Friday, August 21, 2015

Will American Fascism ever be defeated?

Here's a statement that few Americans will recognize as true:

"America started out as a Communist society but declined into a Fascist society. And like all Fascist societies it spilt a lot of blood getting power into the hands of its elite"

A bizarre statement?  It's certainly unorthodox but very solidly based in history.  We all know that the Founding Fathers were devout religious communists with all land owned in common until a third of them died of starvation.  Only then did they reinstate private property.  Communists don't relinquish control easily.

But what's this decline into Fascism?  That is clearly set out in America's most famous document. Most Americans have clearly not read the Declaration of Independence.  They know the few grand statements at the beginning of it but that is all.  So before I say anything more, I ask readers to read it. It is here.

What's all that stuff in the middle of it about laws?  Just some old stuff that is no longer relevant?  To the contrary, that is the nitty gritty of the document.  What it says is that the colonial legislators were busily making laws to tell their citizens what they must and must not do.  And that pesky libertarian King kept over-ruling them!  The King stood in the way of the colonial elite having power over the people.

And regulating everything is what Fascists do.  Fascists believe in strong central power -- for the "good" of the people, of course.  Mussolini prophesied that Fascism would rule the 20th century -- and he was right.  All countries are now Fascist.  They now all have governments that try to regulate all sorts of minutiae in peoples' lives. They in fact try to regulate more than the 20th century Fascist regimes ever did -- diet, for instance.

And the marginalization and prosecution of dissent is very Fascist.  And that is well underway -- with Christians in particular losing their jobs and being fined for articulating and standing by their Biblical beliefs.

And Fascist bloodshed?  We have seen that the War of Independence was really a war for the power of the colonial legislators and Abraham Lincoln himself, in his famous letter to Horace Greeley,  admitted that he waged his war not for the slaves but only for "the union" -- i.e. control of the whole territory of the USA by the central government.

And Fascist wars?  How about Bill Clinton waging war on the Christian Serbs in defence of Muslim Kosovars? And what good did the Iraq intervention do? And don't get me started about FDR and Pearl Harbor.  The Afghanistan involvement was a response to attack from there so that war was advisable.  But it was still a vast loss of fine American lives for no gain.  Just dropping a big one on Kandahar was all that was needed. An indiscriminate attack in response to an indiscriminate attack would simply be to answer the adversary in a language that it would understand.

Libertarians are vocal opponents of government power but are too few to limit it. I am of course one of those

One can only hope that conservative legislators come to realize the company they are in when they support or fail to oppose  regulation of various kinds  -- and ask themselves what right they have to tell others what to do. They have no right.  All they have is might.  And Leftists, of course, deny that there is anything such as right and wrong at all.  They are nihilists whose only motive is destruction.  And laws can be very destructive.


High IQ people better looking

This is actually an old finding but it again shows how pervasive the influence of IQ is.

Our strongest personality traits can be deduced simply from our facial features, scientists believe.  Research shows those with higher IQs are usually good-looking, while those with wider faces are usually perceived as being more powerful and successful.

There is even evidence that sexual deviancy can be picked up from facial features, with paedophiles more likely to have minor facial flaws.

The new evidence means the judgments we make when we meet strangers - which is usually concluded in less than a tenth of a second - are often accurate.

Mark Fetscherin, professor of international business at Rollins College, Florida, has recently found a link between company profits and the shape of its chief executive's face.

In his new book, CEO Branding, Mr Fetscherin describes how the executive tended to have wider faces than the average male.

A wider face means that the person is viewed as dominant and successful, Mr Fetscherin said. He also found a positive link between that shape face and the profits of the company.

He told The Sunday Times: 'Facial width-to-height ratio correlates with real world measures of aggressive and ambitious behavior and is associated with a psychological sense of power.'

Elsewhere, scientists also believe people can decipher negative attributes from a person's face. At Cornell University, scientists showed subjects mugshots of those who were guilty and innocent and found the majority could tell them apart.

Researchers have also found that those with a high IQ tend to be better looking. An example is Kate Beckinsale, who won poetry awards as a teenager, then studied Russian literature and English at Oxford.

Actress Natalie Portman also graduated with a psychology degree from Havard in 2003.

Leslie Zebrowitz, professor of social relations at Brandeis University, near Boston, said the trend was due to the high quality of DNA, with few mutations, that those people have inherited.  [Zeb gets it -- JR]



Why the establishment fears Trump

By Robert Romano

establishment puzzled by trumpCritics of a Donald Trump presidential candidacy have made two separate, contradictory claims regarding his electability in the 2016 general election.

First, that if he is nominated by the Republican Party, he would repel too many Independents, and lose handily in a general election. Second, that if he is not nominated, and instead runs as an Independent, he would siphon off too many Independents, costing the Republican candidate the election.

How can both be true? Either, Trump has broad appeal to Independents, which could fuel a third party run, or he does not.

Let us assume the latter conventional wisdom, that if Trump were to run as an Independent, it would splinter the vote, dramatically increasing the odds that the Democrat nominee would win. For this to be true, he would have to attract enough Independents to his campaign to steal votes from one or both of the major parties.

Ross Perot did that in 1992, garnering 19.7 million votes in the general election. Let’s leave aside the question of whether this actually cost George H. W. Bush the election, a debatable topic. Roughly half of Perot supporters were voters who otherwise might not have voted in the election. How do we know that?

Voter turnout exploded in 1992 by nearly 13 million to 104.4 million, a 12.27 percent increase from 1988. All that while the growth of the voting age population was slowing down — it had only increased 6.7 million that cycle.

In addition to Perot’s 19.7 million votes, Democrats increased their 1988 vote total by 3.1 million to 44.9 million, while Republicans lost 9.7 million supporters down to 39.1 million.

Meaning, Perot’s presence in the race may have brought as many as 5 to 10 million voters to the polls who would have stayed home if he were not in the race. He expanded the voter universe.

Besides the dramatic growth of the national debt, Ross Perot’s big issue in 1992 was being against the pending North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump’s big issue besides illegal immigration is trade, as he led the opposition to granting trade authority to President Barack Obama to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both are economic populists.

Only two other times in modern electoral history has there been such a marked increase in voter turnout exceeding the growth rate of the voting age population at a time when the population growth rate was slowing. In 1984 and 2008, when Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, respectively, increased their party’s voting bases and, thus, overall voter turnout substantially.

In 2000 and 2004, the growth of voter turnout also exceeded the growth rate of the voting age population, but that occurred at times when the voting age population was surging. That said, the George W. Bush campaigns were highly successful at increasing the number of Republicans. In fact, Republican voter identification peaked in 2004 at 39 percent, according to Gallup.

The trouble for Republicans is that it has sunk ever since, down to 23 percent in July. Independents, on the other hand, have risen markedly to near an all-time high at 46 percent of voters.

What emerges is a Republican Party that is — or should be — desperate to increase its numbers with unaffiliated voters after getting drubbed in 2008 and 2012. In fact, Republicans still have not been able to surpass George W. Bush’s 62 million vote total in 2004.

The question with Trump — and every other GOP candidate — is if that person will build the voter base of the party, without which Republicans cannot hope to win in 2016. A key question may be whether they bring the Ross Perot voters home.

A hint could come in a recent Rasmussen poll, which found a full 36 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Independents and 19 percent of Democrats say they would support Trump — even if he ran third party. His threat to run as an Independent notwithstanding, that is not a bad place to start.

Perhaps what the party’s establishment fears the most, then, is that either as a Republican or an Independent, Trump could actually win. And they can’t control him.



How US Sugar Policies Just Helped America Lose 600 Jobs

The manufacturer of Oreo cookies recently announced plans to move production of Oreos from Chicago to Mexico, resulting in a loss of 600 U.S. jobs.

This should be a wake-up call to defenders of the U.S. sugar program and other job-destroying trade barriers.

