. Over the years, I have never seen the unemployment rate in Switzerland reach as high as 4 percent. Back in 2003, “The Economist” magazine reported: “Switzerland’s unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9% in February.”

In the United States, back in what liberals think of as the bad old days before there was a federal minimum wage law, the annual unemployment rate during Calvin Coolidge’s last four years as president ranged from a high of 4.2 percent to a low of 1.8 percent.

Low-income minorities are often hardest hit by the unemployment that follows in the wake of minimum wage laws. The last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930, the last year before there was a federal minimum wage law.

The following year, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was passed, requiring minimum wages in the construction industry. This was in response to complaints that construction companies with non-union black construction workers were able to underbid construction companies with unionized white workers (whose unions would not admit blacks).

Looking back over my own life, I realize now how lucky I was when I left home in 1948, at the age of 17, to become self-supporting. The unemployment rate for 16- and 17-year-old blacks at that time was under 10 percent. Inflation had made the minimum wage law, passed ten years earlier, irrelevant.

But it was only a matter of time before liberal compassion led to repeated increases in the minimum wage, to keep up with inflation. The annual unemployment rate for black teenagers has never been less than 20 percent in the past 50 years, and has ranged as high as over 50 percent.

You can check these numbers in a table of official government statistics on page 42 of Professor Walter Williams' book “Race and Economics.”

Incidentally, the black-white gap in unemployment rates for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was virtually non-existent back in 1948. But the black teenage unemployment rate has been more than double that for white teenagers for every year since 1971.

This is just one of many policies that allow liberals to go around feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.



Minimum wage folly in Britain too

We’ve the sad news that the minimum wage is being raised yet again: "The national minimum wage will increase by 20p an hour to £6.70 from October, the government has announced. The changes will benefit more than 1.4 million workers."

And will disbenefit some unknown number of workers who will lose their jobs. True, a modest rise will leave only a modest number losing their jobs but as they therefore lose 100% of their income that’s still quite a large effect. However, we also have another report today:

"The number of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds who have been unemployed for more than a year has risen by almost 50% since the coalition came to power, according to figures released by the Labour party. There are now 41,000 16- to 24-year-olds from black, asian and minority ethnic [BAME] communities who are long-term unemployed – a 49% rise from 2010, according to an analysis of official figures by the House of Commons Library."

The effects of a minimum wage will be hardest felt where that minimum wage actually binds. Among the young and untrained and among those who are unfavoured for any other reason (like, here, perhaps ethnicity for all that we would desire that there is no such discrimination). Which make this news about the new minimum wage even worse:

The hourly rate for younger workers will also rise, and for apprentices it will go up by 20% – or 57p – to £3.30 an hour.
Yes, of course the correct minimum wage is a rate of zero. But we’re unlikely to win that argument but at least we can argue for a rate that doesn’t do so much damn damage to the least favoured portions of our society. The minimum wage discriminates against those black, asian and minority ethnic youths. Indeed, such discrimination was a stated reason for the introduction of the minimum wage in the United States back in the times of Jim Crow. It’s actually a racist government policy. We should therefore end it.

Every time the NMW increases, another rung is cut from the bottom of the societal ladder leaving more people out in the cold.



Twenty Blacks Victimized in Shootings

You’ve probably heard about the 20 black victims in numerous shootings between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. The violence helped propagate the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative and further riled Barack Obama, Eric Holder and their co-conspirators in the Leftmedia, all of whom raised alarm over the recent deaths of blacks involving white police officers.

Well, the first part is true anyway – though you’d be forgiven for having no idea what we’re talking about. The shootings, all of which took place during a 24-hour period, bloodied the streets of Chicago but were largely absent from the headlines.

Obama hasn’t said a word about these deaths, probably because it was black-on-black crime, which doesn’t translate into political constituency race-bait like a good cop killing a street thug does.

Here’s what we know about Chicago murder rates from the latest year of data: The black murder rate was approximately 34 per 100,000, the Hispanic rate was 11 per 100,000, and the white rate 3 per 100,000. Translation: This isn’t a “gun problem”; it’s a young black male problem. And it’s a cultural epidemic the mainstream media largely ignores.

Of course, if this recent black-on-black bloodletting had instead been white-on-black crime, Al Sharpton and Co. would be there faster than you can say “Racist!”



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)