The leading ingredient in Oreos is sugar, and U.S. trade barriers currently require Americans to pay twice the average world prices for sugar.

Sugar-using industries now have a big incentive to relocate from the United States to countries where access to their primary ingredient is not restricted.

If the government wants people making Oreo cookies and similar products to keep their jobs, a logical starting point would be to eliminate the U.S. sugar program, including barriers to imported sugar.

This obvious connection between the lost jobs and sugar quotas was missed by many observers. According to one online commenter: “This is why tariff[s] on products coming to U.S must be raised.”

That’s backwards. When protectionist policies like the U.S. sugar program lead to offshoring, the response shouldn’t be to pass new laws to discourage such offshoring or to raise tariffs even higher. The response should be to eliminate government policies that encourage offshoring in the first place.

The loss of Oreo cookie jobs should reinforce a lesson on the job-destroying aspect of protectionist trade policies.

According to a 2006 report from the government’s International Trade Administration: “Chicago, one of the largest U.S. cities for confectionery manufacturing, has lost nearly one-third of its SCP manufacturing jobs over the last 13 years. These losses are attributed, in part, to high U.S. sugar prices.”

That lesson appears to be lost on unions that are supposed to represent the workers losing their jobs in Chicago.

For example, The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union consistently has opposed free trade agreements with sugar-producing countries like Australia, Brazil, and Mexico —the kind of trade deals that just might protect their members’ jobs.

So that’s how the cookie crumbles.



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, August 20, 2015

Fast moving bad news builds prosperity

Free markets automatically create and transmit negative information, while socialism hides it

Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted: "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.”

This drew a response: "The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.

It is simple really: When the "Great Leader" builds a new stadium, everyone sees the construction. Nobody sees the more worthwhile projects that didn’t get done instead because the capital was diverted, through taxation, from less visible but possibly more worthwhile ventures — a thousand tailor shops, bakeries or physician offices.

At the same time, markets deliver the bad news whether you want to hear it or not, but delivering the bad news is not a sign of failure, it is a characteristic of systems that work. When you stub your toe, the neurons in between your foot and your head don’t try to figure out ways not to send the news to your brain. If they did, you’d trip a lot more often. Likewise, in a market, bad decisions show up pretty rapidly: Build a car that nobody wants, and you’re stuck with a bunch of expensive unsold cars; invest in new technologies that don’t work, and you lose a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. These painful consequences mean that people are pretty careful in their investments, at least so long as they’re investing their own money.

Bureaucrats in government do  the opposite, trying to keep their bosses from discovering their mistakes.

Likewise, the pricing system tells people things that they can’t know directly. In a command economy, where bureaucrats set production targets, if someone uses more pig iron than expected, there’s a shortage. In a market, prices for pig iron go up, which sends two signals: To pig iron producers, the signal is produce more pig iron. To pig iron consumers, the signal is don’t use more pig iron than you have to. Both ways, the prices tell people things that they need to know, without any direct communication required. This is why market economies do better than command economies, as historical examples ranging from the old Soviet Union to today’s Venezuela demonstrate over and over again.

Why is there so much support for government controls? What’s wrong with markets? In short: insufficient opportunities for graft.

In a command economy, the bureaucrats who set production quotas and allocate supplies have a lot of power. So do their political bosses. When supplies get short, people wheedle (i.e., bribe) them to get more. The market can’t be wheedled.

And, of course, intellectuals, as Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey observes, "have always disdained commerce.”

Why?  As Mackey says,  “It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy, and if you live in a more business-oriented society, like the United States has been, then you have these business people, (whom the intellectuals) don’t judge to be very intelligent or well-educated, having lots of money, and they begin to buy political power with it, and they rise in the social hierarchy.

Whereas the really intelligent people, the intellectuals, are less important. And I don’t think they like that. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why the intellectuals have usually disdained commerce. They haven’t seen it, the dynamic, creative force, because they measure themselves against these people, and they think they’re superior, and yet in the social hierarchy they’re not seen as more important. And I think that drives them crazy.”

As Megan McArdle has observed, journalists particularly suffer from this problem: “Everyone you write about makes more than you. Most of the people you know make more than you. ... Your house is small, your furniture is shabby and you can't even really afford to shop at Whole Foods. Yet you're at the top of your field, working for one of the world's top media outlets. This can't be so.” Suddenly, systems that reward people through political influence look better.

Markets make people better off, but they don’t provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they’re unpopular with politicians and intellectuals. The real question is why anyone else listens to the self-interested claims of politicians and intellectuals. Maybe because the subject of what works and what doesn't in economics is mostly written by journalists?



Trump's Immigration Plan Is Exactly Why He's So Appealing

Trump is economically unsophisticated but his errors are unlikely to do much harm -- JR

As news broke over the weekend of yet another illegal alien accused of a triple homicide in Florida, the overwhelming sense for conservatives is that something has to be done about illegal immigration. While most Republican presidential candidates appear equivocal on the issue, as do Republican congressional “leaders,” Donald Trump is clear on his objections, and that resonates with a lot of Americans.

Trump has been the go-to candidate on the issue since his June 16 announcement speech, when he opined, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump has now released the details of his plan, and it’s a master stroke to answer voter frustration.

He begins with three solid principles, the first of which is a direct quote from Ronald Reagan.

* A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.

* A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.

* A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

That such principles are so controversial is a mark of how dire our predicament really is, and the weakness of other GOP candidates in espousing them has left an opening for Trump.

Those principles are followed by several planks. “Make Mexico pay for the wall” is the first. How would he accomplish that? Increase the fees for legal immigration, which seems counterintuitive.

“Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards — of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].”

If that idea (and the generally unhelpful antagonism toward Mexico) isn’t quite satisfactory, his other points are appealing — tripling the number of ICE officers, nationwide e-verify, mandatory deportation of criminal aliens, detention instead of catch-and-release, cut off federal funds for sanctuary cities, penalizing visa overstays, and, perhaps most important, end birthright citizenship.

As we have noted before, any debate about immigration is useless unless it begins with a commitment to securing our borders first. Trump appears to be seriously, if imperfectly, addressing this need.

We have also argued that birthright citizenship is a gross misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, and Trump is right to target it. Such a move will, of course, be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, but it’s a worthy fight. [Congress can exclude SCOTUS from considering it]

In June, Trump said, “Give [illegal immigrants] a path [to citizenship]. You have to make it possible for them to succeed.” His plan now calls for allowing “the good ones” to come back once they’ve been deported. “I would get people out,” he said, “and I would have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.”

While Trump’s plan is solid on Rule of Law and heavy on enforcement, where he comes up short is emphasizing that Liberty is colorblind. It’s not a “white thing.” Minorities could be forgiven for thinking Trump’s plan translates more closely to, “We don’t want any Mexicans here.” That may resonate with some in the GOP base, but it’s not going to expand that base.

Because Liberty transcends all racial, ethnic, gender and class distinctions, it will appeal to all freedom-loving people when properly presented. That said, it’s going to be awfully hard for any other GOP candidate to trump The Donald’s plan in the eyes of primary voters. The question of why it’s taken the rest of them so long to even try to address the issue is a baffling one.



Democrats Panic in Response to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is panicking in response to billionaire and 2016 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan, which is designed to get Americans back to work instead of putting foreigners and special interests ahead of Americans as so many politicians do.

The DNC was so freaked out at Trump’s plan, they rushed out a statement from Pablo Manriquez—their “Director of Hispanic Media”—filled with grammatical errors. The statement, which is nothing more than typical Democratic Party talking points in favor of illegal aliens, accidentally doesn’t capitalize “Trump” in one instance and does the same thing when talking about “Democrats.”

“Trump has reignited the GOP’s longstanding obsession with mass deportation,” Manriquez said. “Like his fellow GOP candidates Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  and others, GOP front runner trump [sic] dismisses a full and equal pathway to citizenship for hardworking immigrants. The GOP should quit treating these families as second class citizens and join democrats [sic] who support immigrant families and want to keep them together.”

Trump’s immigration plan is something that used to be bipartisan. Even Senate Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) back in the early 1990s, supported the major tenets of the plan—putting American workers first when it comes to immigration. Now the entire Democratic Party and most of the Republican Party has abandoned American workers in favor of special interests seeking cheap foreign labor and political interests seeking a different and more liberal voting base.

There are a handful of leaders left in Congress still fighting for Americans when it comes to immigration, though, and chief among them is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. Trump consulted Sessions while writing his immigration policy plan.



Missing Clinton emails magically found

State Department officials have uncovered 17,855 emails sent between a former Hillary Clinton spokesman and reporters that the agency long claimed did not exist.

The trove was among more than 80,000 emails belonging to Philippe Reines, a Clinton aide, that were discovered on his State Department account, officials said in court filings Aug. 13.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Gawker Media in 2013, the State Department said it had no responsive records. Gawker was seeking official correspondence between Reines and reporters from 33 news outlets.

But State officials responded Thursday with the news that they had inexplicably found 81,159 emails on Reines' ".gov" email account despite asserting two years ago that none existed. Twenty-two percent, or 17,855, of the emails were likely related to Gawker's request.



Hildabeest dodging and weaving

While speaking with Fox News host Bill Hemmer on Wednesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of purposefully trying “to control access to the public record” so as to evade facing justice.

“This was not about cooperation. And, Bill, frankly, it’s not about convenience,” Gowdy said. “It’s about control.”

Gowdy pointed to the way in which Clinton repeatedly refused “to turn over her server to a neutral, detached third party for independent forensic examination.”

Instead Clinton convinced the State Department to allow her to decide for herself which emails should be made public.

According to Clinton, she set up this “unusual email arrangement” (as Gowdy referred to it) for her “convenience,” in that she did not want anybody else reading her personal emails about yoga, bridesmaid dresses and whatever.

But why should anybody believe her, especially given that she lied in March when she said, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.”

“She almost got away with it, but she didn’t,” Gowdy pointed out.  He added, “If she were interested in cooperation, she would not have done any of the things she has done to date.”

Clinton is a conniving liar who is trying to weasel her way out of trouble. She apparently believes, and always has, that Lady Justice should hold her to a different set of standards than everybody else

We’re sorry to break it to you, Madame Secretary, but if you did the crime, you will do the time, regardless of who you are and how hard you try to evade justice.



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, August 19, 2015

U.S. Acquiescence To A Bad Iran Deal Was No Mistake

By Capt Joseph R. John

In the below listed Op Ed, Admiral James L. Lyons, former Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, highlights a whole range of Obama policies that have intentionally weakened the Republic militarily and economically over the last 6 ½ years, with little opposition from members of the US Congress.  Obama’s dangerous intent to “Change” the very nature of the United States from a Republic to a Socialist State has also been free from exposure because the left of center liberal media establishment has been in league with Obama.

Admiral Lyons exposes the Iranian initiative which Obama and Valerie Jarrett initiated in 2008 to change alliances in the Middle East in favor of Iran.   It didn’t matter that Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, had been killing and maiming thousands of members of the US Armed Forces for the past 35  years and continues in that policy today in Afghanistan—any agreement that didn’t simply demand that Iran stop killing members of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan is a bad agreement on the face of it.

Iran’s ultimate goal is to destroy the state of Israel, then attack the United States with nuclear weapons atop intercontinental ballistic missiles.  It has taken Obama nearly 7 years, but now it appears Obama and the Democratic side of the isle in Congress are well on their way to facilitating an international agreement to allow Iran to become a nuclear power, while giving them $150 billion to continue their international terrorism.  The agreement permits Iran to be within a danger thrust away from the hearts of the United States’ traditional Sunni allies in the Middle East, who are now developing their own nuclear weapons in self-defense.  

In the 2016 election, the American voters must go to the polls and remove members of Congress who continue to repeatedly make false promises to the voters in their Congressional Districts and states, but have no intention to protect and defend the US Constitution following their elections, especially those members in Congress who are supporting Obama’s dangerous Iranian International Nuclear Weapons Treaty, called an Agreement because of the failure by the Republican leaders in Congress.   The Obama administration will promote voter fraud once again, as they have in the last two presidential elections, and we will watch to see if the Republican establishment will finally get off dead center and spend some of the millions of dollars they raise to do anything about it, instead of just feathering their nests.

The leaders in Congress have not safeguarded the US Constitution on International Treaties with both this Iranian International Nuclear Weapons Treaty and the unconstitutional TPA International Trade Treaty that permits Obama to negotiate the Fast Track Trade Promotional (TPP) in Secret with 11 other Pacific Rim countries (which no American has been ever permitted to view since it was signed into law in June 2015).  That International Treaty will eliminate US sovereignty in favor of International Tribunals and effectively destroy the US Immigration system by allowing million Illegal Immigrants to enter the US from 50 countries, and be issued Work Permits, including allowing a new crop of millions of Illegal Mexican workers; those millions of Illegal Immigrants with work permits will unfairly compete at lower wages with 104 million unemployed Americans and undermine The Free Enterprise System.

We encourage you to read Admiral Lyons below listed riveting article and provide support for the endorsed and elected Combat Veterans For Congress listed on the Endorsements page of our Web site, and for a new slate of endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress who we will be endorsing leading up to the 2016 election.  Those we endorse are Combat Veterans who previously repeated put their lives on the line to protect their fellow comrades, and to also protect and defend the US Constitution and our way of life; they will work tirelessly to continue to protect and defend the US Constitution.

Copyright 2015, Capt. Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. This material can only be posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author.  It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission from the author.  

U.S. acquiescence to a bad Iran deal was no mistake

By James A. Lyons

There is no shortage of critics of the recently concluded nuclear agreement that President Obama has reached with the evil Iranian theocracy. All the "known concessions" by the Obama administration should come as no surprise. Make no mistake — these concessions were not due to incompetence nor the inability to negotiate. They are part of the president's planned agenda to fundamentally transform America by diminishing our stature and credibility. It is another example of his misguided view that America must be humbled for the many "problems" we have caused throughout the world.

Mr. Obama's game plan on how to negotiate with the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had its genesis in the summer of 2008. According to scholar and author Michael Ledeen, around the time when candidate Barack Obama received the Democratic Party's nomination, he opened a secret communication channel with the Iranian theocracy. The go-between was Ambassador William G. Miller, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who spoke fluent Farsi from his previous tours of duty in Tehran.

The message was, "Don't sign an agreement with the Bush administration. Wait until I am president — you will get a much better deal! You will like my policies. I am your friend." Here is a country that has cost thousands of American lives. Furthermore, all Americans should never forget that it was Iran that provided the key material and training support to the September 11 hijackers. Without that support the attack could not have been carried out, and some 3,000 innocent Americans who were doing nothing more than going to work would be alive today. Yet our president told this regime that he was their friend.

This borders on treason and most certainly violated the Logan Act, which forbids private citizens from interfering in government diplomacy.

The endless Kabuki dance that went on in Geneva and Vienna was not only an embarrassment for all Americans, but more importantly, it "conceded America's honor," an honor that has stood on bedrock principles which hundreds of thousands of Americans have paid the ultimate price to protect. Our nation was humiliated. This treaty must be rejected.

While being challenged throughout the world, the Obama administration continues with its senseless unilateral disarmament of our military forces, thereby jeopardizing our national security. As if disarmament were not enough, our military is being forced to train the military forces of our potential enemies. Specifically, Chinese infantry troops are being trained in the United States. Moreover, the Chinese navy was invited to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific fleet exercise and has been invited again to participate in the 2016 fleet exercise to be held off the coast of Hawaii, alongside all of our major Pacific allies. We clearly are compromising our tactics, techniques and operations.

Compounding the problem is the use of our military as a social engineering laboratory to advance Mr. Obama's political and social agenda. With regard to the promotion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyle, my late friend M. Stanton Evans in his monumental 1994 book "The Theme is Freedom" had it right when he called it a return to the "pagan ethic."

Clearly, the Obama administration is attacking the American way of life from all aspects. Our open border policy makes absolutely no sense. We have anywhere from 11 million to possibly as many as 30 million illegal immigrants within our borders. Sanctuary cities are also in clear violation of immigration laws. The welcome mat has been put out by the administration so that the more recent illegal immigrants are able to draw upon a wide range of taxpayer benefits, including food stamps, health care and earned income tax credit for three years, all at the American taxpayers' expense. However, the overwhelming majority of immigrants come here as the result of our visa policies. The U.S. issues the treasured "green card" to approximately 1 million immigrants per year, most of whom are unskilled. They are immediately entitled to numerous benefits at taxpayers' expense. Congress must act to limit the number of green cards issued.

Releasing illegal immigrants from jail with criminal records is a deliberate affront to all Americans. Seeding throughout the country Muslim immigrants who have no intent to assimilate is another affront and tears at the fabric of our society.

Compounding the immigration crisis, is the Obama administration's inclination to divide Americans by race and class. This is unconscionable. You are either an American entitled to all the benefits that being an American conveys, or you are not. Those are the only two classes. The first one is sacred.

The corruption of our government agencies, fostered by the Obama administration, should not be overlooked. The selective enforcement of our laws and traditions has lowered Americans' respect and trust of those agencies. However, taken in the aggregate, the fundamental transformation of America is taking place with no objections from Congress and the Supreme Court, which are supposed to prevent illegal and unconstitutional acts by an out-of-control president. Congress and the high court, and for that matter, our military leadership, are complicit in these illegal actions by not faithfully executing their oaths of office. This cannot stand. As Thomas Paine stated, "These are the times that try men's souls." With our corrupt leadership, it is now time to take back America.



No more costly mandatory minimum sentences

Recent rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and Obamacare are high-profile reminders that there is not much the left and right agrees on in this country. But yet another new bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, introduced recently by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) with the support of almost two dozen other Republicans and Democrats, shows that one thing we do agree on is that this country locks too many people up for too long at too high a price.

The bill, the SAFE Justice Act (H.R. 2944), has a little bit of something for everyone, from mandatory minimum sentencing reform to getting a handle on the proliferation of federal crimes and regulations that can snare even the most well-intentioned citizens.

The increase in overly broad and vague criminal laws has enabled overzealous prosecutors to bring charges against Americans who inadvertently violate one of them. More often, however, government lawyers have aggressively pursued those acting in the gray areas between “business as usual” and unlawful activity.

White-collar suspects have become especially popular targets for prosecutors due to populist anger at Wall Street. Netting high-profile, corporate whales is a time-tested method for ambitious prosecutors to boost their political careers.

Independent federal judges are often the only hope white-collar defendants have to resist groundless charges when they are innocent and to avoid excessive punishment when found guilty. Last December, for example, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stopped cold the government’s effort to jail two hedge fund managers who had received information on the financial outlook for two computer companies from personal friends who worked there that the court found they had no reason to know was not public information.

Judges have also sought to restore some common sense and greater justice to white-collar sentencing. The U.S. Sentencing Commission, when drafting the first sentencing guidelines for judges, determined that corporate wrongdoers should be sentenced to short but definite prison terms. Economic crime offenders are less likely to reoffend than drug dealers and other street criminals, but the Commission thought prison time would deter others.

Beginning in the early 2000s, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and Congress reacted to high-profile frauds by launching an arms race that has more than doubled prison sentences for individuals convicted of economic crimes. The Sentencing Commission began the bidding by enacting several changes to the federal sentencing guidelines that, among other things, called for higher sentences based on the dollar amount involved.

A couple of years later, fueled by the collapse of Enron and WorldCom, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which raised the maximum statutory penalty for fraud from five years to twenty and forced the Commission to further increase its recommended prison terms for economic fraud.

The result: economic crime guidelines are nearly useless for judges whose job is to impose fair sentences based on the total circumstances of an offense (not simply the loss amount) and the characteristics of the defendant.

Judges have been unusually vocal in pointing out the guideline’s shortcomings, labeling it “a black stain on common sense” and “patently absurd on their face.” The guideline frequently contains terrible guidance. Why, for example, should a scheme that resulted in a $100 loss to 250 victims warrant a sentence more than three times as high as a fraud that caused a $25,000 loss to a single victim? It makes no sense.

Congress and the Sentencing Commission need to rethink their zeal to ratchet up prison terms for everyone who runs afoul of Congress’s vague criminal laws and better distinguish among those who intentionally defrauded others from those who were simply negligent or could have been more conscientious in managing money.

While those who steal from others or defraud the market should be punished, imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for these crimes would be a mistake.  Our existing mandatory sentencing laws –aimed largely at drug offenders - already force us to spend billions of dollars on prisons overflowing with nonviolent offenders who pose little risk to public safety.  They have devastated countless families and communities and have diverted resources from more important law enforcement priorities.  Mandatory minimum sentences replace a system of individualized justice delivered locally by independent judges with a one-size-fits-all, politicians-know-best sentencing scheme.

It is bad enough that Congress has surrounded the American people with an increasingly complex maze of laws and regulations that are almost impossible to avoid violating. Lawmakers should not add insult to injury by subjecting every misstep to a mandatory and lengthy prison term.



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, August 18, 2015

My Alternative Wikipedia

Over the years I have on various occasions attempted to make contributions to Wikipedia.  Whatever I put up there, however, gets wiped.  Wikipedia editors are clearly Left-leaning so I can understand that they wipe anything written from my libertarian/conservative viewpoint.  But even stuff with no obvious political slant disappears.

From what I can see, Wikipedia editors in fact spend most of their  day deleting what others have put up.  So there is clearly an informally-specified  Wikipedia culture that you have to conform to if you wish your writings to appear there.  It also seems likely that, once you have been identified as a bad egg, you are just totally black-banned, no matter how good what you want to post may be.

That is something of a pity as some of the information I try to put up is not found anywhere else in English. My major recreational interest these days is Austro/Hungarian operetta.  I spend a couple of hours nightly watching it.  Rather frivolous, I guess, but I have the privilege of reading and writing serious stuff all day so light relief has its place.

So I have come to know rather a lot about it.  Being the academic type, I also research the shows as well as watching them.  I look at who is singing, who the artistic director is and other details.  I try to accumulate biographical information about the singers, about the historical background, and information about particular notable performances.

Operetta does have a worldwide audience but it is almost all sung and written in German and the information about it, including libretti, is also mostly in German.  So if English Wikipedia does have any information at all about (say) a particular singer, it will mostly be pretty bare-bones.  Wikipedia in German, and sometimes in Italian, will have much more information.  And German Wikipedia is only a start. There are many music-oriented German-language sites that include operetta information.

Since I can read German and Italian (the latter with difficulty) I can however usually find out quite a lot more about a singer than most people in the English-speaking world would be able to. And I am inclined to pass on that information in English.  But Wikipedia won't let me.

So I have set up My Alternative Wikipedia to draw together my posts on matters that I think have reference interest.  It's not all operetta but mostly so.  And that may be a useful approach.  Most of the performers in operetta are from Europe and have European names -- such as Ingeborg Hallstein or Dagmar Schellenberger -- that would rarely be encountered in English-language sources.  So a Google search on those names should lead quickly to my site.

And having an operetta database can lead you to the unexpected. If, for instance, you Google the very popular "Ivan Rebroff", you will find a multitude of well-deserved references to him as a jolly Russian bass singer of both popular and operatic works. But without a comprehensive reference to operetta, you may not realize that he was also a brilliant comic actor.  His performance of red-faced rage at the rejection of his "daughter" in a 1970s performance of  Zigeunerbaron is far and away the best I have seen.  His whole life was an act, in fact.  He was a German, not a Russian.  And he died a Greek. As all conservatives know, reality is complicated.

First, however, we have to get Google to index my site.  They  do not so far appear to have done so.  So I would be much obliged if anybody reading this would put up a link to my new site on any site that they may run. The more links there are to it, the more likely it will appear in Google searches.

And I should perhaps note that Austro/Hungarian operetta is very politically incorrect these days.  It was written around 100 years ago so reflects a more natural set of values.  Membership of the military is, for instance, treated with great respect, and even is to some extent glorified.  No modern Leftist would applaud that.  But, as a former Sergeant in the Australian army, I do myself have every respect for the military.

And we also see monarchist sentiments at times -- but only inhabitants of a monarchy -- and I am one -- will understand that.


Minnesota Considers Scrapping Health Insurance Exchange

In King v. Burwell, the Court did not just ignore plain meaning of the words “established by the State,” but opened up a whole new can of worms as well.

After the King decision, states can now get rid of their health exchanges and move their citizens to the federal exchange without forcing them to give up their subsidies. Since insurance exchanges are costly and often more trouble for politicians than they are worth, states may now decide it is better just to shut down their own exchange. Minnesota is considering just this move.

Minnesota’s state exchange, MNsure, has faced billing problems and low enrollment numbers. After the King decision, Representative Matt Dean (R), calls MNsure an “unnecessary problem.”

It was recently announced that a software problem with MNsure forced 180,000 Minnesotans to have their MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance renewals delayed. This created a dilemma for politicians: deny coverage to people in need, or contribute to the insurance of some ineligible people, typically 5 to 10 percent of enrollees. Not surprisingly, the politicians choose the second route.

Another problem with MNsure is that 24,000 Minnesotans did not even receive a bill for a full half-year. This has created two problems. First, there is uncertainty over how much each individual should be required to pay. Second, many individuals that had to budget for each month’s premium will now be required to come up with a half-year’s worth of premiums.

MNsure is scheduled to cost $229.6 million through June 2017. However, most of this will be covered by the federal government, Minnesota will only pay $16.5 million. For this price, the state has received software that cannot update basic life changes such as marriage or birth of a child.

Minnesota has created a new 33-person task force, the MNsure Advisory Task Force, that will begin meeting this month to discuss the future on MNsure and MinnesotaCare. The task force is to make recommendations to make the health insurance exchange more efficient and sustainable, which are due January 15.

Republicans have been actively calling for the end of MNsure and a switch to the federal exchange. “We’ve had three years of failures, of failures with MNsure and sometimes in life you just have to admit it failed. It didn’t work,” stated Representative Greg Davids (R). He continued, “[w]e should get over to the federal exchange and stop wasting Minnesotans’ money.”

Members of the DFL have also acknowledged problems with the state exchange but are in less of a hurry to switch to the federal exchange. “To just say outright, ‘ok we’re going to the federal exchange’ is kind of premature. But [we] certainly wouldn’t take it off the table,” said Representative Tina Liebling (DFL). “Obviously it’s not working for the people it’s supposed to be working for and that’s really frustrating for everybody.”

It is not just Minnesota that is considering getting rid of their state health insurance exchange. Arkansas has already scrapped their partnership exchange in favor of dumping its citizens on the federal exchange. In addition, Vermont and Rhode Island are considering dropping their state exchanges in a post-King world.

The King decision was not only poor legal reasoning, it opened up the door for states to scrap their exchanges and move their citizens to the federal exchange. This is just another step towards a single-payer health care system.



Juvenile justice reforms would save money and spare nonviolent youths

In the 2013 documentary Kids for Cash, director Robert May told the stories of several young offenders from Pennsylvania whose lives were up-ended by the dysfunctional juvenile-justice system.

Presented in the young offenders’ own words, their stories are compelling.  They will also make your blood boil.

Judges, seemingly without much thought of the lifelong consequences, unnecessarily exposed these children to the system as adolescents, putting them at risk of being trapped in an endless cycle of crime.

Among the young offenders profiled in the documentary is Justin Bodnar. In December 2001, when he was 12-years-old, Bodnar got into trouble when he hurled obscenities at the mother of another student.

Despite his colorful language, which his mother tried hard to curb before this particular incident, Bodnar is an intelligent and talented young man. His mother consented to having him arrested in hopes that it would put a stop to his frequent profane speech and prevent any future embarrassing incidents.

To her surprise, Justin was charged with making “terroristic threats” and sentenced to a juvenile-detention facility. Over the next seven years, Bodnar would spend time inside the juvenile system, where he tried marijuana and heroin for the first time.

These are experiences he might have avoided had he not been exposed to the system at such an early age.

“[What] you see first is fences — 20-foot tall fences with rows of razor wire, like I’m a convicted criminal, like I’m a murderer. And that’s what it feels like. You feel like I’m now one of those people you see in the movies,” Bodnar said, recalling his first trip to a juvenile-detention facility.

“I woke up in a nice bed with my family, and I went to sleep with cockroaches and criminals. Every time you went into a room, you had to do a roach look, like to make sure there are no roaches anywhere. It’s dirty, and there are stains on the walls.”

Bodnar, who is struggling to put his life on the right track, and many of the other young people in the documentary were “status offenders” — adolescents charged with a crime that would not otherwise be a crime if they were adults.

Too often, judges, in closed-door hearings deemed necessary to protect the young offender, take tough stances in a purported attempt to scare them straight.

The good news is that the number of crimes committed by juveniles is at record lows. In 2012, about 1.3 million young people were arrested, down 40 percent from 2006.

For those who do make mistakes, however, any exposure to the justice system, including arrest, can actually increase the likelihood of a young person becoming a repeat offender. Residential placement is ineffective, and out-of-home placement is expensive and fails to produce better outcomes than alternatives.

The question policymakers should be asking is this: How can they effectively treat and rehabilitate young offenders and put them on a path to productive lives while cutting costs?

The answer can be found in different states.

Functional Family Therapy, an evidence-based, family-centered intervention program, has proven to be an effective alternative to placement in juvenile-detention facilities. At a cost of up to $4,000 per youth, this approach can reduce the chance of a young person from becoming a repeat offender by one-third.

States that have used evidence-based approaches have seen their juvenile-detention populations fall. Texas and Ohio, for instance, experienced declines of 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively, since 2006. Both states saw repeat-offender rates fall even while commitments to state facilities dwindled.

The savings from this innovative approach to juvenile justice allow states to focus on rehabilitation for higher-risk young people who remain in detention facilities.

Congress can also step up to protect young people who are unnecessarily caught up in the juvenile-justice system. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have already introduced legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 with a series of long-overdue reforms, including phasing out remaining situations in which a status offender can be detained.

Other efforts, such the Redeem Act, which would allow a young person to have their record expunged if they stay out of trouble, is an idea that lawmakers should explore as they seek to give offenders the opportunity to prosper in their adult lives.

The “scared straight” approach may’ve been attractive at one time, but it has proven to be a costly failure and one that deprives young people of opportunity, because it exposes them to the justice system before they’ve fully mentally developed.

With the approach to corrections changing for nonviolent offenders, there is a tremendous opportunity to put young lives on the right path, ending the cycle of crime before it starts.



Burt Prelutsky on "Cecil"

Finally, there’s no way that a Minnesota dentist is going to kill an African lion without my commenting on it. I’m not as outraged as most people seem to be. After all, it was a lion, even if someone decided to name it Cecil. It wasn’t someone’s pet. It wasn’t our dog Angel. It was a lion, for heaven’s sake, and five minutes before the dentist hired a couple of schmucks to lure it off a reserve so he could hit it with a spotlight and shoot it with an arrow, it was probably gnawing on Bambi.

Still, there is something comforting in the fact that a guy can blow $50,000 killing an animal in the most pathetic way imaginable and wind up, not with a lion’s head on his wall, but with his own dumb mug on the front page.

There is an old saying that doctors should cure themselves. In the case of this dentist, it seems that before packing for this safari, Walter Palmer should have paused to fill the cavity between his ears.

I understand that a lot of you are hunters, and regard yourselves as sportsmen and would never do the chickenshit stuff the dentist did, but, assuming you’re not hunting in order to feed your families, I confess I don’t grasp the appeal of getting the best of dumb animals. I admit that I don’t shy away from matching wits with liberals, but at least I don’t leave their bloody carcasses lying around to frighten their wives and children.



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, August 17, 2015

Hitler's Leftism and Jewish Leftism

Hitler called his political party, "The National Socialist German Worker's Party", Nazi for short. And all Socialist Worker's Parties that I know of are to at least some degree Trotskyist, meaning far Leftist. Even the Soviet Union was not socialist enough for Trotsky. He called it "Bonapartist", which is an enormous insult in Marxist circles. Bonapartism was an early form of Fascism. So Hitler placed himself very firmly in the socialist camp.

But those who know something about it sometimes say that Hitler was more of a nationalist than a socialist and there is truth in that. Nazism was actually a fairly coherent doctrine and in it socialism actually sprang from its nationalism. And Hitler was quite explicit about that. He saw Germans as a family and family members look after one-another.

Have a look at the 1939 Nazi propaganda placard below (a "Wochenspruch" for the Gau Weser/Ems). The placard promotes one of Hitler's sayings. The saying is, "Es gibt keinen Sozialismus, der nicht aufgeht im eigenen Volk" -- which I translate as "There is no socialism except what arises within its own people".

Like Bismarck before him, Hitler was a pan-German nationalist. He saw all Germans as one family ("Volk") that was sadly disunited and wanted to re-unite them as one big happy family. He was not as wise as Bismarck, however. He didn't quit while he was ahead. Bismarck waged a short sharp and very successful war (the Franco-Prussian war of 1870) and then spent the rest of his days avoiding war -- ushering in what came to be known as the "Belle Epoque", a time of general European peace which produced a great flowering of the arts, a period that lasted until 1914.

So by the time Hitler came along, Germany was largely united into a single legal entity. Bismarck had accomplished that. But it was a very fragile unity. The Laender (states) that were formed out of the old German kingdoms and principalities still retained the prime loyalty of most Germans. They thought of themselves (for instance) as Bavarians first and citizens of the Deutsches Reich second. And, even worse, there were still some German speaking lands that were outside the Deutsches Reich, Austria in particular. And Hitler was an Austrian.

But far worse than those elements of disunity were the class enmities and struggles of his day. Even before WWI, there was a lot of unrest in Vienna.  And that intensified in the wake of the WWI defeat, when Germany was in turmoil. The Marxists exploited that turmoil. There were even minor revolutions on some occasions. And the central element of Marxist thinking is of course social class and class war was their explicit aim.

That filled Hitler with horror. To have Germans making war on one another was the very antithesis of what he wanted. The Marxists wanted bloody revolution while Hitler wanted one big happy family.

Fascism is now dead but the Marxist-inspired Leftism of Hitler's day is still with us. It is what we recognize as Leftism today. Nobody preaches "one big happy family" Leftism today but a diluted form of class-war is still very much with us. Modern-day Leftists too want to rip down the customs and arrangements of our society and replace that with some incoherently conceived utopia. Democracy restrains them but they introduce as many destructive policies as they can get away with.

So if you don't like the sound of modern Leftism, you might have some understanding of how the version of that in Hitler's day sounded to Hitler. It sounded demonic. But it was clearly threatening to all he stood for so he studied it.

And before he came from his home in Linz to "the big smoke" (Vienna) he says he had no particular thoughts about Jews, regarding them as just another religion.

But let Hitler speak for himself about his years in prewar Vienna (From Chap. 2 of Mein Kampf). First we read of his horror at the nihilism of the Austrian Social Democrats, at that time a heavily Marxist party but with some rather startling parallels to modern-day mainstream Leftism. Then we read what he found about the leading lights in that party. Key excerpts :

My first encounter with the Social Democrats occurred during my employment as a building worker. These men rejected everything: the nation as an invention of the 'capitalistic' (how often was I forced to hear this single word!) classes; the fatherland as an instrument of the bourgeoisie for the exploitation of the working class; the authority of law as a means for oppressing the proletariat; the school as an institution for breeding slaves and slaveholders; religion as a means for stultifying the people and making them easier to exploit; morality as a symptom of stupid, sheeplike patience, etc. There was absolutely nothing which was not drawn through the mud of a terrifying depths

More than any theoretical literature, my daily reading of the Social Democratic press enabled me to study the inner nature of these thought-processes.

The greater insight I gathered into the external character of Social Democracy, the greater became my longing to comprehend the inner core of this doctrine.

The official party literature was not much use for this purpose. In so far as it deals with economic questions, its assertions and proofs are false; in so far as it treats of political aims, it lies. Moreover, I was inwardly repelled by the newfangled pettifogging phraseology and the style in which it was written. With an enormous expenditure of words, unclear in content or incomprehensible as to meaning, they stammer an endless hodgepodge of phrases purportedly as witty as in reality they are meaningless. Only our decadent metropolitan bohemians can feel at home in this maze of reasoning and cull an 'inner experience' from this dung-heap of literary dadaism.

However, by balancing the theoretical untruth and nonsense of this doctrine with the reality of the phenomenon, I gradually obtained a clear picture of its intrinsic will.

At such times I was overcome by gloomy foreboding and malignant fear. Then I saw before me a doctrine, comprised of egotism and hate, which can lead to victory pursuant to mathematical laws, but in so doing must put an end to humanity.

I gradually became aware that the Social Democratic press was directed predominantly by Jews; yet I did not attribute any special significance to this circumstance, since conditions were exactly the same in the other papers. Yet one fact seemed conspicuous: there was not one paper with Jews working on it which could have been regarded as truly national according to my education and way of thinking.

I swallowed my disgust and tried to read this type of Marxist press production, but my revulsion became so unlimited in so doing that I endeavoured to become more closely acquainted with the men who manufactured these compendiums of knavery. From the publisher down, they were all Jews.

I took all the Social Democratic pamphlets I could lay hands on and sought the names of their authors: Jews. I noted the names of the leaders; by far the greatest part were likewise members of the 'chosen people,' whether they were representatives in the Reichsrat or trade-union secretaries, the heads of organizations or street agitators. It was always the same gruesome picture. The names of the Austerlitzes, Davids, Adlers, Ellenbogens, etc., will remain forever graven in my memory. One thing had grown clear to me: the party with whose petty representatives I had been carrying on the most violent struggle for months was, as to leadership, almost exclusively in the hands of a foreign people

And once the Marxist Jews of prewar Vienna had fired him up, Hitler began to see a malign influence of Jews everywhere, as later chapters of Mein Kampf reveal and as at least some historians document and as was common in Germany anyway.

Apologies for the long quote but I wanted to let Hitler speak for himself before putting his thinking into my words. And much of what he said does have resonance today. It is surely fascinating that much of what he says about the Social Democrats (the mainstream Leftists of his day) could equally be said of modern-day Leftists.  When he described Leftist theoretical writing as gibberish, he could well be talking about much of what is taught in American universities today.

And that similarity should give Leftist Jews pause for thought. By embracing hostility to existing German society in the inter-war years, they eventually brought down on their heads a terrible vengeance from a charismatic patriot. They found that hate sometimes hurts the hater most of all. Is it not possible to learn from that? American Jews are still overwhelmingly Leftist and hence hostile to the society that has given them a safe place. Would it not be more appropriate and decent to support rather than contest the arrangements that have been so beneficial to them?

Hitler arose in one of the most civilized and enlightened countries on earth. And no-one foresaw his advent. So how can we be sure that another charismatic patriot will not arise in America? Donald Trump is no Hitler but he does show that a charismatic and angry patriot can come out of nowhere and win a totally unexpected level of support.

And note that the frontrunner for leadership of Britain's major Leftist party at the moment is a neo-Marxist antisemite and open supporter of jihadists.  His popularity has surprised everyone.  Reassuring?

If the steady pace of destruction that Obama has been inflicting on America continues long enough, there could be an anti-Left rebellion that sheds much blood. Conservatives have the guns, after all.  And the military is deeply conservative.  And America has had two civil wars already.  And I think that the Left are more dangerous to American welfare and prosperity than either the British or the Southerners ever were. And any rebellion that had Leftists in its sights would ipso facto have many Jews in its sights. Jews always lose in any upheaval. It is in their interests to prevent an upheaval, rather than encouraging it.

I just hope that what I have said is not prophetic. Just over 70 years ago, the many haters among them set Jewry up for the most ghastly retaliatory blow.  Has nothing been learned? Will the hate ever stop?  I regret to say that I am not optimistic.


More evidence of IQ as just one aspect of physical good functioning

IQ has a large range of physical correlates.  Odd for something that Leftists say does not exist

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, a study reveals.

Researchers at the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen have studied the association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent physical performance, aged 48-56. The study comprised 2,848 Danish males born in 1953 and in 1959-61, and the results have just been published in the scientific Journal of Aging and Health.

"Our study clearly shows that the higher intelligence score in early adulthood, the stronger the participants' back, legs and hands are in midlife. Their balance is also better. Former studies have taught us that the better the results of these midlife tests, the greater the chance of avoiding a decrease in physical performance in old age", says PhD student Rikke Hodal Meincke from the Center for Healthy Aging

With a 10-point increase in intelligence score, the results revealed a 0,5 kg increase in lower back force, 1 cm increase in jumping height - an expression of leg muscle power, 0.7 kg increase in hand-grip strength, 3.7% improved balance, and 1.1 more chair-rises in 30 seconds.



States should copy winning policies for economic growth

Instead of doubling down on outdated policy ideas such as raising taxes and increasing government spending, state governments facing budget crises should look to successful states for ideas on how to jumpstart their own economies and reverse population declines. Fortunately, there are resources they can use to make the case for innovation in government.

This year’s edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Rich States, Poor States report shows the economic outlooks of states such as Illinois and Kentucky improved significantly since the release of ALEC’s 2014 report, as their respective leaders learned from the examples of other states.

The report measures and ranks states’ relative economic performance using three criteria: the state’s gross domestic product output, the net number of people domestically relocating to or from the state, and the state’s nonfarm payroll employment numbers. State policies strongly affect these three factors, the report explains.

The report also details 15 “policy variables” that impact how and why capital—not only money, but people—moves from one state to another. These variables include marginal corporate and personal income tax rates, the progressivity of personal income tax structures, and the ratio of government employees to total population.

“Generally speaking, states that spend less—especially on income transfer programs, and states that tax less—particularly on productive activities such as working or investing—experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more,” the report says.

Those observations really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but too few states embody them in their taxing and spending policies. In addition, the numbers do have some instructive details.

For example, Kentucky’s economic output was lower than that of 29 states, reflecting past fiscal sins, but the state’s migration numbers, which react directly to current conditions, were better than almost two-thirds of the states.

Also on a positive note, Kentucky’s property tax burdens are among the lowest in the nation, as Kentucky homeowners were charged an average of $20.29 in property taxes per $1,000 of personal income. The state’s relatively low sales taxes and personal income tax structures helped boost the state’s economic ranking.

On the other end of the scale, Illinois, led by incoming Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, is an example of how states can learn from other states’ examples to bring success home.

In 2014, Illinois was near the bottom of the pack, ranking 48th out of 50. In 2015, Illinois climbed eight spots thanks to recently legislated tax reforms. One of those changes was a decision to allow income tax hikes enacted in 2011 to expire.

Speaking of Illinois’ jump in the rankings, ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Director Jonathan Williams told, “Sometimes you have to celebrate those small victories,” referring to how the state got it “less wrong” than in past years.

As Rich States, Poor States proves, attracting new residents and new businesses—and in turn new tax revenue—is not rocket science.

By keeping tax burdens low and government small, states can encourage businesses and residents of other states to relocate, bringing their capital with them. Kentucky is on the road to prosperity, Illinois is improving, and states following in their footsteps will prosper as well.



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, August 16, 2015

Your genes WON'T make you wealthy: Becoming rich is more about nurture than nature, study finds (?)

I add some skeptical comments at the foot of the report below.  The usual finding is that high IQ people tend disproportionately to be high income earners.  And IQ is of course highly hereditary

If your parents are rich, then you’re more likely to be wealthy too.

Scientists have long debated whether this is down to genetics or the culture in which children are raised.  Now, a new study claims to have finally settled the debate; nurture, it says, is far more important that nature when it comes to amassing wealth.

‘Innate biology is only a small factor in wealth’, Kaveh Majlesi, a professor of economics at Lund University in Sweden and co-author of the study told

Previous studies have attempting to find a ‘rich gene’ which might explain how genetic characteristics that cause people to be wealthy are passed down.

The latest research, however, found that the wealth of an adopted child – before receiving an inheritance – is similar to that of their adoptive parents, rather than their biological ones.

The study included data from 2,519 Swedish children who were adopted between 1950 and 1970.

The researchers then compared this to data on adults’ overall wealth in Sweden between 1999 and 2007. This allowed scientists to compare the wealth of the adult adoptees to the wealth of potential biological and adoptive parents.

The biological parents were tended to be younger, poorer and less-educated than the adoptive parents.

Researchers found the adoptive parents had 1.7 to 2.4 times more of an effect than the biological parents did on the adopted child’s adult wealth.


I hate to rubbish a very carefully and laboriously done study but it is important to note that this is a study of WEALTH, not income. It is derived from data collected by the Swedish government for the purposes of its wealth tax.

I have read the whole original study ("Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth") and note that it showed great statistical care.

It does not show much knowledge of people however.  It covers gifts in the form of bequests but otherwise omits the issue of gifts altogether.  The authors seem quite unaware that well-off people tend to give their kids money on various occasions and for various reasons.  My son, for instance, does well every birthday.

And since the adoptive parents in the study above were richer than the natural parents, it is almost certain that the adopted kids got more gifts -- thus accounting entirely for the finding that those kids had more wealth.  The study therefore tells us nothing about any biological effect -- including the influence of genes.

I might add the general point that wealth taxes of any kind are quite like other taxes in that they provoke avoidance (legal)  and evasion (illegal).  And the standard way of avoiding wealth taxes is to transfer funds to later generations in the form of gifts.  Gift taxes hinder but do not prevent that. So the fact that the data originate from official Swedish wealth tax statistics is rather unfortunate for this study.  It guarantees that a LOT of intergenerational giving did go on.  So the findings in this study would seem to be largely an artifact of Swedish law.

The data of the study is therefore not capable of supporting the conclusions of the study.  I can't say I am surprised by social scientists who know nothing about people.  I had a lot of fun pointing out the follies of my fellow social scientists during my own 20-year research career.  But I guess I shouldn't laugh!


The Extreme Party

During last Thursday night's inaugural 2016 Republican presidential debate, Fox News' Megyn Kelly got into a spat with Donald Trump over his history of vulgar comments about women. Trump followed up that tiff by dropping a thinly veiled reference to Kelly's menstruation in the media. Those comments prompted Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton to praise Kelly — a woman with whom she would never deign to do an interview — bash Trump, and then lash out at Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whom she perceives as the most serious threat to her presidential aspirations.

"Yes, I know [Trump] makes great TV," said Clinton. "I think the guy went way overboard - offensive, outrageous, pick your adjective. But what Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact in terms of where the Republican Party is today as anybody else on that stage."

What, pray tell, was Rubio's great sin? He said that he believed the Constitution protects the unborn: "What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States."

According to Clinton and her allies in the media, this makes Rubio — and any Republican who agrees with him — too extreme for the general public. And it's not just abortion. Polls show that 52 percent of Americans say that the Republican Party is more "extreme" in its positions than the Democratic Party; just 35 percent say the reverse.

But is that true?

On abortion, for example, the Republican Party platform states that the Constitution warrants protections for the unborn; the Democratic Party position states that taxpayers should foot the bill for the killing of unborn children at every stage of pregnancy, including partial-birth abortion, a gruesome procedure in which children are pulled feet-first out of their mother's wombs, their skulls pried open and brains sucked out. Then the Democrats want to fund Planned Parenthood to carve up those babies for organ sale.

Which position is more extreme?

On same-sex marriage, the Republican Party wants to pass a Constitutional amendment to enshrine traditional marriage as the only governmentally rewarded form of marriage; until such time, Republicans acknowledge that same-sex marriage is legally a state's rights issue. The Democratic Party wants to force religious Americans to participate in homosexual weddings without recourse to the Constitution. Which is more extreme?

On health care, Republicans want Americans to be able to choose the healthcare they receive and pay for; Democrats want to force Americans to pay into a system from which they receive less than they would if they expended their dollars privately. Extremism, anyone?

The list goes on and on. Democrats want no major changes to the educational system, except for spending more money on corrupt teachers' unions; they also want to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize students majoring in useless subjects at second-tier colleges. Republicans want to allow Americans to keep more of their own money, and they want American parents to be able to spend that money as they see fit on the education of their children. Democrats want to dramatically increase taxes; Republicans want to decrease them. Democrats want no meaningful enforcement of America's immigration system; supposedly, Republicans want to enforce immigration laws.

Yet the media portray Republicans as the extremists. That rhetorical trick has its desired effect: Republicans are seen as nasty and unpleasant, even while Democrats move so far to the left that an open socialist is now their second leading contender for the presidency. Republicans counter by insisting that they are kind and generous, wonderfully moderate. This strategy is destined to fail. But Republicans have no idea how to fight extremists, even as the left portrays them consistently as America's most extreme political party.



The F35 debacle

The F35 is a political compromise.  Different services wanted different things in a new jet.  To keep them all happy, the F35 was designed to do everything -- resulting in it doing nothing well.

The reliance on stealth is truly tragic. Stealth has basically had its day.  Both China and Russia have demonstrated stealth nullification via radar improvements and other means.  They've had a long time to work on it and they have succeeded.

The only consolation is that Russia won't have many T-50s.  But they may not need many against the F35. And what if Russia sells the T-50 to China and China devotes its huge industrial base to building them?

I predict that if ever the F35 flies into a real combat situation, the airforce will soon realize the uselessness of its stealth attempts and will abandon them.  That will free the planes armorers to equip it with a full external weapons load  -- which would certainly make the plane more survivable and may even enable it to do some damage to the enemy

CAN the F35 beat this? Possibly not. Video footage of Russia’s new T-50 stealth fighter shows the extreme manoeuvrability the F-35 is up against.  Earlier this year a damning report from an F-35 test pilot revealed the troubled $400 billion dollar single-seat stealth fighter was easily outmanoeuvred by a two-seat 1980s vintage F-16D combat jet.

As recently as last week, the success of modern Russian designs appear to have won some vindication when Indian Russian-made Su-30 combat jets went toe-to-toe with British Typhoon fighters in a competitive training exercise: It was a 12-0 clean-sweep victory, in favour of the Indians.

The T-50 is the latest incarnation of Russian combat jet doctrine.  It purports to blend stealth with extreme manoeuvrability, and an extensive suite of sensors and weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to have the jets operational by 2020, though an initial order for 50 of the aircraft has since been cut back to just 12.

The Tu-50 is just one of several new fighter types the F-35 Lightning may eventually face.

Despite its advanced sensors and avionics, the fighter’s single engine simply isn’t powerful enough to push the bulky and overweight airframe through the air all that fast — or accelerate it away from danger.

The F-35’s supporters argued that dogfighting was not what the next-generation stealth fighter was built for:  “The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations,” a Lockheed Martin statement reads.

“The challenge, chivalry and thrill of ‘guns-only’ dogfighting is clearly of a bygone era,” a 2007 US Air Force article reads.
Detractors, however, point out we’ve heard that argument before — with near disastrous results.

US Navy jets went into Vietnam without cannons, such was the confidence they had in their ultra-advanced new missiles. Every jet designed and built since then has had them included due to the lessons learnt at the hands of the Russian-built jets the US came up against.

Detractors also argue F-35s long-range, stealth fighting style is also suspect.

To survive against a T-50, the F-35 must be stealthy. To be stealthy, the F-35 cannot carry any weapons or fuel under its wings. This reduces its capabilities and flexibility considerably.

Even if the F-35 is able to evade new visual and heat-seeking sensors developed specifically in the past decade to find it, it is totally reliant upon the success of its two air-to-air missiles. These must find — and then hit — targets which are capable of both hiding through stealth and countermeasures while using extreme manoeuvrability to dodge.

Once those two missiles are fired, the comparatively slow and sluggish F-35 is entirely dependent on its stealth capability to slink away from the battlefield to refuel and rearm.

And it’s not all that stealthy from behind. If it’s spotted, the questions remain: Can it run? Can it turn? Can it fight?



Court Strikes Down the FDA's Speech Regulations

The FDA is preventing you from learning about medical treatments that could save your life

They say that knowledge is power, that knowing is half the battle; and the explosion of knowledge that has emerged in the information age has undoubtedly made the world and its citizens far, far richer. Knowledge saves lives and elevates people from rags to riches. You would think that government would then be interested in promoting the spread of knowledge to as many people as possible, to maximize well-being among its citizens. You would think wrong.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exercises strict controls over what information drug companies are allowed to publicize, and in many cases, these limitations result in needless deaths.

This was the issue in a recent court case in which a New York district judge ruled that some of these limitations violate the right to freedom of speech. The restrictions in question limit what is known as “off label marketing.” What this means is that a drug company can only market its products for uses approved by the FDA, even if it turns out that the drugs have other benefits as well.

For example, suppose a company had gone through the rigorous approval process to get the FDA to sign off on a new drug for, let’s say, insomnia. The FDA agrees that the pill helps people sleep, and allows the company to market it for that purpose. Suppose then that further research emerges showing that the sleeping pill can shrink cancerous tumors as well. Current law forbids drug companies from publicizing this information to consumers, to doctors, or to anyone else who might find it useful. Cancer treatment is an “off label” use for the drug, and therefore forbidden.

The problem with these laws is obvious. There may exist many effective treatments for life threatening diseases, but we would have no way of knowing it, since that fact is not allowed to be advertised. It’s impossible to estimate the number of needless deaths resulting from such suppression of knowledge, but it is sure to be significant.

The court’s decision is an important victory, not only for our constitutional rights, but also as a first step in removing some of the regulatory barriers that are making health care less available and more expensive. The FDA’s regulations have consistently held back innovation and kept prices higher than they need to be. If we really care about improving health care in America, permitting more freedom in the market would be a good place to start.



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.

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